Zombies! Let it be known that if you offer me a book revolving around zombies for review, I'll likely snatch it up. I love the visceral nature of storZombies! Let it be known that if you offer me a book revolving around zombies for review, I'll likely snatch it up. I love the visceral nature of stories like Greene's. Watching people fight against not only impossible odds, but against the someone who is essentially the darkest part of themselves. Zombies are terrifying because they are us. Our friends, our neighbors, even our children. It's a great jumping off point for a story, but it's up to the author to bring it home.
Which Daniel Greene did, and did extremely well. This story was paced out perfectly. From the moment that I was dropped in the middle of the Congo, I was immersed. Greene lays out just enough scientific background, to make the spread of this disease feel realistic. As the story progressed, and I got to know our cast of characters better, I realized that Greene is simply excellent at giving just enough information without bogging things down. I always felt like I knew what was going on, and it made this an easy and exciting read.
What made End Time even better, was Agent Mark Steele. I'm used to zombie stories through the eyes of survivors. Mere people who were caught up in the madness. Mark is tough. A kind, thoughtful guy who is used to violence and the unpredictable. You'd think it would have made him the perfect candidate for this kind of event. Which is what makes this story so raw. A man who should be prepared, who realizes that he isn't. If he's not, what chance to we stand? Looking through the eyes of Steele, through the eyes of someone who is trained for anything and is still terrified, took this story to a whole new level.
My one gripe, and it's a small one, is that I really didn't like Gwen's attitude towards things. I was impressed at how much spotlight was on Mark's wife, and how brilliant she was taking care of herself. After all, zombie books often focus on the men being the keepers of the women. Still, Gwen had that typical female attitude that drives me crazy in zombie stories. I wanted to see her being strong, and rational. Not whiny, and irresponsible.
I'm glad that there's more of this to come! End Time surprised me with how well-written and fascinating it was. I'm ready to follow Agent Steele wherever he goes next....more
The Beltane Escape manages to seamlessly blend together a bit of magic, a bit of myth, and a whole lot of historical fiction. Although I'm not generalThe Beltane Escape manages to seamlessly blend together a bit of magic, a bit of myth, and a whole lot of historical fiction. Although I'm not generally a fan of most historical fiction, if you throw in just enough magic to make it a Fantasy novel I'll gladly snatch it up! I'm happy to say that Ariella Moon succeeded at doing just that.
When I first opened this book, and found myself in the middle of a fight between The Lady of the Lake and Merlin, I knew this would be something I'd be interested in. In fact, had it been a story solely about those two, I would have been thrilled. I was soon introduced to Lady Fenella though, the protagonist of this book, and I slowly warmed up to her. A young heiress to a massive thanedom, Lady Fenella's life has never really been her own. I felt for her, and was eager to learn more about her.
Which actually brings me to the fact that Ariella Moon does an excellent job of slowly building her characters. Instead of throwing all the information out at once, I grew to know Fenella better over the course of the book. I saw her strength right out of the gate, but the more I read the more I saw what a complex person she was. It was the same with all the characters, in fact. The fact that there were no infodumps felt nice. It allowed me to get lost in the story.
In terms of plot, that's where this book and I had a bit of a falling out. The story itself is well-paced, regarding both pacing and characterization. However it never felt as exciting as I felt it should. I wanted more tension, more excitement. Once the Fairy Folk came into play, things picked up a lot. Still, the writing never really grabbed me. I felt like someone looking in, rather than being an actual part of the story.
I can forgive all of that though, because the ending was fabulous. I love endings that aren't necessarily a cliffhanger, but more of an elipsis. Endings that aren't frustrating, but actually leave you excited for more. Lady Fenella has my attention! I'd follow her further down the rabbit hole for sure....more
Blackheath falls into the category that I like to call "book candy". While it's not as deep of a story as it could be, it's an easy read that is ultimBlackheath falls into the category that I like to call "book candy". While it's not as deep of a story as it could be, it's an easy read that is ultimately enjoyable. If you're looking for deep insight into a family of witches, this isn't what you're looking for. If, instead, you're looking for a quick story that will keep you interest until the end? Well, this is your kind of book.
What's wonderful about this book is that it focuses on a mainly male group of witches. Yes, you read that right. At no time are they titled "wizards" simply because they aren't women. No, these are male witches, and I was giddy at the prospect. Joel and his family kept me reading. I loved the family dynamic, mixed in with the fact that they were a coven of their own as well.
I'll admit, it took me a while to warm up to Joel and Maggie. As progatonists go, they aren't the easiest to love when the story begins. Still, I'm glad that I stuck with them. Joel's personality grew, and grew, replacing a whiny teenager with a loving brother. Maggie stopped feeling sorry for herself, and started believing in something larger than her own problems. These two ended up being something wonderful, and I so appreciated that fact that their little romance never overshadowed their own separate growth.
My rating for this book mainly revolves around the fact that there isn't much substance to it. The story skims right on the surface of everything, and things that probably should be important don't quite feel that way. There were a few times where I thought that there should be tension, or anger, or even guilt. I knew it should have been there, but it just didn't come through.
Would I read more? Most likely. As I mentioned, this was an easy read and ultimately enjoyable! Perhaps they'll be a bit more substance in the next book....more
Where to begin? Leigh Russell isn't a new author to me, although this is the first book that I've read written by her. My mom has been a fan of RusselWhere to begin? Leigh Russell isn't a new author to me, although this is the first book that I've read written by her. My mom has been a fan of Russell's "Geraldine Steel" series for a long time. So when this book came up for review, I wanted to give it a try. I'm not the biggest mystery buff, but I'm always willing to give the genre a try now and then.
Credit where credit is due, I think the biggest draw to this story was that the setting is absolutely lavish in the way that it's written. I've never been to the Seychelles, but Russell described the people, the food, and the atmosphere so vividly that I felt as if I'd known the place all my life. The fact that she included things as small as the look of a sunset over a landmark, or the occurrence of tropical rainstorms that were there and gone in a flash, made it a place I could easily get lost in. I honestly felt a bit jealous of Lucy. I'd love to experience that for myself.
The story itself, however, didn't hold that same sway over me. It took so long to get going in the beginning that, by the time things were in motion, I wasn't as invested as I had originally been. Lucy's story was simple enough. A woman who has been unlucky in love, and is eager to escape all her worries. I appreciated that Russell laid out Lucy's family history with the islands, before bringing her there as an adult. It was interesting to see how things tied back to the past. The pacing was really slow though. I was so eager for forward movement that I had to keep stopping myself from trying to skim read. I needed more action.
Add in the fact that the characters never really felt fully solid, and you'll see why I rated this three stars. It was an okay read, but it didn't catch up me as much as I wanted it to. I see a lot of potential in Leigh Russell's writing though. I think I'll pick up her Geraldine Steel detective series instead, since I have an affinity for the hard boiled detective types. Still, this is a fairly easy read and a good way to spend a few hours. Especially if you're a mystery lover....more
Another wonderful entry in the Fairy Tale Reform School series! Look, it's no secret that I have a soft spot for these kinds of stories. I'm a MiddleAnother wonderful entry in the Fairy Tale Reform School series! Look, it's no secret that I have a soft spot for these kinds of stories. I'm a Middle Grade reader, trapped in an adult's body. I love magic, mischief, and stories about great friendships. It's no wonder, then, that I also love Jen Calonita's writing. I enjoyed the first book, Flunked, immensely. So I couldn't wait to get my hands on Charmed and see what Gilly was up to now.
The first thing I noticed about this sequel was that Gilly has grown up. Oh, sure, she's still a rascal. She and her friends get up to all sorts of silliness. At the heart of it though, Gilly knows what true evil looks like now. She understands that people can get hurt, and that the choices we make affect others. I loved how Calonita didn't just let Gilly sit at this new point in her life though. Instead, she grows even more throughout the course of this book. Middle Grade readers need good role models and, as feisty as Gilly is, she definitely fits that bill.
Plus, there were so many more fairy tale references to fall in love with! I can't deny that I'm a sucker for a fairy tale pun. Those abound here, and if I'm finding myself giggling I have no doubt that young readers will too. I also appreciated the addition of new, and interesting characters. Most notably, Blackbeard makes his debut here. The idea that a new reader might want to discover the history of that dreaded pirate? Well, it makes me all giddy. He also adds a nice lightness to everything, what with his pirate manners and all. Pirates aren't exactly known for their manners.
I'm being completely honest when I say that I hope there's more of these stories to come. The ending had me a bit teary eyed, and truly hoping that this isn't the last I'll see of Gilly and her friends. If you have a young reader at home, especially one who enjoys a good fairy tale, this is a series you should get them started on. Jen Calonita's writing is wonderful....more
Let it be known that I'm still not certain if this is an ongoing series or not. What I do know, is that this particular TPB collects the four issues oLet it be known that I'm still not certain if this is an ongoing series or not. What I do know, is that this particular TPB collects the four issues of this comic that currently exist. Boy-1 deals with that very gray area that lies between helping and hurting the human race. Is DNA alteration okay if it's meant to help? Does changing a person's inherent cellular structure, if it's meant to save them, make sense? This, and more, are explored in this comic, and I was pretty darn intrigued.
Okay, so first things first. The story so far, which is why I question if this is an ongoing series, is pretty thin. While I absolutely loved the concept of Boy-1, it felt really rushed. There was barely any time at all to get to know Jadas, our main character. I clung to the pieces that I did know. Drug-addict. Heir to a huge genetic research company. A little off, in more ways than one. As Jadas struggled to uncover what was going on, I found myself constantly questioning everything. I wanted more meat. More plot. It felt like this was barely skimming the surface of Jadas' past and, quite honestly, it really killed the vibe of this whole read. I love Sci Fi. I think the concept of genetic research is utterly fascinating. Why not spend more time playing all of that up?
Which brings me to the art, and the reason why I kept on reading. I have to say, Amancay Nahuelpan is quite the illustrator. I loved the movement of the panels, the excellent facial features on all the characters, and the way that this whole dystopian world slowly unfolded in front of me. Were it not for the stellar art, I might have stopped reading. I'm glad I didn't though, because the ending was enough to keep me wondering....more
I admit, when I first started Starve I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. The premise captured my attention, but the art wasn't something I was sold on. Until,I admit, when I first started Starve I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. The premise captured my attention, but the art wasn't something I was sold on. Until, that is, I started diving deeper into the story. Suddenly, the way that Gavin and his gritty world were drawn made perfect sense. By the time I reached the end of this, you couldn't have pried it out of my hands. I'm sincerely disappointed that I'll have to wait a while for the next trade.
Brian Wood's story is captivating. He brings to life a world famous chef, Gavin Cruikshank, who has gone off the rails a bit. He's made himself disappear, to a place where no one knows who he is or what he used to be. I didn't like Gavin at first, but that's because I didn't understand him. As his story unfolded, and I saw what his once loved profession had become, I understood. In a world where the elite live in excess, and the poor starve, Gavin is almost a monster. Which, I soon learned, he ends up owning. I actually really enjoyed Gavin once I got to know him, prickly personality and all.
As I mentioned, the art style here takes a little warming up to. I'm used to solid lines, and vivid colors, so the illustrations felt a little unfinished to me at first. Once I was further into the story though, they just became a part of the whole package. Gavin's life isn't solid. It isn't vibrant, but rather full of shady business, violence, and gross excess. I loved this art after a while, and I'm eager to see where things go next.
Long story short? This is a solid series! I'll be impatiently waiting for more....more
Bravo, sirs. Really though, kudos. I never thought that I'd be able to say that I was intrigued by an STD, but Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley have acBravo, sirs. Really though, kudos. I never thought that I'd be able to say that I was intrigued by an STD, but Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley have accomplished that for me. When we think of STDs, we think of them as things we don't want to contract. They are uncomfortable, embarrassing, and often terrifying in the way that they manifest themselves. In the world of The Beauty, that's all changed. What if you could contract and STD that would make you flawless? Perfect skin, perfect hair, no known side effects. If Haun and Hurley are right, that would spread like wildfire.
Oh, this was so good. The first volume of The Beauty does an amazing job of pulling you right into the middle of the story, but leaving a few loose ends dangling out there to keep you reading. I found myself caught up in a mystery. Remember when I said that this disease had "no known side-effects"? Well, they make themselves known fairly soon after you start reading this story, and they aren't pretty. While I could have used a little more background on our main characters, I liked them so much that it didn't make a difference after a few pages. I have a feeling more we'll get to know them better very, very soon.
This entire storyline is honestly brilliant though. It spotlights our obsession with fads, with beauty, and with being part of the masses. On the flip side, it also spotlights the terrible things that go on behind the scenes. Like big business having the opportunity to help people, and withholding it for profit. We all suspect that goes on, but Haun actually shows it close up. He takes these normal people, who never even wanted the "gift" they were given, and their struggle to just lead semi-normal lives. Add in an art style that is gorgeous, and an absolutely perfect addition to this story, and you have a series that I'm firmly in love with.
I'm glad I waited for the first trade paperback to come out. I don't know if my heart would have survived single issues. I can tell you right now though, I'm in for the duration of The Beauty. It has hooked me, and I'm completely okay with that....more
I find it necessary to tell you that I'm an extremely picky reader when it comes to Historical Fiction. As a genre, it just never seems to hold my attI find it necessary to tell you that I'm an extremely picky reader when it comes to Historical Fiction. As a genre, it just never seems to hold my attention as well as most others. However, once in a while I find a gem. A book that not only captures my imagination, but enfolds me in the rich history that hides inside of it. Sarah McCoy creates this beautiful, lifelike story that just begs you to keep reading. I'm proud to say that I devoured this book, and was eager for more.
The Mapmaker's Children brings to life the story of Sarah Brown, the daughter of abolitionist leader John Brown. While this is fiction, you can tell that there is a hefty amount of fact woven seamlessly in. Sarah's bravery, her artistic ability, her fierce love for her family, were all penned expertly into this story. I felt like I was right beside her, for all the pain and all the joy. She was such a strong woman, and I took an instant liking to her passion for the fight. With every page, I grew to love her more and more. McCoy makes you care, and it's brilliant. Brilliant, and heartbreaking.
Tied up in Sarah's story is the story of another, more modern day, woman named Eden. In fact, The Mapmaker's Children is told in alternating chapters between these two. Generally I'm not a fan of alternating points of view. In this case though, it works just perfectly. See, Eden's home holds secrets. Secrets that, as I soon discovered, directly tied in to Sarah's history as well. I was enamored with this fact. That two women, so similar and yet so different, could be tied together by fate. If Sarah's character wasn't enough to make me love this book, seeing her history slowly uncovered in parallel with Eden's life made it all the more enjoyable. I won't spoil, but trust me when I say that it's well worth the wait.
Truly, I could go on and on about this book. There's so much to it. It has this lushness about it that just makes you fall into the pages and not want to crawl out again. The settings are vivid, the characters are three dimensional, and the entire book has this sense of familial love to it that just made me feel at home. It takes a lot to impress me lately, but this book absolutely did. The Mapmaker's Children definitely deserves a space on your to-be-read pile....more