The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

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Title: The Good Guy
Series: N/A
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 2007
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 447
Rating:

4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz comes this pulse-pounding thriller that starts with a terrifying decision we all might face one day: Help—or run. Timothy Carrier is an ordinary guy. He enjoys a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, the eccentric customers and amusing conversations. But tonight is no ordinary night. The jittery man sitting beside him has mistaken Tim for someone else—and passes him an envelope stuffed with cash and the photo of a pretty woman. “Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.

Tim Carrier always thought he knew the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. But tonight everything he thought he knew—even about himself—will be challenged. For Tim Carrier is at the center of a mystery of extraordinary proportions, the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer as relentless as evil incarnate. But first he must discover resources within himself of which he never dreamed, capacities that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be .

My Review:

Timothy Carrier was just having a beer at the bar when a mysterious man slips him an envelope with Linda Paquette’s photo, address and some cash. He was mistaken for a contract killer the man had hired. Timothy considered it his moral duty to make sure this woman was safe. Eventually it is discovered that Timothy was not in fact a contract killer and he finds himself also being hunted by a killer.

The Good Guy is a stereotypical Koontz thriller. The main characters find themselves being chased by a psychopath who won’t stop until they are dead. Koontz creates many twists and unexpected events in his novels that keeps each story unique in its own right despite the similar plots.I enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down.

Read more Dean Koontz reviews by the Audacious Feather:

Intensity
Relentless
Seize the Night
The Good Guy
Your Heart Belongs to Me

Relentless by Dean Koontz

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Title: Relentless
Series: N/A
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 2009
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 356
Rating:

4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

Literary critic Shearman Waxx can kill a good book with just a few acidly worded bon mots. And as one unlucky author is about to discover, that’s not all he’s prepared to kill. . . .

My Review:

What happens when an author responds to a negative review a critic gave him? Well hopefully not what happened to Cullen “Cubby” Greenwich. He just wanted to talk to the critic Shearman Waxx. Cubby takes his son Milo to lunch at a restaurant that Waxx frequents hoping to spot him. What starts out as a very humerous situation at the restaurant soon turns deadly. Waxx critiques others, he does not tolerate criticism of his own work. Shearman Waxx is a relentless psychopath who utterly destroys anything or anyone that attempts to question his literary criticism.

This book grabbed my attention immediately. The story is fast paced and at some parts quite chilling. Classic Koontz!

Read more Dean Koontz reviews by the Audacious Feather:

Intensity
Relentless
Seize the Night
The Good Guy
Your Heart Belongs to Me

Seize the Night by Dean Koontz

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Title: Seize the Night
Series: Moonlight Bay (Book #2)
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Release Date: 1998
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 464
Rating:

4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

One by one, the children of Moonlight Bay are disappearing. no one knows of they are dead or alive. Christopher Snow, suffering from the rare disorder Xeroderma Pigmentosum, has glimpsed the dark and torrid secrets of the small-town community where he has spent his entire life. And only he has the hey to the truth – a truth that could only exist in the genetic chaos of Moonlight Bay.

My Review:

Seize the Night is the second book in the Moonlight Bay Trilogy featuring Christopher Snow, a man suffering from a rare disorder called xeroderma pigmentosum. This disorder forces him to avoid the sunlight which is harmful to him and encourages him to carpe noctem (seize the night). Chris lives in Moonlight Bay, a town haunted by a past of government genetic experimentation in which his parents had participated. Those experiments were long over and the military base was abandoned, or so it was thought. When the town’s children begin to disappear Chris and his friends follow the trail to Fort Wyvern and learn that the base wasn’t entirely abandoned and that many sinister things still exist at the base.

The story includes aspects of science fiction and the paranormal, as well as Koontz’s signature horror and suspense. Although this is the second installment in a trilogy, I did not have a hard time picking up on the character relations without reading the book’s prequel. If I have the opportunity, I would like to read the additional books in this series.

Read more Dean Koontz reviews by the Audacious Feather:

Intensity
Relentless
Seize the Night
The Good Guy
Your Heart Belongs to Me

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

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Title: The Pact
Series: N/A
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Contemporary Literature
Release Date: 1998
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 512
Rating: 4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty– they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. They’ve been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father’s cabinet– a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

My Review:

Jodi Picoult is known for her original and suspenseful fiction about difficult and usually unsettling subjects.  She wrote the book My Sister’s Keeper, which was made into a successful Hollywood movie several years ago- a movie that raised a lot of debates. The Pact was the first book by Picoult’s that I’ve read, and it certainly won’t be the last. I can’t say I particularly liked the story. It was horribly sad and heartbreaking. I hope never happens to any family.  But this is the reaction Picoult wants us to have. The story was intense. The book was well written and kept my attention. It took me several days to read this book, there were times it became too intense that I needed to just walk away from it for awhile. Sometimes I want a light read, a beautiful or imaginative story. But sometimes this is what I want from a book. An intellectual challenge. An impact. Life isn’t always peachy keen. Bad things do happen to good people.

Emily and Chris make a suicide pact. This is hardly conceivable for most of us. Emily was in pain. She had terrible secrets, but never sought help. Help that would have been given to her. She thought the only way out was death. Chris wanted desperately to stop her, but instead enabled her. He loved her so much he would do anything for her, even help her kill herself even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to live without her. The story is about Chris in prison awaiting trial for almost a year, the trial itself, and the mental anguish of the two sets of parents whose relationships fall apart. We are given on bits and pieces of the story of Emily’s life through flashbacks. This makes for great impact on the reader. I felt I had to keep reading, I had to know more. And as much as I’ve heard that Jodi Picoult’s other books are just as brutal for the reader, I want to read them.

Eternal Eden by Nicole Williams

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Title: Eternal Eden
Series: Eden Trilogy (Book #1)
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 2011
Format Read: Kindle
Pages: 402
Rating: 4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

College sophomore Bryn Dawson is a self-proclaimed poster child for normal. However, the day William Hayward enters her life, normalcy is the last thing Bryn will be able to count on if she wants to be with him. Too mysterious and appealing to be good for a girl, Bryn feels drawn to him in a way that seems out of her control—as if fate is orchestrating it.

Despite every red flag and warning siren going off in her head telling her not to, Bryn falls hard for William, knowing he’s categorically different from anyone she’s ever met. She never imagined how right she was. When William takes her deeper into the rabbit hole of his world, Bryn must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice to be with him, knowing no matter what, fate always finds a way to have the last laugh.

Spinning a new twist on star-crossed lovers, Eternal Eden will put Bryn through a gauntlet of turmoil, challenging her to find the power within herself to become the heroine in her own story.

My Review:

Eternal Eden utilizes the classic story of two lovers destined to be separated despite their best attempts to change fate. A great aspect of this book is how quick it picks up and keeps your attention. The characters were well-written and I generally liked them. Perhaps at times I liked some of the secondary characters, such as Patrick, more than the main character Bryn. Bryn’s low self-esteem throughout most of the book got old quick when man after man threw himself at her. Towards the end, when she finally gained confidence, I felt more connected to her as a reader when she finally gained her own personality. Nicole Williams was very successful in creating a mysterious cloud around William in which the reader, following along with Bryn, is intrigued and wants to know more about him, his world, and his past. The villains were great. John and Stella were fantastically evil people. Stella’s character, while but a small part in this story, reveals an example of how Williams is able to create well-rounded characters with a wide range of realistic emotions within a few paragraphs.

There were many original elements in this book. Some reviewers have suggested that this book is similar to Twilight. I completely disagree. The story of ill-matched lovers being pulled apart (or people attempting to do so) was not a new intervention by Stephenie Meyer, nor will it be the last time it is used. Councils of elders in fantasy books are also common. Thus, this book cannot be compared to Twilight based on narrative ideas that are similar in many romance or fantasy books.

Eternal Eden can hold its own weight in the world of fantasy fiction. The realm of Immortals is complex and intriguing and I have many lingering questions about the Alliances that I hope will be explored in the next book as Bryn and William have now transitioned from the world of Inheritors to that of the Guardians. Not only was the author successful in keeping my attention, but the book left off on a cliffhanger and thus I feel obliged to continue through the series. This book was a fast read- more so because I didn’t want to put the book down- with a few chuckles and tears (yes, I admit the scene towards the end in the dungeon where Bryn was quite literally being executed had pretty intense imagery). This is a recommended fantasy romance novel.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: Breaking Dawn
Series: The Twilight Saga (Book #4)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 2008
Format Read: Hardcover
Pages: 756
Rating: 4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed… forever?

My Review (February 10, 2012):

The fourth installment of the Twilight Saga took a drastic turn. Bella gets a rude awakening and is forced to grow up! This book is gripping, just like all the others. I could not put it down. I don’t think I’ve ever read 750+ pages so fast. Meyer is able to tell a multi-layered story quite well. In this tale between vampire and werewolf alliances change frequently in a world of fantasy hidden in plain sight. Beneath the surface these characters have very real emotions. Very real pain.  Love, longing and lust, loss, and heartbreak. Also, very unhealthy feelings of possession and dominance.

I found myself intrigued with Leah Clearwater in this book more so than in the others, perhaps because more time was given to her situation. A broken woman forced to stay within sight of her heart breaker.  She wants to leave, but it is her destiny to be a part of this pack. Free will versus destiny is a huge theme in this series. It seems the werewolves are confronted more with a pull towards their destiny, while the vampires (and Bella) are pulled towards embracing free will.

For example:

Werewolves:  Several family lines of the Quileute tribe are genetically coded to transform into werewolves when a vampire threat is within their geographic territory. They cannot stop this transformation. Due to their ancestral pact, any vampire killing of humans requires violent retribution. Jacob has a very hard time with Bella’s desire for Edward. It is his blood to stop Edward from transforming her into a vampire. Also, the action of imprinting. That is destiny, not will. Because Jacob imprinted on Renesmee the entire wolf pack had to stand down and protect her. Again, not free will. They believed this to be part of their wolf pack decree and not changeable.

Vampires/Bella: Vampires are not born, they are created. Although, it may not have been their choice to turn, indeed it is their choice on how to live. The Cullen’s prided themselves on their controlled behavior. They hunted animals, not humans. They tried to live within society without exploiting humans. Contrast their behavior with that of the Volturi. Edward suffers throughout this entire saga because he is torn between taking Bella’s human life by making her a vampire (what he perceived to be monstrous) and saving her human life against her wishes with the consequence of having to watch her die in old age. Bella also had this free will decision to become a vampire.

There are definitely many philosophical discussions that can arise from this story. I think one of the biggest of those is when does love become obsession?

You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers – the monsters, the enemies. When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give your beloved, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved? (Preface, pg 1)

Breaking Dawn is very original and a great ending to the series. A plethora of interesting characters were introduced in this book that could very well become subject matter for a Twilight spin-off series. If you can get past the pop culture hoopla this series ignited to enjoy the story these books contain, I don’t think most fantasy lovers would be disappointed.

Read more Twilight Saga reviews by the Audacious Feather:

Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

 

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: Eclipse
Series: The Twilight Saga (Book # 3)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 2007
Format Read: Softcover
Pages: 629
Rating: 4feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings, Victoria continues her quest for revenge, and Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob-–knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite a war between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

My Review (October 5, 2009):

Again, Stephenie Meyer captures the agony of love, but this time much different from New Moon. Bella realizes she is in love with two men at the same time and must make that painful choice. She ultimately gains due to her chosen relationship, but still loses by knowing the anguish she has caused the other. I can usually really relate to Bella, but not so much in this book. I cannot relate to her reluctance to marry the one you love and the bulk of the story dealt with having to choose between two loves (that is not anything I’ve ever had to deal with). Bella becomes aware in this book of the pain she causes people. She also becomes aware of her abilities to choose the life of one over another.

The eternal enemies, vampires and werewolves, make a pact to protect their town and Bella, who is caught between the two worlds. The story is just as exciting as the other books, and maybe more so because there is more action and bloodspill. I’m not sure if this book was better than the rest, but since I’ve now read three novels and witnessed the characters grow, I feel connected to them more than ever. Admittedly, Bella is at times also annoyingly whiny in this book just as she was in New Moon. Despite Bella not always being the most likeable character, it doesn’t take away from the story as a whole. The Twilight Saga is far bigger than just one character.

This book is lengthy at 600 pages, but the author keeps your attention with external action along with internal struggles. I find once I start one of these books I cannot pace myself, I must continue. I need to know what happens next- which is clearly the sign that an author has successfully written a good book.

Read more Twilight Saga reviews by the Audacious Feather:

Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner