Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly Hallows

January 20, 2017 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 3 Comments

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

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsEleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #11
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 24th 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
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Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

three-half-stars

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

*spoilers for previous installments*

“…I’m going to take over the world.”
“The whole thing?”
“Well, I’m going to try to take over the world.”
“And you feel you’re prepared for world domination?”
I lifted a noncommittal shoulder. “I’m taking a business class.”

Despite her new awareness of her God-like state, Charley Davidson strives to continue living as a normal human would. She’s taking a business class at the college (to help her out when she takes over the world), she has a new case which involves the son of the people that kidnapped Reyes when he was a child, and she’s helping the police sort out why and who could be sending Cookie’s daughter, Amber, threatening text messages.

Although I continue to profess my love for this series, it must be said that the plots of these later installments are getting weaker with each new one. I have always loved the incorporation of her day-to-day investigations mixed with the advancement of the Reaper storyline but if I’m being honest, more needs to happen with the Reaper storyline. It continues to be stretched to the limit and we’re given minuscule nibbles with each book which seems like nothing more than a way to continue to stretch the series past its expiration date. For the most part, there isn’t any actual advancement until the final 10% or so, and while it’s a most excellent 10%, it makes one definitely wish there was more to go around. And then as a cherry on top, we’re given a massive cliffhanger that will leave the reader groaning until the next installment.

The mysteries are great, the paranormal aspects are incredibly interesting, the sex scenes are off the charts, and Charley is always a source of amusement. But, Jones, you’re killing me with these cliffhangers.

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

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 7th 2017
Pages: 448
Genres: Chick-Lit
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Wedding Night, Surprise Me

three-half-stars

Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.

Katie Brenner grew up in the English countryside and has always dreamed of living in the big city. At 26-years-old, she’s finally working her dream job at an ad agency, has a place of her own, and an Instagram account that showcases a life that anyone would envy. Despite her perfect outward appearance, everything is far from perfect. She’s not doing anything terribly creative at her job and is barely making ends meet, she has her own place but she has roommates and her room is tragically small so she keeps all her clothes piled in a hammock, and all those pictures she posts on Instagram is more how she wishes her life was vs. how it really is. When her life is abruptly upended and she finds herself living once again with her dad in the English countryside, she doesn’t think she’ll ever find her way back to London. A new family “glamping” business keeps her busy and her creative side honed, but some unexpected glampers from London have Katie realizing that London isn’t quite done with her.

Katie is an incredible character for many reasons but first and foremost: she’s so realistic. Don’t get me wrong, 95% of the time I love a good story to escape into so I can leave the real world behind but that straggler 5% loves a character that I can feel in tune with, a character that I can truly understand. This story gave me major Devil Wears Prada vibes but instead of the invisible girl that gets a haircut, loses some weight, and is bestowed a gorgeous wardrobe only to live happily ever after we get Katie. Katie didn’t get a haircut, lose weight, or get a new wardrobe. Nope. Katie loses her job, has to move back home with dad, and is often found in wellies because it’s just sensible in the countryside.

My Not So Perfect Life centers around Katie’s personal development and the realization that much like her own Instagram account, people hide beyond a persona that is not always the person they truly are. This is a laugh out loud adventure that despite its slightly unnecessary page length and unexpected lack of focus on the romance, this delightful story will no doubt charm new and old fans alike.

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Narrator: Jim Dale
Series: Harry Potter #7
on July 21st 2007
Length: 21 hrs and 36 mins
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: The Cuckoo's Calling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

five-stars

As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid's motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin - Harry must stand and face his enemy....

*spoilers*


This is officially my very first time I’ve completely re-read this series and it’s quite possible that I love it even more than I did before. Reading all books back to back (I started the first one in October and finished the last one in January) only made it even more apparent what an incredible saga that Rowling gifted us. All the linked parts, the character development, and just how astonishing it was to see it all unfold. Somehow it still managed to leave me awed even knowing how it all ends. While my opinions of the series as a whole didn’t change (other than the fact that my favorite book is now officially Half-Blood Prince and I’ve gotten over my irritation with Dobby) there is one aspect in these stories that I paid a lot more attention to this go around: Dumbledore and Snape.

First and foremost, I’m team Snape (and a Slytherin if you were curious). Yes, I am fully aware that he was a horrible shithead to a bunch of children, primarily Harry, and the only reason was because he loved Harry’s mother and she didn’t love him. Boo-hoo. I’m also aware that he was a Death Eater doing terrible things on behalf of Voldemort before he joined up with Dumbeldore. I’m aware of all these things but I can still appreciate the bravery and risks he took in the name of love, even it was misguided. It doesn’t necessarily make him a hero in my eyes and his actions don’t make up for the wrong he did, but it is still worthy of mention. Don’t agree?

hahaha Kidding. But on to an even more controversial topic: Dumbledore was kind of a dick. Sure, at first he’s that kind, fatherly figure that Harry can’t help but look up to. But when year after year at Hogwarts passes and poor young Harry is dealing with shit that he can barely comprehend, does Dumbledore make it a point to educate him on the ways of the wizarding world? Nope. And when we finally realize what’s been going on this entire time? That he’s known from the very beginning that Harry was going to have to die for the “greater good”?!

Sure, if he had told Harry at an early age he could have lost his marbles at the prospect of an early death so I understand why he didn’t tell him but I definitely don’t agree with it because he didn’t treat Harry like a pawn; he treated him like he was someone special to him. Think of all the times that Harry was touting Dumbledore’s greatness while from the very beginning he’s known the endgame all along.

Leave an infant on a doorstep, don’t even ring the doorbell. They’ll find him in the morning. Know Harry’s living in a goddamn cupboard under the stairs, constantly abused by the Dursley’s–does nothing. Let Snape continue to mistreat him unnecessarily. Blames it on the fact he developed feelings for the reason why he’s lied to Harry his entire life… talk about emotional manipulation. Not letting Harry in on the secret of the horcruxes until after he was doomed to die because his dumbass, for personal advancement reasons, put it on because it was also a Hallow. Dick move, Dumbledore. /rant

Rowling really achieved greatness with this final installment. Each installment has progressively gotten darker as Harry and all other characters take step after step into adulthood. This world that Rowling has created is both horrible and mesmerizing in equal measure. A world where there are creatures that can suck out your very soul, but also wondrous creatures like unicorns and Hippogriffs. A world where you can be struck down with two simple words, but also where owls deliver your mail and paintings talk. But the most wondrous thing that Rowling accomplished with these stories is just how many lives she transformed, mine included. It’s enough to make anyone believe in magic.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Brighter Than the Sun (Charley Davidson #8.5) by Darynda Jones

September 16, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Brighter Than the Sun (Charley Davidson #8.5) by Darynda JonesBrighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #8.5
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 6th 2015
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
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Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

All his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see...

Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.

About Darynda Jones

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. She currently has two series with St. Martin's Press, the Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.

I don’t usually go super crazy over novellas, especially ones where they switch up the POV of the typical character, but I’m totally making an exception for one of my favorite series of all time. Charley Davidson is hilarious beyond belief but this story switches it up to tell the story from Reyes’ point of view. This should be interesting. 🙂

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

dvd-pearl

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – All the Rage by Courtney Summers

February 27, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 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 – All the Rage by Courtney SummersAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery, Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads

Also by this author: This is Not a Test, Sadie

four-stars

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear,

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

‘…they’d think of me the way they think of me now, think of it as some kind of natural conclusion to my story, sad, maybe, deserved it, well no, of course no one does, but. That girl. You can see it. It’s written on her.’

Romy Grey lives on the “wrong side” of a small town where everybody knows everybody. She’s the girl that no one trusts, the type of girl that everybody expects to be nothing but trouble. When she’s raped at a party and accuses the sheriff’s son of the attack, she quickly loses her best friend and becomes the focus of harassment from every person in her town. Romy lives as inconspicuous as she can from that day on but when a local girl goes missing in addition to news of an attack similar to Romy’s, she realizes she can’t keep quiet anymore.

I devoured this book in a single day. I couldn’t tear my eyes away even if I wanted to. This book, guys, encompasses everything that is wrong with this society. Where a woman can accuse a man of abuse and not for a second will they believe her, simply because the man has always been considered an upstanding member of the community. Because naturally, the facade we put on for the public is completely our true selves and can immediately absolve someone of any accusations. This was a terrifyingly realistic account of the aftermath of rape, of small town mentality, the immediate stereotypes that get doled out and how truly horrid people can be to one another.

‘I rest my middle finger across my lips; red on red, the most subtle way I can tell him to fuck himself because I’m not stupid enough to say it out loud in a world that’s his fan club.’

The writing was course and raw but had a finesse to it that completely encapsulated the expected horror of the situation. The story did get a little jumbled when it switches between “Now” and “Two Weeks Before” and it was difficult at first to re-sort the sequence of events in your mind but once you realize what transpired you’ll want to go back to the beginning with a fresh, knowledgeable look at it all. Summers is unflinching in her determination to accurately represent all that’s wrong with rape culture and subsequent victim blaming and while it was a painful story to read, it’s one incapable of being forgotten.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson {Purchase}
Dare Me by Megan Abbott {Purchase}

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Ominous October – Party Games: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine

October 10, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Ominous October, Read in 2014, YA 3 Comments

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

Ominous October – Party Games: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. StineParty Games: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine
Series: Fear Street
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 30th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Welcome to Dead House

two-half-stars

R.L. Stine's hugely successful young adult horror series Fear Street is back with the first new book in almost 2 decades. With more than 80 million copies sold around the world, FearStreet is one of the bestselling young adult series of all time. Now, with Party Games, R.L. Stine revives this phenomenon for a new generation of teen readers, and the announcement of new Fear Street books caused a flurry of excitement both in the press and on social media, where fans rejoiced that the series was coming back.

Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

R.L. Stine makes his triumphant return to Shadyside, a town of nightmares, shadows, and genuine terror, and to the bestselling series that began his career writing horror for the juvenile market, in the new Fear Street book Party Games.

“Someone is definitely playing games with us,” Geena said. “Only…” Her voice broke. “Murder isn’t a game.”

17-year-old Rachel Martin is ecstatic when her crush Brendan Fear invites her to his birthday party that he’s having on Fear Island. (She’s so ecstatic she doesn’t even let the issue of finding a dead animal between her sheets stop her!) The group of kids invited to the party take a boat to the island and problems start as soon as they arrive. Party Games is actually the first of six books Stine is planning as a new addition to his popular Fear Street series.

Party Games had a definite And Then There Were None feel to it, just with high schoolers, some decidedly cheesy moments and a consistent lack of common sense that failed to thrill. I was actually expecting a supernatural flair to this but that twist never came. It was interesting and had definite moments of excitement, but my younger self had been mentally squealing since I snagged a copy of this so I had some fairly high expectations.

For me, reading Party Games was a bit of an experiment. I was obsessed with R.L. Stine when I was a kid and I remember a time when I read nothing but Goosebumps and Fear Street books. It was the initial start to my love of horror novels, no matter how cheesy they were. And cheesy they are, or at least my adult self certainly thinks so. My younger self is slightly offended though. I took a stroll down memory lane and felt 12 years old again by picking this one up and despite my change in standards for what constitutes a ‘good book’ it was fun for that fact alone. Whatever helped me build my love of reading, be it cheesy Goosebumps or cliché Twilight books, I can only smile and be thankful for them.

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Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

August 9, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Read in 2014 3 Comments

Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 1939
Pages: 264
Genres: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Hallowe'en Party

five-stars

“Ten . . .” —Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion on an island off the Devon coast by a mysterious host.

“Nine . . .” —At dinner, a recorded message accuses each of them of harboring a guilty secret. By the end of the meal, one is dead.

“Eight . . .” —Stranded by a violent storm, there is no hope of escape. Haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one, the guests begin to die.

“Seven . . .” —As suspicions are raised and accusations fly, secrets begin to surface. But who among them is the killer . . . and will any of them survive?

‘There was something magical about an island – the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world-an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.’

Ten people arrive at Soldier Island after receiving invitations from various acquaintances convincing them to make the trip. The island has been much talked about recently after some confusion over who owns it so everyone is intrigued to find out the answer to that question. Everyone seemingly has nothing in common with one another until an announcement booms through the house on the first night from a gramophone bringing each persons secret to light. By the end of that first night, one person has died. After a search has been conducted of the island, the rest of the guests come to the realization that they’re the only ones on that island and that the murderer must be among the nine remaining guests.

Agatha Christie is the prolific author known as the “Queen of Crime” and the “Master of Misdirection”. I have no idea what took me so long to pick up anything of hers, being such a long time fan of mysteries in general, but And Then There Were None was the perfect first choice.

Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

The guests find the above nursery rhyme that has been framed on the wall curious. As well as the ten little soldier figurines that stand on the dining room table. Each subsequent death results in the realization that the deaths are not only following the nursery rhyme (the first individual died after choking on what appeared to be cyanide) but with each death a soldier figurine is mysteriously removed from the table. While it seems unlikely that the murderer would have been able to plan accordingly in order to remain a mystery and still kill, following the nursery rhyme perfectly, the impossibility was expertly erased by the authors exhilarating storytelling ability. Each person begins to suspect one another until there isn’t anyone left to trust, even the reader is continually left in the dark as to the perpetrator. Just when you think you’ve caught on to what’s going on, Christie is bound to throw a wrench into your theories. I loved this book and loved the constant guessing game and will no doubt be picking up many more Agatha Christie novels in the future.

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Early Review – This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

January 24, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 0 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 – This is Not a Test by Courtney SummersThis is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 19th 2012
Pages: 337
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: All the Rage, Sadie

two-half-stars

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

‘The radio crackles the prerecorded voice of that woman at us over and over…
‘This is not a test. Listen closely. This is not a test.’
But I think she’s wrong. I think this is a test.
It has to be.’

The Storyline
‘This is not a Test’ includes a group of sorrowful teenagers trying to survive (some of them at least) and a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies.

Sloane Price has survived the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. She’s joined up with 5 other kids she went to school with and they are all hiding out in their old high school, trying to survive. Except Sloane never intended on being alive for very much longer. Ever since her sister Lily abandoned her she hasn’t been the same and lacks any sort of will to live. She escaped from the beatings their father inflicted on them both, and didn’t take Sloane with her. Being surrounded by kids who want more than anything to live makes her feel like an outcast as she continues to search for her way out so that she’s finally ‘free’.

Thoughts
I am a huge fan of zombie novels, and there’s certainly no ‘right’ way to do them but with most zombie novels I’ve found that I particularly enjoy the world building aspect and finding out how the zombies came to be. If it’s lacking in world building it better have a super fabulous story to focus on instead. The world-building aspect isn’t explained in this story and it came off feeling like a normal teenage angst ridden story, just with zombies thrown in as secondary characters, rather them being an actual part of the story. It’s almost like the author decided on two genres but forgot to mix them well enough so that they were good and blended.

I had a hard time liking the characters. These were all high school kids, hiding out in a high school, still playing high school games. I kept waiting for them to toughen up, to harden from what has happened to them, but it just didn’t happen. Plus? The zombie action was quite minimal for my liking.

The ending was bleak, brutal, but unsatisfactory; more than likely just simply due to my personal preferences.. I can see how this story will be liked by many, it just wasn’t overall exactly what I had anticipated.

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