The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: netgalley

Hope Never Dies

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Quirk Books for giving me a copy of Hope Never Dies to read and review honestly.

This book is a campy fanfiction turned full novel and I enjoyed it immensely. After their second term in office is over, Joe Biden and Barrack Obama go their own separate ways. While Barrack is windsurfing and skydiving around the world with famous celebrities, poor Uncle Joe is home feeling left out by his old buddy Barrack.

Fortunately, they reunite to solve the mysterious death of Joe’s old friend. The antics the boys got into kept me laughing and turning page after page. The best thing about this story is that it is actually well written and decent. My only complaint is that a lot of things said and done by the main characters don’t seem accurate to their real-life counterparts, but I was able to turn off the nagging voice in my head to keep reading.

I hope to read more in a Biden/Obama mystery series!!

School for Psychics

2/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Schuster for providing me with a free advanced copy of The School for Psychics in exchange for an honest review.

This is a paranormal book about Teddy Cannon, a Sanford drop out gambling addicted young woman who never knew her birth parents. A lot of this story walks side by side with Harry Potter and I found it difficult not to think of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone several times throughout this book.

Both are raised by parents who are not theirs under the impression that their birth parents died in car accidents, both Harry and Teddy were collected to go to boarding school by someone in the field, whisked away to learn about their true powers. Neither Teddy nor Harry are particularly gifted an have to rely on friends to for backup.

Teddy is a lot less likable than Harry though and for several reasons. Firstly she’s a grown adult that acts like a child. At least Harry had the fact that he was eleven keeping him from harsher judgments on his choice of actions.  She’s careless and she squanders opportunities.  She’s a shit to her friends.  The only thing redeeming about Teddy Cannon is that she makes the right decision in the end.  And Teddy is just the main characters, let alone mentioning all the other characters that were either one dimensional or unlikeable or both.

School for Psychics is a fast-paced government conspiracy theory book wasn’t the worst fictional story I’ve ever read but it certainly wasn’t the best, either. This is an okay introduction to what I believe will be a series of books in the Whitfield Institute universe but I will not be reading the next.

To read my old book reviews please visit here until they have been migrated to TheNerdJournals.com

The Easy Way To Mindfulness

2/5 stars

This is one of the few, maybe even the first, book I’ve read on mindfulness. I’ve been intrigued by the topic for quite a while but I’ve only done some light research on the Internet. When The Easy Way to Mindfulness became available on NetGalley I was very excited to give it a try, however, after finishing it I think I am more disappointed in this book despite it’s few nuggets of wisdom and exercises it offers. I feel this way because the book was mostly aimed at heavy addictions. Despite this, there was some information that I can still use and implement in my life.

More than anything this book felt like an advertisement for Allen Carr and The Easyway to Stop Smoking. While how to quit smoking mindfully sounds like it may help some people with the mental part of their addiction, there is still a physical aspect to their addiction (nicotine, sugar, booze) that needs to be overcome. I think that needs to be acknowledged more in the book.

Also, even though I don’t have an addiction I do consider Carr referring to addictions as “little crutches”. I found it offensive and I don’t even have a “little crutch”. Methinks Carr should rethink how he speaks to people.

Reincarnation Blues

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey Books for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Reincarnation Blues was a pleasure to read. It’s about a man living the last of his 10,000 lives; trying to live a perfect life. This book allows you have a look at some of the lives that Milo lives in between romantic trysts with Death (Suzie).

Milo at the end of the world (before the meteor strikes Earth) is my favorite Milo, and I would love to read an entire book about him, his wife and his daughter. It was also fun to read about Suzie having somewhat of an existential crisis in regards to her job.

This book was a bit longer than it needed to be to get the point of the story and the philosophy across to the reader, but I liked it.

Artemis

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Admittedly, though, my review may be a little skewed because I went through a tumultuous time in my life while reading this novel- the first half, anyway. By the time I got to the second half my messy life had calmed down a bit and coincidentally I enjoyed the book much more than I had previously.

This book is fun and modern in its story- I love the sci-fi tech and the city on the moon. I love that the main character is a female Muslim who is sex-positive and is doing less than legal things that I would more likely picture a male character doing. Jazz Bashara is an awesome character and she’s strong and independent with morals and values when they matter. She’s also looking out for numero uno (herself!) first and foremost. I really like Jazz, she seems mostly good natured and the type of woman I could throw a few drinks back with.

To make a million slugs (slugs = moon money), Jazz makes a deal with a billionaire to do some destruction to help him make even more money by taking over a contract. It’s a lucrative proposition that Jazz can’t resist. This story is about her destruction and what comes next.

If you liked The Martian I definitely recommend Artemis as well. I just wish it didn’t take me so long to find interest in this book. Halfway is just too long to have to read before a book gets exciting. Once again, however, that might just be because of my own things happening.

As a side note, I love the cover of this book.

Art on the Rocks

5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Walter Foster Publishing for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

This book is a very detailed guide for rock painting. The author tells you the tools you need, where to find rocks and how to prepare them, and how to finish them with varnish. The author is also very informative with step by step directions on how to paint designs ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. Using this book you will learn how to paint beautiful mandalas and other artwork on smooth rocks of any shape. Art on the Rocks is filled with gorgeous photography of inspiring artwork.

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.

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