Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Hardcover: 374 Pages

Series: Under The Never Sky #1

Publisher: Harper Collins

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Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky. ”

To be perfectly honest, Under The Never Sky isn’t a bad book, and the rating only reflects my enjoyment while reading, nothing else. Continue reading

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Halloween Review: Circus of the Dead by Seth Blackburn

Kindle edition: 32 Pages

Series: Short story standalone

Publisher: Seth Blackburn

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“Twenty years ago, the dead destroyed the world of the living. The survivors scattered in the wake of the Scourge, erecting small towns in the worlds’ most sparsely populated areas.

For young Gabriel, the walking dead are merely the memories that haunt the eyes of those old enough and lucky enough to have survived. He is more concerned with his hard life in America’s desert, where his chores keep him busy and the husks of books stashed beneath the cellar of the library are his only freedom.

Until the circus comes to town.”

This short story, with its oddly unexpected HEA ending, is brilliant! Exceptional. *checks dictionary for other synonyms* Clever, genius, inventive, profound (oh, yes, it is), sharp, masterly. Okay, I think you got it. Continue reading

Halloween Review: Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box by Mira Grant

eBook: 21 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Orbit

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“A new short story from Mira Grant, the author of Feed.

Every week five friends get together to play a game– a game they call the Apocalypse Game. It’s a fun time with chips and beer and plotting the end of the world. Except this time, one of them is missing and the stakes are higher than ever before.”

If the name Mira Grant sounds familiar, then you’ve probably read her Newsflesh series and you know she’s an awesome writer, as I am now convinced she is. Continue reading

ARC Review: Alternity by Mari Mancusi

ebook: 243 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC

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Imagine waking up in a post-apocalyptic, nightmare world–and being told your whole life is but a dream. Skye Brown thought she was your typical teen–good grades, hot boyfriend, and an afterschool job that pays her to play videogames. But then she started having the dreams.

In her dreams, there is no Earth. Only Terra, a bleak, underground wasteland where people live in squalor and oppression. In her dreams, there is no Skye–only Mariah, a rebel leader fighting against a vile, dystopian regime. And then there’s Dawn, a handsome, but haunted solider who sees her as but an empty shell of the girl he once loved–a betrayer he vows to hate forever, despite what she sees deep in his eyes.

Now, ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye finds herself in a fight against time–to learn who she really is, where she belongs..and why. The shocking truth will have her questioning her own reality…and her heart.

This novel was originally published in print as Moongazer, back in 2010, which made for some confusing 10 minutes when I discovered two books with the same blurbs. Continue reading

ARC Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Hardcover: 496 Pages

Series: Gone With the Respiration #2

Publisher: Del Rey

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Can the living coexist with the living dead? 

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Dearly, Departed  is one of those books with very mixed reviews. Some liked it, some really, truly didn’t, mainly because of the zombie kisses thing I mentioned before. I loved it! Naturally, starting this book, I had very high hopes and am sad to say Dearly, Beloved was kinda, sorta a let down. Continue reading

Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Hardcover: 336 Pages

Series: Razorland #2

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

To be completely honest, this was a disappointment. What is it with Aguirre and her second installments in the series being less than great?! I have yet to finish Hell Fire from the Corine Solomon series, even though I thought the first novel was brilliant.

As I’m sure you guessed by now, “Outpost” was not what I expected. The novel starts  with a short recap of the first books story, skillfully written by Aguirre so it doesn’t come across as annoying or repetitive. Or so I thought. In truth, repetition was one of the problems of this book, whether it came in the form of  Deuce’s memories which prompted, at times, whole paragraphs from the first book, or in the form of Deuce’s motto: “I’m a Huntress”. If I had to hear/read that one more time..

Even if two whole months passed since Deuce and her friends arrived in Salvation, she’s still stubborn to the point of being downright petulant when it comes to adapting to this new life and understanding/learning this society’s rules. She keeps calling married couples Breeders, children she calls brats. I loved her character in “Enclave” because it showed her as open-minded enough to accept another life and reality, but not in this book. Not at first, anyway. Her attitude is understandable to a point, but soon it becomes tiresome and annoying.

We do get to see more of her and Fade and the beginning of a real relationship between the two. But that ends pretty much as soon as it begins.

I actually liked Stalker more than I did in the first book. He’s changing from the brute that he was, while still being loyal to Deuce. I certainly don’t like him as a love interest and I can’t stand the love triangle thing that’s going on, but that’s that. ( Again, the author sure seems to like love triangles).

If you’re expecting “Outpost” to be as action packed as the first installment was then think again. It’s more centered on the relationships between characters than it is on action scenes. We do get a few of those, but they’re extremely rare and end quickly.  Frankly, the first half of the book was rather boring because nothing really happened.

To make matters worse, we don’t get any more explanations to any questions the first novel posed. We still don’t know how the Freaks came to be even though they make a solid and consistent presence throughout the book or what happened that turned  this world into a post-apocalyptic one. What we do get is a picture of how the Freaks are evolving. They’re no longer the mindless creatures they were.

One other thing that bothered me, minor as it is, was that Aguirre didn’t provide us with an answer as to why Deuce can hear Silk’s voice in her head. It happens on several occasions and one might think it’s just her own inner voice, but that doesn’t explain the semi-prophetic things she heard from Silk   towards the end of “Enclave”.

While the world building severely lacked because of many still unanswered questions, the writing was good. I do like Aguirre’s writing very much, it’s easy to follow and clear, with one (not so) tiny problem: she chose to explain every single thing happening to her characters and every single thing they did, instead of just showing us, letting us figure it out on our own or letting said things speak for themselves.

Overall and despite everything I just said, this isn’t a horrible or even bad book. It was ok and it will prove a decent read as long as you don’t expect much to happen. I’m still invested into this series and I will read the next installment as well. If only to get my answers.

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Hardcover: 431 Pages

Series: Pure #1

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.”

Hardcover: 262 Pages

Series: Razorland #1

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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I absolutely and completely and totally LOVED this book! I finished it in a couple of hours, I couldn’t stop reading. Continue reading

Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.”

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of “them.” The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked–and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend–a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what–and who–is worth dying for.

Hardcover: 485 Pages

Series: Blood of Eden #1

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Kagawa has done it again! Fantastic book. If you thought her Iron Fey series was supercalifragilistic, then wait ’till you read this one. Continue reading

Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

“It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.”

Kindle Edition: 255 pages

Series:  Penryn & The End of Days #1

Pub­lisher: Feral Dream

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I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I thought it would be the classic tale of girl meets angel,  girl saves sister, falls in love, zoom in to happy ever after. Well, I was wrong. Very, very much so. Continue reading