Review: Skein Island

**3/5 Stars**

Oh how I wanted to love this book! Aliya Whiteley’s Skein Island had a powerful beginning, but the story got lost along the way. I kept reading until the very last page because the concepts of the book were interesting and captured my interest, but the book fell short of its premise.

What I liked about this book was the originality of the story. The story focuses on an island that is exclusively for women looking to change their lives. Access to the island is by invite only. If accepted, you must share the story of your life with a mysterious woman who is a keeper of the island’s secrets. At first, the island and story seem fairly surface level: women seeking relief from the external world.

However, the story is much more complex than that. The island has a story of its own, one that is dark and macabre. We find that the universe of our characters is not the same as our own, which is part of the novel’s several surprises.

I like the author’s flair for throwing unexpected wrenches into the storyline, but at times it made the novel jarring and uneven. I found myself truly lost by the end of the novel because of these unusual elements – it’s a shame because I think the author could have edited this and had a much stronger and more sensical ending.

At the end of the day, it is clear the author is a capable writer and this book shows a lot of promise. I definitely plan on reading another book by her.


Review: Blue Haven

**5/5 Stars**

I happened upon this book on Amazon and thought i sounded interested, so I purchased it because it was not available through my local library. I was surprised to find that the book has very few reviews on Goodreads, but the ones that are there are really positive. I am so glad I took a chance on this book!

This book is similar in many ways to John Rector’s The Ridge, which is one of my favorite reads and thrillers. I haven’t quite found any books similar to Rector’s book, so I was really excited to find a book with a similar premise. Blue Haven begins with a woman – Aloe – winning the lottery, and then opting to use her fortune to buy a condo in a new development – Blue Haven – that promises the utmost privacy and comfort for the wealthy. The condo sits on a beautiful white sand beach that seems to travel for miles on end. Aloe has built in friends – her neighbors – the minute she moves in. She has a personal assistant who will respond to any of her wants and needs 24/7. She has personal shoppers, personal chefs, and even round the clock medical care if need be.

But then Aloe, the main character, discovers there is something deeply wrong with her new residence. There is a mysterious man following her. The residents seem to be hiding something. And her personal assistant, Amir, has lied to her about a woman who once lived at the complex but has now disappeared. Aloe wants out, but she may be stuck in Blue Haven for the rest of her life. What’s wrong with being stuck in paradise, after all?

Nothing is as it seems in Blue Haven, and nearly all the fun in this book is spent trying to figure out what is going on. This constitutes about 65% of the book. The rest of the book is spent diving a bit deeper into the character, Aloe, and her backstory. This book is perfect for readers who love sci-fi, thrillers, and technology. I highly recommend it!

Review: Upgrade

**4/5 Stars**

I’m a huge huge fan of Blake Crouch. I think he’s one of the best sci-fi authors out there right now. I was SO excited to see that he has a new release and immediately requested an ARC of it.

This was a rollercoaster of a read. It wasn’t my favorite book of Crouch’s, but it was worth my time for sure. Crouch is not modest with Upgrade’s plot. This book asks some big questions of its readers:

What if you could change the course of humanity for the better? What if we could stop climate change, stop rampant consumerism, and end the selfish individualism that almost seems inherent to humanity at this time in history?

It also places the weight of the world (literally) on the main character’s shoulders. What if you and you alone could be the answer to the world’s many problems? Would you risk everything – your family and even your life – to fix humanity and the planet for the better?

Yes, it all sounds a little cliched and cheesy, but I could easily see this book becoming a wild ride of a screenplay and movie. It’s bold, adventurous, and involves some interesting musings on genetic engineering and CRISPR technology, and I liked it.

It’s not as introspective or reflective as his previous books, but it was a fun read that delivered for a great sci-fi story that I think Crouch’s readers will thoroughly enjoy.

Thank you to Random House Books, Blake Crouch, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book!