Love and Decay Volume 1 (Episodes 1-6) by Rachel Higginson

Throw back Thursday!!  I’m currently rereading the first season of L&D in hopes of finally catching up to all my friends, so thought I’d share my review for the first volume of this fabulous serial novella series (which is FREE!!).  I’m going to include the individual reviews for each episode at the bottom…  This is a great time to get involved in the series, b/c it’s complete, and each volume is currently on sale for 99 cents each!!

Synopsis:
23136847Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

A vaccination gone oh so wrong and a huge portion of the world’s population was turned into Zombies. Reagan Willow is forced out of her home when her parents become casualties of the horrid Zombie Apocalypse. With the help of her best friend Haley, they’ve become somewhat of experts on surviving the dangers of a world thrust into chaos and decay.

Reagan and Haley are on a vague mission to find somewhere safe to live out the remainders of their terrifying life when they stumble upon the Parkers, a pack of brothers that seem to have the survival thing down in a much more efficient and successful way than Reagan could ever have imagined. They are also protecting their eight year old sister, Page, and will do anything to keep her safe.

The brothers decide that Reagan and Haley need help with being kept safe as well, and as a group they set off to find the Zombie-free utopia Reagan is dreaming of.

Zombies are a daily problem, constantly threatening the lives of their group, but they’re not the only peril on the journey ahead. Militia groups of power hungry men are also a constant concern. And settlements of paranoid, suspicious people turn out to be just as hazardous.

Danger looms over every inch of the way, but Reagan, Haley and the Parkers are determined to get to their goal and remain together. Soon the Parkers become more to Reagan than just traveling companions and more than friendship starts to develop between her and Hendrix, the second oldest brother.

But at the end of the world, nothing can be as simple as life and death. Now, Reagan is going to have to schedule falling in love between hunting and surviving. Hopefully she can last long enough to find out if true love can still exist when everything else has started to fall apart.

Love and Decay, Volume One, is a compilation of the first six episodes in a twelve episode season. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.

This story takes place over multiple episodes, with a release date every two weeks. Each episode is approximately 20,000 words.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19014025-love-and-decay-volume-one
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GNo8yc

My Review:
5 stars — In the world of entertainment, I like television, but I will ALWAYS choose reading a book first. This set of serials gives me the best of both worlds. Each episode is action packed, full of humour, drama, and that touch of romance (or sexual tension). Honestly, they are so good and addicting, I just love the rollercoaster ride each episode takes you on. Reagan is a fabulous protagonist — spunky, sassy, strong. And the rest of the cast of characters just round things out nicely — each bringing something a bit different to the eclectic group. Reading through this volume 1 was actually my second time through each of these 6 episodes, and it was nice not to have to wait between each one (since they are so addicting). I also ended up enjoying the Haley episode in the middle MORE the second time through. The first time through I missed Reagan, but having all the episodes in one volume, I knew I would be getting more Reagan later, so it was nice to have a glimpse into Haley’s head, and into her own relationship.

If you have a problem with patience (like me), then I highly recommend waiting for these volumes. I LOVE the episodic nature of this series, but at the same time I prefer the Netflix-like binging that I get from reading 6 episodes in a row without waiting. Can’t WAIT to see where it goes!!

Episode 1:
4.5 stars – OMG, do you ever have that favourite author that you actually forget how much you love their writing style until you read them again?? Well, Ms. Higginson is one of those for me. The novella was fabulous. Just….fabulous. It begins and ends with great characters for me, and Reagan was spot on for this one. Just was that perfect mix of sassy and quirky with a bit of badass mixed in. And Haley is looking like the perfect sidekick for her. The boys?? Oh dear lord the boys. There’s so much I want to know about them!!! Like, well, everything. Even little Page was an adorable mix, and quite believable for the circumstances they were in (like, you know, she was actually terrified).

I’ve read a few novella series, and I actually don’t mind them (minus my lack of patience for the next one). One of the things I love about this one is knowing that I only have to wait 2 weeks for the next installment. Otherwise I would probably die. This is the first series that has actually seemed to fit the TV motif perfectly. It was one heck of an exciting pilot episode. And it had it’s own climax and little arc in itself….but I can see how much potential the story still has. I am HOOKED!

ps – The origin of the zombies??? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAA…..you kill me Ms. Higginson. Just kill me.

Episode 2:
5 stars — Received an advance copy from the author!

Wow, just when you didn’t think it could get any better, it does. LOVE LOVE LOVE this series. It reminds me of a tv series so much…the pilot hooked you in, and the next episode (ie this one) just sinks those hooks in even further! The characters get a little more development and we learn a bit more about them…which just endears us to them further. The witty dialogue (even internal dialogue) is seriously a trademark of Ms. Higginson, and it really makes *anything* she writes just a pleasure to read. You’ll be laughing one moment, and then on the edge of your seat the next. This is not just some fluffy read, the action can be nailbiting at times! OMG I hated Gary and his band of merry men so much….it’s so bizarre to think of all the additional threats that would exist in a world where you’re already fighting for your lives against zombies.

Fell a bit more in love with Vaughan in this ep….still totally salivating over the chemistry between Hendrix and Reagan and feel they are the right match, but that just makes me want someone for Vaughan even more….even if it’s me. I’m sure my husband would be ok with a polygamous marriage…*cough cough*

Seriously though, who needs tv??? I just found my “must watch” of the year….

Episode 3:
5 stars — Oh dear lord, that was a wild ride. Pumped full of even more suspense, I wasn’t sure if my heart was gonna take it. And holy cow, the heat and tension between Reagan and Hendrix. It was so unbelievably satisfying, and yet left you wanting more all at the same time. Can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next, and I seriously hope Haley and Reagan get to have a talk, b/c I wanna know what’s going on with her and Nelson too!! It’s official, I’m addicted.

Episode 4:
4 stars (first time through) — I thoroughly enjoyed having another voice to read in Haley, but I must admit I was slow to get into her head. Course, I can’t figure out if that was me b/c I was still half asleep this morning, or if it was real. Now I just want to go back and try to catch some glimpses of what I now know of Haley from Reagan’s observations in the previous 3 episodes. I was used to the more smart-ass Hayley, and then she opened up into this whole mish-mash of strange qualities. I actually really enjoyed the unique layers that Ms. Higginson added to Haley. I really hadn’t given her character that much thought I guess, but she has SO MUCH going on beneath her surface! Now I just want more…more background, more of her. She may have started out slowly this ep, but wow did I love all the new things we learned about her by the end!

And OMG, major wish-fulfillment on the hot sweet romance department!! Nelson and Haley are really quite adorable together, and boy can they generate some steam.

On the action front, it was actually a more slow and introspective episode…not that things didn’t go on, but it was nice to have a bit of a breather after the edge of your seat 3rd episode. Course, that doesn’t mean they were free from struggles…just challenges of a different kind. And quite cruelly, Ms. Higginson decided we needed a cliffhanger ending…thank the baby jesus that we only have to wait 2 weeks for the next one, b/c otherwise I would be pouting big time.

On a side note — OMG I loved Harrison this episode!! Like seriously, that kid was HILARIOUS. Makes me want to see a bit more of him to come….he’s young, but he’s just right there at the edge of adulthood, you know??

Episode 5:
5 stars — AHHHHH!!!! OK, that was so good! Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. I loved the little bits of interaction we got between Reagan and Vaughan….got to see a bit more into each of their personalities, and they got to clear some air. It was kind of a weird episode in that it was basically Reagan centric….so I definitely missed Haley and the Parkers, but I LOVED the plot movement, and yet another glimpse of bad bad humanity in the apocalypse that this offered…. I seriously just want to be Reagan’s friend….she is so bad ass!! And yet so human too….suffering through all the emotions that make sense. Eminently interested to see where the next ep takes us, and how these new characters fit in. And I have this horrible gut feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Kane….who left me as confused as Reagan. OK, thinking about it, maybe a 4.5 stars just b/c I couldn’t quite get all the willies she was getting from Kane, and it wasn’t quite as clear what his motivations were….sometimes it was a-ok, sometimes I was confused…but maybe I was supposed to be…just wasn’t spot on I guess….

Episode 6:
4 stars — Rats, Zombies and kisses oh my! Another solid episode. Not sure if it’s b/c my weekend left me with no time to read this one, so I had to split it up, but I wasn’t quite as enraptured with it as others. Which in no way detracts from it’s awesomeness, it just wasn’t my favourite. But holy wow, what an ending. Ms. Higginson knows how to write kissing scenes, that’s all I’m going to say.

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