Category Archives: Book Reviews

Month of Reads – August

This months reviews are again a little thin on the ground, but I read a couple of beauties and I am delighted to share my thoughts on them with you! Happy reading folks!

The Reapers Are the Angels (Reapers, #1)

The Reapers are the Angels – Alden Bell

Plot – Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

Review – I admit that I am partial to the post apocalyptic novels, though I don’t often read zombie ones. This book caught my eye as I was browsing the old Kindle section on Amazon and thought it looked like a fairly decent read. That said, I couldn’t put it down.

Temple is only a young woman, still in her teens. She’s a special sort of person, more an old wise soul than a teenager, and a fascinating character at that. She’s strong and independent, well able to look after herself despite the United States being infested with zombies. (Meatskins as Temple calls them, or slugs).

Travelling, she finds a colony of survivors living in a couple of office blocks. She catches the eye of the distasteful Abraham. Of course, a situation arises where they don’t meet eye to eye and Temple comes out the better for it. However, it brings the unwanted attention of Moses Todd, Abraham’s brother, who is seeking vengeance. The play between these two very similar personalities is intense and a strange sort of respect forms between them during the cat and mouse play that then ensues.

This fascinating book might contain zombies and other horrid creatures, but it really focuses on the characters and the dynamics between them. Really enjoyed this book and there are a few surprises along the way I certainly did not expect.

A couple of things people might find odd in this book are the lack of quotation marks for speech and it takes a little while to get used to that and imagining a southern type drawl to the voices.

Rating – Ya’ll deserve 4 outta 5 stars

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Guardians of Evion – Evelinn Enoksen

Plot – “…cantankerous dragons, evil, ambitious immortals and heroic telepaths who
will sacrifice everything to save their loved ones and their volcanic world …
a romantic, adventurous science fiction saga that begs for a sequel.”
Kirkus
Review

Numak believes his destiny is to be a Rider; but when his life is turned upside down by a beautiful young woman and a mysterious ancient, he learns he is far more extraordinary than he could have imagined.

On the harsh world of Evion, a wild place of storms and earthquakes, Numak Teorenn, a young telepath, is sent to study at the Tarei Waystation in the mountains of Suli. All
Numak wants, other than to become one of the revered Dragonriders, is to find
answers regarding the mysterious death of his twin sister.

He soon learns that his life has a greater purpose, for which nothing has prepared him, and his understanding of reality and of his own being is transformed. When he discovers
the truth of his destiny should he fight it or embrace it? Will he have any
choice at all?

A strange and compelling narrative which encompasses philosophy, adventure and romance within a richly imagined world, embellished with the author’s own extraordinary art.

Review – This fast paced adventure encompasses everything that is good in fantasy and from the very first page, I knew I was going to like this very much. By the end, I loved it . . . And who doesn’t love dragons?

Numak Teorenn is a telepath who wants to become a Dragonrider and discover the truth surrounding his missing twin sister. Sent to study at the Tarei waystation, it isn’t long before the naïve Numak is drawn into trouble and discovers that his destiny is greater than he could have imagined.

The world Enoksen has created is so beautifully wrought, every detail imagined minutely. The book contains some of the authors own amazing artwork, and really adds some lovely touches to the whole story, giving you a visualisation of the world you never though possible. Along with this, there are other characters along with Numak, who add depth and emotion to the story, by bringing their own pasts and emotions with them. The dynamic mix of adventure, imagination, hints of romance and the discoveries the main protagonist faces while he searches for the truth make this a multi-layered and exciting read.

All the while, the characters must face some painful truths while they try to fight an enemy who seems far stronger than they are. And the evil Ilya . . . She spices up an already heady cocktail of fantasy and I can only imagine the fun the author had in creating her bad self. The subtle blending of the science fiction elements work very well within the story, but I have to admit, the surprising and cranky dragons occasionally steal the show!

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars (mind that one in the sky…)

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Month of Reads… JULY

It’s been a very busy month! I have been working on my novel with my lovely editor at Grimbold Books, Zoe Harris, so I’ve been a little bit slow on the reading front this month. However, I have a few books under my belt and although this one is short and sweet (also blame the very fine Irish weather for once), I will continue the reviews as normal!

Torque TORQUE – Glenn Muller

Genre – Action, Mystery, Thriller

Plot – After nine years on the road, driving instructor Chas Fenn knows how to avoid accidental death – it’s the intentional kind that gives him trouble.

The intentional kind is the seductive Brittany Reis who plans to carve a niche in the street drug trade with a new hallucinogen. When her lab technician suddenly dies, Reis is forced to partner with an aging con man who sees the opportunity as a last chance for a big payoff.

There is dishonour among thieves, and the formula is misdirected to Fenn who’s main ambitions are to win at darts, and get a raise. And maybe get laid. Now, with Reis and her thugs hot on his tail, Fenn’s life takes a dangerous detour where the normal rules no longer apply.

In the background are Detective Inspector Evan Lareault, Sergeant Frank Bloomfield, and Coroner Dr. Dennis Collier. Their investigations of a fatal overdose, two homicides, and a fraudulent funeral home appear unrelated until Fenn discovers a family connection to the formula, and turns from hunted to hunter.

Review – Torque starts as it means to go on by being fast paced and action packed.  The beginning of the story opens with the anonymous characters playing out a scene, where one is selling a new street drug to some young men. The intriguing beginning ends in a death, but it opens up the tale for a myriad of other characters and plots.

The main character, Chas Fenn, is quite the innocent bystander, but quickly becomes embroiled in the story when his father sends him an important and dangerous package. Fenn’s resourceful, clever and completely likeable and despite his father being a con-man, he is only tainted by the association for the package that was sent to him. He is the man who can do what the cops seem to be failing to do, find links between the many plots and he gives the bad guys a hell of a time! There are a host of interesting deaths, action scenes, car chases, humour and characters that make this an entertaining read – the mysterious Brittany Reis, whose hairclip I wouldn’t won’t to be accidently poked with, Fenn’s tongue-in-cheek friends and a load of good and bad guys.

The story keeps its dramatic pace throughout and the twists and turns never stop.  Even when you reach the end, there are still surprises to be had. A highly recommended read, thoroughly entertaining and very worthy of its rating.

Rating – A horse-powered 4 out of 5 stars.

The Shadow Ryana The Shadow Ryana – C.R. Daems & J.R Tomlin

Genre – Fantasy

Plot – Ryana, a worthless girl-child, is sold to a mysterious woman who takes her to the home of the Shadow Sisters who are prized for their abilities as spies and assassins. She survives years of training in spite of being unconventional: adopting poisonous bats as familiars–something no one else would dare to do; choosing the blow dart as her weapon of choice–a weapon the Sisters don’t teach; and relying on intuition rather than logic.

As she completes her training, the Shadow Sisters are under attack. The senior Sister selects Ryana to find out who is killing Sisters and why–because her intuitive approach has proved effective, even though her youth and inexperience makes it unlikely she will survive.

As she travels through the kingdom as a member of a gypsy clan, she finds the only way she can protect the Sisters and hope to discover the underlying plot is through ever more violence and killing. As she proceeds through the provinces, her secret enemies come to call her the Sister of Death and become desperate to find and kill her. But in her fight to protect the Sisterhood and the kingdom, Ryana fears that she has destroyed herself and the only life she ever wanted.

Review – The Shadow Ryana is the first book I’ve read from the writing duo and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! The story goes through, briefly, Ryana’s childhood and her training to become a shadow sister and spy/assassin. From early on, the reader understands she is different because instead of using cold logic, she uses intuition as her strength.

There are a lot of great points about this book, the pacing, imagination and unique world are very well etched. I thought having bats as familiar was a stroke of genius, because it wasn’t the usual cat or dog familiar. My only gripe is at times, I felt like the action, especially the fights with the magicians were a little repetitive. Overall though, I liked the story, the mystery involved in her search to find who is killing her sister shadows, and the MC’s contrasting surety in her abilities and her growing sense of being lost because of all the killing she has to do.  Very worth reading. Will take a look at the second in the series.

Rating – A sneaky 3.5 (leaning to 4) stars out of 5.

Girl in The GlassGirl in the Glass – Zoe Brooks

Genre – Fantasy

Plot – “I will have to say it: ‘I am Anya and I am nothing’. I will look down at the floor as I say it, so that I don’t see the smile on my aunt’s face, so she won’t see the defiance in my eyes. She will get her victory. She always wins these battles. I know it, she knows it. But one day, one day she will not.”

This Cinderella story for adults, set in an unnamed world, has no fairy godmother and no handsome prince, just a girl of spirit and her strange companion.

Orphaned at the age of 10 in circumstances that she refuses to explain, Anya grows up trapped in the house of her abusive aunt where she and Eva, her Shadow, are treated as slaves. As her aunt tries to break her and the punishments become increasingly life-threatening, Anya struggles to find affection and self-esteem. When the inevitable showdown arrives, where will Anya find the strength to survive and escape? And if she does escape, what then? An arduous walk across an unforgiving desert to a city where an even worse danger lies.

Review – The story sounded intriguing when I read the blurb and I have to admit I was fairly intrigued for a good chunk of the story. Zoe Brooks Anya’s story is poetic and poignant to begin with and as a reader I was sympathetic for her MC, whose tragic beginnings are nothing but cruel.  I found the idea of her friend Eva interesting – her Shadow as she is known, is not quite human and doesn’t have the same emotions as humans, and she acts a lot like a maid.  So I’m not sure exactly what she is, but as a character, you warm to her. A lot of the time these Shadows are misunderstood in the world Brooks has created.

I found the world a strange one. It begins in a desert like realm, but then moves onto a city after Anya and Eva run away from the abusive household. The city felt too much like what we live in today and with the MC changing her identity – I lost a lot of compassion and patience for the stupid mistakes she makes over and over again. I found myself more sympathetic towards Eva than Anya in the end, though I’m not entirely sure if that was the author’s intentions. There is a second book in the series, and having thought over how I feel about the first one, I’m still not sure how to proceed.

Rating – 2.5 frustrated stars.

Month of Reads – June

It’s that time of the month again (no – not that time) when I go through some of the books I’ve read and give them a mini-review.  There’s so many talented authors and great books, but so little time to read their works!  But I endeavour to do my best.  Here’s my reads for June!

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)  Life as we knew it Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre – YA, Apocalyptic Sci-fi

Plot – Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Review – This book is the first in a series, and is written in journal form as it states above.  I thought it might take me a while to get used to the diary format, but it did not hinder me whatsoever.  I thought this was a very clever, well thought out and researched piece.

After the moon is hit by a meteor and knocked off kilter, all sorts of horrors face the planet.  The MC – Miranda, describes these events and how her family – her  mother and two brothers attempt to survive. Each wave of horror that arrives; tidal waves, earthquakes, eruptions and climate change – all happen because of the influence the moon has on our rock.  The most devastating change follows after volcanos erupt, blanketing the sky in an ash that brings on a long winter.  It kills all crops – leaving the surviving populations trying to live and scavenge through starvation and illness.

It’s a coming of age story, but in no way would anyone want to be shaped and matured by such devastation.  I couldn’t put it down. Great book.

Rating – undiminished by volcanic ash, a bright 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Space Games   Space GamesDean Lombardo

Genre – Sci-fi

Plot – Say hello to Robin and Joe—contestants in 2034’s “Space Games,” a high-stakes reality TV show from Hollywood producer Sheldon J. Zimmer that is set aboard next-generation space station, ISS 2. The winner takes home a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a chance at stardom, while the loser faces the ultimate in public humiliation. Only former NASA astronaut Vince, acting as the station’s commander and the games’ sole referee, can separate sexy spitfire and martial artist, Robin Miller, from her brutal opponent, “Big Joe” O’Donnell, as the pair compete inside the cramped zero-g environs. Watched by millions of people back on Earth, the reality show rapidly degenerates into a deadly spectacle.

Space Games is a compelling story and a biting satire about reality television: those who make and participate in it – and those who watch it.

Review – Space Games lives up to the hype.  It is a brutal free for all, a fast paced, violent and yet a satirical look at human nature and the nature of reality television gone too far.  The two main protagonists, feisty Robin and tough Joe, go head to head in an ultimate battle of the sexes show, which quickly descends into chaos.  Morality blurs and hard hitting questions start being asked: how far should one go for television?  For fame/infamy? Money? To prove a point?

The funny thing is, Robin and Joe don’t really ask these questions.  They’re more interested is getting one up on each other.  But as a reader, you do.  The MC’s aren’t the most loveable characters, redeeming qualities are thin on the ground, but that, I think, might be part of the fun of Space Games.  It’s keeps you wondering what God-awful thing they are going to do to each other next…  And the ballsy ending – it is as brutal in its ending as it is in its beginning.  Very well written, entertaining, and asks a few uncomfortable questions about our sometimes voyeuristic natures.  Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Rating – 4.5 ass kicking stars out of 5

Slated (Slated, #1)  SlatedTeri Terry

Genre – YA, Sci fi

Plot – Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Review – Slating is a process of memory erasing, a thing you quickly realise the MS, Kyla has suffered.  Generally, it is done for people with criminal type back grounds, but as the novel goes on, you discover that occasionally an overly traumatic might see someone volunteer for the process.  After being Slated, the person must wear a watch-like device, called a levo, which monitors mood levels.

Kyla returns to the ‘normal’ world, a future UK living under the thumb of a stringent government and with fears of rebels/terrorists and bombings.  Moving in with a new family, Kyla tries to build the pieces of her life, realising quickly that she is unusual for a Slated person, because she will ask questions and endeavours to discover more about the world and herself and who she was in the past.  It quickly becomes apparent that if you speak out at all, you will soon be taken away – it is something constantly on the periphery and it created an air of paranoia in the book.

Really enjoyed this book, thought it cleverly plotted, strongly written with good characterisations.  Original and different and will definitely read the next book in the series.

Rating – 3.5 unique stars out of 5

Branded (Fall of Angels #1)  BrandedKeary Taylor

Genre – Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

Plot – Jessica had the nightmares for as long as she can remember.  Nightmares of being judged by people who have died, of being branded by the angels.  Her friends and family think she’s crazy because of it all.  Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.

But when two men she can’t ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares.  The two of them couldn’t be more different.  She will do anything to be with one of them.  Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck.  But one of the two has set events into motion that will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.

Review – I thought the premise an interesting one when I read it.  Having to sit and be judged for dead people and to suffer a branding, to be exalted or condemned – it all sounded like a read great.  There’s even some good atmosphere in this book and overall it is an enjoyable enough read.

However…

There’s something not quite right about this for me.  I don’t know if it is the fact the romantic lead is all too perfect and stilted, if the relationship progresses supernaturally fast, or that it was a little too predictable – you could see the bad guy coming a mile off and I felt the vast potential and idea of this book kinda fell flat.  It’s so frustrating to feel that way when you finish a book. (Sigh)

Rating – An anticlimactic 3 out of 5 stars.

Magic of Thieves (Legends of Dimmingwood, #1)  Magic of ThievesC. Greenwood

Genre – YA, Fantasy

Plot – In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?

Review – After losing her parents and on her way to the safety of her own people, Ilan finds herself caught up with a troupe of thieves living in the Dimmingwood.  Lead by ruthless Rideon the Red Hand, Ilan grows from girl into young woman.  She learns all her best lessons from the thieves, some kind, some not.  It is a coming of age story and at times, Ilan can be brutish, ignorant and mean, especially to peaceful Terrac, who is meant to be her friend.

I enjoyed the fact Ilan wasn’t completely likeable and her growth of character is well handled, but hard learned.  My only real gripe with this is that it ended all too quickly! There’s good characterisation, plenty of action and a Robin Hood type of magic to this book.  Looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Rating – 3.5/4 thieving stars out of 5

Month of Reads… MAY

This is a new idea I’m trying out for my blog, which I’ve called, Month of Reads.  I thought I’d give you short and sweet reviews of books I’ve read over the last month and hopefully, I’ll remember to update it around the same time next month.

WARNING – you may see a lot of  Fantasy, YA and Sci-Fi in the list!

Image   Smuggler’s KissMarie-Louise Jenson.

Genre – YA, historic

Plot: It’s not a crime to steal a heart

Smugglers are cut-throat rascals. At least that’s what Isabelle’s always been told. But when she’s rescued from drowning at sea by the crew of a notorious smuggling ship, her principles are thrown into confusion. Outwitting the king’s men fills her with excitement, especially when she’s with one mysterious smuggler in particular . . .

Review: I found this book quite by accident after buying another book.  After reading this and a couple other of Jenson’s books, I admit to becoming a fan.  Jenson’s easy style translates well and it’s easy to see she’s done a lot of research into her characters, place, time and period detail.  The development of the main protagonist comes about as one would hope reading a historical coming-of-age book – Isabelle is spoiled, hot-headed, but completely likeable, despite her general ignorance.  But her development to being more understanding, braver and less whingey, comes about through strife, misunderstandings as well as hints of romance.  There’s plenty of adventure and like all excellent books, you’re a little sad to part from it.

Rating – An easy 5 out of 5

Image   Grave MercyR.L LaFevers

Genre: Historic, Fantasy, YA

Plot: Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review: As soon as I read the plot summary, I was like, ‘sounds like my kind of book’ and my gut-feeling was correct!  It is the first book in the His Fair Assassin ­series and since I’ve read this, I have gone on to read its terrific sequel, Dark Triumph.

Although LaFevers’ MC, Ismae is initially a distraught character, she is also very strong.  This is seen in her acceptance of the Order and the will of St Mortain.  However, what I loved about the book is the de-construction of everything is knows as she begins to follow her heart and not just what she is told to accept and do.  Great characters and loads of intrigue.  Only minor hiccup in the beginning was the startling resemblance to the start of Jacqueline Carey’s novel, Cushiel’s Dart, but I soon realised the books are different.  A thoroughly enjoyable read, especially if you like intrigues, twists and turns and hints of romance.

Rating:  A strong 5 out of 5

Image  Fire and ThornsRae Carson (known also as, The Girl of Fire and Thorns)

Genre – Fantasy

Plot: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

Review: This was another book I found by accident.  I liked the look of it and the blurb was intriguing enough.  In fairness, it took me a little time to warm to the MC, Elisa, who was crippled with self-doubt, a voracious appetite and a lazy attitude.  But as the plot thickens and Elisa begins to discover some self-worth, you warm to her.  A lot happens in this book, intrigues, adventure and of course, what book can go wrong with sprinklings of romance?  It’s a well written fare, with a mixture of irritating and endearing characters.  Also a lot of world building – and unique settings, running from desert, to jungle, to a land that felt slightly as though it was set in Death Valley (or maybe that was just how I imagined it!) Parts of the novel were quite sad too.  Overall a good, entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rating:  A solid 4 out of 5

Image    After the Ending Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

Genre: Post Apocalyptic

Plot:  When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them—with the rest of the world—but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was so wrong. My name is Dani O’Connor, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’ve been stripped of my home, my dreams…all that is me. I’m someone else now—broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe Cartwright, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing—we’ll do anything to reach one another. Fear and pain may be unavoidable, but we’re strong…we’re survivors. But to continue surviving in this unfamiliar world plagued by Crazies and strange new abilities, we have to adapt. We have to evolve.

And more than anything, we have to find each other.

Review:  Yes, the plot is long, however, it had me intrigued and I do admit to being a bit of a sucker when it comes to post-apocalyptic works.  The first few pages weren’t all that bad either, but as I read on, I became more and more disillusioned with this disappointing book.  Part of me feels the best part of the book was written in the plot.  The book doesn’t hold any true horror of what one might imagine if a Virus has decimated most of the world’s population.  It’s written in a passing thought kind of way.  I feel the book is truly a chick-lit novel, thinly disguised beneath the sci-fi, post-apocalyptic tag.  I found the characters vapid and shallow and I’m generally fairly easy to please.  It is written from the POV of two women that go on more about their desire for the man next to them than the horror of their situation, whilst keeping in contact via e-mail.   SO disappointed this unrealistic book didn’t live up to my expectations.

A very sad 1 out of 5 (And I feel bad writing this review…)

Image  The 5th WaveRick Yancy

Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, YA

Plot: The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review:  This is more like it!  This post-apocalyptic book from Yancey is what I imagine a good, clever and twisty ‘end-of-worlder’ to be.  It is written from the POV’s of a few of the characters, but mainly through the resourceful and brave Cassie, who is trying to save her younger brother, and the determined and disillusioned Zombie (Ben).  It’s clever, action packed and full of flawed, but progressive characters.  There’s plenty of twists and chapter cliff hangers and I enjoyed the way the characters became entwined as the book ventures on.  There are some fairly dark questions and at times it’s hard to tell the bad-invading aliens from the humans.  Far more clever, realistic and entertaining than the previous review.

Rating: A very happy 4 out of 5

Books & Series that have inspired me!

I thought I’d do something fun today! I was thinking about books that have inspired me as a reader, and then, as a writer over the years.  Picking out my favourite top ten – in no particular order – was rather difficult, because there are so many great books out there.  So in making this decision, I went with the ones that I have a particular soft spot for!

1. The Obernewtyn Chronicles, by Isobelle Carmody.

Book 1 of the Series, Obernewtyn, was a class reader I received in secondary college, chosen by my favourite teacher.  Obernewtyn was the first fantasy book that started my love affair with this genre!  The series is set in a post-apocalyptic world – cruel to people with obvious physical defects as well as people labelled with mind-defects.  The series focuses on this group of people, in particular the narrator of the story, Elspeth Gordie, who has special mental abilities and is called a Misfit.  The Misfits range of abilities are vast and amazing, with gifts like telepathy (called farseeking), communicating with animals, healers, future-tellers and people with the ability to sense the emotions of others.  Full of intrigue and adventure, I’ve been waiting nearly 20 years for the 7th and final book in the series to come out.  The Red Queen should be released late 2013.

      

2. The Sevenwaters Series, by Juliet Marillier.

Perhaps one of my favourite series of all time, Juliet Marillier is a master story-teller with a gift for writing in the first person.  Her Sevenwaters Series is set in Ancient Ireland and the first book, Daughter of the Forest, sets the scene for mythology, adventure and romance.  Her books are generational and written from the view of different women in the family.  Each book reveals the trials and strengths the focus character must rely on to overcome dilemmas for their loved ones and themselves.  The narrative is beautifully wrought and told.

3. The Immortals Series, by Tamora Pierce.

This is another Series from my teen years, but I still love to read over them as an adult – from time to time.  Tamora Pierce’s books are always full of fun and are fast paced, as well as having enough romance in them to keep a teen girl interested!  Her main character, Daine, is headstrong, brave and has a great knack to shape shift and call on Wild Magic, which is sometimes a little unpredictable.  Her mentor Numair, would no doubt still be a favourite of the girls! Always great fun to read.

4. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

What can I say about a classic?  Unlike a lot of people who might have loved Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, I preferred the characters of Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester (sigh…) I suppose in many ways it had all the right ingredients for a soapie – a man who locks his mad wife in the attack, falls for his young ward’s governess, who in turn discovers the truth at the wedding altar and flees! (phew!)  Most people probably know the ending, but I’ll leave it open! Brilliant stuff!

5. The Green Mile, by Stephen King.

It was my granddad who gave me this book to read only a couple of years ago and not before his death, so maybe that’s why this has some significance for me!  I had of course watched the movie and loved it, but had never read a Stephen King book, so when I sat down to read it, I was hooked.  The narrative is strong and the story so intriguing I could not put it down.  Must say, I think they did the book justice with the movie and you can’t always say that!

   

6. The Quickening Trilogy, by Fiona McIntosh

This series has a rather unique idea in the story, which really appealed to me when I first read it. (And which I don’t want to give away!) It has everything a good fantasy book should have – politics, intrigue, adventure, romance and of course, magic!  Her ability to weave all these elements into her work, make her books very difficult to put down, especially when you have other things to do!

7. The Tamir Triad, by Lynn Flewelling

It wasn’t me, but my mum who first picked up The Bone Dolls Twin and suggested I read it.  I wasn’t overly bothered, but when I read the first page, I never put it down until I finished it, which was the next morning!  Of all the gender-bending and mind boggling ways to keep a future ruler safe – The Bone Dolls Twin and its subsequent books, The Hidden Warrior and Oracle’s Queen – have it in spades!  It also has a lot of traditional fantasy aspects, magic and political intrigue, but at its heart, it is about one very confused child attempting to discover who they really are…

8. The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman.

Alice Hoffman’s, The Dovekeepers, is a fairly recent book on the market.  It came out last year, or if I’m wrong, I read it last year.  It is set during the Jewish-Roman wars in Ancient Israel, and follows the lives and points-of-view of four very different women, brought together in Masada during these difficulties.  It’s a story that I’ve thought about several times since I’ve read it.  It is potent and engaging stuff.

The Black Magician Trilogy, by Trudi Canavan

Trudi Canavan introduces us to her character, Sonea, whose world is turned upside-down after the Magician’s Guild attend their yearly purge of the city’s ‘miscreants and homeless’. It’s during this she discovers powers of her own and a game of cat and mouse ensues as the Magicians pursue her (of course catching her so they can train her – but that in itself poses its own problems!)  A great debut back in 2001, the series had anti-hero’s, tonnes of magic, adventure and bad guys. Oh and a sprinkling of romance for the girls…

The Devil’s Diadem, by Sara Douglass.

I must admit that I am a Sara Douglass fan and was sad to hear she passed away in September 2011.  The Devil’s Diadem was her final book and I think one of her best.  She had a way of using the medieval time period and made her own world out of it.  There’s plenty in this book – a devil-spawned plague, a lot of twists and intrigues (not only in the court, but in her MC’s love life as well).  And the Devil is looking for his stolen crown…  I read this in one sitting, but then, I pretty much read all of her books in one or two sittings!