Book Review: The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Scourge
Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic Press, September 2016
ISBN 978-0-545-68245-9

River people are derogatorily referred to as “grubs” and in retaliation, they only address townspeople as “pinchworms”. It is true that the folks outside of town prefer their own company and way of life. It is also accurate to say they’ve been ostracized, blamed for being the source and spreaders of the Scourge, stealing so many lives hundreds of years ago.

Ani Mells is a proud river person known to create a touch of trouble wherever she goes. Perhaps a bit stubborn and quite possibly prejudiced against pinchworms; she is also intuitively kind, driven to do the right thing and ferociously loyal. When she and her best bud, Weevil, are essentially abducted and hauled into town, she is too furious to question the reasoning.

Told that they needed to be tested for the recently resurrected Scourge, Ani was initially wary and so she asked questions. Answers, if provided at all, were vague and almost illogical. Not only does Ani doubt the townspeople’s truth about the plague, but she suspects something sinister afoot. She is determined to get the bottom of it, but Governor Felling and her guards have to stop her. Weevil wants what Ani wants and the two together may just have a chance to end the heinous political plan that is so horrific I won’t even hint about it here.

This fantastical, action-packed adventure also shows personal growth and change, along with some quick wit and humorous banter. I’m completely charmed and in awe of characters that possess admirable and attainable attributes while still being wholly human and making silly mistakes and an occasional dumb decision along the way. Ms. Nielsen must keep in the company of wizards because there’s way too much magic in her writing for it to made of only hard work and mad skills.

Reviewed by jv poore, August 2018.

Book Review: AlibiZ by Karice Bolton

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Title: Alibiz
Series: Afterworld #2
Author:Karice Bolton
Publication Date: October 26, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-apocalyptic



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Afterworld #2
Karice Bolton
Bulldog Press, October 2014

From the author

The outbreak might be over, but the nightmare is just beginning…

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. 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.

When I read RecruitZ, the first book in this series, earlier this year, I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was one of the better zombie books I’ve come across, largely because the author clearly knows how to do it right when it comes to creating a world I can fall right in to. I was also intrigued by characters who stood apart from the norm, with Rebekah being a strong, self-sufficient woman who can take care of herself and Preston being her equal in all the ways that count. I could barely stand the wait to read their next book.

The fight to survive, after the virus has been contained, for the most part revolves around the resistance to the greed and corruption that is behind the tragedy that befell humanity and that now intends to take advantage of the survivors and the chaos. From the first page, Rebekah and Preston are enmeshed in the battle against those who would destroy what’s left of the old world order but they are not alone and the secondary characters, like Emily and Braden, are just as vivid and important to the story. It’s really captivating to me that this author has turned the usual zombie tale upside down by focusing on what comes after the zombie outbreak because, after all, living through the outbreak does not mean everything will go back to the way it was before.

For once, the relationship between the characters grows in a way that makes sense, given their circumstances. Both are mature enough to recognize that other things must come first and a romance between them could just get in the way and, yet, the tension is palpable. We can be pretty sure it’s going to happen but the big question is when? True friendship comes first, and the development of complete trust and loyalty, making their eventual coming together all the more satisfying for me (and, clearly, for them).

Once again, Ms. Bolton wraps up her story with a humdinger of a plot surprise and it becomes clear that this war has only begun. Is there anyone this small band can trust in the fight to win back humanity? I’m already dying to know and UprisingZ, due out sometime in 2015, can’t come soon enough for me.

One last note: I can’t begin to say how disappointed I am that this book is not available anywhere other than on Kindle and that the earlier book, RecruitZ, has been removed from Nook and Kobo (the paperback of RecruitZ is available on Barnes and Noble but there is apparently no paperback of AlibiZ). If I had not been provided with an epub for this book tour, I would not have been able to read this because, like many other readers, I choose not to read on the Kindle or Kindle app. It’s such a shame that many readers will not be able to experience these wonderful books and I do hope they will become more widely available very soon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2014.

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:
Luke Fletcher Series: Hidden 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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Book Review: RecruitZ by Karice Bolton


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Title: RecruitZ
Series: Afterworld #1
Author: Karice Bolton
Publication date: December 27th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic



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Afterworld #1
Karice Bolton
Bulldog Press, December 2013
ISBN 978-0615946429
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Scientists are the new rock stars. The infection has been contained for nearly three months, and the world is celebrating. But humans are still dying. Rebekah Taylor has seen it firsthand. Her husband was killed right in front of her by the very creatures that humans were told they no longer had to fear.

Rebekah is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her husband and the obvious cover-up. Fueled with revenge, she begins to find answers that lead to one frightening conclusion. The apocalypse might be over, but the battles are just beginning.

What an interesting story this is!

Once upon a time, I wasn’t fond of zombies; in fact, I pretty much avoided them. Then Max Brooks and David Wellington came along and , well, the rest, as they say, is history. Nowadays, I actively look for good zombie fiction and RecruitZ falls nicely into that group.

The first thing that especially appealed to me about this book is the premise that the world after the zombie plague could be just as bad, maybe even worse, because of the behavior of some survivors. That idea has been present in earlier books but the difference here lies in WHICH survivors are behind the “Afterworld” mayhem.

The other thing that drew me in was the opening scenes which left no question that this was going to be a serious zombie book with few laughs. Don’t get me wrong, I like zombies with a splash of humor but not all the time by any means. Lately, my favorites have been driven by action adventure and/or humor so it was time to get back to a somber, no-nonsense tale. This was definitely the right book.

Rebekah is a terrific protagonist—intelligent, driven, take-no-prisoners—and the bartender she comes across, Preston, is an even match for her. In some ways, he’s the voice of reason we frequently find in a female character and that’s a nice touch. The two find they have much in common starting with the fact that they both survived the infection against overwhelming odds but getting to the truth about the current crop of zombies may change everything they think they know about the plague and the world they now live in.

Tensions run high at a nearly frantic pace but mystery and romance also play into the story. I did think the ending was somewhat rushed, kind of like the author had run out of steam, but I still think Ms. Bolton has come up with a nifty tale and has crafted it well with few hiccups. I thoroughly enjoyed RecruitZ with the exception of the hasty conclusion and, now, I’m eagerly awaiting the second book, AlibiZ, which I hear will be coming soon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2014.

About the Author


Karice BoltonKarice Bolton lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a writer of Young Adult and New Adult books. She loves to read anything and everything. She also enjoys baking, skiing, and spending time with her wonderful husband and two English bulldogs.

Books currently available:

*Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) – Feb. 28th
*Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1)
*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

Karice would love if you stopped by her blog or FB page to find out the latest news on giveaways and upcoming releases, or you can just send her an email. She loves hearing from her readers and responds as soon as she can.

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