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review 2018-09-27 13:15
A Look at Media and Zombies
Feed - Mira Grant

Not going to lie, this book is really hard to get into. There were way too many information dumps and reading about ratings, bumps, etc. with regards to Georgia and her partners (her brother Shaun and their friend Buffy) blog/news organization was boring to read about. Also reading about the different people involved in the business calling themselves Irwins and different names was a bit much after a while.


That said, Grant did a good job with the slow build to characters. We find a world that had to go on after two scientific breakthroughs caused zombies (the infected) to walk among us. And I like how Grant shows how the world goes on 20 years after the fact. We still have elections, people still want to go out and have dinner. It does seem a lot of people gave up red meat though (we find out that the virus can survive in animals over a certain weight limit). The ending should have been cut though at a certain point (no spoilers) to give it more weight in my opinion though. I know that there are other books in the series, but one wonders what they would continue to speak on after this first book.


Georgia Mason and her brother Shaun go out and blog about the infected that have been inhabiting the world for a good 20 years at the start of this novel. Shaun is reckless and she's concerned that he's going to end up dead sooner rather than later since he takes a lot of risks. We get a slow build to the fact that Georgia and Shaun were adopted by the Masons after the death of their biological son. Their parents are cold and don't really give a shit about these two, only using them to bump their ratings up with their blogs opining about family and living in an infected world.

When Georgia, Shaun, and their partner Buffy get picked to follow a Presidential candidate on the campaign trail they think they have hit the big time. Instead, they come across a deep and disturbing conspiracy that can have repercussions not just for them, but the for the U.S.


Georgia is cautious, sarcastic, and determined to always report the truth no matter what. One thing that I enjoyed was Grant providing us excerpts from Georgia and Shaun's blog while reading. I even started to enjoy Shaun after a while once you get past the he's an over eager frat boy type character. Shaun loves Georgia and she loves him and they really would die for each other. We find out through their interactions how much they depend on each other. I can see why though when you realize what cold fishes their mom and dad really are. 


I liked the other characters too such as candidate Peter Ryman, Buffy, Richard, Steve, etc. Grant's book is lengthy (593 pages) so you do spend time getting to know characters and guess at their motivations while reading. You're heart breaks a little bit too with some of the characters that you don't spend anytime with, but you hear about such as Ryman's daughter. 


The writing was very exact. At times I felt like I was reading a scientific journal. No, Kellis-Amberlee doesn't exist in our world, but I can imagine a world that could create something like this that would spiral out of control. The flow though was not good (one reason why I gave this four stars). The book drags in way too many places that after a while I started wondering where Grant was going with things. 

The world-building felt very exact, though I hate how many information dumps are in this book (be forewarned) since after a while I went okay so that's one more new thing I didn't know. I don't know a way that information can be imparted to the reader without it reading like well now so and so character has told us that cats can't catch Kellis-Amberlee cause they are below the weight threshold limit. Or so and so makes mention about how many people have retinal issues due to Kellis-Amberlee. Or that the loss of memory is one of the last things that happen before Kellis-Amberlee takes over and you fully become infected. See, that's boring right? So a little less of that and this could have been a five star book.

I thought the ending (at least the true ending in my mind) was mind-blowing and heart breaking. The book limps on after and I wasn't feeling it (another reason why this is just four stars) and I have to say that the rationale behind why things popped off the way that they did was a stretch to me. I didn't really buy it and it wasn't that compelling to me. 


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review 2016-11-05 12:40
Audiobook Review: Feedback (Newsflesh, #4) by Mira Grant
Feedback (Newsflesh Series, Book 4) - Seanan McGuire

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com


I started listening to Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy last year, so I was very late to the party. That’s really good news for me, I didn’t have to wait for her to decide to tackle the other side of the campaign.


The first three books in this series follow Sean and Georgia Mason as they follow Senator Ryman’s presidential campaign. There are three books and an anthology devoted to the characters. In the continuation of the series (this could’ve also been marketed as a spinoff series), we follow Aislinn (“Ash”), Ben, Mat, and Audrey as they follow Governor Susan Kilburn’s bid for the same presidential campaign. This book’s timeline is the same as book one, Feed.


So, this world is set about 20 years after “The Rising” when the dead decided to get up and keep walking. While things with zombies are bad, there is government, technology and systems in place to help keep the outbreaks down. Zombies still exist, but they aren’t the problems you’re used to seeing in most zombie books/movies/TV shows. People have learned how to live with them. The other interesting thing about this world, animals turn into zombies. People had to give up their dogs or risk them “amplifying” and attacking you. The same is true of livestock. Very little meat is eaten anymore, aside from eggs, chicken and fish, as larger animals can amplify and contaminate the meat.


So, this story is narrated by Ash. She is an Irish woman who fled Ireland, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. To do so, she married Ben, who is nothing more than a friend and now a co-worker as they work on the same blogging team. Ash is the Irwin (Irwins are named for Steve Irwin because they never saw a zombie they didn’t want to poke with a stick). Ben is a Newsie. Newies tell the factual truth and basically replaced journalists of our day because they lied to the public about the zombies during The Rising. Then there is Audrey. She is the team’s Fictional, which is exactly as it sounds. She is also Ash’s girlfriend, remember how I said Ash just married Ben for the greencard. She is a lesbian. Ben is okay with this infidelity because they were married in the legal sense only. There is a love between Ben and Ash, but it is the love of two really close friends. Last, but certainly not least, is Mat. Mat is genderfluid and the team’s techie. Mat also has a great following as a makeup artist. Mat prefers pronouns of “them” and “they”.


This team of bloggers isn’t in the big leagues of the Mason’s, whose parents started the whole blogger as journalist thing. They just want to be able to make their way in the world. Ben really wants to fix up the house that was left to him and protect his sister. When they get asked to go on the campaign trail following Governor Kilburn, they had no idea what was in store for them. This story is filled with as much plotting and political intrigue as Feed, as we watch our bloggers try to stay alive while also reporting on the news of the political campaign.


This story has diversity in spades. I applaud Grant for creating a diverse book. Ben is black, married to a lesbian Irish white girl, who’s dating an Asian woman. Add in Mat, and that is an extremely diverse group of bloggers all working together on this campaign. There is also meetup with another candidate on the trail who worked as a stripper at one point and used her beauty to win over the people of Nevada. She worked hard to legitimize the sex worker trade and to get them better working conditions.


I loved this story. I was so glad to get back into the Newsflesh world. The characters that Grant has created as just wonderful. Those characters, paired with a very unique zombie world, that has made this series so great in my mind. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or zombies in general, I can’t recommend this series enough. You can start with this book if you want, but you must know, that because this book takes place during the same time as Feed, you will learn some spoilers about Feed if you choose to go back and read it later.



If there is anything I could fault in this series, it is the fact that each book has different narrators. The original trilogy has both male and female narrators for each book, which is not the case here. We have only one narrator for this story, Georgia Dolenz. I started this book not having any idea who the narrator would be. I will say that they picked a great choice for this book. Since Ash is our main storyteller and is from Ireland, this narrator must be really good as Irish accents. I can say that she nailed it. She did a great job with not only Ash’s voice, but with all the voices of this story. There are a lot of voices, both male and female, and she did a great job with all of them. I will be on the lookout for more books by Dolenz.


**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.hotlistens.com/feedback-audiobook-by-mira-grant-review
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review 2016-08-30 17:53
Audiobook Review: Rise (Newsflesh Shorts) by Mira Grant
Rise: The Complete Newsflesh Collection: Library Edition (Newsflesh Trilogy) - Nicholas Guy Smith,John Glouchevitch,Christine Lakin,Mira Grant

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.


This is a collection of stories that are set in the world of the Newsflesh series. Many of these stories have been previously released in some form, but Countdown is the only one that I was familiar with prior to starting this anthology. I really believe that this collection is a must read/listen to fans of the Newsflesh series. If you haven’t started the Newsflesh trilogy, there are some stories here that will have spoilers for the series. I would recommend reading/listening to the first three books before tackling this one. If you haven’t started this series, it is a really fun zombie series, with a mix of horror, suspense, humor and even some romance. For me, it was the mix of horror and humor that made this series so much fun, not to mention the wonderful characters.


This story is about how The Rising comes about. Amanda Amberlee is cured of leukemia with the Amberlee Virus. Then there is Dr. Kellis, who is working on the cure for the common cold. However, it is still in the testing stage until some morons decide to release it upon the world so that everyone is cured, not just the people with money. When the two viruses come together, they create the Kellis Amberlee Virus, which causes the zombies.


This story was very short and follows a girl named Debbie who was on a college campus during The Rising. She uses some survivalist knowledge she got from her grandfather to stay safe during the initial outbreak.


San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
This story is one of my favorites in this anthology. It is about The Rising starting at ComicCon in San Diego. Can you imagine that? Trying to deal with a brand new outbreak of zombies, which you didn’t know were real, at ComicCon. There were some really great characters. The story is told from Mahir who is interviewing a survivor. The story breaks from the main storytelling to have Mahir and Lorelei Tuttle have discussions about the story she is telling Mahir, even though is told from several POVs.


How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
This is another favorite. It takes place after the third book in the series. Mahir travels to Australia to see how things are done there. They have much more lax security there. He ponders that it is because the Australians have been dealing nature trying to kill them for years. Were zombies that much different?

There was one thing that no one considered, however: Australia was populated by Australians. When the rest of us were trying to adapt to a world that suddenly seemed bent on eradicating the human race, the Australians had been dealing with a hostile environment for centuries. They looked upon our zombie apocalypse, and they were not impressed.


The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell
This story is about a kindergarten teacher and her class as she tries to save them when there is an outbreak at her school. Now, this doesn’t take place during The Rising. I can’t remember how long after, but there was security in place to help prevent outbreaks. Kids were strapped to their desks and there was blood tests throughout the school. Also, the teachers wore protective gear when they went out for recess and even carried guns.


Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus
This was a great story about Dr. Shannon Abbey. We meet her in the second book. She is quite a lot of fun. She is a bit of a mad scientist. She runs an underground virology lab and does tests that the CDC can’t because of many bureaucratic reasons. I love Shannon Abbey. She is the right mix of crazy and smarts.


All The Pretty Little Horses (Brand New Story)
This is the story of how Shaun and Georgia’s parents become the legendary bloggers that they become just a few years after The Rising. It has been three years since Stacy and Michael Mason lost their son, Phillip, to The Rising. Specifically, a beloved neighbor’s dog turned (yes, all mammals over a certain weight of about 40 pounds, if I remember correctly, can be turned) and let’s just say Phillip was too young to turn. Stacy puts Phillip out of his misery and the courts rule that it wasn’t murder, but Stacy doesn’t see it that way. Michael starts to look for anything to get her out of bed and acting like a living human being again. They go to clear out areas that are deemed unsuitable and look for survivors in infested areas. They become the journalist of this new world.


Coming to You Live (Brand New Story)
This story takes place at the end of the series. It features all the characters we’ve come to love throughout the series. I’m not going to mention names for people who haven’t read the series yet. I don’t want you to know who lives and who dies, because there are a lot of deaths of beloved characters in this series. While I really enjoyed seeing all my favorite characters from this series, I don’t know that I really liked the story itself. I think it was better with how the series ended than what happened in this story. I guess it was great for the characters to all come together again, but for me personally, I would’ve prefered things left the way they were. So not horrible, but my least favorite story in this collection.



These were all new-to-me narrators. I have no idea why they haven’t picked narrators for this series and stuck with them. I think there has been at least one narrator change for each book, which is frustrating as a listener. That being said, I thought all three of these narrators did a great job. All the narrators in this series, in all the books, have done an amazing job. I would just like to see consistency across the series. If given the choice, I would still go back and listen to these books over reading them. One, because I prefer to listen. Two, I think each of the different narrators have done a great job.


**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.hotlistens.com/rise-audiobook-by-mira-grant-review
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review 2015-11-03 23:35
Audiobook Review: Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant
Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) - Mira Grant,Paula Christensen,Jesse Bernstein

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.


Feed is another story that I picked up to stay with my horror theme for Halloween in October. It is also another great recommendation from TheGeekyBlogger. After I started listening to the first little bit, I started to wonder if it was really a horror story. Yes, it has zombies, but it didn’t have that normal “horror” feel to it. I don’t know quite how to describe it. It was too “fun”, but yet not. The horror aspects to come into play eventually, but I’ll just leave it as it is not like any other book I’ve ever read.


This isn’t like any other zombie world I’ve visited. I say visited because I haven’t read a lot of zombie books, but I have watched a lot of zombie movies. Most zombie stories have many zombies shambling around, no government, no technology, everything is pretty much post apocalyptic. This is nothing like that. First, this takes place about 20 years since the breakout started. They do a lot of blood test to get in buildings to ensure you’re not infected. You even have to have blood tests to get out of your car for the same reason. Some areas, like national parks, are restricted because of zombies. Oh, and most animals can contract the disease if they weigh over 40 pounds.


George and Shaun, they are where the story is the real winner. They are both great characters. They are brother and sister. They were orphaned and adopted by parents who lost their child during the original outbreak, aka The Raising. They have grown up and are now bloggers who go out and are telling the news. The general news media isn’t trusted because they tried to cover up the original outbreak. So people have turned to bloggers to get their information. George, Shaun and their techy friend Buffy go on a political campaign for Senator Ryman, who is running for president.


Feed is a story that grabs you like a zombie and doesn’t let go. The wonderful characters combined with humor and the way the story is told just keeps you up to know what is going to happen next. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It kept me on my toes. I never knew what was going to happen next. I was completely surprised by some of the events that happened in the story. I can’t wait to see where this story goes next.



I haven’t listened to many books with multiple narrators and both of these narrators were new-to-me. This one did a great job with it, probably the best I’ve heard to date. Paula Christensen handles all the narration that is told from the female POVs. She also reads any blog posts that posted at the beginning of each chapter that are written by one of the girls. Jesse Bernstein handles all the chapters that are told from a male POV and any blog posts from one of the guys. Both narrators did a great job with male and female voices. Both had great pace and tone. They both really pulled me into the story and got me lost in what was going on and forgetting about the world around me.

Source: www.hotlistens.com/feed-audiobook-by-mira-grant-review
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review 2015-05-12 02:52
Feed - Mira Grant


    This was actually a hard one to rate. The last 150 pages was easily the best, and most exciting in the whole book. And at nearly 600 pages....let's just say that was a lot of build up for the action to really start. At least 200 pages too much build up if you ask me. If I'm being honest, I just think it ended up feeling excessive, and like the story would have been stronger if I wasn't quite frequently trying to power read to get to the good parts. 




   I will say that I found this story to be really unique though. I really liked to get such a different version of a zombie story. I mean really, it's kind of hard to call this a Zombie story, when the zombies for the most part weren't necessarily the focus of this story, they felt more like just another part of daily life in the new world, a dangerous part, but still kind of just a fact of life. It was actually very well done how the author brought you to that same level of enlightenment that the characters were at. This was 20+ years after the zombies came to be, so for most of these main characters, this way of life (with Zombies, and all the aftereffects of such) was completely normal to them. They never knew anything different. I've never read a story like that before. Especially one that depicts a world that went on, meaning that there was still civilization. Different areas had fallen to the undead, but there were still safe (as safe as one can get amidst zombies anyway) communities. That alone made this story unique. Life was going on even among the dead.


   I also liked the way the world after was. I thought it was neat to see how the bloggers came to be a real source of, well everything! Anything from the news, to entertainment. That was super cool. It also felt like something that wasn't exactly far fetched after everything that had happened. That element alone was enough enticement for me to want to read this book! I liked following this trio of bloggers, even though I didn't necessarily like all of them that much.



   George was kind of hard for me to relate to, and she was the real voice in this book. She just felt kind of as emotionally removed in life as she was in the news she reported. I don't know if that was because of her profession or that's just what made her so good at what she did, but either way, it took something away from the story for me. It always kept me at arms length. I did really like George's brother Shaun though. He was very interesting to me, and he seemed to have a little more emotional depth than George. I am really excited to hear that he is the voice of the second book! That, and the fact that I already own this whole trilogy, has me ready to read book 2. Maybe not right away, but sometime soon anyways.


     So all in all.....I'd say that the first 400 or so pages was closer to a 2 star rating, but the last 100-200 were easily 4 stars and worth the wait. So all together I guess it's somewhere around 3 stars as a whole. I really hope that the next book steps it up a little with the action. It appears to be about the same as this one length wise, and I will be disappointed if it doesn't deliver more.

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