Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

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Title: Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

Premise:

A group of graduate students is caught up in a web of intrigue, with Vin Drake and his microbiology company, Nanigen, at its center.  The students find themselves alone in dangerous wilderness and they have to use all of their scientific training and knowledge to try and survive.

My thoughts:

The first thing you need to know is that I LOVE me some good Crichton!  I read my first Crichton books in middle school when I found Terminal Man and Andromeda Strain on the school’s bookshelf.  So when I found this book at the thrift store, I was very excited to read a new book by this beloved author.

Honestly, I still haven’t arrived at a decisive conclusion about whether or not I truly like Micro.  The story is definitely Crichton in concept, but the writing doesn’t always match his style.  Obviously this book had input from Richard Preston, and I think that’s probably where it fails in stacking up to Crichton’s other works.  Crichton had a precision in his writing which is missing in parts of this book.  My other criticism is that the characters tended to get preachy about nature at very odd times.  Who would launch into a speech about the superiority of nature when they’re trekking through jungle on a very tight timeline to save their lives?  Well, apparently these people would.

Even though I wasn’t blown away by the writing, the premise of the story was great.  It brings up some questions about technology and the ethics of how we use it, as well as exploring the tiny world all around us.  When you shrink people down so that the ground becomes a jungle, all of the creepy crawlies get a whole lot scarier.

I recommend Micro to Crichton fans.  You’ll want to read it to round out your knowledge of all of his works, but it probably won’t be your favorite.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • 1 sexual encounter
  • Profanity

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Honeymoon by James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Honeymoon - WM

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Honeymoon is the next book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  I’m nearing the end!  This book was the one that I wasn’t sure about.  I had never read any James Patterson before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Spoilers below!

This book is a mild thriller about a black widow type woman and the FBI agent who is trying to figure out whether or not she’s a killer.  Basically that is all that the story encompasses.  The woman, Nora, is virtually irresistible and has a knack for drawing men into her web before dispensing with them.  O’hara is the FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate Nora’s inner circle and ascertain her culpability.  The only problem–O’hara finds himself drawn into her web, just like the men before him.  Will O’hara escape Nora’s clutches?  Read the book to find out!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about this book.  I finished it because the story was brisk enough to keep my attention, but it won’t be getting any awards for quality literature.  The dialogue was often a series of witty rejoinders, sometimes entire conversations.  It seemed a bit fake to me.  Also, I found the premise unbelievable.  I understand that it’s a thriller and not meant to be very realistic, but could one woman really maintain how many different relationships and a busy career?  She was a bit too wonder-woman for me.  My last criticism might seem trivial, but if you read the book you will probably notice it, too.  There are a ton of product and brand mentions in this book.  As an example, these are the brand mentions and name drops from chapters 1 and 2: Dockers, Evian, Ferragamo, Eleish-Van Breems, New Canaan Antiques, the Silk Purse, the Cellar, Monet, Thomas Cole, Magritte, J. P. Morgan, Castro, Richard Nixon, New York School of Interior Design, Le Cordon Bleu, Polo, Amstel Light, Smith and Wollensky, Graeters, Tiffany, Dom Pérignon, Jack Daniel’s.  It’s like they’re trying to convince us of the awesomeness and wealth of these people by telling us about the brands they buy and whose furnishings they own.  (Or could they be paid product placements?) Sigh.

I don’t really recommend this book, but I suspect it might appeal more to the male population.

Possible Objections:

  • Bad language
  • Violence
  • Sexual scenes

Rating: 1 Star

 

Until next time…

Lori

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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I checked this book out on a whim.  Whenever I read the newspaper, I notice that list of popular books right next to the crossword puzzle.  I never have looked at any of those books–until now.  I thought it might be fun to see what’s so great about the current popular books out there.

I finished reading The Girl on the Train a couple of days ago.  It’s not the type of book that I normally pick up, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It’s a little hard to classify.  I’d call it a cross between a psychological/crime thriller and peoples’ personal memoirs.  It sounds a bit strange, but the book focuses equally on events and peoples’ thought lives.

Each chapter focuses on an individual character and records their thoughts and actions in diary form.  The chapters jump around from one character to another, where we learn what happens in the story, the characters’ motives and thoughts, and what they think about one another.

This book is interesting in that you don’t really know who the “good guys” are until the end.  In the beginning you will probably think that you have it figured out, but as the story progresses and peoples’ thoughts are exposed, you will come to a new understanding.  The book really got me thinking about what makes a person good or bad.  Outward appearances can be deceiving.

I don’t want to tell you a lot about the plot because that will totally ruin the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  I will tell you that it’s about a woman named Rachel whose husband (Tom) divorced her for another woman.  Rachel can’t move on and she becomes an alcoholic.  While riding on the train past the row of houses where she used to live, she witnesses something that is seemingly inconsequential, but that has a major impact on the other characters in the story.  There are other characters who become entwined in the story–Anna (Tom’s new wife), Scott and Megan Hipwell (neighbors of Tom’s), Kamal (a therapist), Cathy (Rachel’s flatmate), etc.

I would recommend this book as an interesting and engrossing read.  It kept me guessing almost up to the end about who the “bad guy” was.  It’s also a good study on human nature and what makes people tick.  I would say that it’s appropriate for adults because of the language, sex, and violence.

Possible Objections:

  1. Bad language–quite a bit of it.
  2. Sexual themes.
  3. Violence.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori