Nine Lives – Book Review

Nine Lives by: Peter Swanson
Narrated by: Jacques Roy, Mark Bramhall
Published on: March 15, 2022
Publisher: William Morrow
Number of Pages: 340
Audio Book: 7Hrs 11 Min

Description

Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke – until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list. First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor.

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next….

Review

I am a sucker for any book with a number in the title. It is obviously a ploy to grab my attention and I freely admit that it works on me. You add on a not so subtle nod to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and then I am doubly interested. So now that I’ve finished it, did it work for me? Yes and No.

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The Post Script Murders – Book Review

Harbinder Kaur #2 by: Elly Griffiths
Narrated by: Nina Wadia
Published on: March 2, 2021

Before picking up The Postscript Murders, I had come to the conclusion that it was just not practical or possible for some of the main elements from The Stranger Diaries to carry over. This was mostly true with the story within a story format since the short story, The Stranger, was very unique to Clare, the first book’s main character. The short story not only introduced the gothic atmosphere, but the fictional author as well, both of which had a distinct presence throughout the book.

I mention this in hopes that no one goes in and is immediately disappointed. The Postscript Murders is a terrific murder mystery, but it does not carry over several elements that made The Stranger Diaries unique and memorable. It can be jarring. Once or twice, I thought to myself that it almost felt as if it were written by a different author, or was part of a different series.

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The Devil and the Dark Water – Book Review

The Devil and the Dark Water by: Stuart Turton
Published on: October 6, 2020

Surviving isn’t winning. It is what you do when you’ve lost.

The Devil and the Dark Water is a paranormal mystery inspired by the Batavia shipwreck of 1628. The true story of the Batavia is horrific. A shipwreck by itself would be terrifying, but it takes a further insidious and sinister turn even after the survivors find their way to a nearby island. If you ever happen to read the true account, you might actually think it is a bad plot of a horror novel, except in this case it happens to be true. Drawing on this, the author uses people/roles, names, and places to create his story. And while there are similarities The Devil and the Dark Water is not a retelling or accounting of the actual shipwreck, but is its own unique story.

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Ariadne – Book Review

Ariadne by: Jennifer Saint
Published on: May 4, 2021

“I am Ariadne, princess of Crete, though my story takes us a long way from the rocky shores of my home.”

Description

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.

Review

I cannot help but feel for Ariadne. Daughter to King Midas, a contemptable human who enjoys human sacrifice, and Pasiphae, a woman who never recovered from a curse placed upon her by Poseidon. As the daughter of a powerful man, she has few options available to her. Her only solace is her younger sister Phaedra. But when the day comes that Ariadne and Phaedra find a way to escape, this too comes with lies and abandonment.

While I empathize with Ariadne and applaud her for the courageous decisions she did make, she could also be frustrating. Far too often she was content in her own naivety and seemed afraid to face unpleasant truths. An example, is in her relationship with her sister whom she had been parted from. Why didn’t she visit her sister? Why didn’t she ask who her sister had married? Wasn’t she curious, even a little? As much as she endured or had seen, she should have known to be more actively engaged in her own life. After all, it is her life and if she doesn’t engage who else will?

Ariadne tells not only the life story of its heroine, but explores the darker sides of the gods. Their thirst for revenge, their need for adoration. Their hubris. Little thought or care is given to how their choices and curses affect others. Women get the brunt of their wrath, often the object of displaced anger. Instead of inflicting their rage and disdain on the one who actually insulted them, the gods instead inflict the pain and suffering onto those within their circle.

While the story was well written, it was also a little depressing. There is a little bit of hopefulness in the Epilogue, but not enough to overcome the entirety of the story that I had just finished reading. I both listened to this on audio and read the book. Typically, I love audio books more, but not this one and I do not recommend it. The voice and emotions portrayed felt wrong. Every time I began the audio I couldn’t wait for the story to end. Picking up the book instead, breathed new life into the story for me.

Star Nomad – Book Review

Fallen Empire #1 By: Lindsay Buroker
Published On: May 26, 2016

Throw in a little Firefly and a snippet of Star Wars and you’ll get Star Nomad – a space opera adventure series. Star Nomad helped me remember all the reasons why so many loved the TV series Firefly and helped bring some of that fun and ‘misadventure’ back to life for me. One supposedly easy trip to Perun turns into an unexpected adventure when they have to make a detour stop.

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Archangel One – Audio Book Review

By Evan Currie
Narrated by Stephen Dexter
Published on: September 1, 2019

Sometimes you find a book when you just need it most. I tend to really enjoy military science fiction stories, but oddly enough I don’t read them very often. Not sure why that is. I happened to run across this one when randomly searching on my Kindle for something new to read within science fiction. Kindle Unlimited offered this one in both written and audio format. I chose the audio version and it was a blast!

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The Strangers – Audio Book Review

Greystone Secrets #1 by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Narrated by Jorjeana Marie
Published on: April 2, 2019

I had previously seen The Strangers as well as the next in the series The Deceivers, but never added it to my to-be-read list. However, when it became one the finalists for middle grade book of the year in GoodReads 2019 Choice Awards, I thought perhaps it was time that I should pick it up. It didn’t end up winning – The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan did and I suspect one day I’ll add that one to my list too.

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Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow – Audio Book Review

Nevermoor #2 by Jessica Townsend
Audio Book Narrator: Gemma Whelan
Published on: October 28, 2018

No amount of words can describe how much I love this series, especially the audio books. It’s one of the few that I have listened to more than once and I greatly suspect there will be another listen one day.

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