“The Passage” by Justin Cronin, narr. by Scott Brick, Abby Craden, and Adenrele Ojo

A couple years ago, I received the first and third books in this series. I was working at a newspaper at the time and publishers would sometimes send us books. Somehow, I ended up with those two. I intended to read them, but didn’t get around to it and eventually gave them away unread. I didn’t know they were sci-fi, horror novels about a vampire apocalypse. I assumed they were mystery novels (no idea why I thought that) and that I wouldn’t like them, so I didn’t mind letting them go.

Then earlier this year, a co-worker told me about a new show that will air on Fox. He and I both like vampire/zombie-apocalypse-type flicks, so he knew I’d be excited to check out such a show, which turned out to be the TV adaptation of The Passage. I looked at the preview and got excited because the lead is a young, Black actress. I eagerly awaited the first episode but when it aired, some of my excitement dampened. The show was okay. As it progressed, it became less interesting until I no longer cared whether or not I saw the latest episode.

Vampire/zombie apocalypse stories are always interesting and exciting to me. Thinking the fault might be with the TV show’s creators, I decided to read the book, or rather, download the audiobook. But unfortunately, the book proved to be as lackluster for me as the show. This is the first vampire/zombie apocalypse story to bore me. I didn’t complete it.

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“Fool’s Assassin” by Robin Hobb

I’ve been procrastinating on writing book reviews lately because of this novel. It was wonderful to return to Buckkeep and Fitz again, but much happens and I had so many feelings about it all that when I think about typing it all up, I felt overwhelmed and immediately sought something else to do. But here I am with my thoughts about Fool’s Assassin. I couldn’t put it off any longer because I have to start the second book soon. Of course, I’m buddy-reading it with Emily at Embuhlee liest. We’re nearing the end and we’re not happy about it. We want more.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Fitz and the Fool, book 1
Realm of the Elderlings, book 14

Pubbed:

August 2014

Goodreads summary:

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

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“Middle Passage” by Charles Johnson

A high seas adventure I didn’t expect to enjoy.

This is what I love about the library. I can visit, pick up a random book to try, and feel pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it and later buy myself a copy if I choose. If I didn’t like the book, I would be annoyed but not as upset as I would have been if I’d wasted my money on something I didn’t like. Luckily, in this case I liked the book so much that I had to buy myself a copy. This one is a keeper and one I’d love to reread because I’m sure I didn’t get as much out of it as the story had to offer.

Genre:

Historical fiction

Pubbed:

1990

Goodreads summary:

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.

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“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

This one took me by surprise. Although I’ve heard great things about it, I didn’t expect to enjoy the story as much as I did. Now I am hooked and can’t wait to get stuck in another story about Murderbot.

Genre:

Sci-fi

Series:

Murderbot Diaries, book 1

Pubbed:

May 2017

Goodreads summary:

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

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“Jesus’ Son: Stories” by Denis Johnson

Okay, so this was one of those reading experiences that everyone has had at some point: when you’re reading some critically acclaimed book that everyone says is great and is a modern classic but you can’t see what’s so awesome about it and end up wondering if you’re missing something, like an entire page that possesses all the book’s awesomeness.

Yea… this one didn’t work for me.

Genre:

Contemporary; Literary

Pubbed:

1992

Goodreads summary:

Jesus’ Son, the first collection of stories by Denis Johnson, presents a unique, hallucinatory vision of contemporary American life unmatched in power and immediacy and marks a new level of achievement for this acclaimed writer. In their intensity of perception, their neon-lit evocation of a strange world brought uncomfortably close to our own, the stories in Jesus’ Son offer a disturbing yet eerily beautiful portrayal of American loneliness and hope. (Goodreads)

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“Beyond the Shadows” by Brent Weeks

The end of an exciting story I blazed through.

Well, it actually took me a couple months to read all three books in the trilogy, but the fact that I managed to complete the whole thing in about two years is something to celebrate because I hardly ever complete the series I start. So yeah, I’m proud of myself.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Night Angel, book 3

Pubbed:

December 2008

Goodreads summary:

A new queen has usurped the throne and is leading Cenaria into disaster. The country has become a broken realm with a threadbare army, little food and no hope. So Kylar Stern plans to reinstate his closest friend Logan as King, but can he really get away with murder?

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“Beauty and the Clockwork Beast” by Nancy Campbell Allen, narr. by Saskia Maarleveld

How did I come by this story? It’s the same as always happens. I was at work doing a boring task and wanted to listen to something entertaining. I got lucky when I took a chance on Nancy Campbell Allen’s Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. The synopsis made me think it would be similar to the paranormal romance series I read last year — Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark, which is set in the present day at a small college in upstate New York. The stories aren’t similar, but I’ve enjoyed both and am glad I’ve read them.

Genre:

Historical fiction; paranormal; steampunk; romance

Series:

Steampunk Proper Romance, book 1

Pubbed:

August 2016

Quick summary:

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is a historical fiction novel inspired by the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. The story is set in Victorian England (but women, especially our narrator, exercise some independence) in a world that has certain technological advancements (such as airships and automatons) that give the story a strong steampunk quality. It is very atmospheric, has a strong gothic vibe, and features several supernatural creatures, such as werewolves, vampires, and ghosts.

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