Tag Archive: zombies


hollowlandHollowland by Amanda Hocking

Published October 6th, 2010 by the author

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

I don’t know about this book, I really just don’t know.  Obviously I have heard the rumblings about the author, you would think she was the literary Second Coming of Christ.  But I had never read any of her books.  This one intrigued me, I like zombie books.  But lately I have been frustrated with zombie books since they all turn out exactly the same.  Immediately I could tell, these zombies would be different.  The origination of the zombies is interesting and not something I remember reading before.  The beginning sequence of the book was also truly fantastic.  The book starts off with a huge burst of energy and I was sucked in right away.  These two things made me think, wow I am really going to love this book.  Well, now I’m at the end.  I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either.  Overall, I liked it but the problems with the book were so bad I just couldn’t ignore them.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

As well as this book started, it quickly landed in the realm of the absurd.  Remy meets up with some other survivors at the beginning of her quest to find her baby brother.  That was not unexpected, it happens in every post-apocalypse book there is.  But certain things I just couldn’t get over.  For example, they find a lion chained to a truck who’s as gentle as a newborn kitten.  Yeah, sorry I’m not buying it.  Even lions that have been raised by humans since birth still have a wild streak that cannot be tamed.  Then there was this passage that made me scream:

“Over 200 pounds of jungle cat sat on my chest…”

AAAHHH!!  OMG, Google is your friend!  How on earth did that sentence ever get published?  Let’s just point out the two biggest problems with it.   First, lions live in the savanna of Africa, that is most certainly not a jungle.  Tigers or even panthers would be a jungle cat, but most definitely not lions.  Second, a two second Google search will tell you that an adult lioness generally weighs between 300 and 400 pounds.  That’s a hell of a lot more than 200 don’t ya think?

But anyway, once we move on from my annoyance with that badly crafted and factually incorrect sentence, we move on to finding out that one of Remy’s new companions is a world famous rock star.  Yes, I know, my eyes almost rolled out of my head too.  And he’s oh so hot, and immediately smitten with Remy.  Of course he is.

Then we travel to the now deserted Las Vegas.  I mean, what happened to the ingenuity of the first chapter?  EVERY post apocalypse novel features Las Vegas.  At this point I was so tired of this book that I wanted to give up, but I persevered to the end.

Remy bothered me.  The book was told from her point of view, and she is an emotionless, obsessive girl.  I don’t think she expressed a single emotion until the last handful of pages.  For a first person POV, this was awful.  If she didn’t care about what was happening then how could I?  The character played it off as being stoic and “doing what needed to be done” but it was boring.  Doing what needs to be done doesn’t mean you have no emotion about it.  It means you have emotion about it and quell it to get the job done.

Then we had the ending, it was actually pretty good.  It felt hurried and rushed, but I liked what we were left with in the end.  It was interesting and got me re-invested in the book and wondering just what the hell had gone wrong for the entire middle portion.  The only reason I am considering reading the next book is because the excerpt I got for it at the end of this book was better than anything I read in this entire thing.  It was alright, but only because the beginning and ending saved it.

 

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Miscellania

I don’t particularly feel like doing a book review tonight.  I’ve had a lot of other things going on and thoughts running through my head about stuff so decided to run with that.  Let’s begin with movies I’ve seen lately…

 

The Host

Color me underwhelmed.  I read the book and quite enjoyed it.  Twilight was always a guilty pleasure, like a soap opera, for me.  You know that it’s awful and ridiculous but you can’t help but reading it anyway.  I found The Host highly superior to Twilight and loved the “bigger picture” aspect to the plot.  Unfortunately the movie came off as cheesy, corny, and nothing more than a teenage love flick.  The conversations with Melanie and Wanderer made me do a snortgiggle with how silly they sounded.  The plot was glossed over and it was all about how the alien finds penises that she likes and suddenly her entire existence makes sense.  Um, really?  That’s all you took from the book?  Because that’s sure as hell all that came across in the movie.

 

Warm Bodies

I am 50/50 on this one.  I haven’t read the book and perhaps that was part of the problem, I can’t be sure.  Some parts of it were very funny and I really enjoyed it.  But it had a few sticking points that I couldn’t quite get past.  For example, R kills her boyfriend.  No I meant that literally, he ate his face off in front of her.  R tells her this and she just shrugs and says “well, I suppose you’re a zombie and so it makes sense.”  Wait…what?  He ate your boyfriend’s face, you brush it off and then start falling for him?!  What is wrong with you!  I also had a lot of unanswered questions at the end, but since it’s part of a series I suppose that’s the reason.  At the end, this was entertaining and a decent use of my time but nothing amazing.

 

Chernobyl Diaries

I should have known.  Please, everyone who warned me, feel free to scream “told you so!’ from the nearest building you can find.  This one isn’t new, but I wanted to see it and saw it on a movie channel recently and decided to give it a shot.  What the fuck was this piece of garbage?  Sometimes, I can look past factual inaccuracies for the sake of a story.  Unfortunately for this movie, there was no story so nothing was preventing me from laughing at the absurdity.  Here’s the problem.  I watched a show about Chernobyl that was filmed in 2009-2010 (around the same time as the film) and discussed all the things that have to be done to prevent danger to visiting people.  This film ignored all of those.  Let’s just take a look here:

1. The area around Chernobyl is set in rings that are fenced, locked, and guarded 24/7 by military personnel.  You have to show signed forms proving that you have permission to pass and, even then, if the guards there don’t like it then they can refuse you entry for any reason.  In this film, these tourists just hired someone to take them to the site and they just drove right into town.  Uh huh, okay.

2. After passing the final checkpoint, everyone is required to wear a head to toe radiation suit in order to protect them from the radiation unless you will be there less than a few hours.  Even this suit is not 100% and you are only allowed to stay for a certain time until the radiation saturation in your body starts to rise too much and then you have to leave or risk radiation poisoning.  Workers who are trying to restore the area are only allowed to work 5 hours a day for a month before they have to take 2 weeks off.  In the film, everyone was there in their street clothes for over 24 hours (maybe closer to 48, it was hard to judge) before showing any signs of radiation sickness at all.  In fact none of them showed any signs of radiation issues until they walked into the reactor itself, which is obviously the most dangerous area.  That’s not even close to being possible.

3. The batteries on any electronic equipment will be substantially impacted and their batteries drain much more quickly.   Not in this film!  In this film they all had cell phones that were fully functional the entire time…did I mention this was like 24-48 hours?

4. While some animals do live in the area surrounding Chernobyl, they are usually affected by the radiation and rarely do they live in the actual city since there’s not much there.  According to this crappy movie, bears wander in and out of buildings all the time, and there’s a pack of dogs that are in the city full time attacking people.

So those are my factual problems.  But the story just sucked apart from that.  Apparently they are attacked by radioactive people who are now…cannibals I guess?  I’m not sure if they were supposed to be workers who died there or tourists who’d died…I just don’t know and I don’t care.  Here’s the reasons I should have known better:

1. It’s from the same people that brought us the demon chicken of Paranormal Activity.

2. It’s from the same people that brought us the “all male characters are narcissistic dicks who really need to die” of Paranormal Activity 2.

3. It’s from the same people that brought us “we can’t even bother to read a plot summary of our two previous films so we’ll just make it up as we go” of Paranormal Activity 3.

4. They are also the same people who brought us “we don’t really have a story but we want your money” of Paranormal Activity 4.

5. Oh and it’s the same people responsible for that horrendously bad TV show The River (ripped off Destination Truth frame for frame in the series premiere).

6. It’s the same people that gave us “worst ending ever” Insidious.

7. And of course its the same people that tortured us with “even the preacher wasn’t this preachy on Sunday” Area 51.

I am disgusted with myself, I admit it.

 

Now on to weird stuff….

So I was listening to The MVP podcast today, old episodes but I heard this ad for a different podcast.  It’s tagline was something to the effect of:

Mermaids, vampires, werewolves.  What if those mythical creatures were not only real but were one creature?

Um….okay.  If I read that on a book cover I’d probably start giggling and put it back down.

 

And in TV news….

I finally brought myself to watch the series finale of Fringe.  I wanted to shake all tv and movie execs (and maybe a few authors too) who screw up endings and go “THIS IS HOW YOU END A FUCKING SERIES!”  It was so great, I laughed and I cried and I was surprised and then I cried because it was over.  I absolutely loved it.  They couldn’t have ended the series better in my opinion.  The way they take you to that scene that we’ve seen so many times over the course of a season and you are hoping and praying that it ends differently.  And finally, after so much agony, you see Peter’s daughter land in his arms and then….*sniff* oh man, here go the tears again.  *wipes eyes* I think I should stop talking about it now, I’ll start ugly crying soon.  You know, the kind of crying where your nose runs down your face and the neighbors can hear you two buildings away and you just don’t give a damn.

Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

poison princessPoison Princess by Kresley Cole

Published October 2nd, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Synopsis and cover photo from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

Rating (out of 5): 3 star

Review:

This book and I had a love/hate relationship throughout the course of it and it disappointed me.  But let me back up a second.  I haven’t read a Kresley Cole book before.  I have heard a lot of really great things about the books and have several of them on my TBR list, but just haven’t gotten to them yet.  Then I saw this book and I fell in love.  The cover on this book is simply amazing.  It is so gorgeous that I can hardly stand it.  Since the premise sounded interesting too, I pre-ordered it sight unseen.  Then I noticed that it had a blurb on it from PC Cast and I thought “Oh God, what have I done!”  This is the woman whose book I had to put away because it made me want to vomit so much, and she’s recommending this!?  I considered that perhaps I had made a very serious mistake.  But I persevered and overall I am happy about that, but not entirely.

I liked Evie for the most part.  I found her to be kind, sweet, plucky, and determined when she needed to be.  But typical YA heroine stuff started leaking into her personality and I didn’t like that.  As soon as Jack got into the picture she was whiny, annoying, dependent, and stupid to the point of being suicidal.  I shouldn’t agree when another character calls her useless, but I did…often.  I got so angry with her for fawning over this stupid boy so much that I wanted to shake her.  However, her character redeemed herself in the end by finishing the book in a serious kick ass fashion.  If only we didn’t have this stupid, silly little love triangle in the book it would have easily been 5 stars.

Now let’s turn to Jack.  Was I supposed to like him?  Was I supposed to see him as a sweet and romantic love interest for Evie?  Was I supposed to giggle at his cuteness?  Because I didn’t, not to any of that.  I found him to be an absolute asshole.  I’m really hoping that at some point YA will figure out that “bad boys” are NOT SEXY!  Someone going to jail and being suspended from school and leering at girls is not cute or romantic or sexy or sweet!  It is creepy and the pinnacle of douchebaggery.  Jack is a drunk, I can’t even call him an alcoholic because he doesn’t think there’s a problem.  There isn’t a single time he’s mentioned where he’s not knocking back the booze.  He is crude and sexually inappropriate constantly.  He sexually pressures Evie on multiple occasions, several of which were while she had a boyfriend.  He leers at girls constantly and makes inappropriate comments when he hardly knows them.  And he is just downright horrible to Evie so often that I stopped keeping track.  He calls her names all the time, he puts her down, he belittles her opinions or feelings, he is passive aggressive to the extreme, and is a complete man slut.  I mean, for God’s sake, at one point he threatens to throw Evie onto any available horizontal surface and bang the living daylights out of her…for touching his stomach while riding on his motorcycle!  Apparently that means he can’t control himself anymore.  How is any of this romantic?!  I wanted to take a long hot shower with liberal use of bleach and then file a restraining order against this creeper!  But the other love interest, Brandon, isn’t much better.  He tries to pressure Evie into having sex as a reward for what a good and faithful boyfriend he’s been and he deserves it.  Yet at the same time as trying to get in her pants, he shows a total disregard for her feelings and is much more interested in leering at other girls in her presence.  Luckily he wasn’t around long enough to enrage me as much as Jack.  I just have no more words for any of this.  Do I have to get out the signs of domestic abuse again?  I REALLY think I do.

Let’s move on to the plot now, shall we?  I was fascinated by this plot, as much as the characters infuriated me it was the plot that kept my interest alive.  I LOVED the idea of these people representing the Major Arcana of the Tarot.  Now, as a pagan, I am fairly well versed in the Tarot and so I was acutely aware of what everyone’s role was and what their presence probably meant once I learned what their card was.  It is such a unique idea and I loved it very much.  I also was enthralled with the way this plot started out with Arthur because he was royally creepy.  I wanted so badly to know more about Arthur and how Evie got to be in his presence.  The one big downside to the plot was how much time we spent on Evie’s issues with Brandon and Jack at school prior to the end of the world happening.  How exactly were Evie’s text messages relevant to the overall plot? Why did any of these people matter at all since most of them ended up dead by the middle of the book?  We spent way too much time on that and it frustrated me, I wanted to get on with things.  Once we did move on with the plot I loved every page.  I didn’t know what was coming next and I adored the twists and turns to the plot.  Then I reached the end and was left with my mouth hanging open and the only words I could muster were, “Holy fuck, I didn’t see that coming.”

I would recommend this book to almost any fantasy or post-apocalypse fan.  It is a worthy edition to the genre once you get passed the annoying stereotypical YA parts.  The plot alone is worth the investment.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Published September 25th, 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis and picture from the Goodreads book page
Buy this book at B&N / Book Depository / Amazon

Synopsis: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I have long heard wonderful things about Gena Showalter, and so many people raved about her journey into YA.  I was interested in the title and the little “Off with their heads” on the cover.  But the synopsis is rather vague about exactly what this book is.  You vaguely get something about the undead, a bad boy, and losing her family.  I started to see some mixed reviews and got a little nervous about just what I was getting into.  I had hoped for great things with this book, and I was disappointed.

The first 200 pages of this book were completely mind boggling to me.  I was expected Alice in Wonderland retold with zombie greatness!  And yet the first half of this book was cliche, stereotypical, and over used YA romance.  You have Alice, who is blond haired, blue eyed, a good student, sweet to just about everybody, and thinks that she is completely average and mediocre at everything.  Yet somehow in being totally “average” she attracts the attention of the entire school AND the two hottest boys in said school.  Now hold on, this is all sounding terribly familiar.  Oh yes, I’ve read this in about 30 other YA novels recently!  Then you have Cole, or as I like to call him the controlling *******.  Gotta censor that if I want to put this on Amazon.  He scowls at Alice every chance he gets, snaps his teeth at her (seriously), and tries to control her in every way.  At one point he demands that she get into his car and give him her phone number.  Um most normal people would have said, “No pal, I don’t know you.  You might be planning on raping and killing me.  Back off or it’s a restraining order for you.”  But no, Alice fawns at him like he’s the best thing that ever appeared on earth.

This book is also the absolute top of the mountain with the insta-love crap.  Alice has visions of getting it on with Cole when she looks at him!  I wish I was joking, but I’m not!  Also throw in another love interest to create an unnecessary love triangle that was really never mentioned after the first 200 pages.  The first half of this book was devoted exclusively to this horribly cliche romance angle.  Oh and one last note, if you have “violet eyes”, you may want to see a doctor.  I found myself screaming at this book, stop with this lovey dovey garbage and show me some zombies!!

I almost wish I hadn’t begged for zombies so much once I actually got them.  Now, let me be clear, I have nothing against reinventing and reimagining monsters that we are all familiar with.  But in order to be successful at doing so, you must have two things.  1. You have to have a good story to back up your new and improved monsters.  2. You have to explain the new rules of your monsters enough so that people understand.  This book had neither.  The only story to back up these monsters was a godawful romance.  And it explained things plenty in typical info dump fashion.  But then other things were mentioned specifically and repeatedly only to never be mentioned again.  These zombies are not really even zombies either.  I kept thinking, okay so they’re like ghosts.  No, maybe vampires.  Ghost vampires!  No, these are not zombies, that is one thing I know for sure.

What switched this to two stars for me, instead of one, was the last half of the book.  For the most part we abandoned the stupid romance that we started with and got down to the meat of the story.  I wasn’t too fond of the twist in the plot, mostly because there was absolutely no hints or clues to it and that was frustrating.  If there’s going to be a twist, at least let me be able to look back and think “oh yeah, I should have seen that coming”.  But I couldn’t do that because it came totally out of left field.  If it had been hinted more it would have been amazing.  Some of the information at the end and a few of the fight scenes were also pretty interesting.

I can’t rate this book a one star because I can see that there is promise there and that some people will really love it (as evidenced by the very mixed reviews).  I had hoped that I would love it since it seemed to be exactly my cup of tea.  But alas it was just not good and I didn’t like it really at all.  I liked a few things at the end but it wasn’t enough to salvage my dislike of the majority of it.

 

 

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Published February 2nd 2010 by Berkeley Press

Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel-and that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan’s power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Review:

Another winner in the Guild Hunter series for me!  This is quite possibly the most inventive and well put together fantasy world that I’ve read in quite a long time.  There were a few things that kept me from being able to rate this a solid 5 stars however, but nothing major and I still am going through withdrawal symptoms waiting for the next book.  I have so many ideas of what I’d like to see and what story I want to see next that I can hardly help myself from picking up the next book right now!

The beginning of this novel was quite difficult for me to get into, and I had a hard time pinpointing why that was.  In the end I think it was a few factors that led to my disconnect from the first half of this book.  First, there was enough jumping around in the storylines to make my head spin!  One paragraph we were in the present, then suddenly in the past 20 years for a few sentences, then just as suddenly we were in a conversation from last night, then we were back in the present, then in the past by a year, then back to the present.  All of this within a few pages and it make my head hurt trying to keep up with it.  I felt like we weren’t sticking with one thing long enough for me to really be invested in it.  In addition we had 2 very different and distinct stories going on that were intertwining within all the timeline jumping.  I was interested in both of the plots, but they were so quickly presented and then passed onto the next thing I didn’t know quite how to feel about either of them.  In addition we add in things like flight training and weapons training and side stories with the other archangels and I felt like I needed a really strong drink.

Now, I know that all of this sounds very negative, and to a certain extent it was.  But the world and characters were still compelling enough for me to want to continue and I wanted to see how the two plots would come together and how everything would work out.  And I was certainly not disappointed.  Once the two stories really got going they couldn’t be stopped and I was glued to the page.   Both of these distinctly different plots came together in a way I hadn’t expected.  I vaguely suspected that something was off about the character who was ultimately the bad guy, but I wasn’t sure what it was and didn’t really see the ending coming.  Then right in the middle of the main plot, this secondary plot exploded into action and I was stunned and exhilarated!  I loved every minute of it.  And just as soon as we had resolution on that secondary plot the main plot burst into its finale.   That was even more exciting and thrilling than the first.  I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t have been happier about it.  There were several times I found myself just staring at the page with an open mouth thinking to myself, “No way!  How did I miss that!?”  The ending made this book and bumped it from a 2 star to a 4 star book.

On a final note, I have to say one thing about Nalini Singh.  She is a skilled writer when it comes to a series.  Too often an author thinks that a series has to have a big cliffhanger in order to keep someone interested from book to book.  Sometimes this is the right approach, but not always.  And it’s gotten so prevalent in series that it’s almost predictable, what’s the cliffhanger going to be?  Ms. Singh doesn’t really give you a cliffhanger.  All the main plots are wrapped up and reach a resolution within that story.  But because the world and characters are so developed as soon as the plot ends you’re left wondering what the next story will be.  A series doesn’t always need a cliffhanger ending and this series is the perfect example of how to do it correctly.