Mira Grant's welcome return to her beloved zombie horror-cum-political thriller Newsflesh series introduces readers to a whole new cast of charactersMira Grant's welcome return to her beloved zombie horror-cum-political thriller Newsflesh series introduces readers to a whole new cast of characters and a political conspiracy that manages to reflect and tie into the earlier trilogy while seeming fresh to longtime fans and welcoming to series newcomers. Join news blogger team Ash, Ben, Mat, and Audrey as they follow the primary campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Susan Kilburn...who may be the target of assassination by means of weaponized zombies. Fans of diverse literature will appreciate characters of varying sexualities, gender identities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds, and fans of good storytelling will appreciate the intrigue and no-holds-barred action.
Thanks to Orbit and Edelweiss for providing an advance review copy....more
My just-turned-3 year old cousin went nuts over this book. It's actually pretty scary for that age (they aren't kidding about the "not a bedtime storyMy just-turned-3 year old cousin went nuts over this book. It's actually pretty scary for that age (they aren't kidding about the "not a bedtime story" warning on the cover), but, at least for my cousin, it was just scary enough to be titillating. He asked to read it five times in a row, and after the first time he would jump off the couch and hide (giggling) when he knew the wolf was about to jump out. I really liked the touch-and-feel elements of the book--the fact that they are hidden and you have to reach in blindly, nervously, to see what will be revealed reminds me of the blindfolded Halloween activity with bowls of cold spaghetti guts and peeled grape eyes. This is the perfect story for the preschooler who wants to read something scary. A definite must for a spooky Halloween storytime....more
I got an ARC, but it felt so wrong to experience Night Vale without Cecil Baldwin's voice that after just two pages I decided I'd better wait for theI got an ARC, but it felt so wrong to experience Night Vale without Cecil Baldwin's voice that after just two pages I decided I'd better wait for the audiobook.
I read this for a book club, and the other book club attendees loved it. They loved it because it was new and different and fresh, because it compelleI read this for a book club, and the other book club attendees loved it. They loved it because it was new and different and fresh, because it compelled you to continue reading because you just had to know what was going on, and because it was beautifully written.
I concede all of the above points. It is new and different and fresh, it's beautifully written, and this isn't a book you can really bring yourself to DNF. But when I reached the end, my reaction was, "Huh. Well, that was...weird." I spent the day leading up to my book club discussion trying to figure out if I thought it was good-weird or bad-weird, but in the end, it was just...weird. I didn't like it, but I didn't really dislike it either. I just find it kind of bafflingly odd.
If you like weird, you might love this. This book is weird from top to bottom, inside and out. It's got a weird structure, weird characters, weird interconnected stories, and a weird blend of myth and reality. The book is divided into seven parts, and each part is weird in its own unique way.
This isn't something I would have picked up without the book club impetus, and this is one of those times when I really could have lived without that extra push. I don't feel like precious hours of my life were wasted with this one, but I don't feel like they were really put to good use either.
In sum: Just really strange, leaving me with feelings of ambivalence.
P.S. I also have no idea why this is marketed as YA, other than the length and the fact that Marcus Sedgwick had previously published in that genre. It's really not YA in theme, tone, or the age of its central characters, so, uh, what else is there?...more
I was really, really excited to read this book. I adore Grant's Newsflesh trilogy--it definitely makes the list of my all-time favorite books. So I fiI was really, really excited to read this book. I adore Grant's Newsflesh trilogy--it definitely makes the list of my all-time favorite books. So I figured I would adore this one as well. I...didn't. It was okay, and I suspect I may have enjoyed it more if I didn't have such high expectations, but in the end, it was no Feed.
Part of the issue I had with Parasite is that the premise is actually remarkably similar to that of the Newsflesh books. It's still zombies, only the zombies are caused by quasi-sentient parasites meant to make you super healthy instead of a combo common cold/cancer cure. But, I mean, even the idea that zombies were caused by attempts to improve human health and quality of life is the same.
Also, Sal and Nathan were no George and Shaun. I didn't actually like any of the characters except one secondary character who shows up every once in a while (view spoiler)[and who turns out to be evil, oops (hide spoiler)]. Sal was an incredibly difficult protagonist to root for because she was just kind of a naive nitwit. There were times when I hoped she would be killed by zombies. ((view spoiler)[But I suppose it would be too much to hope for that Mira Grant would kill off another protagonist in the first book of a series, heh. (hide spoiler)] for Newsflesh.)
And in another boring parallel to Newsflesh, there was a secret lab with a mad scientist doing terrifying, unethical experiments in order to further their fight against a big, evil conspiracy. Been there, read that book.
Overall, the book was decent, but the boring characters weren't strong enough to make the sameness of the premise palatable to someone who has read and loved the Newsflesh trilogy. I would rather spend my time rereading that series instead.
Thanks to Orbit and Edelweiss for the advance reader copy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Note: I received an electronic ARC of this title from the publisher.
Here's what made me really dislike this book: Most of the characters were assholesNote: I received an electronic ARC of this title from the publisher.
Here's what made me really dislike this book: Most of the characters were assholes, the "big secret" of Moreau's island was withheld for so long I got incredibly bored, and, worst of all, Juliet is one of those protagonists who doesn't do any protagging--she's just dragged along by the current of plot rather than being an active force in the story. I also really hated the ending.
Also also, love triangle. (At this point, I really don't even have to say anything else about that, do I?)
There were some interesting ideas here (most of them taken from the original story, I believe, though I haven't read it so I can't say for certain), but overall this one fell flat for me....more
Note: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I don't usually read smaNote: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I don't usually read small press books (quality is too hit or miss), and I've never read m/m romance before, but I just couldn't pass up this intriguing premise. And I'm so glad I didn't. This book was awesome.
I read a lot of romance (generally of the straight variety), and I was so thrilled by this novel because none of my usual romance pet peeves were present. The romance did not comprise the entire plot. The couple experienced tension in their relationship that was not the result of a love triangle and which was resolved by one or the other of them manning up and using their words to explain their feelings and/or apologize. And Wyatt and Ash were just all around super cute together.
I'll admit I was a little leery of reading m/m, not because I find m/m sex icky or whatever, but because I'm not sure what I think about the trend of women writing m/m erotic fiction for an audience comprised largely of other women. Is it just as offensive as straight men's obsession with f/f porn? I'm not sure. But this novel? Not erotica. There are a couple sex scenes of about the length and graphicness of the sex scenes in your typical romance novel. But really, this book is actually a super creepy ghost story/mystery that just happens to include a romantic subplot involving two men. And that is what I want to see more of in bookstores and libraries.
To that end, I think I'm actually going to purchase this for my own library. And that actually says a lot for the awesomeness of this book, because not only is it freaking $17 for a paperback (go with the $8 ebook if you can!), I live in a small city in Wyoming and I'm pretty sure there's next to no audience for m/m paranormal romance. But this book is good enough that damn it, I'm going to try to find the audience for it.
If you're into urban fantasy or paranormal romance with an extra helping of creepy, this is the book for you....more
This alternate ending to Feed fell far short of the original. There's a reason the ending to Feed is the way it is, and it's because this one was pretThis alternate ending to Feed fell far short of the original. There's a reason the ending to Feed is the way it is, and it's because this one was pretty unsatisfying. While this version is technically a worst case scenario, it didn't have the same gut-wrenching emotional charge that the real ending provided. (view spoiler)[After all, the worst part about Georgia's death wasn't actually her death--it was Shaun's grief, the necessity of him delivering the kill shot, and his struggle to deal in a world without her. That was missing in this version, which makes it, in my opinion, much less compelling. (hide spoiler)]...more
My mind keeps doing an accidental mashup of this title and the title of the first book. I don't think Ms. Littlefield and her editor anticipated the pMy mind keeps doing an accidental mashup of this title and the title of the first book. I don't think Ms. Littlefield and her editor anticipated the possibility that people would start thinking of her novels by the title Afterbirth, but there you have it.
I'm still annoyed by the lack of consistency in her portrayal of the zombies (and, honestly, annoyed that she calls them Beaters instead of zombies--everyone knows if zombies showed up, we'd just call them zombies), but this was certainly a page-turner, and I loved the times when the POV rotated to a couple of the other characters (who, quite frankly, are more interesting than Cass). I'm interested to see where she takes the third book....more
Oh, this book. I am having a really difficult time articulating my thoughts on this one. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. It isnOh, this book. I am having a really difficult time articulating my thoughts on this one. This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. It isn't the sort of book I would normally enjoy. But it was brilliant, and heartbreaking, and lovely, and terrifying, and I am so glad I read it. However, I'm not sure how it would go over with its target middle grade audience. I loved it, but I somehow doubt that your average twelve-year-old would get the same enjoyment out of it.
A Monster Calls tells the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O'Malley. His mother is undergoing treatments for cancer that don't seem to be going so well, his father has long since moved to America and started a new family, and he hates his grandmother's increasing presence in his life. And Conor has been having a horrible nightmare. Then the monster shows up, a giant, menacing yew tree who visits Conor. Conor is unafraid of the tree, since it pales in comparison to his nightmare, but he finds himself frustrated by its insistence that Conor has called him and that the monster must tell Conor three stories in exchange for the tale of Conor's own secret nightmare.
The whole book is accompanied by gorgeous, haunting black and white mixed media illustrations that add depth and mood to the story. This wouldn't be the same book without the illustrations, which is the mark of a great illustrator.
I found the book terrifying. Because really, I have a hard time imagining anything more scary than being a thirteen-year-old only child of a single parent, and watching that parent die of cancer. I happen to be the only child of a single parent, and when I was younger, the only fear that could cause me to totally break down and sob just from my own imaginings was the fear of my mom dying, leaving me totally alone (extended family didn't really count, since they weren't home like my mom was). So this book struck a chord in me because of that.
I didn't really expect to like the story, when I realized how obviously metaphorical everything in the whole damned book was. I'm not usually one for metaphor--I like my books to say what they mean and mean what they say, and too much literary styling drives me bonkers. But for some reason, it worked here. I would love to see this discussed in a literature class (but of course it won't, since books for children are totally dismissed by literary scholars).
I'm not quite sure who to recommend this book to, since it falls into such a genre gray area, so I guess I'll just have to recommend it to everyone. Read this book. It's a slim volume, with large text, huge margins, and tons of (beautiful) pictures, so it's only a couple hours of your time. I don't think you'll regret it....more
This book started out as the scariest, goriest YA novel I have ever read. Not a criticism, just an observation. I actually loved the suspense, and eveThis book started out as the scariest, goriest YA novel I have ever read. Not a criticism, just an observation. I actually loved the suspense, and even the gross-out factor was fitting for a book about the zombie apocalypse. The first half or so was really solid. We're introduced to our main character, Alex. She acquires a realistically frustrating and bitchy little kid, Ellie, and then Tom, the young ex-soldier with PTSD, enters as the love interest. The book becomes the three of them versus the world, and their struggles to survive while getting to know one another and working out their new family dynamic in a newly zombie-filled world were fantastic.
...Then the second half happened. It was like the second half to a completely different novel. The two halves don't combine to make a whole. It's like the author had a really good idea for the beginning to an apocalyptic novel, and then she had a different idea for another apocalyptic novel, and she just decided to mush them together haphazardly. (view spoiler)[First, Ellie is kidnapped. Then Tom is injured. Alex goes to get help, but when she gets back, Tom is gone. Exit Ellie and Tom. For the whole novel. The second half is about Alex navigating the weird fortified town she finds herself in, and she hardly even thinks about Ellie and Tom at all, which is absolutely ridiculous considering the dynamics set up in the first half. The first half was all about the three of them figuring things out together, and in the second half it's just Alex figuring out the weird cultish town. (hide spoiler)]
I'll probably pick up the second book in hopes of a return to the sensibility of the first half, but my hopes are not terribly high.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more