Publisher: Self-Published

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest Dreams

March 10, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 9 Comments

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsA Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #2
Published by DAW on March 2nd 2010
Pages: 390
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fae
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Indexing

three-half-stars

Now comes the second in the series-from a dynamic new fantasy talent!
Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas...

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece,

Countess January O'Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn't stopped, January may be the next victim.

“Jan built herself an ivory tower to keep the wolves out; she never dreamed they were already inside.”

Now that Toby Daye has her PI license back, things are looking up for her. After a girls night out that leads to Tybalt carrying her home (!!!), Toby wakes up to a request from Sylvester, the Duke of Shadowed Hills, that she can’t decline. Sylvester has been unable to reach his niece, the Countess January O’Leary, in the Country of Tamed Lightning. Several weeks have passed without word from her and he’s unable to personally check on her without inciting a political war, so he’s requesting that Toby go in his place. She arrives to find that no one has been able to call for help outside of Tamed Lightning, people have been dying, and the killer is still unknown even as more bodies pile up. Toby refuses to back down without figuring out what’s happening to January and her people.

While the storyline of A Local Habitation drug along at the pace of a snail, it’s the awesome characters that really make this series for me. I love Toby and I love Tybalt. Danny, the Bridge Troll taxi driver was, unfortunately, absent but we got to see her two hilarious cats briefly and the recent pet addition: Spike the rose goblin (who apparently looks like a cat made from a rosebush but I missed that in the original introduction so I just imagine it as this small, round rosebush that just bounces around.) The story itself reads like some campy horror film where individuals keep getting picked off, the others rush to see if they could catch the person, they never do, repeat ad nauseam. There are some pretty obvious clues that happen early on, Toby’s refusal to get out of danger was just stupid, and the mystery was drawn out for far too long. Regardless, the characters remain the big appeal to me and I’m still so glad I gave this series another shot.

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsFeverborn by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #8
Published by Delacorte Press on January 19th 2016
Pages: 512
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fae
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Beyond the Highland Mist

three-half-stars

In Karen Marie Moning’s latest installment of the epic #1 New York Times bestselling Fever series, the stakes have never been higher and the chemistry has never been hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction, FEVERBORN is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness and the redemptive power of love.

When the immortal race of the Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of all life itself—can save the planet.

But those who seek the mythic Song—Mac, Barrons, Ryodan and Jada—must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep. The challenges are many: The Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among—and within—themselves.

Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And in those war-torn streets, Mac will come face to face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.

“What we achieve at our best moment doesn’t say much about who we are. It all boils down to what we become at our worst moment.”

Feverborn is the penultimate installment of the Fever series, but then again Moning tried ending it once before and we see how well that stuck. Finding out that Feversong was the last of the series prompted a renewed interest in finding out how it’s all going to get resolved (except, there is a tenth installment listed on Goodreads but apparently it’s not actually happening. WE’LL SEE.) Iced was a complete disaster, Burned was mildly better, but Feverborn actually started feeling like the series I’d always loved again.

Mac continues to be unsure of herself in regards to the Sinsar-Dubh, not able to tell whether or not she’s living a complete illusion created by the evil book. The entire city is at risk from Black Holes that consume anything and everything which the Hoar Frost King left behind from the absence of his power. And underneath the Abbey, Cruce is slowly trying to figure out a way to escape his prison and rule all Fae. In the opening pages, Mac is still invisible and I did an eye roll and reconsidered my decision to pick this up. If you remember, she was invisible the majority of Burned which got real fucking old, real fast. But craziness ensues and she finds herself fully visible once again for unknown reasons and while I would normally question the whys and such, I was just so damn pleased she was visible again so she could hopefully get back to business. And that she did.

The points of view alternated between Mac, Ryodan, Jada, Cruce, and Lor, which the latter felt completely out of place and unnecessary but I admit he did add some mild (yet highly sexualized) sense of humor to this dark tale. And of course Mac and Barrons continue to be mad for each other.

Every cell in my body comes to hard, frantic, sexual life when he’s near.’

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There were a few serious issues plot-wise that really detracted from the more positive aspects of this installment. First, the scenes from the past between the Unseelie King and Seelie Queen that were supposed to hint at what’s been happening all along but just confused things even more. Second, which is a major spoiler View Spoiler » And lastly, that ending was just weird and random. View Spoiler » And of course, another cliffhanger! BECAUSE WHY NOT. I can’t say I’m excited for the final installment, but I’m definitely curious to see how this unintentional extension of this series ends up playing out.

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsWildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #1
Published by Self-Published on August 15th 2011
Pages: 563
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


four-stars

Seoafin "Finnie" Wilde was taught by her parents that life was meant to be lived, every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash when she's fifteen. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can see her parents again and have the adventure of a lifetime.

But nearly upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she's been played by her twin of the alternate universe and shortly finds herself walking down the aisle to be wed to The Drakkar.

Instantly thrown into inauspicious circumstances, with years of practice (she did, of course, survive that elephant stampede, if she could do that, she can do anything), Finnie bests the challenges and digs into her adventure. But as Frey Drakkar discovers the woman who is his new wife is not Princess Sjofn, a woman he dislikes (intensely) but instead, his Finnie, a free-spirit with a thirst for venture just like him (not to mention she is his destiny), without her knowledge he orders his new bride bound to his frozen world, everlasting.


I expected Wildest Dreams to remain on my TBR for a very long time, even after it was recommended to fans of A Court of Mist and Fury. It was $0.99 so I snagged it. I have a hard time saying no to most $0.99 books, even though I’m terrible about getting to the actual reading them part. It was hook, line, and sinker when I found out what this story (and series) was about — there is a parallel universe to our world where your twin resides. Finnie, wanting to find adventure, pays a witch to switch her with her twin so she could reside in this fantasy realm for at least a short time. Imagine her great surprise when she finds herself in this new world, minutes from marriage to an angry, brooding man that she’s never laid eyes on before.

First off, these books are long. But fun. And allllll kinds of romance-y. Finnie had some pretty cheesy dialogue that took me a while to get used to (she says cool and freaking entirely way too much) and there’s some serious alpha-male-ness going on, but when it all comes down to it the world-building was actually pretty awesome and the romance was all sorts of cute.

“You are, my wee Finnie, beyond my wildest dreams.”

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Book Review – The Last Mission of the Living (The Last Bastion #2) by Rhiannon Frater

December 30, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 1 Comment

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

Book Review – The Last Mission of the Living (The Last Bastion #2) by Rhiannon FraterThe Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater
Series: The Last Bastion #2
Published by Self-Published on August 28th 2014
Pages: 382
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The First Days

three-half-stars

Vanguard Lindsay Rooney has faced the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge and lived to tell the tale, but she has also suffered horrible losses. Like millions of other civilians, she had hoped that The Bastion would recover after a team of modified soldiers eradicated the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge that infested their valley. Yet the city still crumbles around them, along with any chance of survival.

Lindsey’s growing friendship with Torran MacDonald, an officer with the Science Warfare division, is her only solace as the decline of the city continues. When food riots fill the streets, martial law is enacted, and the upper echelons of government battle for control of the city, Lindsey is conscripted by her superiors to embark on a dangerous mission into the dead world beyond The Bastion. To add even more complications, Torran and the SWD join the squad.

Soon, Lindsey realizes that her mission is more than what it seems, and there are secrets that could both destroy The Bastion and take her life.

About Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

The Last Bastion series

Blog Tour Stop + Giveaway! The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

The Last Bastion of the Living (The Last Bastion #1) by Rhiannon Frater {PurchaseMy Review}

The Last Mission of the Living is the unexpected surprise second installment following the thrilling futuristic zombie novel The Last Bastion of the Living. This installment switches points of view from Maria Martinez to her best friend Lindsay Rooney and is fortunately no less intense than we’ve all come to expect from any Rhiannon Frater tale. The Last Mission is a definitely longer tale but is no less worth the time.

In The Last Bastion, the stronghold and the last group of people that have survived the undead creatures known as Inferi Scourge, a team of soldiers were chosen to be ‘modified’ in order to fight the undead with a higher percent chance of success. That group of soldiers became the last chance for the Bastion to survive but the mission failed and the city is still enduring the threat of the undead that swarm the borders. The political conspiracies and the constant double-dealing going on in the background of the Bastion are focused on more in this installment and it was an interesting switch-up. There was less zombie/Inferi Scourge action as The Last Bastion, however, this is still a solid follow-up and a fantastic expansion to this fascinating world.

In addition to the political tidbits, there is still a worthy romance to swoon over. Lindsay and Torran, who is a part of the Science Warfare division, are on opposite sides of the game at play. When the two are put on a team with a mission to seek out food to bring back to the Bastion, a friendship develops which slowly transforms into something more. Torran had his own secret mission though and it involves bringing Lindsay’s best friend Maria back to the Bastion for experimentation. The ongoing tension between the two was fantastically written.

The Last Mission of the Living is a fabulous follow-up with exciting twists and turns that expands on Frater’s created world nicely. The action is less than the first installment, however, the world-building is on point and will leave you hoping a surprise third installment is a possibility. Would work well as a 2nd installment or even as a stand-alone but of course I still highly recommend The Last Bastion.

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Blog Tour Stop + Giveaway! The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

July 3, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2012 3 Comments

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

Blog Tour Stop + Giveaway! The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon FraterThe Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel by Rhiannon Frater
Published by Self-Published on June 8th 2012
Pages: 283
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The First Days

four-half-stars

The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

After thoroughly enjoying the author’s ‘As the World Dies’ trilogy which was full of super awesome and terribly gruesome zombies, I was all on board for more. The Last Bastion of the Living completely knocked it out of the park for me. Set in a future completely changed and desolate, the zombies have destroyed any chance of survival for the last known group of people on Earth. Grasping at straws, the government makes one last desperate attempt to reclaim the surrounding lands and to solidify the livelihood of all.

Much like her ‘As the World Dies’ trilogy, Rhiannon never lacks for vivid and highly likable characters and an exciting storyline to boot. The main character, Maria, is an extremely strong and independent woman and she can kick some serious ass too. The story also switches up point-of-view with Maria’s boyfriend Dwayne who was also a well written character. One thing that I have to make note of is the relationship between Maria and Dwayne: an incredibly realistic relationship; something that I think is highly lacking in fiction novels these days. The strength of their bond was palpable in addition to how much they loved each other. It was a fabulous addition to the story but didn’t overpower the actual storyline in any way.

And speaking of the storyline… I cannot remember the last time I was reading a book and it created such vivid imagery in my mind to the point where it was as if I was watching a movie reel playing in my head. And what a badass movie it was! The writing didn’t have the feel of a screenplay thankfully, but I nonetheless could definitely see a movie being made from this story.

Only disappointment was the realization that this was a stand-alone novel so the story was over! I could definitely see potential paths that future installments could go with to make it a series but then again there was something satisfying about reading the story in its entirety and being done with it without having to wait for future installments. Stand-alone novels seem to be quite rare these days and I read far too many series so this was a nice change.

With a surprisingly original and refreshing take on the normal zombie tale this was a highly enjoyable thrill ride. Zombie lovers need not miss out on this gem.

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The Interview

How did you come up with the title?
Like the story, it came to me in a dream. I believe one of the characters called the city the last bastion of the living during the course of a conversation. When I woke up, I instantly thought, “I want to write that!” The story, the characters, and the title all showed up in a dream. It was a great jump start on the book, that’s for sure.

Personally, by the time I was finished with the prologue I was totally imagining The Last Bastion of the Living being one seriously awesome movie. Did you envision this as you were writing the book or did that come later?
The huge battle in the prologue was always a part of the story, but the dream started with the first chapter. When I began to write, I started at the same point as the dream did. As time went on I felt something important was missing. There was a lack of urgency in the narrative. Though the characters speak of the final push against the undead, I realized that the reader didn’t really understand how devastating it had been. I had been trying to incorporate flashbacks, but those weren’t working. I kept excising them.

I got very, very sick with the flu and had to stop writing on the book altogether. While I was feverish, I kept dreaming about the great battle where Dwayne and Maria had almost lost their lives. When I was well, I sat down and read what I had written so far. It was during that read-through that I recognized the need for the reader to see the final push against the Inferi Scourge.

So I just rewound the movie in my brain to an earlier point in time and wrote what I saw. I don’t know how it works for other writers, but I always feel I am watching a movie inside my own head and describing what I see to the best of my ability.

What is your favorite part in ‘The Last Bastion of the Living’?/What was your favorite part to write? (If different) 🙂
Well, it’s a bit of a tossup between two scenes as to which is my favorite. I love the ending completely, but I also like the opening of Chapter 1. There is such sweetness and sadness in that opening scene with Dwayne and Maria.
My favorite scene to write was toward the end of the book. There is this massive action sequence that was such a blast to watch in my mind’s eye theater, but was a total bitch to wrestle onto paper.

Do any of your characters names have a special meaning?
Well, Dwayne is named after Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Aliens. Maria is a bit of a Ripley, so why not? Maria’s name just came to me, so that was organic. I did name Lindsey after Lindsey Wagner, the Bionic Woman. I snagged Denman’s name from a former co-worker, and I re-named one solider Cormier after Giselle of Xpresso Reads. She was a test reader and I did it as a tribute to her nitpicking and making the book so much better.

Is this really going to remain as a stand-alone novel?
I have no plans to continue. I don’t want to saddle myself with another series. I have three that are going right now and it’s exhausting. It’s also a bit of a trap. I have a lot of other novel ideas in my head, but I’m obligated to my readers to finish up those series as quickly as I can. For a time, writers could take years to put out the next installment in a series and that was okay. Not anymore. Readers expect a book a year in a series, so I’m avoiding trapping myself with a new series for the time being.
That was the big allure of writing THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. It was a standalone.

I’m flattered, but a little overwhelmed with how much demand there is for a sequel. I have no ideas for a sequel. My time in that world pretty much ended with the final scene. Plus, I love where this novel ended. It was such a perfect ending. I have no desire to muck it up.

Would you ever think about revisiting the world you created and simply change the point of view?
Nope. The heart of the story is Dwayne and Maria. I wouldn’t continue on without them. It would feel empty and bland. Those two characters are why I wrote the novel. The world around them was dynamic, but the second those two are out of the equation I lose all interest.

Could you tell us anything about your next big project?
PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS is coming out in the near future. I’m working very hard to get that novel done. Also, I have a paranormal YA coming out with co-author Kody Boye. It’s called THE MIDNIGHT SPELL and I love it so much. It’s a blast. There will be one more AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES volume released this year that wraps up that series. And I have a short story collection that will be coming out later as well called CTHUHLU’S DAUGHTER AND OTHER HORROR TALES. There might be a Last Bastion short story in that one. Maybe. We’ll see.

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The Giveaway!

Rhiannon has been kind enough to offer an ebook copy of The Last Bastion of the Living for giveaway! Open Internationally. Giveaway ends July 17th, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy and the author of several other books: the vampire novels PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES and THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. The first two books in her zombie trilogy, THE FIRST DAYS and FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, are available now in bookstores. SIEGE will be in bookstores on April 24, 2012.

Website: rhiannonfrater.com & astheworlddies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/astheworlddies
Twitter: twitter.com/rhiannonfrater
Blog: rhianonfrater.blogspot.com

 

 

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Book Review – Airborne (Airborne Saga #1) by Constance Sharper

March 28, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Airborne (Airborne Saga #1) by Constance SharperAirborne by Constance Sharper
Series: Airborne Saga #1
Published by Self-Published on March 31, 2011
Pages: 264
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Avery knew she had a knack for attracting trouble, but even she is shocked when a six-foot-something harpie shows up on her doorstep. Coping with the existence of a mythological race? Okay. Unwittingly finding herself in the middle of a vicious harpie conflict? A little less okay. Having to rely on an arrogant harpie boy who gets under her skin? Now that is something Avery isn’t sure she can handle.

Storyline
Avery is on summer break visiting her brother in California when she discovers a mysterious shell on the beach. As she picks it up she’s shocked by a sudden pain and when she drops it the shell shatters into dust. Where the shell touched her hand a dark bruise takes its place and starts to spread. Once she returns to boarding school, a harpie named Mason shows up on her doorstep demanding she return the shell. She eventually shows him her bruise with explanation on how she got it after picking up this mysterious shell and Mason explains to her that it was a shell that contained extremely strong magic and it appears to have been absorbed by her. When additional harpies come after her in order to get the shell, she realizes that not all of them are going to ask nicely. And once they find out that the magic is now inside her they’ll stop at nothing to kill her to prevent the magic from being used.

Not So Fab
Highly original and well written, I actually really enjoyed most of this story. The story of course centers around Avery and Mason but naturally Mason is engaged. The love triangle wasn’t overly obnoxious but was enough to elicit a few eye-rolls.

When Avery is first introduced to this new part of her world that she never knew existed she immediately disregards it as bunk and refuses to accept it. Understandable. But once she begins to accept things it happens immediately and lacked any form of step-by-step development. Lacked in authenticity in my opinion.

The writing was as I said well written but considering I had 2nd edition copy I would have expected less grammatical errors. It wasn’t enough to truly impact the writing of the story but it was enough to become a bit of an eyesore. I understand that this is an Indie/self-published novel but I would’ve hoped for a story that didn’t appear to have skipped any sort of editing process.

Final Thoughts
I’m not invested enough to continue this particular series but the writing style was enough for me to consider picking up future books by this author; she definitely showed promise. Recommended for YA fantasy lovers and anyone looking for a new, original take on the paranormal world.

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Short Story Review – Frayed (Madison Lark #1) by Blakely Chorpenning

March 28, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012, Short Stories 0 Comments

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

Short Story Review – Frayed (Madison Lark #1) by Blakely ChorpenningFrayed by Blakely Chorpenning
Series: Madison Lark #1
Published by Self-Published on December 14, 2011
Pages: 152
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Fray loves being a semi-pro fighter and free spirit. However, when a deadly faction begins abducting supernatural teens in the Blue Hills of North Carolina for excruciating experiments, she quickly learns there is more to life than glitzy opponents and late night trysts. Fray and a crew of unlikely allies must rescue the children before they are dissected alive. Being a leopard shapeshifter helps. Confronting personal prejudice and traversing feelings for a tempestuous ex do not mix. But Fray is willing to go all the way to stop her world from changing. That is, until the ultimate sacrifice forces her to realize just how overdue change is. Her most shocking discovery: Everyone's human. At least a little...

When local teenagers start disappearing from the various shifter communities, old rivalries get put on the back burner in order to stop this from continuing.

Fray is a leopard shifter and a semi-pro mixed martial arts fighter. To sum it up: she’s quite the badass. Highly independent and extremely sarcastic I grew quite fond of Fray. After finding out that more teenagers are disappearing, her and her family realizes that someone needs to look into this to prevent any future kidnappings and it needs to be Fray. She teams up with a vampire/investigator to find out why these kidnappings are happening and who’s responsible.

I really enjoyed this introduction novella. I think it presented a good picture of what’s to be expected in this upcoming series. This has a surprisingly interesting plot with strong and likable characters. I also enjoyed the underlying story of overcoming deep-seated prejudices and learning how to overcome those challenges to complete the common goal. I think I would have enjoyed it a teensy bit more if it was longer and the author was able to dive a bit deeper in respects to world-building. Character development was spot on though.

Recommended for you UF fans out there.

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Book Review – Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies #2) by Rhiannon Frater

November 8, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies #2) by Rhiannon FraterFighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater
Series: As the World Dies #2
Published by Self-Published on February 17th 2009
Pages: 307
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The First Days

three-stars

 

Katie and Jenni have found new lives with the survivors of their makeshift fort, but danger still lurks. Nothing is easy in the new world where the dead walk and every day is a struggle to keep safe. As the elements, bandits, and the zombie horde threaten their safe haven, Jenni and Katie join the other survivors in fighting to survive as the world dies.

 

*Please note I read the older, self-published version. There is a newer, edited version available but my review is not based on that version.*

The Storyline
Fighting to Survive picks up a few weeks after The First Days left off: Katie and Jenni are helping establish a new life on the fort and working to minimize the ongoing danger of the zombies. Nothing much happens (in my opinion) in regards to the zombie as this book focused mainly on expanding on new characters, the growing of existing relationships, and establishing more problems outside of the zombie issue. The writing was still a bit stilted for me and I still love the zombie action scenes far more than the character interaction scenes.

The Relationships
So I totally get that everyone is living day to day not knowing how much longer one another will survive, but does that give everyone the right to become a bunch of hussies?

“We just decided today,” he explained. “Life is so short. We just don’t’ want to waste time. We’ve been sleeping together in my tent. Might as well make it official and be a family.”

Uhh… okay?

Jenni and Juan were already together in the last book and their relationship steadily progresses until they are eventually living together. Jenni and Juan’s relationship is strange though and I’m not positive whether they actually like each other or not. And I swear… I was going to snap if I hear Loca one more time.

Then there’s Katie and Travis. In the last book Katie kept trying to keep Travis at bay by continuing to remind him that she is in fact lesbian and no she will not be with him. Her reasoning behind this was explained in the last book as she didn’t want to tarnish her memory of her wife Lydia even though she did have feelings for Travis. View Spoiler » I felt that whole storyline and the ending was anticlimactic and definitely inevitable. But… View Spoiler »

Final Thoughts
Reading these books back to back has caused me to become quite cynical. I do plan on finishing up the trilogy but will come back to it at a later date when I’ve managed to forget some of my irritations. I’m hoping the third one has lots of zombie action scenes and EVERYONE gets eaten! hahahaha

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Book Review – The First Days (As the World Dies #1) by Rhiannon Frater

October 28, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – The First Days (As the World Dies #1) by Rhiannon FraterThe First Days by Rhiannon Frater
Series: As the World Dies #1
Published by Self-Published on August 14th 2008
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Fighting to Survive

three-stars

Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her. That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son.

Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together.

During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot.

A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization.

It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world.

*Please note I read the older, self-published version. There is a newer, edited version available but my review is not based on that version.*

No one… except for Rhiannon Frater. Her vision of a Zombie Apocalypse was far more gruesome, gory, slightly funny and violently delightful.

The Characters
Katie is an ex-prosecutor (in pre-zombie days) who was married to the love of her life, Lydia. When Katie drove back home to get Lydia, well… Lydia was in the front yard chewing on the mailman. So, Lydia didn’t make it past the first day so Katie flees and seeks shelter somewhere and ends up running into Jenni.

Jenni (with an i, and don’t you forget it) is a stay at home mom who was in an abusive relationship and mighty unhappy with life in general. When she wakes up the morning the zombies first rose, she discovered her husband shoving chunks of her baby’s flesh into his mouth. Not exactly an ideal situation to wake up to first thing in the morning! There’s also a moment involving tiny fingers that will make several appearances throughout the book. I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

Jenni kinda drove me nuts. She was so odd sometimes, being a completely freaked out whiny chick one minute and then laughing maniacally and stabbing zombies in the head the next minute. And ironically, Maja and Wendy both claim that Jenni reminds her of me, minus the craziness. Suuuurrrreeee, guys.

Katie was odd too and I think the writing focused entirely way too much on her ‘lesbianism’, not that I’m against it, it’s just the town and the people had wayyyy too big of an issue with it and it kind of started to wear on me after a point.

Insta-Love and Love Triangles
But of course some insta-love and the occasional love triangle needs to be tossed in, why not? Insta-love pretty much makes my eye all twitchy so when this situation developed I was quite irritated. Not only was their insta-love but a love triangle to boot. I? Was not a happy camper.

So we have Jenni who falls madly in love with Travis (instantly) and OF COURSE Travis loves Katie (instantly). *yawn* Where’s a zombie when ya need one? But once Jenni realizes that Travis loves Katie she (instantly) falls for Juan and they end up hooking up in a janitor’s closet. Hmm… need I say more? I think not.

The Writing
So I didn’t realize this until I was towards the end of the book that this was actually a self-published novel (there is a newer published version that’s super shiny and new for those of you who are interested), which I can see in retrospect. It’s definitely one of the better self-published novels that I’ve read and I did really enjoy it. The action scenes were spot on intense, scary, and extremely ghastly.

Once the book began focusing on the living and everyone was settling down building up walls and doing all kinds of normal stuff… the book went a little downhill for me. The interactions between the characters weren’t all that natural and it came out sounding stiff and unbelievable at times. I began hoping that a zombie would show up and eat someone.

The first half of the book (or so) was a solid 4 stars for me but the second half really lost some steam so I’m settling on a solid 3 star rating. The ending wasn’t exactly a clean wrap-up so I feel like I stopped at the end of the chapter, rather than the end of a book. Will I be continuing the series? Most likely.

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Book Review – Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica Park

September 28, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica ParkFlat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Published by Self-Published on May 18th 2011
Pages: 400
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.

Oh my, I ended up loving this book far more than I thought I would. I don’t know about you, but when I think of ‘self-published’ I cringe and I generally tend to avoid reading them as my experience has led to the expectation of them generally being a waste of time (as the writing tends to resemble my youngest child’s book reports). After hearing such lovely, positive, statements regarding ‘Flat Out Love’ I figured it was worth a try to see what all the fuss was about.

So I’ve typed out my typical ‘Storyline’ paragraph quite a few times and every time I write it out I make the book sound ridiculously corny. For those of you who have read it, I’m sure you understand. For those of you who have read it, let me just put it to you this way. This book is one of a kind with a wonderfully original storyline to boot. This was an extremely well-written novel; no choppy 8 year old sentences here.

The characters literally came into existence right before your eyes and were so full of life that I often had to take a short break to absorb and really try and understand what I had read. I’m not saying this was a complex novel that required a lot of thought; however, there is so much feeling behind every word that it can leave you more than a little moved.

As much as the idea of crushing on a penpal or someone you’ve never met before sounds ridiculously silly … well Jessica Park makes this possible. I think I even fell in love with Finn to be honest here. All of the relationships that the characters develop with each other (Julie and Matt, Julie and Finn, Julie and Celeste) made me practically envious.

There was so much about this book that I absolutely loved: the uniqueness of it all, the simplistic yet complex storyline, the so very real characters, the many laughs and smiles that I got, and the Christmas decoration scene? It made my heart melt.

But that’s what love does to you. Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love. Highly recommended for those looking for a sweet, heartwarming book.

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Book Review – Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

August 13, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1) by Susan EeAngelfall by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Published by Self-Published on May 21st 2011
Pages: 288
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: World After

five-stars

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

What an outstanding debut novel by Susan Ee! Don’t be fooled by the pretty glittery cover, or even the title of the book, or the fact that people are calling this young adult, or the fact that you think ‘ooh! It has angels in it!’ so you automatically think of something like this:

This is dark fantasy straight up, nothing cute or froo froo about this. And MAN was it awesome!

This was a marvelous novel that hooked me from the beginning. From the very first page you’re thrust into the gloomy post-apocalyptic society that Earth has become since the angels of the apocalypse invaded 6 weeks ago. The main character Penryn is in charge of protecting her seven year old paralyzed sister Paige and their schizophrenic mother. Penryn’s purpose in life at this point is to do nothing but protect them and she’s completely devastated when her sister is kidnapped by the angels. She proceeds to do whatever necessary to get her sister back and get her back quick when she resorts to teaming up with another angel, Raffe, and makes a deal with him so he will take her to the angels aerie.

Pendryn is a total badass and I loved her. She could totally hold her own, she knew what it took to survive… she was one tough cookie.

High Points
Okay, so, with most books these days where there’s a side story that involves a ‘romance’ it usually tends to sway towards instalove. I. Hate. Instalove. It’s corny, irritating, and it makes me want to pull my hair out. I am pleased to inform you all that I did not hate the way Penryn and Raffe’s relationship progressed; it ended up being quite realistic and believable. *phew* What a relief.

About the last 20% of the book, things started happening that were CRAZY! I mean seriously dark twisted crazy ass shit. No morphing into a YA teenage melodrama here yippee! I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll just leave it at that.

The ending was well timed and it wasn’t a cliffhanger that made me turn into a crazed madman that made me need to know more NOW. I mean the book has to end somewhere and I think that was an appropriate place to do it. I did end this book and proceeded to frantically search for any future released dates of book 2. Alas, I failed to find any but I will definitely be on the lookout, no doubt about that. There are several questions that I’m dying to have answered View Spoiler »

I’d like to take a moment to thank Michelle for not only convincing me to read this but also loaning it to me. You’re the best. 🙂

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Short Story Review – Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short Stories 0 Comments

Short Story Review – Hearts in Darkness by Laura KayeHearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Published by Self-Published on April 20th 2011
Pages: 102
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Makenna James thinks her day can't get any worse, until she finds herself stuck in a pitch-black elevator with a complete stranger. Distracted by a phone call and juggling too much stuff, the pin-striped accountant caught only a glimpse of a dragon tattoo on his hand before the lights went out.

Caden Grayson is amused when a redhead literally falls at his feet. His amusement turns to panic when the power fails. Despite his piercings, tats, and vicious scar, he's terrified of the dark and confined spaces. Now, he's trapped in his own worst nightmare.

To fight fear, they must both reach out and open up. With no preconceived notions based on looks to hold them back, they discover just how much they have in common. In the warming darkness, attraction grows and sparks fly, but will they feel the same when the lights come back on?

Hearts in Darkness is a short little contemporary romance about Makenna James and Caden Grayson getting locked in an elevator together for the night… in complete darkness. I really enjoyed this even though I didn’t realize it was contemporary until I was well into the story (not my typical read).

I’m going to have to agree completely with similar reviews that mention how the writing and the point of view shifts definitely threw you off. I can understand telling the story from one point of view and then back-tracking in order to tell the story from the point of view of the other individual… but it lacked something in this story. It lacked flow for one, and also… I felt that the author didn’t need to do this for every interaction between the characters. Blah, I don’t know, I’m having trouble forming sentences this morning.

I liked it, I enjoyed it, I will keep an eye out for more from this author in the future.

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