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Animals We Are

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  68 reviews
"A relationship is a question asked over and over again across a lifetime... will the animal in you, bite the animal in me?"

Zoe and her boyfriend Mike head to Yosemite for week-long horse tour of the backcountry, but get more than they bargained for when a serial killer stalks their party through the woods. The killer's connection to Mike's past makes Zoe question the hea
Paperback, 282 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Little Leo Media, Inc.
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  113 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To describe this book as a survival story would be to trivialize it, as it's so much more than that! Zoe and boyfriend Mike travel to Yosemite for a backpacking trip and when tragedy ensues, Zoe finds herself battling not only the snow and nature's elements but also her inner demons as she struggles to stay alive. It's also a very metaphorical journey as Zoe sees herself as a lone wolf even though she's never had to "show her fangs." And so she is tested over and over, and as she comes to the re ...more
Le Petit
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-books
Book 3 of my “Seven books in seven days” challenge:

The author couldn’t decide whether she wanted to write a metaphysical book about a woman finding herself or a thriller. By not making that distinction we end up with a frustrating romp through the ramblings of our heroine Zoe which completely waters down the actual crime.

I guessed who the killer was early on and I feel like anyone can by simply paying attention. It would have been easier to hide him if the Cassandra angle wasn’t so ridiculous an
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent well developed and fast paced thriller! You will love it!

What can I say about "Animals We Are"? I really enjoyed this read and it is a solid 5 stars for me!

What I enjoyed most about the novel was the plot and the pace!

I devoured this book in two days, stayed up late and found every excuse under the sun to keep reading.

I enjoyed the characters, particularly the portrayal of the protagonist who, for me, was layered and not always likeable. I will always enjoy a novel more if the centr
Caroline Bertaud
Animals We Are is a stunning debut. The mystery is easy enough to figure out, but who the villain is doesn’t matter as much as the journey to stop them. There’s no stalling and the writing really is fantastic, earthy and beasty, the animal analogies numerous and very imaginative. If you’ve seen the movie Ladyhawke, you might expect, while reading, the main character, Zoe, to transform into a hawk as she falls off the face of a mountain or into a big black wolf as she races against time and the e ...more
Marika Charalambous
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fun psychological/romantic/survival-in-the-wilderness thriller, the first in a new series featuring Zoe and Mike, a couple who is almost committed but not quite there in their relationship. When Mike disappears while they're on a trip to the Yosemite, Zoe will move heaven and earth to find him or die trying.

It was interesting how Zoe was the one to work toward saving her partner, whereas in most of these types of adventures, the guy is the one who save his princess.

Full review at https://myste
Martie Nees Record
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Romance Thriller
Publisher: Little Leo Media, Inc.
Pub. Date: December 18, 2019


The author reached out to me and offered an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book. The genre is not something I would normally be interested in reading. But, since she mentioned that she is a screenwriter. I accepted. The novel is a bit like Cheryl Strayed's, "Wild.” But it also made me think of the feminist book written by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” The book is about
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I happened upon this book after receiving a review copy of the second book in this series. I figured I might as well start out reading the first to give the second book its best chance for review purposes.

Anyways, this book is about a couple that goes on a trip to yosemite(Zoe and Mike). They join a group of campers on a horse back riding trip around yosemite. Pretty soon their quaint little camping trip becomes a desperate race for survival. Someone is stalking and threatening Zoe and Mike. Bu
Roxie |The Book Slayer| Voorhees
Valerie Brandy has written a solid plot with characters that you can relate to. What my biggest hangup was some of her attempts at a more poetic prose. I don't fell that is her real style and thus it felt a bit awkward at parts.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little Leo Media for a gifted copy of Animals We Are in exchange for an honest review.

Hannelore Cheney
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and Little Leo Media for the eARC.
What a debut novel this is: well written, descriptive and tense all the way through. It's also to have a follow-up, which is excellent news!
In Yosemite National Park, Zoe and Mike are on a week-long horse camping trip, when Mike disappears, presumed to have been kidnapped by his previous girlfriend. What follows is a harrowing trek through a hostile, beautiful landscape that is the making of Zoe, physically and emotionally. I particularly lov
Gail McBroom
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story of universal connectivity

I loved this book and the way she found herself through
her connectedness with everything. Not just because I am native American and share this view it was the way she wrote it, had me crying when she knew her soul mate and let nothing convince her otherwise.

Great depiction of universal connectivity.
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am exhausted! The characters had to survive snowstorms on a mountain, to say nothing about a murderer! There was a surprise at the end as well! I definitely want to read the next one in the series because of the cliffhanger!

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the digital ARC. My review is strictly voluntary.
Alison Marie (Thrillerlovingirl)
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.5 ⭐️
“Will the animal in you, bite the animal in me?”
This story follows Zoe and her boyfriend, Mike who both decide take a trip to to Yosemite. One night during the trip Mike goes missing. Zoe is then forced to take matters into her hands to search for him. It is then that she becomes the wolf, that deep down we all have inside of us.

During my time reading this story, I realized how big of impact (or lack of) reading dialogue between characters play during my reading experience and entertainme
Shannon Stevens
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow this was an interesting read. It was well thought out and written. I loved the journey that Zoe takes and her becoming whole. It’s a good story that keeps you guessing until the end. You don’t know who the bad guy is and even start to think it’s someone you know and like. The imagery is so detailed and the knowledge of Yosemite is definitely shown throughout. I love the oneness with nature and can’t wait to read more from this author. She did an amazing job for her first book. I highly recom ...more
D.K. Hundt
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksiren
ANIMALS WE ARE is the first book that I’ve read by Valerie Brandy and I can’t wait to read more! Suspenseful, heartbreaking, and brought tears to my eyes —Loved It!

Highly Recommend!

Thank you to Booksirens for providing me with an eBook of ANIMALS WE ARE in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This survival/psychological thriller/romance is the first in an entertaining new series.
Zoe and her boyfriend Mike head to Yosemite on vacation for a week, doing a horseback riding tour of the back country.
The party consists of their guide Brock, retired couple Ken and Sue, and Logan, a college age young man.
A few days into their trip Mike is kidnapped and someone is following the group's every move.
Is Mike's stalker ex-girlfriend Cassandra involved in his disappearance? Has Zoe ever been able t
Oct 12, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁FREE on Amazon today (10/12/2020)! 🎁
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Animals We Are was a very exciting read, a psychological/action thriller about a woman, Zoe, who has to turn to her primal, animal instincts to survive extreme danger in Yosemite National Park.

The story itself is a page-turner, Zoe starts the story off going on a horse tour through back country with her boyfriend, Mike, and a few other people. Things quickly go sour when their camp it set fire and Mike is seemingly kidnapped. Zoe first must rely on the other people in the group but as the plot
Mark Dispenza
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Imagine that Cheryl Strayed's journey in "Wild" had gone horridly wrong, and she found herself unexpectedly stalked by a relentless predator in the wilderness, cut off from contact with anyone who could come to her aid, and you have an idea of the plot for "Animals We Are." This is a wonderful romp through the remote reaches of Yosemite Valley, blending the woman-versus-nature adventure story with the genres of horror and romance, but what's most gratifying is the inner journey of protagonist, Z ...more
Pat Eroh
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intense and action-packed, this story will keep you on your toes throughout the entire book. It never lets up so is compelling to the end. I find the modern woman makes things too complicated in her own life but stories like this remind me of what a great relationship I have, I worked on it though and it was not easy. The story does exactly what it promises and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fast-paced, feminist thriller about a young woman surviving in the wild of Yosemite backcountry, stalked by a killer, with no one to rely on but herself...
"A relationship is a question asked over and over again across a lifetime... will the animal in you, bite the animal in me?"
Zoe and her boyfriend Mike head to Yosemite for a week-long horse tour of the backcountry, but get more than they bargained for when a serial killer stalks their party through the woods. The killer's connection to Mike'
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strong entry in the thriller genre. Very engaging with characters that seem pretty real. This is a talented author. This has a creative, well executed plot. It's fun to see Zoe grow and how she tackles major physical and psychological challenges. Recommended.

Thank you very much for the review copy!!
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful psychological thriller is set in the amazing wilderness of one of America’s amazing National Parks. This is a brilliant plot that this author has come up with and written in such an amazing way that I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the entire story. I think this is the first book by this author, it’s certainly the first time I’ve read anything by her, but it shall not be the last book.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: preteen and over
Shelves: final-review
Animals We Are by Valerie Brandy is set in the Yosemite National park in California. Known best for the waterfalls, deep valleys, high mountains and lush meadows. Back-country is where we find ourselves in this suspenseful survival thriller with a dash of romance.

Zoe is a woman with ambitions of connecting and learning to trust her boyfriend Mike. She struggles with an everlasting voice in her head that tells her that humans are animals that will bite you when they have a chance. The combinat
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thrilling to the core. The plot was not different from other stalking storylines but this has it's own twist and the ending keeps you wanting more. ...more
Kelly Sry
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This psychological thriller is the kind of book that makes me want to keep turning the page. First the wilderness aspects really draw you into a feeling of seclusion. As you follow Zoe's journey, you can't help but empathize. The writing style fits perfectly as it takes us through the internal conflicts Zoe is going through. I believe the end of the book also forces us to look into ourselves. What kind of animal are we? What lies within us? Great book overall. It was extremely enjoyable and rela ...more
Abbie Steckler
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know it was possible for a thriller to tell such a dark, ever-twisting-and-turning story of fear and revenge while at the same time delving into insightful explorations of modern day relationships. But apparently - it's very possible indeed. ANIMALS WE ARE is a total page-turner. Brandy weaves a fascinating tale of wilderness, survival and suspicion. The characters bound off the pages like wolves, their emotions are multi-layered and their journeys are riveting. Not only is it simply a ...more
Shawn Pinzon
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review of the book Animals We Are ebook doc.
Rating: 5, excellent.
Thriller that will keep you guessing who is the maniac. This book was very entertaining, well written, great characters and a page turner. I enjoyed reading this book!! Wow what an ending!! I received an ARC for my honest opinion.

Heather Bane
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book. From the beginning I was drawn in. The story is well written. A hard book to put down. I recommend reading.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Amy Moreno
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty interesting book that had a lot of elements going on with it. Even though I actually figured out who the villain was on page 30, it was a pretty interesting read because it had so many different facets. It is part survival fiction, part thriller mystery, a sprinkling of supernatural vibes thrown in for good measure, a pinch of psychiatric profiling. It seems like it would be overwhelming but I actually really wanted to get to the end to see if I was right about who I thought wa ...more
Sharon Lennon
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough about how much I LOVED this book. It's a cross-genre thriller. Has elements of survival, murder-mystery, relationships, and trying to figure out who the killer is. The feeling of escaping into a National Park was especially needed right now, given that we are all stuck inside and unable to travel. This is part domestic thriller, part travel adventure. The action/adventure scenes were my favorite, and I also deeply connected with the protagonist's (Zoe's) inner life. I did not ...more
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"... the key word when describing Brandy is 'unflinching'." -- the Huffington Post

Valerie Brandy is a screenwriter, director, and actress based in Los Angeles. She began her writing career by selling a screenplay at 20 years old, becoming one of the youngest members of the WGA west at the time. She’s since worked for numerous film studios and television networks, most recently serving as a full


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