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review 2018-02-20 18:45
Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone
Zero Day: The Hatching Series, Book 3 (Hatching Series, The) - Ezekiel Boone

ZERO DAY was a fun wrap up to the trilogy that started with THE HATCHING.

 

The narrative is still following all the same people, people who are now facing the fallout from a few nuclear strikes across the U.S., and the previous ones which occurred in various places around the world. The spiders are still continuing to mutate and evolve with the most dangerous of them all appearing in this book.

 

I enjoyed following the characters around on each of their missions and adventures. What I did not like was the following, (do not click if you don't want to know): 

 where are the dead people? None of the main people die! I wish the story had more guts by sacrificing at least one of the main characters. Having them all live was just playing it too safe for my liking. Of course, I like it when everyone dies, so your mileage may vary.) I rarely felt anyone was in real danger.

(spoiler show)

 

Additionally, I wanted more spider action. In the previous two books, there was lots of it. They were both your usual quick chapter Creature Features with lots of spiders overcoming people, animals, etc... In this book there is little of that, other than during the denouement, which was disappointing.

 

As a whole, this series was a ton of fun! Even though I found this entry to be slightly wanting, the trilogy itself was a blast, with a couple of real twists that I enjoyed. And, I have to admit that at times, reading it made me itchy!

 

If Creature Features are your thing, then I highly recommend you check out this trilogy! I'd just advise you to have lots of lights on, so you can immediately spot any insects heading your way.

 

*Thanks to Atria and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-02-14 17:11
Tarnished City, (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James
Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James

 

TARNISHED CITY is an amazing follow-up to last year's GILDED CAGE. In fact, I think I liked this one just a little bit more!

 

Even though I see this listed and shelved as YA, it's much darker than most YA I've tried, (which admittedly is not a lot because it's usually too angst-y for me.) In this case however, the author nixes a lot of the extraneous stuff and focuses on the characters and the intricately plotted story.

 

It took me a little while to get back into the flow, (it's been just over a year since I've visited this world), but once I did, I was so happy to be there! There's no real re-cap, which I appreciated. I feel that if an author's characters are strong enough, they should come back without my having to be reminded and these certainly did. There's a large cast here and the characters refer to other characters using the names by which they know them-sometimes resulting in 2 or 3 different names for a person, depending upon the point of view at the time.

 

I noted that a lot of what is going on in this book is going on in the real world right now. Perhaps not slavery exactly, (those with no Skill must serve 10 years as a slave), but classism, (against those born with no Skill), and the increasingly outspoken attitudes and acceptance of those with racist views. It comes all the way up to the sanction of violence against those who disagree or who dare to stand up against those in power. I guess I'm trying to say that it's obvious to me that the author knows what she's talking about as far as how the story relates to the world today, and it's downright scary.

 

I feel like I needed to make these points, but now that I have, I want to say how much I loved this tale! I loved the characters, they're well drawn and oh, so human. They aren't perfect, in fact, many of them are downright horrible people, but they're fun to read about. The machinations and the conniving going on rival that in any adult fantasy that I've read-with the added bonus of not having to wait 5+ years for the next book.

 

I say BRAVO, Vic James! You've created a compelling, fun and interesting world, populated with deep, complicated characters and I can't wait to come back to it once again. Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-02-13 18:03
Absolutely riveting thriller inspired by a real-life case; I couldn’t put this down!
Mister Tender's Girl: A Novel - Carter Wilson

I waited with baited breath to receive my finished copy after reading the initial excerpt, and I was not disappointed when I got the actual book in my hands. ‘Mister Tender’s Girl’ kept me riveted from start to finish; the tension, and gripping story just didn’t let up for the entire novel.

 

The main character, Alice Gray (formerly Hill), has been victim to the atrocity of being attacked and stabbed by the Glassin twins, some 14 years ago now, and the crime was ‘encouraged’ by their fanatical attachment to graphic novels that Alice’s father wrote and drew about a character called ‘Mister Tender’. For many readers (and author Carter Wilson writes about this at the end of the novel), this will remind them of the real-life crimes spurred on by the Slender Man case.


Alice now lives in a world where she has tried to run away from her terrible past back in England, where her father was also later attacked and killed, her brother has been diagnosed with mental illness, although her mother is pulling all the strings for him; along with all that, Alice gradually finds out there’s a whole online community dedicated to following Alice’s new life, obsessed with her struggle, and she comes to learn that the past is catching up with her. There’s now a ‘Mister Interested’ on her tail, and figures from her past are popping up, making her her terrible PTSD symptoms and panic attacks incredibly difficult to deal with, especially in her new life that she has tried to create; she now owns a coffee shop, and has dedicated time to make her body and mind stronger in response to her past. It seems her changes are not enough though, as she is living in a world of constant terror, anxiety, and fitful dreams.

 

I feel like this is more than just a thriller though; it kept me glued to my pages for 2 days straight, as often as I could get reading time in, Wilson has done an excellent job in creating a character who has worked hard on herself and fights back against all odds, shows great tenacity, and although she is struggling with problems like PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, she continues to rule out being a victim any longer. She also wants to have strong bonds with her brother and sees his struggle as well. I like that Wilson delved into the ‘scary depths’ of mental illness here because this was important to these characters.
I know you have to suspend your disbelief about the cops becoming involved at certain junctures of the plot perhaps (I’m trying so hard not to reveal what happens!), but the tension and drama in this book doesn’t let up and I was INSIDE this book all the way; it was written THAT well.

For writing Alice as a survivor who decided to fight back after she became a victim, I say bravo. And for making it so that I forgot about about real-life scenario comparisons, extra kudos. I also enjoyed the writing tactic of taking the reader inside other worlds within the book successfully, without losing me in the least: the children’s story, the graphic novel, the past storylines, the dreams, the Internet chatroom, all very cleverfully employed.
*Extra points for taking me back to Dover, England, where my dad lives.

 

Overall, this was one enthralling suspenseful read, and just like I couldn’t wait to get this in my hands, I can’t wait to read what Carter writes next. I couldn’t get ENOUGH of this book, I just wanted more. That’s ALWAYS a sign of a good book.
*Thank you to Sourcebooks and BookishFirst for my copy of the book.

 

 

 

 

**First Impression of what I’ve read so far (written after reading initial EXCERPT):
I actually slept on my first look of the book before writing this ‘impression’, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I read. I also lapped up those first 30 pages (and kept swiping, hoping there was more on my Kindle, because I didn’t want it to end yet), because I was immediately drawn into the story that Carter has written. Alice is gripped in this world of anxiety and ongoing terror after what happened to her (and her father) so many years ago, and those feelings just emanate off those pages. I was immediately made to feel what she was feeling and because I love psychological thrillers in general, this just felt unique, with the graphic novel element, just jumping off the pages too. The writing was smooth and felt natural as Alice’s ‘voice’, and out of all of the ‘First Impressions I’ve read yet, this is the one that has pulled me in the fastest. Alice is haunted daily by her past, while trying to hide behind a veneer in a different world where no one really knows her, and now this ‘Mister Tender’ shows up?! I absolutely am dying to know what happens next and I would be honored to read and review an early copy of this thriller. It looks fantastic.

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review 2018-02-09 15:34
All the Names They Used For God by Anjali Sachdeva
All the Names They Used for God: Stories - Anjali Sachdeva

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD is a collection of short literary fiction stories, the last two of which were absolutely brilliant.

 

The tales in this book are all over the place, but I think it's all the different facets of humanity that link them all together. No two stories here are even remotely alike and I enjoyed that diversity.

 

Among my favorites were:

 

LOGGING LAKE which involved a strange happening at an ill advised campsite.

 

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD which was a heartbreaking story of two young girls who were kidnapped and forever changed by it.

 

ROBERT GREENMAN AND THE MERMAID: Once we glimpse something fantastic,(in the true sense of the word), it is very difficult to let it go.

 

MANUS was probably my favorite story here. After so many tales involving ordinary life, here's one that is totally out of left field. Gripping, poignant, and so creative-I'll never look at a human hand in the same way again.

 

And finally, PLEIADES: I don't even know what to say about this story. It's powerful, beautifully written and well told. I doubt anyone could read it and remain unmoved.

 

I liked the tales in this collection, but until the last two I didn't feel that this volume was anything special. MANUS and PLEIADES elevated this book to something really special in my eyes, and I highly recommend this book to fans of literary and speculative fiction.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

**Also, thanks to my fellow book blogger Cody for turning me on to this collection. You can find his excellent reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56352820-cody-codysbookshelf **

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review 2018-02-01 14:27
The Night Child by Anna Quinn
The Night Child: A Novel - Anna Quinn

THE NIGHT CHILD is the dark and moving debut novel from Anna Quinn. I feel like I should include a trigger warning, but on the other hand, a trigger warning gives you a heads up as to what is going to happen and I think it's best to let the author tell the story as she intended. Just be aware that there are very disturbing elements within.

 

I'm not going to run down the entire plot for you, but it begins with Nora, a high school English teacher, seeing an hallucination of a face with startling blue eyes. Here begins Nora's decline. Whose face is it and what does it mean? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Being a seasoned reader of dark fiction, I pretty much knew where this story was going as soon as I began reading. Anna Quinn does a good job at depicting all the different psychological aspects of this situation, including the reactions of other family members and coworkers. My only problem was this: I didn't care for any of the characters. I felt pity for Nora and for her immediate family, but maybe that's what the author intended? Perhaps Nora's coldness was yet another symptom of her underlying issues and partially the result of her husband being such a jerk?

 

That said, this was a touching and disturbing story dealing with heartbreaking situations and I believe that it deals with mental illness, (or coming to terms with difficult, horrendous circumstances) in a stark, but believable way. For that reason, I recommend this book to those who think they can handle the worst of humanity.

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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