Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Perry Road by Emi Gayle

In 2132, “We the people ...” means nothing, and it hasn't for a hundred years.

Like all the citizens of the American Union, eighteen-year-old Erianna Keating is not to ask questions. She is not to believe anything except what the A.U. tells her. More importantly, she's not supposed to know what she doesn't know, nor that she's a pawn.

Like everyone else, though, she is, and like everyone else, she is a hundred percent oblivious to what's going on.

Or is she? Are they?

Erianna thinks going to Perry Road and joining the national registration program is her next step toward adulthood; the 2132 candidates for adult-classification, though, are in for a big surprise. Especially Erianna.

Thanks to Zane Warren, an awkward but hot guy who won't shut up about a history that doesn't—or shouldn't—matter anymore, Erianna will know. Will learn. That includes finding out what actually happens after registration and doing something, anything, about it.

Fixing what went wrong, what caused the U.S.A. to split into two countries, though, is not on Erianna's bucket list, but as she faces her future, she must decide whether to fall in line with the American Union's plan for her, or to consider that Zane might not be wrong, and the time for revolution begins now.

My Review:

Perry Road is an awesome read.  

I love the characters. I love the story. I love the world.  

That's it, reviews over go buy the book. 

Oh sorry you want to me to tell you my thoughts on everything. That's fine too. lol. But really With writing so many reviews, especially in April it feels like I'm just saying the same thing over and over and over.... You get the picture. But I've realized when I like a book, I tend to like it for the same reasons I like other books. The same could be said for when I dislike a book as well. Sometimes I find reviewing books I've had issues with easier. (At least the writing part of them) I have specific things that I disliked and I can elaborate on them. Should be the same with a book I like, right? For some reason no. I can tell you why I loved the characters, world, etc. But after a while it feels like I'm saying the same things I've said about other books. Than when  I REALLY like a book it feels like all I'm doing is a advertisement for the book. Comments about things I like sound like commercial slogans. Very depressing, at least from a reviewing point of view. 
April is especially hard because I'm doing so many books in such a short time.  Usually I choose from books that have been floating around my kindle for ages. But they were books I chose, not ones that were sent for review. I tried to set it a bit different this year, but I only got a few review requests that specifically asked to be part of the A to Z challenge. Since I picked out the books at one point there is obviously something in them that appealed to me so I tend to get an overwhelming amount of 4-5 star reviews. At this point I feel like a broken record. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to read something bad. I just don't like to sound repetitive. 

Whew! Sorry had to get that out of my system. lol.  Don't worry I will give you more than a twenty-six world review. So let's get on with it, just forgive me if I sound a bit repetitive. Thanks!

Perry Road really is an awesome read. 

I think the world pulled me in at first, more than the characters. Gayle has done a bang up job of creating the two separate countries in what once was the U.S.A.. The set up of Perry Road and how it is run really intrigued me. Finding out about the secrets that are hidden beneath the surface intriqued me even more. The author also made it believable how the system is falling apart and why so many of the citizens don't see it. (or refuse to) Won't say anymore on the subject since I think I've already given enough spoilerage. 
The characters at first weren't my favorite.  The book is told from Eri's POV, so you don't get to see into the other peoples heads. But what I could see made me dislike them. I really hated Cam. She was a snot. She uses and manipulates Eri for her own personal gain. But I think I kinda hated Eri herself even more for letting herself be abused by Cam. Obviously Eri grows out of this mind set, and starts to come into her own. Otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed the book half as much. But it's one reason why the world trumped the characters for the first part of the book. By the end of the book I have to say though that I really had gotten attached to Eri and Zane.  
The story itself had it's own twists and turns.  The ending obviously is a lead in to the next book, but I kinda expected that. While I expected there to be something rotten with the whole government system too, I didn't expect some of the other twists that were thrown in.  I want to see how Eri handles those twists.  (Again trying not to spoil anything) Especially since she really isn't the push over that she was at the beginning of the book.
I've heard that this book has had some argument over it's content and political views. Honestly I didn't see it. Maybe because I'm not overly involved in politics in the real world. *Shrug* Don't know. I think that it is a solid book.  It has interesting  characters, great world building and an intriguing storyline. I enjoyed it. I think if you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet then you should. I don't think there was anything truly vulgar or incendiary in the book. 
If you have read it I'd love to know what you think.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

My Review:

After finishing this book I really need to remember why I didn't read it in the first place.  I mean it's been sitting on my Kindle for months. I just kept passing it by.  I think because the cover is similar to a book that I really wasn't interested in, so maybe I just thought they would be the same. *shrug* No idea, but I'm definitely glad that I finally read it!
Open Minds pulled me in and wouldn't let me go even after I finished the last page. I loved Kira. I wanted to punch the readers in the head for treating her like crap when she was a zero! Not to give too much of a spoiler, but I think the only part I didn't like about her was how she let herself get manipulated by Simon. But her being manipulated I think was necessary for her growth, so I forgive it.  I do have to say I think Kira is a way better person than me, if I could jack into peoples minds....that would be AWESOME!!! I don't think I'd jack the people who I care about, but random annoying strangers, most definitely!
The world Quinn has built is amazing too. Plus it's really believable. Ok, maybe not the whole mind reading/mind control thing. (Although anything could happen, right?)  But the way that people reacted to things, like the jackers, in her world.  You know for a fact that if people suddenly started to read peoples minds that there would be all sorts of distrust and biases running around.  The idea of people being put in camps...not that unbelievable. ' But wait', you say, 'this is America, the good old U.S.A. we wouldn't do that!'  Um yea, we already did. During WWII Japanese Americans were sent to camps, in AMERICA! Don't believe me? Google it. So that when the reader finds out about  Kira's great-grampa being sent to a camp it is utterly believable.One of my favorite scenes, not to spoil too much, is how Raf reacts to her secret. It shows how even someone is a close friend can react with fear and distrust.

I really loved this book. I want to get the rest of the trilogy, and the only reason I'm holding off is I have to finish this challenge. If I get them I will read them immediately and right now I still have books to finish for A to Z. As soon as April is over though...I'm so getting them! Right now Open Minds is still free on Amazon, definitely recommend grabbing it while you have a chance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for The New World by Patrick Ness

In this dramatic short story -- a prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy -- author Patrick Ness gives us the story of Viola's journey to the New World. 

My Review:

I haven't read the Chaos Walking Trilogy yet, but if it is anything like this prequel then I really need to pick it up. 

This short prequel follows Viola and her parents as they prepare to land on their 'new world'.  She bounces between the present and her memories of her time on the transport ship months before. 

I don't know whether I like Viola or not, at least not yet.  I don't dislike her, but she is a brat for most of the story, and the story's length really prevents her from showing any huge personal growth.  But even though I'm not sure if I like her or not, I can definitely say that by the end of the short story the author brought me to tears because of her.  

I also found myself with the deep seated need to know what happens to her next.  The author did a great job of giving 'just enough' hints about the new world, as well as the first wave of settlers, to really make me want to find out more.  I mean I have ideas....but nothing concrete and I really want to know if I'm right or not. I'm also curious to see what Viola does in the intervening time between when she has reached the new world and when the transport ship finally arrives. 

If, like me,  you haven't read any of the Chaos Walking Trilogy I think that you should definitely pick up The New World and give it a try.  As an added bonus it is currently free on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for A Matter of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance

In a past that never was... 
The year is 1869. Earth experiences the close pass of a comet never before seen. In its wake, many of Terra's inhabitants find themselves changed. Among men, prodigies rise in unprecedented numbers, while many ordinary adults suddenly find themselves possessed of preternatural genius. Likewise, non-hominid animals become self-aware and intelligent. 
Fast forward to 1875. A young “comet prodigy” from humble beginnings, Ichabod Temperance, has become the world's foremost inventor. He travels to England to deliver his latest brilliant invention to a famous explorer, until Fate intervenes. Meanwhile, a lovely young Bluestocking, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, survives an experimental accident only to find herself imbued with a power she can neither understand nor control, while dark forces and malevolent creatures pursue her, leaving a gruesome wake of death. 
Yet, worse is to come. The naïve young inventor and the lovely intellectual find themselves fighting not only to save their own lives, but to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth.

My Review:

I love alternate earth/history novels.  Seeing the 'new' old world the author creates is always fun and A Matter of Temperance did not disappoint.

A Matter of Temperance is told through the eyes of both Ichabod Temperance and Persephone Plumtartt. It's an interesting combination, since you get to see both characters view of events and things aren't always exactly the same.   It's neat to see two different perspectives on the same space of time. I like both Ichabod and Persephone. They are fun and smart characters.  I also liked a lot of the people the met on the journey.
The story itself is super fast paced. Which is great because it keeps the pages turning, but I think it is also part of the stories faults.  Everything is going soooo fast that some things, such as extra characters that the heroes meet on the way,seem to barely get a passing glance.  I liked a lot of these characters, even though they were only on the page a few moments. I think they could have had a bit more page time and helped keep the story from feeling so rushed.
I think that was the only problem I really had with the book overall. Even the detailed descriptions of the different technology felt rushed. Plus at one point it felt as if part of a scene must be missing because it was going by so fast.
I have to say though that despite the novels break neck speed, I did enjoy the ride.  As I said before I enjoyed all the characters, even the ones that I didn't get a large amount of time with. The main characters are just plain fun, and the supporting characters are memorable. Honestly it reminded me of a great movie with lots of cameos by famous stars.   I also love the world building that the author has done.  Seriously, Temperance's world is amazing.  The author has a fine eye for technological detail as well as amazing descriptive abilities.   I really felt as if I could just step onto the page, although since most of the time they are fighting evil creatures from another dimension I probably would hesitate to do so. lol.
I can't wait to start reading A World of InTemperance.  I hope that I get to see more of the characters that were introduced  in this book, as well as more of Ichabod and Persephone's world.   It's my book this month for the letter W and I was also lucky enough to get an interview with the author himself.  So be sure to check back in at the end of the month to see if I enjoyed the second book as much as the first, and be sure to check out the authors spotlight this month to delve into the mind of this fresh new writer.

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for LZR-1143: Perspectives by Bryan James

In a world overrun by the living dead, every victim has a story. These are some of those stories. This collection of six short stories from a world ravaged by the LZR-1143 virus tell the tale of six different people, all of whom fell victim, in different ways, to the deadly plague. 

From the pilot of a commercial aircraft, overwhelmed in midair, to the lonely soldier stranded high above a world of the undead, the six characters each face their own fears and mortality in different ways. 

This 20,000 word short-story collection features a unique selection of characters from the original zombie novel by Bryan James, LZR-1143: Infection, and from the recently released sequel, LZR-1143: Evolution. Each character appears only fleetingly in the longer novels, but each has their own unique thread in the LZR-1143 storyline, all of which are exposed in these short excerpts from their final hours alive. 

The collection includes The Pilot, The Boy, The Inmate, The Fry Cook, The Subway Passenger, and The Sniper. In The Pilot, a commercial aviator sees his last flight end in a way he never could have imagined. In The Boy, a family trip is cut short, and a lonely homecoming is not at all as he anticipated. We see the surprising genesis and true identity of a traveling companion in The Inmate, while The Fry Cook reveals the final moments of a teenage fast food worker. In The Subway Passenger, we learn that in the case of zombie apocalypse, you’d probably rather be aboveground. And in The Sniper, the surprising truth that there are some fates that cannot be fought, even with a fifty caliber rifle.

My Review:
So I have to start by saying I haven't read either Infection or Evolution.  So going into Perspectives I really didn't know what to expect, I mean besides zombies!!!! lol. Now, I have a new zombie series to stalk, in fact I have Within, a novella set in the LZR world, and I'm picking up Infection and Evolution as soon as I get a chance.

The book itself isn't that long. It is only six separate stories, but man, those stories really pack a punch. It wasn't just the graphicness of the stories either. Don't get me wrong, there was tons of gore, TONS! But some of them really pulled you in and got you caring for that character.  Not something easily done in such a short format.  There were parts that actually had me close to tears. (Not sayin' why, don't want to spoil nothin'.) 
It wasn't all doom and gloom and eating people though, there were some parts that I literally laughed out loud. Mostly one liners, and dark humor, but still funny.  
I'm not going to go into detail on every story, but I really had to say I think James hit the nail on the head with Doreen in The Fry Cook.  I almost pissed myself at her description of her drive-thru customers. (If you've never worked fast food, it probably won't be that funny. But if you have, it's soooo true!) I'm not gonna say anymore though, again, don't want to spoil anything.

Yes, Perspectives is gory, yes people die, it's a zombie novel, hello?!?  But there is more than just gore and death.  Through these tiny windows the reader really gets a look at how these people handle the world being eaten around them. Wish I could review more of his books for this challenge, just so I could have an excuse to put them on the top of my reading pile. The good thing for you guys is that Perspectives is still currently free on Amazon, so go check it out. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Knot In Time by Alan Tucker

My name is Darius Arthur Heisenberg, but most people call me Dare. If my last name sounds familiar, it's probably because of my great-great uncle Werner Heisenberg. He was a physicist who came up with something called the Uncertainty Principle. But listen, Uncle Werner had no idea how uncertain things really are.

I work for a group, called the Keepers, that label themselves the custodians of time. And, believe me, time is a mess. It needs all the custodians it can get. Which is, of course, why the Keepers selected me, a nineteen-year-old high school dropout, to join them. I recently worked as a janitor for a couple months. Perfect fit, right?

Okay, it didn't make much sense to me either, but I wasn't in a position to turn down a steady job and a roof over my head. Besides, all I'm supposed to do is travel through time and save the universe as we know it, how hard could it be?

Yeah, better hold on. This could get ugly

My Review:

Knot In Time is a great time travel book.  It looks like a solid start to a great series, but at the same time it works as a stand alone novel as well.

The story itself was definitely interesting.  While, I knew Dare wasn't the bad guy, the story kept me guessing as to who actually was.  Tucker really pulled the time line events together and the twists and turns kept the pages turning.  I also liked the way he decided to explain the time travel and how changing events worked.  It was complicated, but worded in such a way that it made sense.

I loved the characters. Dare is funny and real. He doesn't automatically understand the time travel and all it entails, but watching him learn and grow was very entertaining. Also the other characters where just as interesting, even ones that don't get completely introduced. Hope is a great example of this. She isn't in every scene of the book, but the scenes she is in make me want to know more about her. 

Overall, this book pulled me in and didn't let me go til the last page.  While there were some questions that were definitely left unanswered, the ending itself was solid.  The unanswered questions just created a good set up for the next book in the series. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jailbreak by Steven W. Booth & Harry Shannon


This book is the first two chapters of The Hungry.  It introduces Sheriff Penny Miller and tells the story of how she, her co-worker, and their prisoners must escape the grasping clutches of the living dead. But soon they find themselves trapped inside the jail.  They need to find a way out before the zombies find a way in.

My review:

Ok,  I REALLY need to look at covers more before I start reading a book.  If I had I would have realized that this said it was only the first two chapters of the book, and not the whole book, or a whole short story, novella, whatever.  Fortunately I realized it before I wrote the review or my review would have definitely been different. 

The first two chapters of The Hungry are extremely fast paced. There is no down time for pleasantries for Penny, Deputy Wells, Scratch and Needles. It really pulled me along and I have to say I was definitely disappointed when I ran out of pages. Also, there's at least one twist that I didn't see coming. 
Even though it is only the first two chapters I did start to get a feel of what Penny is about.  There wasn't any real background given on her, but she made some decisions that showed exactly which way her moral compass points. She also is very self assured and doesn't break easily.  
If the first two chapters are any example of the rest of the book, it looks like it will be quite an interesting ride. I hope to be able to pick up the whole book after I'm done with the the A to Z challenge and find out what happens to Sheriff Miller and the rest of her world.

Here's the link to the first two chapters, which are still currently free. I'm also gonna give you guys the link to the full book, The Hungry.  If I'd have known it was just the first two chapters I definitely would have just bought the whole book. From the first two chapters I think it's definitely worth it.