Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1) by Vic James


30337432Blurb:
 Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

Pre order Releases February 14, 2017

Favorite quote: 

Trust was what made everything possible.  Trust lent you someone else’s eyes, someones else’s strong arms or quick brain.  Made you bigger that just yourself.  Trust was how the club worked.  How this whole crazy dream of abolition could work, if people could just come together and hold their nerve.  Not even the Equals-not even their Skill-would be more powerful than that.  

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4 stars

Wow!

This book took me a while to finish because it had so many great aspects to it and I wanted to savor them all.  Slavery, oppression, rebellion.  All wonderful obstacles to read about in a book.  This is totally my taste.  And I was surprised that the author is a woman, since, the name is a bit masculine.  But whatev’s, I usually read books written by woman.

This concept of slavery in this book is different than other books with this underlying theme.  Instead of being forever indentured, it is a finite amount of time you are required to serve.  Almost like a draft for the military if you will.  And you get to choose when you serve it, nothing like a little leeway for your slave days to feel a bit more in your control eh?

This author didn’t skip on the descriptions in this book.  We see the slums they live in as well as the extravagant estates the Equals live on in contrast.  We hear the screams of the slaves that can’t take the abuse they receive and we feel the uncontrollable loss of hope most of the people have when justice is constantly favoring the powerful.

My favorite character was by far Luke.  He was young and naive at first. But we get to see his transformation from boy to man as his story unfolds.  It’s subtle enough that you almost miss it.  How his family becomes less about blood and more about the people he surrounds himself with.  His character grows the most in this book I think.

I’d say that the second best characters were the entire Jardine family at Kyneston.  Some good, some bad, some you couldn’t really tell, but all highly entertaining in their own way.  I can’t wait to read the next one. Which means a whole lot of waiting on my end.

Poo!

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.

Curly Carla_small

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown


21425079Blurb: 
As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

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Favorite Quotes:

I’ve seen her hanged a thousand times now as her martyrdom spreads across the worlds, city by city. Yet each time, it strikes me like a physical blow, nerve endings shivering in my chest, heart beating fast, neck tight just under the jaw. How cruel a life, that the sight of my dead wife means hope.

 Part of me wishes I would remember only Eo. That my mind belonged to her, so I could be like one of those knights of legend. A man so in love with one lost that he closes his heart to all others. But I am not that legend. In so many ways, I’m still a boy, lost and afraid, seeking warmth and love. When I feel dirt, I honor Eo. And when I see fire, I remember the warmth and flicker of the flames across Mustang’s skin as we lay in our chamber of ice and snow.

A dread creature stitched from shadow and muscle and armor. Flowing, not running. Perverse. Like looking at a blade or a weapon made flesh. This is a creature that dogs would flee. That cats would hiss at. One that should never exist on any level above the first tier of hell.

She is different from her people. And when she tries to do as they do, it cracks her heart to the core. Looking at her, I know I was wrong. She is not a distraction. She does not compromise my mission. She is the point of it all. Yet I cannot kiss her. Not now when I must break her heart to break this empire. It would not be fair. I’ve fallen in love with her, but she’s fallen for my lies.

It is a humbling thing knowing someone cannot live without you, knowing that though they’ve betrayed you, they wish for nothing but absolution. And as he clenches my back, I wrap my arms around his armor and try not to cry myself. Even the cruel feel pain. And even the cruel can change. I hope this changes him. He could do so much, if only he would learn.

Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair. 

These Peerless thump their chests in salute to me. The monsters. They go with the wind, chasing power. But they don’t realize power doesn’t shift. Power is resolute. It is the mountain, not the wind. To shift so easily is to lose trust. And trust is what has kept me alive. Trust in my friends, and their trust in me.

If I can protect this city of Agea, if I can show them that there is a better breed of man, then just maybe I’ll win Agea’s heart. Capture it. Protect it. Be loved by those in it as I’m loved by my army. But first I must crack her open.

Some men have threads of life so strong that they fray and snap those around them. Enough friends have paid for my war. This one’s on me.

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5 stars

The political intrigue, outer space, the murder, the gore, the dystopian setting. I love this book. Its better than the first one. There is so much violence that is tempered with introspection.I can’t tell you how well written this book is.  I loved the first one immensely and never thought for a moment that the second could be so much better. I love being wrong!

There was depth in the first book.  The characters were well rounded and intense,  but in this one they go deeper.  We learn who is really with Darrow and how he navigates the fine line between successfully creating dissent among the political leaders and failure causing a civil uprising.

He is like an M&M.   A tough hard outer shell protecting the soft vulnerable inside. And I think he is delicious.   I love him for his faithfulness to his dead wife.  He is constantly weighing and measuring himself, trying to make sure his choices are what Eo truly stood for.  It was quite a beautiful  read.

There was nothing that was left out in this book.  The action scenes were spectacularly detailed.  The intrigue was substantial and I could piece together the different factions that were involved.  The love story was epic.  EPIC I tell you.  There wasn’t a lot of romance to speak of.  I know it sounds confusing but you must understand this is during a time of reform and the people are capable of great love but unable to express it and become involved till their nation is at rest. That’s the caliber of characters I was reading.  So brave of them to put aside their petty self interests for the great of their world, don’t ya think?

I can;t say enough about this book.  If you haven’t read it and are a fan of Sci-fi/Dystopian, this is the book for you!  If you can’t afford it, hit me up and I’ll see if it lets me loan it to you.  Everyone should read this series!!!  Can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on the next one!

Curly Carla_small

Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Shadow fallingBlurb: Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.

And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

book bingo

Pre order Available August 30, 2016

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Favorite Quotes:

Faith secured by force is fractured

The brain is the most powerful of all weapons…except a sledgehammer

Raze paused, “I thought we were patrolling the eastern fence on foot?”  “Nope.” Jax slipped into the driver’s seat and ignited the engine.  Raze paused, the hair rising on the back of his neck, “I don’t like surprises.” Jax turned to face him out of the rolled-down window.  “Then the postapocalyptic world must really suck for you.”  

Lynne opened a cupboard and pulled out a bottle of silver tequila. Vinnie shook her head, “I don’t think-”  “Girl? You just kicked one of the most highly trained soldiers in the current world right in the nards.”  Lynne grabbed two shot glasses and poured.  “One shot will give you courage for the meeting we’re about to have.”  

5 stars

I loved this book.  I’m a huge fan of post-apocolyptic/dystopian books.  And this had the right balance of action and sex.  I realized this was the second book in the series but I never felt that I was lost or that I missed information from the previous book. If anything, it makes me want to go back and read the first one now.

As I said before this has an excellent balance of action and romance.  It was a very fast paced book.  I love when they are fast paced in a dystopian setting.  A lot of violence occurs within a short amount of time.  The action scenes are very well written.  I was especially shocked by the ending.  I mean, wow!

Vinnie is a smart, sexy and stubborn woman.  She wants to be though of as an equal and to contribute to the group.  She is also bat shit crazy!  And I think it so cool.

Raze is a domineering, possessive asshole but he has good intentions.  I usually don’t like these types of personality in most guys because I find them neaderthal-ish but it works in this book. With this new world order, men like him are needed.  The weak have been pruned from the earth by the disease.  His protective instincts are flawless and he made this book for me actually.

Netgalley

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Curly Carla_small

Beacon by Angela Brown

Synopsis:
23627081***When ignorance is bliss, Bliss is power.***

Tsunamis reduced the USA into a shell of itself, called The Fold. Surviving humans and vampires joined forces to form The Colony, where registered citizens do as they’re told.

They donate blood quarterly and dream of being chosen as Attendees for the Jubilee celebrations, that is, everyone except Macie Breen. With high school graduation near, she’s anxious to ditch the rules in hopes of starting a new life with Thane, an unregistered and also her best friend.

Her hopes fizzle when Macie is selected as an Attendee, forever registered. Any future with Thane…impossible. Being chosen comes with another unexpected price.

Truths about The Colony blaze into ashes and lies when she discovers the vampires haven’t kept their part of the bargain. Worst still, Macie’s life unravels as her stint in the city of Bliss forces her to face daunting truths about who, and what, she really is.

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My Review:
2.5 stars — I probably should have DNF’d this one.  I could tell fairly early on that it probably wasn’t my kind of book, but I’d won it in a contest so I kind of felt like I should give it a better chance.  (Also, it’s Black History Month, and this was the one book in my TBR that appeared to have a POC in it, so I was striving for diversity)  But it just never got better for me.

The writing starts out very descriptive…I’m not a literary kind of girl, but it felt like taking the whole “show, don’t tell” thing to another level.  It just didn’t flow naturally for me.  Might be a personal taste thing.  If you’re like me, you would totally notice it in the first few pages, so you could always sample it and see…  Strangely enough that sort of petered out as the story went on, so it was really only predominant in the first third of the book.  What’s really strange is that for all of the description that was given, I had a hard time picturing things — like the devil spawn…it didn’t really incite fear in me.  It more made me think of a Star Trek The Original Series creature.  Maybe it was the furriness?  Maybe it was just me….

I never became all that attached to the characters…there just wasn’t enough connection for me.  Some really horrible/terrifying things happen in this book, and quite honestly I NEVER felt enough emotion from our heroine, Macie.  Seriously.  People die.  She’s forced to *kill* people.  She learns all sorts of lies and about all sorts of new creatures (including things about herself).  And through it all she just sort of dealt with it.  Not that she had *no* reaction, it just felt like a blip and then it was over and it was on to the next crisis.

The pacing also felt weird to me.  There was a LOT that happens, but it was never a big buildup, mostly just these little hills and then we would move on to the next hill and the next.  Even the climax didn’t feel all that big to me, just felt like yet another hill.  I guess I was just never really that engaged with what was going on.

I didn’t really feel a lot of chemistry with Thane  either.  I almost felt more for Rig, and that went in a completely different direction than I was expecting.

It’s funny, b/c it almost felt like there was too much going on that it was hard to keep track of, but at the same time I felt kind of bored.  *sigh*  I don’t know.  😦  I hate writing reviews for books I don’t enjoy.

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Love and Decay Volume 5 (Episodes 9-12, Season 2) by Rachel Higginson

Synopsis:
22821239Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

Reagan and friends have to make a critical decision. Will they abandon the storage facility and head for a safer settlement? Or will they return to the compound and rescue it from the Colony’s hold?

Once the decision is made, Reagan and friends find themselves in more danger than ever before. Matthias Allen won’t just let them go, especially with Tyler and Miller in toe. And then there’s the feelings Reagan has developed for Kane. Plus, the ever present threat of a Zombie attack.

It seems everything is working against them to tear them apart and put them in the ground. Friendships are strained, lives are threatened and love is put to the ultimate test.

Love and Decay, Volume Five, is a compilation of Episodes Nine through Twelve in Season Two of Love and Decay. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22821239-love-and-decay-vol-five
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MGcT7l

My Review:
3.5 stars — The volume started off with a bit more bang, and really had me feeling all the emotions.  But I don’t know…I just started losing interest and had to fight with myself over the whole Kane stuff, and somewhere along the way I lost my way.  I just wasn’t as sucked into the storyline…  Now that could totally be a me thing.  I honestly can’t tell.  All I know is that while I had moments of great feels, I just felt like the episodes were missing something for me.  I know part of that is that Reagan goes through so much and I couldn’t always empathize with her….and if I can’t vibe with the characters, then I’m just not going to enjoy myself as much.  And because there was so much bad happening, I missed the lightness that the other characters can sometimes bring to the plot.  The episodes became very Reagan-centric, and I missed the Parker family, and Haley, and even Tyler and Miller.  So yeah.  😦  Trust me when I say that I’m very upset about this.  I love this author, but the story just went in a direction that didn’t appeal to me personally.

Episode 9:
4 stars — And we’re on the home stretch for this season!! I found this to be a very emotionally charged episode right from the start. Reagan put me through all the feels from her dream, to dealing with the reality of her and Hendrix, and the emotions surrounding Page. And even though I’m having a hard time always understanding Reagan and how she feels, I felt all of THOSE emotions clear as day. She had me even crying for a bit. Now her Kane feelings? I don’t know. I’m still a bit lost on all of that. Again, not that I don’t see bits of goodness and dimension in Kane, but I just don’t buy her “other” feelings for him. I don’t see the chemistry, or get the tummy butterflies that way. Maybe it’s because she spends so much time thinking about how she would never choose him, that I end up agreeing with her (even if she’s only trying to convince herself). Gonna be interesting to see where it goes, even though I do know a spoiler or two for the end of this season….I still don’t know how it’s all going to play out.

Episode 10:
3 stars — This is bringing back apathetic Lenore. I don’t like who Reagan becomes when she’s with Kane. I didn’t like Kane’s love is selfish speech. I thought that was kind of horrific and scary. I know she’s all broken up with Hendrix (which seems for the best frankly), but the stuff before they broke up just pushed my cheater buttons, so I feel like I can’t trust the feelings I thought she had for Hendrix before. Which maybe that works that way for some people, but I guess I can’t vibe since I’ve never had conflicting feelings of love. I don’t know why, but I can’t even *force* myself to be into this new relationship. I got absolutely zero butterflies reading it. It was like watching a car wreck for me. That sounds harsh, but just relaying my feelings. I was so out of sorts from the whole make out scene that I wasn’t even really that invested in the final scene of the episode. Which makes me feel really bad, b/c thinking back on it, it was a very powerful scene. But I didn’t even cry. So I’m left feeling really lost. I’ll keep reading, of course, b/c this is one of my favourite authors. But I’m just feeling sad b/c I’m really not enjoying myself as much as I thought I would. Maybe I just don’t have the right mindset for this kind of story….

Episode 11:
3.5 stars — The first half of this episode was the same as the past few have been for Lenore….just a big ole ball of confusion. I’m still not feeling it. At this point I’m starting to think it’s me.

And then there was the second half that had me bawling like I should have done for the last episode. Not that I’m surprised I was bawling, I do have a heart somewhere in here.

So not sure where this will go from here. I was prepared for this episode, but it still hurt, regardless of what other feelings I have. And I’m starting to wonder if I’m tainted by the things I know….b/c there are fewer surprises and I’m not as invested in certain things as I should be because I know what comes to pass. So my advice is to do everything in your power not to learn spoilers….even though that’s not always that easy.

Episode 12:
3.5 stars — Solid finale, lots of action and suspense, and some crazy turns of events. At the same time, I didn’t feel things as deeply as I expected to. I expected more fallout from Page, but that just kind of got swept to the side at the end. We’ll see, it could be that some of that will be addressed in the next season…but maybe not. So yeah….solid finale, but not groundbreaking for me.

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Love and Decay Volume 4 (Episodes 5-8, Season 3) by Rachel Higginson

This volume is still on sale for 99 cents for some reason — I highly recommend snatching it up for that price, b/c it’s not going to last!!

Synopsis:
22209220Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

Reagan was supposed to take it easy after an epic battle with Feeders left her injured and concussed. Instead, she wakes up to find herself trapped in the middle of nowhere, held hostage by Kane.

And she’s not alone. Kane kidnapped Page as well, in order to ensure Reagan is on her best behavior.

With little hope that the Parkers will be able to find them, Reagan must face her kidnapper and his crazy mother alone. Despair sets in and then turns to desperation when Kane’s confusing behavior calls to some secret part of her. Not only does she have to protect Page from the Allen family, but now her own heart, as well.

Kane promises they are safe, even if they are isolated. But is anyone truly safe during a Zombie Apocalypse?

When Feeders swarm around Kane’s hidden bungalow, Reagan joins forces with him so that they can all live another day.

Can everyone survive unscathed? Can Reagan fight alongside Kane, get to know him at a deeper level and face the demons of her heart without straying from Hendrix? Or will Kane find a way to slide in between the happy couple and follow through with his own agenda?

After all, isn’t all fair in love, war and the end of the world?

Love and Decay, Volume Four, is a compilation of Episodes Five through Eight in Season Two of Love and Decay. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22209220-love-and-decay-vol-four
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1l9Ujys

My Review:
4 stars — This was a pure up and down volume. I felt more frustrated than ever before in a few of these episodes, and at the same time it contained my favourite episode of season 2 so far. The plot twists are beyond compare, and we had some great character introspection and truly heart wrenching moments. I appreciated that a few of these episodes were less formulaic, giving us something fresh to read. But on the other hand, I found myself starting to detach from our heroine….though that could be just my personal taste thing. So yeah. Total rollercoaster. I might take a break and come back to this season with fresher eyes.

Episode 5:
4 stars — Hmmm…. I get the vulnerability. I get the 3 dimensions. But I’m still not team Kane. He may yet redeem himself, his soul may be saved, but this is not about him. This is about me and my ability to hold a grudge and to be unforgiving. And quite honestly, he’s still kind of a psycho. I mean, it’s not that I don’t get HOW he got to be the way he is, and that story with his father was a perfect example. But Tyler and Miller had the same father, and somehow they retained some moral fortitude despite their upbringing. So maybe he’s too weak for me then? I don’t know. All I know is that I hate that I can’t see what my friends see in him. I just find myself inevitably unswayed (even if my heart tugs occasionally). I am a heartless b*tch.

OK, moving on. I really enjoyed that this episode didn’t follow the formula of so many of the previous episodes. I get we’re in a zombie apocalypse, but it’s nice to go an episode where that’s not the crisis we face. And despite my non-team Kane-ness, I do appreciate learning more about him and trying to see into why he’s doing what he’s doing. Doesn’t mean I’m going to like it, and doesn’t mean I’m going to quite empathize with Reagan’s soft heart (even though prior to this I thought I had a soft heart — but apparently it’s reserved for only certain types of people). In the end my heart was with Page….seriously, it’s amazing how resilient children can be sometimes. I’m worried about what this is going to do to her — what opinions she’s going to form and attachments she might make. She’ll probably surprise me.

Strangely enough, Linley probably creeps me out the most. It’s hard to watch someone proselytize, to truly believe that the horrible things Matthias is doing is the only right and true way. To see her children as possessions.

Episode 6:
5 stars — Holy *BEEP*!!! That was an awful lot of crying for one episode. And I mean, my crying ran the gamut of tearing up over Kane’s revelations near the beginning of the episode, to full on bawling where my hubby had to come comfort me (even though the series has actually been partially ruined for me and I knew certain things wouldn’t come to fruition). I need a breather….seriously.

Still not team Kane, though I did have a lengthy and involved discussion about this with my husband, and he has multiple theories as to why — my favourite being that I am a hipster, and I tend to resist the popular opinions. It’s true, I will admit it. And it’s not always that he’s a psycho…which, despite the advances made on his character in this episode, I’m not going to forget. The main reason is the same reason I wasn’t team Jacob. There’s just no real chemistry there for me. It feels forced and based off of other things that do not make a good relationship. *shrugs* All of this is really irrelevant to my review, but it was fun to think about and analyze.

So my theories on Kane’s childhood were definitely confirmed, and I loved the insight we got — I really did feel for him and the little boy that he once was. And I thought the comparison’s to Miller’s character were interesting and made a whole lot of sense. So he definitely tugged MAJORLY on my heartstrings in this episode.

I won’t get into the other development in this episode so as to avoid spoilers — but I really didn’t see that one coming and the whole situation had my heart feeling like Ms. Higginson was squeezing it in the palm of her hand….so much devastation. Really interested to see where this is going to go, even though I know the end result.

This has been by FAR my favourite episode of the season so far. It had everything and really delved into the emotional writing that Ms. Higginson does so well, and has drawn me to her time and time again.

Episode 7:
3.5 stars — *sigh* I felt detached from this episode. Maybe the previous one just took it all out of me? Maybe I just don’t get Reagan, and find I can’t empathize with her internal meanderings? I honestly don’t get what she feels. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I agree with her decision to stand up for Kane’s life…but that’s partly b/c it would feel like cold blood murder if he wasn’t fighting back. But all this stuff with the relationships….I don’t know. It’s just not capturing my interest, and I’m finding it more annoying than usual. I wasn’t all happy with how Hendrix handled things either, but it was consistent with his character at least. I think it’s just been building up so much, and it feels like forced drama. I think I’m just not in the right mood for it… I hope this doesn’t become a trend in my mind, otherwise maybe I need to take a break.

The scientists were an intriguing development! I’m interested to see where that takes us at least….

Episode 8:
4 stars — I forgot it was going to be a Tyler episode, and given my feelings after the last episode, I think this one could not have been timed more perfectly for me. I find Tyler to be a really unique character, and I’m intrigued by what she’s been through, and how that’s shaped her. She really does have a cynical and jaded bent to her, but she also cares very deeply.

I’m a little bit leery of the relationship developments, not the least of which because of some of the spoilers I’m aware of. In some ways I wish we could have a bit more of Tyler, just to see how things play out.

All in all a solid episode, and one I was desperately needing — not too crazy action wise, more of a character development plot….and Ms. Higginson knows how to write great characters.

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Love and Decay Volume 3 (Episodes 1-4, Season 2) by Rachel Higginson

Finally onto season 2, and new stuff for me!  Obviously there may be minor spoilers if you haven’t read any of L&D, so please be warned.  As with the previous volumes, this post will include the volume review as well as each episode’s review.

Synopsis:
21531417Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

After a cataclysmic battle with Kane several months ago, Reagan is trying to move on. She might wake up screaming in terror from his starring role in her ever present nightmares and Miller is definitely still trapped at the Colony, but Reagan’s life is free of Kane Allen.

Or so she thought.

A mysterious gift shows up on her bed one day and the anonymous sender is easy to figure out. She has a stalker, and this time he refuses to give up until one of them is dead.

Add that to the growing list of other problems- accidental injuries, the Colony’s continued attacks on the compound, intelligent Zombies that seem to get smarter every day and failed attempts to rescue Miller- and the Zombie Apocalypse has never been more frightening.

Can all of Reagan’s loved ones survive the end of the world? How about those she doesn’t love. Will she ever see the end of the evil side of the Allen family?

Love and Decay, Volume Three, is a compilation of the first four episodes in Season Two of Love and Decay. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21531417-love-and-decay-vol-three
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MiTZHR

My Review:
4 stars — Season 2 definitely starts off with a bang. Lots of great twists and turns added in here and there to keep things fresh, and still such a great mix of humour and heart in each episode. Overall it falls off the 5 star mark b/c I had a few moments where I couldn’t suspend my disbelief….and I may have also wanted to slap the main character a time or two. But despite that, I’m still totally sucked into the storyline and the world and anxious to find out what’s going to happen next.

Episode 1:
4 stars — What just happened?? Seriously, sometimes I just want to slap Reagan so hard.

OK, this episode started off a little slower since it contained a bit of a recap — which is totally necessary if you hadn’t just finished reading the first season, but made me want to hurry it up a bit. But it really doesn’t last long at all and we’re right back into the thick of things. And it gave us a chance to see how things had been progressing since we last saw our pack of heros.

I can honestly say I didn’t see the developments of their raid coming. I mean, I should have. But wow. Just when you think that things can’t get much worse than the usual feeder attacks, Ms. Higginson throws in a wrench. Definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.

But then we got to the end. And perhaps Lenore is going to reserve judgement until she reads the next episode, but she was not pleased with the way Reagan handled a certain something. Grrr…. (and yes, I did just refer to myself in the 3rd person).

Episode 2:
4 stars — I’m still having issues with Reagan….I’m not entirely convinced that she understood why keeping the secret was so wrong…or maybe it’s more that I don’t get her reasons for keeping the secret. At least she was appropriately chastised by the family, and Hendrix in particular. It was just so dangerous — and you would think she would have better street smarts than that. So maybe I’m just a really unsympathetic reader, but I just don’t get it.

And frankly, taking such a large group, and an injured Reagan on a scouting mission was kind of unbelievable too. I feel so cynical! I mean, it wouldn’t have been a very exciting episode if all she did was hang out at the compound while others went scouting, but I just… Suspension of disbelief Lenore, suspension of disbelief.

Regardless of all my bitching and moaning, it was still a solid episode. I absolutely ADORED the beginning between Reagan and Harrison, and Harrison’s fear of Hendrix’s wrath. I miss those young kids, they seriously crack me up. And I enjoyed learning a bit more about the school they were trying to set up, and the training that the boys are up to. I was even intrigued with Reagan’s encounter with Kane, though I don’t think I’ll ever be team Kane in any way…. So one part of me was solidly enthralled with this episode, while another part of me was internally raging through half of it. I don’t know if I’m going to survive this season.

Episode 3:
5 stars — Now that’s what I’m talking about!! I think I just personally needed this episode to not be mad and conflicted with the characters. There was so much heart in this episode — from Reagan’s talk with Vaughan, to Tyler’s plea for Miller. And oh dear lord the action…. Totally edge of your seat stuff, and creepy to see what the feeder’s are up to now. It definitely shook up the action scenes and brought some new life to them. I’m nervous for what’s to come, but at the same time excited to be back in Haley’s mind for the next episode…. Good stuff people, good stuff.

Episode 4:
4.5 stars — I just had to start reading it before bed….I couldn’t just hold my horses and wait until morning, nooooo…. So now it’s 1 am and I’m trying to recover and avoid starting the next episode.

HOLY CRAPBALLS!!! Loved being back in Haley’s head, she’s such a sarcastic and sassy character. The only thing that sucked was that there was so much going on, that I didn’t really get a chance to settle into her character as much as I wanted to. But I did love the moments that we did get, and some of the adorable loving between her and Nelson.

This was a crazy episode. Honestly, I was a little skeptical about how it was going to work out in their favour, since the odds were horrifically stacked against them. And in the end it loses half a star b/c we don’t really get an explanation of how Gage and Tyler get away, it’s just kind of miraculously done. Again with my suspension of disbelief problems. I’m a tough cookie to crack.

But despite that, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and the momentum just has me clamouring for more…. So I call that success in my book.

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Love and Decay Volume 2 (Episodes 7-12, Season One) by Rachel Higginson

Finally finished rereading season one of Love and Decay, so here’s my review of Volume 2, and then the individual episodes 7-12.

Synopsis:
19167968Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.

A lot has changed for Reagan in the few months since she stumbled upon the Parker family. She has given up her isolated vagabond lifestyle and along with her best friend Haley, made a permanent home with the brothers and their sweet, little sister.

More specifically, Reagan has fallen in love with Hendrix Parker, a man just as consumed with loving and protecting her.

Their love is tested time and time again as their lives are continually threatened and put in danger, Zombies lurk around every dilapidated corner and an uncertain risk follows them across state lines.

While the undead haunt their newfound happiness, Matthias Allen and his obsessive son Kane remind Reagan and friends that Zombies aren’t the only evil lurking in this new apocalyptic world. Kane is on a mission to make Reagan his and take her back to The Colony, where his father reigns as a tyrannical overlord and Kane is second in command.

While Tyler and Miller Allen adjust to life with the Parkers, Reagan and Haley after their own escape from The Colony, the group decides to set up camp at a safe settlement that offers them refuge.

But is anything truly safe at the end of the world?

Soon they are surrounded by Zombies trying to eat them, an enemy settlement trying to rip them apart and the internal, every day struggles of trying to live together at the end of the world.

No matter the cost, Reagan refuses to give up Hendrix, Haley and the others that she has come to love so fiercely. She will fight any enemy, against any evil; she will do anything to keep her freedom and the people that have become her life and everything she lives for safe.

Love and Decay, Volume Two, is a compilation of the last six episodes in a twelve episode season. This volume includes a bonus episode from Hendrix Parker’s point of view. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19167968-love-and-decay-vol-two
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1H6mKXP

My Review:
4.5 stars — A solid second half to the first season. Lots of twists and turns, awesome action, a bit more depth for the Allen family story, and the most AMAZING romance moments. I like the idea of these serials that seem to be popular now, but just like my tv watching, I have very little patience so I like the netflix way of binge watching…or in this case, waiting for a volume of episodes and then reading them all in a row. It requires me to wait longer between volumes (then just 2 weeks between episodes), but then I can just DEVOUR IT! So if you’re like me, I HIGHLY recommend buying these volumes. They let you enjoy the serials, without going crazy waiting for more….well, until the end of the volume.

And the great part about this volume??? It includes a novella of Hendrix’s POV (around the episode 1 timeline). Talk about an epic bonus!!!

Episode 7:
5 stars — I LOVED the little bit of fun and normalcy that the girls were able to achieve to lighten up the start of this episode…at the same time, the contrast to their daily lives made it all the more poignant. Starting to fall in love with Tyler…it was nice to see a bit more depth to her in this episode.

And the action…dear lord almighty, this one was hard on my heart. It was kind of interesting to see Reagan’s observations of the bigger city, and the differences from where they are usually traveling.

LOVING the Hendrix and Reagan togetherness bits. Yup, so totally satisfied with that.

Episode 8:
4.5 stars — I was really starting to get curious about Tyler’s story, so I think her POV came at just the right time. And her story seriously broke my heart…. To have to watch your own Father systematically become horrifically evil…ugh, no words. And I’m in love with Logan too….:( Seriously, it was the perfect background to explain a bit more of who Tyler is, and why she behaves the way she does.

As usual, had some HILARIOUS little bits, mostly with Reagan and then Harrison and King. I seriously love those boys. And while I knew we would see Kane again in this series, I found his appearance somewhat surprising, and not at ALL how I expected him to come back in this story…. INTRIGUED!!

Episode 9:
4 stars — Another fabulous episode. I seriously LOVED the Walgreen’s adventure with Hendrix and Reagan. So much giggling. And watching the interplay with Kane is interesting….he’s so mysterious. Evil, yes….but there’s more there. Course, he could just be crazy….I mean, I know he’s crazy, but HOW crazy??

And new people? Interesting to see where this is going to take us!

Episode 10:
4.5 stars — oh ho ho Ms Higginson…I can see what you’re doing here, and I can’t decide if I like it or not. I’m intrigued by Kane, but to make him 3 dimensional?? *sigh* So unfair. Yup, enjoyed this episode — enjoyed getting to delve even MORE into the Allen family background. Not sure what to think of Tyler and her beaus, but I’m with Reagan…I’m enjoying watching it all play out.

Some fabulous zingers from Harrison again…truly LOL moments. And what an intriguing twist…I feel like I should have seen it coming, but I totally didn’t. Can’t wait to see what we learn about Kane now, and how this will inevitably play out.

Episode 11:
5 stars — LOVE LOVE LOVED IT! The beginning with Kane and Reagan was interesting….it’s so hard to get a read on him…. I’m with Reagan, I know deep down he’s a bad man, but it’s so hard to keep that in mind when he turns on the vulnerable charm.

But the best of this episode was all the deliciousness between Hendrix and Reagan. I think my heart both melted and went into overdrive. Just so needed after all the tension of the season thus far. I know big bad things are probably in the works, so to have the sweet little interlude was just so gratifying.

Episode 12:
5 stars — Oh dear lord have mercy…this felt like a bigger episode…mostly just because it had 2 significant sections of action. I mean, first there was the standoff with Matthias and Kane, and so many delicious speeches that just got me right in the ticker (my highlighting finger basically just wanted to highlight all of it). And OMG, I can’t even begin to go into the craziness of how that played out. I hadn’t been reading that long, but it was so epic and climatic that I honestly thought it was gonna end at that point. But NO! We got a second section of massive suspenseful OMG OMG OMG deliciousness (from an action pov). Honestly, I cried for Reagan. How could you not? That was some epicness Ms. Higginson. Just epicness. LOVED Tyler in those moments too. I’ve thought some of the other episodes were rollercoasters, but this one is like the MEGA MONSTER rollercoaster of emotions.

So yeah. Great conclusion. Not like a big cliffhanger, but definitely a lot of setup for the next season. Delicious.

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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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