Genre: Zombies

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning World

February 16, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 6 Comments

I received this book for free from Library Thing 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: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Oxford Inheritance: A Novel by A.A. McDonald
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published by HarperAudio on February 23rd 2016
Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library Thing
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At prestigious Oxford University, an American student searches for the truth about her mother’s death in this eerie, suspenseful thriller that blends money, murder, and black magic.

You can’t keep it from her forever. She needs to know the truth.

Cassandra Blackwell arrives in Oxford with one mission: to uncover the truth about her mother’s dark past. Raised in America, with no idea that her mother had ever studied at the famed college, a mysterious package now sends her across the ocean, determined to unravel the secrets that her mother took to her grave. Plunged into the glamorous, secretive life of Raleigh College, Cassie finds a world like no other: a world of ancient tradition, privilege—and murder.

Beneath the hallowed halls of this storied university there is a mysterious force at work . . . A dark society that is shaping our world, and will stop at nothing to keep its grip on power. Cassie might be the only one who can stop them—but at what cost?

DNF @ 18% (and some scan-reading to see if I was missing out on anything)

‘All her work had finally come to fruition: the scheming and lies, the sacrifice and risk.’

Cassandra Blackwell is on a mission to discover the secret past about her mother after she died when Cassandra was just fourteen-years-old. Three years ago a mysterious letter arrives from Oxford addressed to her deceased mother: “You can’t hide the truth forever. Please come back and end this for good.” She quickly sets out to discover what the letter could mean but doesn’t uncover anything. She then spends the next three years of her life working to gain enough ground just to gain acceptance at Raleigh College at Oxford in hopes of discovering more information from the inside. It’s her Junior year abroad and she’s finally done it.

Her mother was a terrible human being who was constantly exploding into fits of rage and accusing Cassandra of being the reason she didn’t become a great poet because she got pregnant with her at twenty. She rehashes all the times she had to lock herself in the bathroom to escape her wrath until she had managed to calm down. She inevitably committed suicide and Cassandra ended up in foster care until she was sixteen at which point she chose to live off the grid. A random letter shows up years later and suddenly she decides she needs to show she’s smart so she can get into a college in England just so she can research her mother. Maybe this all seems trivial but I didn’t buy this plot at all and considering it’s the foundation of the entire mystery, I decided to call it quits.

I received this book for 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: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldBright Air Black: A Novel by David Vann
Published by Grove Press on March 7th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Following the success of Aquarium which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and garnered numerous rave reviews, David Vann transports us to 13th century B.C. to give a nuanced and electric portrait of the life of one of ancient mythology’s most fascinating and notorious women, Medea.

In brilliant poetic prose Bright Air Black brings us aboard the ship Argo for its epic return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis—where Medea flees her home and father with Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Vann’s reimagining of this ancient tale offers a thrilling, realist alternative to the long held notions of Medea as monster or sorceress. We witness with dramatic urgency Medea’s humanity, her Bronze Age roots and position in Greek society, her love affair with Jason, and her tragic demise.

Atmospheric and spellbinding, Bright Air Black is an indispensable, fresh and provocative take on one of our earliest texts and the most intimate and corporal version of Medea’s story ever told.

DNF @ 7%

Considering Medea was one of my all-time favorite reads from my Ancient and Medieval Cultures class in college, I had high hopes for this one. Alas, it didn’t pan out. Bright Air Black is set before Medea and Jason have children but after Jason has secured the Golden Fleece. Medea’s father, King Aeëtes, is in pursuit of them and in an attempt to slow him down Medea sacrifices her brother, dismembers him, and tosses pieces of him overboard knowing that her father will stop to collect each and every piece.

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The writing is both difficult to read and impossible to put down due to the long-winded narrative style. The chapters are few and far between as well as any actual dialogue making this a monotonous yet grotesque read. At times it was like Hannibal meets mythology.

‘Medea takes a piece of her brother, a thigh, heavy and tough, muscled, and licks blood from it, dark and thick. She spits, licks and spits again and again, three times to atone. Mouth filled with the taste of her family’s blood, and she throws this piece of Helios into the waves.’

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Then after she threw the thigh overboard and her father has recovered it:

‘Her brother gone. She misses him there, far away, in his father’s arms, and yet most of him is here. She kneels in him still.’

Then there was a scene of a man leaning overboard to take a shit and Medea describes how it fouls the air due to lack of wind. I’m sure she ran out of body parts to toss overboard and the men wouldn’t spend the entire book shitting over the side of the boat, but there just wasn’t enough to captivate me in this retelling of one of my favorite Greek myths.

I received this book for 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: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Burning World by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #2
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 7th 2017
Pages: 512
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Warm Bodies

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R is recovering from death.

He’s learning how to breathe, how to speak, how to be human, one clumsy step at a time. He doesn’t remember his old life and he doesn’t want to. He’s building a new one with Julie.

But his old life remembers him. The plague has another host far more dangerous than the Dead. It’s coming to return the world to the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak, and stopping it will require a frightening journey into the surreal wastelands of America—and the shadowy basement of R’s mind.

DNF @ 13%

I had been heading towards a slump so that may be part of the reason for my complete intolerance and unwillingness to give this a chance, but this just did not work for me. Warm Bodies was an original (and slightly disturbing) tale of a zombie falling in love with a human, subsequently regaining his humanity in the process. It was a moving and touching novel in the unlikeliest of genres. The New Hunger was even more fantastic, well written, and it made me more excited than I had been for The Burning World to release. But before I had even hit double digits in progress, I was already ready to call it quits. This section was at 7%:

‘Her irises are the usual metallic gray, but as I stare into them, they flicker. A brief glint, like a flake of gold in the sand of a deep river.’

Very pretty words. Marion can definitely string some adjectives and metaphors together but then he had to go and mess it all up.

“What is it?” Julie asks in an awed whisper.
“I have no idea. I’ve never had less idea about anything. We’ve been calling it ‘the Gleam.’ Every once in a while it just… happens, and the Dead get a little less dead.”

And that is all we get by way of explanation.

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It was just such a lame and half-assed attempt at explaining the whole plot point. The dead coming back to life after being zombies, being dead… and you give it some fancy capitalized name and that’s supposed to be sufficient? Sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me. I continued reading up to 13% where the settlement is attacked by a rival settlement and it officially became just like all other post-apocalyptic/zombie tales that I’ve already read at least half a dozen times. Does it switch it up somehow and become original and memorable again? Maybe. The introduction into this unexpected sequel was so lackluster that it wasn’t interesting enough for me to stick around to find out.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

February 8, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 10 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. CareyThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: The Girl with All the Gifts

A new standalone novel set in the same world as the USA Today bestseller The Girl With All The Gifts.

From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world.

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.

About M.R. Carey

Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storylines for some of the world's most iconic characters, including X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, LUCIFER and HELLBLAZER. His original screenplay FROST FLOWERS is currently being filmed. Mike has also adapted Neil Gaiman's acclaimed NEVERWHERE into comics.

Somehow, Mike finds time amongst all of this to live with his wife and children in North London. You can read his blog at www.mikecarey.net

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I raved about The Girl with All the Gifts but never expected anything more set in that world. The Boy on the Bridge is intended as a standalone story set in the same world and whether or not reading Girl before is a requirement or not remains to be seen. But color me intrigued.

confused adam levine maroon 5 interested intrigued

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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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 11 Comments

I received this book for 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

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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 tyepcasts 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.

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I received this book for 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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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 for 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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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 – The Burning World (Warm Bodies #3) by Isaac Marion

August 24, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Burning World (Warm Bodies #3) by Isaac MarionThe Burning World by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #3
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 7th 2017
Pages: 512
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Warm Bodies

Being alive is hard. Being human is harder. But since his recent recovery from death, R is making progress. He's learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love, and the city's undead population is showing signs of life. R can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart—building a new world from the ashes of the old one.

And then helicopters appear on the horizon. Someone is coming to restore order. To silence all this noise. To return things to the way they were, the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. The plague is ancient and ambitious, and the Dead were never its only weapon.

How do you fight an enemy that's in everyone? Can the world ever really change? With their home overrun by madmen, R, Julie, and their ragged group of refugees plunge into the otherworldly wastelands of America in search of answers. But there are some answers R doesn't want to find. A past life, an old shadow, crawling up from the basement.

About Isaac Marion

Isaac Marion grew up in the mossy depths of the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as a heating installer, a security guard, and a visitation supervisor for foster children before publishing his debut novel in 2010. WARM BODIES became a #5 New York Times bestseller and inspired a major Hollywood film adaptation. It has been translated into twenty-five languages worldwide. Isaac lives in Seattle with his cat and a beloved cactus, writing fiction and music and taking pictures of everything.

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This is finally happening! Guess I need to finally break down and read The New Hunger now that I know the next one is coming soon. 🙂

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

July 13, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 8 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
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Also by this author: Feed

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 1 Comment

I received this book for 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|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Feed

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

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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?

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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|B&N|Book Depository
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Also by this author: Feed

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 – Your Brother’s Blood (The Walkin’ Trilogy #1) by David Towsey

April 22, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 0 Comments

I received this book for 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 – Your Brother’s Blood (The Walkin’ Trilogy #1) by David TowseyYour Brother's Blood by David Towsey
Series: The Walkin' Trilogy #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on December 1st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Western, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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three-stars

A literary mash-up of the western and the post-apocalyptic zombie genres, this debut novel tells the story of a war vet who find himself among the Walkin'--far in the future, when his kind are treated none too kindly by the living...

A literary mash-up of the western and the post-apocalyptic zombie genres, this debut novel tells the story of a war vet who find himself among the Walkin'--far in the future, when his kind are treated none too kindly by the living...

This imaginative and unconventional debut novel is set centuries in the future. An unnamed event has wiped out most of humanity, scattering its remnants across vast and now barren lands reminiscent of the 19th century western frontier of America. Small clusters of humans still cling to existence in a post-apocalyptic world that is increasingly overrun by those who have risen from the dead--or, as the living call them, the Walkin'.

Thomas, a thirty-two year old conscripted soldier, homeward bound to the small frontier town of Barkley after fighting in a devastating civil war, is filled with hope at the thought of being reunited with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Mary, both named after characters in the Good Book. As it turns out, he also happens to be among the Walkin'.

Devoid of a pulse or sense of pain, but with his memories and hopes intact, Thomas soon realizes that the living, who are increasingly drawn to the followers of the Good Book, are not kindly disposed to the likes of him. And when he learns what the good people of Barkley intend to do to him, and to his family, he realizes he may just have to kidnap his daughter to save her from a fate worse than becoming a member of the undead.

When the people of Barkley send out a posse in pursuit of father and daughter, the race for survival truly begins...

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Set hundreds of years in the future, Thomas is a soldier in a type of Civil war against the Walkin’ and all he yearns for is to go home to his wife and daughter. When he wakes up in a pyrepit, a pit the army digs to pile the dead and burn them, he realizes that he’ll no longer be welcomed home with open arms. He decides to take his chances though and heads towards the town of  Barkley. Sarah McDermott and her daughter Mary are in mourning for Thomas, husband and father, but more than Sarah fears that he will still return just not as he once was. Their rigidly religious town are very much anti-Walkin’ and won’t hesitate in cutting down any that cross their borders, even if they were once a resident when they last knew them.

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I love me a good zombie novel. That said, there isn’t a whole lot of originality these days that hasn’t already been done before, but that doesn’t necessarily make the book bad per se. Kirkus says Your Brother’s Blood possesses an “unconventional premise” due to it being told from the point of view of the undead and the summary calls it reminiscent of the 19th century western frontier. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered both of those already in zombie tales. Western style + Zombies? The Reapers are the Angels. From the POV of the undead? Warm BodiesRaising Stony Mayhall, and My Life As a White Trash Zombie… just to name a few. I wouldn’t be so apt to throw out comparisons if words like “unconventional” and “imaginative” weren’t used so effortlessly.

Fortunately, there were various other aspects that set this one apart giving it its own sort of appeal. For starters there’s the future time period, the Civil War against Walkin’, and the matter of these seemingly sensible Walkin’ don’t seem to have a taste for brains. What I enjoyed the most that I’d love to see explored further was the idea that Walkin’ is something of a genetic trait versus something that is passed on via bite or something everyone experiences following death. The author was also fastidious in his world-building and not only created a different time but something of a different language where animals/bugs had names such as crumbers, woollies, shaggies, under-mutton, red-winks, and gambirs. It was fun to try to figure out what their normal names would be based on their descriptions.

There were hints of magic existing in this desolate world and even of a wholly Walkin’ civilization. The bulk of the book may have been spent in a slow trudge through the desert, but there was enough revealed in the first installment of this trilogy to leave you curious and anxious for the next book.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Highway to Hell (Zombie Apocalypse #2) by Max Brallier

April 6, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Highway to Hell (Zombie Apocalypse #2) by Max BrallierHighway to Hell by Max Brallier
Series: Zombie Apocalypse #2
Published by Gallery Books on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Zombies
Format: Paperback
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The sequel to the “pick-your-own-path” adventure Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?, which the Florida-Times Union hailed, “may just be the best thing to happen to literary zombies since Max Brooks”—for fans of the blockbuster phenomenon The Walking Dead.

You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. But this time it’s different. In a horrific and hilarious cross-country road trip (or rather, suicide mission), you must overcome obstacles of every kind to save zombified America from utter collapse.

You're inside your prison cell, waiting to be released. Your name is Jimmy El Camino, and you’re a badass—in fact, you’re a supreme badass. Rambo with style. Snake Plissken with a failing liver. You’ve killed more men than cancer. But more men than the zombie apocalypse? That’s questionable.

Your mission? Drive your heavily armed 1967 El Camino from New York City to San Francisco in order to save the world. Along the way, you’ll encounter Ring’s Most Wonderful Circus Show; you’ll battle zombies gladiator-style; you’ll be forced to deal with lunatics. And every step of the way, an army of drivers in armored vehicles is hot on your tail—because there is one man, the mayor of New York, who will stop at nothing to keep this apocalypse of the undead alive.

About Max Brallier

MAX BRALLIER is the author of more than twenty books and games. His latest book is The Last Kids on Earth.

He writes children's books and adult books, including the pick-your-own-path adventure Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? He is the creator and writer of Galactic Hot Dogs, a sci-fi middle-grade series from Aladdin. He writes for licensed properties including Adventure Time, Regular Show, Steven Universe, and Uncle Grandpa.

Under the pen name JACK CHABERT, he is the creator and author of the Eerie Elementary series for Scholastic Branches. In the olden days, he was a game designer for the virtual world Poptropica and worked in the marketing department at St. Martin's Press. Max lives in New York City with his wife, Alyse, who is way too good for him.

When I was a kid, I was a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books. Before I stumbled upon the first book in this series, I had NO idea that these were still being made… and with zombies. Couldn’t be a better match for me.

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 – Positive by David Wellington

March 26, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 4 Comments

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

Early Review – Positive by David WellingtonPositive by David Wellington
Published by Harper Voyager on April 21st 2015
Pages: 448
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads


two-half-stars

In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic.

Anyone can be positive . . .

The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan's hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he'll be cleared.

Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.

‘It grows in the dark part of your head like a fungus. All the while eating holes in your brain until it’s a sponge full of virus […] That was what had happened to my mom. For twenty years, ever since the crisis, she’d been dying inside. A little more every day.

And maybe it had been happening to me, too.’

Finn has lived within the sheltered gates since he was born. The world outside is a complete mystery, yet the stories he’s heard has made him thankful for his safe and sheltered life. The safety is shattered when his mother spontaneously turns and he’s forced out into the mysterious world with a new tattoo; a plus sign on the top of his sign marking him as possibly infected. His only hope is to get to the military camp in Ohio where he can live out his final two years of incubation before he can be accepted back into safety. But two years is a very long time for someone who doesn’t know how the world truly is.

The way an author handles the scientific aspects of a post-apocalyptic novel is key. Some authors handle it head on and explain in minute detail and others leave their characters in the dark and simply focus on the survival side of living in the new world. Both work, but if you’re going to attempt to explain the scientific side of things, it best make sense. In this world, it’s been twenty years since the initial outbreak and no one has seen a zombie in fifteen years. Once infected with the zombie virus, the incubation period is apparently anything from twenty seconds to twenty years. So, you get bit, you might be good only for the next hour or you could be fine for the next twenty years, but nobody knows for sure. Since the outbreak happened twenty years ago, I’m not sure exactly how they’ve been able to successfully test that theory. It also isn’t explained how the outbreak happened to begin with, so the science of Positive was definitely lacking for me. One specific line about killing a zombie by stabbing him in the liver also had me baffled. Come on! Zombies don’t give a shit about their livers.

Also lacking, was the character development. Our narrator, Finn, is an extremely naive individual when we’re first introduced. Positive acts as his coming-of-age story in a world falling apart at the seams. He’s forced to figure out quickly how to survive and how to adapt his mind to the concept of how things truly work outside of the gates of New York City. In that regards, this story reminded me a lot of Ashfall with our young, male narrator forced to adapt to the new world around him. Obviously, all that was missing were the zombies. Similarly was the fact that both stories focused on the part where humans turn into a whole other type of monster as well. The issue with Finn was how quickly he managed to shed himself of his naivety. It could be said that the things he was forced to experience could speed along that process but it just didn’t feel like genuine progression.

The portrayal of female characters was pretty appalling as well. Positive has two main female characters for the most part; one played the role of enemy and the other was meek and submissive (there was one strong female that made a brief appearance but it wasn’t enough to satisfy me in regards to the way the rest of the females were portrayed). The submissive one, well, I suppose it could be argued that she was strong in her own way and got Finn and the rest of their party out of a few sticky situations. It could also be argued that being a victim of abuse led her to this mind frame and that it couldn’t be helped but… View Spoiler » Was it really so much to ask that we couldn’t get one strong female main character in this giant 450 page story?

Unfortunately, even setting aside the issues I personally had with Positive, what really lessened my enjoyment of this story was the fact that I have read so many stories in this same genre that were simply so much better. Positive didn’t manage to bring anything new to the genre and didn’t have much in the way of originality, but newcomers to post-apocalyptic stories will likely find more enjoyment than I did.

Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike Mullin {Purchase – My Review}
The First Days (As the World Dies #1) by Rhiannon Frater {Purchase}
The Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin {Purchase}

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