Category Archives: 5✰

Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

The island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. Until a man named Adam Forde rescues a girl from the sea. Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s sat facing three Examiners and her five-hour examination has just begun. The subject is close to her heart: Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. In a series of startling twists, Anax discovers new things about Adam and her people that question everything she holds sacred. But why is the Academy allowing her to open up the enigma at its heart? Bernard Beckett has written a strikingly original novel that weaves dazzling ideas into a truly moving story about a young girl on the brink of her future.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Release Date: 24 March 2009
Read Date: 18 November 2011
Rating:

Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.

Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey’s review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn’t matter if you think this sort of thing isn’t for you, or if you’re disillusioned with the genre.

At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limitations and where it is heading. Think about the pursuit of happiness, our curiosity, our technological advances. If the world ended as we know it tomorrow and we had a chance to start again from scratch, could we truly create a utopian society? Could we succeed in creating something we could be proud of? Or are we a doomed species hopelessly cursed to repeat the same mistakes?

Brain power is needed to read this, especially for the Third Hour chapter because damn if that wasn’t a mind-bending philosophical debate regarding what it is to be human. I had to take a break to recharge the old batteries and when I returned to it…the jaw dropped and I had to re-read a paragraph because OH…MY…GOD I did not see That coming, That was a game changer, It brought a whole new meaning to what I had read.

Genesis is a small book, an expensive one, so expensive I decided to borrow it from the library but I must have a copy. It’s absolutely worth the money. This book may be less than 200 pages but you could write a dissertation on it. Seriously.

Don’t read up on this book, don’t research it, just find a copy and read the hell out of it. Go in blind and discover for yourself the reason why I have given this the highest possible rating.

View all my reviews

Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori — the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Release Date: 2 June 2011
Read Date: 27 September 2011
Rating:

Speechless. I’m utterly, utterly speechless.

Words, words, where are the words? How can I describe this?

Amazing. Awe-inspiring. Heart-achingly beautiful.

The writing, the language, the emotions and imagination -this is a work of pure genius.

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to read something so completely original and inspiring.

And it’s a self-contained novel. No unanswered questions that won’t be satisfied in a sequel due out in a year. Oh, the glee.

It’s not possible for me to go in to detail because I would give away too much. You really need to go in blind and discover that R. J. Anderson deserves an award, many awards. And of course, the tools to write yet another piece of art I can admire, clutch tightly in my hands and call it my precious.

Go read this. Beg, borrow or steal it if you have to, it’s worth the jail time, I promise. Go now. I’ll see you on the other side.

View all my reviews

Review: Demon Song by Cat Adams

In a world where magic is real and the supernatural is almost normal, bodyguard Celia Graves has survived a vampire attack which made her a half-vampire and awakened her latent Siren abilities. She’s battled a Siren Queen to the death and twice faced down a demon that wants to kill her–slowly. She’s also had her heart broken–twice–by her old flame, magician Bruno DeLuca.

Perhaps the worst thing was the discovery that Celia’s life has been warped by a curse laid on her during childhood–the cause of everything from the death of her little sister to the murder of her best friend the same night that Celia became an Abomination.

An ancient rift between the demonic dimension and our own–sealed during the destruction of Atlantis–begins to open, threatening to loose all the demons of hell on humanity (including the one personally bent on destroying Celia). Celia’s hellish recent experiences have given her the unique combination of abilities needed to close the rift. But to overcome the curse, which nearly guarantees her failure, she’ll need to join forces with people she no longer trusts…and put people she has come to care about directly in harm’s way.

Demon Song (Blood Singer #3) by Cat Adams

Release Date: 17 Feb 2011
Read Date: 5 May 2011
Rating:

Demon Song, the 3rd book in Cat Adams’ Blood Singer series, finds Celia still coping with her fight to not go full vamp, while also dealing with the demon that just won’t leave her alone and her recently discovered heritage. Troubles a brewin’ and she finds herself smack in the middle of it.

The action in this series is non-stop. Trouble follows Celia around, but the girl carries some major weapons, many hopped on magic and always gets the job done. This edition to the series has a bit more romance than the previous books, although not like you’d expect. As with everything in this series, it’s fresh, unique ~ just like Celia herself. For the first time, she finds herself in the midst of a hottie triangle. Neither mage seems anywhere near close to backing down and each one of the men evoke different emotions for Celia. Unlike most triangles, this one proves to be interesting. I look forward to seeing how it plays out in future editions.

This is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy series to date. I continue to be impressed with each book, each better than one before it. I am anxious to read The Isis Collar in March 2012.

This series is hard to review without spoilers, but I believe I blocked the only one I’ve included in my Goodreads review. Please note that each book’s blurb tends to provide spoilers for the previous books in this series. So, it’s best to read only the blurb for the next book in your TBR list.

Series Reading Order:

Blood Song (Blood Singer, #1) Siren Song (Blood Singer, #2) Demon Song (Blood Singer, #3) The Isis Collar (Blood Singer, #4)

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Meow!

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Here Kitty, Kitty! (Magnus Pack #3) by Shelly Laurenston

What do you do when you’ve got a hillbilly tiger by the tail? Or maybe the question should be: what wouldn’t you do…

Nikolai Vorislav likes his single life just as it is. Simple, relaxing and quiet. What he doesn’t need is some foul-mouthed Texan hellcat living in his house, eating his food, flirting with his idiot brothers and shooting holes in his home with his granddaddy-s gun. But those long legs, dark eyes and lethal tongue are making Nik insane and he fears he may be caught in the sexiest animal trap ever.

Angelina Santiago doesn’t know how she got from Texas to North Carolina in a night or how she ended up in some hillbilly tiger’s house wearing only a sheet. What she does know is that she doesn’t like good ol’ boys with slow, sexy drawls who can’t seem to stop rubbing up against her. Yet in order to protect her friends, Angie has to stay with a cat who seems hellbent on finding all sorts of delicious ways to make her purr.

Warning – this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and strong violence.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: He didn’t actually see the wall until he walked into it. {Prologue: Nikolai}
Closing Line: For life. {Nikolai}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

Big cats have always been my favorite animals and Nikolai Vorislav has now proven they are among my favorite shifters as well. Nik is happy being unattached. He was perfectly fine alone until his brothers brought the long-legged beauty, Angelina Santiago, into his house. She was attacked by hyenas, rescued and kidnapped all in the same day. She demands they take her to Sara & Zach, but the pack asks her to wait a bit because they have their hands full at the moment keeping a pregnant Miki safe. True to form, she tortures Nik with her over-the-top purchases (using his money) and constantly calls him a hillbilly. Nik’s mom and dad are monogamous, but that’s not typical with big cats. His sister, Kisa and cousin, Reena tease him when he starts displaying signs of a man/shifter who has found his mate. The pairing is once again a perfect match. These two balance each other out with her spicy attitude and his sweet Southern charm. (I do love it when a southern man says, “Sugar.” Mmmm)

Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations” ~ Alice

Shelly Laurenston was not a New2Me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

Shelly really knows how to write spicy hot shifters. I have had so much fun reading this series!
I am looking forward to reading her Pride series next.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves” ~ The Dutchess

As always, there is no shortage of LOL and/or sizzlin’ hot quotes. These are just a couple of my favorites.


“Because, Sugar… you make me purr.” {Nikolai}
“Claws! Claws! Claws in my ass!” {Angie}
“Dammit, man … You’re a cat. Act like one!” {Ban, Nik’s brother}


“We are all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for making me wish I had a 700-pound Siberian tiger to snuggle.




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading!


Review ~ The Last Survivors Trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Last Survivors Trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer

   

First off, I have to say that I have a crush on these covers.  They are stunning and provide a perfect visual for the world these characters are living in.  Second, I devoured these books in two days.

Although I believe these three make up a trilogy, I noticed the author is scheduled to release The Shade of the Moon (Last Survivors #4) in 2012.  I am not sure if that book will start a new trilogy or if the books will become a series.

Book #1 ~ Life as We Knew It

Rating:

We are introduced to Miranda Day, her two brothers, Jonny (age 14) and Matt, who is away at college, and her mother.  She’s a typical 16-year old and has typical worries until the moon is struck by a meteor.  Everyone is aware it’s headed for the moon, many people are even excited to watch it happen, but it’s what happens after that turns the world upside down. The impact caused the moon to shift closer to Earth and out of its normal orbit.  That in turn causes major devastation all over the world – tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

I was so impressed by her mother’s forethought and planning that I felt like I should be taking notes.  She had the presence of mind to buy up as many supplies, food items and clothes as quickly and as soon as she could in hopes of keeping her family safe during the coming months.  Others weren’t so lucky.  Many people all over the world are dying and as winter approaches more are sure to.

It was very interesting to be able to see Miranda and her family life pre-devastation.  While she struggled, as anyone would – especially teenagers, with the changes forced upon her and her family, she grew throughout the story.  Her brother, Matt, makes it home from college and she would like nothing more than to have him taken care of the family.  But, she learns to take some responsibility for the safety and well-being of her family.  Her father and step-mother, who is pregnant, set off to find their parents.  Miranda begins to wonder if she will ever see them again.  The story is written like Miranda’s diary entries and takes us through the first year.  It is so realistic in parts that it is truly scary.  Scary because you know this is something that would possibly happen.

Book #2 ~ The Dead & the Gone

Rating: 

This story introduces us to Alex Morales and his two sisters, Julie and Briana.  The Morales family live in an apartment building in New York City.  Their father left for Puerto Rico prior to the meteor/moon shift and their mother is at work during it.  Neither return, so Alex, who was looking forward to going to college, must take charge of his family and do whatever it takes to keep his sisters safe.

I had serious issues with this book.  Mainly, WHY was Alex so worried about staying in his apartment when it wasn’t safe?  WHY wouldn’t they break into other apartments (or use his father’s super key?!) to check for food, clothing and other necessities?  Most everyone is dead or dying, there was no reason for them to suffer as they did.  They may not have found much, but it would’ve been more than they had.  I also did not like or understand the relationship between Alex and his Uncle Jimmy.  Jimmy comes to Alex’s apartment to ask if he can take Briana with him.  It would really help them out (babysitting).  Alex says no, he wants to keep his family together.  Jimmy doesn’t say much else, even when Alex tells him that his parents are most likely dead.

So much of this series feels very realistic to the point of being frightening, but the ending of this one just didn’t fit for me.  It seemed very convenient that a former, not-so-close friend’s father is able to quickly and easily get Alex and his family passes for a safe haven.  If this book had been the first in the trilogy, I probably would not have continued on.  But, after realizing that book #3 brought these two families together, I couldn’t wait to read it to find out how Miranda and her family were doing.

Book #3 ~ This World We Live In

Rating:

It’s been a year since the moon was struck.  Miranda and her brothers are scavenging for food and supplies while mom stays at home.  They are getting low on food and begin rationing even more.  So, when Miranda’s dad, pregnant step-mother AND three strangers arrive at her house she’s surprised, relieved and angry.  While she’s thrilled to see that her dad and step-mother are safe, she’s angry because they just don’t have the food to split between SIX more people.  Lisa, Miranda’s step-mother is pregnant, so she’s being fed extra.

While they do make some smart decisions in this one, there are still moments when I got frustrated with their lack of doing even more.  At this point, they are on the verge of dying from starvation, their home is not entirely safe and they STILL don’t move to a better location.  They are having to take more risks in order to find food.

A constant throughout this series was the fear that something like this could happen.  It wasn’t like your zombocalypse (which Shamblin’ Dave did actually did make me wonder about), but rather an event that made you really think what would I doWould I surviveWould I be willing and able to do what it took to survive?  I think my answer to all would be HELL YES! But, don’t we all?   Overall, a very quick read and an intriguing look at one event that threw the world into death, destruction and chaos.  I really enjoyed it.

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Welcome to the Apocalypse

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Enclave (Razorland Trilogy #1) 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 she 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.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “I was born during the second holocaust.” {Girl15}
Closing Line: “When she opened the door to us fully, we went inside.” {Deuce}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

I listened to this audiobook and it made it so easy to visualize myself in Deuce’s post-apocalyptic New York. Deuce lives in the Enclave where there are set rules and everyone has a job. They do not question those rules. At least she doesn’t, not until a boy from Topside, Fade, arrives and is partnered up with her. He follows the rules when they go along with his own plans. Death is the penalty for breaking the rules. Deuce is a skilled hunter. What are they hunting? Zombies! They are called Freaks in this world. While they used to be George Romero bumbling idiot types, now they are becoming smarter and more terrifying. Deuce is having a hard time trusting Fade, but when you’re outside of the Enclave – just you and your partner – it’s either fight together or die alone.


Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Ann Aguirre was not a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

The only thing not to like about this book is its length. It was over too quickly. Ann’s writing pulls you into her stories, whether they be set in space (Sirantha Jax) or down below a devastated city. The audiobook felt like I was watching a movie. The narrator, Emily Bauer, did a fantastic job of bringing Ann’s story to life. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch the book trailer; it’s a very good visualization. On her website, Ann has also posted drawings of the main characters, be sure to take a look at her vision of Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan. You can also read the first two chapters in pdf or ePub format and listen to an interview with Ann about Enclave and her reasons for writing about the apocalypse.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

This quote sums up the life or death situations they face together.


“I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. All the time.” {Fade}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for Ann’s amazing ability to bring her characters and their worlds to life!




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading


Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Vamp Noir

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports #1) by Cherie Priest

VAMPIRE FOR HIRE

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “You wouldn’t believe some of the weird shit people pay me to steal.” {Raylene}
Closing Line: “I couldn’t help but smile. Life was getting back to normal again … God help us all.” {Raylene}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

I had the best time listening to this book! The narrator, Natalie Ross, sounded so familiar to me. Then, I realized she’s Mac from Moning’s Fever series.

Raylene is an absolute hoot! She’s a vamp for hire and, up until recently, has spent her time hunting for people’s odd missing items. She’s also a thief extraordinaire. She meets Ian, a blind vampire (she was surprised that was possible too), who wants her help retrieving a government document. Along the way, she meets a former Navy Seal turned drag queen. Together they hunt down the document, learn about some scary supe experiments and become friends.


Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Cherie Priest was a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

There wasn’t a single thing about this book I didn’t enjoy. It is one of my 2011 favorites. The series can go anywhere – so many possibilities! I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Raylene next.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

There were a TON of LOL lines throughout this book. Here are just a few of my favorites.
And, whenever a book references “The Princess Bride”, it gets extra points.


“I hadn’t heard him come inside, but that’s no surprise.
I wouldn’t have heard an air horn up my ass while I was feeding.”
{Raylene}

“I wanted to pin him down and demand that he say, ‘My name is Inigo Montoya-you killed my father, prepare to die.’ But, I suspect that would’ve been deeply inappropriate in any number of ways….” {Raylene re: Adrian}

“Vampirism is like Photoshop for the flesh – it fills out, rounds off, smooths over, and brightens up everything.” {Raylene}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for it’s superbness! 🙂
I am desperately awaiting book #2, Hellbent, which is due out August 30th.




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading


Review: “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews

I finished reading the fantastic fifth installment of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Magic Slays, on Monday, 13 June. A friend and I decided to re-read the first four books during a Goodreads’ group’s read-a-thon this week. On Tuesday, we finished our re-read of Magic Bites.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic . . .

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy . . .


Details:
Mass Market Paperback, 260 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Ace
ISBN#: 9780441014897


My rating:


Re-Read: 14 June 2011


I first read Magic Bleeds when it was released in 2007. I loved it back then and loved it this time too. There were a lot of things I’d forgotten, so after reading Magic Slays, it was fun to return to the beginning and remember how it all started.

If you haven’t read any of the books, you may want to stop reading here … I’m not using spoiler tags or blocking my entire review, but there are spoilers throughout – Consider yourself warned! 😉

The things that strike me most about Kate are her ability to power on when she’s about to die or, at least, feels like she is. She’s very modest about her pain and her abilities. She hates working with others and being responsible for their safety, yet she’s a very compassionate and protective person when she’s put in that position. She is snarky as hell and I love it. Her sense of humor keeps me laughing and keeps her enemies off balance. She doesn’t change who she is to please anyone. And she’s brutally honest, to a fault sometimes.

Refreshers I enjoyed the most: Her first meeting with Curran, her first impression of Aunt B, her first Pack meeting and subsequent bond with Derek, and her first medical treatment with Dr. Doolittle.

I cannot believe I’d forgotten she didn’t know Jim was on the Pack council. It was fun reading about their initial “partnership” as well. I loved “meeting” Ghastek and Saiman again. Saiman is a strange bird. Such an interesting character. I also love Maxine. I wish I could do that! And, Rowena – funny “meeting her again” when I know what I know now.

It was so much fun reading the banter between Kate and Curran, which starts immediately upon meeting him with her “Here, Kitty, Kitty.” The scenes between them, like her sending him a saucer of milk when he’s left the med-tank early to follow her on her date with Crest, are a hoot. Especially knowing what’s to come. So many times I was thinking, “If you only knew!”

I’m going to be re-read the rest of the series over the next two days and can’t wait! It’s a perfect fix after Magic Slays and slows the Kate & Curran withdrawal. But, once I’m done with Magic Bleeds, I’ll either have to start all over or stew as I anxiously await book #6, which is expected sometime in 2012.


Review: Killbox by Ann Aguirre

Killbox (Sirantha Jax #4)
by Ann Aguirre

Talk is cheap when lives are in jeopardy

Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. With no tolerance for political diplomacy, she quits her ambassador post so she can get back to saving the universe the way she does best—by mouthing off and kicking butt.

And her tactics are needed more than ever. Flesh-eating aliens are attacking stations on the outskirts of space, and for many people, the Conglomerate’s forces are arriving too late to serve and protect them.

Now, Jax must take matters into her own hands by recruiting a militia to defend the frontiers—out of the worst criminals, mercenaries, and raiders that ever traveled through grimspace…



Details:
Paperback, 353 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Ace
ISBN#: 9780441019410

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read: 19 May 2011

Killbox, the 4th in Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series, was one of my favorites of the series. One downside … the wait until September for Aftermath #5 following a cliffhanger. I knew and still I still I read, so I only have myself to blame. 😉

This edition finds Sirantha and her merry band of space warriors dealing with slavers, pirates and the continued battle between the Syndicate and the Conglomerate post-Farwan collapse.

Sirantha also finds herself dealing with the fact that she’s slowly, but surely becoming more … more realistic in her decision making, more a part of the team and more ‘other’.

The pace is set high early on and doesn’t let us catch our breathe, making this a page-turner you find yourself blowing through without realizing it.

March is asked by Councilor Tarn to be commander of a Conglomerate armada, giving him access to much needed funds and allowing him to build it as he sees fit. Knowing it’s their best shot, he accepts. Of course his tried and true space mates are first to join up with him.

Thus begins yet another self-imposed wedge between March and Sirantha. The relationship between these two continues to be one in which one or both push the other away. But, they always seem to find their way back to each other, even against all odds. So, I’m hoping this case will be no different. ROLL-OVER SPOILER

We, as readers, can feel the heartbreaking effects of war as the characters battle their way from jump to jump. Ann does a wonderful job of creating stories in which you immediately find yourself walking through the pages with them, feeling their losses and enjoying their moments of celebration and love.

I continue to be intrigued by Vel. I cannot wait to learn more about the full story behind the tattoo. Their relationship to date has been one of trust, respect and platonic partnership. You can definitely see what a major part of Jax’ life he has become since he found her as a bounty hunter. I have really enjoyed seeing their relationship grow. ROLL-OVER SPOILER I also liked the addition of the trainee jumper (who’s name escapes me at the moment).

I’m so happy I finally started this series. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, Aftermath!

Series Reading Order:

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1) Wanderlust (Sirantha Jax, #2) Doubleblind (Sirantha Jax, #3) Killbox (Sirantha Jax, #4) Aftermath (Sirantha Jax, #5)

Endgame – Rls Sept 2012

I had a number of favorite quotes throughout this one, here are some:

% = % of way through the book

95% “Men can be very stupid,” he says bitterly. “We cease to value what we have until it’s gone, and only then do we realize the gold we glimpsed in distant hills paled as dross compared to treasure we had in hand.”””

79% “Grimspace is a bitch mistress who carries unearthly delight in one hand and a crop in the other. We bear the latter to receive the former.”

73% “I’m Sirantha Jax, and I have had enough.”

53% “I don’t see why Jax says stuff like, ‘I would never say this aloud, not even to March’ or thinks she can keep stuff from him. Isn’t he ‘always in her head’ and wouldn’t he know what she was thinking? Or is it that he knows, but hearing her say it would be worse than knowing she’s thinking it?”

49% “White wave will never forsake brown bird.”

20% “A relationship shouldn’t impose limits—and if it does, then it’s wrong. A lover should help you exceed your potential, not clip your wings.”

15% “I’ve learned what some people never do—not to take for granted what I have, while I still have it.”

12% “There’s something sweet, if suicidal, in this. We’re bound by chains of love, but they don’t weigh us down. Instead, they allow us to be bigger and better than we are.”

View all my reviews @ Goodreads

ZAM: Spotlight On Rhiannon Frater’s “As the World Dies” Trilogy

Introducing a personal favourite of both Steph and myself, the “As the World Dies” zombie apocalypse trilogy by the awesome Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published after being picked up by Tor these books will be edited and re-released in 2011-12.


First publication: August 14th 2008
Expected publication of re-release: July 5th 2011


Description from Goodreads:

Two very different women flee into the Texas Hill Country on the first day of the zombie rising. Together they struggle to rescue loved ones, find other survivors, and avoid the hungry undead.

STEPH’S REVIEW

As the World Dies: The First Days is a fantastically scary zombie read that has you cheering the strong survivors until the end in a “world {that} had slid sideways into hell.

The story begins with Jenni, ”… a strange, strange girl in a strange, strange world”, muttering to herself while watching “those tiny fingers … pressed under the door … tips of tiny fingers raw and skinless”. We quickly come to realize that those tiny fingers belong to her now undead son. Somehow she manages to flee the house and is rescued by Katie, a prosecutor who was rescued by a priest, but is now alone, except for a brave zombie warning dog, Jack. Together they set off to find a safe place to settle and wrap their minds around what’s happened.

Along the way, they meet some amazing people, all doing what they can to survive. They quickly realize that bite = death and they become the executioners. They are “the funeral of the world … the mourning survivors picking up the pieces and finding a way to move on…” through their guilt of doing what must be done to survive. Jenni, once almost catatonic, has come to almost love her new role as, nicknamed by Katie, “a deadly Tinkerbell of death”, killing the zombies that remind her of all that she’s lost.

STEPH’S COMMENTS:
Jenni & Katie are heroines that I think anyone can relate to. Jenni’s story, hiding in the bathroom from “those tiny fingers … pressed under the door … tips of tiny fingers raw and skinless”, was one of the most heartbreaking and spooky scenes I’ve ever read. You immediately understand why she’s a bit off having had to deal with the loss of her son, but cheer her on as she makes her way out of the house (shows her will to live). Conversely, Katie seems to have it together even in light of the chaos around her. She deals with the events in stride, even though she too has suffered the loss of her partner.

As a pet lover, I fell in love with Jack, the brave zombie warning dog. I hope I am lucky enough to have such a dog if this should ever happen IRL. 😉

Nerit & Ralph made me think of how my husband & I might be if we found ourselves in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Of course, I’d love to think I’d be as good a shooter as Nerit, but probably not.

Overall Thoughts ~
I was drawn in from the start. A gore-girl at heart, I was spooked and excited by the descriptive way Rhiannon brings her zombies to life. Jenni & Katie’s struggle to adapt and survive were admirable and I cheered them on throughout.

I loved how you had no idea what would happen next!

AMES’ COMMENTS:
This was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of the zombie holocaust. I was envious of their friendship. They came from very different backgrounds, their old lives lost and embark on new ones together and in Jenni’s case with a completely new personality as a crazy risk taker. Their survival was more about luck than skill, it was horrifying to see good people die so quickly and easily.

After reading this, for the first time I wished I lived in a gun-toting country. I want a gun, make that “guns”, plural, and a never-ending supply of bullets. You know, just in case.

My favourite bits
The zombie old man outside the library clutching “Better Sex After 60”Juan to Travis about Katie:
“Ever see Chasing Amy?”
“No.”
“Eh, you’re fucked”
“Yeah.”
Juan to Jenni:
“Dropping from the harness is real loca, Loca. What if you had missed and hit the spikes?”
“Um, you would miss me?”
“Yeah, right.”


First publication: March 5th 2009
Expected publication of re-release: November 8th 2011


Description from Goodreads:

Katie and Jenni have found new lives with the survivors of their makeshift fort, but danger still lurks. Nothing is easy in the new world where the dead walk and every day is a struggle to keep safe.

As the elements, bandits, and the zombie horde threaten their safe haven, Jenni and Katie join the other survivors in fighting to survive as the world dies.

STEPH’S REVIEW

ATWD: Fighting to Survive finds Jennie, Katie and their fort friends doing just that … Fighting to Survive. They’ve been living at the fort for a few months and are still trying to figure out who is the vigilante in the group. They are trying to create a society where everyone is equal, doing their part (whatever job they are best at) and trying to be accepting of all the many different personalities in the group.

Katie finally gives in her to attraction to Travis, admitting that she is bi and not only interested in women. She is still struggling with the loss of her wife, Lydia. Jenni, Juan, Jason & Jack, their dog, are becoming a family. Jack, their German Shepherd, makes me want to go out and adopt one today! Jenni’s memories of Mikey, Lloyd and baby Benji (those tiny fingers scraping under the door … gives me chills each time I read it!) continue to haunt her as well. The rest of the mini-mains are growing closer each day. Everyone is realizing that it’s time to try to get passed the loses they’ve experienced and enjoy the second chance at life and love they now have at the fort. Romances spark throughout.

As they fight through the terrifying memories of the “First Day”, ghosts of the ones they’ve loved and lost haunt them, or help them.

The group is also struggling to expand their “safe area”, as their numbers grow. More and more people make it to the fort safely, but the losses still occur, each mission to gather survivors and/or supplies is a risk they all take each day. In addition to dealing with the threat of zombie attacks, there’s a group of bandits that have been terrorizing other survivor outposts. The end of the world tending to bring out the worst of humanity, as well as the best.

Nerit continues to be one of my favorite characters, of course in addition to Katie & Jenni. She’s a bad-ass sniper who has become an integral part to the group’s survival.

This series only gets better with each book, drawing you more into the lives of the survivors, their memories of the “First Day” haunting you right along with them. Rhiannon Frater has a fantastic writing style. Without using more words than necessary, she has a way of describing things that make the reader feel as though you are right there. [This trilogy would make an awesome horror movie!! ]

If you love horror, gore and strong heroes this series is for you. I highly recommend it!

**LOL! Scenes in this book had me snickerin’ to myself …**

Jenni was given a T-shirt that read “Zombie Killah” PERFECT! If zombies ever start poppin’ up, I’m makin’ one! 🙂

Also, gotta love it when Roger dubs himself “‘the red shirt on the away party’ in homage to the Classic Star Trek show”.

STEPH’S COMMENTS ~
Now that Jenni & Katie are at the fort, it was fun seeing them interact with the others there.

Juan & Travis were great male counterparts to Jenni & Katie. Juan was just what Jenni needed – someone who loved her for who she’d had to become, a wild and crazy zombie killer. I was thrilled when Katie gave in to her feelings for Travis. She loved and lost her soulmate, Lydia, but she deserved happiness in her “new” life too. I was also happy that Jenni found her stepson, Jason.

Overall Thoughts ~
I thought Rhiannon did a great job of showing how many different people from different cultures and ways of life would interact in this type of enclosed environment, but one where you depend on those around you whether you like them or not. It’s down to each of you to make sure that the community stays safe and is able to continue to grow.

AMES’ COMMENTS:This one covered about 4 months and ends with Christmas, 9 months after the first day. The newly established community begins to organise themselves by electing a mayor, searching for supplies, rescuing survivors and attempting to expand their living quarters as safely as possible. This is interrupted by a crime, a serious one in which everyone has an opinion on how to judge and punish the perpetrator but the decision is taken out of the peoples’ hands when an unknown vigilante takes action. Having to deal with those who completely abandoned their humanity meant more tough decisions had to be made, doing previously unethical and criminal acts in order to do protect the majority. The old adage “the needs of the few outway the needs of the many” came to mind. I loved all of this. They really were “fighting to survive”.

#3

Siege

First publication: August 13th 2009


Description from Goodreads:

As the survivors continue to seek stability in their lives,
forces both inside and outside the fort walls move
them toward a final, climactic conflict between
the living and the dead. Jenni, Katie and the others
discover that they are not alone, that there is another
enclave of survivors whose leaders plan to take over the fort.

Faced with a series of difficult decisions, each choice they
make could lead to the deaths of those they love or, if not
careful, their own demise.

Meanwhile, an army of the dead is descending on the fort.
Soon, the living will face their ultimate fear…

…a siege by the dead.

But they will fight to the end to survive…

As the world dies.

STEPH’S REVIEW

ATWD: Siege opens with a letter from Dr. Pus (seriously?!) of the Library of the Living Dead Press and Podcast. He warns the reader right away that “‘Seige’ will answer all the questions you’ve been wanting to ask since you read ‘The First Days’ and ‘Fighting to Survive’. Rhiannon addresses them all, but you won’t like some of the results. That’s because she is such a talented writer that her characters are ones you have come to love, care about, have empathy and sympathy for. Her characters are us. And even though we all want them to win, it just isn’t always possible in Rhiannon’s universe.” And already, before even starting the book, I’m wondering … who won’t survive? what’s going to happen? … even more so than after reading Fighting to Survive.

Rhiannon describes the trilogy as “…the tale of two women who find a rare and powerful friendship at the end of the world and help rebuild a new one through love and sacrifice.”

I don’t want to spoil the series for anyone who hasn’t yet discovered it. The title says it all, as well as the introduction from Doc. It’s now time for the fort group to fight, more than just zombies, as the fort comes under siege.

The kids at the fort join the fight, “inventing diabolical ways to take out the zombies”. More new characters join the group. One of them, Rune, has the ability to see ghosts. But, in this new world, he’s not the only one. “…They haven’t really moved on. They’re all around us. All the time. Some are stronger in this world than in the other, but they are all caught between the world of the living and the dead. It got all messed up. All the dead rising like that. The natural order of things got screwed up.” Other additions to the fort feel they are better than the rest of the group and don’t need to contribute, but deserve to be waited on since that’s the life they have become accustomed to.

The group realizes that “…every moment of happiness … {is} sweeter because of every other horrible moment {they’ve} experienced…”. They are all trying to live their “new life” to the fullest, taking joy out of the little things while battling the threats they face each day.

Very few books make me cry, but this one had me bawling! Seriously, snot and sniffles. It was ugly. I had to walk away from the book several times, but quickly returned because I just had to find out what happened next. I couldn’t read it fast enough, yet I wanted it to last longer knowing it was the end of one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. Don’t get turned off – this book is not all tears, there are definite moments of happiness for the fort family.

Did I mention … THIS IS A MUST-READ series!!

*****Favorite Scenes/Quotes (Possible Spoiler Alert)*****

Chapter 6

“‘And what do you do if you see a zombie?’ Nerit asked in a loud voice.

‘Poke it in the eye!’

The chorus of children’s voices made Jenni look over …. a group of twenty kids, all ages, had gathered around Nerit and a dummy made up to look like a zombie. The kids all held the fort’s makeshift spears.

‘And then what do you do?’

‘Stake it hard!’

‘Why?’

‘To make their brain soup!’ some little wise-ass called out. The kids broke up into wild peals of laughter.

Nerit smiled slightly, then ordered, ‘Okay, line up! Let’s make zombie brain soup!'”

Chapter 8

Lenore and Ken, her gay best friend, are heading outside the fort …

Lenore asks Ken: “So why did you come?”

Ken crossed his legs and gave her his most annoyingly cute look. “Guess.”

“Dale.”

“That was easy!

Lenore scowled at him. “You do realize, twinkle toes, that we are going into a highly dangerous situation where we will most likely get our asses eaten.”

“He’s really cute, don’t you think? All rugged and strong. Dreamy,” Ken said, smiling widely.

“Eaten. By Zombies. Not a cute guy. A zombie.”

“You do realize I only heard the words ‘eaten’ and ‘cute guy’ just then.”

Another Lenora & Ken moment …

Ken tells Lenora “{Felix} likes you.”

When she doesn’t believe him, he tells her it’s kinda funny because “…Dale signed up {for this mission} to be part of the fort. I signed up to impress him with my prowess. You signed up to save my ass. And Felix signed up to watch yours. It’s the circle of life.”

Chapter 34

Super nasty gore moment

“…the first zombie to swim into view was vile beyond belief. A large woman, half eaten, her womb torn open to reveal the fetus inside, its small limbs moving, came into sharp view… Ewwwwwwww! Love it!

So happy to read, in Rhiannon’s letter to the reader at the end, that she … will never rule out diving back into deadlands to see how {the characters} are shaping their new world…”. YES, PLEASE! MORE!

STEPH’S COMMENTS~
As always, Jenni & Katie are my favorites. But, the addition of Rune was very interesting. I wanted to know more about him.

Lenore and Ken were an absolute riot! I loved them! I laughed out loud just about every time they had a scene.

The kids, in this one, really came to the forefront. Their need to prove they could help with the fort’s protection and proving that fact, was so much fun to read. They came up with some wicked inventions. The scene with Nerit training them was awesome.

Overall Thoughts ~
As I mentioned in my review, I bawled. I have never cried so much while reading a book. I had to put it down and walk away. But, I couldn’t stay away from it for long because I was equally anxious to find out what else was going to happen.

AMES’ COMMENTS: I’ll admit right now: I couldn’t stop myself from reading the ending. I needed reassurance that the people I’d grown to respect and care for would survive. Of course, not everyone did. In fact, my favourite character had died. I was devastated so I put the book down until recently when I gathered my courage and soldiered through. There are many deaths from differing causes: a common one was suicide (committed for varying reasons) which was sometimes preferable to the alternative.

The diverse nature of the population of survivors created much conflict. They were of differing ethnicities, religions, morals and sexuality. I loved this aspect. Intolerance and political (and social class) aspirations and the resulting manipulations were the source of many problems the survivors had to contend with. The thinning of the veil between the living and the dead was understandable when there were more corpses than living, breathing people.

My favourite bits
The discussion of whether a zombie was male or female until we see their naked groin. Ick. Ick. Ick.
The head in a flower pot.
Using toasters to decapitate the dead.


~Overall Thoughts on Trilogy ~

STEPH

Throughout reading this trilogy, I was able to visualize the story in each book as if it were a movie. In fact, I’d LOVE it if it were made into a movie.The gory descriptions of the zombies {eg: Baby Benji’s little fingers under the door and “…the first zombie to swim into view was vile beyond belief. A large woman, half eaten, her womb torn open to reveal the fetus inside, its small limbs moving, came into sharp view… “} were SO gross, yet awesome!

I could picture how, if we experienced a zombie apocalypse, these random people would interact with each other. The relationships felt so real.

This was my first zombie series. I think it’ll be one that will be hard for any other to live up to.

5++★!

AMES

This was a brilliant trilogy showcasing the very best and worst that humanity has to offer. Every character has a unique personality. I cheered when they triumphed, grieved the losses of life and felt frustration at conflicts and failures. I was happy when new loves were found and sad when they felt guilty for surviving and living their lives when their loved ones were dead. However, survival meant that even good people did things that logically may be wrong but in the fight to live and breathe and protect those you love makes these acts were justifiable. Despite emotional breakdowns and moments of weakness I admired the strength and resourcefulness of them all, although a couple of characters had crazy on their side (like Calhoun) and we learn that they weren’t as crazy or as paranoid as we first believed. Even the loonies proved they were useful and needed.

Every aspect of society were represented: the old and the young, the disabled, politicians, the social classes, disaster relief agencies, the criminal justice system, the military as well as personal characteristics: the selfless, the honourable, the brave and the weak, and the list goes on.

All of this makes me I wonder how I would do their situation. Would I commit suicide? Would I seek safety in numbers or be a loner? How selfless would I be? Could I sacrifice myself for others? I don’t know.

I laughed and I cried throughout this trilogy. It all felt so real. I highly recommend everyone with a strong stomach to read these books so they can experience this vivid reality for themselves.

part of “Zombie Awareness Month”