ONCE WE WERE is a wonderful follow up to WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, with twists and turns that kept me glued to the page for hours. The second book in The Hybrid Chronicles, ONCE WE WERE follows almost immediately after WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, with Eva and Addie in hiding, and goes from there. While the world continues to be fascinating and the concept original, it did take a little while for the story to get off the ground, but once it did, I was definitely hooked.
When I hear about husband and wife writing duos I automatically expect an authentic, emotional romance. In FROZEN, the first book in the new Heart of Dread paranormal/post-apocalyptic YA series from Melissa de la Cruz and husband Michael Johnston, the romance is just one of the many things that failed to live up to my expectations.
NOT A DROP TO DRINK is a grim, startling portrayal of survival in a post apocalyptic world where water has become the rarest resource on the planet. Lynn and her mother endure daily struggles to defend and safeguard the pond that ensures their survival. They fend off ravenous coyotes, packs of merciless marauders, and the endless cycle of natural forces that attack them. It’s essentially a post apocalyptic version of Little House on the Prairie and it’s riveting.
When I claimed UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY for review I had no idea this was a young adult novel. I simply saw Chuck Wendig’s name and, since I absolutely loved THE BLUE BLAZES, I quickly claimed it.
I wasn’t always a zombie fan. It’s taken shows like The Walking Dead and emotionally intelligent books like Sophie Littlefield’s Aftermath series to bring me around to the reality that zombies don’t have to just be about gore and horror (two things that don’t especially appeal to me). CONTAMINATED is a book about tragedy, determination, and devotion in the wake of an epidemic that just happened to turn a large portion of the population into zombies.
VIRAL NATION is a startling dystopian featuring a protagonist with autism who travels through time. It’s a tantalizing mix of Revolution and Minority Report with writing that makes you understand what it’s like to share Clover’s autism, and a story that sinks into your bones from the very first chilling page.
It doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years since I picked up a copy of Max Barry’s JENNIFER GOVERNMENT on a whim at my local bookstore. I ended up finishing it later that day and Barry found his way to my must-read list. I tracked down a copy of his first novel (SYRUP) and greatly enjoyed COMPANY and MACHINE MAN (though that one was a little odd).
DANCE OF THE RED DEATH is grotesquely beautiful in some ways but also slowly paced and a bit confusing. The visuals and the references to Edgar Allan Poe’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH were huge highlights. Much of Prospero’s macabre masked ball reflects the grotesque beauty of this world. Even outside of the ball there are so many instances of horror and death that Araby and her friends face.
High concept YAs are everywhere. In my experience they either work really well (DELIRIUM, THE PROGRAM) or really not (PULSE, THE WARD). REBOOT surprising falls somewhere in the middle. There is a very cool world where resurrected teens are enslaved and forced to police humans. They have heightened senses but a lack of emotion that correlates to the length of time they were dead before rebooting.
The Black City series takes place in a well conceived world fraught with political oppression reminiscent of the Nazi regime (except instead of persecuted Jews there are Darklings aka vampires) with a religious and political leader determined to restore racial purity by any means necessary. The idea of a Romeo and Juliet type romance is fantastic in theory too, but in execution, it unfortunately squanders the potential of this interesting world.