2017 Book #70 – The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

51an6r+508L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Girl With All the Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Date finished: 8/20/17
Genre: Fiction, dystopian, zombie
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Pages in book: 403
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: I think I bought this during one of my Book Outlet spending sprees last year

Blurb from the cover:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (August). This book has been on my “to read” list for a little while now so I was glad that someone else in the group picked it. However, I was (somehow) unaware that it was a book about zombies. I’m all for a good dystopian novel but zombies aren’t usually my thing. That being said, I thought this book was pretty good. I honestly didn’t expect to like it after about the first 50 pages but Melanie’s character is so human-like (despite her being a zombie) that I ended up liking the book. There were a lot of interesting pieces of this book, including the creative approach to the zombie infection and how it was developed through the course of the book. I didn’t expect to like this book nearly as much as I did, I would actually recommend giving it a try!

The bottom line: This book was pretty good, better than I expected it to be. Zombie stories aren’t usually appealing to me but I would recommend giving this one a try.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #6 -The Road by Cormac McCarthy

217yaugoepl-_sx302_bo1204203200_Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Date finished: 1/21/17
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: September 26, 2006
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (January). This book is about a man and his son, who are traveling after some sort of apocalypse in the US. They are trying to make it to the shore, from what I cal tell because its so cold everywhere and they’re trying to get south to somewhere warmer. There is a lot of danger on the open road, like people trying to kill and eat you, lack of food, lack of clean water, and the never-ending cold. The man and his son face many obstacles, at a number of times even death, but the most important thing is that they have each other. But the father is sick and his end is drawing near. Will he be able to find a way for his boy to stay safe even after he’s gone?
Overall I have to admit I didn’t like this book that much. To be honest I had a lot more questions than answers with the plot line and that tends to bother me. There were so many things left to the reader’s imagination, which may appeal to some readers but does not appeal to me. And the book was just so sad. The lives of the characters were so tragic and everything felt so hopeless. And I didn’t like how open the ending was. It just felt so random what happened in the last couple pages and I didn’t understand exactly how it came about. The book was interesting and was even a little thrilling with the danger of it, it just wasn’t my type of read.

The bottom line: I didn’t care for this one. I had so many questions even when the book was over. It was an interesting read just not for me. I would recommend to those who like post-apocalyptic fiction.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #77 – The Stove-Junker by S.K. Kalsi

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Title: The Stove-Junker
Author: S.K. Kalsi
Date finished: 7/24/15
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Little Feather books, Inc.
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books NOTE: I received this book for free from Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Part elegy, part history, part existential ghost tale, The Stove-Junker is a harrowing, lyrical meditation on loss, heartbreak, and the power of memory. In this extraordinary debut novel, S.K. Kalsi has crafted a haunting tale of unvarnished self-examination, as experienced through the story’s central character, Somerset Garden, the stove-junker. In the winter of 2012, 79-year-old Somerset travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, Pennsylvania, to renovate his dilapidated house. Burdened by the loss of his beloved wife, the long-ago disappearance of his rebellious son, and angry at God and at himself, Somerset hopes to reach a final understanding of the meaning of his life. While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws near, Somerset discovers an unnamed boy squatting on the property, a strange child who forces him to confront his past. As he unearths objects in the house that had been lost or discarded in the debris, Somerset remembers his father’s cruelty and the accident that cost him his brother’s life; he revisits the itinerant wandering of his youth, tethered to a troubled mother; he mourns the loss of his wife and ponders the decades-long absence of his son-all of whom are caught in the grip of Luzerne County’s ancient history of violence.

My rating: 1.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I decided to accept this review request even though this isn’t my usual style of book because I wanted to try something different. And while I’m glad I tried something new, I don’t think I enjoyed this book as much as someone else might have. This book was a little dark for me and a little confusing. There was a lot of rambling and some pretty gory scenes. I would think this book would appeal to possibly Stephen King fans or Dean Koontz fans due to the dark scenes and the underlying feeling of anger and fear running through some pieces of the book.
The entire story is told by our one narrator, Somerset Garden. He has lived through a tough life, some pretty awful things were done to his mother in front of him and he lost his only son when his son was eighteen. He returns to his home in PA to fix up his house, his inheritance that he has no one to leave to, before he dies in Armageddon. While staying at the house he comes across a boy who can’t remember his name.  He takes the boy in but the boy develops a fever and becomes pretty ill.
There was a lot going on in this book, the narrator tends to ramble on quite a bit and sometimes I found it a little hard to follow his thought process. I think that this is actually done purposefully since our narrator is aging and preparing to die. While this wasn’t necessarily my type of book, I think it has a lot of potential as a great literary fiction novel. I would definitely encourage people who like literary fiction (and probably of the dark variety) to give this book a try!
The bottom line: I wasn’t a huge fan of this book but more so because it is not my personnel preference of books. I think this might appeal to Stephen King or even Dean Koontz fans.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #30 – Find Me by Laura van den Berg

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Title: Find Me
Author: Laura van den Berg
Date finished: 4/11/15
Genre: Not quite sure. Fiction. Apocalyptic. Psychological. This one’s hard to label.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Pages in book: 270
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us Find Me, her highly anticipated debut novel–a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.
Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy’s immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients–including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.
As winter descends, the hospital’s fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I saw this book at the Terryville Library and I had seen it in one of the recent Book Page publications I think so I thought I would try it. This book was interesting from the start, with a description of an epidemic that has swept the nation, wiping out much of the population in its path. Silver blisters begin appearing on a person’s skin and then their memory starts to go, to the point where they forget what a job or a house or a hand is. Their mind gets eaten away until the person can no longer function and they end up dying. This disease is spread through any kind of human contact, but mysteriously certain people who come into contact with it don’t succumb to the sickness. Joy is one of these lucky few. She came into contact early on in the epidemic but never came down with any symptoms.
Its because of this that she ends up at the Hospital, where Dr. Bek is studying various individuals to try and discover a cure to the sickness. Due to a strange series of events, Joy ends up escaping from the hospital to try and find her mother who abandoned her when she was only a month old. Joy is only about 20 years old by the time she leaves the Hospital but she’s already seen a lot of tragedy and hardship in life.
A lot of weird $h!t happens in this book. The story line was so extremely interesting and the idea behind the book was really thought provoking. After the epidemic ends many survivors end up killing themselves, some out of anger that they survived when their families didn’t and some because they just can’t manage to live in the America that’s developed as a result of the epidemic. The after effects seem to come in waves, the tragedy creating a ripple effect throughout the nation. Other weird stuff happens too. I don’t want to give away too much of the book so I can’t describe all the weird stuff that happens. This book was really interesting, but I have to be honest its not my usual kind of book. It was dark and heavy and weird and thought-provoking and interesting and weird all rolled into one big ball of interesting weird.

The bottom line: Very very interesting, a little dark though. Not exactly my style but I would recommend it.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2014 – Book #27

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The twenty-seventh book I read in 2014 was Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/19/14. This is the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series by these authors. The first two books in the series were discussed in my previous two blog posts. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up where the second left off, after Lena’s Seventeenth Moon. As I said in the previous post, if you haven’t read the first book yet and you plan to, then I would avoid reading this review as soon items mentioned might reveal plot twists from both the first and second book.

So in the end of the second book Macon is resurrected and Lena and Ethan get back together. But as the summer turns to fall, things are turning apocalyptic in the small town of Gatlin. Locusts, extreme heat, and Ethan starts dreaming about rivers of blood. Amma is meeting with a black magic voodoo man for some reason that Ethan can’t figure out, and even worse Ethan is slowly losing pieces of his memory. Things are falling apart in Gatlin because Lena broke The Order when she claimed herself for both the dark and the light during her Seventeenth Moon. And with a best friend who is now a quarter Incubus, a wanna-be Siren trying to start trouble and find a way to get her powers back, and a 500 year old evil Blood Incubus trying to wipe out all of humanity, the End seems unavoidable.

As Lena and Ethan struggle not only through their daily high school lives but also the impending doom that grows stronger with the day, they look for a solution to the visions they’re experiencing and a way to save mankind. Abraham tears apart the town looking for John Breed, his science experiment, and after Lena and Ethan find him they try to use him to figure out what Abraham’s plans are. There were so many interesting magical twists and turns in this book, and I actually liked how the ending just left it all open. Doom and The End are coming and then it all just fades to black and we never find out what really happened.

This book was a great addition to the series. It was a little dry towards the middle but wow what a great cliffhanger ending, I can’t wait to read the next book. Great story with lots of interesting additions to the overall story over the series of books.

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Chaos-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/031612351X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397933779&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+chaos