Category Archives: Survival

Book Case #91 – Haven (Part II Breadwinner)

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Part II of The Breadwinner Trilogy.
To review “Breadwinner” Click here.

Book and Author Details:
Haven on Good Reads
Haven on Amazon
Stevie Kopas’ Website
Stevie Kopas’ Author Facebook

Description from Author:

Having barely escaped the clutches of the undead, the survivors of The Breadwinner are headed into the unknown to continue their search for solace in the post-apocalyptic landscape. Once a paradise for the living, the city of Haven is now crawling with flesh hungry creatures–yet it could be their only hope.

Veronica, Samson and the others take a chance on the promises of Gary, a solitary survivor. Is the light-hearted newcomer all that he seems or are there sinister motives hidden behind his hospitality?

Can Michelle and Lulu, two ordinary women faced with extraordinary horrors and obstacles, make it to safety? Or will they each become just another undead face in the hordes roaming the streets of Haven?

When tragedy strikes, worlds collide, and the survivors must band together against their common enemy. But remember, who you were does not determine what you will become in the face of a catastrophe. The dead may no longer be their greatest threat.

Welcome home. Haven is hell.

My Review:
I started “Haven” last night around 7pm and promptly finished this morning at 6am. This book was fantastic, I want to say even better than the first one,Breadwinner“.

Haven opens right up to the group that fled in Breadwinner. They’re still on the boat, and running out of gas and supplies. They’ve found themselves close to the shores of a multimillion dollar community called “Haven”. There’s one survivor in Haven, Gary. He helps bring them ashore and introduces them to the fortress he’s created alone. The group gets settled in, and Gary convinces them to help him with a supply run in town.

This is we are introduced to a new set of living; Michelle, Lulu, Catherine, Desmond and Francis. They’ve been living in the strip mall that Gary’s group planned to pillage. The two connect and things get interesting. There’s a doctor, narcissistic sociopath and a emotionally fragile one.  

This book has become so much more than a zombie survival novel, it’s become a story of interpersonal relationships. There’s cohesive survival, but not just against the eaters, but against the fellow living. Will Ben and Gary’s group survive after taking in these new characters?

Stevie Kopas, author of this FANTASTIC series, has found her calling. Her stories are easy to follow, intense, thought provoking, and entertaining. I find myself eating and chewing my way through her written work, much like a zombie to brains. I cannot wait to read the last, and final installment, “All Good Things“.

Do not miss out on this new, up and coming, strong author. You’ll find yourself deep in the middle of a kick ass zombie survival book.

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Book Case #87 – The Breadwinner

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Book and Author Details:
Breadwinner on Good Reads
Breadwinner on Amazon
Stevie Kopas’ Website
Stevie Kopas’ Author Facebook

Description from Author:

The end of the world is not glamorous. In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures. This three part story takes you into the world of the survivors, coming from different generations and different sides of the tracks, they all share one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.

Samson, a once wealthy and powerful criminal defense attorney struggles to keep his family safe and keep his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star races to get her brother out of the city and into the safety of Franklin Woods. Along the way we come across the struggles of finding solace, finding out who you really are, and making decisions in a post apocalyptic world. The Breadwinner is a three part story and the first book in a planned series that will leave you craving more.

My Review:
So, you all know that I’ve been really overrun with a lot of zombie, apocalyptic, dystopian type of book lately. This is one of the books I received prior to putting the brakes on zombie novels. I read a few none zombie based books prior to chewing into this one.  I am glad I did. I was able to get right into this book and finish it within two nights.

It’s the same basic pretense of most zombie apocalyptic novels; groups of survivors continuing to survive. The groups come across both the undead trying to eat them and the living trying to rape, plunder and pilferage. The protagonist in this novel is Veronica, who made a snap decision to kill her father when he was bitten. This decision forever changed her view on the new world ahead of her. She’s a fast runner, athletic teenager who aged and matured many years on that quick decision she had to make.

The decision she makes, after the loss of her family, is to head to the Bay. Along her travels she meets Ben, who ends up being a life saver. By the end of the book, the troop of humans have separated and finally reconnected at the Bay. When they were separated, Veronica meets Samson, the name sake for the book. His story is a bit twisted; think American Horror Story – Zombie Apocalypse.

All in all, this was a fantastically written zombie trope. The author constructed the story line rather well. However, more importantly was the character development. I believe that’s the main reason I clung on for dear life until the end of the book.

My thoughts on the book: I am not sure why it was titled Breadwinner, when that aspect of the book was so small compared to Veronica and her storyline. I mean, I got where the title came in and how it played out. But it seemed so much more insignificant in regards to Ben & Veronica.

This has nothing to do with the author or the book, just a personal experience. I also had no idea it was a series of books. I was mildly irritated it ended the way it did. Once I found out, today even, that there was a book II, I actually did a little cheer. If it had ended this way, I would have been completely bummed out.

Fantastic book. Wonderful character connections and development. I will actually read book two!!

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

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Book and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in and eager to know more. 

Aislinn “Ace” Cain and the SCTU head to Alaska to track a methodical serial killer. With her misfit team members and a new team lead, Ace digs deep into the mind of this Hunter styled serial killer. He takes his victims and mutilates them in a fascinating method. But the more they dig, the more they feel it could be one of their very own.

Again, as readers we are left with asking ourselves, “Will he get too close to Ace?

I loved this book so much more than the first one. I’ve been completely pulled into this series. I’m connected to the team, and Ace. I want to know more about their history, what made them this way, and so much more. I am super glad the end we found out about the new Team Lead a bit more.

One more thing that I thoroughly enjoy about these books by author Hadena James, is that she makes me think. She writes about things I am uneducated about, which leads me to the internet researching. I have learned quite a bit between the first and second book on subjects like sociopaths vs. psychopaths, medieval torture devices, and various medications. Anyone who can write a book that leaves me to reach out and search for further answers is outstanding to me.

I cannot wait for book two, “Mercurial Dreams”

 

Book Case #85 – Tortured Dreams

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Book and Author Details:
Tortured Dreams – Good Reads
Tortured Dreams – Amazon —- FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

When the US Marshals Serial Crimes Tracking Unit comes knocking at Aislinn Cain’s door, she is given a chance to use her past to save other people’s futures. She has survived attacks by two different serial killers and devoted her life to studying the darker side of human history.

A new killer is using medieval torture methods to slay his victims. She can give them a glimpse into his twisted world, but not without a cost. If she opens herself, she risks falling into the depths of her own darkness. Can she afford to help, knowing that the cost could be her own humanity?

Aislinn Cain’s life is a horror story.

My Review:
I received this book from author Hadena James as an ARC copy. I genuinely enjoyed this book.

The protagonist is Aislinn. She’s a bit “off”, and by that I mean she’s a sociopath. Her whole life she’s attracted very unsavory individuals. She’s a lot like Dexter. She is aware of her mental disorder, so she harnesses her sociopath tendencies towards serial killers. She has few true friends, one being her cousin, one being her “mom” and one being Malachi, a psychopath who works for the government.

Aislinn is headhunted by an elite group of detectives from the US Marshals. They need her insight and expertise to help them track down a cryptic serial killer that uses medieval torture devices to kill their prey. Will Aislinn and the team that newly recruited her be able to catch the killer before another set of ten are found tortured to death?

Overall, I have to say, I love this book. I can see a few minor errors in grammar and spelling. My biggest complaint I had with the book was that I  found quite a bit of of redundancy with Aislinn, her team, and the description of the torture devices. Literally, she would describe the device with a completed description, a team member would ask a question, and she would answer the question exactly the same as she had described two sentences prior.. But overall, I was really into this book.

I can only thank the author for giving me something great to read that was not zombie based. This book is one of 7 in the series so far. I loved the idea behind Aislinn and her social dysfunction, her focus and her team.

I am really glad what happened to their team leader, Alejandro, took place when it did. He made a great antagonist in the story. Good, quick read of a novel. Enticing and entertaining. 

Book Case #83 – Time of Death

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Book and Author Details:
Time of Death – Good Reads
Time of Death – Amazon
Shana Festa – Author Website
Shana Fest – Author Facebook
Time of Death – Permuted Press

Description from Author:

When no one or nowhere is safe, where do you go to escape the monsters?

In a few short days, 37 year old Emma Rossi’s hard work will finally pay off. She will don her cap and gown and graduate with a degree in nursing, but not before she loses her first patient and is confronted with a new reality. In Cape Coral, Florida, a storm approaches. The dead are coming back to life.

And they’re hungry.

Infection ravages the Eastern Seaboard with alarming speed while attempts to contain the spread of infection fail. Within days, a small pocket of panicked survivors are all that remain of civilization. Fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse alongside her husband Jake and their dog Daphne, Emma comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare.

Relying on snarky wit and sheer determination, she is forced to commit atrocious acts to protect her family and avoid joining the ranks of the undead.

My Review:
I received this book from the author, Shana Festa, in exchange for my honest review. This is the first book in a series with zombie-apocalypse being the plot line. I have had a huge flux of zombie ARC copies for review. Most of these novels are darker horror with a strong gore content. Time of Death is actually a bit lighter with a bit of snarky, dry humor. I enjoyed the humor.

The main character, Emma, a nursing student, finds herself in the middle of a zombie virus that has taken out most of civilization. She is set forth, with her ex-military husband and their dog Daphne, to survive and make it through. She uses quick quips and humor to manage through the chaos and horror taking place around her. Survival, zombies, scavenging,fighting both the living and the undead; will Emma, her husband and their dog pull through?

Pros: 
The humor, as mentioned above. I connected with the main character for the most part. The story is almost not stop action packed. The author does a wonderful job in the description process of each event, fight and survival. Truly, there were no holds barred. I was left questioning who was going to survive and who was going to be killed off.

Shana’s writing strength shows well enough for this being her first novel. Grammar was strong. Spelling and punctuation were good. There were only a few areas of editing needed. This was a great first novel. It is a quick read that I was able to get through in one night. 

In the almost over done narrative of zombies, apocalypse and survival, Shana’s novel has its place among the shelves. 

Cons:
There were some decisions she made that left me in a bit of a quandary. The conflict over saving her dog or saving her husband had me be really confused. I mean, I love my dogs and I’ll fight tooth and nail for them, but if I had a husband, I’d probably fight harder for him.

There were a few areas that seemed to drag on with description, survival fights, and redundancy. I found myself reading slower, losing interest and pushing myself towards the end of the book.

All in all, this is a good book. It opens the gateway to the rest of the series, which is something I’m going to look into. Intense and gripping. Gore factor manageable. 

Book Case #82 – Parasylum III

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Continuing story from: 
Parasylum
Parasylum II: The Unleashed

Book and Author Details:
Parasylum III: Resurrected on Amazon
Parasylum III: Resurrected on Good Reads
Parasylum Trilogy on Facebook
Robbie Thomas’ Website
Robbie Thomas’ Facebook

Description from Author:

Travel along in the illusion of the mindset that takes you on a vacation to hell. A team of inexperienced paranormal investigators, find themselves entangled in much more than ghost hunting in an old asylum on an island. They become the hunted, within an era pirates and swashbucklers found their fate a little less appealing. They journey into the dangerous, dark side of the unknown, only to find, there is no escape, only torment and vengeance from those who dwell there.
The horror within, takes you beyond the scope of the imagination, leading you down a path of no return. Brave the darkness and what awaits in the shadows, to find the lure that craves your soul.
All are welcome, so, won’t you please, enter your nightmare!

My Review:
This is the third installment of the Parasylum series by Robbie Thomas. This trilogy has been an incredible journey. The trials and tribulations this paranormal team endures really makes a person think about why they really want to step into the unknown and investigate hauntings, paranormal incidents, and the darker side of the supernatural. What has been even more amazing is watching this author grow, expand and gain strength in his writing abilities.

From the first book, Parasylum, we meet an incredible team of investigators who’s current adventure is a known haunted asylum. The incidents that take place leave you guessing what is really happening and what is an illusion. It’s a great introduction into the characters, as well as the mind of the author.

In the second book, Parasylum II, the team venture out to investigate the Rendezvous Hotel. They’re whisked away on an even bigger illusionary paranormal event, that could either tear the team apart, make them stronger, or die trying.

In this last segment of Parasylum, the team is FINALLY heading out to a well earned vacation. They hear of an all inclusive package at a new resort on a fabulous tropical island. From the moment they step onto the plane, things begin to seem not what they appear to be. It appears that each character in these novels have their own agenda, desires and haunted experiences. Will they make it off the island, safe, sound… and alive?

I look forward to anything further that Robbie Thomas puts out. Everything from “Signs from Heaven” to “Parasylum”, his creative, psychic, paranormal experiences help forge and create a wonderful world of creepy,  scary and mind bending realities.

Book Case #81- Working Stiffs

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Book and Author Details:

Description from Author:

Working Stiffs is a hilarious, action-packed tale of survival in the fast-paced world of pharmaceuticals. Something has gone horribly wrong in the Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals factory and ex-meth dealer Marshall Owens, the company’s owner and drug genius, must keep the surrounding Pittsburgh area from finding out.

Unfortunately, the undead assembly line workers have other plans. The infection spreads and chaos reigns supreme as the surviving Pro-Well employees battle their way through offices with whatever weapons they can scrounge from the supply closet. They must get outside. But they don’t know that The General is out there amassing a shambling, rotting army of Pittsburgh’s finest.

Will the employees make it? Will two repulsive workers find love in a janitor’s closet? How many office workers can one man take down with the blade of a paper cutter and some staplers? Will Marshall Owens go back to selling meth? And most important of all, will Pro-Well’s stock value plummet? Find out all the answers in this brilliant new horror/comedy novel reminiscent of style of Christopher Moore.

My Review:
This is Lucy Leitner’s first attempt at novel writing. I’m split on my view of this novel. Although the writing is strong, the styling is just too overboard.

PROS:
I am going to start with what I think are the pros for this author and story. 
The author’s marketing is freaking brilliant. The company in the book is called ProWell Pharmaceuticals. The author created a website for this company:
ProWell PHarmaceuticals <— This is beyond hilarious. Not only did she create a website for the company, she created a zombie workout site for survival:
FITApocalypse <—- She really has an edge with her marketing plan. 

CONS:
To me, it had a very Stephen King vibe, not in the story, but in the descriptions; where he goes into pages of description for one person. Another dislike for me was that the author goes on and on about humanity, and whores and women, etc. The story itself was really good. The idea, the flow and thought process from beginning to end.  For a female author, she’s really rough on women. I feel she tries too hard at throwing in pop-culture references.

Overall, this is really midline for me. It was easy enough to read, but I found myself skipping pages and skimming the story, just to actually get through it and finish it. 

Book Case #78 – Fort Reiley

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Book and Author Details:
Fort Reiley on Good Reads
Fort Reiley on Amazon
Author Jerry Hanel Website
Author Jerry Hanel’s Facebook

Description from Author:

Harrison Kass, a tabloid reporter, travels to a sleepy little town in western Oklahoma to dig up an amazing legend. Well, quotes about one, anyway. What he finds is more than he bargains for. Adam Moor, the town patriarch, has a secret. All of Harry’s prying dislodges the secret and Adam vows to convert Harry into a Citizen – a parasitic infection that will take over his mind and body. Tara Roberts, the local vet, isn’t what she seems. She comes to Harry’s rescue and helps him survive infection. Together they must find the only man on record who knows how to free Harry from his condition before he succumbs to the Turning and becomes another of Adam’s mindless minions.

My Review:
First book on my Best of 2015 Category!!!

I absolutely love this book. Jerry, the author, very much reminds me of early Dean Koontz/ Richard Paige. I am really thankful this book was sent to me for review material. Jerry does well with weaving mystery, paranormal, and creep factor into an intriguing plot process. He has strong character development without going overboard with the description process. He gives you enough to allow you to visualize, while leaving out enough to keep your imagination flowing. This was an easy, but wonderful, read.

The story features Harrison (come on, you know a book’s going to be good when the main character is named after one of the greatest actors!) Kass. He’s a tabloid journalist looking for his next big article. He heart rumors of a fountain of youth in the middle of Oklahoma, and ventures out in his pristine vintage VW bug looking for the perfect quote. What he finds instead was much more than a quote of a lifetime, he finds adventure that becomes life or death.

The town is run by a impenetrable Adam Moor; who’s more than he first seems. No one in the town is friendly. Everyone is secretive, except for Tara Roberts, the town’s vet. She goes out of her way, risking her life, to get the town’s secret out. This story takes the reader on an imaginative, genetic alteration, alien, mysterious adventure.

I found the writing easy to read and follow. The story’s plot was fantastic and kept my attention; well into the wee hours of every morning. This sleep deprived book review cannot wait to read more from Jerry Hanel; especially as a huge early Dean Koontz fan. You can’t help but feel for the main character, Harry. You can’t help but root for Harry and Tara to connect romantically. You can’t help but mentally cheer for them to destroy the town’s “Citizens” and bust the secret wide open.

FANTASTIC Book!   

Published: Dec. 16, 2014
Words: 118,310
Language: English

ISBN: 9781311451026

Book Case #76 – Blazing Obsession

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Book and Author Details:
Blazing Obsession – Amazon
Blazing Obsession – Good Reads
Blazing Obsession – Matadour Publishing
Dai Henley Website

Description from Author (Shortened to fit blog):

How would you react if your wife, stepson and baby daughter were murdered in an arson attack and the arsonist was tried and acquitted on a technicality? How would you feel if DNA evidence proved the arsonist’s guilt, but the 800-year-old laws of double jeopardy meant that he couldn’t be retried?….

Blazing Obsession shows how powerful the emotions of revenge and obsession are, and how they can result in fatal consequences. The novel, which combines police procedural, legal drama and amateur sleuth genres, will appeal primarily to crime fans.

My Review:
This is a great book to pump blood back into my review blog. I was contacted by Matadour/Troubador  Publishing to read and review Blazing Obsession by Dai Henley. I am really glad I agreed to. This book had my heart pumping, hands trembling and mind reeling.  There’s just so much to take in with this book, and I’m so excited to have finished it, I don’t even know where to begin. I can tell you that my mind was active all night after finishing it. 

Blazing Obsession is broken into three parts. In the first part, we learn about James, the main character, and the courtship he pursues with Lynne. James is a successful, wealthy businessman who falls for the simple woman with a charming smile. Lynne brings to the relationship a child, Georgie, from a previous marriage. We learn about the struggles Lynne has with her ex-husband; the abusive, demanding, controlling Nick Burrows; father of Georgie.

Nick is obsessed with Lynne, determined that they will forever be together. He cannot handle the idea of Lynne dating anyone else. Hell breaks loose after Nick finds out Lynne is pregnant with James’ child. A kidnapping happens. A marriage happens. A birth of a beautiful baby girl happens….. and then the arson happens.

James’ whole family is taken out by an arson at their vacation home. The arsonist is left off on a technicality that sends James into a revengeful spiral. James, with the assistance of a Private Investigator and his wife’s best friend, Alisha, the begin to unravel the reality behind double jeopardy, a broken court system and the truth behind who murdered his family. 

There is such a HUGE TWIST in this book, that I did NOT see coming. Once the literary bomb hit, I could not put the book down. I was totally blindsided, I did not see it coming. But once it was released, and I was reading through the aftermath, so much more that was written in the book began to make sense. There’s a strong story within the story.

The strongest line, for me, in this whole book was near the end. “I realized all three of the men involved in relationships with Lynne were shaped by their attitude to revenge.” Ka-POW!! Right there people, is the book, story and review. Revengeful relationships.

The story is easy to read, and not overly complex. It flows incredibly well and the author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader’s attention. It’s a strong story with a fantastic road map full of rest stops called,  “Revenge”, “Obsession”, “Mystery”, “Anger and frustration”…. Such a fantastic story. 

Published: 28/11/2014
ISBN: 9781784620516
eISBN: 9781784627560
Format: Paperback/eBook

Book Case #71 – Better Left Buried

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*HONORABLE MENTION WINNER NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL 2014

Book and Author Details:
Better Left Buried on Good Reads
Better Left Buried on Amazon
Better Left Buried on Create Space
Belinda Frisch on Good Reads
Belinda Frisch’s Website

My Review:
I read Belinda Frisch’s, Strandville Zombie Series. I fell in love with her writing abilities in, “The Cure” and it’s been a great relationship since. She sent me a copy of, “Better Left Buried” and again I was not disappointed.

Harmony Wolcott could very well have been written after my childhood, teenage self. I really, maybe overly, related to her character. Jaded, burned by the system, uncaring mother, all of it. Her life starts to unravel after a suicide attempt. Her best friend, Brea, is trying to help her piece together the fragments of a memory that’s come forth in the form of a spirit energy trying to harm her.  With each thread of time that becomes untangled, Harmony’s security falls out from beneath her.

Bad boyfriend(s), waffling best friend, and a spirit that is trying to hurt her, and Harmony is cracking more and falling into a deeper dark abyss. Her mother abandoned her 14 yrs ago, when her father walked out of their life. Brea is trying hard to help Harmony with these struggles.

I recommend this book for anyone YA to Adult. Anyone who is into paranormal and main characters with attitude would love this book. Belinda is a fantastic, strong writer who does a kick ass job at pulling you in as a reader.

Any author that make me throw my book down and say, “SCREW YOU BELINDA!!!” at certain scenes within the book, and can evoke that emotion in a person, has a strong ability in their craft. I am looking forward to more from this book.

Description from Author:

It’s not just the house that’s haunted.

Harmony Wolcott has lived her entire life on the fringe, wishing more often than not that she could end it all. After a failed suicide attempt heightens her visibility in the Child Protective Services system, she has no choice but to hide the details about the home life she’s run from.

Adam, Harmony’s formerly homeless boyfriend, has learned to fend for himself. Despite a past he’s reluctant to talk about, Adam has risen above his circumstances and is trying to get Harmony to do the same.

Only loving someone so damaged isn’t easy.

A recurring nightmare chips away at Harmony’s facade of normalcy, reminding her of a time hidden so deep in her memory that it blurs the line between dream and reality. Convinced the nightmares are an otherworldly attempt at telling her something, Harmony employs the help of a spirit board and her best friend, Brea, to uncover a secret she’s kept, even from herself.

Brea, who is trying to piece together the mystery of why her father walked out on their family fourteen years earlier, knows it’s something to do with Harmony’s mother and a night no one is willing to talk about.

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony’s patched together life, dragging both Brea and Adam down with her and proving, with devastating consequences, that sometimes the past is better left buried.