Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Is Not A Test

This Is Not a TestThis Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From Goodreads
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This book isn't just about zombies. This book is about what would REALLY happen if there actually were a zombie apocalypse. We're not talking about guns blazing and hatchets swinging. This is what I imagine would really "go down" if zombies came to my town.

The story is told from Sloan's point of view. Her life is already a living nightmare and she's ready to check out. Her last thread of hope slipped quietly away in the night driving a beat-up old Volkswagen. She's now considering a desperate alternative and then a scream outside her house changes everything. What happens next is a fusion of personalities thrust together for the fight of their lives.
After the initial relief of finding a safe place to hide out from the zombies the tension builds among the cast of characters. Trust doesn't come easy and confrontations are inevitable. The five teens who come together have many flaws. You can't help but grieve for them because you might see someone you know...a brother, a daughter, or your best friend.
This is Not a Test isn't about the shambling dead outside. It's about the scared teenagers trapped inside and they're still dealing with all the issues that make being a teenager difficult...without the living dead.
Don't expect to feel good at the end of this story. This novel is gritty and raw and it will leave you holding your breath thinking "wow, someone should have warned me!" I loved it! Even though the living dead don't make many appearances the ending just blew me away. Up until this moment Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth was my favorite young adult zombie novel. Courtney's, This is Not a Test is without a doubt my other favorite. I received this copy for review and I'm so thankful for that opportunity. This is the first novel I've read of Courtney's but it won't be the last.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Circus of the Dead

I don't know about you but nothing chills my blood more than the thought of zombies and a circus! Circus of the Dead is a free book on Barnes and Noble for the Nook. I stumbled across this one while checking out a friend's Lend Me books. We both have a morbid taste in zombie lit and I just couldn't pass it up. Here's what Goodreads has to say:

Circus of the Dead
by Seth Blackburn
3.43 · rating details · 21 ratings · 4 reviews
Twenty years ago, the dead destroyed the world of the living. The survivors scattered in the wake of the Scourge, erecting small towns in the worlds' most sparsely populated areas.

For young Gabriel, the walking dead are merely the memories that haunt the eyes of those old enough and lucky enough to have survived. He is more concerned with his hard life in America's desert, where his chores keep him busy and the husks of books stashed beneath the cellar of the library are his only freedom.

Until the circus comes to town.

"Circus of the Dead" is a novelette of approximately 10,748 words
Do clowns scare you? They sure as heck scare me...especially the Stephen King kind from IT. I will follow up with a full and complete review on this. It's a short one- just 64 pages on my Nook:-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where Darkness Dwells

Where Darkness DwellsWhere Darkness Dwells by Glen Krisch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads
During a hot summer night in 1934, tragedy strikes when two local boys search for the truth behind a local legend. They stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns just below the surface of Coal Hollow. Time holds no sway in the Underground. People no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic. By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns home.
As a fan of the zombie genre I was delighted for the opportunity to read a new tale about the undead. After reading the summary I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into Where Darkness Dwells. It did not disappoint! Underneath Coal Hollow there's a network of tunnels leading to a paradise for the dark hearts of men. Two boys in search of adventure stumble across something so sinister it will leave one family heartbroken and the other searching for the truth.

Ellie and Jacob are such memorable characters. Their innocence and perseverance was refreshing. They know the pain of loss and disappointment yet they still reach out and connect with those who can offer them hope. It's been awhile since I cared so much about the characters in a novel. Ellie and Jacob kept me racing to the end, holding my breath, needing to know their fate- good or bad.

Having read so many zombie novels I've started to look for concepts that make a novel stand out from the rest. I often wonder if the next author will bring something to the table that hasn't been done before and will they be able to convince me it could really happen! Glen Krisch did just that. Where Darkness Dwells is a new spin on the zombie genre or to be more accurate- the undead and the cost of immortality.

I would highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy dark tales and sinister small towns. As a side note...I'm from Illinois and my great grandfather was a coal miner. I was delighted to see local towns I've been to mentioned throughout the story. I have every intention of reading more written by this author and have my sites set on his novella Loss.

I received this e-book for review and boy am I glad Glen Krisch stumbled across my little universe in cyberspace!

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Borrower

The Borrower: A NovelThe Borrower: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads
Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?
What a fun little book. I enjoyed the adventures of Lucy and Ian "on the lamb" and constantly wondered how this whole mess would turn out. There were some laugh out loud moments- "we're Ferret-Glo twins!" The ending was a little hard to swallow but it was satisfying nonetheless. I encourage those who love libraries and the joy of reading to pick this one up.

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The Hunger Games Trailer!

Love this series! I can't believe I'm going to say this but I think the movie is going to be (almost) better than the book. Watch this trailer and tell me what you think...

Am I right?!?!?

As an added note- where have I been? Just realized that's Lenny Kravitz as Cinna! Woo hoo! My anticipation just went up several notches.

Monday, January 2, 2012


11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads
November 22nd, 1963 was a rapid-fire sequence of indelible moments: Shots ring out; a president slumped over; a race to the Dallas hospital; an announcement, blood still fresh on the First Lady's dress. But what if President John F. Kennedy didn't have to die; if somehow his assassin could have been thwarted? For Maine schoolteacher Jake Epping, those hypothetical what if's become real possibilities when he walks through a portal to the past. Without special skills and still unfamiliar with his new/old surroundings, he struggles to discover a way to change the history he left. Like its Under the Dome predecessor, Stephen King's 960-page novel shows that this master of suspense is back at the top of his game.
I really enjoyed this book. I can't say that I was dying to read it...it wasn't exactly horror but it was a dark story at times. I always watch out for those Stephen King "threads" from his other novels. He didn't disappoint- the "Losers Club" from IT made an appearance. The ending was a little "Back to the Future" for me but I'm o.k. with it. SK could have made this novel a little shorter. I admit I skimmed a lot towards the end- I really wanted to know who the heck "the yellow card man" was! I think most Stephen King fans will enjoy this novel and JFK enthusiasts (especially those who like conspiracy theories) will too.

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Yet Another Zombie Book

Bits of the DeadBits of the Dead by Keith Gouveia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads

They live. They die. They return. Zombies. 38 authors. 38 gut-wrenching tales. Flash fiction at its finest, all illustrated by underground favorite Sean Simmans and edited by Keith Gouveia. Stories by Piers Anthony, Robert Appleton, Joel Arnold, Drew Brown, Adam-Troy Castro, Nick Cato, C.M. Clifton, Christopher Allan Death, Ed Dempster, J.G. Faherty, Paul A. Freeman, Charles A. Gramlich, J.H. Hobson, M.M. Johnson, Michael Josef, Kiernan Kelly, Nancy Kilpatrick, Michael Laimo, Catherine MacLeod, James Newman, Kurt Newton, Jeff Parish, Matthew John Peters, Jeffrey C. Pettengill, Daniel Pyle, Gina Ranalli, Steven Savile, Julia Sevin, R.J. Sevin, Nate Southard, Jeff Strand, Simon Strantzas, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, Lee Thomas, William T. Vandemark, Steve Vernon, Tim Waggoner, John Weagly Bits of the Dead is a hard-hitting, pulse-pounding collection of zombie tales that'll have you ripping through the pages faster than a ghoul through a warm body.

Junk food for the brain....these are entertaining little "bites" of zombie fiction. Great price for zombie fiction fans:-)

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