Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt

Blurb:
28012875After surviving the zombie apocalypse for two years, Tye LeBow never expected to be saved from a hungry gang of zombies by a geek with a bad attitude and a penchant for explosives. Tye can’t quite work out why scientist Polly Parker saved him. She doesn’t want his protection, and she certainly doesn’t want his company. But Tye has no intention of leaving the beguiling geek behind.

Polly doesn’t want to leave her home, but when the wakers begin to show signs of a burgeoning intelligence, heading south is the only option. With a car packed full of homemade explosives, and Tye’s very large axe, they are ready for the road trip of their lives.

Bombs and blades aren’t the only keys to survival–they’ll need to rely on each other, in a way that neither could have imagined…

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I moved this book up on my TBR b/c I’m trying to read books featuring black characters for black history month, and from the cover I assumed Tye was black.  I feel like there are different reasons for having diverse characters, and if your reasons are to see things from the perspective of someone of a different race (in this case black), then I’m afraid you’d be disappointed.  It really didn’t come into play at all.  Perhaps because it’s the zombie apocalypse, and race is the least of anyone’s worries.  It’s also just nice to have representation, which is the other reason to have diverse characters, and this would have worked for that.

So after that long winded paragraph, I was definitely entertained by this novel, but it never succeeded in truly sucking me in.  Everything was just good for me, but not great.  Well, except maybe Tye.  He was such a sweet but still badass guy.  Polly was a bit harder to fall in love with, an I must say that I don’t think I ever really did.  I enjoyed her, she was likable, but I tend to gravitate towards snark and sass, and Polly lacked most basic social skills.  There was one point where Tye talks about her sense of humour, and I thought to myself “what sense of humour?”  I guess I like to see it, rather than be told it exists.

If you’re looking for a romance, I would say that Polly and Tye’s may not quite satisfy you.  It was definitely sweet, and I really did feel a connection between them, but it didn’t give me butterflies.  And it’s not because there were only maybe a few light kisses, it was more just that Polly is such an odd character internally that I was just never swept off my feet and believed her tummy flips.  I will say that their connection as companions is FANTASTIC.  I really felt how much they needed each other and cared for each other.  Not sure if I’m making any sense, b/c that probably sounds contradictory.  It was like more than friends, but I didn’t quite get any sexual chemistry (which can exist even in clean reads).

Now as far as a zombie book goes, I thoroughly enjoyed the action, suspense, and overall questions of how one would survive and what would that do to the people left.  I will note that I don’t read many zombie books, so I cannot give a comparison to what is out there.  And I also did not read book 1 in this series, but other than making me a bit curious about Jackson and Luke’s story, I didn’t feel I missed anything.

I enjoyed the different reactions to the zombies that both Polly and Tye had, and how they viewed those people.  I was actually intrigued to see a view into the zombies thought processes, I hadn’t been expecting that, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but in the end I felt it worked for the book.

I’m not sure if I will read more in the series.  If I didn’t have a HUGE TBR, I definitely would.  But given I do have too many books to read, if I don’t get to it I won’t be heartbroken.

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Justice Ascending (The Scorpius Syndrome #3) by Rebecca Zanetti

justice-ascendingBlurb: Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly… and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he’s lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there’s no turning back for either of them.

Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she’s one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she’s not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she’ll face even that hell again to save him.

 

scr2557-proj697-a-kindle-logo-w-rgb-lg This book is a pre-order, available Jan 31, 2017!

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5 stars

I’m so happy with this series!  I have received them ALL through Netgalley and I can’t wait to get the next one. But I’m conflicted!  I was expecting this to be a trilogy.  But it looks like there will be more books in this series since the sociopathic president and the VP aren’t dead yet and they so need to die. I’m happy I get to keep reading the series but dammit I really wanted him to die!

This is my fave book in the series so far and I’ll tell you why. 🙂 This is not a story of a soldier finding his love with a civilian – which has been the progression of the characters so far.  She switches it up in this one with both MC’s being soldier.  And it was a totally different paradigm than her previous books in the series and I love it.

First off, Texan Tace Justice is smexy! Super smexy! Super duper smexy! I really loved how self aware he was.  He knew he had OCD and he was obsessing about Sami.  He was very mush internally conflicted because of it.  He knew it wasn’t normal.  He was one of those guys you could always depend on and he enjoyed being that person.  He was proud of his long family line of texas rangers and couldn’t wait to be a part of that legacy.  Watching him struggle and come to terms with the fact it will never happen formed a soft spot in my heart for him.

Sami seemed to have a bit more dimension for me.  In the beginning she seemed a hardcore hand to hand combat expert with a background in law enforcement.  As the story progresses we get to see her feelings start to shine through.  And the dynamic of having a female soldier and how she is treated different but equal at the same time.  It’s written quite beautifully.

There was a lot more action and sex in this book.  Their chemistry was instant and escalated quickly.  It gave me tummy warmth to read it.  The solidarity exhibited by this new militant group is quite heart warming.  The trust is there and when someone fucks up it’s dealt with swiftly and not used against them at a later time.  They are a family and all that that entails.  They are flawed and forgiving.  And I love that about these characters.

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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.

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The Beautiful Dead (The Beautiful Dead #1)by Daryl Banner

beautiful deadBlurb: She’s dead.

In fact, the whole world’s dead. Every single person, apparently. Unburied and reimagined into a beautiful living-dead woman called Winter, she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a quaint, peaceful city with no hunger, no sickness and no bills to pay. Her Second Life is perfect in every way possible.

So why is she so bent on destroying it all?

After angering the mayor, befriending rebel headless teenagers and igniting romance with a dark and brooding neighbor, she finds herself wrestling madly with a First Life she cannot remember and this Second Life she cannot accept. Not to mention the maniacal army of rotting corpses who want her dead. Again.

But none of that matters in comparison to an even worse problem. There’s a guest in her house. A rude, good-looking man on the run … a man with a heartbeat.

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5 Stars

Ok first off, I have to say that the blurb doesn’t do this book ANY kind of justice.  It’s soooo much more than what is written.  Think negative space, look between the lines.  I think thats why it took me so long to start it honestly, it didn’t sound that interesting to me.

This book was wonderfully different than what I was expecting.  I have read his Brazen Boys series and  was expecting a bit more in the romance department because of that.  I’m glad it wasn’t like the other series.  To have more romance would have definitely taken away from the story.

The concept of undead having more than one type was kinda cool.  We don’t only have one type of human so it makes sense that the undead wouldn’t have just one type either.  This book had a great ebb and flow to it.  I would get sucked in to one part then out of nowhere, something else would pop up all shiny and attractive.

I honestly didn’t know where the story was going until I got closer to the end. Then everything kind of just fell together. The author did a great job of keeping my attention.

Bottom line, you should probably read this book, ya know, if you like good books.

book bingoThis book fills my Science Fiction Post-Apocalyptic book bingo spot.  A reading challenge I am doing from a fellow blogger Just Another Girl and Her Books.

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Revolution by Shelly Crane

Synopsis:
13564272.jpgIn the fourth and final installment, everything is on the line. Merrick’s life is in the balance and Lily is their only hope. Ellie and her new powers are miraculous, but also problematic; if she’s with the bunker family, they won’t be able to sense when the Lighters are there. There are many new members to the bunker and sparks will fly, and with the food shortage, they will all have plenty to deal with. Miguel is intrigued with Rylee, her past and her spunk. Ryan and Elli are barely scratching the surface of their relationship. Cain and Lillian will have to deal with Daniel, who has no qualms about showing his true feelings for her. And Sherry and Merrick…what will happen to this happenstance family who have worked so hard to come together? Can they all survive? Can they all withstand the new enemy that is right outside their door? Can they beat the Lighters, once and for all…

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My Review:
4 stars — OK, this review is going to be a little lackluster, as all my reviews seem to be when I go on a vacation in the middle of a book.  I really have to stop doing that, b/c I just end up forgetting what I was feeling for the beginning of the book.  And the middle.  🙂  My husband suggested I just reread it, but I’m not that ambitious.

OK, enough talk.  So all in all I thought this was a pretty solid conclusion to the series.  It maintained the feel of all the rest of the books having a bunch of mini climaxes instead of one big one.  I think that was one part that kind of disappointed me in the end…for some reason I was still expecting some big battle at the end, and so it was kind of anti-climactic for me.  I mean, I knew they kept saying Lily was the key, but it just felt like a bit of a cop out easy ending.  Not enough strife or something.  Maybe it’s because there’s little strife all along.  So yeah, I enjoyed the series as a whole, but I’m not sure the format is necessarily my favourite.  Apparently I just can’t get past the normal flow of stories.

Now with that being said, I did thoroughly enjoy the earlier mini climaxes.  Holy crap, the needs warehouse section was crazy!!  That seriously had me on pins and needles, and I loved the little developments there.

I also loved getting into Ryan’s head in this book!  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for him, so that was pretty sweet…and it added a little something different to the Keeper storyline…  (course now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t remember if that was new to this book, or if we got into his head in book 3…it’s hard to keep it straight when you read them all in a row like this)

And I really enjoyed the introduction of Chesser as a character.  I thought that little bit of plot was really intriguing.

So there was lots of goodness, I was just a bit let down with the way the big fight played out.  I did really appreciate that we got some bits of epilogue, b/c I was going to have a ton of questions otherwise and would have felt unfulfilled.  Course then it made my brain start going with questions of what this all looked like in the rest of the world, but I decided that suspension of disbelief was the way to go.  Initially I remember this being my favourite series of Ms. Crane’s, but I think Significance has it beat now that I’ve reread and finally finished it.

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Catalyst (Collide #3) by Shelly Crane

Synopsis:
12202480In the third installment of the Collide series, we start off with Sherry, taken prisoner in the enforcement facility. The little bunker family must now decide whether it’s worth the risk to try to save her or if it would bring doom to them all. Lily has started showing signs of her gift progressing, which may not be a desirable thing. And as Marissa starts to act strangely, Jeff must come to terms that there may be more to her illness that meets the eye.
Daniel, the Lighter who shocked Lillian with his human emotions will reappear, but for what purpose? Will Sherry be rescued before it’s too late? Will Daniel prove to be a genuine miracle? Will Cain be able to fully get over his love for Sherry and move on with Lillian? And how much more trouble can the new Taker cause for the rebels?
Some will make it and some won’t as the story continues…

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 5 stars — Well, if you’re on the 3rd book, you gotta know you’re sucked right in, so are the reviews even relevant anymore?  I mean, could you really not read the rest?  Might go down to 4.5 stars, but can’t decide once I get this far in a series unless there is something really bad.  At least the cliffhanger wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  Love the characters, love the world….looking forward to more.

ON REREAD: 4.5 stars — OK, now this is what I’m talking about!!  Holy cow was there lots of happenings in this one!!!  I can’t believe I waited 4 years before getting to finally read the conclusion, I must have been crazy!!  Lots of great characters to love, a crazy amount of suspense and action at times (at least to me), and some delicious romance in the middle.  I have no idea how this series is going to end, it’s going to be epic!!

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Uprising (Collide #2) by Shelly Crane

Another reread 4 years later, so will have original review as well as reread review.

Synopsis:
11997316Sherry and Merrick’s story continues in this sequel to Collide. In this installment, we come face to face with old acquaintances and new friends and new enemies. Things will change for all of them especially when a little girl is found and everyone’s loyalties are tested. A revelation may upset the delicate balance they’ve all tried so hard to set. There’s new love, new rivalries and new transformations in the continuing series of Collide.

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW:  5 stars — Yeah, completely sucked in to this series…  I think I know why people may have found it boring (or the first book or whatever)….it’s b/c you actually get to read some happy time stuff…I LOVE that.  It’s not just conflict and craziness, but the occasional chapter of feel good love stuff.  It was very satisfying….  Only thing that made me want to dock it a half star was the explanation for the loss of the light of the moon….that was terrible.  Seriously.  I don’t know why it bothered me, but luckily it was only a tiny sub point on a page…it just stuck out.  Was it just me??  OK, on to the 3rd — woop woop!

REREAD: 4 stars — I figured out that I am reading an old copy of the books, so I won’t talk about any editing mistakes, since it wouldn’t be accurate to the current available copy of the books.  I really need to talk to Amazon about getting that fixed…grr.  (besides which, it wasn’t as bad as the first book.  Still there, but more easily looked over)

So the loss of a star from the first read to this one was just that I found the characters could be a bit one dimensional or something….I’m not entirely sure what it is, but occasionally Sherry would get on my nerves.  She was almost too good you know?  I mean, I know that’s her character, but it got to be a bit unbelievable at times.  Maybe I’m just more cynical 4 years down the line??

But I LOVED that we got to see more POVs in this book, and I loved the developments with Cain and Lillian.  I almost find them to be more interesting than Merrick and Sherry.  There’s a bit more grit to them or something.

And the obstacles and climaxes in this book!  Hoowee!!  It felt like I’d just started the book and we already had our first crazy encounter with Lighters and Markers, and then it just kept building in Part 1!  Then we got a bit more of a break, but with some great developments, and then we got first the Cain/Billings/Lillian/Daniel craziness and then that ending!!!  Definitely sucked in and just want to keep reading the rest of this series!  I’m remembering more of why I was so enthralled in the first place, and even with my issues with characters I’m loving it!!

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Collide by Shelly Crane

I’m making January a reread month for me, and so I’ve come back to this series after 4 years and reading lots of other books….  So we’re going to have my original review, and a reread review on this one…

Synopsis:
11731782Sherry has always known there was something out there. She’s eighteen, works for a tabloid newspaper in Chicago and has a brother, Danny who is a lazy mooch. They live a pretty normal dull life with hippie parents and a normal existence. Then the moon dissapears and people start to go missing only to reappear later, but different. Sherry has an abusive ex-boyfriend who shows up and claims to be one of these beings that have been showing up around the world. He’s no longer the same person in that body. He tells her he has come to protect her and her brother and takes her underground, against her will to save her, where they meet others like them. She begins to unravel the truth about Merrick, about what he’s really doing here, about the way he looks at her, about the crazy dangerous world they live in. Can he convince her that he’s here to help? Will she like what she finds when she opens up to the truth? Will he be the one to love her when everyone else has failed her? Will he be able to protect her?

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My Review:
Original Review: 4 stars — Loved it!! I was so worried when I read a lot of reviews on Amazon about it being boring, but it wasn’t even remotely — totally enthralled! I guess it depends on the kinds of books you read and what you were expecting out of it. It only got 4 stars b/c I felt it ended really abruptly — totally didn’t see that coming. Almost like she hit a word count and was like — time for the next book. I mean, I’m gonna read the next one, no worries there, but it just jarred me. It was also kind of strange b/c there were many smaller climaxes, without one overall climax. But *that* didn’t bother me as much. Worried about the end developments, b/c I am in LOVE with Merrick and Sherry! Can’t wait for more!

ON REREAD: 3 stars —  OK, so this one took me quite a while to get back into.  Honestly, I’m not sure if this one has been updated since it was first published (b/c Amazon just will not send me updated copies of the books, no matter how many settings I change), but I was reading the original copy and the editing was ATROCIOUS.  I originally read this book when I first got my kindle and was first introduced to Indie authors, and I think I was a lot more forgiving back then.  It was hard to keep in the story at times it was that bad.  I sincerely hope it’s been reedited and rereleased and this was just my copy, b/c it would be worth the effort to do so.

I also found Sherry harder to like this time around.  I don’t know if I’m just in a different place, but she (and some of the other characters at times) could be really one dimensional.  Again, another instance where some editing would make a world of difference.

Despite all that, I still got sucked into this story, and I still enjoyed myself by the end.  I don’t know what it is, b/c like I said in my original review, this story doesn’t follow the normal structure of build up to a big climax…it’s a lot of little climaxes.  But I enjoyed the relationships that developed between all the hidden folks, especially between Sherry and Merrick and Sherry and Jeff.  I smiled a lot, and I found the world to be intriguing, even if occasionally I had moments of disbelief.  I’m definitely going to be continuing on with the rest of the series, but I do feel bad that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first time through.  I guess tastes change, eh?

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