Book Review: Time of Ruin by Shauna Granger

Time of RuinTime of Ruin
Ash and Ruin Trilogy Book Two
Shauna Granger
Shauna Granger, June 2014
ISBN 9781492759799
Trade Paperback &Ebook

From the author—

The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.

Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.

But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible.

And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.

The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.

Shauna Granger was so kind to send me a copy of Time of Ruin after I lamented on her blog that I had missed her offer to reviewers. How have I repaid her? By taking endless weeks to write this review, even though I read the book within just a few days of getting it. And why is that, you ask? Well, truth be told, I’m not at all sure I can do it justice. Sigh 😦

The first book in this trilogy completely captivated me for a number of reasons and I couldn’t wait to read the second one while I also feared (slightly) that I’d be disappointed. You know how it is—even if the author doesn’t suffer from “sophomore slump”, there’s still the chance that the magic discovered in the first book just won’t be there in the second, for whatever reason. I’m delighted to say that didn’t happen with Time of Ruin; if anything, it’s better than the wonderful World of Ash and that’s as it should be.

Kat, Dylan and Blue are on a quest of sorts, one that’s common—and entirely credible—in many post-apocalyptic novels. It’s in our nature as humans to find other humans in a time of great crisis and, in this case, the trio’s quest is to get to Kat’s uncle, her only remaining family. The journey they take is fraught with peril of all sorts from those who are desperate or who seek to take advantage of others and they also must cope with personal stress such as hunger and injuries and loneliness. Looming in the dark is the presence of the terrible Pestas, creatures of death. They’re not zombies but share some of their characteristics and take it a step further by seeming to be able to think. These Pestas are enough to give one nightmares because, unlike zombies and other evil creatures, they are nebulous and little understood, not easy to visualize. They are the embodiment of pestilence just as the name suggests and yet we still don’t know what they really are. Not knowing is the worst.

Amidst all the despair, Kat and Dylan find themselves growing ever closer and mindful of each other’s needs. The care and love they show towards one another is uplifting as is the mutual adoration between them and Blue, probably one of the most wonderful fictional dogs ever. The three need to be thankful they have each other, especially when a most disheartening truth begins to come to light.

Time of Ruin is not all doom and gloom. Yes, it’s a dire situation and humanity is at risk of being annihilated, but there are times when we see that many people are still kind and generous and compassionate in spite of their circumstances. Ms. Granger also treats us to flashes of humor:

“I gather up some more gauze and all the tape and wipes I can find. I shove them into the pack and see that he managed to get a few cans of creamed corn and pudding cups—one item with no nutritional value and the other full of sugar. We’re doing this apocalypse right.”

Moments such as this lighten the mood but, when you get right down to it, Time of Ruin is a tale of humanity’s resilience in the face of horror and sadness and fear. Now we have to wait for the third and concluding book to find out whether Kat, Dylan, Blue and so many others will triumph over the darkness and what it will take to get there. And then there are those mysterious and ominous ravens…

Well done, Shauna Granger!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2014.

Book Reviews: In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty and Brooklyn Graves by Triss Stein

In the Morning I'll Be GoneIn The Morning I’ll Be Gone
A Detective Sean Duffy Novel;
The Troubles Trilogy, Book Three
Adrian McKinty
Seventh Street Books, March 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61614-877-5
Trade Paperback

This, the third novel in his Troubles Trilogy, is the darkest and the most complex. It is not devoid of humor. Sean Duffy, a cop in the protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, (RUC) has finally seen his attitudes and conflicts within the police hierarchy come back to haunt him. He’s chucked out of the force on a trumped up charge. A few weeks later, MI5 comes calling. So right away readers may wonder about that charge of hit and run.

This all sets the tone of this dark novel about the conflicts between warring sides in the Irish Troubles of the Nineteen-Eighties. Duffy, a Catholic in a protestant-dominated landscape, sees old school friends escape from prison, sees them die in fights with occupying British Army units and the RUC and wonders about the morality, the ethics of it all, and he sees the ruination of a society he truly loves.

A master bomber of the IRA, a dangerous man Duffy knew well, escapes from prison and Duffy is recruited to find him before his potentially high-profile act of ultimate destruction can be carried out against Her Majesty’s Government. Will Duffy find the right threads? Will his fascinating interactions with old and new characters result in success? Or will he become a witness to horrific failure?

Well-written, well-organized this taut dark novel is truly a gripping experience. McKinty is a fine writer with penetrating insights into the makeup of all kinds of people involved in the Irish scene at that time. It is fiction, but the stunning climax will remain with many readers for a long time. As it should. For though the novel is set in the previous century, it has much to say about our troubles of the present time.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, August 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.


Brooklyn GravesBrooklyn Graves
An Erica Donato Mystery #2
Triss Stein
Poisoned Pen Press, March 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0217-9

This novel is the second Erica Donato mystery, and, like the first, Brooklyn Bones, it’s not all about a contemporaneous crime, but involves the past.  In a way, this is fitting, since the protagonist is working on a PhD in history.  As in the first in the series, it takes place in Brooklyn, NY, home of the Green-Wood cemetery, where many Tiffany windows adorn mausoleums, and Brighton Beach, home to numerous Russian immigrants and nicknamed Little Odessa.

The plot involves the murder of a Russian immigrant, Erica’s friend and the father of her daughter’s friend, whose second job was as a night watchman at the Green-Wood cemetery, and the theft of a Tiffany window from one of its mausoleums. This gives the author the opportunity to delve into history, as she reviews century-old letters of an artist who worked for the famed glassmaker.

The story moves a bit slowly, weighed down by Erica’s personal life, complicated by her widowhood, the pressures of her studies, her own insecurities, and the raising of her 15-year-old daughter.  But in the end, as Thomas Wolfe wrote, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.”  Yet Triss Stein is carving out that territory as her own.


Reviewed by Ted Feit, May 2014.

Cover Reveal: Walled by Anne Tibbets



Title: Walled 
Series:The Line #2
Author: Anne Tibbets 
Published by: Carina Press (HQN)
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult



Freedom means brutal choices.

Rebel lovers Naya and Ric have survived one year in hiding, raising
Naya’s twins from infants to toddlers in the shadow of the brutal Auberge
dictatorship. They’re alive, and they’re together, but the city is crumbling
around them and the haunting memory of Naya’s dark days on The Line
have never fully left them. Living in isolation won’t be an option forever.

When a mysterious revolutionary seeks their help to infiltrate  Auberge’s
electronic heart and shut it down, it’s an opportunity—it’s risky, yes, but
if it works they’ll get out of the city and taste freedom for
the first time. Naya needs this. They need this.

Beyond the broken walls of Auberge, Naya and Ric find the paradise
they’ve always longed for. But with anarchy reigning and Naya’s children
lost amidst the chaos, they’ll need to forfeit their post-apocalyptic
Eden…or commit an unspeakable act.



About the Author


Anne TibbetsAnne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with Carrier, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, The Beast Call and the young adult contemporary, Shut Up.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Find her on Facebook at or on Twitter @WriteforCoffee. To contact Anne, visit and click the ‘CONTACT’ tab.


Author Links:


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Book Blitz: The Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

The Last Mission of the Living Blitz Banner


Title: The Last Mission of the Living 
Series: The Last Bastion
Author: Rhiannon Frater 
Publication date: August 28th 2014
Genres: Adult, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies



Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction…

Vanguard Lindsay Rooney has faced the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge
and lived to tell the tale, but she has also suffered horrible losses. Like
millions of other civilians, she had hoped that The Bastion would recover after
a team of modified soldiers eradicated the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge
that infested their valley. Yet the city still crumbles around
them, along with any chance of survival.

Lindsey’s growing friendship with Torran MacDonald, an officer with the
Science Warfare division, is her only solace as the decline of the city
continues. When food riots fill the streets, martial law is enacted, and the
upper echelons of government battle for control of the city, Lindsey is
conscripted by her superiors to embark on a dangerous mission into the dead
world beyond The Bastion. To add even more complications,
Torran and the SWD join the squad.

Soon, Lindsey realizes that her mission is more than what it seems, and
there are secrets that could both destroy The Bastion and take her life.



Purchase Links:

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An Excerpt from The Last Mission of the Living

“Sir!” Goodwin breathed.

“I see the readout.” It was impossible to conceive that the others were gone. Opening the comm to the soldiers in the building, Torran said briskly, “Everyone report. Respond now!”

Strange guttural noises were his only answer.

Torran hit his wristlet, again switching the comm to contact Rosario’s group. “Smyth, report.”

The Last Mission of the LivingAs the other half of the squad was added to his helmet visual, he sucked in a deep breath. They were also reported as Killed In Action. Stunned, he swallowed the hard lump forming in his throat. What was going on?

“Sir?” Jonas queried his voice unsteady.

“Watch that door! Smyth, if you can hear me respond now!”

Through the static came the sound of someone choking.

The line hissed and buzzed for a long second, then a woman’s voice that was not Rosario’s said, “Don’t worry. She’ll come for you.”

A wave of horror washed over Torran and plunged him into the blackest depths of despair. They were all dead. Just like before outside the wall when the expanding perimeter fence had failed and the Inferi Scourge had swarmed the soldiers.


The sound of Goodwin’s voice tugged Torran’s attention back to the present. Staring at the empty doorway shimmering in an ominous pale gray in the night vision filter, Torran gathered his thoughts, and then switched the comm again. “Base, I have lost all communication with my squad and they’re being reported as KIA. We are under attack from the abnormal Inferi Scourge. We need immediate backup to this location.”

The popping and static echoing through his helmet sent a surge of adrenaline through his system. For several seconds, he feared there wasn’t going to be a response, but then a voice said, “Master Seeker, you’re to hold position until we can send a tiltrotor with reinforcements. All units are all presently engaged.”

“We can’t hold this position,” Torran answered curtly. If the rest of the squad was dead, then he had to save Goodwin and Jonas as well as himself. He’d been a sole survivor of a squad before and the burden of that label still weighed on his soul.

“You have your orders to secure and hold that area,” came the reply.

“We’re dealing with a pocket of the Abscrags–”

“You have your–”

There were footsteps in the hallway.

“–and we are about to be overrun!”


About the Author

Rhiannon FraterRhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. In 2014, her newest horror novel, The Mesmerized, will be released by Permuted Press. Dead Spots will be published in 2015 by Tor. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.
You can find her online at:


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Cover Reveal: AlibiZ by Karice Bolton




Title: AlibiZ 
Series: Afterworld #2
Author: Karice Bolton 
Publication date: October 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic



Rebekah vows to expose the truth behind the RecruitZ that are killing
the innocents. These creatures must be stopped, but so should the
people controlling them. When Rebekah uncovers who is
behind the uprisings, her own life becomes in danger.

Rebekah knows that she is not alone in this fight but vengeance
alone won’t help her and the others to victory. Forced to build a battalion
with the very creatures she needs to destroy, it is up to her to uncover the
truth for the public before the world is turned over to an elite few.

Regardless of what may happen to her, she knows it’s a race against
time to destroy these creatures and the monsters controlling
them before there is no one left worth saving.



About the Author

Karice BoltonKarice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.


Books currently available:

Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1), Beyond Doubt (Book 2), Beyond Reason (Book 3), Beyond Intent (Book 4), Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1), AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3), Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp

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Mourning Vivian


Vivian, December 2013

Vivian, December 2013


Yesterday, my daughter, Annie, and I took my four-footed sweet baby, Vivian, to the vet for her last visit. Those of us who are pet moms and dads dread having to do this but we owe it to take care of our “kids” to the very end.

Vivian was special. Yes, I know, everyone’s pets are special ;-). It’s true, though, that Vivian was different from most cats if only because she and her sister, Giselle, have openly loved us and have shown it over and over since they came home with me just before Christmas 2013.


Vivian, February 2014

Vivian, February 2014


We don’t know much about Vivian’s early life; she and Giselle were raised by an unknown woman in a motel for their first six years and then she disappeared one day. The motel owner called animal control and the Ginger Twins, as we called them, ended up at the SPCA. When we first saw them, they had been there four months and had limited prospects of being adopted. The biggest problems?

1. At seven years old, they were considered seniors.

2. There were two of them and the SPCA wouldn’t let them be separated.

3. Vivian was a mammary cancer survivor but her long-term outlook was not good.

Many of our local shelters, including the SPCA, are no-kill so Vivian and Giselle were not in danger but I couldn’t get them out of my mind. They were meant to come home with me so Annie and I went back to get them.

The twins were rarely far apart and were happiest when they snuggled together. Both loved looking out the windows and loved playing with the laser pointer and dangly ribbons, preferably the shiny kind. They loved to eat and they put on a few pounds but that was OK—they were a little on the lean side at the shelter.

Vivian & Giselle, February 2014

Vivian & Giselle, February 2014

The twins had not been spayed before arriving at the shelter and that’s when Vivian’s cancer was discovered. Mammary cancer is especially virulent and survival time is limited. When we took the girls to our vet for their first visit, he said it was not a matter of “if” it would recur but “when”. Two months later, the cancer was back and she had a second extensive surgery. That was in March and, a couple of months later, she was showing signs that something might be wrong again. At that time, I decided not to put her through all the diagnostic tests and possible surgery a third time.

A week ago, it became obvious that Vivian was in distress so we took her in on Friday. As it turns out, the mammary cancer was not evident again but it had metastasized to her lungs. There really is no coming back from that. Vivian came home for a last weekend and we had some really good quality time with her, knowing we’d have to take her back on Monday because, despite any rallies she might have, she was in pain and it was the right thing to do for her.

Giselle & Vivian, August 2014

Giselle & Vivian, August 2014

My heart hurts for Giselle. There’s no doubt she knows and she has been velcroed to my side for hours. She and everyone who knew Vivian will miss her terribly and I’m so very thankful she was in our lives for the past eight months.

Vivian has brought us all a lot of tears but also so MUCH joy. The rewards of rescuing seniors outweighs all of the heartache and I’ll do it again when the time is right.

Vivian, August 25, 2014

Vivian, August 25, 2014

Rest in peace, my sweet Vivian.

Book Review: Choke Point by Ridley Pearson

Choke PointChoke Point
A Risk Agent Novel #2
Ridley Pearson
Jove, April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-515-15464-1
Mass Market Paperback

In the second novel in what is billed as an “international thriller series” (Risk Agent was the first entry), Ridley Pearson brings the return of John Knox, a man who has a useful ‘cover’ as a legitimate international exporter, and Grace Chu, a Chinese woman who was a former forensic accountant but has “recently proven herself a quick study of computer hacking.” She also holds a master’s degree in criminology from USC and, because of her former training with the Chinese Army, “is no slouch in field ops.” The fact that she speaks five or six languages is only a plus. They are both now occasionally employed by Rutherford Risk, a private security firm.

The book takes place for the most part in Amsterdam, although it opens briefly in Tunisia, where John is plying his trade, that is, until his old buddy David “Sarge” Dulwich finds him and coaxes him to take on a job in Amsterdam. Their long standing friendship goes back to the days when they were both working for a private contractor based out of Kuwait where John saved Sarge’s life, twice (once when the truck in which he was riding was hit by an IED). Both John and Grace find themselves becoming addicted to their new calling, their former professions seeming to have been a waste of their talents, and the adrenaline rush undeniable.

Their new assignment deals with child exploitation. They are joined, in a somewhat ambivalent relationship, by Sonia Pangarkar, a gorgeous reporter working on a story about “the poorer neighborhoods of Amsterdam and the European struggle with immigrants.” More than that, it is about a ring of men “who kidnap ten-year-olds and chain them to posts and make them work 18-hour days” in what are called “knot shops,” i.e., sweatshops where intricately hand-knotted Oriental rug knockoffs are made, with quantity demanded. And that’s the least horrific part of it. Rutherford Risk was called in as the work is seen as “typically unwanted by, or too dangerous for, others.” But Knox and Grace thrive on just that.

Thrillers are not, generally, my favorite sub-genre. But the author’s name beckoned to me. The book is undeniably exciting and suspenseful, densely plotted, and the three main characters very intriguing. It makes for enjoyable, good reading.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2014.