Red Hill is the first book I've read by Jamie McGuire. I've heard a lot of great things about her new adult romance series so this seems quit2.5 Stars
Red Hill is the first book I've read by Jamie McGuire. I've heard a lot of great things about her new adult romance series so this seems quite a bit of a departure from that genre. Sadly it showed. Red Hill brought nothing new to the zombie genre, and contained quite a lot of the same stuff I've read before. And I've read a lot. It also didn't really go into any depth.
Basically it's the journey of several characters that find themselves fighting a zombie outbreak. There's Scarlet, who's looking for her two daughter's; Nathan and his daughter, Zoe, who he's trying to keep safe; Miranda, her sister and their boyfriends; all are heading to one place they think is the safest: Red Hill Ranch.
There are several narrators, all from the first person view point. This didn't work for me at all. The main reason first person is used is to get inside the mind of the character, this can't be done successfully when each chapter flips between several characters. We never got inside the character's mind for long enough to really get to know them, and because of this the first person POV was wasted. I don't really understand the use of first person in this instance, and wonder why the third person POV wasn't used. In my opinion it would have read better a lot better.
Even though each chapter is titled with the character's name, I often had to go back to the beginning if I'd taken a break mid-chapter, to see who it was, as I couldn't gage who was speaking, the voices just weren't distinct enough to determine who was speaking.
None of the characters are particularly likeable, except maybe for Nathan and Scarlet. Miranda starts out likeable, but then I changed my mind after some of her terrible, selfish decisions. One being to not take an eight year old girl because they didn't have any room in the car. Really? She could of sat on someone's lap - to me, there's always room for a child. But no, Miranda was totally happy to leave her to the zombie hordes.
There were also aspects that were glossed over. Such as an elderly couple who took in Nathan and his daughter, Zoe. They became quite close even in the short space of time they had known each other, and I liked their bond. But when something happens to them, it's never mentioned; no emotions - nothing. I found this unbelievable and way too simplistic. After reading quite a lot of really awesome zombie books who's writer's understood that emotions are a huge part of zombie fiction, (namely Rhiannon Frater who wrote the As the World Dies series), Red Hill was sadly lacking in this department.
There was also quite a bit of repetitiveness in the prose; doubling up of words in a short space is one of my pet peeves when it comes to writing, as well as weird descriptions:
Skeeter smiled with his mouth and frowned with his eyes.
I ran to the door and pressed my ear against the door.
Hearing her clumsy footsteps upstairs as the sickness told her braindead body to move to find food was unbelievable.
and then a short time later:
No matter how many times I told myself it was true, seeing someone I knew to be dead moving around was unbelievable.
There were also a few inconsistencies:
Skeeter alternated between checking on his wife and checking the windows in the other room.
I wondered who the woman on the floor was to Skeeter, and what her life was like before she was bitten.
The fact that the narrator knew the woman was Skeeter's wife in one sentence, only to wonder who the woman was in the next really irritated me and threw me out of the scene.
The ending was a mishmash of silliness all packed into a few chapters. It felt as though the author was just throwing stuff in there to try and get a better climax to the story. Characters died all over the place, a huge bomb went off, ash fell from the sky, was it nuclear? Nobody knew, but hey let's continue with the birthday party inside! It didn't do anything for me. And due to the way the narration was handled I didn't get to know the characters that well, and as I didn't like many of the characters to begin anyway, I didn't care much about their outcome.
However, even with all these negative points, I did still manage to read until the end. It wasn't awful enough to stop me reading but it certainly wasn't a particularly good zombie novel.
Red Hill wasn't the best zombie novel I've read, but it also wasn't the worst. It's a 'meh' book for me. There were a few good parts, but many were quite silly, most of the characters were unlikeable, and the pacing was all over the place....more
Plague Nation is the second book in the Ashley Parker zombie series and I enjoyed it a lot. It isn't as good as book one, Plague Town, but it3.5 Stars
Plague Nation is the second book in the Ashley Parker zombie series and I enjoyed it a lot. It isn't as good as book one, Plague Town, but it is still a really fun read.
Ashley is a great heroine. I love her snark and attitude, but she's also genuine and caring. This continues to show through her actions towards her friends. Gabriel on the other hand is a strange one. In the first book I thought he was soooo sexy, but here he is a little generic. I got tired of his hard-arse attitude and wanted him to grow the hell up.
I'm also disappointed that there isn't much of a fall out from the revelation regarding Gabriel's secret. It is sort of washed over and Ashley has apparently forgiven him for lying and accepts everything, and yet Gabriel is the one with the stony-face? I really didn't like the way he treated Ashley. I know he has a lot going on with his particular condition, but he acts like a douchebag at times.
They do get back together in this instalment but it felt all wrong. Their relationship is barely touched upon and when they are together I was hoping for fireworks, but they just act as though they have been with each other for years rather than just having their first amazing sexual encounter a few days previously.
I wanted more heat, more angst... just more.
Having said that, I do love these two characters and I suppose that's why I am slightly disappointed that their relationship isn't really dealt with, considering what they went through in the previous book. I like the fact they give each other such a hard time though as it makes for a fun relationship.
To make up for the lack of relationship growth between Ashley and Gabriel, there is a lot of action and a lot of zombies, and I mean a lot. So much happens, and even one of the team dies *sniffles* But I'm not telling you who. The fall out from this is handled really well. The emotions that emulate from each of the team comes off as so real it nearly made me cry.
The ending is good, and as predicted, has me gagging for book three.
A really good addition to the series, just not as good as book one. However, there's plenty of zombie action even if there isn't any bedroom action, if you know what I mean *wink, wink*. This is definitely a series that should be on your bookshelf if you're an urban fantasy / zombie fan. Roll on 2014 and Plague World....more
Dead Tropics was a really good zombie horror, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’s the typical surOriginally posted on www.bookchickcity.com
Dead Tropics was a really good zombie horror, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’s the typical survival plot of a group of people helping each other to survive with one leader.
Lori Nelson is an unapologetic heroine, killing zombies from the get go without hesitation, whether adult, child or baby. Going from an ordinary woman, performing the normal day to day routines, to an extraordinary woman, wielding a parang. The transition from one to the other is quick, but so is the action. It moves fast and furious, without letting up, which to be honest is how it would be if the zombie apocalypse actually happened. You either step up or become one of the walking dead.
It’s an incredibly easy read too and the writing flows really well. Although there’s not a lot of depth or world building I still connected with the characters.
Some of Lori’s decisions are slightly stupid though, like the futile attempt at trying to save a street full of people from a large zombie horde, which could have potentially led the zombies back to her family. Other decisions are more calculated and selfish, but ultimately life-saving for herself, her friends and her family; such as leaving abandoned children to die at the hand of the walking dead. I’m not sure I would have made the same decisions, I’m not sure I could watch children die, even if I didn’t know them. They had nobody to save them as their parents were already dead. But although Lori’s decisions were out of sync with mine, she is admirable in certain situations. And with a large gaggle of zombies descending upon me, I’m sure it would be difficult to make instant decisions under such panic and duress.
At times it seemed that all the adults wanted to have a go at being the hero, and on occasion all together. This is one of those stupid decisions, being as they had numerous children to care for. My eyes rolled to the heavens. Really? Leave all those children unprotected with just one adult, Emma, who really wasn’t much use, as past history showed.
However, for the most part, Dead Tropics is a really fun, action-packed read. It was non-stop, but in a good way. Edge kept the tension and suspense wracked up high for most of the novel. Sometimes I wished it would slow down so I could catch my breath, but I loved how the action drove the novel forward.
Although the title suggests it is based in a tropical rainforest, it is actually set in urban areas for about 75% of the story. When it does move into the rainforest, it’s a nice change of scenery as it’s a fresh and original setting. I wish more of the book took place in the rainforest rather than the town and roads, as this has been done to death.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Tropics. It’s a fun, adrenaline-fuelled ride with lots of zombies. I can’t wait for book two, which I’ve been told by Permuted Press, is set for release sometime in 2014....more
The Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoyinThe Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoying it. The tension, suspense and horror is still prevalent as the zombies continue to evolve into something even more terrifying.
The opening scene is fantastic. The underground army is plotting to go up into the world and push back the thousands of zombies that have accumulated above the underground bunker. The vents, which are keeping the soldiers and civilian's alive are being blocked by the growing number of zombies. After a few attempts at trying to secure the vents and clear the zombies, they decide to try and push back the zombies even further and all hell breaks lose.
This battle scene is just brilliant. Although the zombies aren't particularly hard to deal with individually, the are a terrifying force when grouped together in their thousands. It was so exciting and horrifying all at once. What was a relatively safe place is now over run and the remaining survivors have to fight their way out.
Once secure in a building away from the hordes, Michael, Emma and the others are dumbfounded when a helicopter lands outside the building they are hiding in. This is the beginning of something new and to realise there are others out there scares and excites them. They are told other survivors are safely contained in an airport where they have a small plane as well as the helicopter. With slight trepidation they decide to join the new survivors at the airport. Once there they learn that these survivors will eventually head out to an island they've found and are happy for Michael and his group to join them.
We meet lots of new characters, as well as continuing to follow Michael and Emma (my favourite characters). Their relationship has moved on (luckily in the way I had hoped) but are finding it difficult. But being in a larger group of people, new faces and a new, more secure home, they all begin to feel hope again and make new friends, but of course this doesn't last for long...
Another brilliant instalment from David Moody. As with the previous books in the Autumn series, I couldn't put Purification down. This series is a fantastic addition to the zombie genre. If you haven't read it, then seriously, go pick it up, you won't be sorry....more
172 HOURS ON THE MOON is a novel narrated in the third person and is set in the futReviewed by Becs for www.BookChickCity.com - 2.5 Stars on the blog.
172 HOURS ON THE MOON is a novel narrated in the third person and is set in the future of 2019. As the novel is told from different view points, you are able to follow the main protagonists giving glimpses of each character and their personality.
NASA’s funds, and people’s interest, in space exploration is dwindling, and so they decide to fund another moon landing by holding a lottery to win a trip to the moon for three lucky teenagers. Reality TV is immensely popular and has huge money making potential, which NASA hope to capitalize on to support their next moon mission.
As 172 HOURS ON THE MOON progresses you can feel that NASA is hiding information relating to their reasons as to why they wish to return to the moon and why moon landings had ceased. This element of the unknown helps to create an atmosphere that keeps you guessing as to what may be hiding out on the moon.
The three lucky teenage winners are Mia, Anotoine and Midori.
Mia is a sixteen year old girl from Norway and has overbearing parents who enter Mia into the moon lottery thinking that she would regret a missed opportunity, as Mia has no intention of entering. Mia loves music, and dreams of playing in a famous punk band. Mia is persuaded to go by her friends, to enhance their bands chances of making it big.
Antoine, a heartbroken seventeen year old French boy, needs a way to escape his obsession with his ex-girlfriend, Simone. Antoine enters the competition in the hope that if he wins he will be able to get as far away from Simone as possible.
Midori is a sixteen year old Japanese girl who insists on not following the crowd and wants more from her life than being the expected dutiful Japanese wife. Midori’s dream is to one day live in New York, and hopes that if she is picked to go to the moon, it make that dream a reality.
The three winning teenagers are wanting to get away from something in their lives, be it parents, an ex or a lifestyle, and a trip to the moon offers each person the opportunity to get what they think they want. The trouble is, most things never turn out as good as you expect, and 172 HOURS ON THE MOON teaches a valuable lesson in that the grass isn’t always greener.
There are a few other characters mentioned to help create an alarming situation, mainly an elderly man, Mr Himmelfarb, that has lost his mind and is living in a care home. As the story develops it becomes evident that Mr Himmelfarb used to work for NASA and knows something sinister to do with past moon landings and that his mind is trying to protect him from the memories.
The flight and moon landing takes place without incident and you begin to feel how desolate the moon would be.
Mia could see the surface very clearly now, and she thought she’d never seen anything so lifeless. Everything was just grey. Gray, grey ash, absolutely no sign of life.
I was disappointed that the majority of the book was based on earth before getting to the moon, and the frightening exploration on the moon was rushed and over with too soon. When the story eventually takes place on the moon, 172 HOURS ON THE MOON is more exciting as it’s a race against time as power fails, oxygen supplies dwindle and something evil is trying to prevent their return home.
Johan Hastrad creates a believable plot using actual astronauts and events then adding his own fictional twist, which is interesting. However, due to the third person narrative you never get a full insight into the personalities of the three main teenage protagonists. It is the lack of an emotional connection to the characters that reduced my enjoyment.
I may be a little harsh with my rating as the writing style and plot flowed easily making 172 HOURS ON THE MOON a simple read. However, it just wasn’t my type of book. I kept waiting to feel the tense, scared, heart pounding moment that you expect from a horror/sci-fi, which never came, and I was never fully absorbed with the characters, giving me very little emotional connection to 172 HOURS ON THE MOON as a whole....more
I found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell tI found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell the story of the present and the past, with very short passages between each one, which interrupted the flow of the story. Then there was the 'jar'. One of the most intriguing aspects to White Horse and one of the most frustrating.
A mysterious jar turns up in Zoe's apartment, with no note and no reason. And whereas you or I might just throw it in the recycling bin without too much thought, Zoe leaves it in the middle of her room, looks at it, discusses it with her friends and even has therapy because of it - I found this difficult to understand. I wanted to know what the jar was all about, but at the same time not knowing irritated me and I just couldn't understand Zoe's actions.
So, after the first 80 pages or so I was ready to give up.
And then the unforeseen happens. White Horse switches from a possible did not finish (DNF) to one of the most surprising reads of the year. What was at first annoying becomes the driving force of the novel and the reason for the unrelenting pace. It was now the reason I didn't want to put the book down. I was fascinated, perplexed, captivated. What's wrong with the world? What's the meaning of the jar? Why has all this happened? And who is Swiss? Thankfully we are rewarded answers to these questions at the end.
The world is a very desolate place. The worst traits of the human race is prevalent; rape, murder, selfishness.There are many disturbing scenes such as incestuous rape, abortion and suicide. Everybody we meet seem to be beaten down or have the worst traits of human kind, which made this a very dark and depressing book to read.
The main character, Zoe, isn't much better, thinking only of herself until she meets Lisa, a blind young English woman who Zoe saves from an existence of continuous rape by her father. Although the world is a depressing place, Zoe begins to meet inspirational people on her journey to find the man she loves and the father of her unborn baby. These people care, still human with the best traits. It must rub off on Zoe as she begins to grow as a character, helping others along the way, being selfless, kind and compassionate.
Very slowly we learn that the world was exposed to a disease called White Horse and now humans are mutating, changing into something else, or die. They aren't described very much until the end of the book when you begin to get more of an understanding of what those who are infected have become.
The Swiss, a man who attaches himself to Zoe and Lisa on their journey hurts them physically and mentally. He's a totally vile human being and has no morals, no sense of right and wrong and no lingering humanity. But when we finally find out Swiss's own story, it's completely unpredictable, although a tad unbelievable and even slightly cheesy compared to the rest of the novel.
The ending feels complete and doesn't lend itself to a sequel, but being part of a trilogy there's obviously more to come. I'm looking forward to finding out what that is.
A brilliant debut, White Horse surprised and delighted me. It's wonderfully written with complex characters and visually descriptive prose of a post-apocalyptic landscape. What started out as a contender for the did not finish pile, found its way to my pile of best books of 2012. I can't wait for the next book in the series....more
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy makingOriginally published on www.BookChickCity.com
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy making out, Ashley feels something’s on her, and at first she’s angry as she thinks it’s Matt getting a bit carried away, but when she shoves Matt off her and he shines a light to see what the problem is, they find a half eaten woman rolling around on the ground, wanting to chomp down on Ashley. They make a run for it but the last thing Ashley remembers are Matt’s screams.
When she wakes up she finds herself in a makeshift med ward, and soon learns that a virus is causing the dead to walk. She also finds that one of her lecturers from university and her assistant Gabriel, have not only survived but are actually part of the team helping to contain the disease.
After Ashley has healed sufficiently she learns that she’s actually a ‘wild card’, which means she’s immune to the virus. Because of this they ask her to join their team, along with a few other ‘wild card’s’ they’ve come across, to help clear the area and rescue any survivors. Thus ensues lots of action, zombie brain splattering, suspense and fab character interaction with a dash of sexual tension.
PLAGUE TOWN is such a fun read. Full of zombie munching, gory entrails, sassy heroine and a hero you ‘love to hate’, but soon end up just loving. The descriptions of the zombies are great, and worthy of any horror novel. They are gory and detailed, just the way I like ‘em.
The world Fredsti has created is fantastic, very visual and realistic. The dialogue is very smooth and I was completely immersed in the characters and their lives. There were a few scenes that made my hairs stand on end, which is great, exactly what I want when reading a book such as this.
“In here!” Lil joined me and banged on the front door. We watched as zombies peeled off from the steady stream wandering past and staggered to join the ever-increasing crown in front of the store. I glanced at Lil, and could tell from her set expression that she was scanning the crowd for a familiar face.
One I hoped she didn’t see.
“Maybe we should–” I stopped short as the zombie that used to be Annie suddenly let go of the gate and veered off to its left, pushing through the crowd with what almost seemed like a sense of purpose.
“Okay, now that’s just weird.”
“Do you think she remembers the back door?”
A chill ran up my spine.
Ashley, the main character, is a firecracker; feisty, sassy and not afraid to get into the thick of it. She deals with what life throws at her with ease, sometimes a bit too easily, but I did like her for it. Ashley’s love interest and mentor, is Gabriel. When we first meet him, before the virus and zombie outbreak, he was an absolute pig. He acted superior and talked down to Ashley and tried to embarrass her whenever possible, but as the story moves along, he thaws out and becomes a sweet guy, but also doesn’t lose that hard edge. There’s also a twist to his character I saw a mile off, but it is a good one.
I loved the first sexy scene between Ashley and Gabriel. There had been a bit of sexual tension between them but the intensity of Gabriel’s feelings which showed in this scene shocked me as much as it did Ashley. Did he let the side down by acting like a jerk a little later, yep, but the lead up was sexy and hot.
I gasped in shock. Without warning, his hands tightened painfully on my upper arms and he pushed me up against the wall, his body pressed against mine. His eyes darkened so much I thought I must be imagining it.
My breathing quickened as his hand shifted from my arms up to my face, fingers twining though my hair. Anger and desire warred in his gaze. Heat coiled in my stomach even as fear shuddered up my spine. I tried to shake my head, but his fingers held it in place as he muffled any protests by covering my mouth with his.
Fingers massaging my scalp, he slowly increased the intensity of the kiss, his tongue entering into play as he tilled my head back and slip it in.
I felt like I was following along in a dance, being led by someone who knew the steps much better than I did. I discovered that I was content to follow, matching the pressure of his lips with mine, letting my tongue play with his as he pressed his body into me, emphasising the move with a low, throaty sound.
He was definitely packing heat, and it wasn’t his sidearm.
Ashley and Gabriel do have one other hot scene, unfortunately this isn’t handled as well as the one above, in my opinion, which is a shame as they totally get it on and it’s what I’d been waiting for since their first connection. The reason is, I have a thing. It may just be me but I can’t stand it when people snog first thing in the morning without cleaning their teeth, or, as in this instance, kiss after throwing up. It’s just icky. And it’s all I think about while the scene is unfolding, and I’m unable to enjoy it.After finding out Gabriel’s secret, Ashley is so disgusted she rushes to the bathroom and throws up. She rinses her mouth out but that’s it. In bursts Gabriel and one thing leads to another. The first thing I didn’t like is the above mentioned sicky mouth, but also the fact that it was all too rushed. Why did Ashley and Gabriel have to get it on then and there. With the enormous revelation I would have thought Ashley would have been a little bit more miffed and needed some time to mull everything over.
There’s an AMAZING action scene near the end of the book and I would have much prefered Ashley and Gabriel to have waited until after this scene. I think it would have been much better, but then… I’m not the author.
One of the other ‘wild cards’ I loved is Lily. She’s a really sweet character. At first she seems a bit naive and shy, but put a pickaxe in her hand and she turns into a zombie killing machine. She reminded me a little bit of Jenni from Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy in that she becomes a little nuts with everything that is going on, and to cope she goes out with guns blazing pulverising zombies whenever she can.
One of my favourite scenes was when Ashley and Lil head out on their own to go back into the zombie infested town to rescue Lil’s two cats Doodle and Blinkey. I love animals and I know that I would have to do everything in my power to save them and I loved that this is what the characters in this book decided to do too. It was heart-warming and sweet. The love Lil had for her pet’s was really sweet. She couldn’t concentrate on what she was doing without knowing they were ok. Once they were safely with her and Lil and Ashley were safely back at the UNIT she slept.
I opened the door.
“Lil?” No answer. She wouldn’t have bolted, would she?
Gabriel came in behind me.
“What is it?” he asked. “Is she okay?”
I pointed to the bed where Lily had collapsed, giving in to exhaustion. Blinkey was draped around the top of her head like a furry halo, Doodle curled in the crook of her arm…both cats purred loudly and the contented smile on Lil’s face – even in her sleep – brought tears to my eyes.
“Yeah,” I said quietly. “She’s okay.”
There are lots of secondary characters and they all had distinctive personalities. I didn’t become lost in the sea of names as I have done with other novels. They all added their bit to the story and I ended up liking them all, hoping they would all survive.
Other than one or two aspects, I think PLAGUE TOWN is a great zombie book. I really enjoyed it and Ashley is a fantastic heroine. I can’t wait to see how she grows in subsequent books. Fredsti is now on my auto-buy list and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Zombie Nation....more
The opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how chThe opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how characters from the previous book are doing, as well as the introduction of the army who have been held up in a bunker just outside the city.
New characters Jack, Donna and Cooper are all great, but it was also really good to get back to Emma and Michael who were my favourite characters in the first book, Autumn.
What I’ve found even more evident in this instalment is Moody’s very cinematic writing style – it’s as though each book could be an episode in a TV series and each book just gives you that little bit more of the storyline, but each having a self contained story within.
There’s much better characterisation in this instalment, with a lot more depth of emotion. I’m not sure if it’s because I began reading this straight after reading Autumn but I really started to get to know and care for the characters. The few niggles I had with Autumn weren’t a factor here, and I enjoyed Autumn: The City from beginning to end.
The zombies are still as creepy and now they’re decomposing and getting more violent. Although these zombies are the traditional slow, shuffling kind, they are different in that they rip apart there own kind as well as humans, but don’t eat flesh (well in this instalment anyway). However, this could all change as the zombies evolve further.
There’s fantastic tension and the suspense just builds and builds and doesn’t let up. I couldn’t put this book down and as soon as I’d finished I grabbed for the next book in the series, Autumn: Purification.
Autumn: The City is a great second instalment, much better than the first in my opinion with better characterisation and more depth. I can only see this series getting better with each book, as I follow the characters and get to know them better, as well as seeing how the zombies evolve. If you haven’t started this series yet, then I would urge that you do. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed – a great zombie read....more
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmOriginally posted on www.BookChickCity.com - 5/10 on the blog.
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmospheric, romantic ghost story, and although very different, written with the same richness and depth as 'The woman in Black' by Susan Hill (my favourite ghost story of all time). Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver.
"The Greatcoat" is a ghost story set in Yorkshire during the Second World War and the 1950s. It's a strange little novella in that to me it didn't have much of an atmosphere at all, which is what I expect from a ghost story. It wasn't eerie or creepy. I did, however, think the author managed to capture the essence of Yorkshire quite well and I could visualise the house and street where Isabel and Phillip lived.
Isabel and Phillip are married and move into a house with a rather grouchy landlady. Phillip is a doctor and is working long hours, leaving Isabel alone for long periods of time. The house is cold and one evening Isabel finds an old greatcoat, which she uses to keep warm, and thus begins the ghost story...
I felt that all the characters were very superficial, especially Isabel. They didn't have any depth to them and I didn't get to know them at all. Isabel's husband Philip and her lover (and ghost) Alec, were also a bit on the flat side and rather uninteresting. I didn't care about them, which made the reading of this novel slightly hard going. The character that did pique my interest was Mrs Atkinson, the landlady.
The romance between Isabel and Alec just didn't capture my imagination or my heart and unfortunately I didn't become emotionally attached to either of them. Half the time I didn't know who Isabel was and so I couldn't fully invest in their relationship.
Isabel's narrative was difficult to follow as it alternates between her true self and someone else entirely. I think I have an idea what the author was getting at, but ambiguity is not to my taste. There's also a fair amount of repetitiveness with Isabel doing and saying the same things again and again. The structure of the story is also irritating as it jumps about far too much, which made it feel disjointed.
Although I didn't particularly enjoy "The Greatcoat" I continued reading with the hope that the ending would make all the preceding pages worth while, but sadly the ending was abrupt and obscure.
Unfortunately "The Greatcoat" wasn't what I expected, which was disappointing, and the writing style wasn't to my taste. I couldn't connect with the characters or their relationships with each other. However, this is just my personal opinion - you may love it!...more
"Dust" creates an action-packed world of zombies and horror, with the author not afraid to shy away from wrReview by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com
"Dust" creates an action-packed world of zombies and horror, with the author not afraid to shy away from writing scenes of extreme and sometimes sickening violence from the very first chapter. (Warning, the violence in this novel is not for the faint-hearted!)
As the first book in the series it does all it can to grab your attention from the very first page, with the first chapter throwing you straight into the action of a deer hunt with zombie gang, the Fly-by-Nights. However, by throwing you straight into the action the author tries to give you a taster of information so you want to read on, but I’m not sure she really achieves her goal. She introduces many characters and new supernatural concepts in this opening chapter, but I don’t think enough of an emotional connection was made to the zombie gang, so I wasn’t really passionate about reading on.
However, I really liked Turner’s own spin on the zombie legend, describing each gang member’s varying state of decay in graphic detail complete with bugs nesting in their skin. Turner’s zombies don’t need human flesh to survive, but can survive on the flesh of animals (although of course there are those whom prefer the taste of fresh human). I wasn’t so sure about their unique way of communication, with the zombies talking via brainwaves that are connected to music, each gang member having a different mental instrument. They refer to humans as ‘hoos’, with humans living in fear, denying zombie existence despite knowing otherwise.
The book still follows some typical zombie conventions, such as the storyline of a zombie apocalypse, but I thought the author’s plot was interesting. The apocalypse is brought about by a disease that is making the undead human again and making the humans undead. Of course our heroine is the first to figure out what is going on, becoming deeply connected to ascertaining the cause of the disease.
Jessie is a very likeable heroine, strong, confident and determined with her heart in the right place. It was easy to slip into her first person narration, and was very easy to forget that she was only 15. Her interactions with the other characters are interesting, especially when her suspicions set in and she feels unable to trust the others. I particularly loved her strength of character, as she is particularly kickass and yet still vulnerable when it comes to her family (both her human family and her undead family).
A romance plot is somewhat avoided in the novel, with Jessie trying to hold onto her relationship with her zombie man, Joe, rather than a will-they-won’t-they storyline. I didn’t find Joe to be a very likeable character, as he was very much an alpha male trying to control Jessie at every opportunity and dismissing her intuitive speculations about other members of the group. I found Linc to be a much better character, the quiet, sensitive supporter of Jessie along with new group member Renee who is placed under Jessie’s tuition. Jessie also has a particularly strong bond with the eldest member of the gang, Florian, who is very much her wise guide and whose knowledge proves invaluable towards the end of the novel.
I found the rest of the book to be intriguing, but to a certain extent the events began to feel like too much of a convenience, taking away my enjoyment of the plot twists and making them feel more predictable. There were several characters that I felt no connection with at all, as I think there were too many members in the Fly-by-Nights as some weren’t developed to the same level as others. The book still has some shocking moments, with shocking deaths and revelations that I didn’t expect, and the ending leaves you wondering what will happen after this great apocalypse and how the world will move on from there.
This book was better than expected, with the author creating an interesting change to your typical zombie stereotypes. However, some of the events were just too convenient for me and didn’t make the book flow naturally. The ending left me wondering where the series would go from there, so I definitely wouldn’t rule out reading the second in the series....more
Looking at the cover, the title as well as the fact Carina Press classes "Lure of the Mummy" asOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 5/10 on the blog.
Looking at the cover, the title as well as the fact Carina Press classes "Lure of the Mummy" as a horror, I was expecting more. The writing is good but the horror is non existent, and with just 72 pages to play with I felt that the story was just too short. It felt as if it was from a much longer work, but to keep it at novella length the author removed huge chunks of the story. It read a little thin.
There wasn't a lot of depth to the characters, and the world was very narrowly focused, mainly on an apartment and an office. The fact the story was set in Egypt should have given the author a lot to play with but unfortunately the opportunity was lost.
"Lure of the Mummy" is set in Egypt and should have conveyed the colourful Egyptian atmosphere, lifestyle and people. It did for the first couple of pages and then disappeared inside an office building and apartment. I would have like much more descriptive detail of the Egyptian museum and wish that it was set there rather than alternating between a boring office and apartment. I think it would have added to the story of the mummified cat and the strange goings on.
Bert is the main character and who most of the story centres around. He's a hieroglyphics expert, but he is bypassed for a more dynamic colleague when a new artefact needs translating. When he's out at a market he's offered a mummy to buy, which he does, but things are not as they seem with this mummified cat. When Bert thinks that a certain someone should just drop dead, they actually do...
When I finished the last page I was relieved. Bert is a very distasteful character and incredibly unlikable. He's selfish and bitter, filled with jealousy and anger, basically he's just a nasty little man. When he eventually gets his comeuppance I didn't feel any sympathy for him at all. In fact I was rather indifferent.
"Lure of the Mummy" is an interesting character study but not an immensely enjoyable piece of fiction. There wasn't enough depth to the characters for me to connect with, and although Bert did get under my skin it was not in a good way. There's also not enough world building, and with Egypt being the setting this novella should have oozed atmosphere. Although this isn't an awful novella I personally wouldn't recommend it, but if you like short, quick reads then you may enjoy this one more than me. ...more
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the3.5 Stars
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the moment. Both the excellent As the World Dies series by Rhiannon Frater and Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux also began their life online.
What I found really compelling about this novel is the fact everything unfolds in what feels like real time. From the very first day when the virus hits we follow the few survivors through their disbelief, anger and fear. It was refreshing to get a complete story rather than just be told that a virus caused the walking dead, but to actually live it alongside the characters as it happens was chilling.
Moody has a brilliant way of building the suspense and tension. At first the virus spreads and the descriptions of hundreds of thousands of deaths was completely terrifying and is one of the best openings I’ve read.
Another noise behind her made Emma look back over her shoulder. The other shopper had collapsed face-first into a display rack, sending loaves of bread, rolls and pastries crashing to the ground. He lay on his back in the middle of the aisle, coughing, holding his throat and writhing in agony.
Outside, there were bodies everywhere. Emma stumbled onto the street, shielding her eyes from the blinding sun. Hundreds of people had fallen around her, and every face she looked into was ashen, each person’s lips bloodied and red. They had all suffocated.
The few survivors then watch as two days later many of the decomposing bodies rise up again. As the story moves forward the zombies who are at first completely harmless begin to change…
There are many different characters we follow, and we view the world through their eyes in a third person narrative. Personally, I much prefer a first person narrative as it’s easier for me to really connect with the characters. I think this is because I get to hear their introspective thoughts. Because this is all third person, I didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading about them.
The aspect I did have a problem with was that this seemed to be a world without any knowledge of the word zombie or what it symbolised. A world without zombie fiction or movies. And I say this because when the dead started to rise, not one character mentioned zombies, when the dead came at them in hordes, decomposing and yet animated, still nobody mentioned zombies. I appreciate that some authors may prefer not to use the “z” word, trying to create something new, but to me it felt a little strange, as though I was reading about a parallel world but one that had no knowledge of zombies what so ever.
However, I can honestly say that even with the few niggles I had with Autumn I found it very difficult to put down. By the midway point, I was invested in the characters and their story and wanted to know what they were going to do, how they were going to survive and why did all this happen. The climax was heart in throat stuff and I couldn’t wait to pick up book two.
Autumn is a really good zombie novel with a refreshing style that had me captivated. A few issues here and there, but overall a great read and one I would recommend to horror and zombie fans alike. There are lots of questions left unanswered, but that just leads us nicely onto book two, Autumn: The City....more