Ravaged (The Hunger #3), by Jason Brant

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A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon:

Welcome to the mountains of Pennsylvania, one of the last vestiges of the human race.

Lance York, a self-described loser in another life, has rediscovered himself in the midst of the apocalypse. Along with a cadre of other survivors, including the hardened, sexy Cass, Lance has taken refuge in a compound, struggling to survive the onslaught of monstrosities descending upon them each night.

The horrors that have devoured mankind are changing, their minds rebooting like a computer. Intelligence, the lone advantage of the humans, is returning to the infected. They ravage the compound with calculated, precise strikes, chiseling away at the defenses Lance and his friends have erected.

With the help of new ally, Major Frank Colt, the flickering flame of the old world must fight to stave off the extinguishing tidal wave of the new one.

My take:

I was lucky enough to be chosen to beta read this book by the author.  This is the third book in The Hunger series, and I didn’t think he could top book two.  Book two was a fast-paced Hell ride through an apocalyptic nightmare.  I was wrong.  Book three blew me away and had me thinking of the book when I had to put it down and walk away and deal with real life.  I desperately wanted to lock myself away from everyone and read this book in one sitting.

The “Vladdies” as they’re referred to in the book are changing yet again.  They’re becoming more than just killing and eating machines, they’re thinking and communicating with each other.  Lance, Cass, Eifort, Doc Brown and the rest of the bunch found safety in the second book, but their safe haven became more of a trap once the Vladdies started planning ways to breach the security measures.  A rouge but small band of “military” also moves in to complicate things.  Making matters even worse, Cass is pregnant, making Lance’s need to protect her even stronger.

This book had non stop action, from beginning to end.  I barely had time to catch my breath before being dragged into the next crisis.  This is definitely a book for those who hate filler fluff, as there is absolutely none in this entire series.  I held my breath one minute, and laughed the next.  I was terrified to read the next page, and even cried a little at the end.

My fiance, who doesn’t read at all, paid rapt attention to my narration of this entire series as I’ve read it so far and insists that Jason needs to find a way to make these books into a movie.  I usually balk at those comments, but I tend to agree with him on this one.  I’d love to watch this and the last two books as movies… as long as:

1. Jason writes, directs, produces and casts said movie
2.  It’s a huge epic movie leaving absolutely NOTHING out.

I give this book 5 heart pounding stars out of 5

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Apocalypsis: Book 4: Haven, by Elle Casey

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A review by Terri Kinckner

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest and fair review. Any review I can do providing detail will be nothing but spoilers, so I will not. This final book was incredible! I gave the previous books in this series a five star rating, and if I could, I’d give this book ten!

When you get to know a group of characters like you do when reading a series, they become your family. Everyone wants their family to have a happy ending. There were plenty of those, but not without their fair share of heartbreak and loss. This post-apocalyptic America was so believable, these characters so unique and diverse, that one can’t help but be drawn into this world themselves. These young people are adjusting to their new life, and finding ways to make it better. Bryn has transformed. We all knew she was tough and rational and hilarious, but it was really nice to see her mature and let her kindness show. I laughed and cried with her (A LOT) during this book, and held my breath in the tense situations. I loved that she wrestled with her guilt, and chose honesty over the easy way out. Bodo has grown a lot in this series as well. Looking back to the first book, the change in them both is evident, and for the better. I am going to miss them both immensely! I’m sad that I won’t get to know Jackson and his sister better. They were a really cool addition to the book!

The “canners” in this book got even more horrible. They were vicious, heartless killing machines, and they truly scared me. I forgot that they were humans, let alone kids! On the subject of gore, being a post-apocalyptic world, they had a lot of unpleasant things to do. These scenes turned my stomach, but they were integral to the book and frankly, written extremely well! The combination of horror and characters that you absolutely forget are fictional is an amazing combination.

The book did NOT end the way I thought it would. I knew Elle couldn’t end the series on a cliffhanger (that would be so mean!), so I was prepared for her to find a way to stun us in the end. She sure delivered! Oddly enough, it’s not the ending I imagined, but it was perfect. At first, I literally yelled “NO!”, but by the time I finished the last page it seemed that there was no other way for it end.

I only have one gripe, and that is with the epilogue. Five years later. This tied up the entire story…almost. I loved it, but I wish I knew what happened to a certain someone that left Haven. I don’t want to spoil the story by giving a name, but man… I really wish I knew what the future held for them! I am now forcing myself to let these characters go, but even just typing that brought tears to my eyes. This is definitely a series I’ll keep reading over and over again!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars (and a tissue rating of one whole box…sniff sniff, I’ll miss you!)

When Copper Suns Fall (Lost Immortals, #1) by KaSonndra Leigh

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A review by Terri Kinckner

This book captured me from the beginning. KaSonndra Leigh created a world that was completely believable, adding a paranormal twist that was wildly original and interesting.  The setting of this book is Corunum, a Post-Apocalyptic United States, set 62 years after the Great War between the Caduceans and Tainted.  The Caduceans were half-human, half-angel descendants of the archangel Gabriel, and the Tainted were half-human, half- fallen angel descendants of Bernael, the angel of chaos.  Both were thought to be no more, but were actually still in existence and fighting for control of the humans.

Chela was caught up in this situation more than she realized.  I loved learning along with her what she and her purpose in life were. Chela was a very strong and stubborn lead character, with a heart of gold… a perfect combination for the role she assumed in this book. Faris was quite a mystery to me, and I was just as frustrated with the lack of information he passed as Chela was. He was an excellent broody, angsty character who loved Chela with all that he had. Jalen and Alexa were great friends to Chela, each with secrets of their own. The complexity of the relationships in this book made it hard to put down… I couldn’t wait to find out the next “secret”! The ending of the book had me wanting to know more, I’m definitely invested in these characters!


The writing was excellent! KaSonndra has a gift. She can write beautifully crafted descriptive sentences and flawlessly switch to more modern dialogue between the characters. That is very hard to pull off!  There was some confusion with all of the new terms in the book, but the glossary at the end really helped me with that, and kept it from getting too complicated and taking away from the story itself.  I am starting book 2 tomorrow, and I am so excited to see what the second part of this story holds!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars!

 

Apocalypsis Book 3: Exodus, By Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series: Book 1, KAHAYATLE; Book 2, WARPAINT; Book 3, EXODUS; Book 4, HAVEN (coming 2013)

EXODUS
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and my world has been turned upside down and inside out. I’m racing towards a future I cannot control.

I thought I had everything worked out, but then things changed. I thought we were all cut off from one another, but it turns out, we’re not.

They say people are talking, and word about me and what I’ve done is spreading like the virus that wiped out millions of people, leaving us teens alone to fend for ourselves. And depending on who you are, and what you eat for dinner, I’m either your salvation or your target.

**Contains violence, some foul language, some drugs, and non-explicit sex scenes. This series is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only. May not be suitable for younger/middle-grade teens.**

What I thought:

Brilliant!  I hurried right from book two to book three, and finished the book in a matter of hours.  I couldn’t pull myself away, no matter that it is Thanksgiving and I have tons to do.  Thanksgiving could wait!

At the end of book two, I was worried about Bodo.  He has become one of my favorite characters in this series.  I was happy to see that issue resolved… I was a little worried that Elle would make me wait until the end of the series to find out what happened to him, and I probably couldn’t wait until 2013 to know!

I love the friendship that Bryn and Winky have, their personalities are so similar, yet they keep each other grounded.  The new characters kept the story fresh, and I always love the way Elle creates her characters.  I have no idea how she can make each character’s dialogue, mannerisms, and personalities so unique and different from the others!

I knew it!!! That’s all I’m going to say about Peter and his personal life.  This development made me happy!  His character is so different from any character in Elle’s books.  It’s a wonderful step outside of the norm, and I absolutely ADORE Peter!

The people this group encounter while on their exodus were really interesting.  It gave me a feel for the emotional state of all of the survivors of this virus.  It was also heartwarming to see other groups out there that were trying to create a world worth living in, too.

Finally, the “waystation” with Sissy and Jimmy is really starting to be a great thing.  I hope these two characters are seen in book four!  From the Cracker Barrel, to the Everglades, to a prison;  who needs telephones and internet when you have a messaging network like they do!

I honestly couldn’t put this latest book down.  When my kindle battery died, I switched to reading it on my computer, then back again when it was charged.  I even read while I showered (don’t ask!). It’s really hard to write a review for this book without giving away crucial elements of the story, and I want everyone to enjoy the book as much as I did without any spoilers.

I give this book five stars out of five!

Apocalypsis Book 2: Warpaint, by Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

This is the book description from the Amazon website:

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series, beginning with Book 1, Kahayatle. This book, Warpaint, is the 2nd in the series. Exodus is the 3rd book in the series, and Haven is the 4th.

WARPAINT
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in Kahayatle, otherwise known as The Everglades. I live with my three best friends and a tribe of Native American teens, because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world.

We’re creating a whole new world for ourselves, but this world has problems. The biggest threat to our survival is not starvation anymore … it’s the gang of kids who lives nearby that has become more vicious than anyone could have imagined possible. The soulless demons have gone too far, and it’s time for us to rise up and do what needs to be done to set things right.

Alone, it might have been impossible; but now I’ve got friends.  I’m worried though, that I won’t be able to get them ready to fight in time, and that we’re taking on more of a challenge than we can handle right now.

And I have no idea what might be waiting for us when we arrive on their front doorstep.

**No drugs. Yes, contains violence, some foul language, and non-explicit sex scenes. This series is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only.  May not be suitable for younger/middle-grade teens.**

What I thought:

I absolutely loved Bryn, Peter, and Bodo in the first book.  When they reached the “safety” of Kahayatle (the Everglades), I was so happy that they had survived their journey.  Of course, the cliff hanger ending in book one made me need to read book two right away!  Elle Casey is a pro at ending books with cliffhangers, or as I like to call it in the case of my kindle, a digital sucker punch!

I love how the relationship between Bryn and Bodo grows.  The secret that he’s been holding out on is finally known and is one that I would never have guessed in a million years.  His accent and confusion with colloquialisms is hysterical in this book.  Just one of Bodo’s lines in the book that had me laughing is, “I didn’t say fucktart.  Dat was you.  You are the lady saying all the fucktart words today.  Or moron.  She likes dat one, too.  I think it means boy I luff.”  I couldn’t help but read his parts with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice in my head!

Bryn shows just how awesome she is, bringing peace to the native american kids and preparing their tribe to save others.  She is becoming as “bad ass” as Jayne is in the War Of The Fae and Clash Of The Otherworlds series that Elle writes.  She is very mature and centered for her age, excellent at krav maga fighting, and feels a great responsibility to help those around her.  She is every bit the hero in this book.

The character Peter is great.  I’m beginning to think of him as a Rain Man of sorts.  His ability to organize and remember things is “uncanny”  (I really had to throw that in, read the book and I swear, it’s funny!)  He seems to be getting braver in this book, and it’s nice to see a character evolve so much for the better.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him in book three and four!

In this book, we finally get to know the kids of Kahayatle better.  It’s amazing how Elle can make each and every one of the kids in the tribe real to me.  I really felt as though I lived right there with them.  They also became my friends (except that one girl I wanted to hurt! LOL).  I really look forward to getting to know these characters and also the newest characters that came at the end of the second book.

This book ended in a gut wrenching cliff hanger.  In fact, I already had book three in my kindle and less than 10 seconds after finishing book two, I was on to book three.  I seriously recommend buying this entire series!  Book four isn’t out yet, but I suggest buying one, two and three at the same time.  There is no way you can NOT read the next installment with Elle Casey right away.  She is THAT good!

I give this book five out of five stars!

Apocalypsis by Elle Casey

A review by Terri Kinckner

Apocalypsis: Book 1 (Kahayatle) will be FREE for 3 days, Jan 17-19.  Just click on the picture to link to Amazon 🙂

Book description from Amazon:

APOCALYPSIS is a 4-book, YA Post-Apocalyptic series, beginning with Book 1, Kahayatle.

KAHAYATLE
My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in a neighborhood outside of Orlando, Florida. I live alone because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world. I’m almost out of food and the gangs of kids that roam around my town are getting more vicious by the day.

It’s time for me to leave and find another place to live … a place where I can find food and shelter … a place where they won’t be able to find me.

Alone, it might have been possible; but now I’ve got company. I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes to get from here to my final destination.

And I have no idea what might be waiting for me when I get there.

**No drugs, or sex in this installment of the series. Yes, there is some violence and some foul language. This is in the DARK SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR/POST-APOCALYPTIC genres, featuring teen characters only. May not be suitable for younger, middle grade readers.**

My take:

I am already a huge fan of Elle Casey’s work, but I’m not typically a fan of apocalyptic books. I decided to read it anyway and was not disappointed! The characters are completely relatable, the action described vividly, and the details are revealed little by little and don’t overwhelm the reader. The idea of a world without adults intrigued me and left me wondering how my own teenage children would fare in this situation. Elle truly has a gift when it comes to making fantasy seem real. I read this book in one sitting (who needs to do housework anyway) and LOVED it! I am anxiously awaiting the next two books in this series!

I give this book 5 enthusiastic stars out of 5!