Type and Cross (Cathedral Lake Series #1) by Staci Troilo #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreviews #suspense

Blood defines family. Blood reveals betrayal.

Dr. Royce Keller is no stranger to blood. As Chief of Emergency Medicine at Oakland Regional Hospital, it’s his job, his calling. To Royce, it is the very essence of life—what ties his family, his career, and his world together. Until he learns everything he believes is wrong.

Vanessa Keller has a secret she has kept hidden for almost two decades. It’s her burden, her cross to bear. To Vanessa, the truth is a choice—something best forgotten for the greater good of her family and their future. Until the day it comes back to haunt her. A tale of family dysfunction, betrayal, heroism, and loss, Type and Cross is the story of one family’s journey from devastation to redemption. – Goodreads.com

As a fan of medical shows and thrillers, the beginning of this book especially piqued my curiousity – but I’m not giving away spoilers.  By the time that mystery was solved, these characters had me completely caught up in their family dynamics and secrets.

At times with each character, I alternated between being on their side, then wanting to throttle them on the next page.  The author does an exceptional job of creating realistic, flawed characters, and Royce and Vanessa’s range of emotions after tragically losing their daughter are heartbreaking and genuine.  Once the secrets were uncovered, I appreciated the fact that Royce and Vanessa’s troubled marriage didn’t undergo a quick fix with a fairy tale resolution.

This story is a wonderful portrayal of how things aren’t always what they seem on the surface and secrets can have residual effects for years to come.  Highly recommend for fans of suspenseful family drama.

The Old Man at the End of the World: Bite #1 by A.K. Silversmith #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how 34338410quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald.

Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millenial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time.

Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu. – Goodreads.com

This was such an entertaining read!  Gerald is in no way prepared for the zombie apocalypse, and is even oblivious to the fact that it’s happening around him as he works in his garden.  The banter between Gerald and his neighbor, Ham, had me laughing out loud more than once as they beat the odds and fumbled their way through several precarious situations.

Being American, I missed some of the British references, but didn’t feel it detracted from this well-written novella.  This is a humorous take on the ‘zompocalypse’ that isn’t filled with doom, gloom, gore, and body parts (well, not many).  I’ll definitely be looking forward to the second bite.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

 

Feral by James Demonaco and Brian Evenson #bookreview #horror

From James DeMonaco, the writer/director of The Purge film franchise, comes the30689356 provocative and terrifying last stand of a lone outpost of women in the wake of a deadly pandemic.

Allie Hilts was still in high school when a fire at a top-secret research facility released an air-borne pathogen that quickly spread to every male on the planet, killing most. Allie witnessed every man she ever knew be consumed by fearsome symptoms: scorching fevers and internal bleeding, madness and uncontrollable violence. The world crumbled around her. No man was spared, and the few survivors were irrevocably changed. They became disturbingly strong, aggressive, and ferocious. Feral.

Three years later, Allie has joined a group of hardened survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam free, and hunt. Allie has been noticing troubling patterns in the ferals’ movements, and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon, and time is running out. The ferals are coming, and there is no stopping them. – Goodreads.com

I’m a fan of The Purge movies, so when I saw the writer/director had written a book, I was immediately intrigued.

The first part of this book is fantastic – the reader sees through Allie’s eyes how this apocalyptic event begins and the hard choices she makes in order to survive.  Flash forward three years, and Allie has transformed from a talented lacrosse player worried about boys to a hardened feral killer with trust issues.  Obviously, living through something like this will change a person, but I would have appreciated the inclusion of some events that caused this alteration.  The three year interval is a blank slate and the reader sees what Allie is like mostly through internal monologues and observations of other characters.

Which brings me to this – Feral alternates between first person and third person, some of this with the same character, and different POVs from several characters.  Different POVs aren’t really a problem for me, but the shifts between first and third person are somewhat jarring.

Overall, this is a solid read – it doesn’t bring anything new to the table with this genre, but it’s fast-paced with some exciting action sequences and a pretty quick read.  The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel.

Feral is scheduled for publication April 4th, 2017.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

 

Unearthly Things by Michelle Gagnon #TuesdayBookBlog #suspense

After losing her parents in a tragic accident, surfer girl Janie Mason is forced to trade 29422134the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the cold fog of San Francisco. She’s never even met her new guardians, the Rochesters—an old money family who relish being pillars of high society. Janie feels hopelessly out of place in their world of Napa weekends, fancy prep schools, and cotillions. Nicholas is the only Rochester who treats her with anything resembling kindness—but he’s only six. When she strikes up a friendship with Daniel, a fellow surfer, it feels like things might finally be improving.

But something isn’t right in the Rochester mansion. There are noises—screams—coming from the attic nearly every night. Noises everyone else claims they can’t hear. Then John, the black sheep of the family, returns after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. Soon Janie finds herself torn between this new “brother” and Daniel, who has secrets of his own. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any worse, she learns the truth about the Rochesters: what they’re hiding, what they want from Janie, and how far they’ll go to get it. – Goodreads.com

I read Jane Eyre many years ago and honestly didn’t remember much about it, so I had to reacquaint myself with the synopsis.  Unearthly Things is an updated YA retelling of Jane Eyre and the author has done a remarkable job.

Orphaned at the age of 16, Janie had an idyllic upbringing that wasn’t without its problems, but she’s strong and tries to make the best of a tragic situation, making her character easy to admire.  Even though this is a modern day retelling, I loved that the Rochester’s house still maintained the creepy gothic atmosphere, complete with supernatural happenings.  I also liked that the primary emphasis wasn’t on romance, but more about the strange occurrences and secrets in the house, odd behaviors of its inhabitants, and Janie’s attempts to figure out the motivations of everyone around her.

This Jane is a down-to-earth, intelligent, strong surfer girl and I thoroughly enjoyed this book – and could easily have read it in one sitting if real life hadn’t required my attention.  Fans of the original Jane Eyre may enjoy this updated YA version, but I’d also recommend it to those who enjoy supernatural suspense.  Unearthly Things is scheduled for publication April 11th, 2017.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital ARC.

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta #bookreviews #fantasy

A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and 25226075put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife. – Goodreads.com

This isn’t my one of my typical reads, but the mention of Scotland and hint of witches reached out and grabbed me.

Heather is a girl who clearly has some issues – not only with cutting, but recurring nightmares involving twin sisters, Prudence and Primrose, both witches from the 1600s.  Throughout the story, the POVs rotate between these three characters, although the sisters’ chapters are much shorter.  The historical flashbacks, witchcraft, and the author’s take on a ‘blood witch’ are my favorite parts of this novel, but these aspects aren’t really delved into until nearly halfway through the book.  Heather and her supporting cast of friends have some fun scenes and Robby is sweetly charming, but I’m relieved the teen romance didn’t overshadow the plot.

Once the pace really got rolling and the building suspense drew me in, the story wrapped up rather abruptly, leaving me a little frustrated.  When I noticed so few pages remaining near the end, I even wondered if there might be a sequel.  Admittedly I might have missed something, but I had trouble buying into the initial conflict that pitted the twin sisters against each other.  Their later conflicts – absolutely, but it seemed a weak springboard.

A wonderful setting, believable characters, and suspenseful mystery interwoven with witchcraft and magic – I just wish it would have been a little longer.

Bad Blood is scheduled for publication March 14th, 2017.  Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

In a Small Compass: Vol. 1 by Karen Oberlaender #bookreviews #paranormal #TuesdayBookBlog

15 contemporary short fiction stories with paranormal streaks take you on a journey33227363 to Boston, Dublin, Dundrum, Galway, Heidelberg, London, Munich, Nuremberg, Skerries, and other places.

Find out more about:
– Rachel and her nightmare.
– Madelyn and her marble.
– Jenny and the shadow.
– Louise and her hunches.
– Ted and the noises.
– Dee and her prison.
– The heatwave in Willowsend.
– Judy and her projections.
– Joe and a voice.
– Roberta and Laura.
– Marty giving directions.
– James Ferris Wheeler and the award.
– Aoife at the Dundrum Town Centre.
– The secret of the blue window – with two alternative endings. – Goodreads.com

For someone who prefers their books to have a touch of other-worldliness, this marvelous collection of short stories was a treat for me.  Each is the perfect length to take an enjoyable short break from your day or for a quick read while waiting in line (I’m never without a book if I have to wait anywhere, anytime).   The settings from around the world are just an added bonus.  Looking forward to volume 2!

Alone (The Generations Trilogy #3) by Scott Sigler #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreviews #scifi

In the final installment of an exhilarating sci-fi adventure trilogy in the 28227834vein of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising, Scott Sigler’s unforgettable heroine, Em Savage, must come to grips once and for all with the perilous mysteries of her own existence.

“We thought this place was our destiny—not our doom.”

Pawns in a millennia-old struggle, the young people known only as the Birthday Children were genetically engineered to survive on the planet Omeyocan—but they were never meant to live there. They were made to be “overwritten,” their minds wiped and replaced by the consciousness of the monsters who created them.

Em changed all of that.

She unified her people and led a revolt against their creators. Em and her friends escaped an ancient ghost ship and fled to Omeyocan. They thought they would find an uninhabited paradise. Instead, they found the ruins of a massive city long since swallowed by the jungle. And they weren’t alone. The Birthday Children fought for survival against the elements, jungle wildlife, the “Grownups” who created them . . . and, as evil corrupted their numbers, even against themselves.

With these opponents finally defeated, Em and her people realized that more threats were coming, traveling from across the universe to lay claim to their planet. The Birthday Children have prepared as best they can against this alien armada. Now, as the first ships reach orbit around Omeyocan, the final battle for the planet begins. – Goodreads.com

This has been a thrilling, incredible YA sci-fi series and I’m sorry to see it end – and the way it ended was something I never saw coming in book one.

Seeing the way these characters developed from book one was thrilling and it speaks to the talent of the author that he makes teenagers assuming such mature and critical adult roles so entirely believable.  In Alone, these characters have to make hard choices and decisions, come to grips with things they’ve done – and in some cases atone for them, and along the way we lose some.  Hated it, but knew it had to happen.

Superb world-building, riveting action sequences, hidden secrets revealed – I wanted to hole up somewhere and hide so many times so I could finish this book, but real life kept creeping in.  The ending wasn’t what I wanted or expected – but it felt right for these characters.

Although a YA series, The Generations Trilogy is soooo easily a crossover, so if you think YA sci-fi is ‘just for kids’ – think again.  Read this series and stand corrected.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.  Alone is scheduled for publication March 7th, 2017.