Author: Mira Grant

Waiting on Wednesday – Alien: Echo: An Original Young Adult Novel of the Alien Universe by Mira Grant

October 3, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday, YA 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Alien: Echo: An Original Young Adult Novel of the Alien Universe by Mira GrantAlien: Echo: An Original Young Adult Novel of the Alien Universe by Mira Grant
Published by Imprint on April 9, 2019
Pages: 320
Genres: Sci-fi, Aliens
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

An original young adult novel of the Alien universe

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this virgin colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive...

An Imprint Book

About Mira Grant

Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Rapid Fire Reviews – Artemis, Ink and Bone, Into the Drowning Deep, The Hazel Wood

December 29, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2017, YA 4 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Artemis by Andy Weir
Narrator: Rosario Dawson
Published by Audible on November 14th 2017
Length: 8 hours and 59 minutes
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads

Short Summary: Jazz Bashara is a full-time resident (and smuggler) of Artemis, the only city on the moon, but when she’s offered a sum of money that would solve all of her problems she accepts, the only problem is this job is completely out of her comfort zone and causes her more problems than she had before.

Thoughts: This story wouldn’t have been nearly as fantastic if it wasn’t narrated by Rosario Dawson who transformed this oftentimes comical heist on the moon into an actual performance.

Verdict: I loved The Martian and I loved Artemis so Andy Weir can just keep those entertaining Sci-Fi stories coming.

four-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – Artemis, Ink and Bone, Into the Drowning Deep, The Hazel Wood

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Published by Berkley on April 5th 2016
Pages: 374
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Blogging for Books
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Short Summary: In an alternate universe where books are illegal to the public and the Library of Alexandria is still standing, a group of individuals train to enter into the service of the Library and realize that corruption reigns supreme from within.

Thoughts: Caine has created a fascinating alternate universe with hints of steampunk and while there seemed to be a little too much going on at times it was a captivating story with a full cast of characters and ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you no option but to continue.

Verdict: An intriguing first installment that gets the mild info-dumping necessary with any fantasy world out of the way in hopeful anticipation of a solid follow-up in Paper and Fire.

three-half-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – Artemis, Ink and Bone, Into the Drowning Deep, The Hazel Wood

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Series: Rolling in the Deep #1
Published by Orbit on November 14th 2017
Pages: 440
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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Short Summary: Everyone was presumed dead after the Atargatis was lost at sea, but a new crew is being assembled to go back to the Mariana Trench to search for the existence of mermaids, this time presumably taking better precautions.

Thoughts: Grant was a bit excessive with her use of prose and her oftentimes exhaustive detailing of characters; however, her much apparent research into marine biology was incredibly informative and the gory horror was a definite thrill.

Verdict: A good one for campy horror fans and science nerds alike, but there’s no denying this story is drowning in an unnecessary amount of pages.

three-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – Artemis, Ink and Bone, Into the Drowning Deep, The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books on January 30th 2018
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads

Short Summary: Alice and her mother have spent their lives on the road, trying to evade Alice’s grandmother and the bad luck that shadows their every step, but when her mother is kidnapped and taken to the Hinterland (a supernatural world that her grandmother created in her fairy tales) Alice is forced to confront the fact that these fairy tales might be real.

Thoughts: The blend of dark fantasy/fairy tales in a contemporary world was so fascinating and Alice’s character is incredibly likable; however, the mystery (and the story itself) unraveled a bit at the end and wasn’t as coherent a closure as I would have liked.

Verdict: Interesting fairy tale world, solid opening, mediocre ending: still definitely worth a read.

three-stars

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Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight Pariah

December 15, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahFinal Girls by Mira Grant
Published by Subterranean Press on April 9th 2017
Pages: 112
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

three-half-stars

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival.

‘Reality was a hard habit to quit sometimes, especially for someone who knew what lies could cost.’

Esther Hoffman is a journalist seeking the underlying story of Dr. Jennifer Webb who has created a new virtual reality therapy program which uses horror movie style dream sequences in an attempt to change the long-term behavior of its patient. Esther is convinced that Dr. Webb is nothing but a con artist and during their interview, Webb suggests she personally experience the program and Esther agrees, hoping to get the inside scoop. While inside the sequence, Webb decides to join Esther in the zombie apocalypse simulation in an attempt to develop a relationship with her and possibly change her outlook towards her program. The problem is, while the two are locked inside a fabricated horror movie, there’s actual horror developing in the real world.

‘Everything they were before they came here is behind them now, and soon they will be free, soon they will be able to start to heal, soon—’

Grant is no doubt a skillful short story writer, able to develop characters and plot effectively, drawing in readers with her consistently original narratives. Final Girls is a fantastic blend of science fiction and horror with a Nightmare on Elm Street feel to it where dreams quickly become a reality. This novella manages to even touch on more serious topics regarding doctors and treatment and the dangers of such an effective program like this falling into the wrong hands. The creative blend of science fiction and horror in the beginning did, admittedly, morph into something less unique by the end, transitioning instead to a storyline more commonly seen, but Final Girls is still a worthy read if you’re looking for some thrilling psychological horror.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Series: The Hungry Plague #2
Published by Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 392
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: The Girl With All the Gifts, Fellside

three-half-stars

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

In The Boy on the Bridge, M. R. Carey returns to the world of his phenomenal USA Today and word-of-mouth bestseller, The Girl With All the Gifts, for the very first time.

Expectations are a bitch.

The Girl With All the Gifts was one of my all-time favorites of 2014 and I was filled with trepidation when this prequel was announced. Sure, there was a story that could be told but did it need to be told is the real question. The Boy on the Bridge is a prequel story that tells of the original mission of the Rosalind Franklin, the mobile science lab that Melanie essentially hijacks in Girl. Knowing the end result of the mission will lead any reader to understand that there can be no happy ending, only a story to be told. It’s bittersweet to see this new crew of scientists searching the world for a cure to the hungries, still filled with a chance of hope for the few surviving individuals of the world.

“Things don’t end, after all. They only change, and you keep changing with them.”

The Boy on the Bridge wasn’t nearly as compelling as I had hoped or anticipated. The writing was oftentimes overly technical which resulted in a definite detachment from the emotional tale at its center and it seemed as if Carey was writing it as something that had already passed rather than something happening presently.  I often found myself wondering if my overall opinion would have been different if this had been released prior to Girl. If I had been more interested in discovering these intriguing details of a widespread infection if I didn’t already know the outcome. I’m not really sure. I don’t feel Carey was being opportunistic by writing this but simply chose to expand on this fascinating world he created, and that’s fair. It’s also fair that I simply didn’t care for it and think Girl was solid and complete enough to stand on its own, but it is what it is.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahThe Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
Published by Tor.com on September 12th 2017
Pages: 176
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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two-stars

Three friends go looking for treasure and find horror in Jeffrey Ford's The Twilight Pariah.

All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

“You can’t kill the dead. You’ve got to outsmart them.”

Tor.com released a “Fall of Fear” sampler which included A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell, Switchback by Melissa F. Olson, The Murders of Molly Southbourne, and this title. This one enticed me the most. I’m also a terrible sucker for a great cover, and this one is a winner. It gives you the impression the story you’re about to embark on is atmospheric and eerie, and something perfect for any horror fan. Admittedly, I had high hopes having heard great things about Jeffrey Ford but this one a total dud. The blurb on the cover “Richard Linklater meets Stephen King meets Indiana Jones meets, well, Jeffrey Ford” by up and coming author Paul Tremblay is admittedly extremely off base. Just because something is tagged as horror doesn’t make it the next Stephen King and just because there’s some mild excavation of an old house doesn’t make these characters the next Indiana Jones, let’s be real.

The Twilight Pariah is a novella that tells the story of a final college summer between three friends. Maggie, the budding archaeologist of the group, convinces Russell and Henry to help her excavate an old privy at the Prewitt mansion. Ironically, the only thing I kept thinking about was an article I had recently read about archaeologists digging up Paul Revere’s outhouse. But also, there’s nothing particularly horrifying about the prospect of digging out an outhouse. Of course, finding a skeleton of a horned child should change things when shortly after a series of horrifying murders start taking place in town, but that sense of horror simply never coalesced. The characters are nothing but cardboard cutouts with a few quirky descriptive lines thrown in as a half-assed attempt to differentiate, which is pretty typical of characters in most short stories/novellas but there isn’t a credible plot to at least support the lacking characters. Ford tries to take this centuries-old mystery and link it to the present but it was a pretty flimsy connection, to say the least. And that ending. It felt like the author realized he was past his word count limit had to wrap shit up, pronto. Lackluster characters, middling plot, and an inadequate conclusion. Disappointing.

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Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The Girls

December 17, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 12 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsFeedback by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh #4
Published by Orbit on October 4th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

dnf

FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of New York Times bestseller Mira Grant's classic Feed and follows a group of reporters covering the Democratic side of the Presidential campaign.

There are two sides to every story...

Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No street is safe and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild.Step inside a world a half-step from our own in this novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.

DNF @ 59%

For the record, I’m a massive Mira Grant fan and most importantly a HUGE Newsflesh fan. When I heard that there would be a fourth book coming, there was fully body tingling going on… I was that excited. So in a nutshell, having to DNF this makes me want to cry a fucking river.

Right off the bat, my first issue that had me cocking my head in confusion was the seemingly apparent duplication of the Feed storyline. Sure there were differences but it was the same story for the most part. Politics and conspiracies and of course zombies. There was a brand new set of characters that was meant to spice things up but it was the same sort of crew that consisted of a Newsie, Irwin, and Fictional. And yes, this was quite the diverse group but I even had issues with that. I want to read stories with diversity where it’s treated as a non-issue. Making Mat, a genderfluid character, a makeup/fashion blogger that also likes electronics didn’t do much for modernizing typecasts either. The various forms of diversity are not only not treated as a non-issue but are so incredibly contrived. It all felt like some ginormous lecture and while it may have been intended to be didactic, it was more preachy than anything. Too much focus was placed on characterization and I feel like that was intended to distract from the story itself and the fact that it’s a near replica of the Feed storyline just with different characters.

There were other random issues that only added to the domino effect that led to me quitting. A comment about Governor Kilburn being a secret Sailor Moon fan and that this could be a “girl-power campaign of celestial proportions.” When they visited Congresswoman Kirsten Wagman (an ex-stripper) at a strip club. She called everyone sugar and there was a joke about Ash proposing to her because of her “sexy” security measures. It was an eye-rolling good time. There were also the standard Mira Grant mid-chapter breaks where a quote or blog post is inserted, which those were included, but there were also sections from Audrey’s fictional stories that just didn’t add that much to the story. Even more so were the pages of makeup tutorials from Mat’s blog that really didn’t add anything. Sadly, this was just a massive disappointment and I’m sad it had to be that way.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsA Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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dnf

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

DNF @ page 100

I loved the concept of this story, the magic, and the mythos, and I was dying to read more fantasy romance after adoring A Court of Mist and Fury so this read was a highly anticipated one. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.

The first major issue I had was with Griffin, the warlord that ends up kidnapping Cat once he discovers the power she possesses. Clearly, this guy is inevitably going to become the love interest and having him introduced as her kidnapper certainly didn’t warm me to the intended romance. Plus, at least for the amount I read, there wasn’t much chemistry going on between the two. He was just always giving her intense stares and she would complain about her “heart leaping wildly” and forgetting to breathe. No, thanks.

The second major issue I had and was what actually had me calling it quits was Cat herself. I loved her magical abilities even though it didn’t seem like there was anything she couldn’t do. She is known as the Kingmaker, able to detect any lie, but the random ability she had of being able to go invisible was a bit much. But mainly, my issue was with her temperament. She’s a twenty-three-year-old woman that is constantly whining (okay, yes, she has been kidnapped HOWEVER her complaints were done in such a way that made her sound childish and immature. This is a powerful woman that has been captured, even if she just so happens to be attracted to her kidnapper, maybe try being assertive rather than sniveling?) Her internal dialogue when she was continually blurting out random knowledge that she shouldn’t be revealing got to be tiresome as well.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsThe Girls by Emma Cline
Published by Random House on June 14th 2016
Pages: 355
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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dnf

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

DNF @ 10%

I was so excited for this one. It sounded fascinating and it was popping up on “Best Of” lists before it was even published. I tried, I really did, but I didn’t even get as far as I normally force myself before I officially call it quits (about 25% is my normal quitting point) but I didn’t even make it past the first chapter. This was a bit too verbose for my liking and the purple prose simply got too much in the way of me actually following/enjoying the story.

‘But then there was Sasha’s voice, whining like a porno. High and curdled.’

‘I responded to her symbols, to the style of her hair and clothes and the smell of her perfume, like this was data that mattered, signs that reflected something of her inner self. I took her beauty personally.’

‘I unwrapped two cloudy sticks from their silver jackets.

Yeah, she’s referring to gum… in their silver jackets. For fucks sake.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Feedback (Newsflesh #4) by Mira Grant

July 13, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 9 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Feedback (Newsflesh #4) by Mira GrantFeedback by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh #4
Published by Orbit on October 4th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

A new beginning for Mira Grant's New York Times bestselling NEWSFLESH series!

There are two sides to every story...

We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we unleashed something horrifying and unstoppable. The infection spread leaving those afflicted with a single uncontrollable impulse: FEED.

Now, twenty years after the Rising, a team of scrappy underdog reporters relentlessly pursue the facts while competing against the brother and sister blog superstars, the Masons.

Surrounded by the infected, and facing more insidious forces working in the shadows, they must hit the presidential campaign trail and uncover dangerous truths. Or die trying.

FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel that overlaps the events of the acclaimed first novel in the series, Feed, and offers a new entry point to this thrilling and treacherous world.

About Mira Grant

Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.

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I really don’t need to explain myself do I? I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED. MIGHTY.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant

June 17, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira GrantRise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh
Published by Orbit on June 21st 2016
Pages: 656
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

four-half-stars

Collected here for the first time is every piece of short fiction from New York Times Bestseller Mira Grant's acclaimed Newsflesh series, with two new never-before-published novellas and all eight short works available for the first time in print.

We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, a man-made virus taking over bodies and minds, filling them with one, unstoppable command...FEED.

Countdown
"Everglades"
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell
Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus
All the Pretty Little Horses
Coming to You Live

style-3 review

Being back in the Newsflesh world after so. long. had me all sorts of giddy. Sure, I’ve read some of these short stories recently, but the best thing about this collection of short stories is the expectation of more to come. Feedback is coming this October and this is the perfect book to read to get a bit of a refresh and to prepare yourself mentally. More George. More Shaun. More zombies. Oh, man, is it October yet?

So, back to Rise. This collection consists of eight short stories and two of them have never before been published. These are all set in the Newsflesh world but not necessarily George and Shaun’s world (although a few of course do).

The first, Countdown, is a must-read for fans of the Newsflesh novels. Countdown takes you back before the virus was spread, before the zombies came alive, when the world was still as vivid and vibrant as it is today. This is a super short story and left me wanting much much more, but it was still an extremely informative piece of writing that I felt was essential to truly understanding the Newsflesh world. You don’t get to read anything about Shaun or George or even Buffy, but you do get a glimpse into the life of Amanda Amberlee, the creator of the cure Dr. Alexander Kellis, and of the group responsible for unleashing it onto the world, ‘The Mayday Army’. Even with a short story, Mira Grant does a phenomenal job at pulling you right in.

’When will you Rise?
And the world gave itself an answer:
Now.
Welcome to the aftermath.’

Everglades was a short story that was originally included in The Living Dead 2 anthology. Set on the UC Berkeley campus, this is a story that focuses on the sorts of individuals that have found themselves a survivor among the growing apocalypse but realized that this sort of world isn’t one that they can continue living in. This short story effectively recaps the life of Debbie whose grandfather taught her to respect Nature, that it can be cruel. This life lesson is never more apparent as she watches the dead come to life and the air begins to smell like the Everglade swamps of Florida. Life is only temporary but death is eternal. Incredibly eerie story. Makes you wonder what form you would take in an apocalypse: hero or someone more expendable?

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats tells the story of individuals that found themselves in a comic book convention when the zombies begin to rise. Thirty years have passed since the Last Stand and Mahir Gowda interviews the only survivor Lorelei Tutt. This short story encompasses a large cast of characters and we get to see snippets through their eyes and what they’re doing to try to survive the long five days they were barricaded inside the convention center. Last Stand was a Hugo nominee for Best Novella in 2013 and it really comes as no surprise. This nod to the Browncoats of Firefly is yet another brilliant story that brings to light the realities of just how terrifying a zombie apocalypse would be.

In How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea, we get more Mahir but this time he’s in Australia doing an article on their famed rabbit-proof fence. It’s an interesting piece that reads very much like a travelogue, as if Bill Bryson visited Australia except there’s zombie kangaroo hopping around. It was interesting to get a glimpse at how people outside of the United States have handled the zombie apocalypse. There’s a definite lack of action with this one, Mahir never was the type to get out there and slay some undead, so this one is definitely for those interested in the scientific aspects of an apocalypse.

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is a riveting and suspenseful novella set in the same world as Grant’s popular Newsflesh trilogy. The story follows Alaric Kwong and Mahir Gowda in current day 2044 who are conducting research on the tragedy trying to find the cause of it all. Flashbacks to 2036 are told from the point of view of teacher Elaine Oldenburg and shows the flaws of the ‘secure school system’ she thought she worked in. Her desperation to survive and to keep as many of the children safe as possible is palpable and even knowing that all sorts of wrongs are likely to follow, the reader can’t help but hope for a miracle. Incredibly thrilling for a mere 112 pages, Mira Grant continues to impress with her boldness.

Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus centers are my favorite character: Dr. Abbey. Most of these short stories can stand by themselves but Octopus combines not just the story from Blackout but The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell and guys? It’s so damn good. Dr. Abbey is being her badass scientist self trying to figure out how to save the world from the virus that overtook it, but she also has to protect her lab from those who want to take it from her. There were some fantastic character revelations and added backstory to those interesting characters that we never quite knew much about. Bottom line, if you haven’t read this, do it immediately.

And now we come to the brand new stories! All the Pretty Little Horses was admittedly a massive step back in terms of pacing after the thrill ride of Octopus but I can’t complain too awful much. We also took a bit of a step back in terms of time as well. Georgia and Shaun have always been center-stage and we never quite knew much about their adoptive parents, at least until now. Stacy and Michael Mason, we know from the Newsflesh novels, lost their son Phillip after the family dog amplified. Stacy, lost inside her deep depression after being the one to have to put a bullet in his head, pulls herself out when she develops a passion for photography. The duo are one of the first to start blogging of the epidemic and photographing it for those too scared to venture out into the unknown. It was interesting to finally get some backstory on these characters we’ve always known but never knew much about.

The final story, Coming to You Live, is clearly leading up to events to come in Feedback and if I wasn’t excited before I sure am now. This story takes us into the backwoods of Canada, where Georgia and Shaun have been living since the end of Blackout. Honestly, I don’t want to spoil a single thing about this but I will say that it was so damn good to have those two back on the page. This one was intense and a bit of a nail-biter at times but such a satisfying read. I may not have wanted this one to end but it was still fantastic no matter the size and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Feedback but I’m even more excited for it now. Feedback, the fourth Newsflesh novel, comes out in October. But seriously, is it October yet?

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Waiting on Wednesday – Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant

June 8, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira GrantRise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh
Published by Orbit on June 21st 2016
Pages: 656
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

Collected here for the first time is every piece of short fiction from New York Times Bestseller Mira Grant's acclaimed Newsflesh series, with two new never-before-published novellas and all eight short works available for the first time in print.

We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, a man-made virus taking over bodies and minds, filling them with one, unstoppable command...FEED.

Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No one leaves their houses and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild.

About Mira Grant

Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.

I just snagged a copy of this book so my interest in it is at an all-time high. I read the Newsflesh series when I was brand-new to Goodreads and just starting to get into blogging, which is crazy because I’m coming up on my 5 year Blogiversary soon. This series still reigns supreme on my favorite list and I’m so excited to be able to dive back in with new short stories. For those of you who haven’t yet read the Newsflesh series, I would highly suggest these short stories to get a taste of exactly what you’re missing out on.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Symbiont (Parasitology #2) by Mira Grant

December 20, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Symbiont (Parasitology #2) by Mira GrantSymbiont by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #2
Published by Orbit on November 25th 2014
Pages: 528
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

two-stars

THE ENEMY IS INSIDE US.

The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde.

Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.

Parasitology series

Early Review – Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant

Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant {PurchaseMy Review}

Yep. I gave a Mira Grant book 2 stars.

It pains me to do so, it really does, but this series, in general, has not impressed me at all. Parasite/Symbiont was intended originally to be a duology but it has now transformed into a trilogy with Symbiont becoming nothing more than a seriously massive tome of filler. It was a huge undertaking to get through this (a total of 23 days which is fairly unheard of for me) but there’s no denying that it definitely lacked direction.

By now we’ve had our fair share of romances between humans and well, non-humans. All members of the supernatural (vampires, werewolves, fairies and even zombies) and while I’m all for diversity in romances, I’m not sure human and tapeworm were ever on my wishlist. When news of this series first came to light, I was definitely intrigued. A tapeworm named The Intestinal Bodyguard is the answer to anything from allergies to colds, yet it does much more than anticipated when the tapeworms learn how to overtake their human bodies and claim them as their own. The transformation process went differently for some. Sal, a chimera, developed a personality and even formed a romance with Nathan, the son of Dr. Shanti Cale the co-creator of the original tapeworm. Others weren’t so fortunate and now infect the streets of San Francisco in search of sustenance (basically a zombie, but they’re called sleepwalkers). The inclusion of the romance angle was a bit far-fetched and I felt that there were enough interesting aspects of this story going on that it didn’t need to be included. Plus, it’s kind of gross, but who am I to judge I guess.

One of the main issues I had with Parasite were some various plot holes that could have swallowed a building. Most specifically was Sal’s fear of cars that supposedly developed after her car accident, however, she was still human at the time of the accident. Her tapeworm didn’t take over her brain until following the accident. It never quite made sense that she took on her same phobia yet none of her memories or anything else. There was a clumsy attempt to backtrack and explain this, basically, the phobia was ingrained into her during counseling sessions when she was still at SymboGen, and while this would explain it it was far from a sufficient justification because huh? Why would the scientists trouble themselves with making sure Sal remained scared of cars? Baffling.

The conclusion of Parasite left off with Sal just barely escaping SymboGen, but unfortunately, her ‘tapeworm sister’ Tansy was captured in the process. A chunk of the novel is spent on finding her location and concocting a dangerous rescue mission just to get her back. The rest of the novel involves other dangerous acts that constantly put the characters in unnecessary danger in a failed attempt to generate an enticing intensity. First, there was the foray back to the horde infected streets of San Francisco because, whoops, we left the dogs at home! Then there’s the medical condition of Sal’s that naturally can’t be treated in the lab so another trip into the city is required. Then Sal gets kidnapped a few times by various individuals. There’s a lot happening within these 500+ pages but it’s all inconsequential stuff that doesn’t need to be happening if that makes sense. It was all entirely too tedious for my liking. I’ll likely pick up the final installment Chimera since I’m already so invested, but my expectations are near rock bottom at this point.

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Ominous October – The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell: A Newsflesh Novella by Mira Grant

October 3, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Ominous October, Read in 2014, Short Stories 6 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ominous October – The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell: A Newsflesh Novella by Mira GrantThe Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell: A Newsflesh Novella by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh #3.3
Published by Orbit on July 15th 2014
Pages: 112
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

four-stars

Outside the classroom walls the Rising was spreading, but inside was a carefully protected sanctuary against the growing threat.

Or so the teachers and students thought.

On what will be the last day in the teaching career of Elaine Oldenburg, who fans of the series know as Foxy, she must fight to survive and protect her students when the zombie outbreak shatters the safety of her school.

‘We forget sometimes how easy it is for the survivors to look back on history and judge those who came before. It’s simpler when there is a villain, when there is a reason for things to have gone so terribly, terribly wrong. […] Sometimes there is no reason for things to go wrong. They just do.’

The year is 2036, twenty-two years since the Rising and life is no less dangerous. Despite those dangers though, some parents still choose to place their young children in public school systems (elementary and middle school) in order for them to fully develop their social skills before changing over to a fully virtual school system as most people have already done. Security has been increased and precautions have been made, however, the dangers were still lurking. The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is the story of Seattle’s Evergreen Elementary School tragedy; a tragedy that painted a clear picture that those dangers were lurking closer than anyone thought.

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is a riveting and suspenseful novella set in the same world as Grant’s popular Newsflesh trilogy. The story follows Alaric Kwong and Mahir Gowda in current day 2044 who are conducting research on the tragedy trying to find the cause of it all. Flashbacks to 2036 are told from the point of view of teacher Elaine Oldenburg and show the flaws of the ‘secure school system’ she thought she worked in. Her desperation to survive and to keep as many of the children safe as possible is palpable and even knowing that all sorts of wrongs are likely to follow, the reader can’t help but hope for a miracle. Incredibly thrilling for a mere 112 pages, (although there is also an excerpt from Parasite at the end)Mira Grant continues to impress with her boldness. The ending was fairly inconclusive and I certainly wanted more but for all my fellow Newsflesh fans out there? This is a must read.

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Early Review – Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant

July 26, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira GrantParasite by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #1
Published by Orbit on October 29th 2013
Pages: 5112
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

three-stars

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives...and will do anything to get them.

“There’s one more good thing about being the girl who lived because her genetically engineered tapeworm refused to let her die: I lived. That made everything else possible. Everything else in the world.”

In the not so distant future, SymboGen Corporation has developed a genetically modified tapeworm that is designed to replace your daily medications/vitamins and keep you healthier than normal. SymboGen’s marketing of the tapeworm has been so successful that almost every single human on Earth has one. When a sickness begins to spread rapidly, it becomes clear that the tapeworms are no longer performing their assigned duties… but what is to blame?

“Human and implant fit together like they’d been designed for one another. In a very real way, they had been.” – Dr. Steven Banks

What worked really well in Parasite was the obvious research behind parasites and the science regarding them that was conducted. It didn’t always make complete sense and I’m not positive that all details were completely accurate but it felt for the most part legitimate. It started off feeling very sci-fi horror and was definitely creepy unfortunately did come off in the end like a cheesy sci-fi movie but it was still well done.

What ended up being a big disappointment were the various plot holes and inconsistencies that I noticed throughout the novel.

“We’ve been over this before. I have no memory of the accident itself. The first thing I remember is waking up in the hospital, surrounded by strangers.”

The main character Sal was involved in a car accident and after 10 days she woke up from her coma yet those were her first memories. She couldn’t remember being involved in the accident, she couldn’t remember her own name, she even had to relearn how to speak and write and understand English. She was practically a newborn baby.

Major Plot Hole: If she doesn’t remember anything until she woke up in the hospital, that doesn’t explain why does she have such a strong fear of cars? She was involved in a car accident so any normal person waking up would have developed this fear but she stated several times that her first memory was waking up in the hospital. Her fear is far too great to have simply been a byproduct of what someone told her happened to her.

I had a few other examples but I felt they were too spoilery to be included. I will say, one in particular was given a single sentence as back-story to explain which I didn’t feel was sufficient information and it seemed too coincidental.

Parasite is incredibly similar to Mira Grant’s other popular series, the Newsflesh Trilogy. Usually I would follow that up with “fans of Newsflesh will love this” however, I found this to actually be a fault as the similarities between the two were just too similar. The plot: simply exchange zombies for parasites/tapeworms and you had the same premise. Also, the Newsflesh trilogy dealt with corrupt politicians where Parasite dealt with corrupt doctors, scientists and greedy corporations. The ending also felt fairly similar in scope but obviously I won’t go into detail regarding that.

In regards to the ending, this was my biggest issue. The story builds in intensity and you’re left anticipating a spectacular ending, however, the ending ended up being something I had figured out from the very first chapter so it was a huge letdown more than anything. (And I don’t think I made a lucky guess, I thought this was something that was fairly obvious from the very beginning).

While Parasite was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, there was an absence of consistency and the writing felt stilted and choppy. There was a much-needed flow that this was lacking and I think it attributed to the plot holes. I believe maybe too much material was trying to be covered that necessary answers weren’t given when they should have been. Of course I read an early version of the book so I can only hope that maybe it gets a bit more polished before publication.

While Parasite didn’t capture my heart like the Newsflesh Trilogy did, this is still an entertaining and horrific sci-fi read that will leave you squirming.

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