Wednesday, August 28, 2013

After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.

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

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

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

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

My Review:

After The Ending tells the story of two best friends on opposite sides of the country and their struggles to get to each other after most of the population dies from a flu-like virus. 
I LOVED this book!!  What’s funny is it dragged me in despite having two things that I have really started to dislike in novels.
The story is told from two different first person POVs. Dani who is stuck on the west coast and Zoe who is stuck back east.  It is told through text messages, emails and their own direct experiences.  First person POV is not my favorite, so obviously this is the first thing that I generally dislike in stories.  But the authors did an amazing job of making the characters relatable. The main characters are interesting and human, without being overbearing or whiney.  I really wanted to see them succeed.  I even fell in love with some of the supporting characters through their descriptions.   
The second thing it had that I really am getting tired of is a cliff hanger ending.  I mean I know a book is the first in a series, but just because it is doesn’t mean the cliffie has to be such a shear drop off, ya know?  *sigh* Here’s the twisted part.  I had gotten so wrapped up in Dani and Zoe’s lives that I just didn’t care. I mean I knew the book was ending, I could see page numbers getting higher and higher, but I had already decided before that that no matter how it ended I was going to get the next book in the series.   No matter who they killed off, or how right or wrong I was in my guesses as to what would happen next, I would still want to read the next installment.  That’s how pulled in the authors had me.
As I said at the beginning I loved this book. The characters were awesome. (Especially the dogs!) The story is so well written it pulled me in from the first page and didn’t let go.  I had laugh out loud moments and parts that brought me to tears. I definitely recommend picking up this book.   

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Review of Under A Graveyard Sky by John Ringo

Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.

My Review:

First let me start by saying I am a zombie-holic. Ok to be more appropriate I am an apocalypse addict, but I prefer my apocalypses to include zombies.  However any book that includes zombies, whether they bring on the end of the world or not, I will eagerly devour. I enjoy the apocalypse ones though because they deal with how people decide to handle the end of civilization as we know it.  How they use the resources they have in new and inventive ways, how they deal with the zombies, other humans, and all that good stuff. 
Under a Graveyard Sky is one that would fall under zombie apocalypse.  Let me say it was good, really good.  It kept me turning the pages and I actually got attached to some of the characters.  There were some points that kept it from being 5 stars, but I don’t think they should keep someone from reading it.
Let’s start with what I liked.
The world Ringo has created is solid.  The attention to detail on how the virus started, spread, and how the Smith family is prepared for the impending apocalypse is awesome.  Yes there are some things that aren’t completely explained, but the author does acknowledge them.  For example how the gps system on the boat still works.  The characters wonder how it is still working but they just take it as they are lucky and go from there.  That’s fine; you have to suspend belief in most apocalypse books anyway.
I love the characters, especially Faith.   Yes she is a tab bit young to be a super zombie killing machine, but she is funny.  I also like how the author doesn’t shy away from having his characters dealing with the psychological trauma brought on by having to deal with zombies.  Faith’s teddy bear doesn’t bode well for her future mental stability.  However it does show that you can’t just go around killing people who once were human and not be affected by it.
What I had issues with.  First, while it was uber-detailed, I didn’t know what some of the abbreviations meant. Maybe a quick explanation of what they stood for would have helped?
Second the end of the second book became choppy.  It just seemed to jump from scene to scene, and while the beginning of the book had a lot of detail, the ending just seems to be missing pieces.  Plus the ending is rather abrupt.  Lots of questions are left unanswered and it basically ends mid-scene.  That’s the main reason I’m giving it 4 instead of 5 stars.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and would gladly pick up the next one.  There are some interesting questions that are left unanswered and I would really like to see what happens to the Smith family.  I definitely recommend picking this one up it looks like the start to an interesting series. 

I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion and review.  All opinions are mine.

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2013 Review

Mother. Gamer. Writer.

So this year since I said that I would try to get to Level 3 of the Challenge That means I need to have at least 25 books read before the end of the year. That's at least 2 books a month. (and one extra one in at least one of those 12 months)   As a change from last year I'm gonna be putting the reviews up here as I get them done and then linking them in the monthly round-up at Mother/Gamer/Writer.  I also plan to try to remember my update my Challenge page at the end of the month. Want to see what the other people in the challenge are reading this month? Click here!

This latest installment in New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore's beloved fantasy saga, The Companions moves Salvatore's signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms. As Drizzt's fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life--the friends now known as the Companions of the Hall. Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zombies! Zombies! Everywhere!

So lately I've found some AWESOME zombie stuff to feed my addiction & I just have to share!

First this awesomely cute song that my sister-in-law shared today!  Wanted to share that first so you can listen to its cuteness while looking at the other awesome items!


 I found this kit while shopping for a new purse at Marshalls.  It comes with the book and the stuff to make the Zombie Kid in the book.  I haven't gotten a chance to start making my zombie army yet, but I plan to soon.  There are also a bunch of other cute zombies to be made in the book as well. I will post pics as I make them.


My daughter found these for me at Walgreens.  The pictures do not do them justice.  Each card comes with a tip for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Like: 

No one is safe: Everyone looks delicious


Keep up with the Group: Stragglers make a great meal

So they're not just fun, but informative as well! These are definitely going in my zombie survival kit.

So what do you think?  Have you seen any awesome zombie stuff lately? I'd love to hear about it!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Empath (Flawed #1) Book Release & Giveaway Guest Post by Becca J. Campbell

Empath eBook cover SM

I'm very excited to announce the release of my latest New Adult novel Empath, the first book in the Flawed Series. Read on to find out more about this paranormal thriller and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for an awesome prize package.

The Struggle of an Empath

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.
Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.
When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.
Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Empath eBook Now Available

Get your ebook copy now at any of these sites (paperback copies are not yet available, but coming soon!):
Kobo (coming soon!) | iTunes (coming soon!)

Prize Package Giveaway

To celebrate the release, I'm running a giveaway for two lucky winners.

Grande Prize:

A rare, autographed proof copy of the paperback

A 12" X 18" poster of the cover art

Empath notebook
Empath notebook

Empath collector's button
Empath button prize copy

Second Prize:

An autographed paperback copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IMG_9817 a lowres

Becca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, and Sub-Normal, a series of short stories. An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon

Friday, August 16, 2013

Vamps Vs. Zombies Blog Hop & Giveaway August 17th - 31st

First I'd like to say thank you to April & Tabitha the Pabkins over at My Shelf Confessions for hosting this awesome hop and entire Vamps vs. Zombies event! Second this giveaway is for US only. (sorry but S & H is really a killer at the moment)  Third the giveaway is 18+, by entering the Rafflecopter below you are stating that you are over 18.

I LOVE vampires and zombies!  Although at the moment my zombie addiction has had the opportunity to take center stage, I do still have a big part of my heart that is dedicated to vampires.  So I decided to give away two prizes! Yups, I said two! There will be two winners.  One prize for those vampaholics out there and one for the zombieholics.  

For those vampire lovers out there:

My hard cover, print copy of:

Dracula: The Un-DeadBy: Dacre Stoker

Summery from Goodreads:

Dracula The Un-Dead is a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Dracula The Un-Dead begins in 1912, twenty-five years after Dracula "crumbled into dust." Van Helsing's protégé, Dr. Jack Seward, is now a disgraced morphine addict obsessed with stamping out evil across Europe. Meanwhile, an unknowing Quincey Harker, the grown son of Jonathan and Mina, leaves law school for the London stage, only to stumble upon the troubled production of "Dracula," directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself. 

The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents' terrible secrets, but before he can confront them he experiences evil in a way he had never imagined. One by one, the band of heroes that defeated Dracula a quarter-century ago is being hunted down. Could it be that Dracula somehow survived their attack and is seeking revenge? Or is there another force at work whose relentless purpose is to destroy anything and anyone associated with Dracula? 

For all my zombie lovers out there:

My print copy of:

The Zombie Survival Guide
By: Max Brooks
Summery from Amazon:

The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack 

1. Organize before they rise! 
2. They feel no fear, why should you?
3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
4. Blades don’t need reloading.
5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it. 
7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
9. No place is safe, only safer. 
10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on. 

Don’t be carefree and foolish with your most precious asset—life. This book is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now without your even knowing it. The Zombie Survival Guide offers complete protection through trusted, proven tips for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the living dead. It is a book that can save your life.

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below!  Then hop on over to the next awesome blog on the linky & be sure to check out the Vamps vs. Zombies event @ My Shelf Confessions

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

You're invited to the "Talk Like a Pirate" Event ~ September 15th - 21st

Ahoy mateys!  So I really wanted to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day this year and do something really special.  Well what a better way to do that than to not just celebrate it for one day, but for a whole week! 

So the dates for the event are from 9/15-9/21. 
There will be lots of fun posts and some awesomely, amazing pirate swag giveaways, so be sure to sharpen your cutlasses, polish your peg legs, grab your pirate garb and make space on your calenders to come join us in the great event!  Be sure to check back often for updates and schedules! 

 If you are interested in doing either a guest post or sponsoring a giveaway for that week there is still space available. Contact me at before August 25th with any questions!
Planning on participating? Just want to share the pirate love?  Feel free to grab the button from below to share on your blog and let everyone know! 

Talk like a Pirate
Side bar button:
Talk like a Pirate

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!  He was super helpful  & easy to work with!***  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review of Sectors By Harule Stokes: (& a giveaway)

By: Harule Stokes
Amazon Summery:

A murder has been committed in Westwood. Joseph Marshall, a newly graduated NextGen operative is sent to investigate the only suspect - one of the last remaining Fallen. Will he live long enough to solve the murder or die by the hands of one of the most powerful living weapons ever created? During the Great War, the Northern Alliance was losing ground to its southern neighbor, Keynosa. The Keynosians were a people whose entire society was built around the manipulation of plant life. Unable to stem the overwhelming power of the Keynosian’s greatest weapon, the empowered soldier, the North made a desperate gamble, to create their own empowered. Thousands of volunteers offered their lives to the experiment in a process called The Sacrifice. From those thousands who gave themselves for their country, only a few hundred emerged, changed. They became the Fingers of God, the world’s most powerful living weapons. With the war over, these heroes, having fought and killed for their country, could not maintain their grip on reality. The process that created them corroded their minds, and they were given the moniker of Fallen. Their legacy continues on in their children, the NextGen. Now more than 70 years after the war's end, the threat of the Keynosian remains. The progeny of the Fallen are tasked with securing a massive series of concentration camps called the Sectors. Constructed after the Great War, the Sectors hold the surviving Keynosian people and their living weapons, the empowered. With the Fallen lost, what can the Northern Alliance do to contain this threat? Their solution is the Peacemaker collar. A thin ring of metal, it gives a steady dose of a powerful drug that inhibits the potential of the empowered, but also rots the mind of the wearer. In a world where morality is thrown to the wayside for the sake of security and the only path you can take are the one’s provided to you, is there a place where a young man can rise above it all?

My Review:

I liked Sectors for multiple reasons.  There were a few things I didn’t like, but overall the book is solid and was a great read.

Let’s start with the world Stokes has created.  I loved the rich detailing he gives.   I could almost smell the flowers as he was describing them.  I could see the beautiful way their homes are integrated with the nature that surrounds them.  I think there could have been a bit more description put into the northern areas.  But over all I could picture the land and the people easily. 
As for the characters I really enjoyed them.  Following Joseph on his path to figure out who he is was very interesting.  Not that he doesn’t know WHO he is, but to finding out what type of person he is. Since it is told directly from his point of view, the reader really gets a feel for his emotions, fears, etc., that cause him to make the decisions that he does.   Also I loved the female characters.  Satpal, her grandmother, and Joseph’s mom, to name a view are strong and independent.  Even Jennifer, who grated on my nerves, was strong in her own way.   I really got attached to some of the other supporting characters as well.  Not to spoil too much, but when Reynold has his rejoining I almost cried!

The story itself is well written as well.  There is a huge racism factor between the north and the south that Stokes doesn’t shy away from.  He brings it out and shows it exactly for what it is.  He also shows how it came about.  Along with this there are a lot of really deep soul searching moments as Joseph realizes he isn’t quite the person he thought he was.  While there are some great obvious lessons that could be applied outside the novel, it doesn’t feel overbearing or preachy. 
I only have two main issues with the book.  One is minor.  It’s that since the book is told through first person present tense pov there are obvious parts that are Josephs direct thoughts.  But they are differentiated in the text in anyway.  So it would just throw me once in a while when I was reading.  Maybe if they had been put in italics?
The other issue is my main issue.  It’s the ending.  It’s not really a cliffie.  I mean you know what Satpal and Joseph are going to do.  But instead of following them to the end of their mission, the book just ends.    I can assume that their plan succeeds, but I don’t know that for a fact. 

Overall I enjoyed the book.  Stokes descriptive writing style really pulled me in.  I became enthralled with the land as well as the characters.  I could easily recommend this one to both my male and female readers.  There’s no graphic sex, but the violence tends to the extreme so I don’t know if I’d recommend it to any younger teens.  I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.  It was a good read, but again I was disappointed with not having a more concrete ending. 

*I received an e-copy of this book for review from the author in exchange for a review with my honest opinion. All above opinions are my own*

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Romance Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Summer Romance Blog Hop! First let me just say thank you to Literary Addicts for hosting this hot hop! Second the giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. (Sorry but S & H is way expensive at the moment!) Now on with the giveaway!

I will be giving away two books to one lucky winner.

My print copies of Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl.

Goodreads Summery:

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.

Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.

And then came the fall

Check out my review over at Books and Things!

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one. 

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever. 

Check out my review over at Books & Things

Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below then just hop on to the next blog!:

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