Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

*Susanne’s Review

Wil Wheaton is Back! And that my friends, made the geek in me one very Happy Girl!

Another day in the Oasis, brings on another contest for Wade Watts and his friends. This time, it’s to find the “Seven Shards of the Siren’s Soul” hidden by none other than Kira, Og’s late wife.

Time however, is of the essence. Most folks now get into the Oasis with new ONI headsets and unfortunately for them, Anorak, Halliday’s avatar has hacked the system such that, when their daily time limit for using them runs out, so do they.  

While the quests are in fact easier, this go round, with either one of the High Five, knowing how to find and solve them or with the team getting a little help from some friends, there was one quest that I personally found to be quite brilliant, given my love for 80’s movies.  

It takes place in a fictional place, known well to John Hughes fans:   

Shermer.   

(Yes, that, Shermer.)

At that point, I might have squealed with joy. (Honest, truth.) For me, that quest was sheer perfection.

While entertaining, the other quests weren’t as imaginative as the original quests in “Ready Player One” or as the Shermer quest, though I enjoyed having the team back together.

In its entirety, “Ready Player Two” may not be quite as good as its predecessor, and it may have started off a little slow, but it is in my opinion, a worthy follow up and frankly, I could listen to Wil Wheaton, all day, any day.  (Baaahhh!!!)  3.7 Stars.    

Published on Goodreads on 12.6.20.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

*Susanne’s Review:

FanFRAKKINGtastic!

So, I’m a nerd and I always have been (in case it wasn’t already clear to all of you). I’m pretty geeky in a myriad of ways and I’m proud of it. I’m now sure how, but somehow I missed the boat on reading “Ready Player One” until now (what planet have I been on exactly?!). The only good thing about that is that I only have to wait a few more weeks until the sequel “Ready Player Two” comes out. (Maybe I lucked out after all?!). So I started out reading this book and then heard that Wil Wheaton narrated the audiobook and I immediately switched. As a teenager I had a HUGE crush on Will Wheaton (thank you Stand By Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation) and so I was pretty stoked to hear he narrated the book. Can I just say that his narration was stellar?!

Now let’s get to the story!

The year is 2044: Everyone spends their time playing OASIS, an online virtual reality game where kids go to school and most in fact prefer to spend their time. OASIS was created by James Halliday – who, upon his death unleashed a contest within the OASIS, something that is hidden deep within it for everyone to find, an Egg: the person who finds it first will win the biggest prize imaginable.

Wade Owen Watts is a High School Student. His life isn’t exactly exciting, hence why all of his time is basically spent inside of the OASIS. It is here, where he finds glory as Parzival.

Thrilling, terrifying and hella fun, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline made me nostalgic for the 80’s: video games, music, movies and more.

To say that I’m excited for the sequel is an understatement!

I highly recommend! Thank you to Ernest Cline for writing a brilliant novel and Wil Wheaton for narrating! I can’t wait to buy “Ready Player Two” and listen to Wil Wheaton’s audio narration of the sequel!

Published on Goodreads on 11.8.20.

Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

*Kaceey’s Review:

Dr. Faith Finley has achieved the level of success she’s always dreamed of. Not only does she host a radio spot dispensing advice, she’s also penned a self-help novel, all but guaranteed to launch her career even further.

So what happens when a former client accuses her of the unthinkable? Will all she’s accomplished go down in flames? Who’s willing to chance standing by her side? Her publisher? The radio station bigwigs? How about her husband?

Not enough problems for poor Dr. Finley? Okay, maybe just one more little issue to deal with… her husband has suddenly vanished.

This was a very clever, well developed thriller that held me right to the end. Filled with lots of surprises and twists, this book will keep you on your toes!

Looking forward to more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing – Graydon House.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

*Susanne’s Review:

“Anxious People” is a thought provoking, heart-wrenching, comical novel that leaves you in wonderment. It’s Fredrik Backman at his best. At its heart, this book deals with human connection and the impact people have on each other. It showcases Mr. Backman’s talent in an entirely new way and it is another reminder as to why he is one of my favorite authors.

Fredrik Backman is an author who has an innate ability to capture the human spirit, get under his characters’ skins and relay his characters thoughts and feelings in a way that makes us feel as if we know them, as if we are friends with them and at times, as if we are them.

“Anxious People” is different from Backman’s other novels, there are no quirky curmudgeons like Ove or Britt-Marie and there are no Benji’s. This story features a Bank Robber, a Hostage Situation, a Real Estate Agent and an entire cast of other extremely complicated characters. This is a character driven novel and it delves into the trials and tribulations of each individual whose lives are affected by the situation that they are in. I had no idea what I was in for when I dived in – what I will say is that each and every character will steal your heart. It’s that thing called human connection.

Within just a few minutes of reading this, tears pricked my eyes and I knew from that moment on that this book was special. It is wild and crazy and unlike anything you’ve ever read. At times you will be exasperated and yet you will keep reading. One minute you will be laughing and the next you will be in tears. For me, it happened and happened often.

Once again, Fredrik Backman does something special here and I’m so very grateful for it.

“Anxious People” is a must read and will most certainly be on my Goodreads Best of List for 2020. This novel reminded me that everything I do can potentially impact others and therefore, I must think before I act. It also reminded me how important human connection is and how grateful I am for the relationships I have built with all of you. Though times are difficult right now, I am thankful that we have each other. I wish you all good health, peace and safety. Namaste.

A huge thank you to Ms. Ariele Friedman at Atria Books and NetGalley for the arc. Thank you also to Fredrik Backman for continuing to write such incredible words. You inspire me.

A re-read/buddy listen with Kaceey in November 2020, which I enjoyed immensely.

Published on Goodreads

*Kaceey’s Review:

I believe we’re all more than familiar with the overused but much loved quote,” Live…Laugh…Love.”
But those three simple words fit like a glove, perfectly describing this book!

A group of strangers thrust together in a most peculiar, desperate of situations. Case in point?
For the group of strangers, a bank robbery becomes a hostage situation followed by what else…how about a pizza party?💁🏻‍♀️

This book will go down as one of my all-time favorite. It touched all emotions for me. Tightly gripped my heart. Softly touched my soul. Had me laughing till tears streamed down my face. Had me deeply reflecting on my own life.

And most importantly in a favorite book? After all this time it continues to linger with me. I ask…What more could we possibly want than that?!!

The narrator of the audio version Marin Ireland did a superb job bringing color and life to every character.
Okay, I’m gushing. But I just can’t say enough great things about this book.
I hope it’s on your list… and I hope it touches you as much as it did me.

A buddy read with Susanne. Though this was a reread for Susanne I can now see why she so willingly joined me to listen to this book once again.

Thank you to libro.fm for an advanced 🎧

Prodigal Son (Orphan X #6) by Gregg Hurwitz

*Kaceey’s Review:

All right Evan Smoak…you’ve got yourself in some sticky situations before. But this time, all I can say is “good luck pal!”🙈

Book six of the Orphan X series is every bit the white-knuckled, action packed romp as all its predecessors! Can’t poor Evan ever have a normal life? Maybe one that oh, I don’t know…doesn’t involves killing? Even after relinquishing his dark ops “Nowhere Man” persona he still carries the phone…just in case.

And as you probably guessed, retirement isn’t in his short term plan. And now, as he knew it would, the phone is ringing once again. And this time it’s as personal as it can get.

If you’re a fan of this series you won’t be disappointed. All the high-wire action you’d expect. And sprinkled with a hint of possible romance for all of you who want to see Evan explore love. Or is that just me💁🏻‍♀️

To give you the best reading experience, I recommend starting at the beginning of the series. Although the author does provide enough background detail that it can certainly stand on its own.

The ending is of course a nail-biter that has me waiting impatiently for the next release! Please hurry Mr. Hurwitz!

Thank you to Minotaur Books for an ARC to read and review.

*Susanne’s Review:

Simply Electrifying.

What happens when everything Evan Smoak thought he knew about himself and his past is torn asunder? In “Prodigal Son,” Evan opens up, faces the truth and takes care of his own.

This time, it’s personal.

Stunning, brilliant, heart-rending and pulse pounding this suspenseful addition to the Orphan X series delivers in a way that none of the other books in the series have so far.

This book will in fact make your eyes POP and your heart stop (just for a second though, I swear..). That my friends is a promise.

A highly entertaining buddy read with Kaceey that gave us lots to discuss.

A huge thank you goes out to Martin Quinn at Minotaur Books for the arc.

Published on Goodreads.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam


*Susanne’s Review:

Dark, atmospheric, eerie and harrowing. A relaxing vacation on Long Island turns out to be anything but for Amanda, Clay and their children Archie and Rose.

What at first seemed like the perfect vacation at an Airbnb is disturbed by a knock at the door late one night. It’s the homeowners: G.H. and Ruth Washington and they have news. A Blackout has hit the entire East Coast. At first Amanda and Clay are in disbelief, even when Satellite TV plays the Emergency Broadcast system on all channels and there is no cell reception.

G.H. and Ruth were staying in New York City when the blackout hit and then immediately hightailed it out to Long Island, as they knew it would be safer. Now the two families are in this together. Of course, no one knows if they can trust each other. That of course, is the first question.

Then strange, terrifying events start happening. In isolation, two families only have each other to rely on.

Call it a nail biter.

It’s 2020 after all and right now, given what we’ve experienced, this story is somewhat believable.

While “Leave the World Behind” starts off a little slow it quickly becomes chilling, clever and creepy. This novel is perfect for those who like character driven fiction. As a disclaimer, this book includes lots of nudity (which I feel was completely unnecessary).

What I will say is that the ending is ambiguous which may frustrate some readers – though I personally found it to be brilliant, given, well, everything.

A buddy listen with Ms. Kaceey!

Thank you to Harper Audio, Libro.FM, Rumaan Alam for the alc. Kudos to the brilliant narrator Marin Ireland for entertaining me yet again!

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

*Kaceey’s Review:

Now that was exactly what the doctor ordered! A true rom com that left my heart aflutter.

Naya (like a Papaya) swore off men three years ago after an abusive relationship that nearly cost her well…everything.

While out for an evening with her two best friends, they compose a little list for Naya. In particular, things she can to do to help her climb out of her dating rut. All in, Naya takes this list to the next level and conquers the entire list…and then some!

All it takes is a second look from a sexy man sitting on the next barstool over and sparks fly…and the heat is on!🔥 🔥

This book delivered so much more than I was expecting. The romance was white-hot and off the charts. The comedy was fun and had me smiling throughout. And naturally there were the obligatory obstacles that our couple had to overcome…but isn’t love worth that?💁🏻‍♀️💖

Can’t wait to read more from this very talented author!

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for an ARC to read and review.

*Susanne’s Review:

Boy oh Boy! Talk about Risque!

I’ve always considered myself “a details girl” but after reading “How to Fail at Flirting” I have decided that there are certain details that are better left to the imagination!

If you’re the type of person who likes to read super sexy, hot, fiery romance novels, this book might be just what you’re looking for.

If however, you’re like me and you prefer women’s fiction where the romance ‘fades to black’ – you might want to steer clear of this one.

Naya Turner’s life has become monotonous and boring, that is until she goes out one night to a bar to meet her friends and they fail to show up. That night she meets a gorgeous stranger named Jake in town for a wedding. The two immediately hit it off, in and out of the bedroom.

What started off as an opportunity for Naya to try something new, becomes something else entirely, something she didn’t bargain for, but wouldn’t trade for anything.

While “How to Fail at Flirting” is full of sarcasm, witticisms and romance, the “fiery details” missed the mark for me.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey and as you’ll see from her review, she prefers her romances hot and fiery and I prefer romances that fade to black, which made this an extremely funny buddy read, if nothing else.

A huge thank you goes out to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group for the arc. Elisha – Kaceey would like you to keep these fiery romances coming, while I’d prefer mine a little tamer! Baaahh!.

Published on Goodreads.