Animal Kingdom–Iain Rob Wright

WELCOME TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FOOD CHAIN!
Aside from being freakishly tall, Joe is just an ordinary divorcee taking his son, Danny, to the zoo for his weekend of custody. Everything is going great until a bizarre snake attack sends everybody in the zoo running for cover. It isn’t long before Joe realizes that there is a lot more going on than a simple snake attack. And if the hungry lions, roaring gorillas and charging elephants now free from their cages have anything to say about it, there is more bloodshed to come. All of the world’s animals are attacking, and no one knows why. What they do know is that man is now on the bottom of the food chain. (from Goodreads )

A similar theme to James Patterson’s Zoo, though it predates that novel by about a year. The new apocalypse comes not with zombies or killer viruses, but with animals. There seems to be no clear reason why the sudden change in animal natures but sociopathic Apes and killer spiders are not my idea of fun. Come to think of it, the spiders are the most terrifying part, hey, I’m a girl, if there is one thing I hate its bloody spiders, creepy ,crawly, scream inducing creatures.

There is a great variant of  characters, all with their own backstories and motivations. Apart from divorcee father Joe, who’s main motivation is obviously keeping his son alive, Young Danny, who has a passion for 1980’s wrestlers. Then there is a business man with a serious case of small mans syndrome, A big Scot with psychopathic tendencies, a zoologist who is more comfortable with animals than people, an over-the-top religious nut and a young woman with serious anxiety issues. Combine the cast of characters with an army of very angry animals of all kinds and you have a riveting and nail-biting novel.

It’s not a long novel, only took a few hours to read, but it has a great theme and a believable plotline. This is the second Iain Rob Wright novel I have read and both had twisted and unexpected plotlines with a very different take on the apocalypse genre, Well worth putting on your TBR list.

8/10

I am slowly working my way through my back list and willowing out the ones worth reviewing. I don’t tend to review books I don’t like, I will review them on Amazon or Goodreads, because I believe every book deserves a review, good or bad, for the simple reason that the author has been brave enough to put their hard work out there for us to read and deserves applause for that. How many of us have novels sitting on our hard drives that we are not brave enough to share with others? Every day I add a few more words to mine and wonder if anyone would want to read it and if I will ever be brave enough to share it. Many years ago I started writing a very different novel to what I am working on now and shared it with a couple of people I trusted but never did more than that, even though it was well received by my friends, I wasn’t brave enough. It takes a lot of courage to take that leap and I commend those who have done it. Just because I might not enjoy a novel doesn’t mean that others don’t have a different opinion.

Well that said, I hope everyone has a fab Easter weekend, I may not be around the next few weeks, its time for school holidays here so I don’t have much time to blog. 

Happy Reading

Journey Across Zombie Texas–Rhiannon Frater

A few months ago I reviewed the second book of the Living Dead Boy series by Rhiannon Frater, author of the fabulous As the World Dies series, well I am happy to tell you that the third and final book Journey Across Zombie Texas was released last week and it’s the conclusion you don’t want to miss.

So many author run out of steam by the time they come to finish a trilogy but this series keeps up the excitement and action to the very last word and leaves you with just enough mystery to want to know what happens next. And who knows, we may just see young Josh all grown up and killing his way across Texas once more.

Josh and the Zombie Hunters have to once again fend off Chad before finally being reunited with Sam’s sheriff father and taken to safety in a walled town with him and his girlfriend. Once again adults are making decisions for them but Josh desperately wants to be reunited with his father and baby brother at the FEMA camp in San Angelo.

The Zombie Hunters have to escape the town and the sheriff and his police officer girlfriend, as well as evade Chad and find a way to get across Texas so Josh can find his family, oh and avoid or kill any zombies that get in their way. A big ask for a group of adults so should be impossible for a bunch of kids, but these are the Zombie Hunters and if Josh knows anything, he knows how to deal with zombies.

But their numbers start to drop even before they manage to escape the walled town which is under siege from a zombie horde. With Corina badly injured, Sam gallantly offers to return to the town with her while the other four carry on to San Angelo. Not knowing when he will see the girl he loves again, Josh has to make the decision whether to stay with her or find his family. The pull of family is to strong, so with Troy, Danny and Dulcie (who’s mother is in the same camp.) He fights his way through zombies, idiots and adults to reach his destination.

As with all her books, Rhiannon never lets us down. She always has a great story arc and strong, believable characters. It can’t have been easy to get into the mind of a 12 year old boy and make the storyline as strong as she has but she has done an amazing job. A fantastic end to a really good series and I was sad to see it finished. Although it is a YA series and written from the view point of  a young protagonist, don’t be put off, it is a story that suits all ages. The way it is written makes the children in it sound and act as kids but at the same time maturing very quickly as any kid would have to do in such a situation. With the strong knowledge base Josh had built up pre ZA and the capability of kids to adapt quickly and think outside the box, it is easy to see why his friends follow him and also why some adults would be willing to listen to him. A lot of kids that are written as a protagonist come across as annoying little know it all’s but Josh and his friends know what they need to do and just go ahead and get it done.

9/10

A series well worth adding to you TBR list. Rhiannon Frater should always be on your list of authors, she has such a large array of books from Vampire to Zombie and beyond. Two series I would recommend is As the World Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride. Both great series, not to be missed.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading

Scouts of the Apocalypse–Michell Plested

 

Being a Scout is more than just helping old ladies cross the road. Scouts have a responsibility to their communities and the greater world around them. Part of that responsibility is training and being prepared for disasters. When a Scout troop comes home from a weekend of survival training in the deep woods, they find that nothing about the world they left is the same. Shambling hordes of undead wander the countryside killing anything that lives. Can the Scouts survive the trip home and is there even a home to return to? It will take all of their training and smarts to overcome this disaster. (taken from Goodreads)

I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy this book, I mean really Scouts against the walking dead, it seemed a bit silly, and then I started reading it. I am glad I did, the storyline is believable (if, like me, you believe the zompoc could happen.), the characters are well written with solid growth arcs and the author has obviously drawn on his vast knowledge of scouting to write such a precise novel. There is so much more to the modern scout than I ever knew, when the shtf I definitely want a scout by my side, well a scout and Daryl Dixon lol

The scouts show solid leadership and survival skills but where no means perfect. I particularly liked how he didn’t make Scouter Mike to be all knowing and unflappable, so many novels fall down with their main characters being too good to be true, making them unrealistic, everyone has a breaking point and the author wasn’t afraid to show that, also the teens in his care where just that, teens, scared, confused, worried about their loved ones, while at the same time attempting to be brave and to live up to the code of the Scouts.

Unlike many books where the adults are idiots or the kids need to be protected, the players in this tale work together to survive and to save others. which was a refreshing change. Though the boys looked to the adults for guidance, they were more than capable of thinking for themselves and watch each others backs.

I am very impressed with Michell Plested, taking the stories he told his scout troop around the fireside and turning them into a very well crafted novel can’t have been easy but he has come out with an amazing and original story of survival in the zombie apocalypse.

I nearly didn’t read this book, I didn’t have high expectations of a novel called Scouts of the Apocalypse, to be truthful I expected another stupid spoof novel which I hate, but after reading a few reviews I decided to take a look and I am glad I did.

7/10

Just a note, I have so many books waiting for review at the moment (18 at last count, and their just the ones on my read list, I don’t even want to know how many on my TBR list.) if you have sent me a book and are waiting for me to review, I am sorry for the delay.  I try to keep up but because of my health issues I can’t always get to the computer and write up reviews as quickly as I would like. I am desperately saving for a laptop so even when I am forced to spend days in bed I can still keep up with both my own writing and review requests as well. I love to receive new books to review but please be patient with me. I try to get reviews on to Amazon as quickly as possible but its harder to type up a full review on my tiny wee tablet lol.

Risen Gods–J F Penn & J Thorn

“It doesn’t matter what you believe. The time is here regardless, and they are coming. After so long, the gods are rising again.”
Ben Henare turned away from the gods of his ancestors to follow his own path, choosing the modern world over myths of demons and monsters.
But when New Zealand is shaken by earthquakes and dark powers are released, Ben must fight his way north through ice caves and oceans, battling the evil god Whiro and the creatures of the earth and sky.
Lucy Campion is a trainee doctor, a rational scientist with no belief in demons. When her parents are killed and her sister is threatened, Lucy is tasked with carrying an ancient talisman north to where the oceans meet. But both human and supernatural foes stand in her way.
As the people they love are threatened and New Zealand begins to crumble, can Ben and Lucy find each other again and save the country from the wrath of the Risen Gods? (taken from Goodreads)

It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in the old gods, they exist, and they are coming back.

Its not often that a book successfully melds the modern and the ancient and does it in such a way as to keep a reader enthralled and leads them to discover something about themselves that they didn’t know existed. A belief in the myths that are as much a part of our culture as the Haka or the All Blacks.

I have always been fascinated by old myths and legends, It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, every country has stories of gods and heroes which have been handed down for generations. As a child of New Zealand, I grew up on the Maori legends. At school we were taught of the hero, Maui and of the great love of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. These are just a few amongst the many stories of gods, monsters and heroes in Maori mythology.

Risen Gods brings many of those stories to life and packs them into an adventure filled dark fantasy that sets the imagination a-fire. This well researched novel dares to ask, what if it isn’t myth, what if it was all true. What if taniwha (monsters) did once roam this land? Is it the gods that cause the earthquakes that have been rocking our islands these last few years? Are they upset over the abuse we have subjected this beautiful country to? Are demons lose and causing the chaos we have been subject to this decade? The earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and wild storms?

Ben didn’t believe in the old gods, he shrugged them off as stories his old Koro (grandfather)  told him when he was a kid. Lucy didn’t believe in them either, what did these Maori myths have to do with a pakeha girl? But the gods had a mission for these two, who had been best friends since childhood, and time was running out. It was up to two non-believers to learn the truth and save the country, before it was to late.

Dark fantasy at its very best. Put Risen Gods to the top of your reading list. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, this is a fascinating and compelling novel with some very strong characters and an edge of your seat narrative. It is well researched and crafted with great care. It took me just one night to read this book from cover to cover, it was one of the best stories I have ever read, I couldn’t put it down.  As a kiwi it struck a cord with me, and as someone fascinated with the many dark and scary legends across the world it caught my imagination. If you truly want to get lost in a book, this is the one you want.

10/10

Happy Reading

Broken Beloved – N.M. Howell

 

Broken Beloved: An Immortal Nights Young Adult Paranormal Romance Novel by N M Howell

They took everything from her. She’d give it all again to keep him safe.
Anna sacrificed everything to save her brother’s life. She endured endless torture. She killed. Now she wants to close her eyes and sleep forever.
Only she can’t. She’s a vampire.
There’s only one person in the world who can save her, but she’s too consumed by pain to see it.
He knows, eventually, he’ll succeed.
One day, he’ll set her free. (taken from Amazon)

Released today, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC from the author of this brand new vampire series. Its not a long book but very well written. Young Anna is turned against her will when a rogue vampire coven causes the death of her parents in a car crash, leaving her badly injured but her three year old brother escapes unscathed. The vampire coven uses him to control her, afflicting all number of atrocities on her over the space of 15 years. When she final escapes with her brother she finds a home for him amongst a pack of lycan and finds safety among her own kind in an underground vampire city. There she meets Wern, her immortal beloved, her soul mate.

But the past haunts her, trapping her in a deep depression. Wren fights to set her free of the past but he can’t break through the wall she has built around her. Their love could be over before it has a chance to start.

my thoughts,

A very enjoyable narrative but for a few small things I had issues with, it would have been better for the novel to start while she was going through the 15 years of torment by the rogue coven and to explain how she escapes instead of starting at her escaping. There are flashbacks but they don’t give enough information to get the full picture which would make the story richer.

When reading the original ARC of this novel there was an explicit sex scene which I am glad to say the author has chosen to take out. It was not exactly YA suitable. There is a certain amount of swearing but to me that is not a big deal.

Beyond those few issues I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to the rest of the series. Its good to read a vampire novel from a different point of view for a change, it gets a bit boring when the vampires are always the bad guys or the irresistible pretty boy attracting the sweet innocent human girl. This series looks to be a breath of fresh air in the vampire genre. The characters are believable and have a realistic arc, although a supernatural story it deals with some very human issues and does it well.

I will be reading more of N.M.Howell’s work and if it is all up to this standard it will be reading time well spent.

8/10

Happy Reading

Phoenix Child–Alica McKenna-Johnson

Phoenix Child (Bk 1 Children of the Fire) –Alica McKenna-Johnson

Fifteen-year-old Sara walks into the San Francisco Center for the Circus Arts determined to ignore the freaky things happening to her. As powers she doesn’t want and can’t control overwhelm her, Sara must decide if she can trust the strangers who say they are her family… descended from a common ancestor four thousand years ago.
Sara clings to her contented and well-planned life as a foster kid, successfully working the system, as dreams, powers, and magical creatures drag her towards her destiny.
When the ancient evil that killed her parents comes to San Francisco, Sara is forced to choose between her fears and her desire to protect those she loves.
Sometimes great things are thrust upon us. Sara wishes this supposed ‘greatness’ didn’t include a new name, unicorns, and catching on fire.

(taken from Goodreads)

A girl grows up in the foster system with no family, she knows how the system works, she has her life planned, until the day she turned 15 and her world went insane.

I love this book..seriously I love it. I couldn’t put it down. The whole narrative is so well written, twisted and forever throwing something new at you. Step inside the mind of a frightened young girl who has so much happening to her she doesn’t know where she stands or what her next move will be. Terrified of losing control of the life she has built herself within the system, she doesn’t know who she can trust.

The plot is great, easy to follow for a novel that has so much going on. With some books the storyline gets lost in the action, but The Phoenix Child stays true to its plot throughout. As a character Sara is very easy to picture, her story arc is believable for a young person her age, though she is very independent its not unusual for a child growing up in the foster system to be mature for their age. She gets thrust into this world where she has to grow up fast to be able to survive it and her character adapts as any child would.

If the rest of the series is as good as this first book then it will be well worth its spot on my to-read list. This author is new to me but already I love her work, she has researched well in order to make a believable world for Sara to live in, having an insight to both the world of the circus and the foster system. But to build a separate world, the world of the Children of Fire, takes a level of craftsmanship that we don’t often get to witness. She has introduced the Children of Fire’s world so that it slips so easily within our own world that it almost seems like it could exist. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, I may have to sneak it up my reading list because I don’t think I can wait Smile 

9/10

Happy reading everyone.

2 for the price of 1

I have two books to review today, both from the same series so I thought it would be easier to do them together.

The Darkest Days – Death and Decay book 0.5 – R L Blalock

This is the prequel to the Death and Decay series and tells the origin story of Officer Wyatt Ward, a police officer just trying to do his job when all hell breaks out around him. He tries to protect people as he has been trained to do but he was never trained to fight the feral creatures he is up against now, the former residence of Cottleville, St Louis. He doesn’t know what has happened, he just knows he wants to get home to his wife and young son. It would take a few days and a lot of deaths to return to those he loves and when he finally gets there he finds out his life will never be the same again.

The research done on this novel has been amazing, the author has obviously worked hard to understand the point of view of a real police officer on the front line, of how they think and what they feel. And all the hard work she has put into research shows in the narrative.

The character growth of Wyatt and his story arc are so well written you can almost feel like you’re right there with him, feeling what he feels and just trying to do his best to look after those he swore to protect. The fact that he still needs to help people at the end of the narrative is amazing, more than wanted to, he needed to help.

Reading this short narrative before going into the first full book gave me a great insight to what Olivia was facing and how hard living at the end of it all would really be. The author has caught the pain, grief and share resilience of the human race, she hasn’t shied away from the gore but she has put it in context, not just killing for killing sake like so many other books I have read.

Devour – Death and Decay book 1 – R L Blalock

This book covers Olivia’s journey with her baby, 18 month old Elli, from Chesterfield, St Louis to the sanctuary of a farm belonging to friends just outside the suburb of Troy. It was only a journey of 36 miles, at any other time it was a mere half hour drive but that world had just died, leaving her stranded on the Boone bridge with a small child, facing a horde of flesh eating, feral, former people. She did the only thing a mother could do, she runs. Along the way she meets some very brave people and some not so brave. Each step is full of fear and grueling torment.

I love this book, the only thing I don’t like is the fact that there is no more in the series yet. I hate waiting! lol. The author has written a very realistic portrayal of a young mother pushed beyond  limit of her endurance to save her baby. The fear, the grief, the amazing heroism shown by Olivia makes for an exciting read. It was worth a night of very little sleep to get it finished. I had to know if she and the baby make it to safety. 

 

These are two books to add to your reading list. I can’t wait to read the rest when they are released, nd once I have, I will be back to update this post. Sorry they are short reviews but I have been up since 4.30am with a sick daughter. It’s now 10pm and my bed is calling…rather loudly Smile

Happy reading everyone, have an awesome weekend.