ARC Review: Elemental: The First by Alexandra May

Paperback: 280 Pages

Series: Primord Series #1

Publisher: Pauma Publishing

Find on GoodReads

Just who is Halíka Dacomé?

To Rose Frost, moving house every six months is normal. Another new town here, another new school there, her ability to adapt is as easy as breathing. But everything changes when her parents go overseas and Rose moves in with her grandmother. She enjoys meeting new friends and catching up with old ones from her childhood holidays — except now she must hide a precious secret from everyone, a gift from birth that defies modern day science. 

Her dreams become riddled with a warrior woman called Halíka Dacomé, but are they visions or messages from the future? She starts her own investigation but encounters more questions than answers. Living right on the edge of Warminster in Wiltshire doesn’t help with its folklore and myths about strange lights in the sky and ghost stories of the Salisbury Plain

Not only that, her troubles really take hold one night when the mysterious Aiden Deverill with his alluring smile, his gorgeous dark looks and hypnotising blue eyes, saves her from a freak fire. Or did he? 

For Rose, her new life is beginning but she soon realises that despite assurances people are not always what they seem. What she always believed to be a happy family and a friendly town soon turns on its head when she discovers that her family secret, Aiden Deverill and the truth behind Halíka Dacomé is at the heart of the whole conspiracy.

Continue reading

Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Hardcover: 374 Pages

Series: Under The Never Sky #1

Publisher: Harper Collins

Find on GoodReads

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

ARC Review: Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane

eBook: 280 Pages

Series: Code of Shadows #1

Publisher: Carolyn Crane

Find on GoodReads

He finds the girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares.

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super-sexy martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is superspy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Continue reading

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

eBook: 21 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Orbit

Find on GoodReads

“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

Find on GoodReads

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

Find on GoodReads

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

ARC Review: Flash Point by Nancy Kress

Hardcover: 502 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Find on GoodReads

Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America–and the fame game is on!
Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby–You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life–on and off camera.

This was GREAT! It was off the bat crazy and that made it so much better for me. Excellent with a capital e.  And before any of you ask, no,  it is not similar to The Hunger Games. Continue reading

Book Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Hardcover: 470 Pages

Series: Gone With the Respiration #1

Publisher: Del Rey

Find on GoodReads

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. 

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.”

I loved this book! I can honestly say, the word “love” started to lose all it’s meaning, that’s how many times I kept saying it while reading Dearly, Departed. It was fantastic! What can I say? First of all, I love – there it is again – zombies. Zombies are friggin cool, man. Continue reading

Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Hardcover: 336 Pages

Series: Razorland #2

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Find on GoodReads

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

Find on GoodReads

Continue reading