[Quick Reviews] The Zombie Apocalypse

I was on a zombie apocalypse binge a while back and picked up a few zombie books. Some of them were young adult books that were scary but fun to read; then there were adult books that were dark, dangerous and downright terrifying. The following two are apart of the latter.

Rise Again by Ben Tripp

Rise Again - Cover - Review Title: Rise Again: A Zombie Novel
Series: Rise Again
Book one
Author: Ben Tripp
Genre: Zombie, Apocayptic, Survival, Paranormal
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A MYSTERIOUS CONTAGION. MASS HYSTERIA. SUDDEN DEATH. 

And a warning that would come all too late . . . 

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun—starting with what might very well be the end of the world. Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny’s epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . . 

Filled with adventurous human drama—and shocking inhuman horror—Rise Again marks a vivid and powerful fiction debut. 

Review

I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected when I picked up Rise Again, all I knew was that it looked like a good zombie apocalypse book.

The beginning was very interesting, life is normal and Danny is at work handling things. She’s the sheriff in the small town that is packed with visitors due to the Fourth of July parade. Her sister Kelly has taken off with Danny’s mustang which means serious business since Kelly knows that Danny would hunt her down if the mustang was damaged in any way, so Danny realizes that maybe Kelly doesn’t intend to come back. Kelly left her sister a note but Danny hasn’t had time to look at it and is avoiding reading it. Funny things start happening, a dead body is found in the forest at the beginning of the town and no one can figure out how the person died. Suddenly another one is found. And then people are running around screaming and falling down dead for no reason, the whole town gets chaotic and that’s not the worst of it all. A bunch of people are seen to be running up the mountain towards the town while the road is packed with people in cars trying to get through. Soon, everyone realizes it’s thousands upon thousands of people that are running up the mountain, some of them are dying just like some people in town; Danny comes to the conclusion that it’s a wave and once that wave hits it will affect nearly everyone around and they too will start running around and dying. Danny can in no way control it, yet she’s going to try anyway.

Once the dead start to rise I found the book to lose some of its intensity and interest. For some reason I love to read about the fall of humanity more than the actual zombie part, I find it more interesting to see how people try and survive the beginning stages more so than hiding and surviving the middle stage. In Rise Again Danny takes control of the small group of people that weren’t affected, there’s a lot of action, blood and gore in this book except I found that sometimes the action slowed the pace of the story down rather than speeding it up. Plus my favourite character was killed off in the beginning and I found that disconcerting because it felt like he had been set up as a main character yet he had already died. From that point I realized that I wasn’t sure if I liked the tone of the book.

I couldn’t really connect with Danny, maybe it was because she was an older woman? Maybe it was because she had been in a war and from that she was changed and I could hardly relate to something of that size? Maybe it was because she was cold and couldn’t understand other people’s emotions? I just couldn’t connect to her nor like her as much as I wanted to. I felt detached from Danny because of this, I simply could not care what happened to her or if she found her sister.

The story was interesting though, the zombie’s and their evolution was different to what I’ve read before, which I liked. I just felt like Danny’s story wasn’t one that I wanted to read in this world.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better zombie apocalypse books. Even though I didn’t love it I still found it hard to put down, the story dragged me in and I wanted to see how humanity would survive it and if they could.

I recommend this book to people looking for a good gory zombie apocalypse book that aren’t too bothered by no character relationships or developments.

Autumn by David Moody

Autumn by David Moody - Cover - Review

Title: Autumn
Series: Autumn
Book one
Author: David Moody
Genre: Apocalyptic, Survival, Zombies
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living DeadAutumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by “phase two” of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities… sight, hearing, locomotion…  As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence.  Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal – to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world:  those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1…

Without ever using the ‘Z’ word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There’s no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore’s sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero’s classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.

Review

When I picked up Autumn I was looking for a good zombie apocalypse novel, I wanted something scary as well as interesting. That’s exactly what I got. In the beginning.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel, the way everyone died was intensely interesting and scary. I enjoyed reading how the characters that lived dealt with everything at first. Then the dead rose and it just got more intense and more exciting, except that the living characters just got weird and different. They panicked and picked sides, the lay blame and started going crazy, they tossed common sense out of the window and it was incredibly frustrating.

The main problem I had with this book was that the characters all sounded the same, they sounded like one person. When I would be reading any of them they would change drastically, they weren’t consistent and I suddenly found I was thinking of them as one person that had mood swings. I also found that each character became unlikable and annoying, I suddenly hated them all; I couldn’t relate and I couldn’t connect with any of them. They became very unlikable and it ruined the story.

I really enjoyed how the zombies evolved and changed, that was the most exciting part and I found myself thinking of the zombies as a character in their own right. They were way more interesting and I liked them a lot more than I liked the other characters. At least the zombies were consistent throughout the story!

Overall the beginning of this book was intense and exciting, however the end was crazy and weird, and the characters were just stupid, non-relateable, crazy and were just all over the place. I didn’t really like this book as a whole. I will not be reading the next in the series.

I recommend this book to people who are looking for a terrifying zombie read and can excuse character inconsistencies. The world is worth it, the characters and their story however are not.

Jord

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[Review #119] The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Cover - Review Title: The Host
Series: The Host
Book one
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Review

I have to be honest, when I first read the synopsis for The Host I had no interest in picking it up, but that was years ago when it first came out and everyone was all ‘Twilight sucks, rahhh’. I had forgotten all about this book and Stephenie Meyer until the movie adaptation was made, I ended up really enjoying the movie so I put this book on my To Be Read list. At the time I didn’t think I would ever get to this book because the sheer size of it was intimidating – over 800 pages in paperback form? Way too long for a typical young adult book!

Let me tell you. This book? This book was freaking awesome, I couldn’t put it down! I was addicted the entire time and couldn’t wait to pick it back up. I didn’t feel the length of the book, I didn’t think it was long winded or boring and I didn’t want to put it down. Even though I had seen the movie first and I already knew how the story went, I was still thoroughly entertained. Wanda and Melanie were interesting, the book was completely different to the movie in the respect of how it’s told on paper compared to on screen visually. Wanda and Melanie’s thoughts and struggles are clearer when we get to read them and I found myself getting pulled straight in.

The Host is very character driven which I loved because the character development of Wanda was fantastic. Getting to see how she changed and grew over the course of the book was interesting. I loved how at first Wanda referred to herself and Melanie as separate people but then as she got to know Melanie and understand her, Wanda referred to herself as ‘we’, two people who are one. The Host was also character driven by other characters in the book, Jamie, Jared, Jeb and Ian, each character had a strong voice and presence. I only just noticed that three of the character had names starting with the same letter, usually when that happens I forget who’s who, but in The Host Meyer had written each character in such a way that there was no mistaking who was who. I found myself wanting to see them in the story, I fell in love with the characters and the way they were portrayed.

Wanda and Melanie were easy to distinguish even though they shared the same body, their voices were very different but equally as strong as each other. I found myself sympathizing with Wanda yet wanting Melanie to succeed. Even though I had seen the movie first and knew how it ended I still felt the need to see both of them happy, I wanted to find out how it ended for them in the book. The Character relationships between all characters were so intense and so moving that you just couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

The souls themselves were so very interesting, I loved the mechanics of how they worked and what kind of species they were. I loved that each world they had been to was so vivid and described in such a way that you could imagine it. I really liked that they were aliens that were ‘outside of the box’, they weren’t ‘green men’ or destructive.

The romance in this book was amazingly interesting, it was weird because Wanda loved Jared simply because Melanie loved Jared and Wanda was in her body and remembering her memories. I really liked Ian, I liked that he fell for Wanda for who she was and how she thought, her appearance took no place in that. The tension between the four of them; Wanda, Melanie, Jared and Ian was realistic and appropriate. It was definitely interesting to see.

Stephenie Meyer is actually a pretty good storyteller in my opinion. The Host was very well written, her characters were strong, the world building was amazing, interesting and explained in a way that you didn’t even notice it was being explained, you could just see the world around Wanda and Melanie. I’m now excitedly waiting for her next books to see what she comes out with!

The Host is definitely one of  the best books I have ever read. It was fun, addicting, the characters and the world were highly developed and the idea for the plot, even though not wholly new, it was original in Meyers own voice and through the characters eyes.

In Summary:
– I absolutely loved The Host. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, the world, the characters, the souls, the plot were just amazing.
– The Host was a lot of fun to read, even though the size of it is intimidating (800+ pages) I never felt the length of the book. I was pulled in and loved every minute of reading it.
– This book is very character driven, Wanda and Melanie have strong voices and even though they share a body they were easy to distinguish because their voices were so different. The secondary characters also had strong voices and a strong presence, they also moved the story.
– The souls themselves were an incredibly interesting species, Meyer did a great job of portraying them and their culture and to show just how different they were.
– The romance in this story was epic, I just loved the whole idea of how Melanie loved Jared with her whole body that it interfered with Wanda’s own feelings for Ian. It was a weird romance that twisted and became confusing for everyone involved but was very deep and moving.
– This book proves just how amazing a writer Stephanie Meyer is. 

Jord

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[Review #110] Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead Cover - Review Title: Bloodlines
Series: Bloodlines
Book one
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Blood doesn’t lie…

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

Review

I loved Vampire Academy (Shall be known as ‘VA‘ from here on out), and since this is a spin off I thought I would love Bloodlines just as much. Well I did enjoy this book but I didn’t quite love it. There were multiple reasons for this.

I liked to see that Sydney was very different from Rose, she was a different narrative and very different character. Rose even seemed different through her eyes than I had imagined her when I read VA. Sydney’s character has her own voice and I loved that, she was very different and particular. As she wasn’t brought up around normal people so the way she acts socially is amusing. She is very blunt in nature and is completely unaware of certain things, for example; when a guy is trying to flirt with her or ask her out she is completely oblivious and the poor guy gets no where, she takes everything everyone says literally and sometimes the metaphors fly right over her head just because she’s never had to deal with it before so is not used to it. This quirk is what sold me on loving Sydney as a character. In Bloodlines we saw some of the same characters we had already met in VA; Adrian, Jill, Eddie and of course Sydney. But then there were also new characters which was nice, as this is a new series I had hoped for some new characters so I was glad to get a few.

One of the main reasons I did not absolutely love Bloodlines like I expected to was because I had nearly all of the twists figured out before I had read half of the book. Some of them I thought were obvious to readers that had read VA first, so I was a little saddened to see those were meant to be reveals. I knew Sydney was unaware of a lot of things to do with the Moroi for the obvious reason that she is not a Moroi and has never been integrated into their society, but even so I felt like I knew all the secrets she didn’t and we hadn’t been told what had happened yet. I had figured it out way before Sydney.

I felt there were a few other reveals that were obvious and weren’t reveals to me at all. Everything was too obvious to the VA reader, subtle hints weren’t subtle at all. This made me sad as I didn’t get to be amazed like I wanted to be. Anyone who hasn’t read VA first would definitely not have picked up on the hints though, just because of lack of knowledge about the world these series’ are set in. I guess this is the way it had to go though. And even though I was saddened by this, it only knocked one club off of my rating; making it four clubs and not five.

Besides all of that I was able to enjoy Bloodlines purely because Sydney was a fun character to read. I loved her interactions with Adrian, I loved the way she worked things out, and her struggles with keeping to the Alchemist ways of life without defying their rules. This made the struggles Sydney had to endure interesting, yeah I kind of did get annoyed at they way she thought about the Moroi sometimes but it makes complete sense as to why she thinks like that. It was the way she was brought up. Her background was very interesting. The only thing that I’m confused about is why the Alchemists aren’t trained in fighting; if they’re trying to keep the vampire society and human society separated and the humans safe, then they’re bound to come across a situation where they will need to protect themselves, or protect other people. So surely it makes sense to have been trained in some sort of defense. But no, Alchemists do not have any knowledge on fighting, they are just all incredibly smart in academics.

I think this is something I missed in this book, the constant fighting and bad-ass-ness of it. While I did enjoy Bloodlines a lot I also felt like it wasn’t as exciting as reading Rose’s story, mainly because we don’t get to see more vampire action. I liked the constant threat of the Strigoi in VA, and so far in this book the threat isn’t the Strigoi. I missed the fighting, the constant life threatening situations, and action. In saying that, Bloodlines is in no way boring. It’s just different. Which is to be expected since it is a completely different character and life we are reading. So in that respect this book is very well done, it is separate to Rose’s story and you cannot compare Sydney to Rose at all, and I quite liked that.

I do feel like Bloodlines has set up the series more than anything else which makes me excited to read the next books in the series because I know that it can only get even better from here on out. Sydney now knows as much as VA readers know so I know that book two won’t have disappointing reveals. The only thing is I hate waiting for books to be published. That is why it took me three years to read this book; I knew I would want to read all of the books in close proximity. For now I will have to try and hold off a bit as I’ve heard book three ends in such a way that you will want to invent a time machine just to get your hands on book four sooner.

Overall I still highly enjoyed Bloodlines and had a lot of fun reading it. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to love it as much and wasn’t surprised throughout the book but I’m optimistic The Golden Lily will be even more amazing than this book.

In Summary:
– I love that Sydney is a very different main character to Rose. There is no comparing them in any sense so there is no way to get confused. Sydney is very amusing to read and her small quirks are what sold me on her.
– Bloodlines is a very different story to Vampire Academy and that’s what makes it so great. It’s set in the same world, with familiar characters yet the story is completely different. I loved it.
– Some of the reveals are obvious to the VA reader, Sydney isn’t aware of them because she wasn’t brought up in the Moroi society and doesn’t know Rose’s story in detail so she misses all of the clues. This was the only reason I didn’t rate it five clubs; because I knew what was happening even though Sydney didn’t, I don’t think this ruins the story for a VA reader though.
–  To me Bloodlines felt more like the book that is setting up the rest of the series, it’s catching Sydney up to speed on what VA readers already know but it’s also forming character relationships and setting a base down. It’s still a good read despite this and I can’t recommend this enough!

Miss J

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A zombie apocalypse: In an eNovella series format?

I know, I’ve already stated that this blog is on a hiatus. Thing is, I may randomly post something now and then, I just won’t hold myself to anything. Plus this is something I suddenly wanted to share with the world.

I just stumbled across this. At first I found it weird but now I’m loving this idea and I’m on the look out for more eNovella series’!

First we had eNovellas which were told in different POV’s, I kind of liked these because we got to see more of a secondary character. They would either be prequels or in between novels of a series to keep everyone going. Usually they weren’t necessary and honestly I never really want to buy them unless I love the series a lot.

Some eNovella’s felt like they were necessary and those are the ones I disliked because I felt like it wasn’t fair. I mean what if you can’t get your hands on that eNovella? What if you don’t have an eReader? What if it won’t ever be released in your country *Cough*Radiant by Cynthia Hand*Cough*? What are you to do? Well you can’t do anything about it.

Now I’ve stumbled across an eNovella series. A series which is labelled as ‘episodes’ and each ‘episode’ is around 20,000 words. At first I thought this was weird, I mean why doesn’t the author write a novel instead? And then I started reading it and I realised the benefits of an eNovella series instead of a novel series. I will use the one I’ve stumbled across as an example.

Love and Decay by Rachel Higginson – Episode One on Amazon

Love and Decay is an eNovella series about a zombie apocalypse. And I love it. I mean I’ve been looking for zombie apocalypse books that I could relate to for quite a while (Okay who says ‘relate to’ and ‘zombie apocalypse’ in the same sentence?). I’ve found a few zombie books that I really enjoyed, but couldn’t relate to any of the characters, or perhaps it wasn’t exactly what I’ve wanted but it was still enjoyable:

Ashes – The main character has a brain tumor and carries a gun around just waiting for the moment to kill herself just before the apocalypse happens, more about asking the thought provoking question ‘Just who are the monsters in the world’? Way too political for my tastes,
Rot and Ruin You should not kill the zombies unnecessarily, they used to be someone’s loved one. I DNF’ed this before I could read more in to this so maybe the idea changes? I wouldn’t know, I lost interest,
Enclave – Not zombies but was just exactly what I wanted when looking for a zombie book. Except it’s a dystopian so it’s not set in recent times, and once again; not zombies,
Alice in Zombieland – Supernatural, paranormal, not exactly a zombie apocalypse but really fun to read anyway,
The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Creepy, more about the society and the main character rather than the zombies, she was kind of crazy to me and I couldn’t relate to her at all, I didn’t really like her to be honest but the book was good,
Warm Bodies – A dark humor romance,
Taking on the Dead – I couldn’t get past the first few chapters, the main character already feels slightly crazy and it annoyed me more than anything else,
Zombie Fallout – I could not relate to nor feel for any of the characters that are introduced, because of that I stopped reading a few chapters in. I definitely feel like males would enjoy this one a whole lot more than me,
The First Days – I personally could not relate to any of the characters and got bored quickly.

I found a few that I thought were entertaining but as you could see “I couldn’t personally relate to any of the characters” comes up in a lot of them, this is because most of the characters were military, or were kind of crazy and had been planning for the zombie apocalypse for years so they had guns stashed away and knew what to do, or they were; male, older woman, unlikable, young, immature, reckless and annoying, or afraid of killing to survive or the opposite and not scared of being killed when realistically you should be peeing your pants. Or something of that nature.

I mean if there ever were a zombie apocalypse being in the military and having had  that training or really any kind of training just feels like it’s the only thing that would keep you alive. And while that is easily understandable and makes a ton of sense I personally can’t relate to that. Not everyone needs the skills or is in a position to learn the skills to survive like that. I felt like a lot of the jargon and characters went right over my head.

It all tells me normal people couldn’t survive a zombie apocalypse. Which is probably very true.  I mean I don’t spend my weekends sharpening my knives and learning how to behead the walking dead in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse like some people may do.  Still, I would like to think that I would at least have a chance of surviving if the zombie apocalypse happened; and I’m a person who has no idea how to use a gun.

So all I wanted to find was a good zombie book with a character that I could relate to, where the zombies attacked you because they wanted to eat your brains. Not a zombie book where the the main character had feelings for the zombies, or they have a conscience about killing the zombies because they used to be someone’s loved one, or even a zombie book where the zombies regain their humanity. Those are all well and good but comeee oooon! I just want a good damn zombie book where a normal person -okay so maybe a normal girl/young woman- learns how to kick ass and doesn’t have a conscience about killing things to protect themselves! Throw in a sexy realistic guy while you’re at it.

Obviously I was looking for a very YA version of the zombie apocalypse with a non-cheesy, realistic love interest that isn’t insta-love.

I have finally gotten my YA zombie apocalypse fix.

Love and Decay is the perfect series that I have been pining for for ages. It’s a refreshing take, the main character is not military, in fact she’s a high school girl. Well she would have been a high school girl if she still had to go to high school. I’m not in high school and definitely older but I can still relate.

Love and Decay actually feels like a tv series, you know when you watch an episode of your favourite show and you’re just dying to see the next episode. In each episode there’s a storyline within the bigger picture storyline and we get to see more of the characters, the world and the story than what we would in a movie. This eNovella series is like that; we get to see more than we would if this were a novel series. I feel like because these eNovella’s are short it leaves room for more character building and there’s just more that can happen without the reader getting bored and wondering how much more they have to read, all because it’s too short to feel like that. I’ve fallen in love with this.

An eNovella series? Genius. A YA eNovella series about the zombie apocalypse with a normal teenage girl as the main character that has to do what she has to do to survive and has no qualms about killing the already dead? Perfect. What’s more Episode one is free so you can check it out to see if it’s your cup of tea!

Love and Decay: Episode One | Episode Two | Episode Three | Episode Four | Episode Five

I got so excited after stumbling upon this series that I just had to share!

Miss J
x

[Review #100] The Ghost and the Goth Series by Stacey Kade

Series: The Ghost and the Goth
Book 1 – 3
Author:
Stacey Kade

Genre: YA Chick Lit/Paranormal Romance, Contemporary
Young Adult

Series Rating: 2.67 / 5


I decided to post one review for this series because every time I tried to write a longer review per book it just never happened. I just don’t have much to say about each book.

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade Cover - Review

The Ghost and the Goth

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?

[Goodreads | Book Depository]

3.5 Clubs

Review

Hmm what can I say about The Ghost and the Goth? It’s fun, light hearted with a paranormal twist.

I had fun reading this, it was a short, fun read that kept me entertained. It wasn’t a fast paced page turner but rather more mellow and interesting read that had me interested from page one. I enjoyed this book and although I found the beginning to be cheesy I quite liked the way everything turned out.

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade Cover - Review

Queen of the Dead

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare – former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead – finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this – ugh – “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is – ahem – willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

[Goodreads | Book Depository]

2 Clubs

Review

Queen of the Dead wasn’t anything that I expected. In fact it felt different to book one, the flow of the story felt wrong and to me it just felt forced. I was able to enjoy as much of it as I could but it just wasn’t as good as the first book. I kept asking questions like: Why did this character feel so important at the beginning but now she doesn’t matter to the story at all? The Council kind of just disappeared from the story after Will tried so hard to discover them, and then this book just wasn’t as light or as funny as the first. It lost a lot of the charming, light humour book one had.

Queen of the Dead felt like it was lacking when compared to book one in this series. It was underwhelming for me.

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade Cover - Review

Body & Soul

The Ghost
I’ve been trapped in the body of Lily “Ally” Turner for a month now. Talk about a fashion crisis on an epic scale. What worries me more, though, is sometimes I catch Will looking at me like he thinks I’m Lily…or that he wishes I were. Without the good looks of my former self, I don’t know who I am, or if who that is is good enough. I need out of this mess. Now.

Will and I have been looking for a solution, one that would separate me from Lily without killing her. But it’s not going well. Then, when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, we run into Misty, my former best friend and boyfriend-stealer extraordinaire, who claims she’s being haunted…by me. Seriously?

I’m determined to get to the bottom of who’s pretending to be the spirit of Alona Dare (while I’m pretending to be someone else) and then get the heck out of this body. Or die trying…

The Goth
I’ll admit it. It’s really weird to look at Alona but see Lily. I do know the difference, though, contrary to what Alona might be saying. And Alona is more than a pretty face to me, not that she would believe that.

Our one lead for some help in this messed up situation might be a page torn from the yellow pages-—the “Psychics” section-—I found in my dad’s stuff. One of the “fakes” seems a bit more real-—and odd-—than the others. Before I can investigate further, though, Alona is off and chasing a ghost that’s probably nothing more than a figment of Misty’s guilty imagination. Now Lily’s family is freaking out because she didn’t come home, my mom is ordering me to stay out of it, and something is definitely wrong with the person formerly known as Lily “Ally” Turner…

[Goodreads | Book Depository]

2.5

Review

Body & Soul was better that book two for me. It had a stronger and clearer storyline, it felt like it was overall written better and it was interesting. But it still felt out of place from book two, it didn’t feel like it flowed too well. I mean the council completely disappeared in this book when you would think it would have had more of a role considering, and then the one new character introduced in book two was no where to be seen and felt completely obsolete to the story.

I liked this but I also had weird feelings about it.

In Summary

– This series as a whole just felt like it was all over the place. It didn’t feel like it flowed well together. To me it felt like book one was meant to be a stand alone but then book two and three were decided to be written and in doing so the story lines just didn’t quite feel like they bleonged together. I felt like I was reading three completely different stories instead of a series that melded together smoothly.
– I still had fun reading all of these books but book one was by far the best and I could have read that by its self and been happy.
– The characters slowly developed from book one to three, most namely Alona, which was nice
– This series was light and fun but did not leave a lasting impression on me. Hence the short reviews.

Miss J
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[Review #95] Winter Omens by Trisha Leigh

Winter Omens by Trisha Leigh Cover - Review Title: Winter Omens
Series: The Last Year
Book two
Author: Trisha Leigh
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon]

Summary

Althea and Lucas barely escaped the Others’ clutches in the autumn, and were separated in the process. Alone and on the run from the cruel alien race determined to exterminate her, Althea struggles to adapt and survive in a world she never imagined. 

When a boy named Pax appears out of nowhere, he quickly recognizes Althea for what she is – a human/Other hybrid just like him. Althea begs him to help her find Lucas, but Pax refuses, intent on following his own mysterious agenda. 

The Others’ presence continues to devour the planet’s resources, and if history is an indication, they won’t leave until Earth is destroyed beyond repair. Althea and Pax sense the only way to save themselves – and maybe their home – is to understand the powers simmering inside them. 

Together they push the limits of their capabilities in the quiet Wilds, but are soon confronted with a terrifying fact: no place is safe from the relentless pursuit of the Others.

Least of all their own minds.

Review

Winter Omens was even better than the first book in the series, Whispers in Autumn. I was captivated right from the start, I felt like this book was faster paced in the writing than Whispers in Autumn which was something that I remember slowed Whispers in Autumn down for me. At times I did feel like it was a little tough to get through, like chewing on a tough steak and it takes you a while to finish it, but that never deterred me from reading on.

In the beginning of Winter Omens Althea has woken up in her Winter home base in Iowa, since the pack she had ready and packed back in her Autumn home base was now useless as she had woken up in another season, she very quietly and quickly grabs food and blankets she would need in the wilds. She knows she needs to go there to escape out of the reach of the Others. She was upset and angry that she was now separated from Lucas, whom was winter, and they never travelled to their own seasons. But she was determined to survive, she’s just not sure what to do next. Even though there isn’t much action at first I felt excited and thrilled to read the beginning because of the writing style and the fact I really had no idea what was going to happen next.

This book had an Ashes‘ feel minus the flesh eating zombies, as Althea and Pax roam the ‘Wilds’ trying to get to Portland all the while looking out for the Others (An Alien entity that took over earth years before Althea was born) and trying not to get killed. Althea is determined to figure out a way to get to Lucas but knows that she must travel to Portland to help Pax first, otherwise Pax would never agree to help her and her crazy plan of trying to save earth and the humans from the Others. The way Trisha Leigh reminded us of the events in book one was nice and subtle, she didn’t list down what had happened but instead slipped it in with Althea’s train of thought. I liked the way this was done.

I thoroughly liked Pax. Simply because he was a refreshing character in contrast to Lucas. Although I remember I never really warmed to Lucas, Lucas felt too much like a cardboard cut-out. Whereas Pax was sexier, badass, exciting and had more of an attitude and personality. It was fun to read his and Althea’s interactions. And with all the tension flying around them I simply couldn’t help but fall for Pax. This is a love triangle done right. This is a triangle that I know may just put me through a lot of pain through the next two books!

Winter Omens had me reeling near the end, it made me emotional and I just can’t stop thinking about how it snuck up on me. It hurt. But then it was amazing. And now I just can’t stop thinking about this book!

I definitely recommend you give this series a go. I was a huge fan of book one and book two was a hell of a lot better!

Similar: Tundra 37, Ashes,

Miss J

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[Review #82] Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Cover - Review Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Book one
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Review

Whatever I expected from this book was definitely not what I read from this book. I picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone simply because most reviews rave about this book in every way. Now I’m left here wondering why I didn’t feel the same way.

Maybe I didn’t enjoy this book as much because I hadn’t really wanted to read it of my own accord? I only did read it because I wanted to see what the hype was about, and since I have only seen rave reviews of this book I thought it would be one of those books that I would fall in love with and claim I would have regretted not giving this a go.

Well. Honestly? Daughter of Smoke and Bone was not as riveting for me as it seems it was for most reviewers. In fact I finished this book feeling relieved I had finally finished it.

I was very surprised to find out that the plot is more about romance than anything else. I’m not a huge fan when the romance takes the forefront of the plot, I like it when it’s secondary. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely other elements to the plot. In fact the first half of this book didn’t have any romance; that was my favourite part. But when the romance does appear it suddenly felt like this is what the book thrives on. Therefore, I ended up being very disappointed.

The saving grace of this book for me was the beginning and the whole first half. The beginning of Daughter of Smoke and Bone was intriguing, interesting and had me really wanting to find out what Karou was. I liked the mystery more than knowing exactly what was going on. When Akiva was introduced I was even more intrigued. Who was he? What was he? As I read on I grew more and more interested. But then suddenly the story changed; and then it went down hill from there.

The end half of this book bored me to no end. I felt like I was reading a different book. The story it was now telling felt like it was taking too long to tell, this part of the story made the world and the back story make a hell of a lot of more sense, but I also felt like it took too long to get to the point; to get to the reveal which I had already half figured out. I just got incredibly bored. When we finally found out what was really going on, all the mystery and excitement died right there and I just wanted it to end but there was still quite a bit to read.

The ending felt cliché to me and I don’t really have any interest to pick up the next book. I didn’t fall enough in love with Karou or Akiva for me to want to read on.

In summary:
– I just couldn’t get into the last half of the book, I loved the beginning and was intrigued but what came next disappointed me.
– I wasn’t a fan of the romance and the way it unfolded or the back story behind it. It wasn’t what I expected.
– The premise was interesting, the characters were great, put the plot just fell flat for me. The romance felt too overbearing.
– This just wasn’t the book for me.

Unfortunately Daughter of Smoke and Bone didn’t do it for me. If you’re into YA romance with an urban fantasy twist and paranormal and supernatural, give this a go. You will like it a whole lot more than I did! My not liking of this puts me in the very small percentage.

Miss J

[Review #78] A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest Cover - Review Title: A Shade of Vampire
Series: A Shade of Vampire
Book one
Author: Bella Forrest
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository]
*An eCopy was provided from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Review

A Shade of Vampire was definitely a paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. I came out of this book feeling entertained and wanting to read book two straight away. I found myself excited to pick up this book whenever I had time and when I did I flew through it and finished it as soon as I could.

The beginning of this novel felt like a great introduction to Sofia because we learnt about who she was without having to read chapters and chapters of her doing mundane things before anything even happened. The action started right off in the beginning leaving me wanting to read more and more. She’s kidnapped from the beach on the night of her seventeenth birthday and wakes up chained in a dungeon. Exciting much?! The middle was interesting but did leave me asking a few questions in regards to Sofia’s actions or perhaps lack of action. The end had me asking ‘What’s going to happen next?’, and now I must find out what!

A Shade of Vampire is written in two point’s of view, Sofia’s and Derek’s. Usually I’m not a huge fan of this writing style because from experience I feel like it pulls me out of the story every time we switch POV’s and that there are things that I’m excited to find out are given away from the other character as soon as we switch. Well let me tell you now, Bella Forrest can write a very compelling story using this technique. Sofia’s and Derek’s voices were very different, I love it when that is pulled off. She managed to make me excited in reading both characters and wanting to find out what sort of things they were dealing with that they weren’t telling each other. 

Sofia was a strong character, even though she was kidnapped and is now forced to parade around in front of the prince of vampires she still manages to stay strong and take everything as it comes her way without panicking. Derek was portrayed as a fearsome character, he is the law in The Shade. Derek is the prince of vampires and was supposed to sleep for eternity, he is more than angered when he finds he has been woken. Especially so when Vivienne, his sister and Lucas, his brother, start parading beautiful young woman around him; right after he has woken up from a four hundred year sleep and has had no blood since. He nearly rips Sofia’s throat out, until she somehow manages to calm him down. How long will that last?

A Shade of Vampire does have a few clichés, isn’t the most original storyline out there and doesn’t feel long enough to grow overly attached to the characters. But it is definitely a very enjoyable read, it’s hard to put down, and learning about ‘The Shade’ and how it came to be was very interesting. The world inside The Shade is something I would definitely like to read more about. Learn more about the hunters and their stories perhaps. All I know is I want to keep reading this series!

Overall I definitely recommend A Shade of Vampire to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance!

Miss J

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Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback
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Also check out Book 2: A Shade of BloodGoodreads | Amazon

Read an excerpt below!

Excerpt

Excerpt from A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

I’d been meandering along the shore for about an hour when I suddenly sensed that I
wasn’t alone. Someone was approaching me from behind. My heart leapt. I was so sure it
was Ben, that when a stranger showed up beside me, I couldn’t hide my disappointment.

He must have noticed, because a smirk formed on his lips. “Were you expecting someone
else, love?”

I eyed him suspiciously, remembering how many times my father had told me not to talk
to strangers. I looked him over, taking in his appearance. My eyes widened. I couldn’t
find words to describe how fine a man he was. He was almost beautiful. The first thing I
took notice of was how his blue eyes were about three shades brighter than any I’d ever
seen before. It was such a stark contrast to his pale – almost white – skin and dark hair.
Standing beside me, he was easily more than half a foot taller. His height, broad shoulders
and lean build reminded me of Ben, but he had a presence that was far more imposing
than my best friend’s.

My gaze settled on his face.

I realized that he was inspecting me just as closely as I was him. His eyes on me suddenly
made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. I gave my father’s advice a second thought, but
quickly canceled out all notions of heeding to his counsel when I reminded myself that he
stopped caring a long time ago.

I straightened to my full height and mustered all the courage I had to keep myself from
running away from this stranger.

Big mistake.

The confident smirk didn’t leave his face for even a moment.

“Like what you see?”

“A bit full of yourself, aren’t you?” I scoffed, annoyed by his audacity.

He stepped forward, closer to me, and leaned his head toward mine.

“Don’t I have the right to be?”

He knew he looked good and wasn’t about to act like he didn’t.

“Whatever,” was my oh-so-brilliant comeback.

My shoulders sagged with defeat as I took a step back, unsettled by how close he was
now. I rolled my eyes and did a one-eighty, not quite in the mood to play whatever game
this stranger was proposing.

I would soon realize that I was about to play his game whether I liked it or not.

He grabbed my arm and turned my body to face him. This motion alone made every
single internal alarm I had within me go off in a frenzy.

This man was danger and I knew it. I tried to wriggle away from his touch, but I was no
match for his strength.

“Tell me your name,” he commanded.

I was about to refuse, but was horrified to find myself blurting out my name in response.

“Sofia Claremont.”

As soon as I revealed my name, his eyes lit up with a kind of sinister approval. Then he
reached for my face and traced his thumb over my jaw line.

“Hello, Sofia Claremont. You’re one stupid girl for taking a walk alone at this time of
night. You never know what kind of evil a pretty little thing like you could happen to
come by.”

I found myself wondering exactly what kind of evil he was. But I was suddenly overcome
by the sensations that were surrounding me. My senses took in everything at once. I heard
the waves, felt the sand, smelled the ocean salt, tasted the flavor of cherry and saw the
stranger’s manic appearance as he stuck a needle to my neck. The effect was instant. I
was barely able to gasp, much less scream. I went from sensing everything to sensing
absolutely nothing.

My last conscious thought was that I may never see Ben again.

Want to read more? Check out the first six chapters for free! But hurry, because this offer will not be up for long!

Miss J
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