Science Fiction, Thriller

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blake Crouch is so incredibly talented. I’m always dying to read what he writes next because his brain works in such a fascinating way to weave a pretty incredible story.

The say I loved Dark Matter and Recursion would be an understatement, so I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to read and review Upgrade from the publisher.

Let’s start by all humming the Kanye West tune “Stronger.”

Work it, make it, do it
Makes us harder, better, faster, stronger
N-n-now that that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger….

That’s basically the premise of this book. Guy comes into contact with a substance that essentially “upgrades” him to be better, faster, stronger. But why? And what is coming next?

This book explores human involvement in manipulating the human genome. How far is too far?

While I liked the book, there were parts that seemed a bit far fetched, even for a science fiction novel. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to Dark Matter or Recursion but it was still an enjoyable read overall.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Blake Crouch, and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for the opportunity to review.

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Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction

The Future Is Yours by Dan Frey

The Future Is Yours by Dan Frey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out February 9, 2021!

Love love love the format of this book. I’m always drawn to books that are written as letters, emails, text messages, and any other format other than typical prose.

I have seen some say that they had a hard time connecting with the characters because of the format, but I had the opposite effect. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters in a different way and seeing how their relationships evolved over the course of the story.

I am always on board for a book about time travel or bending time. It makes my brain hurt in a wonderful way, trying to think through the repercussions, and this book was no exception. It gave me a Black Crouch type of feel which I love.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Dan Frey, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was instantly drawn to this book when I saw the gorgeous cover. And without even knowing what it was about, I knew I had to read it.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a mix between fantascy, science fiction, and romance.

I wasn’t quite sure where it was headed in the beginning, but once I caught on to the story, I was fully engaged. I loved how Alix E. Harrow developed the characters. That was honestly the best thing about this book. The way that the story built upon itself was fascinating, and the literary nature of the prose was wonderful.

The first half of the book was fascinating and I did find myself losing some steam around 2/3 of the way through, but it picked up again at the end. I can’t say I was super surprised by the ending but all the loose ends were tied up well.

Overall, if you’re a fan of fantasy, I would highly recommend this one.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Alix E. Harrow, and Redhook Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Science Fiction, Thriller

Recursion by Blake Crouch

RecursionRecursion by Blake Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 11th. Pre-order from Amazon here!

I am convinced that Blake Crouch is a genius!

After reading Dark Matter last year, I was worried that whatever he came out with next wouldn’t compare. I was straight up mind blown by Dark Matter and in awe of the brain power it took to develop such a complex story with so many different outcomes and scenarios. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Recursion is one of the top 5 books I’ve been dying to read this year, but I was slightly terrified that it was going to let me down. Well, let me tell you, it lived up to my expectations and definitely did not disappoint. In my opinion, it was just as amazing as Dark Matter.

Recursion is a total mind f*ck! When people start coming down with a mysterious illness deemed FMS (False Memory Syndrome), nobody is quite sure what is happening. Those inflicted with FMS suddenly have memories from a life they never lived, driving many of them to madness. NYC Barry Sutton finds himself investigating the suicide of an FMS victim which leads him to Helena Smith, a scientist working to preserve the memories of Alzheimer’s patients. What follows will literally blow your mind.

I could not love this book more. It had all of the elements I love in a sci fi thriller. It had a unique concept, kept me on the edge of my seat, had me guessing from start to finish, and had a satisfying conclusion. Blake Crouch did a fantastic job thinking through all the potential pitfalls or holes in the story. I wish I could see a storyboard of his thought process while developing the various story lines in an attempt to make the pieces fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. So impressive!

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you’re even remotely interested in science fiction or just want to be taken on a wild ride that bends your brain over and over, this is the book for you! I hope he continues to write original stories that restore my belief in uniquely constructed thrillers!

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Blake Crouch, and Crown Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Science Fiction

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

The Psychology of Time TravelThe Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somebody on social media posted about this book and said it was one of the most underrated books they had read this year. And she’s right. I haven’t seen this cover blasted all over Instragram or Goodreads, but I had run across it a couple times. I added it to my list at the library and after several weeks of waiting, it was mine.

I’m not going to give you a synopsis of the story because that ruins half the fun. The Psychology of Time Travel is a tangled web of stories across different time periods that all mesh together one way or another. There is romance. There is a murder mystery. And prepare to have your brain hurt just thinking about all the time travel involved.

Things I really loved about this book:
1. Strong Women. The book oozed lady power. In fact, there were barely any men in the book at all. It was all about strong women making discoveries and overcoming adversity. I always love a good, strong female lead, and this book had several of them.
2. Time Travel. Really any book about time travel usually peaks my interest. Talk about a mind f*ck. I can’t ever seem to wrap my brain around all the nuances and intricacies of time travel and am always impressed by authors who even attempt it. There are so many ways in which it can go wrong because it requires so much forethought.
3. The Appendices. Okay, what kind of weirdo writes about how much they liked the appendices? Me… Right here. Kate Mascarenhas wrote an entire glossary of time traveler terms, further perpetuating the world she created. And she gave the reader a little something fun to do at the end of the book. Take a quiz to assess the reader’s readiness for time travel. I scored 19 points which scored me in the middle of the pack, stating, “You have some of the traits needed for time travel, and might do well at the Conclave if you make an extra effort to fit in.” I thought it was fun and interesting for her to add that little tidbit at the end.

A couple things I struggled with or would suggest to future readers:
1. Because this is a book about time travel, it was (at times) difficult for me to wrap my brain around. I did feel like there were perhaps some plot holes that some readers may find difficult to ignore. I personally don’t take fiction too seriously and read it for entertainment, so despite some of the plot holes, I still enjoyed it.
2. I would highly suggest reading this book in a couple of sittings (or all at once if you’re a die hard). There is a lot going on in this story. There are a lot of different timelines, people who are present in multiple timelines at different ages in their lives, clues to the murder mystery along the way…. and it just ends up being a lot of information to digest. Don’t get me wrong. It was fantastic. But I could not put this book down for a week and pick it back up without having to backtrack and remind myself what was going on.

Overall, very strong work for a debut novel. It’s definitely been underrated in my opinion but that shouldn’t discredit the content because it’s fabulous.

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