Book Review: Not Dead Yet by Samie Sands

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Title: Not Dead Yet
Series: AM13 Outbreak Series Book #4
Author: Samie Sands
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic

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Purchase Links:

    

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Not Dead Yet
AM13 Outbreak Series Book #4
Samie Sands
CreateSpace, June 2017
ISBN 978-1548162498
Trade Paperback

From the author—

The AM13 Outbreak has affected everywhere, the entire world has experienced infection.

Victims of the virus are no longer human, they’ve changed, become something scientifically impossible. With their loss of human function and their new lust for flesh, there’s only one word to describe them…

Zombies.

The world is divided as everyone tries to work out how to survive. Many have already lost their lives 
in the fight, but there are still a few who are not dead…

Yet!

This book is a little different from many because each chapter brings us a new scenario with new characters. In some ways, that’s good since we get to see how people around the world cope with what has become a full-scale zombie apocalypse. On the other hand, it means I couldn’t make any real connection with any of them.

In another departure from the norm, each protagonist reacts in different ways, some of which really got my attention, like the one who’s actually devolving into a zombie after being bitten. One character has a perhaps hopeless belief that she can find her way back to a loved one through hundreds of miles of devastation and zombies; another is a bit of a warrior who’s flummoxed when he comes across a pregnant woman.

A lot of the author’s attention is on other things going on with the characters besides the virus and I did appreciate that but, when all is said and done, this book left me a little dissatisfied because each chapter ends with no resolution and I really wanted to know what happened to each person. The ending, though, came in proper zombie fashion so, all in all, I enjoyed Not Dead Yet with some reservations.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2017.

About the Author

Samie Sands is a 28 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing.

She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She has also had short stories included in a number of successful projects.

She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures.

Author Links:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Wattpad * Amazon * Goodreads

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Book Review: Spell Book & Scandal by Jen McConnel

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Book Review: H.A.L.F.: Origins by Natalie Wright

Origins
H.A.L.F. Book 3
Natalie Wright
Boadicea Press, August 2017
ISBN 978-15453-7109-1
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Tex and Erika are again fugitives, on the run for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is Tex’s only hope for survival. He emerges from the ordeal changed in body and mind and with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from destroying those he has come to love.

Erika Holt seeks a respite from the constant threats to her life but she’s not about to give up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the galactic highway used by invaders, she grows closer to her troubled half-alien companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jack?

Jack Wilson, with his new friend Anna Sturgis, is determined to put an end to the Makers’ schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, the valuable medicine to counter the alien virus has been stolen.

As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all humankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.

Natalie Wright captured my attention two years ago with the first book in this trilogy, The Deep Beneath. Her plot was creative and compelling but what really appealed to me was her character, H.A.L.F. 9, who is a hybrid alien/human intended for unpleasant behaviors but who has an unplanned vulnerability. After an encounter in the Arizona desert with three humans, 9 began to connect in unexpected ways with Erika, Jack and Ian and the humans develop a desire to protect 9. While I really enjoyed the straight-forward science fiction storyline, it was these four characters that meant the most to me.

A lot happened in that first book, leading to capture and imprisonment and a voyage into an unknown future. In Makers, the second book, Erika and Ian were forced onto a spaceship while Jack and Tex, the name chosen for 9, were left behind on earth to face their own dangers. This book made the plot electrifying while the characters became even more real and appealing. Ms. Wright‘s concept solidified into a truly adventurous story that let the reader take part, if you will, in the emotions and action that have marked it as science fiction that’s accessible to all.

Now, the danger of world domination by the aliens, as well as the missing medicine for the virus, propel the friends into looking for ways to fight back against the aliens and a contingent of humans who are no less threatening. Along with an intriguing plot, the characters, including secondary players, are intensely interesting and often unpredictable and the romantic elements that have been developing from the beginning are even more absorbing. This is a love triangle that has real depth to it, unlike what we often see.

Origins ends satisfactorily although with a good deal of sadness and the one major unanswered question is part and parcel of this kind of story. The author seems to have ended this tale but I hope that, perhaps someday, she’ll offer more since I know I’m going to miss Erika and her friends and colleagues.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.

Book Review: Tainted Cure by Ashley Fontainne

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Title: Tainted Cure
Series: The Rememdium Series Book 1
Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

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Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks
     Audible // Amazon // Indiebound      

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Tainted Cure
The Rememdium Series Book 1
Ashley Fontainne
RMSW Press, January 2016
ISBN 978-0692633106
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Scientists attempted to find a cure for addiction. They failed.

Dr. Everett Berning, a leading researcher into the causes of addiction in the brain, spent ten years of his life dedicated to one thing: finding the cure. Recruited after a strange encounter with the enigmatic Dr. Roberta Flint, Director of Research on Code Name: Rememdium, Dr. Berning is sent to work in a secret lab as part of the research team.

When the moment the scientists waited on for years arrives, Dr. Flint and her team are ecstatic. 

Unfortunately, not everyone in the world feels the same way.

Benito San Nicholas isn’t ready to give up his lucrative business. When the news of a cure arrives on his doorstep from a crooked informant, Benito enlists the help of other drug lords from around the world to stop the cure from hitting the streets and destroying their livelihoods.

What happens next ends up uniting the globe–just not the way society ever intended or hoped.

Be careful what you wish for…that could have been the tagline for this novel in which a potential cure for addiction is found. Imagine that, a chance to rid the world of so many problems that arise from our dependence on anything you can think of, whether it be chocolate, smoking, particular kinds of exercise, illegal drugs, just about anything. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Such an advancement might very well be a wonderful thing but we all know how this is going to turn out, right? We’d like to think that the government would have proper control and the right intentions but somehow, there nearly always seems to be a glitch and, in this case, that glitch is enormous with consequences beyond anything we could predict.

Surely anybody with half a brain would foresee that the world’s drug lords wouldn’t just stand around and watch this happen—not to mention some other powermongers—and, when the cure falls into their hands, some really terrible things start to happen. Instead of curing addictions, a brand new affliction appears—zombies.

Yes, zombies! I love zombie fiction and Ms. Fontainne came up with a nifty idea, basing the whole concept on well-intentioned people trying to do a good thing (although you know there are going to be some shady things going along with the good) and then the good thing goes very, very wrong (gee, have we seen that happen in real life?). Naturally, there no easy answers and I’m going to have to read Book 2 to see what happens next. I think I can force myself 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.

About the Author

Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne enjoys stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters lurking within each of us. She writes in numerous genres including mystery, suspense, horror, sci-fi and sometimes poetry.

Ashley lives in Arkansas with her husband and is the proud mother of one son and three daughters.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Google+
* Instagram
* Pinterest * Amazon * Goodreads

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Book Review: The Deacon’s Demise by Dean L. Hovey

The Deacon’s Demise  
A Pine County Mystery #5
Dean L. Hovey
Dean Hovey, November 2015
ISBN: 97819382062
Trade Paperback

This is the fifth episode in Dean Hovey’s series of Pine County mysteries. His cast is made up of members of the Sheriff’s unit, with assistance from various local residents and other law enforcement agencies, as needed. The pace is steady, the development of the plot is logical and anyone with even passing familiarity of the Upper Midwest, will recognize and identify the characters.

The story centers around the efforts of a Pine County deputy sheriff to figure out a motive and identify a killer. The killer or killers caused the sudden death of a pillar of Pine Brook, Minnesota, the owner of the local hardware store and a long-time deacon of a local church. George Brown was an upright—some might say uptight—member of the community. He was upset that his church had begun to serve a far-away congregation in Mexico. Youth from the church were spending a lot of time south of the border building a church and George was unhappy. One evening, after again expressing his distrust and anger at the project, he left a deacon’s meeting to drive home. When he started the engine, his car blew up, damaging the church, injuring several members, and, of course, killing George.

Floyd Swenson, deputy sheriff is tasked to figure out who planted the bomb in Brown’s car and why. Early on, he learns that some children are being kidnapped from nearby towns and in neighboring states. There appears to be no connection, and Floyd is over his head with developments in the Brown bombing. But before long, several threads begin to tangle themselves in the Pine County case and the pace picks up dramatically.

The story is well-thought out and constructed, the dialogue is appropriate and the actions of the several characters make sense.

There are some typos, abrupt and unnecessary changes in points of view, and I wish a more readable type face had been chosen. That being said, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to everyone interested in reading about good small-town characters engaged in solving local crimes, leading to a very satisfactory conclusion.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2017.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: Polarities by Carissa Andrews

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Title: Polarities
Series: Pendomus Chronicles Book 2
Author: Carissa Andrews
Publication date: October 2, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:

         
    

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Polarities
Pendomus Chronicles Book Two
Carissa Andrews
Carissa Andrews, October 2017
ISBN 978-0991055821
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Runa, the prophesied Daughter of Five needs to learn how to master herself, or all of Pendomus will perish. In a world where mythical creatures are either controlled, or on the brink of extinction—a prophecy reveals there’s one who can restore balance. The only problem is, she has no idea how to do it.

Separated from the only people who’ve had her back—as well as the love of her life, Traeton—Runa must go on a quest alone to uncover what it means to be human, as well as the Daughter of Five. Dropped in an unknown location, presumably still on the planet, she only has a monolithic book—the Caudex—as her guide, but it’s not giving up its answers easily. Will she be able to uncover the mysteries? The fate of the entire word rests on her shoulders and her ability to push through all of the challenges set her way.

Will she learn what she needs to step into her role as savior? Or will everything be derailed by her desire to get back to her friends?

When I read Pendomus, the first book in this series, I was taken with the characters as well as the plot and I looked forward to seeing the next book. Little did I think it would be four long years before that next book would come out but, in some ways, I think the delay has paid off. In particular, the author has really developed her craftsmanship and the story is stronger for that.

This time around, we’re treated to a more cohesive worldbuilding and, for me, the attachment to the characters was more intense. I also found the relationship between Runa and Traeton made more sense because it wasn’t so brand new even though there really hasn’t been any passage of time. Runa is still enjoying her experiences with the pleasures of life that are denied to the citizens but she’s isolated from her comfort zone, set on a quest of sorts that only she can complete. This might have been easier before she learned to love and be loved, back when Helix “protected” everyone from the vagaries of natural life.

In the course of Polarities, Runa truly comes into her own and becomes the strong young woman she always had the potential to be with the help of some fantastical creatures and a wondrous book. Meanwhile, Traeton and their friends have been left behind, not knowing whether Runa is alive or dead and trying to find their own way forward. Everyone’s journey will lead to answers…and even more questions.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.

About the Author

“An author emerges from the depths of Minnesotan waters. Sci-fi/Fantasy is my pen of choice.”

Carissa Andrews is a Minnesota-based genre bending author who writes a combination of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopia. When not writing her own books, she’s busy reading them.

Her first novel, Pendomus, was the first of a three-part series and was published in 2013. Now, four years later, Polarities (Book 2) of the Pendomus Chronicles, and Revolutions (Book 3) will be released at the end of 2017.

For more information on their release, visit Carissa Andrews’ author website: www.carissaandrews.com and sign up for her newsletter notifications.

Carissa is also a freelance graphic designer, writer and content creator, social media manager, and marketing professional. She writes consistently on topics of science, technology, art, writing, photography, graphic design, health, self improvement, and more. Her articles can be found published across the interwebs. Carissa is also a Top Rated Freelancer on Upwork, and can be contacted for freelancing opportunities: https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/users/_~011fb5962824326eaa/

Other author links:

Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest
Google // YouTube // BookBub // Goodreads

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Follow the tour:

         10/10 – Book Lover’s Life (Article – My Journey So Far)

         10/11 – Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review

         10/12 – Cabin Goddess – Review

         10/12 – Escaping Reality with Books – Review

         10/13 – Buried Under Books – Review

         10/14 – Contagious Reads – Review

         10/15 – Carissa’s Blog (Article)

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Giveaway

Win a signed print copy of Polarities,
as well as a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter here.

Book Reviews: Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris and Hair Brained by Nancy J. Cohen

Sleep Like a Baby
An Aurora Teagarden Mystery #10
Charlaine Harris
Minotaur Books, September 2017
ISBN 978-1-250-09006-5
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Robin and Aurora have finally begun their adventure in parenting. With newborn Sophie proving to be quite a handful, Roe’s mother pays for a partially trained nurse, Virginia Mitchell, to come help the new parents for a few weeks. Virginia proves to be especially helpful when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.

One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Roe’s brother Philip helps her search the house and they happen upon a body outside… but it isn’t Virginia’s. Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for and a vulnerable new marriage to nurture, Roe also has to contend with a new puzzle — who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia?

Roe seems to be in the midst of a lot of relatively new life experiences, what with a fairly recent marriage, a younger brother who hasn’t been in the picture all that long, a brand new baby and, now, a new dead body. Goodness, what’s a sleuthing librarian to do?

When Robin has to leave town for a few days and Roe is sick, they call for help from Virginia who had been a nanny/housekeeper/mother’s aide after Sophie’s birth and she’s happy to come do night duty. Roe’s much younger half-brother, Philip, who lives with them now, will help out in the daytime as much as he can so Roe feels comfortable sending Robin off to his book convention. That comfort is, of course, the trigger for dastardly things to start happening. This time it’s a double whammy when Virginia goes missing and there’s a strange woman lying dead in Roe’s backyard. Obviously, the police have to be called but this IS her backyard and her missing nanny so, naturally, she’s going to do some investigating on her own, right? One of the first things that comes to light is that the dead woman is no stranger and then the clues begin to mount.

Now, I’ve been making a little fun of Roe and her latest exploits but the truth is she’s one of my go-to amateur sleuths when I’m feeling the need for some light mystery reading. Roe is a smart woman, well-educated, and she has the chops to do the snooping what with her amateur criminology background. Belonging to a club of people who like to solve mysteries gives her a one-up on most sleuths and some cops. And Robin, well, he’s one of the very good guys and I appreciate their relationship and their respect for each other even though I sort of wish they hadn’t gotten married. I also am not thrilled with her having a baby.

Robin and Sophie kind of throw this series into the land of those TV shows where we wait for years for that special relationship to happen and when it does everything starts to go flat. That hasn’t happened yet but there’s no doubt Roe’s behavior and perspective are different now and the family issues were a bit too front and center. Still, I really did enjoy this book and I’ll just have to see where things go from here.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.

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Hair Brained
A Bad Hair Day Mystery #14
Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press, September 2017
ISBN 978-0-9970038-8-8
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Was the car crash an accident or a deliberate attempt to run Marla’s friends off the road?

When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?”than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally–or Ken in the car with her–out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?

Marla and Dalton have been struggling with the idea of having a baby—he wants one, she doesn’t—so it’s fortuitous, if unhappily, that Marla takes guardianship of her best friend Tally’s four-month-old son when Tally and her husband, Ken, go missing. Having little Luke around might give their dilemma a bit of clarity but the reason for his presence is ominous.

Marla had already been thinking that Tally had recently been a little reserved and uncommunicative as though there was something she wan’t prepared to share with Marla. Now, she has to consider that this secret, if that’s what it is, has something to do with the disappearance. A lot about the couple going out makes no sense even though it was New Year’s Eve; they hadn’t planned on an outing so why did they suddenly change their minds just because Ken got a business call? When Marla and Dalton learn that Tally was hurt and Ken killed in a car accident, their immediate attention is on Tally’s survival and what they can do for her and the baby but then they find out the accident may have been no accident after all.

Spending time with Marla and Dalton is like visiting old friends and I think Hair Brained is one of Ms. Cohen‘s better entries in the series. The mystery itself and their investigations are absorbing and the baby issue is a question that confronts many couples that are in a more “settled” time in their lives. Marla is directly invested in this particular case and rightfully so, creating a natural rationale for her sleuthing. With the story concluding in an open-ended fashion, I can’t wait for the next book.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.