The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Category: Book Reviews

Mrs. Fletcher

3/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Despite not liking my first Perrotta book too particularly well (The Leftovers – 3/5 stars), I decided to give this one a try as well. I ended up liking Mrs. Fletcher as much as I liked The Leftovers, which is disappointing because I really like Tom Perrotta’s writing style. His stories, however, just aren’t doing it for me. If you have a suggestion for another Perrotta book for me to try out, please feel free to mention it to me.

This book is told from the point of view of Eve, a 40-something divorcee and a recent empty-nester rediscovering her sexuality. Eve wants a different life now that she’s alone, so we follow her as she tries to make a new life for herself by going for drinks and dinner alone, signing up for a college class (taught by an openly transgender woman named Margo Fairchild who was the only character I liked in this book) and meeting and hanging out with new people including a young man her son went to high school with named Julian Spitzer and a coworker of Eve’s named Amanda.

This book is also told from the point of Brendan, Eve’s son who is a freshman in college living in a dorm. When college doesn’t turn out to be the constant party with his roommate Zack that Brenden assumed it would be, he started doing worse in his classes. After a shitty experience with an autism advocate named Amber, Brenden decides to quit college and return home in the middle of the night with no notice to his mother.

The book follows Brenden and Eve for less than a year until their paths cross again in an overly lackluster way. I feel like the end of the book came a little too quickly and Eve changed so fast that it didn’t make sense to me. I was happy, however, that she and her son both found happiness even though I’m not sure exactly how it came to be.

This book feels a bit over-reaching to becoming all-inclusive with a transgender woman, people with different sexualities, people with severe depression, differently abled people (including Brenden’s young step-brother with autism and a young woman in a wheelchair), many races of college students and so on.

ALL THAT BEING SAID- I picked up this book because it looked like a light trashy read for summer and it was exactly what I wanted. I would have hoped that the characters were at least a little more likable and had redeemable storylines, but I digress. This book was a quick read and some points were incredibly amusing. I will try another Perrotta book in the future and maybe have better luck next time.

The End of the World Running Club

4/5 stars

I had never heard of this book or author before running across The End of The World Running Club’s description on NetGalley; when I did discover it I promptly requested to read it. Thank you to NetGalley for the book in exchange for an honest review and thank you also to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and to the author Adrian J Walker.

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic tales and this one hit the spot for me despite the simplicity and lack of insightfulness overall. This was a straightforward tale of a group of men and a woman who had to run across their nation to get to the boats that will rescue them from their shattered homes, left useless after asteroids spent days pulverizing the planet.

The protagonist is Edgar, a 35-year-old disconnected husband, and father who sleeps and eats his life away, and almost slept through the apocalypse but managed to, at the last second, throw his family and a few poorly chosen supplies to last the two weeks in a cellar below their home. They were rescued on the verge of death only to be separated from each other when bunking in a military compound while Edgar, doing his best, was out on a supply run with other men from the compound.

Ed’s journey to find his family is filled with action and adventure as the group meets other survivors along the way. The ending of the story is not at all what I expected and (I feel) is open to interpretation. I don’t normally like that type of ending but I feel it worked well for The End of The World Running Club.

After reading this book by Adrian J Walker I do look forward to reading more work by him in the future.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and RANDOM HOUSE for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always grateful for your kindness and generosity!

3.5 stars, somewhere between this book was okay and enjoying it. I rounded up instead of down, so I’m going to go with 4/5 stars for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

Pleasantly surprised with this book, which I found very fascinating in a horrible way. It’s like a train wreck that you drive by and rubberneck so you can admire the disaster, I found myself enjoying this book the very same way. I loved reading about these rich kids get their comeuppance for something terrible that they did; granted I don’t think any of the characters in this story wanted such a bad thing to happen to young Tristan.

I felt like the storyline with Abigail/Doug was a little out of place but not distracting from the rest of the story. I understand why it was there, it just didn’t go anywhere and it felt like there was supposed to be more story there that just didn’t get addressed properly. I also sort of feel like this about Holly Nicoll’s character but not as strongly.

I’m an older millennial so it was fascinating to me to read about social media in the lives of teenagers these days. When I graduated high school, MySpace was just getting ready to launch. I had a MySpace for a while, and subsequently move to Facebook (along with everyone else), but I didn’t Facebook (oh my, it’s a verb now!) for long before finding out that it simply isn’t for me and deleted my account. It’s so strange to read about how every day it is for children now, how quickly news travels and how connected everyone is! It’s not a part of my life and is a bit confusing to me. But it’s interesting!

Calista is my favorite character in this book and I believe I identified with her the most. I found her desire to change and follow through very inspiring if one can momentarily forget why she had such a deep desire to change to begin with.

All Our Wrong Todays

5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tom Barren lives his life in 2016, but the 2016 in which there is a clean unlimited energy- for free- that changes the world from the moment the Goettreider Engine was first turned on in 1965. Tom lives in a futuristic utopia where there is no material want, and the world economy is focused on entertainment. The only thing bad about Tom’s life in 2016 is that it’s bad. His mother was killed in an accident and his father was always absent and cold. With no siblings and no significant other, when the opportunity arose for him to be the first time traveler to go back in time to the moment the Goettreider Engine was first turned on, he took the opportunity with reckless abandon.

There were a few things that were overlooked when Tom’s father created time travel, however, and it caused Tom, who should have been invisible, to become visible to Lionel Goettreider for a brief moment in time, thus changing the entire timeline. Hurled back into 2016, he found himself in a world where he didn’t belong- the world of cars driving on land and doors that didn’t open automatically for him, and food that needed to be prepared and cooked. A world with a loving father and a living mother, and a younger sister and a successful career.

This book is not just about time travel. This book is about the love of a family and romantic love. This book is about choosing between selfishness and selflessness. This book is amazing and intriguing and I found it difficult to put it down between reading sessions.

Dots

1/5 stars

Thank you for NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Normally if I don’t like a book so much that I quit reading it I will just privately leave feedback via NetGalley and apologize for wasting their time having not been able to finish it.

However, this book is so awful I feel like I should publicly review it to save people on their previous money and even more precious time. I knew right away when I started reading Dots that I wasn’t enjoying it but I figured hell, it’s a quick read I might as well go ahead and finish reading so I can leave a review on the entire story.

But after 26% I just couldn’t do anymore. This book is poorly written and I don’t just mean the plethora of grammatical errors (this is an ARC after all). The author writes so horribly that I couldn’t even quite figure out what as going on or what the characters were talking about half the time. Speaking of characters, they’re unrealistic and unlikable… or once again, I have no idea what’s going on. Practically every sentence was a sentence fragment.

I hate myself for wasting so much time trying to read this book last night.

This book is listed under women’s fiction on NetGalley but it should be listed under #erotica or #comedy (it’s so bad it’s funny) or maybe even #youngadult because I think it may have been written by a young adult with an inexperienced dirty mind.

Crosstalk

4/5 stars

Thank you to Del Rey Books and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book for free in exchange for my time to review it. I’ve read a few flops that I received from NetGalley but this book was definitely not one of them.

Crosstalk started off a little slow for me but once I got into it I really couldn’t stand to put it down and read it in huge chunks at a time. I felt like I really bonded with the character C.B. right from the start and I wanted nothing but the best for him, which left the ending rather pleasing. He seemed so nerdy and shy but very interesting- yes, I liked him from the start. I also really liked Briddey but her family were absolute nutcases, so overbearing and over the top that I found them unrealistic (granted I know there are probably families out there like this, I’m just thankful I am not part of them). I liked Briddey because she is a strong and independent woman who didn’t need her family to approve of any decisions she made for herself as a grown woman.

I didn’t like the comical bit about no one being able to get the letters “EED” correct and I was glad when the author stopped using that too long running joke. I felt like the time that C.B. and Briddey spent in the library dragged on a bit too long. I was also disappointed that Trent Worth, who I didn’t like from the first time I met him, didn’t seem to get any sort of comeuppance for his huge lowlife dick move that could have caused even more trouble for Briddey than it ended up causing.

Despite those problems, I had with this book I really and truly enjoyed it! I’m glad the romance aspect was more of a secondary part of the storyline, second to EEDs and Unintended Consequences. This book was so light, so fun to read. It had some witty moments that made me smile as well. I definitely enjoyed this book and I not only would I recommend it to someone, I already have!

Dark Matter

5/5 stars

Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Dark Matter in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Matter was excellent. It was fast paced and I found that not a single page was boring. Even when I thought the book was over I was surprised by the amount of action yet to come. Reading about Jason Dessen opening doors in the box, though it sounds uninteresting, was gripping and opened my eyes to the idea of infinity, and gave me a better understanding of the concept of the multiverse. I was emotionally invested in Jason’s journey and I wanted so badly for him to find what he was looking for.

I don’t want to talk too much about the actual storyline of the book because I would hate to spoil anyone on any aspect of Dark Matter, but I will say that this book left me with some questions that will never be answered, and I’m completely okay with that.

Donny Trumpet Goes to the Election

2/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

This book has a funny concept but I feel it was poorly executed. The author shouldn’t have been so worried about rhyming and more focused on telling a cute little story. The artwork, however, is adorable, which is why I gave the book two stars instead of one.

Not So Much, Said The Cat

3/5 stars

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for writing an honest review.

Anthologies are always so difficult to rate and review without going piece by piece, which I refuse to do. But as always I will do my best with this review.

This book started off with a bang- the first story was my favorite in the entire book (“The Man In Gray”). It was so beautifully heartbreaking. I also really enjoyed “3 A.M. in the Mesozoic Bar”- so much, in fact, that I sound myself wishing it was a full length book and not just a short story. Other stories that I liked so much I feel the need to single them out are “Of Finest Scarlet Was Her Gown” and “The Woman Who Shook The World-Tree”.

The entire first half of the book was pretty rock solid, but the more that I read the fewer stories that I truly liked. So the first half I would rate a 4/5, the second half I would rate a 2/5 leading me to my final rating of 3/5 stars. But that’s the problem with rating anthologies- there are a few good stories and then less good stories, and then stories that just taste like filler on my tongue.

Schism

2/5 stars

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for writing an honest review.

The premise of this book is excellent but the author fell short on the execution. None of the characters were particularly likable but worse than that, none were even memorable. I found myself asking over and over “now who was that again? What was their story again?” and it was annoying to spend a month trying to get through this book, hoping it would get better.

I have to admit the last 25% of the book was a lot quicker and more pleasing to read but then when I got to the end I was pissed because it landed on a cliffhanger. I hate when books leave off on a cliffhanger because the author is baiting me to read the next. I doubt I will be reading the next book in this series, because I said already I don’t care about the characters or their cliffhangers.

Last but not least I feel like the author of this book skipped over too many things that would have been very interesting and instead she chose to write about less fascinating storylines. I would have loved to read about the boat trip from Bermuda, for example.

I’m very disappointed in this book, I feel like it could have been much better.

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