Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Murder, Relationship Failure, and Stalking!! Reviewing: The Reckless Engineer

Hi!! Welcome to The Real World According To Sam. I am your host, Sam, and today I have another treat. Its another review, hopefully I can get some more cool posts arranged soon. Lots of good things going on over here. I have been reading a whole lot lately and more authors have been sending me books for review, so y'all will be getting to hear all about those. This is actually one of those!!! Awesome right? I'd say so. Now, let's get this review going, shall we?

The Reckless Engineer
Author: Jac Wright
Genre: Legal Thriller
Year of Publication: 2013

Why Did I Read This Book?
So Mr. Wright contacted me through my e-mail asking me to review his book. Here we are now, with a review for it. I read it as an e-copy, and no, the fact that I got a copy for free does NOT influence this review and the ultimate rating I will give it in the end. There's my required disclaimer, get off my back about that kind of thing, cause I'm not a practicer of the idea that books get bonus points if they're free review copies. I give my full on honest opinion for every book I review, especially here in my world. 

Genre Expansion
Normally I don't do this, but this book actually falls under multiple genres and since I have a bit more info on it, I'll give it to you. For anyone who is on goodreads or who likes to keep detailed records of books they read or if you're super into one of these genres and therefore MUST read this now. The Reckless Engineer falls under the following categories:
  • Literary Suspense
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Legal Thriller
  • Psychological Thriller
  • British Mystery

What is this Book About?
The Reckless Engineer is about a guy who's had way too many affairs for his own good! (Ok, fine, maybe it was just 3...but that's too many anyhow). Jack Connor is technically the guy who this story revolves around, even though the main character, and the one we see most, is his best friend Jeremy Stone. Jack has a son from a well ended marriage with his first wife, Marianne. He is currently married to Caitlin, whose father owns the company that Jack works for and who is also rich...as in billionaire heiress rich. He is an engineer who has been having an affair with a coworker (also an engineer) named Sally. The major problem lies with the fact that he's having ANOTHER affair with a girl named Michelle Williams who also works at the same company, but not as an engineer. Trouble was inevitable to begin with, but this trouble is even worse considering Jack has gotten Michelle pregnant and then she ends up being found dead. Who would've thought? The whole book is centered on the idea that  Jack is innocent and needs his friend Jeremy (another engineer with a lawyer friend who can represent Jack) to find the real killer.

I normally wouldn't read books involving infidelity....considering that infidelity is a plot point that I just really hate. However, I was able to get beyond it and just read the book.

There are a lot of characters in this book. I felt fortunate that I didn't get any of them mixed up. There are the main few (Jack, Caitlin, Jeremy, Harry), as well as the extended family and related characters (Peter, Marianne, Mr. McAllen, Mr. McAllen's associates, the servants) and even more (McAllen's handymen, police officials, Jack's boss, and plenty extras). I think that's partially what helps make this story work. There are so many characters that at first it's almost overwhelming trying to consider which one killed Michelle. However, it's also a bit distracting, because only a few actually feel very well developed. I could care less about Jack. He was a scumbag who honestly got what was coming to him. You cheat, you open yourself to all the consequences, no matter how extreme the outcome. Jeremy was actually a pretty good character. I enjoyed him as a character. He didn't seem as scummy. He was a more relatable character trying to figure out where he was going to fit into everything going on in his life. The only thing I really dislike about him is how he said nothing when he actually knew of Jack's affairs. Close friend or not, that's just terrible. He was an accomplice in that regard, in my opinion. Marianne was more likable than Caitlin. I really disliked Caitlin too. Michelle seriously deserved to be a dead character. That may sound harsh, but I really dislike girls like her and its ok to say such extreme things because she's only a book character. You don't mess around with married people. Overall though, the characters all have interesting points and none of them feel the same so there's definitely variety.

I seriously hate cheaters, period. I've never had that kind of thing happen to me, so don't jump to the conclusion that I despise infidelity because I've been cheated on. Definitely not. I just don't see a point in being with someone if you're going to cheat. It's despicable and a major waste of time for everyone involved. Save yourself the trouble and just breakup with the person if you could even think of cheating on them as a serious option. It'll be much easier on everyone. That being said, the whole plot of this book pretty much revolves around the fact that Jack is a dirty scumbag. This doesn't mean that the book isn't good though! It's definitely interesting and I wanted to keep reading to see what happened and ultimately I wanted to know who it was that did everyone a favor by getting rid of a villainous chick. Without this infidelity, there'd be no book.

I had fun reading it though. I did enjoy the problem-solving, critical-thinking, who-did-it? portion of the book. I was trying to put together the pieces and I'm happy to say that I was actually able to put it together before the book ended. Most would say that this point probably isn't good and the ending should be a twist, but its not TOTALLY obvious and it really just makes me feel like I paid good attention and was smart enough to put it together. I very much enjoyed following Jeremy during his investigations. That part was cool.

Yeah, its a pretty good book. It kept me reading on, which can't be said for all books. I did care about a couple of characters, not most of them, but a good enough few (particularly Sally and Jeremy). I would recommend this book, only to adults and other mature audiences (naturally). It's worth reading. Its not one of my favorite books, but it wasn't terrible by any means, even if I do greatly dislike the guy who I'm supposed to think is innocent. Its a good one time read.

Random Side Note
As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. For those who don't know, Phoenix Wright is a lawyer who is the main character of a video game for the Nintendo DS that I really enjoy playing. I have the first three, beat the first one, still working on the second and third (although to be honest, I'm just replaying through the first one again cause I just like it that much). It has nothing to do with this book really, except for the fact that Phoenix Wright also interiews people and tries to find the truth (and if we really get into it, then the exploration stuff that Jeremy does is similar to the evidence seeking that Wright does in the second and third games. The first game was mostly in-court scenes and interviews, not very much area exploration). I just kept thinking of it and felt the need to mention it in my final review.

Back on Track
The Reckless Engineer at the end of the day is a good thrill and crime mystery that I would recommend if you're looking for a good puzzle to solve. I give it 3 out of 5.

Thanks for joining me here at The Real World According To Sam, hope to see you again soon!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Deception, Genetics, and Thrills!! REVIEWING: Identity X

Hello! I've got a whole bunch of treats coming your way and today's review will be the first of many. What is today's treat? A book review....and not just a review for any ole book. This review is for an AWESOME book! A Two Thumbs-Up, Roller-Coaster thrill of a book! How good is it? Well, I'll just let the rest of this review do the job of letting you know. Let me just end here by saying: WHERE IS BOOK NUMBER TWO?!?!?! I want another one...and I want it in my hands.....NOW.

Identity X
Author: Michelle Muckley
Genre: Thriller
Year of Publication: 2013

This book is brand new!! It just came out in September. Rather surprising for me to have read it already then, since I'm usually behind a couple years.

 Why Did I Read This Book?
Simple. I was asked to. I logged onto my facebook page and to my surprise, I found a message. First message ever to come to me through my facebook page (to access that page just click here: The Real World According To Sam on Facebook). Ms. Muckley personally asked me to review her book and was kind enough to send me a physical copy. However, let it be known far and wide that this does not at all pertain to the rating the book got in the end. All my reviews are completely honest!!!! Everything I write in this review (minus this how I came to read it) is based on the book and its literary merits alone. So there. I agreed to read it, and I read it, and I enjoyed it.....greatly. I'd like to thank the author for asking me to review this book. It will be on my bookshelf, positioned with other books I have found marvelous and delightful to read.

But Sam, What is it Even About?
Good question!!! This book is intended for adults. Make note of that really quick.

This book follows Ben Stone. Who is Ben Stone? He's a man on a mission. He is a scientist who has discovered a cure for genetic disease, called NEMREC. Its a major scientific discovery that will certainly turn his life around. In this case however, that turn may be for the worse! Within the first couple chapters it is pretty apparent why Ben is striving to achieve this goal. Ben goes out with his coworkers to celebrate and have a drink or two. He goes home and gets to bed, feeling rather sick. When he wakes up in the morning he is surprised to discover several things:
                       1) His wife is gone
                       2) His son is gone
                       3) The laboratory he worked in is completely empty
                       4) NEMREC is gone
This is where conspiracy and betrayal and craziness start. His identity card doesn't work. Its almost as if Ben doesn't even exist.

All Ben has now is his best friend, a girl from work he was kind of into named Amy, and his wife. What is the truth? What really happened? Is anyone who Ben thinks they are? What in the world is going on and is his life ever going to be the same? (NO.)

That's All Fine and Dandy...are the Characters Any Good?
Are they ever!!!! I love the characters in this book. Mostly Ben and Hannah (the wife). They are the most developed and are the two center leads in this book. I couldn't have picked two better characters to follow for this story. I was a little nervous when I picked it up, to be honest, because of the Amy angle (Amy being the girl Ben has a kinda thing for at work). I despise infidelity plots, but thankfully I didn't have too much to worry about and I'm very glad about that. Mark is Ben's best friend since high school. He was an interesting character....to say the least. You'll just have to take my word for it!

Can You Tell Me More?
I sure can! There are so many thrills. I know I've said the word thrill a lot already, but its true. From chapter 4 on, there are many spots of nonstop action. I loved the way everything unfolded. It's such a domino effect. Ben finally gets NEMREC right, the lab is mysteriously missing, his friends and wife aren't what they seem, he gets shot at, and more and more things come to light unexpectedly in that same manner. That was absolutely fantastic. Its such a roller coaster and is very satisfying when it's all said and done. But that ENDING!!!!! I desperately need to know what happens next. It was all so sudden and slightly frustrating, but frustrating in a positive way because I want more. I want to know what happened to Ben and Hannah and Matthew. There's a small little taste, but I can't be totally happy with that!!! It just leaves too much for me to wonder...which if you haven't caught on is an epic positive when it comes to books and me.

Also, if this tells you anything at all, I was taking this book with me everywhere in the hopes that I'd get to read it and hopefully get to the end (because I wanted to see what happened, not because I was desperate for it to end. Excited for the end to come, not praying for it to end sooner.) I even got in trouble with my parents because I had it so much when we went out. Apparently, it isn't good to be reading books in restaurants...even if the food hasn't come yet. I hated having to stop at all!! I wanted to keep on reading and when the book finally ended, I was sad because I wanted another one to continue the story.

What are the Defects?
There aren't many, to tell the truth. There isn't much that I would change! Its a wonderful book as is. The only things I would like to have more of....are scientific jargon and specifics regarding NEMREC. Then this would be a bit more of a technothriller....I just love when science gets paired up with action to make a beautifully evil and chaotic match of brilliance. However, it is a perfectly good book even without a whole lot of science involved, aside from the beginning. The action keeps it going well and the characters are all well developed.

Identity X is a wonderful book. It's thrilling, chilling and epic. It deals with the issues of family vs. work and where a person's time would be best spent, the idea that you should be aware of your surroundings and be careful who you trust, as well as the classic "everything is not as it seems". There's adventure and evil plots. There are guns and plans and death. I highly recommend it to adult or mature audiences, its a rollercoaster of fun and dark surprises. Read it, I bet you won't regret it. My only regret is that I didn't take a chance to get my copy signed.
 I give Identity X a 5. Great book, great characters, great concepts, one fun book.

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Purchase the book here!!!!

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Thanks for reading another review here at The Real World According To Sam. Hope to see you again soon!!!!