Oh man, I feel really bad about writing this review, but obligations. I wanted The Dollhouse Asylum so badly that I begged my way onto the tour. I mean, look at that synopsis! Have you read it yet? I thought I would be getting a book about a weird oldish guy (probably 30s to a teenager - it says "man") being creeptastic with the young girl. I guess it was a little bit like that, but the "older man" is in his early 20s, and Cheyenne is 18. Not what I had in mind. That is only the most minor of issues that I had with The Dollhouse Asylum.
The biggest problem that I had (and I really did try to get past it!) was the relationship between Teo and Cheyenne. They met because he was her math teacher. That is such a huge no for me. I am a firm believer that relationships should be between people who are equals, and the teacher-student dynamic is wrong on so many levels. Yes, I get that Teo is a sociopath and him perving on the young girl added a layer of icky to him. However, reading about their relationship from Cheyenne's point of view, thick with her giddiness and naivete, left a really bad taste in my mouth.
Speaking of Cheyenne, she was the final straw for me in The Dollhouse Asylum. Yes, I get that she's an innocent young girl with no brain. She is obsessed with making out with her teacher. She feels like a queen in Teo's kingdom and only thinks about how much she wishes her friends would love Mr. Perv as much as her. Oh yeah, she was completely blind to how the other teens were acting around Teo when she came in and thought it was because they didn't know him well. Ummm... Right... TDTL? She walked past the body bags into the encampment when he told her that those were the only way out. (Cheyenne never gave it a second thought.) She went through the booby traps. She ignored him treating them like puppets or dolls, making them dress and act like the characters he assigned to them. Cheyenne had no sense of danger or trouble until Teo started killing people.
Oh, there's supposed to be some kind of zombie thing going on outside, too, during all of this. The concept behind it was interesting, but it wasn't at the forefront of the novel. I didn't have enough damns to give to stick with the icky romance or dumb teenage girl to find out more.
I'm not saying that The Dollhouse Asylum is a bad book, but I just couldn't make it past Cheyenne's über naivete. Maybe she grew up and did fantastic things in the book. Who knows? I was already uncomfortable with her relationship with Teo and his using his authority as a teacher to brainwash her. I wasn't going to stay with the book because I was already irritated. It's just not for me.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)
Once upon a time there was a book that should have turned me off completely after fifty pages. Its na...moreReview originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.
Once upon a time there was a book that should have turned me off completely after fifty pages. Its name was PODs. PODs was an interesting little book with teenage naïveté, superviruses, questionable government policy, awful roommates, young love, action, zombies, and cringe-worthy science. Despite the strange formula, I still fell in love with the book.
The main character, Evangeline aka Eva, isn't the perfect character, but she's one that I connected with and cared about though I can't exactly pinpoint why. I shouldn't have liked her, per my inconsistent taste. She was the embodiment of that aforementioned teenage naïveté. Her parents sprung a family game night with no electronics on her when she saw them worrying over something they were watching on television, and she went along with it, despite never having one before. That was her general behavior in the book, but it read more as "go with the flow" than a mindless sheep routine. What I really had trouble with was her treatment of her BFF, Bridget, at the start of the book. It wasn't godawful, but it lingered.
The questionable government policy comes into play with its treatment of the supervirus outbreak. Not for a minute do I believe that a government - especially the United States government - would instigate a mass panic by saying they allowed a incurable virus to enter the country. You know, because that's what would happen if someone official went on TV, radio, whatever and said, "Hey, we have this going on, and there's nothing we can do about it. You're all going to die." This is no spoiler; it all happens within the first twenty or so pages. In reality, there would be denials, promises/hope for a cure or immunization, more denial, and quarantine of any person/region exposed to it, especially if it spreads. (What small experience I have with serious infectious disease is the CDC jumping in quickly and taking care of shit. Trust me.) The publicized lottery system was hard to set aside doubt for, even in a science fiction novel. These government slip-ups would have rioting, mayhem, and panic befitting a modern day French Revolution meets the Salem Witch Hunt. Yes, there was some commotion in the book, but not nearly enough to make it believable. But that's just my opinion.
The next main section of PODs, after the questionable outbreak and policy, is the time Eva spends in the POD system and her roommates who share her confinement. She's there with three and a half other girls (one is gestating) and five boys. There were a few things that had me raising my eyebrow about how this was supposed to work out. First, I want to know why Eva had to have birth control while Tiffany came in pregnant. The girls in the PODs were given periodical birth control shots, basically whether they wanted it or not. Second, there was never any mention, that I recall, of them being given antidepressants. These people had just separated from their families, leaving them for certain death, and locked in an underground apartment for a year. Going without direct sunlight alone is enough to make people depressed or suicidal, but everything going on should have made at least a few of these kids nutjobs. (Josh was the only one behaving realistically.) I thought that this was something that was missing from the book, or even mentioning cabin fever, because there's no way that nine roommates and the POD intranet would be enough to keep them from becoming stir-crazy. Also, there was a bit of romance, but I know teenagers (I used to be one), and it would have been A LOT steamier in that sub-POD thing. They don't care if someone hears or sees them. I found that out the hard way.
In fear of this starting to sound like I hated PODs (I promise I didn't - it's really quite good), I'm going to tell you a few things that I did like. *throws away list of other concerns* Eva was a strong-willed and likable heroine. She knew what she wanted, what she didn't, and was a very friendly girl. After she left the POD, she just wasn't jiving with how the new communities were working. When faced with choosing between safety and a loved one, she really did make the best decision for her own life. Another thing about PODs that I liked was the writing. There was just something about it (I didn't try to pinpoint it) that made it all work, despite the issues that would have ended with a lesser book trashed. Pickett was able to suck me into the story and make me yearn to find out more. I couldn't have stopped reading PODs and walk away at any point. The last awesome thing that stuck with me was the zombie treatment. I can't tell you exactly what it is because of spoilers, but I like the concept. I haven't read a lot of zombie novels, so it may have been used before, but it's new to me.
So to end this story of PODs, the little book that shouldn't have worked, I want you to know that it DID work, and I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel. I think zombie lovers and fans of the apocalypse both with enjoy this novel. I know I did.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)
Latter-Day of the Dead is Kevin Krohn’s latest novel, which is the fictional first person account of a...moreReview originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please
Latter-Day of the Dead is Kevin Krohn’s latest novel, which is the fictional first person account of a zombie outbreak on an isolated compound of radical Mormons. It is a thrilling horror novel that is aimed at a mature audience.
Elias is the doctor in Kanab, Utah, where his family and congregation resides. He is one of the few individuals that had been allowed to leave the compound for outside schooling, based on the needs of their secluded community. Despite his exposure to the outside world, it is not until Elias is denied what he wants most and his brethren become violently (literally) ill that he begins to question what he has always taken on faith.
While reading the book, the main thing that stood out to me is the impartial description of polygamy and Mormon history. Neither are slammed, just described in a manner that is unbiased and obviously researched. The unfortunate result of living in a closed community – inbreeding – is even handled in a dignified manner. None of the villagers are slobbering idiots; they are just slow, and there is a particular genetic disorder that is prevalent in the compound. Krohn did not even use the stereotype of the evil polygamist as a crutch to find a villain – that individual earned my disdain on his own. I had to point all of this out first because in order for me to truly enjoy a book, I want to appreciate what the author does around the story itself.
As for the story, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was more thriller than horror, and there weren’t any parts that I found myself disgusted enough to skim. (This is what I do in Stephen King’s gorier works.) Yes, there is the typical zombie bloodshed, but it is not gratuitous and helps move the plot along. The only problem that I had with the book is that it ended rather abruptly. It is short enough that I could almost classify it as a novella, so the sequel that is sure to come could have been added to make one larger novel. Plus, I wouldn’t have to wait find out what happens after the cliffhanger ending.
I’m glad that I did not hesitate in accepting this independently published novel. It was well-written, well-edited, and just as good as anything put out by the major publishing houses. It was a quick, fun read, and I will happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys zombie books or even horror in general.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
Dearly, Departed is the exciting and thrilling debut novel of Lia Habel. It is a delightful mashing of Young Adult, dystopian, science fiction, parano...moreDearly, Departed is the exciting and thrilling debut novel of Lia Habel. It is a delightful mashing of Young Adult, dystopian, science fiction, paranormal romance, zombie, Victorian, and steampunk, despite being set in the year 2195. It has a lot going on, but still manages to pull off being, by far, one of my favorite reads for 2011.
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
Although this book is advertised as being a romance novel, it was much more than that to me. Sure, there was a love story, but there was so much action and adventure going on around the blossoming romance between protagonist Nora Dearly and the dashing undead, Abraham Griswold. There are also several other characters who provide their points of view – in addition to the two lovers – to the story: Nora’s best friend, Pamela Roe; her father, Victor Dearly; and our villain, Wolfe. Once again, there was a lot going on in the book, but it was never tedious or confusing and allowed the story’s flow to stay interesting.
I was on a cruise when I read the book. Instead of playing in the pool on deck or hanging out in the bar, I was sucked into the lives of the characters. Lia Habel’s descriptive writing made me feel as if I was in Central/South America in the fantastic world that she had created, instead of being on my rocking ship. I could not step away from the story, because I needed to know what would happen on the next page. Chapters were not always a good stopping point since the POV changed so often, and I had to find out what had occurred since I left a character two or three chapters previously.
I loved the book, and it is definitely going to be one of my “Librarian Recommendations” to my young adults and adults who are young at heart. (less)
Leah Clifford’s A Touch Mortal is a simply wonderful Young Adult novel. The Urban Fantasy genre has gotten quite crowded in the past decade, but Cliff...moreLeah Clifford’s A Touch Mortal is a simply wonderful Young Adult novel. The Urban Fantasy genre has gotten quite crowded in the past decade, but Clifford’s debut novel still manages to stand out. She did not choose to go with the ever-popular choice – vampires and werewolves – but chose instead to throw together zombies and angels.
We begin the novel with Eden, our heroine, as a flawed teenager, bored with life and contemplating suicide until she meets the two friends, Az and Gabe. There is something different about the two young men, but then again, she’s not quite normal herself.
The plot twists, turns and flips upside-down as we watch Eden adjust to her new life and fight her inner (and outer?) demons. I read the book in less than a day, and it left me yearning for more. I must also mention that the beautiful cover art by Paul Zakris is genius. I spent probably ten minutes savoring the outside of the book alone. Not only is the young girl on the front cover gorgeous, but what you do not see on the back just catches the essence of the book. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford is the total package for a good read.(less)
I absolutely love this book. This is what had me wander over to the Urban Fantasy genre (other than Anne Rice, which is a genre in itself).
Anita Blake...moreI absolutely love this book. This is what had me wander over to the Urban Fantasy genre (other than Anne Rice, which is a genre in itself).
Anita Blake is a "special" human who refuses to work with vampires, as she has a very black and white opinion of them. Her beliefs are challenged and then destroyed as she works to solve a case involving a vampire serial killer and save a master vampire and his human minion (who are both really hot).
The character development in this book is delicious, compared to many others in the genre. In one book, we're able to watch Anita Blake transform (albeit unwillingly) into a person slightly more tolerant of vampires. We see a "bad guy" who isn't all that bad, a baddie who is an epic villainess, a fellow vampire hunter who is exponentially more dangerous but caring, and a minion who finally learns to stand up for himself.
I had originally given this book 4 Stars, but I upped it to 5 after rereading it. The more I read, the more I understand the beauty in Laurell K. Hamilton's writing style. This is a GOOD book, even if you don't like the genre. I would recommend it to anyone who reads Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi-Fantasy, or just has an open mind in general.(less)