Shovel Ready (Spademan #1) by Adam Sternbergh

 

Shovel Ready (Spademan, #1)

An addictive genre-blend of a thriller: the immersive sci-fi of Ernest Cline; the hard-boiled rhythms of Don Winslow; the fearless bravado of Chuck Palahniuk; and the classic noir of James M. Cain

Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman.

In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His clients like that he doesn’t ask questions, that he works quickly, and that he’s handy with a box cutter. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. Finding her is easy, but the job quickly gets complicated: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Now Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world-the gritty reality and the slick fantasy-to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.

Adam Sternbergh has written a dynamite debut: gritty, violent, funny, riveting, tender, and brilliant.

(via Goodreads)

I could take or leave this book. The blurb on the cover promised a white hot ride of a story and it fell far short (for me). I didn’t connect with the main character at all, even when his back story is revealed. I just did not believe he could go from a mild mannered joe to an assassin. And how are people getting his number if he is constantly throwing out sim cards and phones?

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The world of the story is set in New York after a series of bombings. Residents who remain immerse themselves into the ‘limnosphere’, a virtual reality world where they stay for days, months or years. Nurses attend their withering bodies and give them liquids, meds etc.

 nurse GIFThe more money you have, the more decadent your VR bed, and the more security you have on your detail. The tourist meccas are the worst hit and appear to require a Geiger counter to enter, but no one seems to really care if it’s causing them harm.

Our female lead Persephone/Grace, is an evangelist’s daughter who runs away from home, her path crossing with our assassin. I found their connection a little odd, forced somewhat. I don’t know if that was intended, but I felt it an awkward pairing. I also didn’t really understand how everyone is so quick to kill. It was almost as if no one really knew what world they lived in.

This is the first in a series and, although a relatively short book, I’m not going to actively seek out book two. I don’t really know where else you could go with this story.

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2.5/5

 

 

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The Dry by Jane Harper

Image result for the dryLuke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

(via Goodreads)

Set in a small country town, The Dry is the story of Aaron Falk, Australian Federal Police Officer who is drawn to investigating the mystery of his childhood friend’s death. What seems a cut and dried murder suicide, becomes a mystery Falk cannot walk away from.

This is a powerful debut from Jane Harper. The story telling is tight and the imagery of this dry and hot town is palpable. Characters are compelling and well thought out. I found the mystery to be engaging and not an easy guess. Coupled with our main story is a mystery from Falk’s childhood, a death that has tainted his life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It keeps the reader’s interest and the page turning. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a mystery novel.

4.5/5

The Regulars by Georgia Clark

Dorian Gray for th29537267e Girls generation.”

Fierce and hilarious women’s fiction debut, as three average girls become extraordinarily beautiful and have all their fantasies come true … or do they?

Best friends Evie, Krista and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls with typical quarter life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well …gorgeous. Like, supermodelgorgeous. With a single drop, each young woman gets the gift of jaw-dropping beauty for one week, presenting them with unimaginable opportunities to make their biggest fantasies come true…

(via Goodreads)

I have been in a reading slump of late, so I decided to depart from my normal fare and read something radically out of my comfort zone. The Regulars is hard core chick-lit but with a magical twist. Three ‘regular’ girls get their hands on a magical serum that alters the way they look, making them mainstream / film star beautiful. Doors open, opportunities abound, but at what cost?

Image result for the regulars georgia clark

I was surprised to discover that I really liked this book. It’s well written, quick, witty, and you don’t have to really work to interpret the text. Our three heroines Evie, Krista and Willow are very different. Evie is a Sarah Lawrence feminist/journalist who is coming to grips with the realisation that ideals don’t always translate to the real world. Krista is an ex-law student turned actress who is unable to hold down a job, pay her bills, and hasn’t quite grown up from being a teenager. Willow is the struggling artist, tortured, pained, and unsure of herself.

Image result for the regulars georgia clark

Without spoilers, the girls were engaging, relateable, but somewhat two dimensional in certain scenes. Some of their decisions I don’t agree with, however, I can remember being young enough to make them! Evie was my favourite character, which is good for me, as she is the lion’s share of the story.

I wish there had been more story about the origin of the magical serum. It seemed to come out of nowhere and we weren’t given too much of it’s story. With that said, there are some allusions as to where it came from, but I wanted a more definite story about it.

Overall,  enjoyed the story. This is a strong story from Clark and I really look forward to reading her next offering. And she’s Australian, so woot!

4/5

Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano, John Ridgway, Alfredo Alcala

John Constantine 133017is an unconcerned, amoral occultist with a British working-class background.He’s an anti-hero who manages to come out on top through a combination of luck, trickery and genuine magic skill.V FOR VENDETTA illustrator David Lloyd provides painted artwork for the tale of an encounter with a strange woman who is the embodiment of the world’s horrors.This volume also features some of Constantine’s earliest adventures including his first victory in the long war with the demon Nergal.

(via Goodreads)

To me, John Constantine is the Generation X anti-hero. The chain-smoking, hard drinking, foul mouthed deuteragonist is one of my favourite characters in the DC universe.

There is something about an anti-hero that is so popular. It is often the character we can most relate to, the most layered, sometimes fun!

Constantine is all those things. He works the dark and light magic, and the end justifies the means. He walks in a world of darkness and pain, and as such, the stories are textured and reflective of that small part of humanity which is denied by most.

The stories are strong and the artwork is Miller-esque. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a darker story.

4.5/5

Nightlord: Sunset by Garon Whited

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Eric didn’t ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn’t even believe in them. Then he hooks up with a hot babe, wakes up with a hangover, and bites his tongue with his own fangs.

Which pretty much settles the question.

Now he’s trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the Undead — the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and predatory instincts are a real bitch.

Upside; Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the magic he’ll need to survive.

Downside; they’re being hunted by members of the Church of Light, who are determined to rid the world of vampires.

(via Goodreads)

This was a nice surprise.

I saw the blurb and the length and I was slightly disheartened.

But what follows is a fluid, engaging narrative.

It’s conversational, imagined, and while at times can seem to jump in the narrative, overall it was a great story for lovers of the genre.

3.5/5

 

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2 is a spine15729539-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

(via Goodreads)

Hill’s NOS4A2 (or NOS4R2 if you live in the UK or AUS) is a 690+ story of Vic McQueen, a flawed and broken woman, suffering PTSD and struggling to be a good mum to her son, Wayne.

As a child, Vic found a link (or portal) to other places – and another world. During one of her trips she crosses paths with Charles Manx, a vampiric child killer, and her world is forever changed.

This narrative, despite its size, is a fast read. I found Vic a likeable heroine, real in her pain and passion. Charles Manx is a creepy villain and (unfortunately for the world) believable. Hill does very well in showing us Manx’s pure belief that he is doing good in the world. Manx’s sidekick Bing Partridge is visceral, he has a smell and air about him that is revolting. I am so glad there is no such thing as scratch and sniff novels!

The only disappointing thing about this book was part of the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I wish that part had ended differently. However, the story reminded me of classic Stephen King, which I later found it Hill is his son 🙂

4/5

The Girl in 6E by A R Torre (Deanna Madden #1)

20640318I haven’t touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it’s not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.

I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide… my lust for blood, my love of death.

Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets… one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl’s life depending on you venturing into society?

Enter a world of lies, thrills, fears, and all desires, in this original thriller from A. R. Torre.

(via Goodreads)

This book is an onslaught to read. It starts with the shock factor and continues throughout the remainder of the book. Tough subject matter, TGI6E is the story of cam-worker Deanna who realises one of her customers may in fact be a child predator. When a report of a missing girl has eerie similarities to her online exchanges with the unnamed man, she feels compelled to investigate. Throw in that she harbours fantasies of violent murder and she’s been an agoraphobic for the last three years, and you have a thriller of a story.

I wanted to love this book. It sounded so different to what I normally like, I was really excited. And it was well written. The story was touted as Dexter meets Fifty Shades of Grey. And it had the FSOG. But there was little of Dexter.

ure, she had the thoughts, but they were lame. The fantasies and the attempted acting out was lame. It was lacklustre and disappointing. She wasn’t nasty, a dirty killer etc. She had the same thoughts most people did. And the more you delve into this part of her psyche, the more you feel like she’s just a poser. She wants to be a bad a—killer, but she’s not. She’s not even a tiny bit evil.

And it let the book down immensely. TGI6E is the first in a series, and I won’t be reading the rest. Really disappointing (yeah, I know I’ve said it already).

2.5/5