Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Head On

I love Chris Shane and Agent Vann. I love Shane's parents too. Head On is the second book in the Lock In series and I enjoyed it every bit as Lock In, maybe more. This time, I knew what "Haden's Syndrome" was and "Lock In". I also read Unlocked not that long ago, so I wasn't left wondering about anyone's medical health. The disease, which they still don't have a cure for, is the background to the story, it’s what has shaped the world in which the story is told.

Head On is a great story. John Scalzi creates mystery wrapped up in a sci-fi/dystopian world. Agent Chris Shane’s parents are rich. Crazy filthy rich. His dad is a legendary NBA champion, who, with his wife, wisely invested his money and created a financial empire, to which Agent Shane is the heir. Chris Shane doesn’t just live off his parents money, he is an FBI agent. Because he is a Haden, and his partner is a former Integrator (someone who had Haden’s but is not “locked in” and can hold the consciousness of someone who is locked in), Agent Shane an Agent Vann have unique perspectives that other FBI agents don’t. Though they aren’t the only people with Haden’s who have worked for the FBI, these two are good at their job. When crimes occur involving Haden’s, these two are on the case. In Head On, Agent Shane’s parents and ties to big money offer him a perspective and an “in” that no one else would have.

It is the unique world that captured my interest, but it is the amazing characters that had me coming back for the second book in the series. Agent Shane is great. He’s intelligent and charismatic. He doesn’t flaunt his money, but when it helps his case he will definitely use his status. Agent Vann is grizzled and ornery, She is also greatly intelligent and knows how to put the pieces of a puzzle together. Vann and Shane’s relationship is fun and thoughtful. I also love Shane’s parents, especially his mother. She gets dismissed by the business bigwigs as an NBA star's trophy wife, but she knows all about financials and is the one who makes sure their money works for them. Both parents really show how much they love their son. Something as simple as a haircut makes all the difference. They also respect his position at the FBI and they very much respect his opinion on people.

I am very eager for another book in the Lock In series.  I want to see more of Agent Shane, his parents and Agent Vann. I want to see how all the relationships grow and evolve, his parents are very fond of Agent Vann, after all. I also want to see what’s going to happen to Shane's roommates, the Hilketa league and Hadens in general. I’m also wondering if they’re going to see Mr. Medina again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Yours, Mine, and Ours

Yours, Mine, and Ours is the second book in the Cadence Jones series by MaryJanice Davidson. A quick, fun, easy read, it was exactly what I needed. I wanted to like the characters, I wanted a little mystery to figure out, but I didn't want too much tension. I wanted to laugh and wonder, smile at the situations Cadence and her sisters found themselves in.

I feel so much for Cadence. She wants a normal life, but she also has these "sisters" who she actually seems to love. Shiro is also taking Cadence's feelings into consideration. It's a really interesting relationship they have with themselves. Their relationships and behaviour has changed and grown in this novel. I wonder how it will work out in the final book. I'm also left wondering if Davidson will write more books about Cadence Jones. She's an interesting character. Because the plot revolves around solving a mystery/finding a serial killer, I'm wondering if there is the potential for that, or if Davidson ends things pretty conclusively in You and I, Me and You. I guess that just means I have to read it.

I kind of missed Cadence's best friend in this installment. I did, however, like the addition of Agent Thyme. I enjoyed her friendship with Shiro. I liked Shiro more than I did in Me, Myself, and Why?. I'm not sure why, perhaps because she felt like a real person, not just another side of Cadence. Though, I'm still not sure how Adrienne fits into all of this.

I'm not sure I was totally sold on the actual case they had to solve. I expected it to be similar to the first novel, but then it was something else. I usually like when things don't go as I expect them, but in this case, I don't know. I just wish I liked it better.

In the end though, the serial killer is secondary to the characters' actions and growth. It's them I want to see. I want to spend time with Cadence, George, and Patrick, no matter what they are doing. I'm excited to read the final book in the trilogy. It's going to be fun!

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight is an in-between book, a transition novella. Of course, I will read anything Sarah J. Maas writes about Feyre and Rhysand. Also Cassian, Nesta, Mor, Azriel and Elain. I love the characters she has created and developed throughout the series. Tamlin may have gone a little crazy. Lucien is still trying to find his place in the world. Will there be story about him and his trio? There will have to be some kind of adventure to free Vassa, right? I can't believe Feyre hasn't told him the truth, she wants them to be friends again, wants him to be happy, but this secret is serious. Feyre and Rhysand certainly keep a lot of secrets. Their whole family does. Mor definitely left me surprised.

Part of me feels like nothing really happened. The book was short and sweet, a glimpse into everyone's lives. I enjoyed it, but there was no battle to be fought. All their battles were internal. Each character is still dealing with what happened during the war. Some have found a new family, a place to belong, others are outcasts, others are alone. The characters are definitely what kept me involved in this book. I had to know what happened. A big part of that was seeing what Feyre would say to Lucien. I'm also waiting for everyone to get what they deserve, good or bad.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Wow. Just. Wow. Agatha Christie has managed to blow me away. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd might be my favourite of her novels now. That ending was amazing. I didn’t expect it. I’m a little in shock. This is definitely a book I could read again. I feel like I missed a hidden meaning or clue between the lines or something. In a second reading I would would be searching for something. Apparently there is only one way out when someone discovers what bad thing you’ve done in this little town.

I kind of loved Dr. Sheppard, right up until the end. I don't want to say too much, because it would give the story away and this book is worth the time to read. It's worth the time to read twice. Christie makes Sheppard so compelling. 

Inspector Raglan is so close-minded and annoying. I wanted to slap him a couple times. He thinks only his way is right. M. Poirot's idiosyncrasies do not give Raglan any faith in him. Even if Poirot were to share his theories, Raglan wouldn't listen. He was a wonderfully frustrating character. 

M. Poirot is full of himself, but he kind of deserves to be. He is always right. He sees everything, the things that no one else sees. Poirot is a bit snarky, in a cute, little, old man kind of way. He is someone to admire though, someone to emulate. He looks at evidence, circumstances, that others ignore. That's what he teaches officers more open than Raglan. Poirot is also such a unique character. No one other than Christie has a detective like him. 

As always, Christie does not disappoint. Even better, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is more unexpected than any of the other novels I've read, save The Orient Express. I'm eager to read another of Christie's books. Maybe The Mysterious Affair At Styles is next.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 was captivating, but also has somehow stopped me from writing all other posts. I'm just stalled. I've written notes on the other books I've read, and there are writing related posts I want to do, but they're not done. So, I'm going to push past this bump in the road. I know why it happened too. Fahrenheit 451 didn't really end, at least not the edition I have.

I hate when this happens. Ray Bradbury's story ended before the book did. There are still 90 unread pages left. I expected more story. I thought Montag was going to reach a particular destination, or at least, one more thing was going to happen. But then the ending happened. In itself, the ending is fine. Les dramatic than I expected, but fine, probably good. I just wish there was something in the table of contents. They included the Introduction (by Neil Gaiman, really well written and I don’t normally like introductions.) I double-checked when I got to the end of the story and it was not just a case of me not paying attention. Now I'm left feeling like the end of Fahrenheit 451 is missing something. I don't think it is though. I've re-read it a couple times, knowing the story is ending, and it's a good ending. I'm just going to have to re-read the whole novel sometime, to get the feel for the whole story.

The third of the book that is literary criticism, essays, etc., is still unread. I was just so surprised to find all this non-fiction commentary on the novel. Now, I'm undecided. Do I read it or leave it? I've read a few novels since I "finished" the story, but I haven't been able to post about any of them. Fahrenheit 451 just keeps calling me back, asking me to finish, but I also just wanted to read a good story and Fahrenheit 451 was that, more than a good story, it was a great story. It reminded me so much of 1984 and Brave New World, not necessarily in the tone or writing style, but in the feeling it gave me. Even though you're rooting for the main character, there's a hopelessness and inevitability in what they are doing. There's also something eerie about the possibility of this future coming true. Especially now.