Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zombie Day Care by Craig Halloran

The Facility is what the Washington D.C. officials call it. It is a day care for zombie children, tucked deep in the east coast hills. Is there a cure for the zombies? The children of the undead give them the best hope. There are those who think the zombie threat is harmless...and those that don't. The World Humanitarian Society wants to protect the zombies...or do they? Friends, family and colleagues are set at odds, dealing with the deadly dilemma. What about the zombies? What rights do they have in all of this? Or are they just a means to another diabolical end?

My Review:

Zombie Day Care is interesting.  It starts off as any predictable zombie fare, the world has gone to hell, zombies are eating everyone, no one knows how it started, and everyone is going to die. But then, one average joe stumbles across a 'cure'.  Well not a cure really, but something that definitely helps the odds.  Something that also leads to zombie 'day cares'. Sorry don't want to spoil too much.

I liked the story.  It gave a neat twist to the traditional zombie tale. Yes, the twist is kinda silly, but it's still fun. The characters were well written.  Even supporting characters were given just enough detail to flesh them out, even the zombies! (No pun intended,ok well maybe a little bit intended.)

The ending is a twist as well. It' s also a bit of a cliff hanger. You never really get to find out what's happened to all the characters. Amazingly it's not as annoying as it sounds. I guess that is due in part to the fact that this is only the beginning of the series, so one would hope that certain characters would reappear in further installments. 

Considering the ending and the fact that this is less a tale of zombie survival and more a tale of government cover up that involves zombies, I really have to say I enjoyed Zombie Day Care.  There's a lot of background social satire in certain parts that had me laughing at the fact that I could see people actually arguing over zombie's rights and stuff. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a comedy, but the story doesn't get caught up in taking itself too serious.

I definitely plan to pick up a copy of the next book in the series.  I want to see what happens to some of the characters, as well as to the world in general since the zombie problem was far from fixed. I also want to see if the author's sarcastic wit still carries on through the series. Zombie Day Care is still free on Amazon so if you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet go pick up a copy, I'd love to know what you think.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Your Biggest Fan by Graylin Fox

Mary’s obsession with the boy band Caelan began in high school. She and her friends went to their concerts, picked their favorite band member, and plastered their walls with posters. Mary’s obsession continued during her college years, but soon was placed in a box of memories as she matured, fell in love, and built a life with her husband.

But Happily Ever After is elusive. When she suffers a horrific loss, can she depend on her old dreams to salvage her mind? Can she wander through those memories and still keep reality within her grasp?

My Review:

I had a hard time with Your Biggest Fan, but it was really hard to put my finger on what it was. In trying to explain what I liked and what I didn't with the story I think I might give a bit too much spoilage. That being the case, before you read further, understand that I didn't connect with the character, however I think the story itself is interesting. Just so you get an idea of the review without seeing the spoilers.
The main character, Mary, is well written.  Her obsession, as well as the reasons for it, make sense.  I can even say that I felt sorry for her by the end.  But I really just couldn't connect to her.  Maybe it was because Mary at some point saw what was wrong with her obsession? I just don't know.  Again, I just couldn't connect with her. Not connecting with her made it really hard to get involved with the story.
The story is interesting. In itself it is exploration of the psyche. What causes someone to let an obsession take over their life? What causes a person to snap?  By the end Mary's actions actually made sense to some extent. However I think she would have gone over the bend with or without the drugs and alcohol, although maybe it would have taken a bit longer, simply based on the fact that she had obvious breaks and flaws in her psyche long before the final trauma that broke her.

Would I read more by this author? Probably, I think it would depend on if it were the same genre or not. I've had other authors that I could connect with some of their books better than others. However this one I just couldn't get into it. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xoe by Sara Roethle

Alexondra Meyers, known to her friends as Xoe, had a normal life. She liked her normal life, but there's a new guy in the small town of Shelby, OR, and he is anything but normal. Before Xoe can say, "Werewolf," her world is turned upside-down. Between a dark secret in Xoe's past, a best friend who's been scratched, and not to mention highschool, Xoe has a lot of thinking to do. She has to choose who she can trust, and fast . . . tomorrow's the full moon.

My Review:

I enjoyed Xoe. It was fun. I think the teen crowd will definitely like reading about Xoe and her adventures. I did have a few issues with the book though that kept me from giving it a full set of stars.

I have to say the characters were what made it fun. Xoe and her friends are cute and seeing their loyalty to each other was sweet.  I think that teen readers will really get into reading about Xoe and her adventures.
The story itself was interesting. The way it ended definitely left it open for more adventures and quite a few strings were left untied, but not necessarily in a bad way.
There were just some editing and story issues that bugged me.

The editing: There were some spots where the voice bounced between present and past tense, and it didn't seem to be part of the story.  I usually don't let editing mishaps bug me too much, but when they happen repeatedly, and I've paid for a book, it's annoying. I know I shouldn't let it bug me that much, but it really throws off the story when I find myself getting into it.

The story:
This is something I've had issues with in multiple YA books I've read recently.  Where are the parents? Xoe's mom is almost never at home and her reaction to a scene where Xoe gets injured is just REALLY laid back. I know I'm old, fine, but even my kids will tell you if something similar happened while I wasn't home they would be on lock down, major lock down, especially if boys were involved.  I know, I know it's a story, suspend belief. Yes, I get it, that's why I gave it 4 stars not 3, because it is a fantasy. But I just had to put my two cents in.

Overall I think the book is fun and I think that teens and preteens will really get a kick out of it. There wasn't anything overly smexy or anything, although with all books I recommend reading them before handing them over. Also it's part of a series so it opens the doors for plenty of future reading.
It's currently only .99 on Amazon so why not check it out?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for A World of InTemperance by Ichabod Temperance

It is New Year's Eve, 1875. In this humorously told Steampunk tale, adventure-prone Ichabod Temperance and his lovely sweetheart, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, once again find themselves swept up into a whirlwind of misadventure and international catastrophe. The entire world totters on the brink of war, as various nations develop arsenals of dreadful power. It seems as though every nation on Earth lusts for Empire. A sinister plot boils to change the course of human history. Along with a remarkable cast of characters, including sapient animals and clockwork men, our heroes find themselves plunged into unimaginable peril!

My Review:

I enjoyed A World of InTemperance as much as I enjoyed A Matter of Temperance,  I think that I just enjoyed it in different ways.
In A World again we follow the exploits of Ichabod and Persephone.  
This time we get to see the story from multiple points of view, not just Ichabod and Persephone.  I'm not sure if I liked that as much as the first story, for two reasons.  One reason is the beginning of the story was told mainly through Ichabod's eyes.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but not as much fun as in the first book where it tended to switch back and forth between Ichabod and Persephone and for a good part of the book showed their different reactions to the same situation.  The Second reason is that when the story finally started to flip back and forth between characters sometimes it took a minute to figure out who was speaking. Since there were so many different voices sometimes it took me more than a minute. 
The story this time is also a lot more tongue in cheek and seems to take itself less seriously. There are a lot of  different plays on words with the names of people and places that had me smiling constantly.  Also the alliteration is amusing as well. While sometimes all the word play blew beyond the borders of corny, it was still fun.   I think the comedy and corniness is what mainly won me over in this one. If you've read A Matter  of Temperance and haven't gotten a chance to pick up A World of InTemperance I definitely think you should. However don't expect it to be exactly the same as the first novel. Better than the first? In my opinion they are both equally good, but for different reasons.  I think the comedy is definitely higher in World. But I don't think that diminishes the fun that was had in Matter. Both books are equally enjoyable and I think this series is turning into something truly fun.  If you haven't read either book yet, check out my review of A Matter of Temperance and go get yourself a copy to start reading today! Also be sure to check back in the next few weeks as I finish up the A to Z challenge and turn the author spotlight back on and you can get a chance to meet Ichabod Temperance himself! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Violet Lights by Joshua Scribner

Amazon Summery:

Something is disturbing Dennis Harkum's sleep. Is it real? Is it only in his head? Will he figure it out in time?

My Review:

Before reading this review understand that there are definite potential spoilers in it.  So let me just say that I enjoyed Violet Lights.  It's short, but it does draw the reader in and there are some parts that are really creepy. That's really all you need to know without risking ruining the read for you. As for the rest of you here is the rest of the review:

Obviously since it is a short story the author doesn't go into a lot of detail or history with the characters or their house.  Which I think is a shame and the only real draw back.  Honestly I think the story could be made longer and make it that much better.  I would have loved to find out more about who exactly it is that is haunting Dennis and his wife.  But that is really the only thing I found lacking in the book.
Otherwise I think that Violet Lights is a great taste of the authors writing.  I really was interested in what was going to happen to the characters and as I said above there were definitely some creepy parts. The ending is abrupt, but considering the length of the story it made sense and there is no room for doubt as to what happens to Dennis and his wife.
The story is currently only .99 on Amazon so if you've never read Scribner's work this is the perfect opportunity to start.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Underneath by Kealan Patrick

For Dean Lovell, the nightmare begins with a dare that comes with the promise of violence if he chickens out: He must ask out on a date the school pariah, a horribly disfigured girl named Stephanie Watts. Dean agrees, and soon learns that there is more to Stephanie than anyone dared imagine, that beneath the scars, there are terrifying secrets underneath...

***WARNING: Contains some scenes of violence and strong language***

My review:

This one is extremely brief.  But somehow in this stories few pages we are able to follow Dean on his descent into madness, uncover the horrible truth behind the act that started him down that path. I decided to include the warning in the summery that there are some scenes of violence and strong language. But I think that only touches on the scenes it is referring too. 
Honestly I feel the scenes are truly disturbing. The twist that comes at the end of the book, makes them even more so. 
The story is extremely well written. The author does an amazing job of bringing his characters and scenes to life.  Some of the scenes are more horrifying by what the author doesn't say and leaves strictly to the imagination of the reader. 
The ending is very abrupt.  The final scene shocking, as we find out, along with Dean, exactly what happened to Stephanie. I do feel that the ending was a bit too sudden. Considering the depths of crazy that Dean reached, I definitely expected at least one more act of violence to explode from him. 
This isn't part of a larger story, just it's own stand alone. I don't know if I would read more from the author. He is obviously a master with words, but the places those words take the reader are definitely disturbing. I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone under 18, it's definitely more adult fare.
If you've read Underneath or any other works by Kealan Patrick, I'd love to know what you think. If you were as bothered, or not, and either way why.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz

Welcome to Braedyn Murphy’s life. She’s a typical—if shy—sophomore navigating the slings and arrows of high school life with her two best friends, Royal and Cassie. Then a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door, and Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time. 

But Braedyn’s normal life comes crashing down around her ears when she learns she’s a descendent of Lilith, the mother of all demons - and that she might play a critical role in an ancient war between the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Lilith. Turns out the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how you choose to act. 

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes. 

My Review:

I have been so lucky to pick such awesome books to use for my A to Z challenge. Thrall is no exception! 
An example of how good this one was? I usually don't read the excerpts from next book that are found at the end of a book. I figure eventually I will get to the next book and I don't want to be left hanging. In the case of Thrall I kept reading. I just had to get a bit more of the world and characters Quintenz has created. 

Let's start with her characters, because they are awesome. I loved Braedyn. She just feels so real. Yes she makes mistakes, but most of them are based on her belief that her actions are going to help, not hurt, the people around her. Also her reactions to things were so human. But it wasn't just Braedyn.  I kinda got attached to all the characters, even the bad ones. The way the author wove them all together, their interactions, all just made the story even better.

The world the author created that hides inside our own is well done too. The Daughters of Lilith, the Sons of Adam, and their intertwined history definitely pulls one in. Quintenz builds their worlds with enough information to satisfy, but also with enough left out to make the reader want to keep reading to find out more, a delicate balance to be sure. 

The story, while part of a trilogy, could easily stand on it's own. Yes, there are unanswered questions at the end, and there are definitely threats that are still there for the Guard. But the ending isn't so much a cliffie as it is a lead in to the second novel. A novel I REALLY hope gives answers to certain questions that I'm dying to know about! The story pulled me in though from beginning to end and as I said I just couldn't get enough.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sleepers by Megg Jensen

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her. 

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy? 

My Review:

Sleepers left me a little torn. The majority of the book I liked. 

For example I liked Lianne. You can see her grow throughout the book as she realizes her magic and where it could take her. I also liked Mags. Usually I have issues with characters who cheat. But I felt sorry for Mags, and she was so pure about it. (I know that sounds weird, but read the book and you'll understand)
I was intrigued by the story. The idea of three babies being sent on a mission to overthrow their oppressors, but knowing nothing of it 'til their 16th birthday. It brings the idea of a sleeper cell to a whole new level.  

The issue I have with the book didn't come 'til basically the end. So I'm going to try to explain it without giving away too many spoilers. Here goes.

The ending, mainly the last few pages just bugged me.  First they say they are going away, which makes perfect sense, because of what's going on.  Then they say they will eventually fight back. I guess I just didn't understand what exactly they would be fighting for.  The leaving made sense. They wanted to get away from both countries. But what exactly would they be coming back to fight? The Fithians treated them like crap, not all of them, but the majority, why would the come back to save them from their own people? Yes the Dalagans are not what the adoptees were led to believe they were, but still. Leaving both countries behind made sense, the fighting back, not so much. Not to mention how they felt they were going to be able to do that anyway. But I assume that will be revealed in the next book.

Overall I liked the book. It held my attention and I liked trying to figure out where the author was taking me to next. I was even surprised by a few of the twists and turns that were taken. If given the opportunity I would read the second book in the trilogy. Again, it was only the very end the bothered me. 

If you've already read Sleepers I'd love to know your opinion on the book. Especially the part I have issues with at the end. If you haven't read it, Sleepers is currently free on Amazon, so check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver

Before Riley Blackthorne can take on Grade Five demons, she has to trap her very first. Her debut solo trapping experience should be a breeze, just a harmless Grade One after all. But throw in some dippy hippies (whose peace signs and Patchouli really aren't driving any demons away), one mischievous demon, and a run-in with the police, and Riley might not be able to pull it off...

My Review:

Despite the shortness of the story, it literally took me less than 15 minutes to read, I really enjoyed Retro Demonology.  
I think the book offers a really good window into Riley's world and into her mind as well. I love the "retro" fad that is sweeping her city.  People completely immersing themselves in a particular time period sounds like so much fun!There are the demons. The reader only gets to meet a Grade One, but the introduction is just enticing enough to want to meet more. Then there is Riley herself. She is funny and entertaining. 
Overall the story definitely drug me in and kept my attention to the last page. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for a Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice

A QUEST OF HEROES (BOOK #1 IN THE SORCERER’S RING) revolves around the epic coming of age story of one special boy, a 14 year old from a small village on the outskirts of the Kingdom of the Ring. The youngest of four, the least favorite of his father, hated by his brothers, Thorgrin senses he is different from the others. He dreams of becoming a great warrior, of joining the King’s men and protecting the Ring from the hordes of creatures on the other side of the Canyon. When he comes of age and is forbidden by his father to try out for the King’s Legion, he refuses to take no for an answer: he journeys out on his own, determined to force his way into King’s Court and be taken seriously. 

But King’s Court is rife with its own family dramas, power struggles, ambitions, jealousy, violence and betrayal. King MacGil must choose an heir from amongst his children, and the ancient Dynasty Sword, the source of all their power, still sits untouched, waiting for the chosen one to arrive. Thorgrin arrives as an outsider and battles to be accepted, and to join the King’s Legion. 

Thorgrin comes to learn he has mysterious powers he does not understand, that he has a special gift, and a special destiny. Against all odds he falls in love with the king’s daughter, and as their forbidden relationship blossoms, he discovers he has powerful rivals. As he struggles to make sense of his powers, the king’s sorcerer takes him under his wing and tells him of a mother he never knew, in a land far away, beyond the Canyon, beyond even the land of the Dragons. 

Before Thorgrin can venture out and become the warrior he yearns to be, he must complete his training. But this may be cut short, as he finds himself propelled into the center of royal plots and counterplots, ones that may threaten his love and bring him down—and the entire kingdom with him. 

My Review:

I wasn't sure about A Quest For Heroes to begin with.  It felt slow to start with and I wasn't sure if I would really get into it.  Fortunately for me, I was wrong. By the end of the book I was so hooked I didn't want the book to end.
Let's start with the characters. Rice does and awesome job at filling them out. Thor, the main character, is convinced he will become a knight, and with his attitude and honor, it is hard to believe that he won't become one in future novels in the series.  Gwendolyn, the king's daughter, is an interesting combination of strength and weakness. You can see in her also the potential to be great, but her disinterest in ruling definitely looks like it will play a part in where her future goes. Even the villains, and there are quite a few, are fleshed out. Not all their motives are revealed before the end of the book, but their characters aren't paper thin.  I thought at first that Thor's perfect knight attitude might annoy me eventually, but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't.  If anything it kinda grew on me and made me root for him even more.
Then there is the world itself.  Rice has impressively built his kingdom in the ring.  While fleshing out this world to the reader, he also drops intriguing clues to the world outside the ring.  I am definitely interested to see more of the world in future books.
The story is definitely strong.  Even though it is Thor's story, it is told from multiple points of view.  Seeing how they are all weaved to together is a definite treat.  I like to try to guess which way an author is leading me.  When an author takes a turn I might not expect, but that still keeps the story interesting and keeps me wanting to read more, it is definitely a plus. The story itself ends with a cliff hanger.  I don't want to spoil the novel, but it wasn't a happy ending. Lots of strings were left untied and the future of its characters is definitely uncertain. But I was so wrapped up in wanting to see what would happen to Thor that, while I was frustrated there wasn't more book to read, I was hooked.  I need to read March of Kings and see what happens.  As this is only the beginning of the series I'm sure that book won't end in a neat little bow either, but as long as it is as well written as this one, I'm sure I won't mind too much.
I think this looks like an awesome series.  Male or Female I think the reader will definitely enjoy it.  I wouldn't recommend it for too young a crowd though.  There are some topics that lean towards the deeper end.  Nothing vulgar or erotic  or anything, but I would recommend if you plan to give this as a gift to read it first before giving it to anyone under 18.  But despite that I think this novel was awesome and definitely recommend it. Also it is currently free on Amazon!

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.