ARC Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Paperback: 272 Pages

Series: The Reaper Diaries #1

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

Undeadly is a bitter disappointment, even though I was sure it would be after reading the reviews on Goodreads. Continue reading

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

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: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Hardcover: 470 Pages

Series: Gone With the Respiration #1

Publisher: Del Rey

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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

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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: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre

Corine Solomon is a handler. When she touches an object she instantly knows its history and its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing, which is why people never stop trying to find her. Like her ex-boyfriend Chance, who needs Corine’s gift to find someone dear to them both. But the search proves dangerous as it leads them into a strange world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies, and black magic...”

Paperback: 336 Pages

Series: Corine Solomon #1

Publisher: Roc

Corine is living her life, trying to stay away from trouble, when her ex boyfriend Chance comes back into her life with a request: to help him find his missing mother.  She can’t say no because she knows and loves his mother like her own, but with accepting his plea old problems come back.  Her insecurities about Chance’s feelings for her, her heartbreak and old enemies who want nothing more than to kill her. Continue reading

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