Blog Tour: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series Book 3) by Sarah Lampkin (Review/Giveaway)

To Reap the Spirit
(The Dead Dreamer Series #3)
By: Sarah Lampkin

To Reap the Spirit

Publication: October 13th, 2020
Genre: New Adult/Urban Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Sanguis daretur. Ignis invocavit.

The third installment in the haunting Dead Dreamer series.

Somehow Brenna Whit has survived to her junior year at Nephesburg College. Despite all odds, she’s fought against the Gatekeepers and lived. But the battle for the Fade has only just begun.

New pieces have been added to the board.

The Fade opens to the Veil.

And a Shade from the past returns.

With Brenna’s secret out, everyone is after her: dead and living alike. Those from across the sea have come and they’re determined to regain control of their broken faction.

Questions will be answers

Fires will be lit

Chaos will reign

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REVIEW

Picking up from the situation of Book 2, To Reap the Spirit explores further into the Fade as more moving parts of the dangers surrounding Brenna’s Dead Dreamer side of things take on a new meaning. Much like Book 2, the Gatekeepers have called in another Dead Dreamer, Bridget to remedy and control the situation of her unsealing the doors to stop their conflicting goals. However, Bridget is a much more dangerous character that takes things further as she can cause some dire consequences with her power.

Book 3 brings in the equation of the different stances that the Guardians and Gatekeepers have as well as things that they also can’t seem to control while also giving Brenna her own further struggles with balancing life in the Fade and how far she can go before even she has her limits while also having the side of life with the living that she can’t seem to get involved with. At the same time, it explores another dimension other than the Fade called The Veil. At the same time, pulling in more characters to have bigger parts to play that were either present in previous books or at least mentioned. There’s a bigger element of action and danger throughout which does make it more engaging but at times, what made the previous 2 books stand out was the smaller scope from at least the character standpoint but to be fair, it was inevitable that it had to get bigger since we had already hints of bigger parties at play than what was happening in the college campus.

Overall, as a 3rd book of a series, its engaging because of how it manages to expand further into the story and world building on the elements from the previous books. At the same time, adding more characters expands further from just its main character Brenna while giving more room for other people to be involved like her interaction with her best friends, Aeria and Damon as well as having more roommates and new “enemies” that adds quite a bit to the story overall.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Purchase Links
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DEAD DREAMER BOOKS

To Dream is to Die (Book #1)

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural

Goodreads

To Wake the Dead (Book #2)

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.

Classes have begun…

The battlefield is set…

Let the fight for the Fade begin.

Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

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Digital collection of the Dead Dreamer series (Everyone)
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October 12th

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Blog Tour: Crackle and Fire by Russ Colchamiro (Review/Giveaway)

Check out the upcoming release from Russ Colchamiro! Crackle and Fire is the first installment of a brand new genre-blurring series!

Crackle and Fire: An Angela Hardwicke Sci-Fi Mystery (Book One)
By: Russ Colchamiro

Expected Publication Date: September 1st, 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery/ Fantasy

Angela Hardwicke isn’t just any private eye.

She’s a PI from Eternity, the cosmic realm responsible for the design, creation, and maintenance of the Universe.

When accountant Gil Haberseau hires her to find an intern with stolen corporate files, Hardwicke soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly case of lies, intrigue, and murder, clashing with vengeful gangsters, MinderNot rallies, and a madman who’s come a long way to get what he wants.

In Russ Colchamiro’s thrilling Sci-Fi mystery Crackle and Fire, Angela Hardwicke learns once and for all that when it comes to being an intergalactic private eye, there’s no telling what threats she may face on-realm and off… including the demons that lurk deep within her soul.

“Crackle and Fire elegantly combines PI noir with science fiction and fantasy.” — John L. French, author of The Magic of Simon Tombs

“Angela Hardwicke is one of the most memorable characters in detective fiction.” — Sawney Hatton, author of Everyone is a Moon

BONUS STORY INCLUDED! The AI-themed Angela Hardwicke murder mystery, “The Case of Jarlo’s Buried Treasure”

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REVIEW

Crackle and Fire is the first book in an upcoming series featuring a female private investigator called Angela Hardwicke. Set in a sci-fi galactic universe, the world itself is very intriguing to discover. The first book gives a good vibe of both the character of Angela Hardwicke as well as her network of friends and helpers that assist her in solving her cases. At the same time, this mystery and first case that she takes gives a foundation to the status of the world that it takes place in. There’s a lot of focus on style, the noir-esque crime and the underworld, the connection of this galactic settting and its connection to Earth.

The mystery itself also is executed rather well. There are layers to the story as it unfolds where this case feels a little like a case in a case as Angela Hardwicke starts connecting the dots. In a case that can easily step on some sensitive toes, there is a whole world that unveils in the process. There’s enough intrigue to want to know more and figure out those many questions and mysteries set out in the beginning and enough answers to unlock a few more elements. Adding in the science fiction elements to expand the location a little more and the technology also gives it a lot of character.

Overall, as a first book, Crackle and First is a good debut for the series. Its sets up a good foundation. There is enough set up for Angela Hardwicke’s character, giving her enough backstory to understand her more while seeing her true abilities. At the same time, she is a flawed character with a little mysterious vibe behind her that lingers in the background. There were some vibes of the Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton that I’m a big fan of with how the mystery is constructed as well as the general concept of the female character design (although they do have their differences and has its own respective setting and expertise). To be comparable to that series is a compliment on my part. It’ll be interesting to see where this story takes Angela Hardwicke in the future books of the series. We already get a little idea as this book ended with a little bonus story.

Score: 4/5

Pre-Order Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the SF anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, and Brave New Girls.

He is now working on the first novel in a new series featuring his hardboiled private eye Angela Hardwicke, and the first of three collaborative novella projects.

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(International) digital copy of Crackle and Fire & a $5 Amazon
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August 24th
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Blog Tour: No Signal (iMe Series #2) by Jem Tugwell

NO SIGNAL BLOG TOUR v2

No Signal (iMe series #2)
By: Jem Tugwell

No Signal

Publisher: Serpentine Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2020
Pages: 336
Available in Paperback, eBook & Audio

In a breathtaking follow-up novel to ‘PROXIMITY’, Serge says it’s the ultimate Augmented Reality game. He’s chosen his Ten carefully – the reckless, driven and strong. He tests them. Ten become Four.
DI Clive Lussac wants to fight the system that controls everything, but he’s ill and losing the people closest to him. In the middle of eco-protests, he’s lost four tourists.
As Clive’s world unravels, he and his partners DC Ava Miller and DS Zoe Jordan race to find the tourists and the true reason behind the game. It may already be too late. – Goodreads

No Signal is the sequel of Proximity, the second book in the iMe series. While the first book was set on creating a technothriller set in a futuristic dystopia where technology has now become the tool that governs every single person’s life to every single detail to create a crime free and healthy society through their technology iMe and set a very solid foundation for this world building. No Signal had a kick-off point in this established world that took a different path. This time, its not about a crime set in one city using the technology and the different ways its governed from police to citizens to all the red tape involved but it takes the angle of a further technology called iTourist that sees a person who creates this augmented reality game that leads the four remaining challengers from around the world to enter into this controlled world to race for a big prize at the finish line. Other than the technology and crime-solving elements, this story also has dives into a little bit of this dystopian future’s politics.

No Signal is divided chapter to chapter from a few different point of view.  Its a lot of characters to maneuver at first as it bounces between last book’s main character police detective Clive Lussac, “game master” Serge and the four challengers. This is a great structure to approach this story as it gives a good overlap from one location to the next while also being able to keep the book paced incredibly well and really action-packed and also to connect better with each of these characters. The connection from the first book actually is only through Clive Lussac and his character still maintains a lot of the traits from the first one that makes him notice the things and plays along the more experienced cop role as he leads another younger partner after his partner in the last one has moved to another department. If there was anything, it felt a little unnecessary to put in his personal life drama. It connects to the first one and maybe makes him more human but the story stood well enough on its own focusing on the thriller on hand.

One of the most outstanding parts of this series is definitely the use of its technology. The technology itself has so much detail from how it evolves and what it is capable of doing. iMe still plays a lot as it controls the citizens in this space whereas the rest of the world seems to not be controlled like this future UK. As it brings people from outside of this country inside, the technology behind iTourist is really only an introduction but it adds another element when the scenario changes as they find a way to complete their challenge without this country’s monitoring. Every point of No Signal is done with a lot of thought in its execution and how each plot point should land and give it further intrigue and thrills. For a sequel, it keeps the same intensity as its first book and dives deeper into this world. Honestly, I can’t wait to see where else this world can go to hopefully a next novel.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 

You can also check out the review of the the first book, Proximity HERE.

Amazon Australia : https://amzn.to/2WcgE2z
Goodreads link  : https://bit.ly/2WbnhSN
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jem Tugwell is a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University.
NO SIGNAL is the second book in the iMe series and follows his thrilling debut novel PROXIMITY.
Jem is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. In a past life, Jem had a successful career in technology and investment management, and he lives in Surrey with his wife and dog. He has two great children. Outside of his family and writing, Jem’s loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.
GIVEAWAY
As part of the blog tour, Serpentine Books is running a Rafflecopter competition to give a way 2 signed copies of Proximity (it is open to UK addresses only).

To Wake The Dead (The Dead Dreamer #2) by Sarah Lampkin

Review for To Dream is To Die, Book 1 of The Dead Dreamer Series HERE

To Wake The Dead
(Dead Dreamer #2)
By: Sarah Lampkin

to wake the dead

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely. – Goodreads

To Wake The Dead is the second book in The Dead Dreamer Series. The story picks up a few months after the events of the first book as university resumes again for Brenna. As a sequel, the story itself fully utilizes the foundation of the first one and builds from those events. However, its more of a second level deal. In the first book, it showed more of the general world of how the alternate plane, Fade would work and the different roles of Dead Dreams, Watcher, the Gatekeepers and more. The story goes further this time as it picks up those pieces and drives it towards something with a deeper scheme with even more characters and other elements involved and some more mysteries. It all says a lot to the entire world building for the premise itself and its incredibly well thought out as more factors come into play.

The characters are mostly the same as before. To Wake The Dead is in first person narration by its star Dead Dreamer, Brenna who tries to navigate the situation. What really builds on her character is that its not only a “battle” with the outside dangers in the Fade and the Gatekeepers but at the same time, its a battle with herself, the whole soul and spirit fight makes for a lot of the intrigue as her inner person, Maura, speaks up once in a while and then also has its danger elements. These unknown moments creates for changes in her mood and unexpected results of different severity and show of abilities that were unseen before. There’s a constant changing element presented each time and it makes Brenna become an intriguing character to follow in her adventures. Of course, it helps that her friends, Aeria and Damon also have a great part as they also get pulled deeper into the equation. The three actually find a balance in their characters especially with the banter between Damon and Brenna (which started off in the first book) and these situations that come up in the story also create some tension as expected.

Overall, To Wake The Dead is a very decent sequel. There’s more depth in world building, plot development and character development. The story does start off a little slower than the first book therefore, pacing at the beginning dragged just a little bit to set up the new situation. Once things started moving again, it was an engaging read. Solid sequel and can’t wait for the next book!

Score: 4 out of 5

To Dream is to Die (Dead Dreamer #1) by Sarah Lampkin

To Dream is to Die (Dead Dreamer #1)
By: Sarah Lampkin

to dream is to die

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college. – Goodreads

Feeling a lot along the lines of young adult shows, To Dream is To Die is the first book in the Dead Dreamer series. As a first book, it does a lot of things right especially in setting up a foundation quickly. The author Sarah Lampkin quickly lets us know the situation and what is the new situation that our main protagonist Brenna is in with her new phase in life, moving into her dorm in college and then revealing that she essentially doesn’t sleep and wanders in her spirit form instead, an ability that she has because of her near death experience. A secret that she soon has to divulge to her new friends, Aeria and Damon who the latter actually is also learning about his own abilities.

First books of series are always a little tricky. The author needs to be able to show off these characters and their charm while giving them a situation that lets them learn about their dilemma. Here it is set up very well and paced in an intriguing way as everything links to each other but also having pieces of the puzzle that need to be figured out and revealed gradually and more characters coming into the mix. At the same time, what helps this all is using chapters that switch their different narratives. Its mostly in the narrative from the point of view of Brenna but when the situation temporarily changes, it switches over to her friend and it adds a unique touch.  These types of narratives is something I personally enjoy a lot in novels as they help execute storytelling elements so well and let the readers connect with the characters better as well.

Every character here from Brenna, Aeria and Damon all have their value in the story while adding in some more supporting characters that get involved in the situation and the supernatural/paranormal elements of demons, fairies, spirits and possession. All three are fairly strong characters. There’s a lot to discover about their spiritual plane called the Fade, whether its the history or the mysteries, it really only feels like the type of the iceberg has been discovered. Book one shows that there is so much more room for the story to grow and expand and it’ll be interesting to see where they take the sequel which is already available.

Overall, To Dream Is To Die is a well-paced page-turner. Its paranormal and fantasy elements are pretty creative and intriguing to discover in this new world that Sarah Lampkin has created. At the same time, she also brings to life some strong characters. Its definitely one to follow as well as for myself, catch up with the second book.

*Book received in exchange for honest review via R&R Book Tours*

Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1) by Liliana Hart

Diving back into my TBR list sitting on my Kindle, I’m not sure if I picked up this book because I was hooked on Pretty Little Liars and the cover reminded me of the series so I thought it would be cool. There really are no reasons especially when its really a shot in the dark and hoping that its a good read. I’ve never read anything from Liliana Hart before so let’s check it out!

Dirty Little Secrets (J.J. Graves Mystery #1)
By: Liliana Hart

dirty little secrets

J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work. She’s not only in the mortuary business, but she’s also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it’s up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice. The murders are piling up. When a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.’s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he’s so well known for. Passions are rising. J.J and Jack discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.’s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her a perfect target in a deadly game. – Goodreads

Mystery/thriller/suspense are so hard to do well. I can tell you that this book has nothing to do with anything like the plot of Pretty Little Liars of course, as you can see in the summary above. The star of the show is J.J. Graves who is a doctor turned mortician who also shadows in this small hometown as the person taking care of autopsies which usually are just normal everyday natural or accidental deaths and nothing like murders until one murder after the next plague the town and it becomes apparent that someone from the town itself could be responsible and that the victims lead a much darker life than they lead on. Small towns are a great setting for murder mysteries because it keeps things confined whether in terms of relationships or just the possible suspects and gives it space to be easier to follow. For that, Liliana Hart did really good at setting up that stage. The mystery itself made sense and the big reveal also was logical and twisty enough to be a surprise.

Dirty Little Secrets is a pretty quick read because it keeps its length under control. It will have your brain wondering the whodunnit question. However, the book does have its downfall. One of the biggest ones is creating a character like J.J. who isn’t exactly someone we can care for. She is very human because of her imperfections however, she does have a generic personality as a mortician or even the big hidden secret reveal. Her conversations are uninspired especially as we step into the middle when she is infatuated by the stranger in the town while her best friend, the hunk and player of the town Jack fumes over her decisions. Now, what J.J. lacks, Jack’s character makes up a little for. He is still a little generic in his background but there are more layers to his personality and in the bits where he shows up, it leaves us wanting to know more about this character.

As the debut of a series, Dirty Little Lies does well to set up our characters and a look at the town setting. While there are some uncompelling and generic elements, there are still bits to retain it and if not that, the writing style here is a pleasure to read. It does leave me curious to see where the characters will go especially after getting through showing is the basics of this character in this first book that the next one will have more intriguing layers to work with. Maybe I will give it a whirl some time, just to see if its worth continuing to read the entire series, which seems to have ended at Book #4.5.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection: Books 1-3 by Lemony Snicket

With the recent release of Netflix Originals series Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, I couldn’t help but feel really behind in not catching up with the books. In an effort to get the source material read before watching the series, here we go! I ended up getting the three book collection because it was a better deal. Plus, the first season of the TV show covers the first four books in the series.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection: Books 1-3
by: Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection

Book 1: The Bad Beginning

The start of anything can be tough but what always made this series fun is its dark tone and constant reminder that nothing happy is coming out of this story of the Baudelaire orphans. The introduction of all our key characters are all in this first book. We have the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny who are although young, actually quite talented. Our villain Count Olaf gets his entrance as their first guardian and the always coughing but rather useless Mr. Poe who is responsible for the orphans well-being. And of course, our author Lemony Snicket may be the fun parts with his pocket full definitions and comparisons to better understand the vocabulary here. Absolutely a clever way to introduce children to new words and how to use them along with a group of whimsical characters. This theme carries forward to the future books in the series as well.

The Bad Beginning itself is a fun and dark read. While it hangs on the point of the Baudelaire orphans misadventures after the death of their parents and the horrible Count Olaf after their immense fortune, it is quite the imaginative ride and a very dynamic read between both the recount of the story to the characters they’ve created. In many ways, Violet, Klaus and Sunny truly develop in the characters of them being incredibly smart kids even if they are still learning and doesn’t quite know everything but are quite the problem solver. As they work out their escape from the evil cluthes of Count Olaf, we grow to love each of these characters a little more.

Book 2: The Reptile Room

The second book, The Reptile Room, picks up after the first one as the orphans are sent off after Count Olaf’s plans are overturned. With him still on the loose, they head down Lousy Lane to Dr. Montgomery Montgomery’s care, a world renowned herpetologist. Mazes and reptiles and deadly snakes are lurk in this book. The Baudelaire orphans, despite all the bad, start to enjoy their stay with Uncle Monty as he lets them dive deep to build on their fortes. The Reptile Room is a fun one as well. The best parts usually go to the slightly eccentric characters that the books have created as the orphans’ guardians. However, the process of Count Olaf is also incredibly well thought out.

Book 3: The Wide Window

 No one quite beats Aunt Josephine as a little irrational and slightly nuts so far in the series. The Wide Window’s next stop is at Lake Lachrymose where the orphans stay with a very scared Aunt Josephine. In all her feat, she actually is a pretty colorful and entertaining character to read, especially with the Lake Lachrymose and the decoding. There’s quite a bit of mystery in this book and quite a bit of adventure and invention.

Overall, its hard to talk about these books. Each of these books are made up of thirteen chapters with a good pacing and some really fun characters. Count Olaf is a fairly sinister if not a little odd villain who is a master of disguise at least he is to everyone else but the orphans who usually sees through him right away. The narration is probably the best part of the novel. On top of that, the stories itself carry a great tone and dives in many educational things for the younger audience in a fun way like grammar (particularly in Aunt Josephine’s story), a lot of vocabulary and even anagrams (particularly  notice them for Count Olaf related characters either for his mischievous followers). The first three books are incredibly enjoyable. In fact, I pretty much read through them quickly. Although most of it was covered in the movie adaptation, it was nice to see the contrast of the two.

Have you read A Series of Unfortunate Events?

What We’ll Do For Blood (The Almost Human Series #1) by C.L. Mannarino

For some of you who are new here, I love supernatural and paranormal novels. More specifically, while the vampire genre has been wildly overused, I still remain intrigued by what else is showing up. This is where this next novel comes in. What We’ll Do For Blood is the first book in a series by C.L. Mannarino.

Before we start the review, I would like to send a huge thanks to the author for sending me the novel in exchange for an honest review!

What We’ll Do For Blood
by C.L. Mannarino

what we'll do for blood

In the sleepy town of Northam, Massachusetts, not everyone is who they seem to be. Take Scott Whitney, for example. A struggling high school senior, Scott wants nothing more than to have his much-divided, social-climbing family believe him when he comes to them with something important, no matter how often he disregards their rules. One night, Scott catches his father’s beautiful colleague, Maria, drinking his father’s blood in their office parking lot. When his father has no recollection of this event, and gets weaker the more he spends time with Maria, Scott turns to his mother and sister for help. When he realizes that Maria has captured their hearts and minds, as well, Scott has to find a way to believe in himself, and become more than anyone thought he was capable of, in order to stop her. But what will it cost him? – Goodreads

What We’ll Do For Blood is the first in the author’s series. For that, it definitely does set a decent stage to the characters and story. In particular, we learn quite a bit through his actions and decisions and thoughts about the person he is. Our main character is Scott and if not a little silly sometimes, because he lacks a bit of real life experience since he is only a high school guy, he definitely is brave. He emphasized the point that you can’t choose family no matter what happens. It never is too far-fetched in building up a scenario or a thought and that is especially with a genre like this one.

As mentioned before, vampire stories are overused. You don’t need me to tell you all the crazy ways they have been portrayed in books then adapted to movies and TV. For the most part, the vampires here stick pretty much to tradition. They feed and glamor and do what they have to to survive. They live in groups but hunt in solitude. They are ruthless and don’t eat human food and drink human beverages. I do appreciate sticking with the traditional portrayal. However, this story does also hit a lot predictable turns whether it is the choices or Maria, the vampire and adds in pieces that are just glimpses of supporting characters that are there.to serve a certain purpose only.

The aspect that saves it is that it is well-paced and well-written. Nothing beats a good reading like having a tasteful piece in front of us. What We’ll Do For Blood hits some super predictable plotlines and in the end, its really easy to see what it is setting the stage for. However, the setting itself is before modern times and I believe somewhere in the seventies perhaps. I cannot remember the time frame. It is mostly a vibe perhaps also because the characters themselves also live in a small community with even more small-minded people which makes Scott’s father’s recent promotion at his work so significant and why it becomes even harder to sidestep talking to the wrong people and even how Scott’s parents perceive what his son is doing.

Overall, What We’ll Do For Blood is a decent start as it is well-paced and well-written. While we can appreciate taking the traditional vampire route, it does have its predictable moments that do take away from it being exceptional. The extra of society ranking and community impressions and the likes add a little something extra to the story. It is an easy read and while does feature a high school main character, still will appeal to an older audience as it has some more violent descriptions but do note that this book seems to be intended for young adults (at least).

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Depending where you are, The 5th Wave hit theatres either last week or today.  On first look at the trailer, it looks like it has a decent premise.  With it so quickly adapted into a movie that even casts Chloe Grace Moretz, who I personally think is a potentially great young actress, The 5th Wave had me intrigued.  Mind you, so far YA novels have been rather lacking at good alien invasion movies and the trailer has hints of some very teenage cliche romance that probably is way more sappy than it needs to be.  I am rather forgiving for YA novels, mostly because I’m not exactly their target audience anymore, yet I enjoy them from time to time because it is easy reading. Still, whatever the movie has to offer I don’t know and its definitely not going to be what is to be expected in the book.

I’m still on the fence on whether to go see The 5th Wave but let’s see if the book has convinced me, shall we?

The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)
by: Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave Book

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.  Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. – Goodreads

Goodreads score: 3/5

The 5th Wave makes me feel a little like watching The Host. The premise is there but the approach could have been a lot better.  But then, that isn’t even the issue.  You know, the troupes and the predictability and the heavy YA novel feeling. All those things was not a problem.  My biggest issue with this novel is the writing especially right at the beginning when I read this line, which probably might be a key line in the movie (who knows, right?).  Wait for it… embrace it, ok?

When you can’t trust anyone, then you can trust no one.-The 5th Wave

Writing: 10 out of 10… *rolls eyes* When I read that line, I dog-earred the page to remember where it was and closed the book. I took a little breather and found a reason to back up why I’m reading the main character’s diary and inner monologue, because the author wants us to remember that she’s an innocent high school student and reinforce that point eventually that this alien invasion has changed and toughened her up. With myself slightly convinced, I moved on with the story.

Forget the writing style, that can be adapted to. The premise is good.  It might be a little flawed at parts but I can buy that.  At least a part of it.  Not exactly how people survived 4 waves of disaster since those were pretty intense situations and somehow in all this, they got some tough-ass homes that remained standing but they do try to answer why the aliens are aggressive as they are and who they are.

After you get past that part and the story really starts moving along, the entrance of the character of Evan Walker and the other narrative by Ben Parish really makes the story much more intriguing to read.  Cassie is supposedly the main character (according to the movie) but her character seems to never be built enough to captivate my attention.  She doesn’t seem like a girl caught in an invasion trying to get back her little brother. She just seems like a teenage girl that is insecure and doesn’t trust anyone because she lost her family but yet she wants to feel loved and fall in love but also find her brother and its a constant struggle because she doesn’t know how to put her priorities in place. Does it make a difference? It kind of does to me and I really don’t know how to explain it better. Maybe its the fact that I wished her character was more consistent but then it could be trying to make her more reflective of her age and lacking the experience to actually be a soldier in this situation. So no, Cassie makes some bad choices and she’s kind of naive and in the most random situation she’ll be a teenage girl who focuses on how hot Evan is and wants to touch him.  Her character is missing something that I can’t quite grasp.

However, Ben Parish’s narrative is much better.  Its because there is this comparison that makes me question the author’s writing for Cassie because with Ben, its much better. His character is really well written and there’s a pain and struggle in his story.  There’s growth and it feels real.  Its even the surroundings and the characters around him put together with the situation he is in that makes it more intense to read. Evan Walker also makes for that mysterious feeling.  Its pretty easy to guess how everything unfolds but yet, those characters are much better developed.

In all fairness, The 5th Wave is an easy read.  The writing style doesn’t always quite work for me and some lines were really…not so well-crafted. But, the idea is there. Maybe its not all logical or probable but for any YA novel, there is a certain level of suspending our beliefs.  Cassie’s character could’ve been better developed but it was balanced off with a much better alternate storyline narrated by the other main character Ben.  The insert of loner Evan Walker was also done well.  The 5th Wave isn’t an epic or even great read.  I’m still a little lukewarm on how I feel about it.  The completionist in me might want to read the rest of the trilogy just to see what happens because that ending kind of made me wonder about one of the character’s fate.  I haven’t quite decided on that just yet. I guess we’ll see…

Before we end this post, I should address the question before the little review here.  I’m actually on the fence about the movie.  It feels like it could be impressive as a movie if they decided to keep the meat of the alien invasion although I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the route taken.  While I don’t particularly see an issue with Chloe Grace Moretz playing Cassie since she is a good young actress, I am a little skeptical of Nick Robinson playing Ben Parish, especially after what he goes through.  There’s a level of inconsistency of what I feel like his character looks like in the novel to in the movie.  Maybe I need to watch the trailers to see what renewed feelings I have. 😉

Have you read The 5th Wave? Any thoughts? Are you planning to see The 5th Wave?

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

Wow! If anything, these book reviews are falling way behind. It happens when I had more time to read than to write (aka waiting in line for an hour before movies and overshot data on my phone).  I’m about two reviews behind so I’m working hard on getting things back to speed. After The Cuckoo’s Calling (a more grown-up book), I always like to fall back to some YA fiction.  My choice after looking for a while was the next book in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner.  If you missed it, you can check out my review for the previous two below:

#1 The Maze Runner
#2 The Scorch Trials

For a recap, I loved The Maze Runner and enjoyed the Scorch Trials but not quite as much. Not exactly sure what to expect for this one, The Death Cure.  Let’s check this out! 🙂

**If you have not read and finished up to The Scorch Trials, please stop reading as Book 2 reveals are mentioned a little.**

The Death Cure
(The Maze Runner #3)

The Death Cure

by: James Dashner

Thomas gets out of The Scorch Trials and wakes up to find himself locked up by himself in a dark cage.  His meals are delivered to him on time everyday as he loses track of time.  When they finally release him, he learns about WICKED and the lines between who is on his side or not is getting blurry.  Is WICKED good? While they took away all his memories, he starts remembering more about WICKED but this time, he is on the run outside of WICKED to track down his friends and get them out. Will he be able to do it?

Let’s start off with the basics here.  The Death Cure is not exactly as great as The Maze Runner but its definitely a lot better than The Scorch Trials.  It was a lot of fun to watch and it worked well because it went back to being how we know the first one.  It was fast-paced, lots of stuff going on to keep the amp up and Thomas wasn’t a whiny baby that didn’t know when he had to man up.  [Just a side note: Its sad because that’s the reason why I’m worried about The Scorch Trials.  While Teresa gets a bigger part, Thomas turns into this character that I really loathed reading about.  Where was all the courage and bravery he had in the Glades?]

Back on The Death Cure, we now have a label for the virus called The Flare.  We know what its about and in this one, Thomas tracks his friends back to one of the cities as we see how the normal people are coping with it.  There’s more outside world than the WICKED but if its anything we learned in The Scorch Trials, even when it feels like there is no control, WICKED is control of everything.  Trust and loyalty is taken in to the grand scheme of things here.  Who can Thomas trust? Who is looking out for the greater good? They even get the option from Janson, who has a much bigger role, to move to the next phase which includes getting back their memories.  Is getting the memories back a good thing? Are they even their own memories? WICKED is all about finding a cure for the future but to what ends?

Its a lot of questions that we’ve had rumbling around in our heads through the last two books to this one and demands answers.  The Death Cure does a decent job at doing it.  In the end, it makes you question: is WICKED good or bad?

I don’t have much to say about The Death Cure.  The ending was meant to be a surprise that kind of took me by mild surprise because a lot of people like to do this sort of ending nowadays in movies or books.  It was a little apparent at a certain point. I can’t say that this ending wasn’t a possibility that popped in my head but still, points for making this work for the most part. What makes The Death Cure feel more intense is again we have a time limit in place so things need to proceed faster and it pushes the plot along.  Also, it puts some of our favorite characters that we’ve grown to know in the last two books into iffy situations that take the ethical and emotional turn.  Its always better to have that sort of test especially with the friendships bonded over the rest of the trilogy.  Honestly, that is the big thing for me.  I never thought the love bits were a necessity and Thomas and his lady friends really don’t interest me all that much.  Although it was still apparent in this one, it was enough to not overshadow the main goal and the urgency of the entire situation.

Overall, The Death Cure was a quick read.  It wasn’t exactly a page turner but it was easy and thrilling.  I like it more than The Scorch Trials and less than The Maze Runner.  The ending worked hard to add that twist in, although used frequently in the last few years, it seemed to be the only outcome that would be kind of a surprise and would apply here.  The setting being outside of WICKED controlled headquarters is a good one because it lets us see what the Flare is and how the world has been fallen.  Thomas being more like the one in Book 1 definitely was a plus.  In the end, it does wrap up the main questions we have: Is WICKED good? Is there a cure for the Flare?  While I’m not totally behind whether the ending was great or not, the intentions are good.  It ties up The Maze Runner trilogy decently.

Have you read the Maze Runner trilogy? What are your thoughts on it?