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!

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Book Review: This is Not a Test

This is not a TestImage
Courtney Summers
Young Adult
Published: 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
4/5

 

                It’s the end of the world…
                Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is of little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
                To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
                As the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in a startling way and soon the groups fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more, and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life – and death – inside.
                When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

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               This is not a test reads more like a contemporary novel than zombie fiction. You never really find yourself too worried about the threat of the zombie hordes outside of the school, your concern really lies within the confines of the school. You learn really quickly how fast what you believed in can fall when your life is at risk and your survival is at stake. What you’re capable of, is truly unknown until you’re faced with the unknown.
                Sloane Price is a deeply wounded character. She is probably one of the most damaged and broken characters I’ve ever read in a young adult novel. She’s just so sad and you feel her despair pouring out of the pages, bleeding form chapter to chapter and even when she’s happy or seems better you can’t actually be sure.
                This is not a Test calls this into question, “What do you do when you survive something when you never wanted to exist at all?” This is an extremely fascinating character study. Who could imagine surviving the zombie apocalypse and not because you’ve been trying to but because fate seems to want to keep you around for a little bit longer.  Sloane actually went out of her way many times throughout the novel to succumb to the zombie plague and each time she is saved or it plain does not work out.      
                All of the characters are great, they all have unique voices and each give something valuable to the plot. None of them are who they seem to be, and I’m sure none of them are who they thought they were either.
                For such a small novel it is action packed, it’s not dull and everything rushes by quickly. It isn’t in a bad way, but in a good way because you get down to the nitty gritty and you don’t have to wade through useless fluff/filler.  
                This is Not a Test also has one of the most intense endings that I’ve ever read in a young adult stand-alone novel! It almost felt incomplete because the ending was rather left up to interpretation. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ‘writes off’ young adult fiction and to those who enjoy it. I guarantee you’d be happily surprised by the quality and depth of this story.

               

               

Top 10: TBR

Today I am going to share with you the top 10 books that I’ve had on my TBR for the longest amount of time. I am really hoping that I’m going to get around to finishing my amazingly massive amount of TBR books this year! Wish me luck!! I’m definitely going to need it!

1. The Luxe – Anna Godbersen Image
Beautiful Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene, or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone from backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden futures.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love but when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and break the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

 

2. The Last Romanov – Dora Levy MossanenImage
She was an orphan, ushered into the royal palace on the prayers of her majesty. Yet, decades later, her time spent in the embrace of the Romanovs haunts her still. Is she responsible for those murderous events that changed everything?
If only she could find the heir, maybe than she could put back together the broken pieces of her own past – and maybe she could hold on to the love that she has found.
Bursting into life with the rich and glorious marvels of Imperial Russia, The Last Romanov is a magical tale of second chances and royal blood.


 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Extras – Scott Westerfield Image
It’s a few years after Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specails regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-Heads” Flaunt their latest gadgets, “Kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge Monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery.
It’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras, the world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes, Popularity rules…
As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra… but Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle and make kick a good story for herself.
Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull completely crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are but doing so would proper her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity… and extreme danger… a world that she isn’t prepared for.

 

 

 


4. The Book Thief – Markus ZusakImage
It is 1939 Nazi Germany, the country is still holding it’s breath. Death has never been buisier and it will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


5. The Farm – Emily McKayImage
Life was different in the before; before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are – holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farm by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices – like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world but like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race.

6. Pure – Julianna BaggottImage
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost – how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers… to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. Now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
There were those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked: Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Patridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss – maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotional distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely ridged order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Patridge risks his life to leave the Dome and find her.
When Pressia meets Patridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

7. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlImage
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten south, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


8.  The Secret Keeper – Kate MortonImage
During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From Pre-world WW2 England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds – Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy – who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told – in Mortons signature style – against a backdrop of events that changed the world.


9. Eona – Alison GoodmanImage
Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades are on a quest for the black golio, stone by the drug-riddled Dillion; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his trone from the selfstyled “emperor” Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power – and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans…


10. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie war – Max brooksImage

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Afria, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies dedoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

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

October TBR

October TBR

ImageDoctor Sleep – Stephan King
                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 fathers 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 remnany shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

ImageDust & Decay (Benny Imura #2) – Jonathan Maberry **Spoilers**
                Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also been six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the lost girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chang are going with them.
                But before they even leave there is a shocking Zombie attack in town, and as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers, and the horrors of Gameland – Where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all… could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?
                In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will survive…

ImageBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – April Genevieve Tucholke
               Nothing exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
                Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
               Violets already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight, and that’s just how River likes it.

 


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Texas Gothic – Rosemary Clement-Moore
               Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn’t as simple as it seems – she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts but she also understands that “normal” doesn’t mix well with magic, and she’s worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect any hope of ever having a normal life.
               Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin aren’t alone. There’s someone in the house with them – and it’s not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door. It’s a ghost, and it’s more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back.

 

What are you reading this month?

               

Seattle Book Haul

                For my Husband and I’s first year anniversary we spent the long weekend in September (our anniversary is September 1st) in Seattle. We stayed at a ridiculously nice hotel, ate amazing food and went to the Zoo. Of course, we also did some shopping and of course I did quite a bit of book shopping.

First we went to Half Price books, where I purchased Bitter blue, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos
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We then went to mutli-level Barnes & Nobel and I purchased Feed, Origin, Drowned Cities and an amazing hard cover version of Little Woman.
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I thought I would also share a couple pictures from our trip as well, so enjoy! ❤
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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.