Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Read Professional Review at Bookleaf (Coming Soon)


Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Publisher: Crown/Penguin Random House
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 352 pages
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Source: Review Copy
Series: No
Price: $26.99
ISBN: 978-1101904220

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

amazon-128 barnes-and-noble goodreads-128

My Thoughts:

Without a doubt, everything about Crouch’s story deserves a strong bout of applause; not only does the story explore the true meaning of “what if” within an intriguing scientific context, but it examined human character and motivation with impressive depth and understanding. Although the backdrop of quantum physics may seem intimidating, Crouch approaches the science with ease and grace, never allowing for the narrative to falter or stray from its path. The characters were wholly round, even though the cast lacked diversity, and page after page, Crouch’s prose is edged with adrenaline and madcap action. Dark, disturbing, and deeply engaging, Dark Matter is a staple for every bookshelf, library, and reader.

Plus, the cover is gorgeous.

About the Author

mwvdlqjzBlake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures. His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015’s #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT television show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. He has written more than a dozen novels that have been translated into over thirty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Crouch lives in Colorado with his family.

Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Read Professional Review


Title: Yes Please
Author: Amy Poehler
Genre: Comedy (Memoir)
Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 329 pages
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Purchased
Series: No
Price: $28.99

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

amazon-128 barnes-and-noble goodreads-128

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love Amy Poehler – from her hilarious interviews on Late Night with Seth Meyers to her laugh-out-loud movie roles in Mean Girls and Sisters to her totally relatable and quirky character Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?!?!). So, obviously, I had to pick it up. But typically, I don’t read memoirs and the like, simply because they just don’t to hold my attention and enthusiasm, and even though I did have reservations about Yes Please,  SPOILER ALERT: I adored it.


The memoir was candid, uncensored, and unbridled – she checked every box on my list of expectations, and then some; her no-BS attitude was so refreshing and the way she just poured out her heart got me like:


She was just so honest and completely unashamed of her past, which just made me love her even more. And at the same time, she was incredibly funny and witty! For me, that’s not even humanly possible. With that said…WHY IS SHE NOT MY BEST FRIEND?!?!?


Anyway, my favorite parts of the book were when she shared stories of her grueling road to stardom, her SNL days, and her two children because it showed that she was a normal human being like the rest of us and didn’t think too highly of herself, even though she’s wildly successful. She was humble, relatable, and supremely wise  – the advice she imparted was insightful and unique, but not generic or preachy at all. She subtly teaches us how to embrace our flaws, appreciate our lives, and not want “pudding,” along with a myriad of other life lessons. Yes Please is most definitely not a self-help book; it’s more of a celebration of life and all its graces.  

That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.

It’s hard to really say anything about Yes Please, since it’s a memoir and doesn’t have a plot or characters, but whatever, I love talking (or more accurately, writing), so I’m just gonna keep going – I really liked her writing style too; it was super simple and easy to read. Along with eye-catching and motivational illustrations (“Nothing Is Anyone’s Business” and “Forget the Facts and Remember the Feelings”), Poehler’s prose was engaging and immersive through and through because I felt like she was talking directly to me, just like an old friend instead of like a greedy Hollywood opportunist.


I hope Amy Poehler decides to write another book because I did truly enjoy Yes Please, and I’m sure that, just like Mindy Kaling, her sophomore venture would exceed all expectations just as Yes Please did. If you want a light, summery, and hilarious read, then shout a resounding “Yes” to Yes Please. It’s a heartwarming, inspiring, and kindhearted narrative that probably won’t keep you up all night, but will keep you smiling all day for sure.

The Final Verdict:


About the Author


Amy Poehler is a writer, actress, producer, and director. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her two boys. She hopes this book will get her invited onto her hero Judge Judy’s yacht, Triumphant Lady.

Customer Ratings

Amazon Customer Rating: ★★★★☆ (2000+ reviews)
Barnes & Noble Rating: ★★★★☆ (100+ reviews)
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (190k+ ratings)

Similar Titles

`Bossypants 10335308 not-that-kind-of-girl-by-lena-dunham-book-cover

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on Yes Please with me down in the comments below! Happy Reading!


Review: Under the Never Sky

I wrote this review roughly two and a half years ago for self-examination purposes (flashback to thirteen year old Shouryaman), and I’m finally releasing it to the world in all of its literary glory. Frankly, it’s the first legitimate book review I wrote, and I thought I would pay homage to the days I didn’t feel like the sky was going to fall. Without further adieu, voila:


“Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption.

In alternating chapters told in Aria’s and Perry’s voices, Under the Never Sky subtly and powerfully captures the evolving relationship between these characters and sweeps readers away to a harsh but often beautiful world. Continuing with Through the Ever Night and concluding with Into the Still Blue, the Under the Never Sky trilogy has already been embraced by readers in twenty-six countries and been optioned for film by Warner Bros.”

Honestly, I’m slightly disappointed. Just slightly. Not because of the novel’s storyline (which was certainly distinct from the YA dystopian fiction slush pile) or characters, but rather because it has so much potential! The main issue I found with Under the Never Sky was its lethargic pace in the middle of the book, which continually dragged through shallow waters of lifeless scenes without even a sign of treasure gold, perhaps with the singular exception of Aria and Peregrine’s encounter with the Croven (and subsequent rendezvous with Marron). It took me FOREVER to finish, and I found myself struggling to flip the pages. Moreover, I thought Aria and Perry’s romance was clichéd, rushed (I felt like they hated each other one second, and the next, they were making out in a tree house), and somewhat demeaning to Aria’s admirable qualities, specifically her self-determination and independence.

However, in no way does Under the Never Sky’s pace or clichés undermine the originality and eloquence of Rossi’s storytelling, which demonstrates a masterful grasp of plot, diction and syntax that unfortunately only sporadically provide staccato, yet evocative, bursts of exhilaration. Rossi’s prose is ornate and elaborate, grounding her worldbuilding and characterization, but not overly florid, establishing a relatively “golden mean” that I absolutely adored, especially considering her previous career as an oil painter. Furthermore, Rossi’s characters are three-dimensional and complex with striking emotional depth, particularly Peregrine, whose strength of character is merely amplified by his manifest flaws and mounting struggles. The underlying message of the effects of political nepotism, governmental corruption, and technological dependence were equally refreshing and offbeat. Oh, and let’s not forget the dual perspectives! Frankly, these are often blatantly nauseating, but I thoroughly appreciated Rossi’s truly seamless switch between Aria and Perry’s (relatively) engaging voices.

All in all, I rate it a 3.5 (or maybe 4…I’m clearly bipolar) stars out of 5, but it definitely has the potential of a 5 star novel. Rossi unravels the grave realities of corruption, environmental degradation, and technological innovation with a steady and sure hand. Poised, resonating, and invigorating, Under the Never Sky is (fairly) memorable and (essentially) lives up to the hype.

Favorite Quote: “If there was no fear, how could there be comfort? Or courage?” – Aria

Favorite Fangirl Moment: When I recognized Rossi’s pure brilliance in naming Aria’s fictional world, “Reverie.” (Not really a fangirl moment, but you get the idea…right?)

Favorite Character: Cinder (let’s be real here: Cinder is epic)

Favorite Scene: the first scene, wherein Soren discovers the unparalleled exaltation of arson. Sigh.

Related Titles:

cinder_cover__span    bookcover_home_delirium    IncarnateHC-c.jpg