Mine by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: July 19, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Something happened that night in the woods at Camp Red Hawk. But all Joel and Leah can recall is sneaking out for a late hike with five camp friends, and that only the two of them and their friend Mike returned.

They have no memory of what happened to the others. No memory of anything after leaving the camp.

In the years that follow, they realize something has changed inside of them. They are different from others, in ways they never should be. In ways that send their lives down disturbing and terrifying paths.

As they grapple with adulthood, their only hope for understanding why they’ve been altered lies with them finding each other again. But how is that possible when their memories of one another have been erased?

Review –

I am a fan of Brett Battles and will be listening to books three and four in the  Project Eden series very soon. This series is a blend of thriller, horror and crime drama, and that’s what I’m used to when I think of Brett Battles. Mine is none of those things. Instead it’s a sci-fi meets coming of age. It’s a common enough story about how aliens plan to take over the earth and eliminate the humans but this has the addition of the bond of friendship. Without the friendship the three survivors had between them, none of them would have come out alive.

The only thing that disappointed me was the ending.  There was an epilogue and it was very very predictable. I wish the author would have made it a cliffhanger.

All in all, it was a great listen.

 

Between Shades of Gray by Rita Sepetys

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Review –

“They took me in my nightgown.” The opening sentence of this superlative first novel by Ruta Sepetys demonstrates the strength of its unembellished language. Thus, 15-year-old Lina Vilkas, along with her mother and younger brother, is deported from her Lithuanian home by the Soviet secret police in 1941, and begins a cattle-car journey through a series of forced-labor camps that will span 12 years and 6,500 miles.

Apart from a few overly dramatic metaphors, Lina recounts her story with a straightforward clarity that trusts readers to summon images of starvation, disease and death, and grounds them in a reality young adults can understand.

As expected in Y.A. fiction, Lina has both a love interest and a special skill. Her relationship with another refugee is one of attraction amid desperation, their physical desire tamped down only by the limits of their emaciated, louse-­ridden bodies. Lina’s talent for drawing likewise plays a role: in her attempts to get a coded message to her father; in the assignments she is given by her Soviet captors for map-­copying and portraiture; in the flashbacks to her life as a promising art student.

The book does not lead us through the entire twelve years of the horrible conditions at the labor camp but does give us a glimpse into the life she had after being freed, and for that I was grateful. Parts were very heart-wrenching and seemed almost to horrible to have really happened .

I truly enjoyed this book but not as much as her second book, Salt to the Sea, which I rated FIVE STARS and think everyone should read. This one too, will leave you thinking for some time to come.

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The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

Book Description:

Published: May 24, 2016  

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

offers-headphones-jpgmaxheight138maxwidth207THE LAST STAR picks up not long after THE INFINITE SEA, Book Two, left off. Cassie, still torn between her love of Evan and her fear of his kind, is focusing her energy on reminding Sam what it means to be a family. Ringer — believed MIA by Cassie and the gang — has been “enhanced” and is focused on eliminating Evan Walker so she can take revenge on the man who betrayed her without him getting in the way. Zombie, ever the leader, remains untrusting of Evan and focused on reuniting with Ringer and Teacup before the end of days. 
Alternating between the viewpoints of Cassie, Ringer, Zombie, Sam and others, THE LAST STAR takes place over the course of three action-packed days, or, more specifically, the last three days of Earth. Evan Walker has a plan that he hopes will save humanity — aka Cassie — but, in the end, he is not the hero Earth needs. That hero, of course, is Cassie. Cassie who, even when all hope for rescue is lost, still demands that young Sam learn his ABCs and remember the face of his mother. Cassie, who loves Evan in ways that even she cannot understand, but knows that they will not celebrate a fairy tale ending. Cassie, the personification of humanity.

Although readers have been cheering Cassie on for years, I believe it is Sam who truly shines in THE LAST STAR. If THE LAST STAR can be classified as character-driven science fiction, Sam is one of the most powerful forces of its narrative. Through Sam, we see the true effects of humanity’s downfall, as he finds it easy to shoot a person, but less so to remember to bathe. He loves his sister, but feels a stronger, everlasting bond with Zombie, because Zombie is his sergeant in a world where his family’s promises have been annihilated more often than not. 

Because the story takes place over only three short days, it is impossible to go on without spoiling the ending to a series fans have loved for years. I will say this: yes, there are major deaths, yes, there is a resolution to the war, and yes, you will cry. The author did a superb job giving this series a perfect ending.

Five stars *****

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Book Description:

Published: May 13, 2014

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This book was very  Stephen King-like and also reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines both of those authors are at the top of my favorites list.

There is a strange phenomenon causing people to go blind worldwide and aren’t told right away what exactly that is, but later we do find out that there are creatures from another place (world, time, parallel universe ) and they have some how found their way into our lives.

To survive one must always be blindfolded because it was discovered that just a glance at the unknown creatures causes blindness followed by madness. During the madness people kill others and sometimes themselves.

It’s the story of a mother and her “twins” and her desire to find a safer place to live.

The story is told in alternating past and present chapters and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is mesmerizing and will keep you turning pages to the end.

It is fantastic!

Five stars *****

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Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Book Description:

Published: July 7, 2015

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by author, Chevy Stevens and I found it a dark journey into abuse, first at home, and then at the hands of the three boys in the small town of Cash Creek and all of this is brought about things get out of hand and the youngest of three sisters kills her abusive alcoholic father.  The girls clean up the mess and bury the body and leave, never to come back. On the way their truck breaks down in the dirty tiny town and two boys who work at a garage offer to fix it for them. The girls need to earn money to pay for the repairs so the boys tell them about a  ranch owned by their father where they could get jobs. The girls work hard and see that the boys are in no hurry to fix the truck so they become wary, but they are kidnapped, beaten, raped and held for five days in an old warehouse until they can escape.

Eighteen years later, the Campbells live under different names in Vancouver, but the past still haunts them. When Crystal, the middle sister, experiences a troubling flashback, she decides to return to Cash Creek to kill the Luxton brothers and is followed by her neice, Skylar, the baby conceived by the rape of the youngest sister. I won’t give away anything but what follows is a NAIL BITER! 
I had to stop listening for a few hours(I had the audio version) because it was dark and suspenseful and I couldn’t stand it.  My heart was almost beating out of my chest.
I highly recommend that you add this book to your TO BE READ list.
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The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

Book Description

April 29, 2014
Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

Review –
 I didn’t like the book for the first few chapters because, to me, it was boring and dragged, but then it picked up and I found it to be as good as the first, The Program. Sloane and James (who wouldn’t be my pick for her) are on the run from The Program and little do they know that she has THE TREATMENT in her possession in the form of the little pill that Realm gave her. The pill returns all your memories and can lead too severe depression so only the strong survive.
There is a lot of running and  driving from  safe house to safe house and Dallas is one of the new characters met along the way. She is a leader of one of the rebel groups. Even with all the precautions they take they are infiltrated by someone sympathetic to the cause of The Program and are captured.  Things get out of control but they are rescued in the nick of time by Realm (he and James are now friends) and ways of The Program are made known to the public and all is good for Sloane and James.
I like this series very much and am looking forward to reading THE REMEDY, with is a prequel to The Program Series.
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Destroyer Angel (Anna Pigeon #18) by Nevada Barr

Book Description

April 1, 2014

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation—an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is thirteen. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen.

On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.  When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country.

Review –

I’ve read every Anna Pigeon book ever written but I had my doubts about this one when I started reading. Fortunately, my doubts were for nothing because this book is one of the author’s best works.  This one was grisly, violent (it takes real scum to shot a dog) and darker than her usual books but the location, the characters, and the story line are all interwoven into a story that had me turning pages well in the early morning hours.

I’m ready for the next one.

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Not a Drop to Drink(Not a Drop to Drink #1) by Mindy McGinnis

Book Description

September 24, 2013

Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut “not to be missed.” With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.

Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn’t leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it. . . .

 

Review –

I had been wanting to read this book for a very long time and finally found it for free through Overdrive and the Virtual Library system and loved it.

The characters, story line and actions in the book were all believable and very well written and there was a part that I wasn’t expecting and it broke my heart. (I cry at the drop of a hat) If you are a fan of the dystopian or post-apocalyptic  genre, this is the book for you.

 Can’t wait to read the next installment.

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Scourge (Dr. Samantha Bower Medical Thriller #3)

Book Description

August 30, 2014
THE END OF THE WORLD

Dr. Samantha Bower witnessed the obliteration of human society. Entire continents decimated by a virus of unknown origins. Only a bleak world of ash and blood remains. One in which the survivors fundamentally change what it means to be human.

Samantha now struggles to make sense of the devastation, and the horrific response of humanity to an extinction level event. Left with little else, she accepts help from a man once sent to kill her. He offers her hope: a small village in the Congolese jungle unaffected by the virus. A place called Shangri-La that he claims to have seen firsthand. A place where the deepest mysteries of man’s arrogance over nature will finally be answered for her.

The world a barbaric wasteland, she must place her trust in a man that is fundamentally untrustworthy. With no other options, she goes with him in search for Shangri-La, and will discover a truth she could never have imagined.

Review –
I have to admit that this was my least favorite of the trilogy but still found it hard to put down. 
Dr. Samantha Bower is led into the jungle of the Congo, where the virus has affected no one, by the man sent to kill her.
It’s  action packed and all questions are answered in various scenes of the book and the ending is not over done and doesn’t leave anything out. A very timely series.
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Seven,Eight … Gonna Stay Up Late ( Rebekka Franck Series) by Willow Rose

Book Description:

Published: April 18, 2013

She thought she could keep it a secret.

Just fourteen years old, Amalie thought she could take off and go to the festival with her best friend without anyone knowing it – without her parents finding out. She thought she was safe when she met a man offering her drugs. She thought she was safe when she went alone to her tent to take the pills. But when she opened her eyes and found herself in the man’s basement, she knew she wasn’t safe anymore.

She was trapped.

“Seven, Eight … Gonna Stay Up Late” is the fourth novel in Willow Rose’s Best selling series about the Danish journalist Rebekka Franck.

Review –

Another chapter of Nordic Noir with mystery, murder, internet forums, European heiresses and Rebekka Franck to save the day. A bit graphic but still a good read.

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