Sunday, July 28, 2013

Upgrades & Anguish

We just finished some minor upgrades here at Apocalypse Reads. We wanted to make it easier for you to find books, so we've created a new page - Reviews by Rating - where you can find books based on the number of stars we bestowed upon them. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for books to check out (and which ones to avoid)! We also loaded our labels on the side of the home screen so you can find titles that are labeled similarly. Let us know what you think! Are our new upgrades helpful?

In between upgrading our site, I've started reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Of course you know that I absolutely love Will Henry and have spent months pining away waiting for the last (Oh! It hurts to admit that!) installment of the Monstrumologist, so it only makes sense that I would pick up his newest novel which in some ways fits into the dystopian world (mostly in a post-apocalyptic way). Needless to say, I'm about half way in and so far it is living up to expectations. If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy, you need to! Check out this trailer and check out for more updates!

Oh! I almost forgot! I've got a couple of reviews lined up for the first steampunk novels I've read, along with some others, and of course I'll post on The 5th Wave as soon as I finish!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Novellas that have you begging for more: The Fractured by Sarah Dalton

Overall Rating: 3 stars each
Addiction Level:  I read when I had time.
Believe-ability:  It was believable
Dystopia Factor:  The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost.  


The Fractured:  Elena (Fractured #1)
I am glad Dalton chose to explore Elena’s character more.  I wanted to know what happened to her after The Blemished, and I received more insight into her character.
Dalton did a good job of expanding Elena’s character.  It is interesting to see Elena live for the GEM society and sympathize with the Blemished.  Her encounter with Mina changed her to see that all people are people.  One “race” or “species” is not superior.
I disliked that there were a few cheesy and predictable parts.  I like that Elena’s confrontation with tragedy will make her stronger.  Elena’s final choice will change the future for everyone.
I cannot wait to see what role she plays in The Unleashed!

The Fractured:  Maggie (Fractured #2)
I enjoyed this novella. I felt like Dalton took a long time to set the stage, but once the stage was set I was ready to keep reading.
I was reminded of the importance of how one reacts to tragedy. You can let it get you down and destroy your world, or you can use it for the better good. Maggie lets an event destroy her world; she never recovers.  It reminded me to strive to overcome the difficulties in my life, because I do not want to be a bitter old woman!
My only criticism is that I wanted more! I know we will see more in The Unleashed!


P.S.  I am always in agony as I wait for the next book in a series.  Is this intentional on the part of the author?  Probably not.  I do my best not to stalk the authors.  Maybe it is because she is self-published, but I love that her work is published so quickly.
P.P.S.  I can’t linger any longer.  I’m reading The Unleashed!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

False Advertising at its Best: Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Just the facts:

Overall: 1 Star

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished the book. (It only took one sitting.)

Believe-ability: Some aspects were real; others were not.


Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want? (
Synopsis taken from Goodreads).

            What would you think this story is about if you read the above synopsis and compared it to the cover of the book? Obviously something paranormal. Maybe some sort of spiritual battle. You probably wouldn’t think about werewolves. At all. But, then you would be stuck in the same boat as me, staring at the book with a dumbfounded look as you realized that is exactly what it’s about.

            If reading about werewolves doesn’t turn your smile into a frown then perhaps Emily’s character would. Quiet, geeky, keeps to herself-Emily almost instantly turns into trashy, slut-tastic, jump any male around-Emily overnight. Apparently, this is her alter ego. Right. I don’t know if this is a by-product of a male author writing from a teenage girl’s perspective (surely it’s not, right?), but it really irks me. Here’s a girl who seems pretty smart and level headed, but her alter ego is a tramp?! Of all the ways to go in a story like this, Sampson had to go there.

            The one thing that could have redeemed this story also aided in its downfall. The story is a written account of what had happened to Emily, including transcripts throughout of a verbal interview being held in the present tense. It works as an attention grabber leading you to believe there is more to Emily’s story than her discovering she’s a werewolf, but by the end there are illogical sequences thrown in. You can’t end a story by adding random connections and abilities. I realize the purpose it to create suspense and make me want to find out what happens next, but it just left me shaking my head in disapproval.

            A very superficial story at best, I’d pass unless you have some sort of hysterical love affair with anything werewolf related.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Go Volunteer: The Collector by Victoria Scott

Overall Rating:  2 stars
Addiction Level:  I read it every waking moment.
Believe-ability:  Some aspects were real; others were not.
Dystopia:  It’s a mixture of real life and paranormal life.


The Collector started out with great promise.  Dante, a smart-alec dead human turned demon, enters the stage.  He’s cocky and funny.  Do I want him to be my best friend?  No.  Nonetheless, I like his ‘tude.  His goal is to collect a girl’s soul for the Boss Man, aka Lucifer.  He’s got plenty of swag, and he struts his stuff.  The first section was funny.
After the first section the story plummets.  Dante begins to a gain a conscience as he realizes the repercussions of his actions.  He feels guilty for his actions.  The story becomes a sappy love story with a predictable story line and nice, neat ending. 
To add insult to injury Scott’s version of good and bad and heaven and hell are not fully developed and are wrong.  I was intrigued and impressed at Scott’s nod to Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.  However, she did not take either allusion far enough, and she did not successfully create her own world.  [Scott’s world does not have nine levels of hell as in the Inferno.  (See Cheryl Bentley’s Petronella & The Trogot for a modern Inferno.)  Scott was also not true to Paradise Lost.  Humans cannot become angels and demons.]
Scott’s theology is based on works where good outweighs evil.  She seems to believe that a little good can conquer a lifetime of bad.  Dante’s good act redeems him from a lifetime and afterlife of evil.  It is like a mass murderer saving a kitten from a tree and being pardoned for his life of crime. (Thanks Tina!)  Really? 
In reality there is nothing we can do to gain God’s favor.  There is no deed good enough.  This is why Christ had to die for our sins.  Those that believe in Jesus have eternal life. 
There is one redeeming quality of this book:  Charlie’s organization, Hands Helping Hands.  People help each other with the promise to help others.  For example, Charlie’s group did yard work for an elderly lady who then volunteered to answer phones for a crises center.  It is paying it forward at its best. 
Rather than read this book, go out and volunteer.  Help someone who needs help and ask them to pass it on.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fantasy Friday: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Just the facts:

Overall: 2 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: It was believable.


            The Thief is the story about a legendary treasure that allows the receiver to rule over the country and live an unnaturally long life. In the story, the King of Sounis allows his Magus to go on a quest to recover the gift which will then allow him to begin taking over the adjoining countries of Eddis and Attolia. Unfortunately, the treasure is in a location where only a masterful thief can retrieve it. The Magus enlists the help of such a thief, by the name of Gen, from the King’s prison and they set off on their journey with two of the Magus’s apprentices and a bodyguard.

            Before I go on, there are a couple of boxes that I like my fantasy novel to check.

-          First, there must be action and adventure. Fantasy novels should have their fill of swordplay, bows, bruises, and the like. Give me some fight scenes, maybe a surprise attack even.
-          Second, like all books, there should be characters that I can really believe in. They may not be “good” or likeable, but I should feel a connection to them and really know who they are.

Here’s the catch. The Thief didn’t really hold any of that. The story line almost entirely follows the quest that the characters make to retrieve the gift. I get that, many fantasy novels have lengthy traveling involved. They are usually walking or traveling on horseback across a country. And that takes a while. However, in this story, they are just traveling and telling stories around the campfire. No action. No adventure. No suspense. Eat, sleep, travel. Yawn.

So, you might think, that the traveling would be the part of the story where there is a lot of character building. Our companions are spending every waking moment together, so surely we should be learning about them in an intimate manner versus a very superficial manner. Not so. Everything that we learn is so obvious that the characters might as well be puppets or stick figures. No meat and bones. I never developed feelings for any of the characters and by the time I reached what many people call the “surprise” ending, I wasn’t surprised. (It doesn’t take much to figure out that the narrator isn’t telling you everything.) I could really care less.

Now, I’ve seen reviews that say that the story really picks up in the following books and maybe it does, but for once, I don’t think I’ll finish a series. I should at least feel invested by the end of one book and I’m simply not.