Book Review: In the End & In the After

In the After & In the End
Demitria Lunetta
YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published: June 25th 2013 & June 24th 2014
4/5

                                              They hear the most silent of footsteps.
                                              They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
                                               And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
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9780062105455_p0_v2_s260x420 I really enjoyed this duo! It wasn’t what I expected at all and I’m really happy that I tried something out that I hadn’t heard much hype about. The first half of the first book was fantastic and then I took a turn that I hadn’t quite expected in the end and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first but have decided I really liked the plot twist. It sets up the next book pretty well and overall it was a face paced and enjoyable read with a fairly complex story plot for a YA novel.
Baby was a great character, I found her interesting and at times really frustrating because even after finishing the series I feel like I didn’t get to learn enough about her, or at least learn everything I wanted to about her backstory and why things turned out the way they did for her a little more. She was very strong willed and seemed very adaptable, and again there were aspects of her character that I really wish had been delved into a little bit deeper.
Amy was a strong female character, independent from other people; which was refreshing. I really liked that she could hold her own, and that she fought every step of the way for what she believed in and for those who she cared about. She was 100% focused on her mission and despite distractions she kept on a one way track to get to her end game.
It was fantastic that not everything was what it seemed and that we got to travel so much in this new world with Amy as she set about getting things done. Demitria did a fantastic job creating a world that was vivid and easy to imagine. Those creatures were terrifying and I’m very thankful I’m not having to deal with them on a regular basis.18140842
There were some aspects to this duo that I wasn’t a huge fan of, like all the unanswered questions and plot holes. There were a lot of things that were mentioned and never really explained or touched on again. The side characters sometimes really blended into each other and I lost track of who was who a couple of times, though that may have been my fault as I was reading so fast because I was so excited to find everything out. The science was a little weird but realistically it also made a little sense so perhaps most of my issues with that was the fact that it was done so poorly but they did/do have limited resources.
The ending of this duo was really open, and I feel like if the author wanted to write another book or write another story that took place in the same universe she certainly could just because there were so many unanswered questions and blank spots in the plot line. It could be really interesting having a story revolving around baby when she was older perhaps.
Over all a very fantastic, quick paced and action packed read. Really easy to follow plot line and development. I highly recommend binge reading this two books!

Top Ten Books I’ve Read in 2014 so Far

ImageBurial Rites – Hannah Kent
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
ImageThe Humans – Matt Haig
The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves.

ImageThrone of Glass – Sarah j. Maas
In the dark filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen year-old-girl is serving a life sentence. However, young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament.

ImageGrave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the Gods of old. Here she learns that the God of Death himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts – and a violent destiny.

ImageLost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal.
ImageSea of Shadows – Kelley Armstrong
In the forest of the Dead, where the empires worse criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

ImageThe Program – Suzanne Young
Sloane knows better than to cry infront of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in the program, the only proven course of treatment.
ImageScarlet – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealths most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Beniot’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother of the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.
ImageCress – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
In the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Throne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who has only ever had her netscreens as company.

ImageWhat Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move – four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mothers new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva, but now for the first time, Mclean discovers the desire to stay in the same place and just be herself.

Recommend reads of 2013

             This year I’ve read about 113 novels and they were all from a variety of genres. I’ve personally learnt a lot about my reading style and the books that I actually do enjoy and have discovered some interesting things, but perhaps I’ll do a separate post on that later.
            So without further ado, these are the books or series I’ve read this year that I recommend highly to you. Please click on the title to learn more information about each posting ❤

1. Across the Universe Series – Beth Revis (Young adult Science Fiction)
2. Easy – Tamara Webber (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
3. Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols (Young Adult Contemporary Romance)
4. Warm Bodies – Issac Marion (Adult Zombie Fantasy)
5.  The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (Adult Fantasy)
6. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Young Adult fantasy)
7. Omens – Kelly Armstrong (Adult Paranormal)
8. Magic Knight Rayearth – Clamp (Manga)
9. Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn Andersen (YA Fantasy)
10. The Witch’s Daughter – Paula Brackston (Adult Paranormal/fantasy/Historical)
11. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker  (Adult Historical Fantasy)
12. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Adult Science Fiction)
13. Pride and Prejudice –Jane Austen

Favorite Scary Novels

                I’ve loved novels that get under your skin and spread goose bumps for as long as I can remember. I grew up loving series like Goosebumps, Fear Street and enjoying authors like Christopher Pike. As a young teenager I loved horror movies that made you jump and make you think twice about that movement out of the corner of you eye.
                We are 15 days away from Halloween and I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to share with you the books that I’ve enjoyed into adulthood, books that make me nervous, creep me out and make my heart beat fast in the still of night when all is quiet and I’m all alone.
               

1. Black Creek Crossing – John SaulImage
      Thirteen-year-old Angel Sullivan has been on the outside looking in, enduring the taunts of cruel schoolmates and the angry abuse of a bitter father. Then Angel’s family moves to a quaint town of Roundtree, Massachusetts – where a charming house is available, a chance to make a new start beckons to the shy, hopeful teenager. When she is shunned by her new classmates, Angel falls deeper into despair. Until she meets Seth Baker, a fellow outcast – and a fateful kinship is forged.
      It’s Seth who tells Angel the unspoken truth about the legacy of murder that hangs over her family’s home – and the whispered rumors that something supernatural still dwells there. Uncertain whether the stories are true and desperate to escape the torment of their daily lives, Seth and Angel devote themselves to contacting whatever restless soul haunts the dark recesses of Black Creek Crossing. But once they have begun, there is no turning back.
     They uncover the shocking events and centuries-old horrors that lay buried beneath the placid veneer of Roundtree. Along with the ghastly revelations comes a terrifying power – one that feeds upon the rage of the victimized, turning the basset impulses and most dangerous desires into devastating weapons.

2.  Full Dark, No Stars – Stephan King
    Image  A Collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephan King
      1922The Story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed Arlette by her father.
    
Big Driver Following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.
     
Fair Extension Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but as always there is a price to pay.
    
A Good Marriage – Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

 

3. I am Legend – Richard MathesonImage
      Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood.
     By Day he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

 

 

Image4. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
      A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it’s gray. The Sky is dark; their destination is the coast and although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing, just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.  

 

 

 

5. The Shinning – Stephan King
    Image  Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
     As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
    Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

 

 

 

6. Cold Skin – Albert Sanchez Pinol, Translated by: Cheryl Leah MorganImage
       After WW1, a troubled man accepts a solitary assignment as a “weather Official” on a tiny, remote island on the edges of the Antarctic. When he arrives his predecessor he is meant to replace is missing and a deeply disturbed stranger is barricaded in a heavily fortified lighthouse. At first adversaries, the two find that their tenuous partnership may be the only way to survive the unspeakably horrific reptilian creatures that ravage the island at night, attacking the lighthouse in their organized effort to find warm-blooded food. Armed with a battery of ammunition and explosives, the weather official and his new ally must confront their increasingly murderous mentality and when the possibility of a kind of truce presents itself, decide what kind of island they will inhabit.

 

 

Image7. Cell – Stephan King
       In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without Cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival and their journey to find Claytons estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

 

 

 

8. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley JacksonImage
      It is a story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House; Dr. Montague, an occult scholar is looking for solid evidence of a ‘haunting’;  Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

 

Image9. We have always lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
      Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possible murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Book Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep (The Shinning #2)Image
Stephan King
Paranormal Horror
Published: 2013
Publisher: Scribner
4.5/5 stars

 

                On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs but as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
                Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
                Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shinning and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King Canon.

 

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                Doctor Sleep is a great work of fiction, Stephan King did a fantastic job bringing to life the rest of Danny Torrance’s reality. How he develops and who he becomes, how his past circumstances helped and hindered him in his development in his formative years and how that crossed over into adult hood where he was a struggling alcoholic was all very believable and made perfect sense.   One thing of note, this is not a sequel in the traditional sense and in my opinion it comes across as more of a companion novel which made this all the more fun to read.
                Dan Torrance’s character was soft, gentle, but he was also hard, and kept to himself. It was interesting to read how he would spiral, then build himself back up again only to spiral out of control once again. I was definitely happy when he finally got sober and was very happy to see that he stayed sober throughout the novel. I was disappointed however that Dan lost some of his ability in regards to his supernatural powers and was happy to find that eventually they came back. It was surprising to me that as a main character that Dan wasn’t the strongest character however, I believe that made the story more engaging and believable.
                Doctor Sleep wasn’t as scary as ‘The Shinning’ and I found ‘The True Knot’ not nearly as scary as I had been hoping they would be. Beyond the odd scene here of there, the focus on their power and what they were was more lackluster than I would have hoped. They weren’t nearly as scary as the cover flap would have led me to believe. I was hoping for more of a ‘coven’ feel in terms of their group but they seemed a little disorderly and for some reason I kept imagining them as people with poor hygiene and broken down RVs although it was clear that wasn’t what they were like.
                I found Abra’s character engaging, she was spunky and head strong. She is a twelve year old girl with terrifyingly strong powers and she was aware of them. She also struggles with trying to be normal in a world where she can never be just like everyone else. She’s unique, talented and beautiful and stronger than anyone else in this universe that Stephan King has created with ‘Doctor Sleep and the Shinning’. I found it refreshing however that she had flaws because as we all know a perfect character isn’t interesting to read at all. Characters need strengths and weaknesses to make them relatable and more realized.
                Over all, I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep. It was a fantastic addition to my Stephan King collection and I’m very much looking forward to all of the books that he writes in the future though I am not sure if I’ll ever anticipate a book the way I anticipated ‘Doctor Sleep’.
                Doctor Sleep was a great way to start my October reading month.
                If you’ve read Doctor Sleep what did you think of it? Or perhaps if you’re not interested in reading Doctor Sleep why not?  Interested in what you all are thinking!

 

Book Review: FEED

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy Book: One)Image
Mira Grant
Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2010
4/5

 

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
                                NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will come out, even if it kills them.

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                Feed is not a horror novel, although the things that happen inside these pages are indeed horrifying. Feed is a political thriller with zombies filling in the sub-story line. Zombies fill the political agenda, how to treat zombies, how to ‘deal’ with them, but most importantly how to keep humanity safe and out of their reach.
                The Zombies in Feed are also intelligently written, they have more development than your average Zombie that eats brains. They’re smart when they’re in packs, the bigger the pack the more dangerous and lethal they become. They know the land better than the average traveler and thus are able to lure people into a false sense of security and then BAM! They’ve got you and you either join them, or they demolish you with their decaying mouths.
                Mira Grant does an amazing job weaving all the elements of this story together, creating fascinating characters that you both cheer for and yet cannot always stand either. However, my only real issue with this novel was the main character Georgia, there was something about her character that didn’t seem very realistic and I honestly cannot put my finger on it. Georgia was harsh, often anger, extremely emotionally strong and able to do all that she needed to do without flinching. Perhaps Georgia’s flaw is that because she is so emotionally strong that you don’t feel like you can understand her or get where she’s coming from. Despite the fact that the majority of the story is told from her point of view, I don’t feel like I really got to know her at all.
                  The other characters in the novel also faced a bit of the same problem for me, I don’t feel like I really know or feel ‘connected’ with any of them and again this may be in part that Georgia is the main character and she doesn’t seem to ‘emotionally’ connect with any of the other characters. However, the other characters do seem to be vibrant with interesting personalities, abilities, and backstories; I am looking forward to getting to know more of them in the next two novels in the trilogy.
              This is not a happy story; it’s cold hearted factual truth most of the time. It is however an amazing story and if it weren’t for my disconnect with the main character this story would have risen to five star level for me. The twists and turns near the end had me on the edge of my seat practically and if it weren’t for sleep, work and life I would have raced through this novel waiting eagerly for the next development in the plot.

               

Book Talk: Literary terms Part 1

        I thought I would take the time to write out what my definitions of genre’s and ‘readership’ labels mean to me. There seems to be so many vastly different opinions online about what they actually are and often times I find myself getting frustrated with people labeling novels incorrectly. However, that being said obviously everyone has the right to their own opinion, I just want to share mine with you
            This is part one of my definitions, and as it’ll be fairly long I’m going to break it up into at least two parts, likely three.
              What do you think of my definitions, do you agree or disagree with them? If you disagree I’d love to know why!  

Science Fiction; Deals with imaginative concepts, often in regards to futuristic technology, space travel, other planets and time travel. However science fiction is not limited, it can also involve aliens, vampires, zombies and werewolves. Many factors come into play when classifying creatures into the genre science fiction; i.e. a virus mutates and creates zombies, it’s a manmade mistake created by science.
                Examples of science Fiction
                                Enders Game – Orson Scott Card
                                Across the Universe – Beth Revis
                                Dune – Frank Herbert
                                Feed – Mira Grant

 

Fantasy; Deals with imaginative concepts that are often improbable or impossible. For example, many fantasy novels include animals such as dragons, trolls and elves. Fantasy novels almost always include a realm of magic, in example characters that are able to wield the elements, heal without medicines, or call upon mystical animals for help in battles. If Vampires, Zombies, aliens or werewolves are involved in fantasy they are almost always natural and not created by man, they’ve always existed in these worlds the way the elves or hobbits have. They are also often series, it is not often that you find a standalone fantasy novel; most that I’ve come across personally have been a part of a large series.
                Examples of Fantasy
                                The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
                                The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R Tolkien
                                The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
                                A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R.Martin

Horror; in its essence horror is intended to scare you, to keep you up all night with the lights on and send shivers straight through to your bones. The Horror genre is usually quite dark, violent and can at times be gory. Horror can either be supernatural or non-supernatural depending on the content of the novel. This includes but is not limited too; serial killers, ghosts, poltergeists, vampires, zombies, kidnapping, psychological horror, etc.
                  Examples of Horror
                                 The Shining – Stephan King
                                 The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
                                 Dracula – Bram Stoker
                                 Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice


Young Adult; This category is a little more tricky and can at times be vague but the general rule of thumb is that young adult audience intended are between the ages of 12-18 years old. Recent studies however have shown that 55% of young adult fiction purchased is bought by adults over the age of 18.
               Examples of Young Adult Fiction
                                 The Hunger Games Trilogy –Suszanne Collins
                                 The Delirium Trilogy – Lauren Oliver
                                 The Fault in our Stars – John Green
                                 Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

New Adult; Deals primarily with protagonists between the ages of 18-25. Unlike Young Adult there is often considerably more descriptive sexual content, drug and alcohol use and more ‘real life’ issues. Despite having a genre, there are not many New Adult novels that are not contemporary, at least not that I’ve currently discovered. This is a highly HOT topic currently as it’s not clear if this is actually a clear genre, category or marketing scheme.
                   Examples of New Adult Fiction
                                      Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
                                       Slammed – Colleen Hoover
                                       Easy – Tamara Webber
                                      Fallen too Far – Abbi Glines