Indigo Books’ Best of 2016 – Dark Matter

When I reviewed an ARC of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter earlier this year, I ended the review by telling you to “[g]ive it a shot, but don’t set your standards too high.”

Now we’re nearing the end of the year and Indigo Books has listed its picks for the year, including Dark Matter at number ten. The nominator reviews the book as follows:

“Descend into the madness that is Dark Matter and experience a story that mixes all the craziness of Inception, and twists of Gone Girl, with the thought-provoking horror of Stephen King, into something truly unique, and terrifying.”

While normally I don’t comment on other people’s reviews, I have to admit I’m disappointed in whatever selection criteria is used. Mind, I used to be a CER just like the person who nominated Dark Matter, and I want to congratulate the picker for getting her voice heard–you’re not heard much as a CER, despite the wonderful work environment and outstanding co-workers. But I have to say, the review falls short.

Personally, I found it predictable more than full-of-twists, not particularly “crazy” (except, at times, in a bad way) and it most certainly was not a horror novel. The first chapter is downright spooky, I will give it that, but after that Crouch leaves horror by the wayside for oddities that aren’t particularly striking. As a Stephen King fan, I find the comparison especially lacklustre.

It was hardly a bad book, but I somehow doubt it was meant to have a place on the top ten of the year. It’s not a problem that the book was enjoyed–I never said I disliked it, exactly, just that it was a bit disappointing because I went into it with such high expectations. It means, expecting a lot, it made it very difficult to properly enjoy the book. But now we’re telling people to have very high expectations; I think this will only cause problems for future readers.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the book to follow up and earlier review, I suppose.

On Long Absences–and NaNoWriMo

I’ve been gone from here for a few months now, and there are a few reasons for that, but most of all: I needed a break from many of my obligations. And then school started back up and I got busy all over again with obligations I couldn’t take a break from.

So here I am, back again. I’ve missed having a site to keep up with and hope I can get back into the swing of things.

I also haven’t been reading a whole lot, so it’s not surprising that I’ve not been updating. But I’ll get back to reposting old reviews too.

I hope everyone’s been well!

In other news, for me November is, you guessed it, National Novel Writing Month. I tried NaNoWriMo once, years ago, without success… but this year, I’m feeling I can maybe tackle it again. I have a planning document ready and quite a few notes. I’m ready to plants (plan + pants) my way to victory, if possible.

And hey, even if I lose, I’ll still be a lot closer to finishing my novel than I was before.

Find me on NaNo’s website if you’d like!

Cheers,
Caitlin

Creeps – Darren Hynes

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Today, we’re reviewing a book that is highly not recommended by me. I had a lot of problems with this book. And now, I have a lot of problems with how much praise this book is given.

I want to set out here that there are, toward the end of this review, spoilers in the form of instances of sexual assault. Please keep this in mind when reading the review, though I’ve put a warning before the descriptions in the review itself as well.

This book remains one that I can’t stand to this day for a lot of reasons. A one-star review if I ever had one, find a slightly modified version of my original Goodreads review below.

Continue reading “Creeps – Darren Hynes”

On Writing

I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to write. I have written ever since I was a kid, though obviously the quality was questionable for a long time.

Recently, I’ve begun to get more serious about this passion, this unending desire to one day be read. I’ve sat down to finish some short stories with the hopes of completing a short story collection. I’ve even found a publisher that I want to approach with the concept.

And today, I finished the first of the short stories.

That has always been my biggest problem as a writer: finishing my stories. When we were assigned short stories to write in school, I would keep going and going, and never quite manage to finish what I started. Novel attempts go far but end up without, well, an end.

But today I finished the first of the short stories I want in this collection. It’s called Teeth. I’m pretty proud of it, though it needs a lot of polish still.

The point is, I finally sat down and really wrote. I wrote and wrote until I was done. Sometimes I just stared at the screen without a single idea, but I always made myself come back and put pen to paper (so to speak).

It’s a nice feeling to be able to think, I can do this.

Maybe one day I’ll see that dream of mine fulfilled.

The Time Tutor – Bee Ridgway

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As promised, a review of the prequel to River of No Return. In the review of the main book, I alluded to a character I hadn’t liked very much in the series and being glad that she hadn’t made many appearances. This prequel surrounds her story. At first I was wary about it for this reason, but eager enough for more in the world Ridgway was building that I jumped on reading it (in one sitting!) anyway. The result was a good one: I became much more interested in said character, and find her story much more compelling now. I look forward to learning more about her whenever we get that sequel we’re being promised.

Another full five stars for Ridgway.

Find my original (though short) review below.

Continue reading “The Time Tutor – Bee Ridgway”

River of No Return – Bee Ridgway

Sorry for the radio silence the past week, everyone; I’ve been doing things around town now that I’m home for the summer and haven’t been online very much lately. To make up for it, today I’m going to post a better (as in higher rated) review than I have been!

Bee Ridgway’s River of No Return came out in 2013 and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC for review, courtesy of Goodreads’ First Reads program. It was my very first ARC from Goodreads, so I was excited and jumped on it when it came in… and I loved it. It was a great experience that earned it a full five stars and I’ve been eagerly awaiting more in this universe since I finished it. (I’ll post my review of the prequel soon.)

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Find an updated version of my original review below.

Continue reading “River of No Return – Bee Ridgway”