Book Reviews

Book Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Book Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. WilsonRobopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Published on April 17, 2012
Genres: Science Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 396
Format: Paperback

Source: Instagram

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies…Now they’re coming for you. In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication.

In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites -- at a moment known later as Zero Hour -- humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

Honestly, I liked the first part of this book way better than the last half. The lead-up to the robot war was more engaging and built tension so much better. I felt more creeped out by the slow, creeping realization the robots were infected by something. Then the war starts, and it just got… meh. Also, all the characters have the same voice.

There is nothing unique about them beyond their stories. I guess this makes sense in some capacity because Cormac is recounting a lot of this through his recollections, but it doesn’t make sense for the parts that are supposed to be from video surveillance?

I don’t know; I wish that they stood out a little more from each other. I didn’t find myself drawn to any of the characters. They all started to blur together after a while. I almost would have loved an entire book of vignettes/short stories about people slowly realizing robots are taking over the world.


Book Thoughts: The Haunting of Hill House

Book Thoughts: The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller
Published on November 28, 2006
Genres: Horror, Gothic
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback

Source: Barnes and Noble

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting."

Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

For starters, I decided I’m going to do book reviews a little differently. If it’s a book I’m just reading of my own accord, it’ll be more informal. If it’s a book I’m reading for a publisher I’ll keep to my traditional way of doing things!

Anyways, I just finished The Haunting of Hill House, and first of all, SHIRLEY JACKSON WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

How could I have gone so long without reading a Jackson novel? I feel ashamed. I’m obsessed. I’m in love. I have never felt such dread while reading a book before.

I also had to read The Lottery once I started to learn more about her, and read the terrific book introduction (Penguins Classic version FTW). Well, obviously, one of my new favorite short stories ever.

Jackson knows how to write a persistent ache of tension and suspense perhaps better than any modern horror writer. I’ve read quite a bit of horror and many thrillers, but despite the fact, Hill House has no “ghosts,” it made me more uneasy than anything I’ve read previously.

The first thing I did after finishing the book was to spend time online reading analytical essays. I love that this novel is so open-ended. There is so much to unpack. I felt I could relate to Eleanor’s sense of isolation; perhaps that is one reason I was so unnerved. I couldn’t help but wonder what Hill House would do to me, had I stayed.

Reading the book also made me appreciate the Netflix series much more. Despite their differences, Flanagan indeed did a magnificent job of conveying the sense of palpable fear the house drums up.

Sure the series was more flashy and had actual entities, but it felt sincere to the story. Especially the addition of the red room, which makes perfect sense why it fits so well once you’ve read the book.

Anyway, I feel like I could go on forever and should say something amazing and in-depth but I’m coming up blank at the moment. I think I will revisit the dark corners of Hill House soon and form more coherent thoughts about it.

Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Once a Liar by A.F. Brady

I received this book for free from Meryl Moss Media in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour: Once a Liar by A.F. BradyOnce a Liar by A.F. Brady
Published on January 29, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback

Source: Meryl Moss Media

Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, is extremely adept at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. A sociopath practically incapable of human emotions, he has no remorse when he fights to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.

When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.

Peter sets out to prove his innocence, and as he pieces together his defense, he finds that it’s those closest to us who are capable of the greatest harm.

Peter Caine is not your average protagonist. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Caine views his only son as an accessory built to aid in his climb up the career ladder more than a person. The same principle applies to every woman he’s ever dated, or worse, married.

Knowing this, it isn’t so unbelievable that someone like Peter Caine, an accomplished, cut-throat, heartless criminal defense attorney, could become the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Did Peter Caine brutally stab Charlotte Doyle thirty times? The daughter of his known adversary, Harrison Doyle? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Peter is the perfect scapegoat.

But just because someone exhibits antisocial and sociopathic tendencies doesn’t mean they’re capable of violence.

The sentiment mentioned above is the one at the heart of Once a Liar. One I didn’t feel the story explored to its fullest extent. Once a Liar is a compelling read. Brady does a fantastic job of intricately plotting the details of the central mystery.

I suspected the ending of this story long before the book arrived there. Once a Liar is a novel you could reread and find all the clues laid out perfectly for the untrained eye to gloss over. Predictability, in this case, works in favor of supporting Brady’s attention to detail.

However, I have mixed feelings about how the book ends. I’m not so sure I agree with the novel’s takeaway lesson of justice and morality. Does the punishment fit the crime? I don’t feel like it does, in this case.

Aside from the plot itself, Brady crafts and builds a complex world of chess pieces. Every character has a fleshed-out backstory, sometimes to the point of excess.

These characters breathe and jump off the pages — all except one, Charlotte Doyle. Her character is woefully underdeveloped. She is used more as a plot device than as a human being. It’s fitting, given her purpose in the story, albeit still a smidge disappointing.

If you’re coming into Once a Liar expecting a fast-paced, taut thriller, then I do think you’ll be disappointed. This book is more than that. The pacing is keeled, the reveals slow and deliberate, and it makes the story more engrossing.

Once a Liar works more as a character study and exploration of the criminal mind games at work every day in politics. You need to understand the rules of this world first before delving into the murder, which doesn’t occur until almost the mid-way point of the novel.

About A.F. Brady

A.F. Brady is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brown University and two Masters degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is a life-long New Yorker and resides in Manhattan with her husband and their family. The Blind is her first novel.