Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts

Book Description:

Published: December 5, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed–and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river–or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

Review –

When I started listening to this book, I knew immediately that I was going to love it, and therefore would have to not rush the experience. By that I mean, I don’t “binge-listen” hour after hour, but take it slow and make it last. I even set it aside for a week here and there to make it last longer.

This is unlike anything that Nora Roberts has ever written and she hit it out of the ball park!

“When the world as they know it ends, the survivors of a mysterious plague are faced with a new world in which both dark and light magic are rising.

“When Ross MacLeod pulled the trigger and brought down the pheasant, he had no way of knowing he’d killed himself. And billions of others.” So begins the latest novel from publishing juggernaut Roberts, and the rest of the book is just as gripping. When a virus takes out nearly 80 percent of the Earth’s human population, the survivors must figure out how to live in their new world, which includes the appearance of a varied set of magical abilities in a large part of the surviving population. Both the magick and un-magick people have violent factions which are trying to vanquish internal and external enemies, and good people from both groups have to band together in order to stay safe and establish a new order that honors life and decency. In one such community, witches Lana and Max are having a child, and from the moment of conception, it’s obvious that the child will be magical. As her pregnancy advances, Lana begins to suspect that even in the context of the new magical paradigm, her child has a special destiny, an impression that becomes clearer when she realizes she and her unborn child are being hunted. Finding sanctuary on a remote farm, Lana ushers the child into the world, and soon both foes and allies begin to arrive at her doorstep, deepening Lana’s belief that her daughter is meant for something great and dangerous. Roberts’ new direction is electric and ground-breaking. In some ways, it’s a synthesis of her past work: she’s often written about magical elements, family—both biological and emotional—and community. In this series launch, she’s created a believable apocalypse that is obviously leading to a grand showdown between good and evil, but the story and the characters—there are many, and she’s made some choices that are going to stun her die-hard romance fans—navigate timely issues of tolerance and bigotry; fear of the Other; violence on behalf of perceived “purity” and misdirected religious zeal; and how good people combat evil.

A fast-paced, mesmerizing, and thought-provoking novel that will no doubt add to Roberts’ legions of fans.”

KIRKUS Reviews

Five stars!!!

grab a warm cup of Theraflu, snuggle up with a copy of Year One and pray you’re one of the lucky survivors.

 

Ron Charles of the Washington Post

Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant

Book Description:

Published: October 29, 2013

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.

In Parasite, Mira Grant imagines a near future in which genetically modified tapeworms are a universal health-care solution. Once implanted, the worm provides immune-system support, making its human host healthy for the duration of its life — though like any good piece of commodified progress, the worms have planned obsolescence and need to be replaced regularly.

Sal Mitchell owes her life to her parasite, which brought her out of a coma after a serious car accident. Unfortunately, her memories vanished, and her current personality is only 6 years old. She lives a life that’s half lab rat and half surreal puberty, living at home, dating a doctor (though not one of hers), and relearning language and social idiosyncracies in a treading-water existence. Something’s got to give — and does; people start contracting a bizarre sleepwalking sickness just as Sal starts getting cryptic messages about what she already suspects. This pandemic is no accident.

Review –

This is a very thought-provoking book that causes you to think that maybe a medical  cure could be  worse than the disease and in 2027 that is the case.

SymboGen, the corporation responsible to the miraculous tapeworm implants, has secrets it’s not sharing and Sal and her boyfriend are trying to find out what they are, especially now that her father and sister have been hit with the “sleeping sickness”. Of course, they are blocked at every corner and don’t know who trust, including her boyfriend’s mother, who was a head scientist on the team discovering the tapeworm implant and now is in hiding.

Because of Sal’s unique medical situation, SymboGen does semi-annual check-ups on her and each time it is harder and harder for her to stand all the poking and prodding.  There are memories that want to surface and she’s not sure she wants to face them, but at the end she has to because there is no getting away from the facts. I can’t tell you any more because that would ruin the entire book but, as a reader, I could see the writing on the wall long before Sal did and I was shocked to the core.

Fantastic book. Looking forward to the next installment.

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The Fold by Peter Clines

Book Description:

Published: June 2, 2015

STEP INTO THE FOLD.
IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE.

The folks in Mike Erikson’s small New England town would say he’s just your average, everyday guy. And that’s exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he’s chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.

Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.

As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is only the second book that I have read or listened to by author, Peter Clines, the other being 14.

The author starts off with an innocent run of the mill scene and immediately turns it into a tech thriller with a supernatural mystery to boot. The protagonist is brilliant and the other characters are totally believable, although one girl does have the annoying habit of using the phrase “F*ck Me” ALL the time.  The language is sometimes technical, but not too much so to be irritating and there is a surprising twist that you will not see coming. The author uses such vivid description, especially in scenes through “the Door” that you seem to be there in the midst of the horrifying events.

I had hoped that a few of the characters wouldn’t be killed off but the author played no favorites and it made for a better story. I would have let everyone live and that wouldn’t be realistic. You’ll see I mean if you read this book and I sincerely hope you do. It is thought-provoking to think that somewhere unbeknownst to us, normal citizens, the “government” could be working on things of this nature or others more destructive.

Loved, loved this book!!!!!

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A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

Book Description

November 4, 2014

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Review –

To me this book was more like The Time Machine meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. even though they don’t really travel through time but through dimensions, BUT then why is one dimension like the Romanov’s of Russia?  Marguerite falls in love with Paul from this era and when he dies she is devastated but realizes that she likes the dimension hopping Paul too but not really in the same way.

We find out that her father’s death had been staged by a powerful man from a powerful company, who has had a spy right under their noses for many months,  and that he was hidden in an underwater dimension. This man really wants Marguerite because she reacts differently to the dimension hopping than anyone else.

I loved this book and it’s concept and can’t for the next installment that will be published much later this year.

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Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Book Description

February 11, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Review –
“GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE is an absolutely brilliant book. Andrew Smith is a genius the way he weaves the stories of Austin’s ancestors, his conflicting feelings about Shann and Robby, and the total destruction of the human race into one amazing book.” from a review by Karin Perry on GoodReads.
I used a bit of Karin’s review because she says everything I want to say, but she does it so much better.
There are not enough good words to say about this book. Once it gets started there is no stopping it-kinda like an UNSTOPPABLE SOLDIER. (You’ll have to read the book to see what that is) We learn all about Austin’s ethnic background, his love for Shann and Robby, his confusion as to his own sexual orientation, and his feelings about the end of the world.
Truly a book that will stay with me for a long time and I will never look at a praying mantis in the same way again.
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Stung (Stung #1) by Bethany Wiggins

Book Description

April 2, 2013
Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she’s right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .
Review –
In the  post-apocalyptic world of Stung all bees are extinct and honey is used as currency.  Fiona wakes up not knowing anything that has happened for 3 or four years, since she was thirteen, so she sets out to find answers. She runs into Arris, who poses as a girl and survives by living in the sewers. He/she tells Fiona and she must hide the fact that she is female because there aren’t that many left and so she binds her chest and dirties her clothes.  Inside the wall, doctors are anxious to get their hands on Fiona for medical experimentation purposes. Dreyden Bowen, a former neighbor of Fiona’s, is now a guardian of the wall and when he is assigned a duty of watching her he realizes he cares for her and doesn’t want the doctors to get their hands on her because it would mean her death.
I rated this book five stars ***** and can’t wait to read the sequel, Cured.
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The House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alcran #1) by Nancy Farmer

Product Description:

Published: 2002

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested.
His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium–a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster–except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.

Review –

I gave this book five stars ***** because the plot was unlike any I have read before and once I started reading it I COULD NOT put it down.  The characters are very well-developed and the description used throughout the story is very vivid. For me it was a very fast read and I would highly recommend it.

Series: National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, Newbery Honor Book, Printz Honor Book

 

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Shadow Station: by Ann Grant

Book Description

Publication Date: April 3, 2012
After college student Amy Wong hikes across an isolated Pennsylvania field with her German shepherd, a stranger stops her by a fence to ask for directions. The man disturbs her, from the taunt behind his eyes to the way her dog shies away from him. To her relief they part ways. But when she sees his cell phone fall from his coat, she can’t leave it on the ground. She decides she ought to return it to him… and discovers that instead of a cell, it’s a device that opens a terrifying window to scenes she never was supposed to see.
  SHADOW STATIONS: BLACK FRIDAY (Book Two) will be published in late 2012.
Review –
I found this book to be better than your average freebie and that’s rare.  Though the story is unbelievable it is a pleasant read because the main character is a strong-willed woman and that in today’s literature is also a rarity. The only drawback is having to wait for the sequel.  If you like creepy Science Fiction you should give this a try.

Tag-A Technothriller(The Zumar Chronicles) by Simon Royle

Product Description:

On 15 March 2110, 6.3 billion people will die at the hand of one man. A man with a twisted vision, to make humans a better, more intelligent race…
In the wake of Arbitrator Jonah Oliver’s interrogation of Jibril Muraz, a prisoner of UNPOL, his secure life disintegrates into one of lies, corruption, conspiracy and murder due to what he learns.
Jonah is thrown into a race against the clock to stop a plot designed to eliminate two-thirds of the population. The odds are stacked against him. He soon finds his past is not what he thought it was, those closest to him cannot be trusted, and what he’s learned could get him, or worse, his loved ones, killed.

 

Review –

This book was a combination of Science Fiction and Thriller and moved at a fast pace. Set in the future it shows the trend toward loss of personal privacy and it could be closer than we think.(just saying)  The characters were well developed  and interacted well and the locations were described well but I will tell you that I had a hard time with the “New Singapore” idea.  All in all, it was a successful story that kept we intrigued and glued to every page.  If you like a SciFi-Thriller you really should give this one a try.