inverarity

Only Human, by Sylvain Neuvel

The conclusion of the giant alien robots trilogy.


Only Human

Del Rey Books, 2018, 336 pages



Brilliant scientist Rose Franklin has devoted her adult life to solving the mystery she accidentally stumbled upon as a child: a huge metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. The discovery set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events with geopolitical ramifications. Rose and the Earth Defense Corps raced to master the enigmatic technology, as giant robots suddenly descended on Earth’s most populous cities, killing one hundred million people in the process. Though Rose and her team were able to fend off the attack, their victory was short-lived. The mysterious invaders retreated, disappearing from the shattered planet...but they took the scientist and her crew with them.

Now, after nearly 10 years on another world, Rose returns to find a devastating new war - this time between humans. America and Russia are locked in combat, fighting to fill the power vacuum left behind after the invasion. Families are torn apart, friends become bitter enemies, and countries collapse in the wake of the battling superpowers. It appears the aliens left behind their titanic death machines so humankind will obliterate itself. Rose is determined to find a solution, whatever it takes. But will she become a pawn in a doomsday game no one can win?


A new Cold War and an angsty teenage girl who's mad at her dad, both settled with a giant robot battle.

Also by Sylvain Neuvel: My reviews of Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity

The Stand-In, by Lily Chu

A look-alike for a hot Chinese actress gets to pretend to be her and fall in love with her hot co-star.


The Stand-In

Audible Originals



HOW TO UPEND YOUR LIFE:


  • Get fired by gross, handsy boss

  • Fail to do laundry (again)

  • Be mistaken for famous Chinese actress

  • Fall headfirst into glitzy new world



Gracie Reed is doing just fine. Sure, she was fired by her overly "friendly" boss, and, yes, she still hasn’t gotten her mother into the nursing home of their dreams, but she’s healthy, she’s (somewhat) happy, and she’s (mostly) holding it all together.

But when a mysterious SUV pulls up beside her, revealing Chinese cinema's golden couple Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Gracie’s world is turned on its head. The famous actress has a proposition: due to their uncanny resemblance, Fangli wants Gracie to be her stand-in. The catch? Gracie will have to be escorted by Sam, the most attractive—and infuriating—man Gracie’s ever met.

If it means getting the money she needs for her mother, Gracie’s in. Soon Gracie moves into a world of luxury she never knew existed. But resisting Sam, and playing the role of an elegant movie star, proves more difficult than she ever imagined—especially when she learns the real reason Fangli so desperately needs her help. In the end, all the lists in the world won’t be able to help Gracie keep up this elaborate ruse without losing herself...and her heart.


Yes, it's a romance. I listened to a romance.




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inverarity

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham

POTUS #7 was a magnificent, bloody bastard.


American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

Random House, 2008, 483 pages



Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency.

Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson's election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad.

One of our most significant yet dimly recalled presidents, Jackson was a battle-hardened warrior, the founder of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the presidency as we know it. His story is one of violence, sex, courage, and tragedy. With his powerful persona, his evident bravery, and his mystical connection to the people, Jackson moved the White House from the periphery of government to the center of national action, articulating a vision of change that challenged entrenched interests to heed the popular will or face his formidable wrath. The greatest of the presidents who have followed Jackson in the White House have found inspiration in his example, and virtue in his vision.

Jackson was the most contradictory of men. The architect of the removal of Indians from their native lands, he was warmly sentimental and risked everything to give more power to ordinary citizens. He was, in short, a lot like his country: alternately kind and vicious, brilliant and blind; and a man who fought a lifelong war to keep the republic safe, no matter what it took.

Jon Meacham, in American Lion, has delivered the definitive human portrait of a pivotal president who forever changed the American presidency and America itself.


He was a great president. Great does not mean good or nice.

Also by Jon Meacham: My review of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity

Crimson Lake Road, by Victor Methos

The serial killer's ex-wife keeps running into serial killers.


Crimson Lake Road

Thomas & Mercer, 2021, 375 pages



Bestselling author Victor Methos’s acclaimed series continues as prosecutor Jessica Yardley races to catch an art-obsessed serial killer before she becomes his next masterpiece.

Retiring prosecutor Jessica Yardley can’t turn down one last investigation. This time, it’s a set of murders inspired by a series of grisly paintings called The Night Things. She’s the only one who can catch the killer, who’s left a trail of bodies in a rural community outside of Las Vegas.

But the more Jessica finds out, the less clear her case becomes. Out of options, she’s forced to consult her serial killer ex-husband - to gain additional insight into the crimes and the killer’s motivations.

By the time Jessica realizes that pursuing this case is a deadly mistake, it’s too late to turn back. Can she catch the killer, or will she be the final addition to a killer’s masterpiece?


She has two serial killer exes and a genius daughter who's flirting with the dark side.

Also by Victor Methos: My reviews of The Neon Lawyer and A Killer's Wife.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity

Ship of Smoke and Steel, by Django Wexler

A YA heroine does a science-fantasy dungeoncrawl and gets her gay on.


Ship of Smoke and Steel

Tor Teen, 2019, 352 pages



Ship of Smoke and Steel is the launch of Django Wexler's cinematic, action-packed epic fantasy Wells of Sorcery trilogy.

In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, 18-year-old ward boss Isoka enforces the will of her criminal masters with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat. The money she collects goes to keep her little sister living in comfort, far from the bloody streets they grew up on. When Isoka's magic is discovered by the government, she's arrested and brought to the Emperor's spymaster, who sends her on an impossible mission: Steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship - a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.

On board Soliton, nothing is as simple as it seems. Isoka tries to get close to the ship's mysterious captain, but to do it, she must become part of the brutal crew and join their endless battles against twisted creatures. She doesn't expect to have to contend with feelings for a charismatic fighter who shares her combat magic, or for a fearless princess who wields an even darker power.



Once more into the suspect realm of YA fantasy.




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Golden Hair

Out of House and Home

Out of House and Home by Drew Hayes Fred, the Vampire Accountant book 7.

Spoilers ahead for the earlier books.

It opens with Fred and some friends looking at a car to replace the one exploded in the book, which is interrupted by an attack on Charlotte Manor.

The building is destroyed. They barely save Charlotte herself. This results in relocation and other issues, plus life goes on. Amy using her new cash. Conflicts with other vampires. A ski resort. And more.
inverarity

Orders of Battle, by Marko Kloos

The seventh book in Kloos's long-running Mil-SF series adds a twist to milk it for a while yet.


Orders of Battle

47North, 2020, 269 pages



The battle against the Lankies has been won. Earth seems safe. Peacetime military? Not on your life.

It’s been four years since Earth threw its full military prowess against the Lanky incursion. Humanity has been yanked back from the abyss of extinction. The solar system is at peace. For now.

The future for Major Andrew Grayson of the Commonwealth Defense Corps and his wife, Halley? Flying desk duty on the front. No more nightmares of monstrous things. No more traumas to the mind and body. But when an offer comes down from above, Andrew has to make a choice: continue pushing papers into retirement, or jump right back into the fight? What’s a podhead to do?

The remaining Lankies may have retreated in fear, but the threat isn’t over. They need to be wiped out for good before they strike again. That’ll take a new offensive deployment. Aboard an Avenger warship, Andrew and the special tactics team under his command embark on the ultimate search-and-destroy mission. This time, it’ll be on Lanky turf.

No big heroics. No unnecessary risks. Just a swift hit-and-run raid in the hostile Capella system. Blow the alien seed ships into oblivion and get the hell back to Earth. At least, that’s the objective. But when does anything in war go according to plan?


Oh, now we're doing Star Trek: Voyager

Also by Marko Kloos: My reviews of Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure, Angles of Attack, Chains of Command, Fields of Fire, Points of Impact, and Aftershocks.




My complete list of book reviews.