I didn't want to spend money on this book since I had a feeling it would end horribly. Instead I spent 20 minutes grazing through it at the store.
Thi...moreI didn't want to spend money on this book since I had a feeling it would end horribly. Instead I spent 20 minutes grazing through it at the store.
This is my conclusion.....
If I could somehow get this gif to show Dead Ever After being thrown on the ground I would do it.
Seriously though wtf Charlaine Harris. Please never write another series. Could of ended it as the fans, nay the series had been building up to all along but noooo...... had to just go and f*ck with it. I don't know whether the Author was angry at the fans for liking the show better or if it was simple boredom with her characters. Either way this fan was soo not impressed.
Out of pure unadulterated rage I almost feel like setting my entire series on fire. Sure you already have my money but at least I'll have some satisfaction. Which is more than I can say about the conclusion to this series.
Not every fairytale has a happy ending...This is certainly true in the case of Dinah, Princess and heir to the throne of Wonderland. Abused by her Fat...moreNot every fairytale has a happy ending...This is certainly true in the case of Dinah, Princess and heir to the throne of Wonderland. Abused by her Father, despised by the cards sworn to protect her, Dinah has grown up in a home without love, without warmth, save for the moments of brief bliss shared with her beloved Wardley. Since the death of her mother Dinah has only known one constant, when she becomes Queen things will change in Wonderland. However, her Father has other ideas, malicious plans all with paths that don't bode well for Dinah. Now with her Father against her and unsure whom to trust Dinah is in the fight for her life and her Crown!
What can I say except I loved this book. Queen of Hearts is a truly unique re-imagining of the world of Wonderland. If you told me I'd feel sympathy for the Queen of Hearts six months ago I'd have laughed but now... I can't help but understand how things could've went so horribly wrong in her life.
One of the best things about Queen of Hearts was the world. This isn't the Wonderland of a young girls imagination filled with singing roses and drugged out caterpillars. No, this Wonderland is like The Tudors mixed with Wicked a place as beautiful as it is terrifying. Everyone from the servants to the Royal family has an agenda and loyalties switch at the drop of a hat. It's crazy different than everything I grew up knowing and yet still familiar and almost comforting.
Another thing I loved about Queen of Hearts were the characters. No white Rabbit, instead we have Dinah's tutor Harris who is more like a Father Figure than man servant. We also have the "Mad Hatter" who also happens to be Dinah's brother Charles. His story is so tragic but it's nice to see Dinah has real love for him. Also Cheshire who isn't a cat but adviser to the King. I'm still not sure what his agenda is or whether to trust him but that's said of the original character as well. His actions were never clear but he played an important role in things nonetheless.
Lastly, I loved the incredible story telling. Queen of Hearts was fast paced, exciting, humorous and terrifying. From its blood soaked first pages to its pulse pounding last, Queen of Hearts was a fantastic read.
Final Thoughts Queen of Hearts was a crazy exciting and enjoyable book. I've read many a retelling of Alice in Wonderland but this is the first where it focused on the Queen of Hearts and that was just so refreshing. I can't wait to see more from Dinah in the future especially since the beginning of the story is certainly an indication of things to come. Despite all my misgivings and misconceptions about the Queen of Hearts being a redeemable character going into this book I really enjoyed Dinah as a character. Sure she was hot headed, stubborn and selfish but despite all that she was simply just a girl looking for love in all the wrong places. I highly recommend picking Queen of Hearts the moment you get the chance. I suspect this is a book that will find its way onto many Favorites lists this year. Yes, it is that good! With that being said, I'll be rating Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes ★★★★★.
This was my reaction when I completed Children Of No One. I'm not even exaggerating here the Novella is truly that disturbing.
Guys, I love horror its my genre but this novella really pushed me to my limits. I came away from reading Children Of No One feeling dirty, like I just witnessed something so deplorable that it should of never been put to paper in the first place. Thing is this isn't an over the top gore-fest, with crazed mutated psychos running through the wood with chainsaws. No, what makes this book so creepy is the psychological warfare it plays on the mind. This above all is what really got under my skin. I'm going to need to snuggle a bunny after this one for sure.
After I snapped out of the disbelief that I had just essentially read a novella about child torture for the sake of art like somehow that's a worthwhile excuse pfft, My reaction changed to something akin to this.:
Truth be told, as much as I want to rip this novella apart for its content, I do actually see the small bit of brilliance in the Authors writing. The above mentioned is why I kept reading even being as appalled as I was by the adult characters.
Thomas Krieg is the artist who conceptualized the labyrinth. The labyrinth exists underground,away from the prying eyes of the public. It is kept perpetually dark with the exception being when the food drops happen. In his brilliance madness as an artist Thomas Krieg has trained the kids to believe that he is an angel, the food drops manna and that all of it comes from heaven. What really makes the children's existence in this place tragic is knowing all the children were sold to this guy to be tortured (knowingly or not) by their very own parents all because they were poor, their greed to much. It makes the situation the kids find themselves in that much worse.
Since this is a novella, I won't get into much more than that but the details the "artist" put into his masterpiece were enough to make even this die hard horror fan recoil in disgust. I feel that speaks volumes in itself.
Overall I found this Novella interesting but uncomfortable to read the majority of the time. I'm certainly glad this wasn't a full length novel, I don't think I could stomach much more of it. I guess this begs the question, Would I recommend Children Of No One? At this time, I'm going to leave my answer blank. Yes, this was certainly disturbing and creepy with flawless writing but I just don't know if I can recommend it in the end. So for now my answer is blank. That being said, I will be rating Children Of No One ★★★★. (less)
Odium is a book that I had been looking forward to review for a couple months now. When I finally got my hands on a copy I started devouring it almost...moreOdium is a book that I had been looking forward to review for a couple months now. When I finally got my hands on a copy I started devouring it almost immediately. As far as Zombie stories go I liked Odium. The book had decent character development, the Zombies were ruthless in their pursuit of the living and I think the Author came up with some creative ways to keep the survivors safe. However, Odium is far from a perfect Zombie book and here's why:
First off, my biggest issue with the story is Nina. She starts off actually quite likable when she steps in to save Emily-Rose from a fate worse than death. However, that quickly changes when the pair head out into the Undead wasteland. Her personality changes from strong willed survivor to whiny bitch in the blink of an eye. As the book progressed I realized I didn't like her very much at all. She didn't listen, she whined about everything, she was judgmental, rude and to top it off didn't care to learn anything to better her situation. Sure, she always cared for Emily-Rose and that at least was a redeeming characteristic but it wasn't enough to keep me from wishing she'd end up Zombie chow.
Secondly, I didn't like how The Forgotten were portrayed. I get it they were the big bad of the story who shows up at the most convenient times to reek havoc on the characters lives. All stories need a villain and The Forgotten played the role nicely. I just personally wasn't convinced they were as bad as the other survivors kept saying. At least not compared to Lee whom Nina is constantly referencing as this evil tyrant who took pleasure in torturing the citizens behind the wall.
Lastly, I was severely disappointed how under prepared everyone was handling life outside amongst the dead. Nina and Emily-Rose have at least somewhat of an excuse but Britta, Mikey, JD etc... have none such since they've been living out amongst the dead since it all began. You'd think they'd be hardened pros at planning escape routes and keeping bug out bags stored in various locations just on the off chance they were overrun. One good meal and they all drop their guard, keep the vehicles out of reach and forget to carry weapons with them as well. It was just so bloody convenient that they'd be run off with nothing. Once I could forgive but twice is just plain sloppy.
Now despite all my misgivings mentioned above, Odium was still a good Zombie story. It was brilliant for the characters to convert a Wilderness Survival Course into a sanctuary from the Undead, I loved that! I also loved how Steve kept his chickens safe in the hatch of the RV it was a smart idea and a great way to transport them as well. Lastly, I liked that the Zombies were actually putrefying as a dead body should. Sure the Zombies were still scary but also it was nice to see that they weren't "Immortal". Just wait long enough and they'd eventually re-die off.
Final Thoughts While Odium is far from perfect, I still really enjoyed the book and am glad that I read it. Despite my lack of love for Nina I'm looking forward to seeing what the next book brings. Who knows maybe she'll have some growth between this book and the next even. I'd recommend checking this one out if your looking for a new Zombie book to read. With that being said, I'll be rating Odium by Claire C. Riley ★★★.
Dark Days is a book that I wanted to read because of how differently it sounded from most of the dystopians on the market today. It's not often you se...moreDark Days is a book that I wanted to read because of how differently it sounded from most of the dystopians on the market today. It's not often you see killer cyborgs in young adult fiction and I thought that was very bold of the author to attempt.
One of the best parts about this story was the way the events unfolded. Were really thrown headfirst into things and we get to experience the breakdown of Sia's society alongside with her. I really thought that was cool and also helped move things along briskly.
Another thing I really liked about the story was the way the cyborgs killed indiscriminately. Once you were caught by them you were done for. No hiding, not no amount of pleading with them would spare your life. The only way to survive was to bring them down before they could grab you. Anything after that and a painful death awaited you.
Lastly, I really liked Sia's dad. He really tried his best to help Sia survive even if he was tight lipped about how he'd actually do it. I just sorta wish he had let her into the plot a bit sooner. It would've spared that Zone living in discomfort their final days if he did.
Now even though I enjoyed most of the story, I did find a few things lacking which kept me from rating this book higher.
First off, I really felt Sia was a bit obnoxious at times. She just seemed to be a bit of a brat and that made her a bit unlikable in my opinion.
Secondly, I wish that we had seen a bit more from other sectors. Yes, we see the destruction on the news but after Sia's sector is wiped out who comes next?? Even just a glance of someone watching the news feeling hopeful would've been a powerful image to behold. It would make them surviving that more meaningful.
Lastly, I really didn't like the romance. It was way too insta love for my liking. Plus what about Finn?? I feel like they only included him to give the main characters a potential love triangle in future books. He could've remained a friend but they specifically mention him having a crush on her which means that he will play some sort of significant part in Sia's romantic future.
Final Thoughts Dark Days might not have been exactly the book I set out to read but it was still very enjoyable nonetheless. I am certainly curious how the Author will move on with the story after that conclusion as it did really feel complete. With that being said, I'll be rating Dark Days by Kate Ormand ★★★★.
Reviewed originally @Blood,Sweat and Books *Copy reviewed provided by Edelweiss All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any which way for providing them. .(less)
Review: I bought this book Free on Amazon a few weeks back, it was about Zombies and had a pretty good rating, so really why not give it a shot. Well l...more Review: I bought this book Free on Amazon a few weeks back, it was about Zombies and had a pretty good rating, so really why not give it a shot. Well let me tell you, I am so glad that I did. What Zombies Fear is a really unique take on your run of the mill Zombie Apocalypse. These Zombies are more parasitic then plague driven and that is pretty cool to see.
The Story starts out following a pencil pusher named Viktor, he says goodbye to his wife and son and heads out to start the day just like dozens before. Once at work the action picks up and we very quickly learn that something has caused Zombies to rise. After saving his son and wife they embark on a journey to meet up with the rest of his family at this mother's farm and along the way learn that not all the zombies are slow and stupid but some are smart and have heightened abilities. The Zombies also have there sights set on Max, Viktor's 3 Year old son. He's special and the Zombies know it, so it is up to Viktor and the rest to keep him safe.
What Zombies Fear does a great job blending the zombie element and that of the otherworldly paranormal that cause the survivors and Zombies to have extraordinary abilities. I'm not sure why only some people are affected but the Survivors guess it might be a genetic mutation. At least in this book no hard proof of why is mentioned. I found the smart zombies highly creepy, especially because some look almost normal and only when they try and rip your throat out do you realize they aren't. Also having Zombies organize, able to communicate and plot strategy is scary. Those are the Zombies of my nightmares.
Overall this was a great book with well developed characters,strong character driven plot and fantastic world building. If your a fan of the genre and looking for something new and unique, I highly suggest picking this book up. I will be giving What Zombies Fear ★★★★.(less)
The Jewel follows the story of Violet, one of 200 girls auctioned off as surrogates to the Royal and Wealthy that live in the Crown. Violet knows it i...moreThe Jewel follows the story of Violet, one of 200 girls auctioned off as surrogates to the Royal and Wealthy that live in the Crown. Violet knows it is her duty to produce an heir for the family who buys her but what she never expected was to fall in love with a boy never meant to know she even exists. A boy who in his own right is stuck under the thumb of the same masters she's trying desperately to escape from.
One of the things I really enjoyed about The Jewel was the plot itself. Blending multiple genres together isn't always an easy task but Amy Ewing does so rather effortlessly. I really enjoyed how the story wasn't just a typical damsel in distress type deal with the main character solely needing rescued from the big bad Government oppressing her. Instead this story tackles issues on a wide scale including reproductive trafficking, population control, indentured servitude, oppression, caste systems, xenophobia and even prostitution. The Jewel is definitely a story that will leave the reader thinking long after the last page is read.
Another thing I enjoyed were the characters. Violet is such a strong willed character, so much that you'd assume she'd constantly ignore the advice of her handlers and run off to do as she pleases. Nope, not this girl, Violet is smart and cunning. She knows how to play the game despite every muscle in her body telling her not to conform. I also really liked the secondary character Lucien. He reminded me greatly of Cinna from The Hunger Games but that's OK because that character rocked. Lastly, I liked Violet's mute handmaiden Annabelle, obviously she can't speak but that doesn't mean she didn't have a voice!
Now, while I enjoyed The Jewel, the one thing that really kept me from rating the story higher was the I suppose you could call it "twist" that happened in the later half of the story. I realize that in stories of emotional and physical repression it is customary that the protagonist falls in love with someone she's not meant for but based on how the story was going I really thought maybe this one would be different by allowing Violet to stand on her own without the emotional muss and fuss to get in the way of derailing her escape and helping all the others like her. It's not that I didn't like Ash but maybe he would've been better introduced as a companion for Violet in the sequel instead of rushed like it was in The Jewel.
Final Thoughts Despite the almost cliche turn the story took in the back end I still feel that The Jewel is a book worth investing in. As I mentioned above the story itself was good and I liked the characters. Sometimes you don't need much more than that.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Jewel by Amy Ewing ★★★★.
Eat Me or Bite Me started out really good but soon spiraled in to predictable territory and lost much of its charm.
First off, I understand the predic...moreEat Me or Bite Me started out really good but soon spiraled in to predictable territory and lost much of its charm.
First off, I understand the predicament the characters were in but last person or not who would want to get together with someone whose acting like that? Secondly, I felt the ending was anticlimactic due to it being predictable. Lastly, I don't see why the Zombies would hang around in such numbers with them being so high up. Even if they walked out on their balconies I doubt the Zombies would notice them unless they were actively trying to be spotted.
In the end 44 pages of griping and moaning by the lead character wanting to get laid really killed the likability factor for me. Wasn't the worst short story I've read and at least it had plenty of Zombies but I don't think it's a story I'll read again or at least not anytime in the near future. (less)
Review: Daynight was vastly different from the majority of books I've read lately. That being said I'm not really sure how I feel about that. On one ha...moreReview: Daynight was vastly different from the majority of books I've read lately. That being said I'm not really sure how I feel about that. On one hand, the premise was great and the characters were equally enjoyable. On the other hand, I was left feeling confused at the end. Almost like I had sensory overload. It's taken me days to process this book and the events therein in order to review.
Let me start out by saying the writing is superb. The Author's narrative was spellbinding and I was sucked in from the very first page. As for the characters, Kira was a female teen I could root for and in fact did the majority of the time. I also loved Daynight's love triangle, which honestly feels weird saying since usually they are pet peeves of mine. Ethan and Blake while complete opposites were both worthy of Kira's affection. It's a shame polygamy isn't an option for her character because both guys could really provide Kira what she needs both physically and mentally.
On the downside, while I liked the direction the book went in, I just am not sure I had enough time to process the bombshell dropped on the characters near the end. My mind is this hazy mess of information and I'm thinking I will seriously need to reread this in the future to catch stuff I undoubtedly missed. I guess you could say this book blew my mind, least that is how it feels when trying to put my thoughts into words.
Overall I am highly recommending you pick a copy of Daynight up and give it a go. Perfectly paced writing combined with superb narrative, likeable characters, and fantastic world building will no doubt leave Daynight on many Top Ten book lists this year. Yeah, it was that good. In the end I will be giving Daynight ★★★★. I will probably bump this rating up once I have a chance to reread but until then 4 is where it stands.
*I purchased a copy of this book to review for the tour. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them.(less)
Sometimes a book comes along that grabs you, holds on tight and just when you think you can't take anymore (though secretly you do) the book de...more Review:
Sometimes a book comes along that grabs you, holds on tight and just when you think you can't take anymore (though secretly you do) the book decides to let you go. First half of The Game was awesome. Think Saw meets Untraceable. Sick, twisted, visceral I loved it! Seriously, the first half of The Game would make an amazing movie.
Before trashing getting to the negatives of the second half of The Game I want to talk about the amazing first half. I like most of the population enjoy reality television. Not gonna lie, I enjoy watching people escape from messed up scenarios. However, their is a fine line between enjoyment and straight up torture. I'd never want to actually see a person go through what Candice Laguna does. On paper it's a whole other story. I wanted more!! I mean it's horrible but bloody fantastic at the same time. Only downside is that portion of the book is over quickly. Clearly, I didn't read the synopsis close enough. I really need to skim to the bottom and not just read about the plot. Lesson learned that's for sure.
Now the first half of the book is 5 Stars all the way. In fact I'd recommend picking up the book just to read the beginning. The second half however, Why? Why? Why? Do you hate your readers? Was your ultimate goal to have the book thrown across the room in disgust? If so, Congrats you succeeded!
Unpredicatable Paranormal twist did not work. Why would someone try to combine these two elements together? It's like the author had writer ADHD, To many ideas, not enough time to write them all so I know, let's just throw them together. Ugh, I can't even begin to describe how truly disappointing horrible the second half of this book was. Had The Game been written that way the entire time I might feel different, might being the operative word. The ONLY reason I didn't DNF this book was a. I promised to review it for the tour and b. I kept torturing myself in the hopes things would get better.
Overall, The Game was a huge disappointment. So much potential was wasted by introducing the paranormal element. It saddens me to say this but I'm definitely going to be leery reading from this Author again. In the end, The Game is being rated a solid ★★★. While I loved the first half, the second half killed the book for me. I highly recommend borrowing this book and testing it out before purchasing. You've been warned. (less)
Undead is a book that is part bad 80's movie and part badass Zombie splatter fest. Think The Breakfast Club...moreReviewed originally @Blood,Sweat and Books
Undead is a book that is part bad 80's movie and part badass Zombie splatter fest. Think The Breakfast Club meets Resident Evil. What can I say though, this book works! I loved the blending of this sort of b-plot storyline filled with sort of cliche characters (the jock, the outcast, the popular girl etc..) and that of a Pharmaceutical Company gone corrupt. Alone each might have made a decent story but together it makes it great!
One of my favorite parts about Undead was its pacing. This story flew by so quickly and yet the Author knew exactly when to give us the readers breathers that really built up the tension for the next big scene. My only small complaint was the ending. The story felt finished but yet continued on several pages longer showing viewpoints of events from around Scotland. It was interesting sure but also felt a bit like it didn't belong in the book. I might be grasping at straws here but I think this might of been at one point a short story meant to bridge the gap between Book #1 & Book #2 but when the book was republished it instead became part of the main book.
Another thing I really liked were the Zombies. I expected them to exist and be scary but I never really expected the Author to show as much carnage as she did. I am a believer that you can't have a good Zombie story without showing the details. That means heads being lopped off, neck wounds gushing blood and Zombies chowing down on any body part they can grab. Since this was a YA book I sort of expected it to hold back on the gore but instead was pleasantly surprised to see that the Author wasn't afraid to show what needed to be in order to highlight the danger they were all in. Good for her!
Lastly, I liked the characters. Bobby was smart and resourceful. She was in short a survivor. My only disappointment with her character was she let everyone else treat her like she was expendable. Grow a backbone girl! I also liked Smitty. He was obviously the rebel of the group but when it came down to it he was a valuable member of the team putting his own life in jeopardy time and again to ensure the others safety. The only character I disliked was Alice. She treated everyone piss poorly and they all took it (although Bobby certainly received the most jabs). I just wanted someone to tell her to get off her ass and be helpful but they never did. I'm hoping in the next book she has some character growth. Although Zombie chow is looking better and better if you ask me!
Overall, I really liked Undead. The story was fast paced, well written and had the perfect blend of humor and horror to keep me engaged. If you like films like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead or books like Monument 14 or The Way We Fall then I highly suggest picking Undead up and giving it a go. With that being said, I'll be rating Undead by Kirsty McKay ★★★★.
*Copy owned by me. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any which way for providing them. (less)
Odium origins is a prequel Novella to the main book Odium. In it we get to peak into the lives of the charac...moreReviewed originally @Blood,Sweat and Books
Odium origins is a prequel Novella to the main book Odium. In it we get to peak into the lives of the characters on the days right before and after the Zombie Apocalypse started.
What I like about Prequel Novella's is how we get to see missing pieces of the story without dragging down the main narrative with endless pages of world and character building. Odium Origins succeeds in expanding upon what we already had learned in the main book while still leaving enough mystery about events during the timeline pre-Odium that should another Novella be written we could see more from these characters lives without the information already learned feeling repetitive.
Another thing I found interesting was that I didn't have to necessarily like the characters or their actions to understand why they made them. Crunch in the main book is cold and off putting and she's no better in this Novella. Yet, seeing her home life and the hell she was put through made me a bit more sympathetic to her plight. What surprised me the most was how much I found myself hating Duncan. What a bastard. All the sympathy I had for him in Odium went out the window after reading this that's for sure. J.D.'s story was my favorite and based on the length of it I can tell the Author was a fan as well. So heartbreaking to read but also we can see how it shaped his life in the after. I'm pretty sure his story also explains in a roundabout way who The Forgotten are and like I said in my Review for Odium I don't think they are necessarily bad (not all anyway) just misguided. I also should mention Steven and his wife Jane. I liked their tale as well. Wish it had been just a smidgen longer though.
My only issue with Odium Origins was the lack of Mikey. I wanted to see some mention of his pre-outbreak days but instead we meet him after the events have started and only long enough to know that my assumptions about Crunch and him were true. I was really hoping it wasn't because it seems like he really did just drop Crunch when Nina came around because she was a new piece of ass he could conquer. Sorta makes me dislike him a bit now as it makes him seem like a womanizer vs. a guy who didn't reciprocate the feelings of a girl whose obviously head over heels for him. Hopefully he can be redeemed in Odium's sequel.
Final Thoughts If you wanted to know a bit more about the characters in Odium then definitely pick this Novella up. It's fast paced, well written and action packed with Zombie slaying goodness. With that being said, I will be rating Odium Origins by Claire C. Riley ★★★★.
*Copy reviewed received from Author. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any which way for providing them.(less)
Exiled, alone and on the run from her Murderous Father, Dinah is lost in the Forests of Wonderland. When word reaches Dinah that Vittiore sits by her...moreExiled, alone and on the run from her Murderous Father, Dinah is lost in the Forests of Wonderland. When word reaches Dinah that Vittiore sits by her Father's side as Queen, Dinah knows she must do the one thing she swore she'd never do, return to her Kingdom and reclaim her crown!
What can I say except I loved this book. This series truly keeps getting better and better. Dinah's transformation from privileged, ill tempered heiress to exiled warrior woman was completely magical to witness. It also made me a little sad because I could see her becoming cold and we all know what happens after that. I know Dinah becoming The Queen of Hearts is inevitable but I'm not sure I'm quite ready to see it happen either. It's just so hard watching someone become so cruel through really no fault of her own.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the sequel was seeing so much more of Wonderland. No longer locked into Dinah's Kingdom or its borders allowed us to visit places far and wide not only encompassing characters from the original book but also introducing us to places unseen but hinted at as existing. The history behind Wonderland is truly remarkable and no detail it seems was left unnoticed. In a way, this series is like a Where's Waldo of Wonderland. It's quite fun trying to figure out the whose who of each character we meet. Sometimes it is quite obvious but other times I really had to put my thinking cap on to remember whom the Author was referencing from the original tale.
Lastly, I loved the twists near the end of the story. I always knew Cheshire was a manipulative bastard but seeing why really made me think twice about my feelings for him. I'm still not sold on him being good but his motivations are much clearer now.
Final Thoughts Like its predecessor, The Wonder was a fantastic and fast paced read. The writing again is superb and the characters and history of Wonderland compelling. As mentioned above, It was really great to see more of the characters from the original tale and to see how each of them played a part in Dinah's transformation. Overall, I couldn't be happier with this sequel and I highly recommend picking it up if you haven't already.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Wonder by Colleen Oakes ★★★★★.
H20 or The Rain (if you're from Britain) is a book that I've been really looking forward to reading for quite some time. We all need water to survive...more H20 or The Rain (if you're from Britain) is a book that I've been really looking forward to reading for quite some time. We all need water to survive so the concept was equally terrifying and ingenious. Now take that idea of tainted water and add in a pathogen of some sort that eats you from within and replicates in said water and you have yourself a pretty damn interesting story.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about H20 was how realistically portrayed the characters were. Ruby acts exactly as you'd expect a teenager to behave. Yes, she maybe isn't the most likable protagonist but then again a lot of that stems from her probably watching everyone she's cared about die in pretty horrifying ways. I know a lot of people took issue with the character obsessing over her phone and also going on a looting spree but I think that's exactly the response I'd expect from a teenager in that situation. Speaking of the characters, I also really enjoyed her companion Darius. He was so sweet and caring and tried so hard to be a good friend to Ruby even when she was rejecting him at every turn. I really hope he's alright and that we see him again. Lastly I loved the dogs, my heart broke in pieces during one scene and I really, really, (did I mention?) really hope we see one of them again. That scene guys, my heart hurt.
Another thing that I found to be interesting was how the characters dealt with the sudden lack of water. Some stuck with drinking the obvious (soda, bottled water, juices etc...) while others sought out less common sources like Indoor Pools to fill their fluid needs. One of the best things I saw took place when Ruby and her stepfather were looking for water in a grocery store. By happy accident they realized the plants in the floral section sitting in buckets of water were left untouched. I actually had never thought of that as a source myself but now that I've seen it I'll definitely be adding that into my survival knowledge memory bank.
Now although I really enjoyed H20 I did find fault with a few small things.
First off, while I liked the character Princess, being mute did make it hard to connect with her character. I understand she was traumatized and that's why she didn't speak but she could still have a personality despite that. You just have to be a bit more creative with making it known.
Secondly, I wish the ending wasn't so ambiguous. I'm not sure if this is going to be a series either so that definitely adds to the “huh,that's it” factor I experienced.
Lastly, I know it might seem like I'm nitpicking but Ruby's refusal to drink the baby formula bugged me. When you don't know where your next drink is coming from you don't turn your nose up at a source untouched and safe. Plus it is filled with bonus calories so it's an extra win necessity wise.
Final Thoughts In the end, even though H20 might not have been a perfect read I can't deny that I enjoyed the book despite the stories few issues to the contrary. The Author is if anything a talented writer and the fact she turned a concept like flesh eating rain into something non gimmicky is a credit to that. I definitely will be reading the sequel should one be released and I would certainly recommend reading H20 if you haven't already.
With that being said, I'll be rating H20 by Virginia Bergin ★★★★.
Zombie Tales from Dead Worlds is a book that I went into reading with much excitement and anticipation. Not only was the author returning to the Zombi...more Zombie Tales from Dead Worlds is a book that I went into reading with much excitement and anticipation. Not only was the author returning to the Zombie genre that I love but also the book was anthology so that meant plenty of Zombie goodness to read about and that's just the way I like it!
One of the things I noticed right off the bat when reading this anthology was how perfectly paced the stories were. None felt too long nor too short. I never felt rushed and the buildup to the big climaxes in each while not always surprising were at least satisfyingly done.
So how did I like the stories individually? Well read on to find out!
The Blanket – This story was short but packed quite a punch in the gut. It reminded me of the scene with those ten tiny fingers all those years ago and I wasn't expecting that. Very well written but a sad story indeed.
The Scavengers – Now this was a story I think would make a great full length novel. Not only were the characters very unique but also the idea of family units forming amongst the dead while bizarre was kinda cool to see. Plus that ending, I must know more!
The Building - Out of all the stories this was probably the one I struggled with the most. Don't get me wrong it was well written and all but I just found it to be a bit too predictable and that did lessen the enjoyability factor a touch for me.
The Necromancer – I haven't read many stories with necromancers so it was hard for me to sort of grasp all the goings on in the story. Once I did get a foothold however whew boy was this a good story. I won't give away the ending but the character deserved it is all I'm saying.
The Race – If any story had me rooting for the deaths of the characters this was the one. Survival is the name of the game and Laurie surely wanted to win at all costs. However, even in a Zombie apocalypse one should remember not to be selfish as the term what goes around, comes around applies heavily here. Great story though, especially the end.
The False Start – This story felt probably the closest to a full length novel and I believe this was the longest story in the anthology as well. The build up was fantastic, the middle action packed and thrilling, even the ending was great (for some of the characters anyway...).
Final Thoughts Overall, I really have no complaints with this anthology. The stories as mentioned above were properly paced. I never felt like I was reading something incomplete. Plus, the writing and the quality of the stories were what I'd come to expect from this author. I highly recommend checking out this anthology once you get the chance.
With that being said, I'll be rating Zombie Tales from Dead Worlds by Rhiannon Frater ★★★★.
I must apologize in advance for the tear drops splattered across this review. I tried to contain them but they just kept coming. The Wall is on...moreReview:
I must apologize in advance for the tear drops splattered across this review. I tried to contain them but they just kept coming. The Wall is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I've read in many, many years. While The Wall is set in a fictional location its plot and what it represents is very real.
Joshua is such a great, moral character. He tries so hard to do what is right knowing what it would cost him and those he loves if found out. Joshua is a true force for good in a world that sometimes is anything but. When he finds himself over The Wall I could feel his wonderment and sorrow at the disparity in the lives of the people living in its shadow unfortunate to be on "wrong" side.
Leia is a girl living on the wrong side of The Wall. When she meets Joshua she does the unthinkable and shelters him in her house until the threat passes. What starts out as a meeting of chance blossoms into so much more. I fell in love with this little girl from the wrong side of the tracks. We don't get to see much of her but when we do the Author makes it count. How this girl with so few lines could make me feel so much emotion at her scenes truly is a credit to the great writing from the Author.
Overall, I loved The Wall with its beautiful writing, sympathetic characters and realistic plot. In fact, I think this book should be required reading for middle school children. It would do them good to read about the west bank more and the struggles those people go through each and every day. I guess what I'm trying to say is I highly recommend picking this one up, recommend it be stocked in your local library and share it with friends. Yes, it was that good. In the end, I will be rating The Wall by William Sutcliffe ★★★★★.(less)
The Testing or as I have come to call it The Hunger Games 2.0 was one of my more anticipated releases of 2013. The premise of The Testing sounded soli...moreThe Testing or as I have come to call it The Hunger Games 2.0 was one of my more anticipated releases of 2013. The premise of The Testing sounded solid enough and based on the nearly glowing reviews pouring in I had high hopes it would surpass expectations. However, that amazing read I was waiting for wasn't to be. It's not that The Testing was bad it's just I felt like I had already read it before. In fact, it took me 3 weeks to power through The Testing and I can't even begin to tell you how many times I picked up the book swearing to myself I wouldn't read another page. Yet...... despite the plot being unoriginal, the characters seeming dull and lifeless and the romantic elements giving me a permanent case of eye rollitis I managed to stick with and finish the book.
Here's the thing, I actually loved the beginning of The Testing. Until Cia is called upon to take The Testing I really felt myself being drawn into the world. Her family had a very Weasleyesque vibe going on that I really dug. It was only after Cia and her group leave for the city that I started becoming disenchanted with the book and the characters.
First off let's talk about Cia. At first her enthusiasm for advancing her studies was admirable and I could see why she wanted the opportunity. However, once she learns the truth behind The Testing she quickly goes from doe eye teenager to insufferable idiot. What's even worse is she's told not once but several times over not to trust anyone so what does she do? Quickly spills every secret to her competition. It's beyond frustrating and just made her so unlikeable.
Secondly, the romance was just so forced. I don't understand what the boys saw in Cia except she was someone to manipulate. Oh but they are cute, you say. So what, so are puppies doesn't mean everyone should own one. Must unlikable love triangle this year goes to The Testing that's for sure.
However those aren't even my biggest pet peeves with The Testing. No, that goes to the extreme lack of character and world building. Everything was just so generic. The world was so fluffy for lack of a better term. We saw just enough to know where the characters were but beyond that were left in the dark. It's like the Author was afraid to put any depth into the story. I barely learned anything about the other candidates and what I did learn felt extremely superficial. I suppose this again brings us back to why I feel The Testing was a Hunger Games rip off. The Testing was just different enough not to break copyright laws but close enough where the story can ride on the coat tails of it success.
Overall, I was really disappointed with The Testing. It really didn't need to take the direction it did to be successful. I would've been perfectly happy if The Testing candidates never knew until the end whether they passed or failed. It would've been a great surprise to wait until Graduation day to show which candidates succeeded or not. No maiming each other, no morally corrupt testing officials, no Hunger Games style competition just a series of tests that get progressively more tricky to complete. Keeping the candidates in the dark about their success could've brought the tension, no gimmicks (memory wiping anyone) required.
Do I suggest you read The Testing? No, but if you do I'd highly suggest borrowing first not buying. I'm still on the fence whether I will continue this series or not. However, If I do I will definitely force myself to DNF instead of sitting through a book I don't enjoy fully. With that being said, I will be giving The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau ★★★.(less)
The Troop was a book that I had been waiting to read for quite some time now. Based on the reviews pouring in I was sure this would be a Horror Grand...moreThe Troop was a book that I had been waiting to read for quite some time now. Based on the reviews pouring in I was sure this would be a Horror Grand Slam for me. However within a scant few pages I knew this simply wasn't going to be the case. Underwhelming at its best The Troop was a mishmash of concepts previously written and blended together to form a story that brought very little if anything new to the Horror table.
One of The Troops biggest problems I found was its shifting perspectives. The story is broken into two parts. You have what is happening on the Island and also a running commentary throughout from what I presume is a military tribunal. While I understand the importance of finding out how these parasitic worms came to be the way it was done was boring and killed any sort of tension built up during the scenes on the Island. A simple chapter at the beginning, a mention in the middle and a final wrap up at the end would of sufficed.
Secondly, I felt the characters were unoriginal and cliched. Where was the goth kid forced into scouts by an overbearing Father or the gay kid who has to hide his secret or else risk being shunned?? Nope instead we get the geek, nerd, jock, bully and weirdo archetypes that do little except move the story along in a predictable way. Every stereotype that could be used was thrown at these kids and because of that I really couldn't care about what happened to them. Oh and don't even get me started on the scout leader. He was as useless as a steaming pile and his decisions were directly responsible for the events that happened while on the island. This wouldn't have annoyed me so much if he wasn't a. A fricken scout leader and B. A Doctor. I mean c'mon he should've known better but alas that was simply to much to ask for I guess.
Lastly, I found myself bored. This book claims to have scared Stephen King but I just don't see how. The worms weren't scary and even laughable in parts and neither were the boys going all Lord of the Flies on each other. Part of the problem can be linked to the pacing but the other half is simply that the story wasn't that good to begin with. Now usually I don't give warning concerning gore and the like but I feel that I have to mention the level of animal abuse in this book. I read a lot of Horror so I can understand why someone includes animal torture in a book and if it serves a purpose I can and will stomach it in small doses. However, I found that the sheer amount of animal torture in The Troop went beyond serving a purpose and instead was more for shock value than anything else.
Final Thoughts If you like atmospheric Horror filled with pop culture references then you will probably enjoy The Troop. If you're looking for something to really scare the daylights out of you and filled with out of the box characters then move on because this book is not for you. While I did enjoy the concept of parasitic worms running amok and the ending did at least pull the story together nicely I can't say that it was enough to keep me invested in the story as a whole. With that being said, I'll be rating The Troop by Nick Cutter ★★★.
When I started reading The Hole I thought I was settling in for 266 pages of Horror goodness. However, I quickly realized that this book was much more...moreWhen I started reading The Hole I thought I was settling in for 266 pages of Horror goodness. However, I quickly realized that this book was much more than just holes in the ground swallowing people up for some malevolent reason. Truth be told I would of been perfectly fine with a story like that but instead I was given so much more to work with. The Hole might be Horror at its core but it also blends in a fair bit of the otherworldly including ghosts, aliens and demon spawn. While multiple genres existing in a single book isn't new I did like that it kept me guessing as to who the true villain of the story was.Now while I did like The Hole it wasn't without faults.
First off, I really didn't like how stereotypical the characters were. We know by the accents of some of the townsfolk that this is probably a small southern town in the middle of nowhere filled with good ole country folk. You also have the town drunk who is redeemed through his selfless actions, the bumbling overwhelmed sheriff trying to do his best to maintain order, the war vet, the town Doctor who btw is way to overqualified to be working in the town in the first place and of course the annoying older lady who is also deeply religious. Everyone played their roles perfectly but it was just a bit to Horror 101 for my tastes.
Next up, I wanted to know more about the holes. Why was this town targeted specifically? Why does it seem holes only opened where groups of people resided? What's with the accompanying nose bleeds? Way to much plot development backed with few to answers.
Lastly, I hated the ending. Everyone left conveniently coupled up and those left didn't seem to care that the things in the Pods very well could've been all the townsfolk or that the nosebleeds hadn't stopped. I was also really hoping to have some sort of concrete evidence as to whom was to blame but I came away with even more questions than I had to begin with. I really hope this book has a sequel because I refuse to believe an Author would write a standalone with that sort of ending.
Final Thoughts While The Hole had some solid story ideas I just think the execution could've been better. The story started out quite strong but then petered down into this bizarre mishmash of genres and ideas. In all honestly I wouldn't be surprised if the story was born out out of the viewing and reading of several books and films which then in turn were haphazardly pieced together to create his story. While I did enjoy the book enough to finish it I can't say that it warmed me up to reading more by this Author either. Would I recommend The Hole? Yes. I think if you don't read a ton of Horror this book might be a completely engrossing and frightening read for you. Just for me personally I was reminded of to many other works to find full enjoyment out of it. With that being said, I'll be rating The Hole by William Meikle ★★★.
*Copy reviewed provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.(less)
Dead Five's Pass is a Novella I went into with only moderate expectations. Sure it sounded good but so had m...moreReviewed originally @Blood,Sweat and Books
Dead Five's Pass is a Novella I went into with only moderate expectations. Sure it sounded good but so had many others with similar premises and those all fell flat. So naturally I was quite surprised when I found myself actually being scared by the unknown presence slaughtering all those poor souls in Dead Five's Pass. Oh, and die they did. This little Novella is certainly Horror filled and not for the weakly stomached. Good for me but might be a little off putting for some.
One of the best parts about this Novella is that it didn't shy away from Character or plot development despite its length. If you like back story this Novella has plenty. Angst ridden romance more your liking? Yup, it has that as well. Action packed sequences that will get your heart pumping? Bingo, included. Dead Five's Pass is a near perfectly packaged full length novel that just so happens to be in Novella form. It's good and it shows with every turn of the page.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the Horror. The story is gore filled but each death serves a purpose to propel the story forward rather than being brutal for no other reason than shock factor. If I could adequately describe the story I'd call it a cross between Aliens, Dante's Peak and Super 8 and even then I'd have to say that it still feels unique all its own.
Final Thoughts I'm pleased to say that not only were my expectations met but exceeded. Dead Five's Pass is a Novella that I didn't want to end and one I hope continues on in the future. Based on the ending I'm hoping that might come true. If you like Horror than Dead Five's Pass is a Novella you don't want to miss. With that being said, I'll be rating Dead Five's Pass ★★★★.
*Novella copy reviewed through Netgalley. All opinions provided are my own and I was not compensated in any which way for providing them. (less)
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst is a book I went into not knowing much about. Sure I assumed some big mystery was afoot and external forces were at play...moreThe Lost by Sarah Beth Durst is a book I went into not knowing much about. Sure I assumed some big mystery was afoot and external forces were at play keeping people trapped but beyond that I went into reading The Lost mostly blind (ie I didn't read any early reviews). Well I'm happy to report that not only did The Lost meet my expectations but it surpassed them tenfold.
One of my favorite parts about The Lost were the characters. Even though this is really Lauren's story the side characters are just as interesting if not more so than Lauren herself. I loved Claire probably the most out of everyone. She was so wise beyond her years and incredibly resourceful. Also it was interesting that the character Peter was so attached to her. She wasn't the only child in Lost yet she seemed to be the only one he tolerated. Speaking of Peter, I can't help but think of him as a blend of Henry from The Goddess Test series and Ignotus Peverell from J.K. Rowling's Tale of the Three Brothers. It's a weird blend I know but these two characters remained in the forefront of my thoughts as I read the book. Peter is called the Finder and he helps those who are lost find their way again. His character is one of mystery throughout the book but little by little Lauren gets him to reveal parts of himself kept hidden for what is implied to be a very long time. Lastly, I liked Lauren. She was so different than I expected her to be but in a good way and by the end I was so glad that she decided not to abandon everyone even though she could've and I wouldn't fault her for that.
Another thing I liked about The Lost was the bizarreness of the town. Yes the characters are the driving force of the mystery but they aren't the only ones lost. In fact, the town is constantly adding new items to it as people lose items in the "real world" and can include anything from people, pets, plants, luggage, cars and more. If it's been lost it know doubt is waiting in that town waiting to be found. In one scene as Lauren is walking along the border of the town she witnesses a house flying overheard even. The story is very Cloudy with a chance of meatballs in that respect. If you wait long enough what you need or want will probably appear.
Lastly, I loved the world building. The Author paints a picture of the landscape and its inhabitants so clearly that I could easily envision myself driving through the dust storm and eating at the diner surrounded by the quirky townsfolk. Considering the amount of effort put into creating this world and the ever changing nature of the landscape of Lost the Author never bogs down the story with unnecessary details that it slows the pacing.
Now even though I really loved The Lost I have just a few minor gripes with the story. These things aren't enough to change my opinion regarding my overall enjoyment of the book but they are things I hope are addressed in the sequel.
First off, I really hoped we'd learn more about The Missing Man. He's gone for so much of the book yet is a critical part of how things resolve themselves. While we do get some information I have a niggling suspicion that her being brought to the town goes well beyond her feeling lost and helpless regarding her mothers situation. Also his reaction to her name seemed to go well beyond that as well. I'm hoping we learn more in the sequel.
Secondly, While I adored Peter as a character I really didn't feel that him and Lauren had much chemistry. Although we do get a few sweet scenes between them the relationship has definitely been set up as a slow burn type of deal. Yet on the other hand, the end gives me hope that things will change for them and we'll see the fire and intensity I know probably exists within him waiting to be unleashed.
Lastly, Claire, sigh. I know it is for the best but I hope that she pops up again in the future. Her relationship with the Knife needs to be explored more. Plus I really wished we could've seen her parents during the reunion. I suspect (although I could be wrong) something happened between them at least more than were told from the newspaper clipping and I think it's related to her security blanket type interaction with the knife. Like I said, I could be wrong but I think she was hiding something terrible and had she been able to stick around longer Lauren wouldn't have been so careless around her.
Final Thoughts The Lost was everything I didn't know I was looking for. The characters were interesting, the plot intriguing and the mystery kept me guessing right up until the end. Needless to say I cannot wait for the next book in this series to release. In fact, if I could have it tomorrow that'd be great. If you like mysteries with a paranormal twist than I highly suggest picking The Lost up when it releases. With that being said, I'll be rating The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst ★★★★★.
Girl Z may sound like your average Zombie novel but it is anything but typical. Sure it has Zombies, bloodshed, and people fighting for their lives bu...moreGirl Z may sound like your average Zombie novel but it is anything but typical. Sure it has Zombies, bloodshed, and people fighting for their lives but what makes this novel so unique is it being told from the Zombies perspective.
What I liked about Girl Z was the originality of the story. Sure I've read Zombie books from an infected persons perspective but usually the character is trapped inside themselves having to deal with their Zombiefied state while never being able to express to others that they are still human inside. Girl Z on the other hand literally makes the main character a Zombie rotting body and all. Becca has to deal with her cravings, her body slowly decomposing around her and the stigma from her peers of being one of the living dead. It was quite refreshing to read.
Another thing I liked was that although the story was Young Adult and humor filled the suspense and horror that any proper Zombie novel should have wasn't lost entirely. Yes, the story could've been gorier (for my tastes) or had a bit more Zombie battles along the way but then I'm not sure the book would of felt the same. Girl Z is a very us (meaning Becca, Carm & Tia) vs. them (every other character whether they be alive or dead) type of story and while it works (mostly) part of me still yearned to learn more from the them side of things. To expand further what I mean is that this is really Becca's story the Zombie Apocalypse going on around her is sort of an afterthought.
Now although I really enjoyed Girl Z the book wasn't without its faults. One thing that really bugged me was the copious amounts of Chicken Becca consumes. Why chicken? Raw steak is fantastic and bloody. Wouldn't that suit a Zombies diet better? Only thing I can think of is Tia worked at a Chicken processing plant (I don't believe her job is ever mentioned) and so it was easy to come by. Still, I know if I was a Zombie I'd want something bloody not cold ass slimy chicken day after day.
I would've also liked to see more urgency in the reactions from the characters. The Zombie threat is supposedly major yet we never really see any undead people besides Becca for a significant portion of the book. The only real indication in the beginning that a Zombie apocalypse is going on is the convenient news updates and even then nobody in Becca's household seems to take them seriously. As a big Zombie reader and even just from a survival standpoint, it's really quite frustrating to see how nonchalant everyone is about things. I'm like where's the stockpiling of food and supplies? Why is nobody boarding up windows and securing the perimeter?! They do however leave some bug out bags by the door so I guess that was something at least.
My biggest issues with the story however stemmed from Becca herself. While she isn't a badly written character the fact anyone would think she could lead a normal life as a Zombie is beyond me. In all honesty, Becca shouldn't have been allowed out of the hospital in the first place since were told as fact that they really have no clue how the virus works. Yet after regulating her "diet" here's Becca going home and then going about her life like nothing has happened. Becca spends so much time trying to regain what she lost ie a normal existence from buying special Zombie makeup, to obsessing over clothing to cover her rotting body that it did kind of make me feel less sympathy towards her undead situation. It certainly didn't help that both Tia and Carm acted like she was the same girl that she was pre-zombification. Tia being the Adult shouldn't have ever let her entertain the idea of leaving her room let alone the house while so very little was known about her condition. It's like nobody cared that she could possibly infect untold amounts of others as long as Becca was happy.
Final Thoughts While I might not have loved every part of Girl Z it was still a book worth reading and purchasing. As far as the Zombie aspect goes this one definitely stands out. It's rare to read books from the Zombies perspective and even rarer for it to be a teenage girl with most of her original personality intact. So I guess this begs the question, Would I recommend Girl Z? Yes, although I do think this books is more geared to female readers as boys might find Becca a bit of a nuisance. With that being said, I'll be rating Girl Z by Christine Verstraete ★★★.
Broken World follows the story of a girl named Vivian whose sole mission is to see her daughter before she falls victim to a myst...moreMinor Spoilers Below
Broken World follows the story of a girl named Vivian whose sole mission is to see her daughter before she falls victim to a mysterious plague making its way across the nation.
One of the things I really liked about Broken World was the fact the characters were always in a state of moving forward. They only stopped when necessary, never staying in one spot too long even though the threat at that point was mostly human not zombie based. The characters covered many States during the story and yet it never felt like they were just driving endlessly for miles. Everything was done with a purpose whether it be scavenging, setting up camp, or even searching for survivors. I read Broken World in one sitting and honestly, was shocked when I reached the end as I hadn't realized I had been reading it so long.
Another thing I liked was that the story started out as a Pandemic. It wasn't until large quantities of the population die off that those left are faced with the Zombie threat. How it happens and why makes sense but it's nice that it happens later on into the story then at the beginning as it gave the characters a sort of complacency to the situation. When the Zombie threat does arrive it felt like an actual threat and it made for some very tense moments.
Lastly, I liked the fact that the Zombies were ever evolving. They didn't just stay mindless shufflers and I thought that was cool. Also the fact they were constantly changing behavior on the characters added an element of danger for the survivors since nowhere was really safe once they started becoming smarter.
Now although I really enjoyed Broken World and will certainly be reading the sequel that's not to say that I didn't find fault with a few things.
First off, I really, really, hated that anyone would even consider going with the Billionaire after the bs he pulled. I'd rather die with my dignity intact above then become some slave to some rich punk for the rest of my life below. Even though I understood why those went with him, I just wish they hadn't.
Secondly, I was sort of annoyed at the turn of events near the end of the story. OK, I get it, nobody is safe but still, couldn't that have waited until the next book?? I mean it was very tragic and did spur Vivian into action when it came to saving others but I just wish we had been able to see her enjoy being a mom some before the chance was so cruelly taken away from her.
Lastly, I did have a slight problem with the story reading like Walking Dead Fanfiction at times. Angus was clearly (to me anyway) the Merle Dixon of the story and Axl his little brother Daryl. Every single time Angus called Vivian Sugar tits or Blondie I cringed and since he does it quite a bit, well you get the idea. I don't necessarily mind the Author being influenced by the series. Let's be honest, how can you not be in some way if you write in this genre but on the other hand I do wish that so many references from the show hadn't bled through to her work.
Final Thoughts Despite a few issues with the story and of course the obvious similarities to characters from The Walking Dead, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading Broken World. The writing was solid, the story action packed and the world building decent. If you like Zombies and are looking for something new to read then definitely check out Broken World once it releases.
With that being said, I'll be rating Broken World by Kate L. Mary ★★★★.
Originally reviewed @Blood,Sweat and Books *Copy provided by Author for review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.(less)
The Final Diary follows a man named William as he chronicles the events during an outbreak of a Zombie-like Infection in Britain. As William races to...moreThe Final Diary follows a man named William as he chronicles the events during an outbreak of a Zombie-like Infection in Britain. As William races to find his daughter whose lost amid the chaos in London, he makes unlikely allies and meets unforeseen enemies along the way.
One of the things I really enjoyed about The Final Diary was the character Jim. He was very smart, a true survivor, plus it didn't hurt that he had a military background so his combat knowledge was a bonus! I really liked how he just switched on while others were still worried about being seen as looters or murderers despite seeing neighbors literally being ripped apart in front of them. If The Final Diary were ever to become a film, Vinnie Jones could play Jim perfectly. It's who I pictured immediately.
Another thing I enjoyed were the Zombies themselves. Yes they might not be considered true Undead but they still acted exactly like Zombies so that's what I'm calling them. Although I could have done without the Hoodie character assembling them, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Lastly, I really liked the development of the world and the characters within it. P.B. Simister gave voice to a wide cast of characters and yet they never felt as if they were carbon copies of one another or just generic placeholders waiting to be slaughtered. Even if a character had minimal page time they were developed as best they could for the time they had. Also while this is a British Zombie story, the accents were easy to understand.
Now, while I enjoyed The Final Diary, it did have a few issues that I felt worth mentioning.
First off, I really hated the Hoodie character. He reminded me way too much of Eliza from the Zombie Fallout series by Mark Tufo. Completely different characters but their actions within the book felt similar. I'm not gonna lie, some of the resentment I felt from that series started to carry over and be projected onto the Hoodie character in this one by books end as that's how closely related they felt. I really hope he is killed off or has a severely diminished role in the next book.
Secondly, while I liked William as a character, he also grated on the nerves a bit with his tone of voice. He was always so polite and courteous even when people were being dicks straight to his face. Yet when talking to others, especially children, it felt like he was being condescending to them. Without his neighbor I seriously doubt he would've survived very long. He just was too soft in some aspects and had too much of a logical mind in others. Thankfully this seems to resolve itself somewhat by books end although the condescending voice remained.
Lastly, I really wish the book had been a bit shorter.Some spots read like a Sunday drive through the country just with rotting corpses in the street and the occasional shuffler seen in the distance. I didn't feel the danger the characters were in because too much time transpired between action sequences. While the story was very good it did drag in places. Had these scenes been condensed just a touch the overall story in my opinion would've flowed better and my adrenaline level throughout would've went up thus increasing my overall enjoyability a bit more.
Final Thoughts Despite the overall tone of the book reminding me of a British Zombie Fallout, I still couldn't help myself from really enjoying this one in the end. Sure, William was a bit weak at times for my liking and yes, I did find the ending a bit predictable but few books are perfect so some disappointments weren't all that unexpected.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Final Diary: The Sickness by P.B. Simister ★★★★.
Bold, ambitious and extraordinarily unique, Above by Isla Morley is one of the best Dystopians I've read so far this year. I'm sure many people will c...moreBold, ambitious and extraordinarily unique, Above by Isla Morley is one of the best Dystopians I've read so far this year. I'm sure many people will compare this one to a book called Room by Emma Donoghue but for me personally I felt this story was more a mix of Pods by Michelle Pickett , In the End by Demitria Lunetta with a little bit of Enclave by Ann Aguirre thrown in just to make things interesting.
One of the best parts about Above were the characters. For a good portion of the story the only people we see are Blythe and Dobbs. While were supposed to treat Dobbs as nothing more than a Doomsday obsessed whack job and he is mind you, it's always lingering in the back of the mind that maybe he isn't so crazy as he appears to be after all. Whereas with Blythe the story really shows her descent into madness through her long years in captivity and then finding the strength to live the life she's been given once she's finally achieved the freedom she so desperately craved. I also liked the side characters we meet later in the story Marcus and Ginny. Oh and the dog whose name I can't remember but I loved how protective he was of Adam. The way they bonded despite the cruelties surrounding them warmed my heart.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the story was its buildup. If you love back story then you'll love Above since it spends the first 17+ years (roughly half the book) building up the life of Blythe in captivity being prepared by Dobbs for this supposedly brutal future about to happen that will forever change the landscape of life as we know it. Now I admit, I did have trouble staying invested in the beginning due to how uncomfortable the situation Blythe was in made me but once things started to come together around the 30% mark, I was glued to the book and finished the remainder all in one sitting.
Lastly, I loved the ending. It was a very realistic end to the story and showed that life is really what you make it out to be. You can dwell on the past and forever question the decisions you've made or you can march on forward with your head held high and make the best out of the hand you've been dealt. It was a touching end to the story without feeling cliche or overly optimistic and I liked that.
Now despite really loving Above I have just a few small issues with the story that I'll list below. These in no way change my rating of the over all book but bugged me enough that I feel they should be mentioned.
First off, We see that Dobbs likes Blythe clean shaven and at first I thought this was probably a control tactic or even hygienic but once she's "matured" this is dropped entirely and she's allowed to grow her hair out again if she pleases. I would of liked to know why it was done in the first place if he didn't care enough to continue with it once she'd been sullied by childbirth.
Secondly, I would of liked a bit more back story on Dobbs. What information or event in his life caused him to go to such extremes as shown in the book. I know we learn things about him after that while maybe not redeeming him does show he had a plan all along but it didn't really offer any new insight into him before Blythe came into his life.
Lastly, we learn of other children that had been squirreled away for safe keeping but not to the extent that we see them. I wonder if they were all singular captives like Blythe or were whole families rounded up and saved before things descended into chaos above? Were all those children treated like her or was Dobbs really just a pedophile under all the preparedness propaganda after all?
Final Thoughts From the writing to the characters, Above was everything I hoped it would be and then some. Would I recommend it? Heck yeah! If you liked any of the books I mentioned above then I'm sure you'll love this one. Now I will say, I hope that this has story has a sequel or even a companion following Adam and his new lady love as they seek to bring down the Sunflower group. Enough was teased to make me want more, plus we still need to learn what ever happened to Blythe's parents. However, could this be read and kept as a stand alone? Sure, but I personally don't think it should be. With that being said, I'll be rating Above by Isla Morley ★★★★★.
I love when a Novella can completely surprise me by feeling like a full length novel. Poison Dance follows a...moreReviewed originally@ Blood,Sweat and Books
I love when a Novella can completely surprise me by feeling like a full length novel. Poison Dance follows an Assassin named James. His leader has been killed, his new boss doesn't trust him and then there's Thalia the beautiful dancing girl who is more than she appears to be. What's an Assassin to do?
What I loved about this Prequel Novella was how it set the world of Midnight Thief for the reader while still telling a tale all its own. I loved learning about James and how his Assassins guild is run. We get to see for a brief moment that being an Assassin doesn't just involve looking for your next kill but it also involves helping those who've been wronged and sometimes falling for the right girl under the wrong circumstances. The amount of details packed into this Novella is impressive and surely is a credit to the fantastic writing by its Author.
Another thing I liked was that it didn't shy away from the Violence. Being an Assassin is a messy job and it involves unpleasant things obviously such as murder. While the story is never gory it also doesn't shy away from showing the deaths of the damned.
My only small issue with Poison Dance was the ending. I wanted to see a particular character bite the dust. Instead we only hear about his demise through the whispers of the townspeople narrating. Due to this the ending felt a bit rushed and a bit unsatisfying. Yes, the story wrapped all the events up nicely but I could've personally used more details in the process while it was achieving this.
Final Thoughts If you like Video games like Assassins Creed or book series such as His Fair Assassin then I highly suggest picking this one up and giving it a go. Poison Dance is a great introduction to the series and one that has certainly wet my appetite for Midnight Thief even more. With that being said, I will be rating Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne ★★★★.
*Copy reviewed received from Author. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them(less)
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant was a book I knew I wanted to read the moment I came across it on Go...moreReviewed originally@ Blood,Sweat and Books
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant was a book I knew I wanted to read the moment I came across it on Goodreads. I knew based on the description that it'd be good but when I started it I never would've guessed that it would turn out to be one of my favorite books read this year.
One of the best parts about The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is the way it combines so many genres. Murder Mystery, Thriller, Action Adventure, Romance, Paranormal and Horror are blended together with the Young Adult narrative quite creatively. I really enjoyed how smooth the transitions were between the times Anne spent relaxing with Molly or Pilot and the decidedly darker tones when she was at school vying to win the Big V. It kept me guessing right up til the end and never left me bored.
Another thing that was great about the story were the characters. I really liked Anne. She has flaws but is artistic, headstrong and smart. Compared to Harper or any of the other girls she's a Saint. I also liked Molly. She was a great friend to Anne. It nearly broke my heart when they were separated due to circumstances beyond either ones control. Lastly, I liked Harper. If Regina from Mean Girls was crossed with Jennifer from Jennifer's Body you'd have Harper. She's to put it blunty a bitch with a capital B but honestly that is what makes her the perfect competition for Anne. As for the guys both Pilot & Ben have definitely been gifted in the looks department. There is a small love triangle between the guys and Anne but it doesn't detract from the story instead it plays a very important role with how things play out. I'm just going to say that I'm definitely Team Ben and I'll leave it at that.
Lastly, I loved the twist at the end. I love when a story can pull the rug out from under me and The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant definitely succeeded in doing that. While the story does end on a cliffhanger all the major questions are answered and the plot resolved sufficiently (for me at least). To say I'm excited to see where the story goes in the next book is an understatement. Like I said it's resolved but with a cliffhanger the likes of which you'll just have to read the book to find out what it is. I will say that I'm rooting for Anne though cause boy does she ever have quite the dilemma on her hands.
Now as I mentioned above the story did have a few small hiccups along the way. While they weren't enough to make me downgrade my rating I did take notice of them.
First off, At times the characters felt like they were trying too hard to be socially relevant. The slang and snarkiness of Anne and her classmates felt very forced almost like the Author was trying to relate to how teenagers of today talk without witnessing any conversations for herself to set the standard by. To me it was bizarre at times but maybe I'm just too far removed from being a teen to "get" it.
Secondly, I really hated the whole dance battle partly through the book. It just screamed bad 80's movie flashback. I just don't see Anne or heck even Harper being the sort of girl that would bust a groove all Save the Last Dance Style in the middle of the dance Big V competition or not. Hair pulling cat fight with clothes being torn off maybe but dance battle no.
Finally, I really have to wonder what Anne was thinking staying at Cania Christy after the whole Molly debacle. I get that she feels she owes it to her father to stick things out but c'mon how can one be so accepting of what happened? The warning bells and sirens after that incident would have most normal people running for the next boat out of dodge Big V be damned.
Final Thoughts Overall, despite the stories few faults I am completely in love with the start of this series. If you like character driven stories than you'll love The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant. I highly recommend picking this one up and giving it go. I will note that the story is probably best left to older readers as it explores dark concepts like suicide, murder, rape and using sexual gratification to get ahead. This one definitely skirts the line between YA & Adult in this readers opinion. With that being said, I'll be rating The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe ★★★★★.
*Copy reviewed received through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.(less)
One of the downsides being an adult my age is that I can remember the original Fear Street novels. To this day, The Overnight, The Prom Queen and Sunb...moreOne of the downsides being an adult my age is that I can remember the original Fear Street novels. To this day, The Overnight, The Prom Queen and Sunburn remain some of my very favorite books. However, with that knowledge I can't help myself but compare R.L. Stine's newest book Party Games to all those of the past despite trying very hard not to.
Now before I go into what I found wrong with this book, I want to state that I'm still a huge fan of the Author and that his return to Fear Street for me is still very welcome, especially in today's Dystopian heavy world of literature. We need more Young Adult Horror and what better way than by bringing back the world of The Fears. So with that being said, here are some of the issues that I had with Party Games....
One of the first problems I came across was the premise. A party turned murder mystery could of went a million different directions but instead the Author decided to go with the overused plot of Rich boy hosts party, invites awkward social outcast who also happens to be hot and then plays pranks on all invited. Yes, before you say it, I know the Fear Street novels all do things like this but c'mon this is supposed to be R.L. Stine's triumphant return to Shadyside, think outside the box a little.
Another issue I had was it's pacing. The beginning dragged so much that I wondered if anything was even going to happen. One of the things I liked about the Fear Street books was the set up to the story but I don't think we received that with Party Games. I would've liked more than a dead animal in Rachel's bed to remind us that yes, we were indeed reading a Fear Street novel.
Lastly, I didn't really like the ending. It was too optimistic. I mean, sure, I didn't want Rachel to be scarred over the events that transpired on Fear Island but at least take some time (not just a week or two) to mull over things. One relationship nearly ended in Murder and here you are just two weeks later ready to date someone new. Sure teens have short attention spans but c'mon now maybe wait awhile before jumping ships.
Now although I had a few issues with the story that doesn't mean that Party Games was all bad.
First off, I loved the twist! I knew something was going down with Rachel's ex but the actual reason for all his behavior came as a surprise. Plus I liked how everything played into each other such as the "cops" arriving just in the nick of time to save the day. These kids were lucky that's for sure.
Another thing I really enjoyed were the references to past Fear Street novels. Now I won't name them because finding these nuggets of information was half the fun but I will say that I'm sure I missed some so I might need to read this again in the future just to check.
Final Thoughts Party Games might not have been all I was hoping for but it was still a fun read and ultimately I'm happy to have read it. The thing is, while Party Games might have been written with the intention of introducing new fans to the world of Fear Street, more than likely it's the older fans who will probably be the most vocal in their critique. By neglecting the fans who put Fear Street on the map, R.L. Stine's triumphant return to the world of Fear may well turn out to be his last and for this fan that's a shame.
With that being said, I'll be rating Party Games by R.L. Stine ★★★.
Dead over Heels is a story that I've been wanting to read for awhile so when I was approached to be part of the blog tour I jumped at the chance strai...moreDead over Heels is a story that I've been wanting to read for awhile so when I was approached to be part of the blog tour I jumped at the chance straight away. I was a fan of the Authors previous Zombie story Donna of the Dead and although I knew this wasn't a sequel or even a companion I was excited nonetheless.
One of the things I really liked about Dead over Heels was how fast paced this story was. I believe I read this in under 2 hours which is pretty quick even for me. That just goes to show how entertained I was.
Another thing I really liked was the setting for the story. Usually Zombie stories are set in a city or suburb to maximize the death toll but instead this story chooses to focus almost solely on the main characters Ava and Cole as they escape and then become lost in the Appalachian mountains while running from the undead. Not only did these characters have to fight off Zombies but then they had to contest with mother nature as well. I really liked that spin to the story.
Now even though I did enjoy Dead over Heels that's not to say that it didn't have a few small flaws keeping me from rating it higher.
First Off, the ending just came a bit too easy for the characters. I won't give it away of course but everything is wrapped up very nicely and just was a bit of a let down after all the characters had been through. Oh don't get me wrong I'm happy for certain things but also I think we needed to see some serious Apocalyptic carnage before the big Ah-Ha moment at the end.
Secondly, the girlfriend whose perfect and hot but also happens to be a psycho was unnecessary for me. Yes, I get she added the human enemy element traditionally seen in these types of stories but her character just fell flat for me. She reminded me more of Harmony from Buffy playing the villain than actually succeeding at being one.
Lastly, while the story overall was good the Zombies were missing something I personally crave and that's the scare factor. A bunch of Zombies trampling around the woods saying Rawr isn't scary for me, in fact, it was a bit comical after the dozenth or so time it was used.
Final Thoughts Dead over Heels was a cute, fast paced, love story, set among a Zombie Apocalypse. I definitely recommend Dead over Heels for any person looking to get into the Zombie genre without wanting lots of violence and gore or for those who like a little bit of romance in their Apocalypse.
With that being said, I'll be rating Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper ★★★.
Despite being a Novella, Endurance read like a full length book. When I finished Enclave I was surprised to...moreReviewed originally @Blood,Sweat and Books
Despite being a Novella, Endurance read like a full length book. When I finished Enclave I was surprised to find that my edition had Endurance included. Naturally, I didn't want to wait so I started it immediately after finishing Enclave and boy, am I glad that I did. Endurance filled in so many burning questions that I had after finishing Enclave. Primarily what happened to those left underground after Deuce and Fade were exiled. What I liked best about Endurance was that it followed my two favorite characters Thimble and Stone. I loved getting to see how each of them dealt with Deuce leaving considering they both essentially betrayed her as judgement was handed down by the Elders. I also enjoyed seeing the duo struggle with the fact the two of them have undeniable chemistry despite Enclave rules dictating that a pairing between them could simply never happen. It's forbidden romance and isn't that really the best kind?
Another thing that I liked was the Action. From beginning to end I was glued to the story. It wasn't necessarily pulse pounding but I was certainly biting my lip with each turn of the page knowing it might be either characters last. Something bad takes place in the Enclave and I was terrified that one or both of them might not make it through the night. Most shocking of all is it's not just the Ferals who cause it.Speaking of the Ferals, I felt they were much more menacing in this tale. I could finally see why the inhabitants of College were afraid of them. I am still left wondering how exactly they made it out of the underground but I guess that will come in the next book. I have my suspicions though.
Lastly, I really liked that we were able to see more from what happened in the past. Those poor survivors thought they were smart hiding underground but the joke was on them. Had they known it would end up their tomb I'd wonder if they'd have still taken the risk in the first place? In that respect I did see similarities to a video game called Fallout but did I really care? No. Also I did sort of wonder how the pressurized doors still worked. Wouldn't they need electricity?
The only real downside to Endurance was the fact that it was over too soon. I could've followed Thimble and Stone to the ends of the world and been content doing so. It's not really the stories fault, it is a Novella after all and despite its length I was satisfied from first to last page. It's mainly that I know in the next book these two beautifully amazing characters will be relegated back to the background so Deuce and Fade can once again take center stage.
Final Thoughts In the end I highly enjoyed Endurance. In fact, I have no problem saying that I enjoyed it even more than Enclave. Thimble in my eyes would of been a more interesting protagonist to follow than Deuce. She has vitality and charisma despite her disability that's infectious and it doesn't hurt that I find her an adorable companion for Stone. With that being said, I'll be rating Endurance by Ann Aguirre ★★★★.
*Copy purchased. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.(less)