Genre: Paranormal

Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger

Posted March 20, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 / 4 Comments

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

Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail CarrigerPrudence by Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Published by Orbit on March 17th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Steampunk, Vampires, Werewolves
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Timeless

two-stars
Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon's daughter Prudence travels to India on behalf of Queen, country...and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all...

Ah, the first not fabulous review of this book. Well. Isn’t this awkward?

 Having read (and loved) Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series I’ve been dying for this new spin-off series. Prudence! Their metanatural daughter all grown up, wreaking all sorts of havoc on London! How freaking fun is this going to be?!?! For me? Not so much. Not so much at all. This was such a chore for me to read and took me a whopping 25 days to get through. 25 days!!! I can’t even begin to explain how sad this makes me.

The first installment in The Custard Protocol series has Prudence acquiring a dirigible that she proceeds to paint to look like a ladybug and she takes off in it on an adventure to India to acquire some rare tea blend for her adopted father Dama. Here lies my first issue with this story: where the hell is the plot? Wait, that’s it? Based on the writing style you’ll know first-off that this is not one to be taken seriously, but it all felt a bit too willy nilly. But hold up, let’s back up a touch to the writing style. Now I read the Parasol Protectorate series so I have already been introduced to Carriger’s floral writing style but holy hell, she cranked it up in Prudence to the point where it was all just so absurd. Like here:

‘One could not blame people for disliking vampires. Vampires were like Brussels sprouts – not for everyone and impossible to improve upon with sauce. There were even those in London who disapproved of Dama, and he was very saucy indeed.’

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one:

“Rue was further delighted. She twirled. She’d even left her hair down. It felt very wicked. “Is it possible I have a bad case of the spotted crumpet?”

And there were several times when she would refer to facial hair as facial “topiary” and she officially lost me. Add to that was the constant focus on dressing properly and reputations. Prim’s involvement in the story consisted solely of her constant complaining. “Oh! I wore a walking dress, not a carriage dress!” Then there was the time when she wore a traveling dress instead of a visiting dress and they had to leave for India earlier than intended because what a travesty. Stop the presses. I know you don’t have to tell me this is meant to be set in Victorian times and these were very serious issues but it felt so overly focused on that dresses and styles and changing and matching hats all became the entirety of the story. A plot did actually end up appearing, a very serious one actually that not only came out of nowhere but just felt out of place. Also out of place was the odd attempt at a romance that fell completely flat due to absolutely no chemistry.

I’ve wrestled with the inability to describe how and why this story went wrong for me. I found it all a bit pretentious, trifling and frivolous. But there was one particular line uttered by Prudence that completely summed this book up for me:

“When all else failed – overwhelm with inanities.”

Because that’s exactly what this book felt like it did; it completely overwhelmed me with inanities.

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Early Review – The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Posted March 13, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA / 5 Comments

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

Early Review – The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Ghosties, Magical Realism
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Imaginary Girls

four-half-stars

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices--one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture--which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

‘She was coming. She was the next thing to come, after the locks. Once she was here, everything would go wrong. Of that I felt certain.’

Amber is an inmate at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center who hasn’t seen freedom since the age of thirteen when she was arrested for murder. One night, much like all the rest, something changed though and all the doors of the prison were open and the girls that resided there briefly tasted a freedom that they never thought they’d witness again. Violet is a successful ballet dancer headed to New York City to attend Juilliard. Her story involves her best friend Ori and how after one life altering afternoon, Ori was taken away to Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center. Violet, Amber, and Ori are all linked together, intricately, with isolated secrets just waiting to be revealed.

The Walls Around Us is told in alternating points of view by two unreliable narrators: Amber and Violet. Amber is a convicted murderer yet her story of how she got to where she convinces us to see past straight black and white and to the gray that exists in-between. The amount of time she’s spent behind bars has caused her to lose her individuality, taking comfort in seeing herself as a piece of the consolidated unit of girls that share her fate. Violet is a pretentious prima donna; the narcissistic rich girl. Rather than feeling upset over the loss of her best friend three years past she only sees her flawed history with Ori as something that may pose as a deterrent on the road to her pristine future. The voices are vastly different and easy to keep separate, however, the stories of both girls seem they couldn’t possibly fit together. Keeping the facts straight as well as the intersecting timelines that occur can be trying, but the payoff is incredible. This is only my second Nova Ren Suma story and I must say that her stories are something remarkable. She writes characters with such conviction that you quickly lose yourself in classifications of ‘fiction’.

What was most incredible about this book was the realistic view of juvenile delinquency and the discrepancies in the criminal justice system. The harsh reality of discrimination was never more evident when one suspect is immediately excused of guilt while the multi-racial friend is immediately accused without much question. While it would be easy to remain focused on the horrible situation of the innocent victim, I found myself focused on the atrocious sort of person that could stand back and watch a friend be accused of a crime they weren’t responsible for. It should come as no surprise that a story as haunting as this could credibly pull off shades of the supernatural as well. The line between fantasy and reality is muddied turning this story of juvenile delinquency into an eerie story of guilt and innocence. Beautifully written, completely enthralling… I can’t seem to find the words to do this one justice. It’s definitely a must-read.

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Early Review – Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Posted January 30, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA / 2 Comments

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

Early Review – Shutter by Courtney AlamedaShutter by Courtney Alameda
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Ghosties, Horror, Paranormal
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-stars

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat -- a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

“Hand for a hand, and tooth for a tooth – 
Chain down the souls of Abraham’s youth.
Eye for an eye, and life for a life – 
Down stabs vengeance, swift as a knife.”

Shutter brings to life a world where the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage continue the family tradition of battling the supernatural. Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat, someone that possesses the ability to see the ghostlight of the undead. Being able to see them allows her to use modified analog SLR camera to capture the ghostly energy with each flash. Most ghosts could be captured by this method with a couple of photographs, however, their latest assignment refuses to go down so easy. When it infects Micheline and each member of her team with a Soulchain, finding out how to destroy it is more imperative than ever after they learn they have a mere 7 days before the Soulchains take their lives.

Alameda has created a most impressive world in her debut novel. The concept is an amalgamation of Ghostbusters and the video game Fatal Frame with the historical fiction addition of the Helsing and Stoker families that allied in the late 1800s to defeat Dracula. It would have been easy for this combination to go wrong but Alameda makes it all seem quite ideal. The concept behind Micheline’s weapon was impeccably detailed backed by an immense amount of obvious research. It was all fully fleshed out and inevitably sounded completely logical, however it reached a point where I found myself getting lost in the details. Normally I would say that too much detail vs. not enough would be preferable but that wasn’t the case here. An explanation that was spread throughout the story would have been more desirable than the near info-dump in the books beginning. There was a point where so much time was spent on the detailing that I lost focus on the story itself and actually put the book on hold only to come back to it later.

Being a huge fan of horror novels I had some high expectations going in (but mostly because, holy crap that cover.) Alas, I was, for the most part, left disappointed. Although the proper elements were all in place and excellent use of description was used effectively, it didn’t ever truly frighten me. Nonetheless, this was still an action packed page-turner even if the mystery itself was easily foreseeable. Two things I did not foresee: 1. the inclusion of a Romeo & Juliet style romance (“My father’s rules kept us imprisoned in adjacent cells; we were able to reach through the bars, but we couldn’t ever by truly, madly, inseparably together.”) and 2. it’s fairly clear that this is the start of a new series. I’m not absolutely certain, but there were enough loose ends left that could definitely lead to the continuation of this tale. I can’t say I’m against this idea though. I think with all the world-building details out of the way this could be a solid supernatural series that I would definitely be willing to pick up again.

Mild on horror, mild on romance but definitely an entertaining thrill ride of a story.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

Posted January 7, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Waiting on Wednesday / 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben TrippThe Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
Published by Gallery Books on July 28th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Vampires
Format: Paperback
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Filled with characters as menacing as they are memorable, this chilling twist on vampire fiction packs a punch in the bestselling tradition of ’Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secret to his success: at certain points of his life, he’s killed vampires for their priceless hoards of treasure.

But now Sax’s past actions are quite literally coming back to haunt him, and the lives of those he holds most dear are in mortal danger. To counter this unnatural threat, and with the blessing of the Holy Roman Church, a cowardly but cunning Sax must travel across Europe in pursuit of incalculable evil—and immeasurable wealth—with a ragtag team of mercenaries and vampire killers to hunt a terrifying, ageless monster…one who is hunting Sax in turn.

From author Ben Tripp, whose first horror novel Rise Again “raises the stakes so high that the book becomes nearly impossible to put down” (Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother), The Fifth House of the Heart is a powerful story that will haunt you long after its final pages.

About Ben Tripp

BEN TRIPP is the author of Rise Again and Rise Again: Below Zero, a two-part apocalyptic zombie saga for Gallery.

He has an upcoming trilogy of rollicking young adult novels in the historical fantasy genre for Tor, the first of which is The Accidental Highwayman. In addition, Gallery has secured rights to his first foray into the vampire genre, The Fifth House of the Heart.

Tripp is an artist, writer, and designer who has worked with major entertainment companies and motion picture studios for more than two decades. He was for many years one of the world's leading conceptualists of public experiences, with a global portfolio of projects ranging from urban masterplanning to theme parks. Now he writes novels full-time.

He lives with his wife (Academy Award-winning writer/ producer Corinne Marrinan) in Los Angeles and London.

I have yet to actually read a Ben Tripp book (I know, what the hell) but here’s another one add to my list to read. First he does zombies and now… vampires. The Fifth House sounds nothing short of incredible though and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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

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

I received this book 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
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Also by this author: The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege

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

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

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

Book Review – Symbiont (Parasitology #2) by Mira GrantSymbiont by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #2
Published by Orbit on November 25th 2014
Pages: 528
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

two-stars

THE ENEMY IS INSIDE US.

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

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

Parasitology series

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

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

Yep. I gave a Mira Grant book 2 stars.

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

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

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

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

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The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater Tour Stop: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Posted December 11, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Tour, Giveaways / 1 Comment

The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater Tour Stop: Guest Post & Giveaway!The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater
on September 2nd 2014
Pages: 244
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege

It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world

Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.

Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her family.

When Minji encounters other unaffected survivors, they band together to survive in a city that is crumbling all around them. With no hope of rescue and the event slowly spreading across the world, Minji and the others must decide who to save among the mesmerized and where to go before the city is in ashes.

Even more unsettling is that Minji senses that the force behind the event is observing them

Can one woman save her family and the world?

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.

I’m a huge fan of Rhiannon Frater’s books and I’m happy to have her on the blog today discussing her unusual heroine in her latest release The Mesmerized! The book is available now and is only $2.99 on Kindle up through December 19th!

An Unusual Heroine by Rhiannon Frater

I’m well known for my strong female protagonists in my books. I love a well-rounded female character with strengths and flaws who overcomes obstacles while becoming a better version of herself. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love writing about them. Every time I sit down to write a story, I’m excited to go on an adventure with a new characters and learn all about them.

My characters tend to show up, fully formed, and ready to tell their story. I don’t have to consciously construct them. My muse (aka subconscious) does it for me. Since I don’t base my characters on myself, it’s like meeting someone new. Their personality, quirks, flaws, strengths, and weaknesses are aspects I enjoy discovering as I write. Sometimes they’re so different from me, I have to do a lot of research to make sure I accurately portray the character.

In The Mesmerized, Minji Nordim is a Texan of Korean-Irish descent, a tattoo artist from Austin, and firmly counter-culture in her appearance. None of those aspects of her character were daunting, but her status as a parent gave me pause. She’s a wife and a mother to two small girls. Since I’m not a mother (but a kickass aunt), I immediately faced a whole new challenge.

I’ve written about mothers before, but never had one of my characters dealing with motherhood in the midst of an apocalypse. The closest is Jenni from The First Days (As The World Dies Book 1), but she has lost her children in the beginning of that book. Minji’s situation is very different because she has two living daughters with her and must fight to keep them alive against all odds. Because her husband is also caught in the supernatural event as one of the mesmerized, Minji is on her own in taking care of both her husband and children.

One of the things I’ve learned over time is to listen to my characters. I let Minji lead me through her desperate situation. The level of anxiety she felt while attempting to save her children was pretty intense, and it added a whole new dimension to the story. I swiftly realized that her priorities would be quite different from mine in the same circumstances. I’m married, but I don’t have children. My priority would be to save my husband. Minji has to deal with not only her husband being caught in the event and trying to save him, but also has to ensure the safety of her baby and five-year-old daughters. In fact, Minji’s children heighten the tension of the situation because she is their only hope of survival.

When I sent off the completed manuscript to my beta readers and to my editor at Permuted Press, I worried about whether or not I’d captured the intensity of Minji fight to keep her family alive. Did I accurately portray her motherhood? When the responses from my beta readers and editor were a resounding yes, I was relieved. When the book was released, within a day I heard from a fan who told me this book was extra-special to her because Minji is a mother. The reader could completely sympathize with her, and it made the story that much more terrifying.

Sometimes my characters take me on a journey that I learn from, and Minji definitely taught me that sometimes the toughest woman is the one with children to protect.

dvd-pearl

Be sure to check out the rest of The Mesmerized blog tour for more interviews, guest posts and reviews!

The Mesmerized Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 02, 2014 — Mom With A Kindle
Tuesday, December 02, 2014 — Team Tynga’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 03, 2014 — Addicted2Heroines
Thursday, December 04, 2014 — Horror Tree
Friday, December 05, 2014 — Hell Notes
Monday, December 08, 2014 — Christy’s Love of Books
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 — Lowcountrybooklover
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 — Cabin Goddess
Thursday, December 11, 2014 — For the Love of Words
Friday, December 12, 2014 — Contagious Reads
Monday, December 15, 2014 — Offbeat Vagabond
Monday, December 15, 2014 — Rainy Day Ramblings
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — Jess resides here
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — Stuart Conover’s Author Page
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — Chapter by Chapter
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — Ja čitam; a ti?
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — Curling Up With A Good Book
Friday, December 19, 2014 — Buy Zombie
Friday, December 19, 2014 — In Libris Veritas

There are two available giveaways! The grand prize is a hardcover copy of The Mesmerized and the other is for a copy of the eBook. Using Rafflecopter, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Waiting on Wednesday – Positive by David Wellington

Posted November 19, 2014 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Positive by David WellingtonPositive by David Wellington
Published by Harper Voyager on April 21st 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Positive

In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author 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 tattoed 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.

About David Wellington

David Wellington is a contemporary American horror author, best known for his Zombie trilogy as well as his Vampire series and Werewolf series. His books have been translated into eleven langauges and are a global phenomenon.

His career began in 2004 when he started serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached David Wellington about publishing Monster Island as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times.

He also made his debut as a comic book writer in 2009 with Marvel Zombies Return:Iron Man.

Wellington attended Syracuse University and received an MFA in creative writing from Penn State. He also holds a masters degree in Library Science from Pratt Institute.

He now lives in New York City with his dog Mary Shelley and wife Elisabeth who, in her wedding vows, promised to “kick serious zombie ass” for him.

I haven’t read anything by this author although his books have always appealed to me, but Positive has really caught my eye. Reminds me a of The Passage and the movie Book of Eli which is pretty fantastic. Can’t wait for this one!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Posted November 14, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA / 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie StiefvaterSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic Press on July 1st 2014
Pages: 373
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

two-half-stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater {Purchase}
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}

“I can’t change the way I’m made. I’m a performer, a singer, a werewolf, a sinner.”

In this new companion installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Cole St. Clair, the bad boy you can’t help but love, travels to Los Angeles to seek out Isabel for a fresh start and to jump-start his career with a new album. Cole signs on with an Internet reality TV producer (think TMZ) named Baby North who intends to tape his daily life in hopes of being able to get his anticipated relapse caught on tape.

‘It was the first time I’d really realized I’d lost my soul and that the beauty of not having a soul was that you couldn’t seem to care that you no longer had one.’

Sinner was a book that no one expected to ever exist. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series was completely and sufficiently wrapped up years ago, and if you’re of the same opinion as I, it never should have actually gone past book one. No installments following the first were anywhere close to the caliber of Shiver but they were still enjoyable enough and worth the read. Sinner is indeed a stand-alone/companion novel, and even though it has been years since I read the series I was able to quickly catch up following the brief backstory Stiefvater provides to get her readers up to speed. Cole and Isabel’s story and how it was left in Forever, while a bit open to interpretation and not given a concrete finish, didn’t exactly warrant an entire book. I believe the level of enjoyment of Sinner is going to be based solely on whether or not Cole and Isabel were personal favorites of yours from the series. Cole and Isabel’s story is finally given a solid conclusion, albeit a very neatly wrapped up one. Considering the two are quite a damaged duo, I wasn’t expecting that in the least. I also wasn’t expecting this story to involve more about the ‘hazards of fate’, what with Cole being on a reality show than about the romance between our two main characters. It was an interesting inclusion but not exactly a welcome one because it felt more superfluous than anything in an attempts to make this a full-length novel.

All in all, unfortunately, I think we could have done without this installment. I’ll always retain fond memories of Shiver though.

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Ominous October – MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

Posted October 23, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Ominous October, Read in 2014, YA / 5 Comments

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

Ominous October – MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: Bloody Mary #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Ghosties, Horror, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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three-half-stars

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

‘Mary moved fast. One moment she was distant, the next her hands smacked against the mirror. Her fingers flexed, and then the clawing began, a shrieking squeal of razors cutting across glass. I jerked back, forcing myself to maintain the handhold. There’d been no noise during the last summoning. Now, the sound was undeniable.’

When Jess uncovers the secret to properly summoning Bloody Mary, she convinces her three friends Shauna, Kitty and Anna to join her to see if it will indeed work. The candle is lit, the salt is poured beneath the base of the mirror, hands are linked and her name is called three times. None except Jess expected her to actually appear, but she does. Being unable to see her clearly during the first summoning, Jess convinces the girls once more but makes slight modifications to the ritual beforehand. When the girls bound hands are broken mid-ritual, Mary has an instance of freedom and marks Shauna’s back with her razor sharp claws. Mary is no longer bound by the mirror and appears in any and all shiny surfaces, eager to drag Shauna in with her. The girls must uncover the story of Mary’s life before she began haunting and murdering anyone who dared called her name before a mirror.

‘Mary’s face tore through the mirror, twisting and writhing feet away from me. Her jaw snapped like a rabid dog’s, a string of green saliva hanging from her maw like she hungered for flesh.’

MARY: The Summoning manages to draw up memories of my teenage years when sleepovers consisted of horror movies, Ouija boards and attempts to summon Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror. Fortunately, those summoning’s never quite panned out since my friends and I were not aware of the salt trick. The creep level of MARY is fathomless and only gets worse as the book progresses, but it never fully frightened me. Maybe I’m desensitized to scary due to too many horror novels or maybe I’m just older and know better not to go say Bloody Mary’s name in a bathroom three times so I have nothing to truly fear. What was definitely on par though were the incredibly detailed descriptions of Mary and her gruesomeness that will definitely give you the heebie-jeebies.

‘She was more spider than ghoul right now, one of her elbows bent in instead of out, her feet flat to the ground so she scurried instead of walked. Her back was arched too low. Her head dangled at an unnatural angle while her white serpent tongue thrust out from between her lips, licking our scent in the air.’

Aside from the typical cheesy horror film antics of four teenage girls being complete morons trying to summon serial killer ghosts, a fascinating aspect of MARY was the details that were uncovered about the time when Mary was still alive and kicking. The book is interspersed with actual letters from Mary Worth to her sister Constance detailing her day to day life between 1863 and 1864 when she died at the age of seventeen. The letters paint a horrific picture of her life before she died and certainly makes sense when she considers her current existence. There were still many questions to be answered, the full story is still largely unknown, and will hopefully be explored much more in the next installment. I’m hoping for additional character development in the next installment as well. The girls all felt very stereotypical, just acting out their requisite parts as being there just to be haunted by Mary, and their history is only briefly explored. Jess definitely garnered the most interest from me and I’m intrigued to learn more about how the author chooses to portray her motivation behind the obvious obsession with Blood Mary.

MARY: The Summoning is perfect for fans of supernatural horror stories that will thrill you but not leave you completely terrified. But you might not look at mirrors the same for a while.

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