Thursday, August 10, 2017

Invasive: When the going gets weird, the weird needs Hannah Stander

What do you think of ants? They always seemed like they were probably the best option in the bug world, even if you are not a fan of creepy crawlies. I mean, think about ant farms. And an ant was a hero in Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Sure, there are those bullet ants that will mess you up for at least a day if they bite you, but overall ants almost seem cute.

YOU ARE WRONG. YOU ARE SO WRONG.
OK, so maybe not cos most ants are FINE (even if some are taking over the planet and we should probably be concerned about that). But if you're in the Invasive world, there's a very good case to be made for why these things are horrifying.

A bio-tech thriller set in the same world as Zer0es (though you don't need to have read it to enjoy this), the book opens with a strangely mutilated corpse. Because let's start the weird right out the gate. FBI consultant Hannah Stander is called in to try to figure out what could have done this, which leads to a compound in Hawaii. There are worse places to have to investigate, even if your investigation involves GMO ants.

Hannah has to figure out what is going on, how did these ants get loose, and how much damage could some ants really do? (Spoiler, OH MAN so much damage.)

I don't want to give away too much in regards to the plot, cos, you know thriller. But I will tell you that the story was suspenseful and creepy and I was engaged. If you've read anything by Chuck Wendig before, you have an idea what you're getting into. And if you haven't, what are you waiting for? His stuff is great (as long as you're cool with thrillers and some-to-a-good-amount of violence). The books are so much fun and he can write female characters who actually seem like real people.

I realize this is a short review but I also feel like I hit upon all the key points.
You may have thought ants were sort of cute but WRONG SO WRONG
Suspenseful bio-technical thriller
Female main character (who was raised by doomsday preppers. I forgot that bit but I'm addressing it here)
Hawaii!
Chuck Wendig

Gif rating:

Wendig, Chuck. Invasive. Harper Voyager, 2016. Kindle

Monday, August 7, 2017

West Coast Bonanza! Part 1

As we get older, it seems it's harder and harder to meet up with people. Life seems to get in the way and making plans requires so much work and coordination and shared calendars. But last month we somehow managed to make it work, and Tom and I spent time on the west coast with a bunch of friends. And it was amazing. So hey, let's look at some pictures I took during vacation while I procrastinate on getting actual reviews written.

First stop: Vegas
OK so, I don't actually have that many pictures of Vegas. I tend to be bad about remembering to take pictures. But Tom is better about that so here's a few.

We spent some time wandering among the various casinos (I don't gamble so I mostly enjoyed how ridiculous they all are as well as the AC). Otherwise we ate some good food, saw the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show and hung out with a couple of our friends who drove out from San Diego.

Second stop: Grand Canyon
I was very excited for the Grand Canyon. I'd never been before and it looked so beautiful and different compared to any sort of landscape I'm used to on the east coast. Since we were going to be driving from Vegas to the Canyon and then from the Canyon to San Diego, we stuck to the west rim to save us a few hours of driving.

It was as breath-taking as everyone says. Also, while I understand not wanting to put up anything that would mess with the view, OMG there is NOTHING preventing people from falling into the Canyon other than a few guys going "Hey, don't get to close please" which is STRESSFUL. But beautiful so.

Third stop: San Diego
I give Tom tons of credit for helping coordinate, well really the entire trip, but this piece especially because there were a lot of people to try to get on the same page. There were, of course, the friends that were with us in Vegas (we were staying at their place during the San Diego leg of the trip); there were our other friends who just recently moved (and in her case moved back) to San Diego this past winter; there were our friends who were coming out from Rhode Island for a week in San Diego; and finally there was our friend from NYC who was literally spending 48 hours in Cali before having to head back home.

San Diego was great, in no small part to the company. There were bonfires and zoos and brewery tasting rooms and baseball and beach and lots of Mexican food. Generally this was a very chill part of the trip with some touristy things but a lot of relaxing.

I'll post some zoo pictures (because I have SO MANY from there) and then leave the rest to another post.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Reading Wrap-Up

July was a pretty swell month. Tom and I did a big west coast vacation we've been planning for months* which included meeting up with friends in Vegas, spending a couple days there before driving to the Grand Canyon and then San Diego (where said friends live), meeting up with other friends (some from San Diego and some coming in from the east coast) for bonfires and bar crawls and zoo visit and baseball games before Tom and I split off to spend some time in Seattle. I'll have a longer post about the trip, but this is why I've been less available the last few days. But now we're back to the grind.

So hey, let's see how I did reading-wise

Number of books read
4
Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett
World War Z by Max Brooks
Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales

Number of pages read
1,830

Fiction
75%

Female authors
25%

POC authors
50%
US authors
50%

Book formats
audiobook: 25%
ebook: 25%
paperback: 50%

Where'd I get the book
Gift: 25%
Indie bookstore: 50%
Kindle/Audible: 25%

Readalong/Bookclub
50%

Blogger reco
25%

Translation
25%

Reread
25%

Books by decade
2000s: 50%
2010s: 50%

Books by genre
Biography: 25%
Horror: 25%
Sci Fi: 25%
Thriller: 25%

Resolution books
75%
Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation is by a non-US author (Lycett is British)
Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino is by a non-US, POC author (Kirino is from Japan) and is a translation
The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales is by a POC author

*Haha "we". Tom did 99% of the planning and I just showed up.