12 Aug 2013

Review: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Title: Mortality
Series: The Hitchhiker Strain
Placement in Series: Book one.
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Format: e-galley

Quick Synopsis:
The first book in the Hitchhiker Strain series, Mortality tells the story of what happens when a virus wipes out most of the population, turning humans into zombies. It is told from two very different perspectives. We are first introduced to Savannah, who is living in her school with what is left of her community. The virus has already wiped out the city, and those who survived are doing whatever they can to fight back against the new strain of zombies - ones who seem to be capable of intelligent thought. When Savannah and her friends are sent on a mission for medical supplies, their 'camp' is attacked my a zombie hoarde, forcing the four teens to track down their friends, families, and neighbours. Zarah's story starts from the beginning, showing how the zombie strain began, separating her from everyone she loves. She and her school crush are surviving on their own until they hear of a cure, and seek it out, only to be separated (and I will leave it at that because spoilers). Savannah's and Zarah's stories intertwine as they both seek out the rumoured new cure to the virus.

My Thoughts:
This book is seriously amazing. It really drew me in right from the start. The POV switch worked really well as the stories of Zarah and Savannah slowly (but greatly paced) intersected. I did not realize how attached I was to the characters until the spoilery spoiler spoils I will not detail because spoilers. ;)

Savannah's story took up a good chunk of the book as she and her friends fight zombies, track down their community, and are separated a few times. I really enjoyed her character; Savannah is first introduced to us when she is bored of being stuck in the school, and wants to put her training to use. She is a very strong character with incredible loyalty to her friends. What drives her throughout the book is her attempt to find and save one of her friends. Though she could be incredibly impulsive, I really admired her determination and her focus. She never allowed herself to be swayed from what she wanted. She stuck to her plan, even if it went against what her companion wanted.

Zarah's story was equally interesting. I don't want to talk too much about hers, because it is very spoilery. Her character was great as well, though. She was not as impulsive or as kick-butt as Savannah, but when things got tough, she did everything she could to fight against forces out of her control. I really felt for her, and felt myself drawn to her story slightly more than Savannah's. Her story took a turn I did not expect, and I commend the author for the direction Mortality went towards the end. It was amazing, and very well-executed! I'm intrigued to see where book two takes us.

Definitely a book I would recommend! Especially if the whole apocalyptic/ zombie/ virus strain medley of genres is something you enjoy. Lots of suspense and action in this one, and the pacing and writing was fantastic! I look forward to reading the second Hitchhiker Strain book!

Fun fact: Mortality is a self-published book by a new Canadian author, which I found out after I read the book. So, bonus!
Thank you to Kellie Sheridan and Netgalley for providing me with an e-galley for review.

5/5 - Full of suspense, adventure, and action. The well-executed ending twist and cliffhanger has me looking forward to the sequel!
Recommended for anyone who loves post-apocalyptics - especially the zombie/virus types.

You can visit Kellie Sheridan's website here.
Buy the e-book and paperback of Mortality on Amazon here or the Kobo e-book here.

7 Aug 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #11

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly blogger meme started by Breaking the Spine. If you want to check this meme out at its origin and particpate, just click here.

It has been a ridiculous amount of time since I have done a WoW post! I went a little meme crazy a few weeks ago, and then the meme train ran out of gas, I guess, haha. But here it is! Waiting on Wednesday post #11.

This week I am waiting on . . .

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood is the first book in an upcoming trilogy by The Collector author, Victoria Scott.

Goodreads Blurb:
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Add Fire & Flood to your Goodreads by clicking here

Fire & Flood is right up my alley with the adventurous appeal and high stakes! Also, animal companion? :D If anyone knows what kind of animal (I've heard it's a genetically engineered one), I would love to know. <3
Also, that cover. The fire and the gray. . . Simple yet very eye-appealing (at least to me. I might have this thing for fire . . .) Love it! ;)

Sadly we will all have to wait until February 2014 before this book hits shelves, but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait!

4 Aug 2013

Plethora of Reviews #2

Welcome to the second installment of Plethora of Reviews, where I post a handful of short book reviews all in one post!

Review #1: Losing It by Various Authors, Edited by Keith Gray

Quick Synopsis:
A complilation of short stories about losing 'it'. Characters share their stories about their first times. No, not kisses. I mean going all the way. The big s-e-x. The stories are by Keith Gray (also the editor), Jenny Valentine, Melvin Burgess, Patrick Ness, Mary Hooper, Sophie McKenzie, Bali Rai, and Annie Fine.

My Thoughts:
To be honest with you, the only story that stuck with me was Patrick Ness' short story, Different for Boys. It featured a gay male teen and his struggles with  you'll have to read the story      and   to find out   ;)                    . I found it to be extremely interesting and very well-written, despite the black boxes (which were frustrating at times because I wanted to know what was supposed to be behind them, but stylistically they worked and left just the right amount to the imagination). Ness' story is a solid 5/5 for me, and makes me want to read more by him.

As for the other stories? I skipped most because I quickly became bored with them. The ones I did read all the way through were not memorable in any way. There was one where a great aunt or grandma told her niece/granddaughter what her first time was like, and it was told through the eyes of the girl's younger brother, who was sitting at the table with them. The whole situation was odd. Why did no one tell the younger boy to leave? It was a very awkward conversation for the girl to be obviously interested in while her parents and younger sibling were there, and I just did not like it. The rest were not great. They were not even good.

Rating: 5/5 for Patrick Ness' story, but the rest I am not even going to rate. I would say the ones I read entirely average 2/5 stars or less. I received this book as an e-galley from the publisher through Netgalley, which I am grateful for. It makes me want to read more by Patrick Ness (someone remind me to pick up his Chaos Walking series, already!), but I would not buy this book solely for that story.


Review #2: Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Quick Synopsis:
Protagonist Olive Bell had a great life until she nearly died in a car accident. Said accident killed her boyfriend, and now Olive must pick up the pieces of her life. Strangely, she is haunted by a melody that she cannot place. Olive goes to a support group to appease her mother, but there she meets the mysterious and seemingly haunted Nick. A romance blooms between the two teens, and Olive feels a connection between them that she cannot explain. Olive's story is about love and solving the mystery of the melody she hears, as well as trying to heal the ghosts of her past.

My Thoughts:
Some parts of this book I liked, some I didn't. I could not bring myself to side with or relate to Olive; I just did not understand her and she frustrated me. I wanted to slap her and yell: goddamnit! Listen to your best friend!! The ending was also too perfect. It was all tied up in a neat little bow. Suddenly Olive's mother was cool and understanding when before she was hardly even close. I also did not understand how renting a hotel room for three hours a night is enough to sleep away nightmares. I have never gone through anything like Olive has, but that whole situation made little sense to me. It was like a problem created for no realistic reason. It took me until about halfway through the book before I started to think I would enjoy it. Olive seemed very childish to me, and it was not until halfway that she began to grow up a bit more. I did not, unfortunately, like Olive. I mostly tolerated her.

However, I really enjoyed the character of Nick (although I was expecting more out of his back story than what we got). I really wish Olive did not rely on boys so much to 'save' her. I wanted to see some character growth there, but alas, that did not happen. And when she -spoiler alert. Highlight to read the following text- went back to Derek so easily after she was supposedly over him, I wanted to scream. Overall, not a story I see myself re-reading, but it was okay. I think I just expected more from the secrets everyone was hiding than what was really there.

3/5. Not bad, but not something I would re-read. It's tough when you spend the entire book wanting to crawl through the pages and slap the protagonist until he/she stops being ridiculously infuriating. But not bad.

What Happened to July?

I am not dead! And neither is this blog!

I feel I should specify that since for the entire month of July, there were no posts. Terrible! On my part, that was incredibly terrible. July was a really weird month. My work schedule was very wonky and the time I did find to write I spent trying to keep up with my Camp NaNoWriMo word goal. I failed badly, but that's another post for a different blog. And then I went on vacation!
My work schedule for August is pretty full, but I am going to try to post more on here. Especially more than zero times. I can do that, right? Of course! In fact, I have a second Plethora of Reviews post coming up.

A view of Negeek Lake in Combermere, Ontario - my favourite summer vacation cottage destination

In apology, I give you a look at the beautiful lake I vacationed at last week. Jealous? I know I am - of Past Me. I miss it so.