Book: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Recommend: It was much better than I thought it was going to be.
I picked this up a while ago and have been wanting to read it but hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I heard some horrible things from a couple of other people who had read the book. That really put it on the back burner for me. Finally, this week it was at the top of my stack of books to be read and so I decided to brave it. A few pages in and I was hooked with one exception.
Imagine you were one of the few real humans left in a world full of vampires. You had to do so many thing to evade being noticed and killed by anyone and everyone around you. Every action and natural reaction had to be completely controlled so that you would fit into the mold and escape notice. For one boy, he had escaped notice his whole life until he is selected to participate in the hunt. Anyone would be thrilled to be able to hunt down the last humans known to exist, unless of course, you were human yourself.
The only thing I had a problem with in this book is the fact that the vampires just didn’t seem to notice that he wasn’t human. It had to be done to make the story work but there were too many unanswered questions for me. However, the book really clipped along. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go quite the way that it did at the end which was nice. Definitely a fun, easy read for fans of real vampires. This is not Twilight type vampire action. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Definitely a great read if you enjoy a good horror story.
Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS
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Book: The Twelve
Author: Justin Cronin
Recommend: If you’ve read The Passage or if you like more traditional vampire books…
I loved the first book in this series. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. I finally found a copy the other day and was ready to dive in. I quickly realized that I didn’t remember who a lot of the characters were and found myself going back to The Passage a bit to review. I normally hate when an author goes back to review who the people are but in this case, I really could have used some review.
As they move across the United States, things are changing. Something is killing off the virals. While horrible attacks are still occurring, they are not overwhelming every settlement. When they begin to realize the awful truth, there seems to be no way to stop the inevitable.
This is a hard book to summarize simply because there is so much going on without giving away everything. In some ways I kind of feel like this book wasn’t planned at all when Cronin finished The Passage originally. While the players are the same, in a way they feel somewhat altered and slightly more shallow than the first book. While it was still good, I guess that nothing can quite compare to the original.
Definitely worth reading if you’ve read the first one and if you haven’t read The Passage, you should go out and pick it up.
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Book: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Recommend: An easy, fun, post-apocalypse read.
Confession: I picked this one up for the cover alone. It’s a great one. I didn’t even read the jacket flap before it found the inside of my book bag. Sad but true. I really do try to not judge books by their covers but sometimes it happens. I had a feeling this was either dystopian or post-apocalypse and I was right with the second one. Honestly this reminded me a bit of The Postman meets the The Passage (minus the vampires) written for younger teens.
Steve is a scavenger. He wanders what is left of a civilization he can’t remember looking for scraps of what they had lost when their whole society collapsed due to an overwhelming plague. When his father is injured, he has no choice but to trust a group of strangers and he ends up in a small pocket settlement in what used to be a gated community. However, in this world a single error can tear everything apart.
I think the best thing about this book is that while there was a small romance, it wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t the focus of the book. In the end, Steve made his choices based on what he needed and not what a girl wanted. While that would bother me normally, for some reason in this book, it was a refreshing change of pace.
It was enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as memorable, but not bad for a debut.
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Book: Bar Code Tattoo
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Recommend: Most of the book was great…
A society where almost everyone has a bar code tattoo. However, they don’t always work right. For some people getting the bar code means success for others it means ruin. For Kayla it means making a choice to conform. After her father and mother’s lives are ruined by the tattoos, Kayla’s decision not to get the tattoo seemed easy at the time, until the moment it became illegal not to have one. What will Kayla do when the whole world seems to be chasing those who aren’t tattooed? How will she handle it when the one person she trusts betrays her?
This story was fast, furious and fun to read. This book’s obvious roots in the Biblical book of Revelation is obvious from the beginning, however the fact that it doesn’t follow through on the path is extremely confusing. There are also large jumps in time between paragraphs on occasion, like the author just gave up for a while and picked the story back up days, weeks, or even months later. The weirdest part of the whole thing was the physic ending that was just bizarre. Not at all where I expected the story to go.
This story has a great idea that really needed a bit more work.
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Author: Philippa Gregory
Recommend: Bit of a dull slog honestly.
I picked this one up simply because I thought it would interesting to see what her work for teens would be like. I knew her name of course because of The Other Boleyn Girl and other books that she has written (none of which I have read – yet). I figured this would be a great way to get into her. I was really wrong. Everything about this book was completely unappealing to me. I just couldn’t get into it!
There is just simply too much court and pieces of the inquisition in here to really be readable. I also found her writing to be rather dull. The book was on the shorter side which, along with the fact that I didn’t want to abandon two books in a row, were the only reasons I finished it. I don’t think it was a bad book but I don’t see it going over well with teenagers honestly. The characters feel far too old and dull. There is too much propriety and not enough passion to make this book enjoyable. It just lacked spark.
Might be up someone else’s alley but this was simply not my cup of tea.
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Book: The Thirteen Hallows
Authors: Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
Recommend: It was well written but there were quite a few negatives. You need a strong stomach for this one.
I thought I was picking up some fairly traditional fantasy. However, this was more modern crime drama/thriller loosely along the lines of the Da Vinci Code combined with an episode of Castle. I wasn’t expecting suspected serial killers with a dash of fantasy. So this one wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.
The big positive for this book was the quality of the writing. One of the best written collaborations I have read in quite some time. The two authors meshed together seamlessly. It made the book very readable. These two author enhance each other instead of bringing each other down.
However, I have a list of reasons that this book might not be for you.
- Extremely gory. Necessary for the storyline but very graphic.
- Fantasy based on the life of Jesus that is not based in fact. (Jesus in Britain – where is that in the Bible?)
- Disturbing sexual content.
- Reads like a crime drama.
- Rushed ending so the authors can string us along with a second book.
This is definitely something to seriously think about before picking up.
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Author: Ann Aguirre
Recommend: It wasn’t a horrible read – if you like zombies.
Okay, book two of this series, which started with Enclave, honestly left quite a bit to be desired. I honestly felt like I was reading a watered down version of The Passage by Justin Cronin and one that wasn’t nearly as good.
They have reached the settlement called Salvation and everything is not going as well as planned. Deuce can’t seem to leave her fighting days behind and become the more traditional girl she should be. When the new, smarter Freaks start threatening their safety, Deuce throws away all convention and volunteers to help guard the town. When Fade is taken by the Freaks, nothing will be the same again.
Okay, honestly this one was somewhat annoying. Deuce is about as thick as they come for main characters. She might be strong and a good fighter but sometimes she’s as dumb as a box of rocks. I was still pulled in as I read but it was not as good as the first one. I really don’t see myself seeking out any more books in this series.
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Author: Anne Aguirre
Recommend: If you like post apocalyptic zombie books.
Deuce had lived her whole life underground. All she had ever wanted from life was to become a huntress, the noble and brave career choice for her small underground settlement. To hunt food and escape the Freaks were to be her only goals in life. When she is paired with Fade, everything begins to go wrong and as she discovers the truth about her life, it will force her to make a decision that will put her somewhere even more dangerous – topside.
I get seriously bummed out when I get the second book in a series as an ARC. This means that before I can read the book, I have to search out a copy of the first books. There is simply no way to read the second book without reading the first. I picked this up after a very long, hectic week at work and it was fast enough but light enough to be an enjoyable short read before bed.
I am not really a fan of zombie fiction in any form. I’ve read some good zombie books, but usually they just don’t appeal to me that much. That being said, this book already had one strike against it. When I got into the book, I found it to be engaging and fast-paced but the whole time I wished I was reading something else. I think the book was decent but just not something up my alley.
I would say this book’s biggest weakness is that you don’t really get a sense of where you are as a reader. The author doesn’t spend enough time on scene development in order for the reader to really be able to envision where the characters are at while they are underground. Once they hit topside, it does get quite a bit better but the whole book left me with a sense of reading a sketch instead of a full-fledged painting.
It was interesting but not for everyone and definitely not the best thing I’ve read. I’m glad I didn’t pay a dime for it, but I didn’t mind reading it too much.
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Book: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Recommend: It was an interesting read. Not at all what I expected.
I saw this one a few months ago. It was on my massive list of books to read. I thought the concept was interesting. What if having a child out-of-wedlock was illegal? What if breaking a statute meant that you would disappear? What if the government was run by a moral code and one religion? That is the questions the author poses. What would the extreme case look like?
I really enjoyed the story line. What I didn’t like was the completely negative spin it took on traditional values and Christianity. The author seemed to think that having morality regulated would turn into something horrible. While anything can be taken too far, I think that the author forgets that the ideology in the book seems to be based on Biblical ideals and core of the Bible is God’s love for the people He created. The author seems to think that a world run by Christianity would be a world full of unfair rules and regulations and that the slightest thing would be met with extreme consequence. A world run by true Christian values would be one of love, caring, sacrifice and mercy, not violence and hatred. A situation similar to the book occurred a month or so ago in Mali (Couple given 100 lashes after child born out of wedlock) but it wasn’t Christians, it was under Islamic extremist rule.
I also think that there is a huge structural flaw with Article 5 of the statues. I think the idea that someone would be condemned for being a single parent doesn’t make sense with the structure she has created. If the whole idea is to promote traditional values, there still would be single parents, even if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock. What about widows/widowers? What about cases of rape? What about cases of abandonment? It’s just not solid enough to make sense to anyone reasonable.
While this was a fun fast-paced thrill ride, I think the author is trying to push her agenda through an engaging story.
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Book: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Recommend: It was a good ghost story, except for the language and witchcraft…
I enjoy a good ghost story. I don’t believe in ghosts but a good ghost story is always sends a fun chill down my spine. I picked this up expecting exactly that. While the ghost story was great, Anna was chilling and compelling, I got distracted by the foul language and witchcraft that showed up in this story.
Cas is a ghost hunter for lack of a better term just like his father before him. When he hears about Anna dressed in blood who violently kills anyone who crosses the threshold to her childhood home, he decides that she is going to be his next target. What he didn’t expect was that Anna didn’t want to kill him.
This book uses a lot of witchcraft and I’m not talking the fantasy kind. It really just got in the way of the story for me. I really don’t like to read books that include real Wicca or Wiccan practices. I’m also not a big fan of reading about Voodoo. This book has both.
The language in this book is far to frequent and severe for a book aimed at younger audience. Personally when I encounter this much swearing in a book, it makes me doubt the author’s ability in a way because they can’t seem to come up with an effective way to communicate emotion without resorting to the vulgar.
While the ghost was amazing, the rest of the story made it a drag.
Book: Talulla Rising
Author: Glen Duncan
Recommend: Not as good as the first one and I couldn’t recommend that one either.
I received this book as an ARC through a drawing on shelf awareness. Then I realized that it was the second book in a series. So I had to pick up the first one, which I reviewed a few days ago, called The Last Werewolf.
This book follows a character we are introduced to midway through the first book, Talulla as she attempts to save her son from a secretive cult planning to sacrifice him for the chance to walk in daylight.
While the storyline was fast-paced and engaging, the language and sexual content were extremely distracting and ruined the book for me. The author didn’t seem to have any sense of restraint in that area. The strong point of the first book was the writer’s ability to make the character’s age believable. While the writer made it very clear that Talulla was a young werewolf, born in current times, the whole thing felt very rushed and plot driven instead of insightful.
While it’s an engaging read, the lack of depth and the mass amount of inappropriate content makes it not worth spending time on.
Author: Charlaine Harris
Recommend: Even if you’re a fan of the series, I don’t know that you’ll enjoy this one…
Yes, I admit that I rather enjoy this series of books – or at least I used to. Right now I’m kind of fed up with them. It has started to feel like the author is a one trick pony and the main character’s decisions have become increasingly plot driven instead of character driven. While I know that these aren’t great literature, there is a certain level of integrity to the nature of the characters you create that every author should maintain. I personally feel like Ms. Harris has lost sight of that in the last couple books.
In this book, Sookie’s relationship with Eric Northman is strained and seems to be in danger. Add in problems with the fae and a very powerful gift that everyone seems to want to steal and Sookie’s life is again far too exciting for her own good. Sookie’s responses to Eric in this book just don’t come across as genuine. Eric’s responses to Sookie are ten times worse. The ending scene of the book is a HUGE cope out to create tension that will lead into the next book.
At this point, I’m about ready to stop reading this series all together. The whole thing is feeling very phoned-in.
Side note: In no way, shape or form do I endorse the TV show based on these books. True Blood is not appropriate for anyone – period.
Book: The Last Werewolf
Author: Glen Duncan
Recommend: I want to say yes but have to say no.
I try to be careful when I choose to try to get an advanced copy of a book that it is not in a series. However when I requested Talulla Rising I didn’t realize that it was the second book in a series. This is the first. The problem with getting a book further alone in a series is that if you haven’t read the rest of the series, you have to go back and get caught up or the book you need to cover will not make enough sense to be worth the time. So with that in mind, I requested this one from the library.
The Last Werewolf is one of those books that isn’t quite your run of the mill book but is also not something I would classify as literature either. The strongest point to this book is the voicing of the main character, Jacob or Jake (and n,o the Twilight similarity did not escape me). As you read, you truly get the sense that the main character has lived for 200 hundred years. The author mixes the writing style of some of the great classics with the word choice and phrasing of today in a way that I have never seen accomplished quite so well. This writer knows how to strike that delicate balance of the current times having an influence without losing all trace of his past.
The story line is very engaging, at least once he meets Talulla. The first half of the book, Jake is a whiny, suicidal werewolf who doesn’t seem to care about anything. The second he meets Talulla, everything changes and the book instantly becomes a fast-paced and gripping read.
Now comes the big however. I cannot recommend this one in good conscience. The amount of skimming/skipping I had to do was insane. Sex seems to be almost a third of the book. If I didn’t need to finish this one, so I could review the ARC of the next, I would have abandoned it.
Overall this is a great book ruined by too much adult content.
Book: Bag of Bones
Author: Stephen King
Recommend: I am a glutton for punishment but most of the book was fantastic..
I cringed when I picked this one up. I have a love hate relationship with King’s writing. I love about 75 to 80 percent of almost everything I’ve read. I hate the last quarter. He can never end a book in the way I want it to end. I think the most spectacular example of this is Under the Dome but I digress.
I really loved the first 75% of this book. I loved the main character. He was compelling in a way only a couple of King’s characters are. Everything in me wanted everything to work out for this writer. After the death of his wife, he never really recovered. Then he finally went back to their summer lake house, where almost immediately, Mike knew that something strange was going on with his house. There was something else there – something not quite alive but not completely gone either.
I loved the book. I honestly thing one of the best things about this book is the large amount of references to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, a great book. Through those references, it gave the readers an idea of where the story was headed, although it is obviously not the same. If it had been, it would have had a better ending!!
The main character was enough of a skeptic to be believable but not so much that it hindered the storyline. As great as Mike was, little Ki and her mother Mattie made the book. I cant’ say much more about it, without giving away too much. I think this basically goes without saying, but just in case you haven’t read a Stephen King book there is a fair amount of adult content in the book. I definitely did some skipping in certain places, however it was the kind that is at least somewhat important to the plot.
Now I really want to see the A&E special based on the book. I just hope the ending is better than the book.
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Book: The Night eternal
Authors: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Recommend: If you’ve read the first two, you might as well finish the trilogy.
I picked this one up from the library after reading the first two books in the trilogy. This book is set two years after the second book and is the conclusion to the series. The human race is now living in service to the vampires. They have become labor and a source of food. However the small gang from the first two books are still fighting against the vampires, carrying on Abraham’s mission to save the world from the Master.
While this book does bring the whole story to a basically satisfying conclusion, I can’t help but feel like the authors really copped out after the first book. This book’s time gap was a weak excuse to change the relationships of the main characters with very little rhyme or reason to it. The whole book was leading to a very obvious end point and it lacked a sense of suspense because the end was just far too obvious. I think that this would make a great movie, but they didn’t hint at the ending, they slammed the reader over the head with it.
This book was even more of a let down than the second, even though it was better written because it was just too obvious. While it wasn’t a bad read, it wasn’t a good one either.
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Book: The Fall
Authors: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Recommend: Although it’s not quite as good as the first, it is still worth taking the time to read.
I read the first book in this trilogy, The Strain, a couple of weeks ago. I had been wanting to read the next two but had to wait a bit since my book buying budget is rather low at the moment. So I requested this one and the last book in the trilogy from the library.
This book continues to follow the main characters as they fight against the vampire virus that is beginning to take control of their world. The cities are beginning to shut down and no one is trying to hide what they are fighting anymore and the niceties of society begin to unravel into chaos. The question shifts from ‘how do we stop it’ to ‘are we too late to stop it.’
While this book was a fun, great read, it was missing something that the first book had. The pacing in this one is a bit slower than the first. While the authors attempt to keep the action and pacing as quick as the first book, there is just no way to maintain it through the second book, which is by necessity, development into the third installment of this series.
Definitely worth picking up. I know that Barnes and Noble just got a new display of these in paperback form. While I don’t know that I’d pay full price for the hardback, I have a feeling that the paperbacks will end up a part of my collection in the near future. I just hope that the third book picks back up!
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Book: Quarantine (or Quaranteen): The Losers
Author: Lex Thomas
Recommend: If you handle violence well and have a strong stomach.. this one is a bit graphic!
I found the concept of this book intriguing and when I found out that I could read it early for free, I decided that it was worth checking out. I’ve always been a sucker for a free book. This book is The Lord of the Flies meets Mean Girls with a touch of The Hunger Games thrown in for good measure. On the first day of high school in a brand new building as students report to their first class, something strange starts to happen to the teachers. Suddenly everyone is in a panic and the military locks them all in, only allowing students who are of age to leave. Quickly normal teens turn into gangs that fight to survive in their harsh environment. What happens when David, the former star of the football team, fallen from glory decides to build a gang of his own?
I found this book extremely gripping. I had a very hard time putting it down. The language in it was very descriptive, the events shocking and the characters interesting to read. I felt pulled along at watching from the center of a hurricane while everything fell apart around me. I found the fact the relationship between Will and David complex and interesting to follow and the romance having a fresh spin on it.
The thing I liked least about the book was the never-ending violence. It felt like it just never took a break. The descriptions became too much in some places and it actually started to turn my stomach, which is a very rare occurrence for me. I also found the accepted overt sexuality running rampant through the school to be a bit unrealistic. While they never described the act, there was plenty of mention of sexual activity being a regular part of the teen society and yet there is zero mention of a single teen pregnancy which makes no sense at all. It is never addressed. Not once. if you are going to mention this topic, as a responsible writer for impressionable teens, there needs to be some consequence for it. Instead it seems to perpetuate the idea that there are no adult consequences for those actions.
Overall the book was an enjoyable read and I think I’ll be watching for the sequel when it comes out.
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Book: The Strain
Authors: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Recommend: If you like horror, vampires and post-apocalyptic fiction, this one is for you. Graphic language and violence warning.
Okay, I have to admit that when I saw that the author of this book was the same guy who directed one of the darkest movies I have ever seen and was the man directing the two Hobbit movies that are coming soon, I was immediately interested. When I realized that it was a vampire book, I simply had to read this one.
A plane lands at JFK international in New York City. Just after it lands, the whole plane goes dark. Every single shade is drawn down. Everyone on board is dead and missing something rather important – their blood. As the CDC frantically tries to figure out what killed them all, darker forces are at work, trying to cover it all up.
Okay, this was a great read after the last book I picked up. It was fast-paced, adrenaline pumping action with absolutely no wasted words. This book was simple straightforward horror in the best sense. It reminded me of ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King but a bit cleaner and with vampires that are more like the ones seen in The Passage by Justin Cronin. It was a fun read, full of gore and suspense.
I would say that the only negative for this book would be the amount of swearing. I’m not a big fan. I don’t think it adds to the story line. I would also say that it is a very violent book (but given the subject matter, that is to be expected). This is definitely not a book for everyone.
I definitely want to get my hands on the next two books in the trilogy but will be reading them during the daylight hours. Vampire books at night are never a good idea (unless of course they are written by Stephenie Meyer).
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Book: Jane Slayre
Author: Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
Recommend: Definitely! Especially for fans Jane Eyre.
I am a huge fan of the original version of this book, Jane Eyre. It has always had a spooky quality that appealed to me. When I saw this on the shelves I simply had to read it. After tackling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I was a bit apprehensive but dived in any way. I am glad that I did.
The author nearly seamlessly incorporates vampires, zombies and werewolves into the original story of an orphan who is employed as a governess to the ward of a man with a secret. For some reason the idea of Jane being a vampire hunter was not odd to me. She did so out of necessity, not because she wanted to. In places where the story deviated from the original tale, the wording was so well done that I could almost swear it had been penned by Miss Bronte herself.
The only fault I could find with the book was the voodoo controlled zombies hiding under the guise of Christianity. No self-respecting bokor would have mixed Christianity with voodoo. It was the only point of the story that felt just a bit weak to me. I understand the author’s motivation behind the decision but it just didn’t quite flow as well as the rest of the book did.
Overall, this was a great read and fit with the spooky feeling that the original tale already had, adding to the story in a memorable way. I think this one is going to have to become part of my collection. I definitely see a desire to reread this version again soon.
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Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Authors: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Recommend: Maybe if you like zombies and actually enjoyed Pride and Prejudice (I don’t).
I admit it. While I like Jane Austen, I have never liked Pride and Prejudice. I’m just not a fan of Mr. Darcy! I have read the original book once and hated every minute of it. I avoided this book for quite some time but I really am a fan of good zombie stories. I picked this one up at the library and finally decided that it had to be read. Even zombies couldn’t save this story.
Seth Grahame-Smith did a very good job of adding zombies into this story for the most part. The only element I found to be a bit odd was the Oriental influence. Ninjas? Really??? People having dojos on their property and girls fighting and killing zombies in dresses was a bit too out of character for the time period. I think that he would have done better to keep the zombie killers as men and have the women be protected by them. It was too modern a notion for the setting of the book. It kept pulling me from the story, which I already don’t really like.
This book might be appealing to some but I would much rather read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter any day to this bit of drivel.