Werewolves and zombies and romance, oh my!

survive to dawn

Title: Survive to Dawn

Author: P.J. Schnyder

Series: Books three of London Undead

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Kristen R.

London is overrun by zombies but the epidemic has been contained to the city. The local werewolf pack is in charge and holding steady, but it is only a matter of time before things spread outside the containment barrier.

Deanna, a human, comes to London with a research team to try to find a badly needed cure along with a more personal reason that she is reluctant to reveal. When the team refuses to follow the rule of not caging the zombies, even for scientific reason, they are left unprotected and alone.  They are soon slaughtered by the undead. Deanna is the lone survivor and that is only because Danny, the pack medic, rescues her from certain death. The pair share an instant attraction and they are not shy about admitting it to each other.

Deanna is determined to find a cure for the zombie plague and so is Danny, but will Danny be willing to go against the Alpha’s orders to obtain it? How far will he go to help this woman that he has just met and what if the Alpha is wrong about should be allowed to be used to find a cure?

This is the concluding volume of P.J. Schnyder’s London Undead trilogy. Most people would think that romance novels and zombie plagues cannot go together, but those people are wrong. Schnyder has done a fine job of it. There is some violence and gross zombie stuff, but it is not overwhelming if you are not terribly squeamish.

The series is composed of three novellas, so Schnyder has to fit a lot of character development into a short amount of time for each one. She pulls this off admirably. In this story the relationship between the characters is able to develop within the time restraints since they are both logical thinkers and quickly admit to the attraction that they feel for each other. However, I do wish that the books were longer so that I could spend more time in this world. The story leaves things open ended so the world could be revisited. Let’s hope that it is!

Each of the stories of the trilogy are unique, so reading this did not feel repetitious, which is my main complaint when I read many paranormal romance series. The characters are honest about their feelings towards each other, accept them and move along. No moping or resisting what they were feeling after they logically worked through it.

When Deanna reveals her additional motivations for showing up in London it leads the pair to different parts of the city and they interact with some nasty vampires. We get some resolution as to the cause of the zombies and why it is centered in London. Of course, I won’t give that away here, but I thought it was creative.

My Rating:

4 out of 5 bookmarks. If you are up for a paranormal romance that is a bit gruesome at times (it is about zombies and werewolves, after all) and is a quick but entertaining read, go for it! You need not have read the previous stories to enjoy this, but if you pick them up you will be glad that you did.


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Look for the Girl on the Golden Coin

Girl on the Golden Coin

Title: Girl on the Golden Coin: A novel of Frances Stuart

Author: Marci Jefferson

Genre: Historical fiction

Source: Galley from author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Kristen R.

Summary (From Goodreads):

Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.

On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom.

My review:

Girl on the Golden Coin is a well written and entertaining book. This is a period of history that I have little knowledge of so it was fun to be immersed in Frances Stuart’s world. She is a fascinating character and life in the court of Charles II is filled with political intrigue and danger, especially for a single woman in the Queen’s service.

Francis is one smart girl and is able to use her personality and charm to make a place for herself in England and to protect her family from destitution. As she moves her way through the court she has to decide how far she is willing to go to uphold promises made to the King of France and the Queen Mother, while also maintaining her virtue. Because of her beauty and grace she is not only loved by two kings, but by many in court as well.

Marci Jefferson’s writing style is fast paced and engaging and the book is hard to put down. All of the characters are well developed. Frances is endearing and realistic. The reader experiences dilemma after dilemma with Frances and we get to see how she maneuvers her way through her uncertain world. Charles II is not simply the king, but is a passionate man who is filled with his own inner struggles about his personal and political life.

My rating:

4.5 out of 5 bookmarks. If you like historical fiction pick up this book. Even if you are not into reading historical fiction you should read this book. The writing is fantastic and this is a fascinating time period to explore.


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Review for Tempered by Karina Cooper


Title: Tempered

Author: Karina Cooper

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Steampunk

Series: Book 4 of the St. Croix Chronicles.

Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Kristen R.


Cherry St. Croix has been in a downward spiral since the murder of her husband on the day of their wedding. Ever since she has had one thing to comfort her as she disappeared from society and into the filthy streets of the London below: opium. However, now she has hit rock bottom and can no longer dwell in either London society or the dark underside of London.

Her guardian, Mr. Oliver Ashmore, is involved and she has to deal with something even harder to come to terms with: sobriety.

My Review:

I have been reading right along with this series and I have not been disappointed yet! In fact, I think that this was a great story because many of the plot points from the past three books have been tied up and we find Cherry up against a very different kind of enemy: herself. We are taken out of the environment of London and are placed in a more introspective place. She must battle her own demons, and eventually those of her parents. Unfortunately for Cherry, things are not straightforward with her guardian either and she learns that there was more to her parents’ lives and deaths than what she has been told.

In the last three books we have watched Cherry become more and more reliant on the opium that she has used since her days in the traveling carnival as a child. As things got worse and worse for her she spiraled down, relying on tar rather than simply a draught of opium to help her sleep. On top of this her life in the London Underground has come to an end after she was saved from total humiliation at the Menagerie.

It is painful to watch Cherry work her way through the process of becoming sober. We are right along with her as she is desperate for more opium, willing to do anything to get it, and finally stops caring about living. Ashmore is there with her as well, and since she barely knows him it is interesting to watch her learn about him in her compromised state.

The entire story is not made up of these intense emotions because she finally pulls through, but this leaves her with other aspects of her past to deal with, things that she is surprised to discover about her family and the unknown Mr. Ashmore.

My Rating:

4.5 out of 5 bookmarks. This books cannot be read out of order, so take the time to read the earlier books in the series. You will be glad that you did. I have enjoyed this entire series. This was different from the rest, making the story fresh and moving it along from the plot that had occupied the first three books. I would recommend this series to anyone who wants to read steampunk set in an alternative London. I cannot wait to read the rest of the books to find out what happens since there are still loose ends to deal with.

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Review for Hang Wire

hang wire

Title: Hang Wire

Author: Christopher Adam

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror (Stand alone)

Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Kristen R.


Ted is a Bay area blogger. He doesn’t feel quite right after a strange event at his birthday party involving an exploding fortune cookie. Around town there have been horrific murders by the Hang Wire Killer and Ted’s own sleepwalking tendencies seem to coincide with the occurrences of the crimes.

At the same time a new carnival has come to town and it boasts an eclectic set of performances, including Celtic dancers and an amazing high wire act. With the carnival comes Victorian carnival rides and there is something about these rides that is not quite right as violent and bloody events surround them and their operator, Joel.

There are forces at work around San Francisco, both good and bad, as immortals search for the ancient power stirring beneath the city that has the potential to destroy the world and the unsuspecting mortals that are caught up in the middle.

My review:

This is a quirky tale that was a bit confusing at first, but once I got into the story it was intriguing. The reader starts out just as confused as Ted. After the fortune cookie incident he is exhausted despite all of his efforts to rest and recover. After a full night’s sleep he is still sore and he starts waking up in places that he does not remember going. The phrase from his exploding fortune cookie shows up all around him “You are the master of every situation.” On his laptop, other places that he goes, over and over again…

At the same time the reader is taken to scenes from the past and the present and is not allowed to view one character for long. Mixed into the modern day scenes are glimpses of the past. It is not at first clear how these relate to the story, but as the reader is introduced to more characters in the present the connection develops that links them to those in the past.

This back and forth method of storytelling is a refreshing way to show the evil forces that the characters are up against. Instead of simply telling about how evil the carnival rides and their operator are and where the evil comes from, the reader discovers it through the flashbacks to earlier times. The story of the rides and the one who is searching for their pieces builds up as the flashbacks continue and the true nature of the situation comes to light. As the events lead closer to the present day and we learn about the immortals in the current day, the reader learns just what peril the people of San Francisco, and the world, face in this tale.

It soon becomes clear that some of the characters may, in fact, be the same people, even if they do not realize it quite yet. The downside to all of this jumping around is that we do not get to learn as much about the characters as one might like. This does make it a bit difficult to care about the main characters as much as one might desire but in the end it creates a compelling story.

 My rating:

4 out of 5 bookmarks.  Your enjoyment of this book depends on the type of storytelling you like. Be prepared for something different and just go with the flow, even if you are a little lost at first. Take your time with this book. Read carefully. The different parts of the story come together and it makes it all the more creepy and exciting.

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by | April 10, 2014 · 12:36 am

Review: Sleep No More

Sleep No MoreTitle: Sleep No More

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary (From Goodreads): Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn’t tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate’s murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer...

My Thoughts:

I love Aprilynne Pike. Seriously. And, I’m not going to lie; this book kind of scared the snot out of me. “Sleep No More” is unlike anything I’ve read from Pike before, and it was brilliant. Charlotte is an Oracle; someone who gets images of the future and has learned to stop them. She changed the future once and it changed everything. She won’t make that mistake ever again. Until she can’t stop the visions and she sees the murder of a classmate, then another. Now, Charlotte has a choice; she can see the visions and try and change the future or she can do nothing, be nothing and sit by knowing that her friends continue to die.

“Sleep No More” is dark, twisting and scary all at the same time. Pike creates complicated characters that are three dimensional and seem like they could be people you interact with every day. This fast-paced page turner kept me on the edge of my seat as Charlotte learned more about her family, her powerful gift, and the consequences and responsibilities of knowing what the future holds.

Final Thoughts:

Five out of five bookmarks. I loved this book.  A little bit Stephen King, a little bit Doctor Who, a little bit dark comedy and romance.

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Review: Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a HalfTitle: Hyperbole and a Half

Author: Allie Brosh

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autbiography

Source: Amazon

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary (From Goodreads): This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

My Thoughts:

I loved Allie’s blog and I wanted, so wanted, to love this book. I wanted it to be as funny and smart as the blog, but I just had a hard time getting into it. There were some great moments, mostly stories I had seen on the blog. It is less biography and more just a collection of stories from her blog. It’s fine, and an easy read. It’s hard to review this book because there just isn’t a lot to say. It’s funny and sometimes smart. It’s a look into Allie Brosh’s depression and battle with finding herself again.

Final Thoughts:

Three out of Five bookmarks. It was fine, but not life-changing.

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Review: The Museum of Intangible Things

Intangible ThingsTitle: The Museum of Intangible Things

Author: Wendy Wunder

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: ARC

Reviewer:Emily Bedwell

Summary from Goodreads: Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.

My Thoughts:

I was not expecting this book. From the back of the cover, it looked like it was going to be a fun, last chance to relax before two girls go to college. And, in some ways, it is. It is also a heart-breaking, tragic story of mental illness, friendship and what it means to love and help the people in your life. “The Museum of Intangible Things” is about Hannah, an average New Jersey girl who wants more from life, and Zoe, who is beautiful, smart and battling some inner mental demons. Something inside Zoe snaps, and she and Hannah run out on their boring lives and chase something bigger.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away some things that I think are important to discover as you go through Zoe and Hannah’s story. Emotionally, I went from laughing to crying and back again depending on the chapter and the page. Zoe has to come face-to-face with the darkness inside her while Hannah tries to help her friend and find herself.

Author Wendy Wunder creates a powerful story of what friendship means, how it can define you no matter the age, and what it looks like to be willing to give everything for the friends you love.

My Rating

Four out of Five bookmarks. Beautiful, tragic and expertly written!

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