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K. Eckert

Devourer of all books fantasy

Member Since 2004

  • 65 reviews
  • 180 ratings
  • 453 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014

  • The Mark of Athena: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson

    Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy - after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera - it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans.

    Jm says: "Felt like an episode of a weekly tv series..."
    "Well done continuation of this fantasy series"

    This is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Riordan. As with all of Riordan’s book he follows his normal formula. The story is well done and entertaining; although with all the different characters we are following now things get a bit drawn out.

    I listened to this on audiobook and, like the previous two audiobooks in this series, this one was very well done. The narrator does a good job of keeping all of the voices straight...and there are a ton of voices to keep straight.

    Finally the two groups of Demi-gods meet. The meeting results in our group of heroes, basically the groups from the first two books, joining forces and journeying to Rome to confront some giants. Additionally Annabeth is told by her mother Athena to follow the Mark of Athena, which also takes them to Rome....but leads Annabeth on a solo quest. The fight against Gaia continues.

    Great continuation of this series. There is a lot of action and adventure and some great monsters just like in previous books. We even get to meet Hercules/Heracles. This story follows the same formula as previous ones...the heroes leave on a desperate quest to save the world, then find out they only have seven days to complete their mission. They fight monsters, journey, fight tougher monsters, journey, and then fight the big baddie at the end.

    The story gets a bit drawn out because it's following seven different characters and we hear from all of their different points of view. It's just a lot of characters to try and stay engaged with. It ends up making for a long story. The characters are pretty easy to distinguish between; Riordan has done a good job of giving them all outstanding characteristics.

    Despite the multitude of characters the story never gets confusing though and moves at a fast pace. The majority of the story is about these characters learning each others secrets and learning to trust each other. Of course they are also trying to prevent Gaia from ending the world.

    My favorite part was Annabeth’s solo quest to follow the Mark of Athena, I love her character and she confronts some truly creepy things.

    Overall I enjoyed this book and found it entertaining. These books are formulaic but also fast-paced and engaging. I look forward to the Doors of Hades when it comes out later this fall. Recommended to those who enjoy fantasy/adventure reads...or who have enjoyed previous Riordan books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mirrors and Magic: A Steampunk Fairy Tale, The Clockwork Republic Series

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Katina French
    • Narrated By Hollie Jackson

    A Princess in Exile. Neve Bianchi has always lived in the shadow of the big top. Haunted by her father's death, famed magician Giovanni "The Magnificent" Bianchi, she lives in the background, forgotten and alone. The vanity of the circus' new featured act, Bella Venezia, drags the entire company into decline. But magic is in the air. Neve makes a discovery that could change not only her fate, but the fortunes of everyone in Lang and Perrault's World Famous Circus. Can she trust Brendan, the charming Prince of Blades? Can she conquer her fears and bring the magic back?

    K. Eckert says: "3.5 stars; steampunk snow white retelling"
    "3.5 stars; steampunk snow white retelling"

    I got a copy of this audiobook from, it was sent to me by the author to review. This was a decent steampunk fairytale retelling. It was basically a retelling of Snow White set in a steampunk circus in an alternate version of the US.

    As mentioned above I listened to this on audiobook. The narrator was okay. Ironically she did a great job distinguishing between male voices (many female narrators have trouble with this) but all the female characters sounded the same. I had a very hard time telling whether it was Neve or Bella talking, they both sounded almost identical. This is a book I would recommend reading versus listening to.

    Neve’s father was a great magician in Lang & Perrault's World Famous Circus. After his death the circus started to decline. Neve is desperately trying to help Lang save the circus and is hoping some of her own magical abilities might help. However the current star act, the lovely but cold Queen of the Air, will stop at nothing to keep Neve from displacing her act from being displaced.

    I enjoyed the circus setting and some of the clockwork devices throughout. I loved the addition of formulas and illusions that made up some of Neve’s magic act.

    I thought the characters were a bit stereotypical and lacked some depth. Neve is overly sweet and seemed too naive to had grown up in a circus. While Neve does have some spunk, she was just too sweet, good, and innocent for a lifetime carnie.

    The lead male character is known as The Prince of Blades. He is your typical "misunderstood rogue who has a sordid past, but really is a sweet guy" kind of male lead. Again he was okay to read about, but was a bit too good and his "sordid" past seemed a bit contrived.

    The story itself was also very predictable with few twists and turns. It was just a very simple story, whose outcome was easily predicted from the beginning. The steampunk elements were pretty much limited to clockwork devices, airships, and some vague “formulae”. There wasn’t really any world-building around that theme.

    The story is supposed to be a retelling of Snow White. While I thought it was an interesting effort, parts of the story felt like they were kind of forced into the Snow White setting (particularly the apple part at the ending). On the other-hand there were other parts of the story that were very cleverly done and really did a good job of paralleling the Snow White tale while still flowing naturally (for example Neve’s back story and how the Queen of Air was the evil Queen of the circus).

    In the end this is one of those stories that was mildly entertaining and non-offensive. After reading it I thought "huh, well that was fine" but I wasn't blown away or dying to read more about this world or these characters. It's a quick and fun read, that is straight-forward and simple. There are some interesting elements and I liked the idea of retelling a fairy tale with a steampunk storyline.

    Overall this was a quick and simple steampunk read. It reminded me a bit of Shelley Adina's Magnificent Devices series. I would recommend this book to those who want to read a steampunk fairy tale retelling. Just don't expect some elaborate story, this is a simple story with simple characters and a happy vibe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Up from the Grave: Night Huntress, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jeaniene Frost
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert

    There's always one more grave to dig. Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband, Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war…. A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death…because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences.

    Julius says: "Missed Kat and Bones"
    "Good closure, but writing was weak"

    This is the 7th and final book in the Night Huntress series. I am so happy that Frost chose to end the series here. I felt like the last couple books were starting to lag, and I would rather see the series end than completely pitter out. This was an enjoyable wrap-up to the series, it was action packed and added some really interesting things to Cat and Bone’s life.

    I listened to this on audiobook and really enjoyed it. I have listened to most of the series on audiobook because the audiobooks are just spectacularly done. Really this is one of those series I like listening to more than reading, the narrator does such a wonderful job.

    Cat and Bones have been enjoying a little peace and quiet for once. Of course that doesn’t last. Cat gets a call that her friends from the CIA have gone missing. As her and Bones struggle to figure what has happened to them, they find out that Cat’s nemesis at the CIA has been doing some crazy genetic experimentation and has created something that no one can control.

    There were some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t. In general I think it was a good way to close out the series and I think it was time to close out this series.

    I love Cat and Bones, I love that they have finally gotten some peace and quiet. Their relationship has settled into a more comfortable happiness, there are some very steamy scenes between them which were well done.

    That being said the steamy scenes were the best written part of the book. There were a number of plot points that felt forced or didn’t really make sense. Cat again, underestimates Bones a number of times and goes behind his back...this is something that I thought Cat had grown past doing. I was a bit sad to see Cat making the same mistakes as usual. Some of the action scenes were written a bit awkwardly as well.

    There was some awkward dialogue, especially in the beginning of the book. There were also a number of times when I thought “Why in the world would ___ do that? It doesn’t make any sense.” For example Cat calling the CIA agent and having him meet her on an abandoned pier. Why would she do that? Why would he agree to meet her? Why would Cat actually think that he would come alone and not bring reinforcements...seriously is she that stupid? This was just one example of a point where I thought things didn’t really make sense or fit with the characters personalities.

    There is also a major twist in the middle of the book that I thought was just plain silly. It doesn’t fit with Cat’s personality and Cat’s sudden strong feelings towards this deadly individual were just absolutely out of place and odd.

    There are a lot of cameos in here. Mencheres is in the story, so is Denise and Spade. Denise actually plays a fairly large role in the story and I enjoyed that. Ian plays a pretty large role as well. Vlad shows up for a smallish part of the book too. All these characters have excellent back stories, although you need to read the Night Huntress World books as well as the Night Prince series to have all the background here. I am kind of hoping we see a story about Ian in the future.

    Overall a decent urban fantasy. There are some well done steamy scenes and Frost does a good job of wrapping up the series in a way that will leave readers happy. I think this was a good point to end the series at. However, this definitely wasn’t the strongest book in the series. There are some awkward moments in here; some of the action scenes weren’t written all that well, there were plot points that just didn’t make sense, and even some of the dialogue was a bit forced. Overall I definitely recommend this urban fantasy series to fans of urban fantasy, it is for the most part a wonderful series. This book was a good wrap up, but more of a necessary evil than a spectacular finale.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Fiery Heart: Bloodlines, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Richelle Mead
    • Narrated By Emily Shaffer, Alden Ford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Sydney Sage is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. In the Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her...But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once.

    Debbie Pharr says: "Turned it on...Turned it off :'("
    "Wonderful story, excellent narration"

    This is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series and was an excellent continuation of this story. There are six books planned for this series and the fifth book, Silver Shadows, is scheduled for a July 2014 release.

    I listened to this book on audiobook and the audiobooks for this series have been very well done. They have separate narrators for Adrian and Sydney; both narrators do a very good job capturing emotion and having distinct voices for different characters.

    Sydney is still trying to balance her work as an Alchemist, her relationship with Adrian, the magic she is learning, and her effort to break the Alchemist tattoo. Things have gotten even more complication now that Sydney’s sister, Zoe, is living with her on campus. Now to make things even worse Sydney’s parents have decided to divorce and Sydney’s dad is coming to visit..he expects her to take sides.

    This series has turned into a major soap opera, which isn’t all bad. There is just soooo much drama between all the characters and who loves who and all the secrets being kept.

    Sydney’s life has become extremely complicated. She is keeping secrets from so many people that I am not sure how she keeps track of them all. Her and Adrian are keeping their relationship a secret, and with Sydney’s sister so close it is not easy. Sydney is also trying to keep her magical training under wraps, Adrian knows about it but no one else does. She is desperately trying to find a way to seal her Alchemist’s tattoo so that it can’t be re-inked. I didn’t like Sydney much in the first couple books, but in this book she finally won me over...she has a lot more metal and really starts to think independently in this book.

    There is just a lot going on here. As with previous books there is a lot of Adrian angst going on. Adrian is struggling with the darkness that his power over Spirit brings in a big way. It is even more prevalent because he has some really good times where he has things under control in this book and some really bad times when he spins completely out of control. I get sick of all the whining and angsting Adrian does, but I guess it’s who he is.

    I love how both Sydney and Adrian have changed and grown as characters throughout the series. I have also enjoyed how Sydney's use of magic has grown throughout this series.

    We meet some other witches in this book and they were awesome characters. We also end up back at Court for part of the book so Lissa, Dimitri, and Rose all make cameo appearances.

    I didn't like how things ended, it's a pretty big cliffhanger, but it wasn't an unexpected ending. The horrible thing we have all known was going to happen at some point has finally happened….and I expect it’s going to be even more awful in the next book.

    Overall this was a very enjoyable read, I really liked it. The story is progressing nicely and I am finally starting to love Sydney as a character. Both her and Adrian grow and change a lot in this book. I still get kind of sick of Adrian’s angsting and his long overly emotional complaining...I also did not appreciate the cliffhanger ending. However, I am hooked on this series and will definitely read Silver Shadows when it releases. I still think the Vampire Academy series was better than this one. I would recommend this book to fans of the Vampire Academy series and to fans of paranormal young adult books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Long Live the Queen: Immortal Empires series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kate Locke
    • Narrated By Moira Quirk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Xandra Vardan thought life would be simpler when she accepted the goblin crown and became their queen, but life has only become more complicated. Everyone - vampires, werewolves and humans - wants the goblins on their side, because whoever has the goblins - wins.

    Amazon Customer says: "Loved it"
    "Stunning conclusion to this super fun series"

    This is the third book in The Immortal Empire series. It was an absolutely stellar conclusion to this series. These book are just so much fun to read and I absolutely love them.

    I listened to this book on audiobook and it was very well done. The narrator sounds exactly like I think Xandra would sound like and does an excellent job conveying emotion and giving all of the characters distinct voices.

    Xandra thought things would settle down when she finally accepted the crown and became the Goblin Queen, well she was wrong. There’s a sixteen year old girl killer that’s on the loose, and the catch is she looks exactly like Xandra. Now Xandra has to figure out how to stop this killing machine before things in London fall apart complete and end up in all out war. The Human League has been increasingly violent towards vamps, weres, halfies, and goblins and Queen Victoria is on edge as well. Luckily Xandra has her beloved alpha werewolf Vexx and the co-ruler of Goblins Prince William, to help her out.

    This was a wonderful conclusion to this trilogy. These books are just so much fun to read, I absolutely love them. This is an excellent urban fantasy set in an alternate London with goblins, and werewolves, and vampires. It’s a fun world because the story is set in modern times but much of London has a Victorian feel to it since the Aristocracy is a bit stuck in the past, being vampires and all.

    The heroine, Xandra, has so much pluck and attitude that she is hilarious and tons of fun to read about. She’s grown a lot both emotionally and in power since the first book. She’s learned to accept who she is, to accept help from friends, and to accept responsibility. She still struggles some with being the center of attention and having to be reasonable with idiots...but she’s becoming quite the power to be reckoned with both politically and socially.

    Queen Victoria and Prince William were both in this story a lot more. It was actually nice to have some depth added to the character of Queen Victoria, she’s a very interesting character and tough in her own right. Prince William is also very interesting and it was fun to learn more about the Goblins and their history too.

    Of course Vexx is in the story a lot, as are Xandra’s sisters. I love them all as characters, they are all interesting and engaging and just super fun.

    The plot was very well done as well. The main mystery to be solved is the identity of the vicious killer Xandra and crew are trying to track down and then of course how to stop her. This ends up tying into the genetic experiments that have been referenced throughout the series. It also ties back into Xandra’s goblin nature and how she ended up how she is. The whole thing was woven together very nicely and everything was tied up wonderfully.

    Overall just a fantastically fun read. I love the interesting world with Victorian and Steampunk overtones, the well done plot, and the wonderfully entertaining characters. I am really sad that this series is over and hope that we see another series set in this world in the future. It is just such an interesting world and there are so many awesome characters I want to know more about. This whole series is highly recommended to those who love urban fantasy, especially urban fantasy with a steampunk flair to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dust and Decay

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Brian Hutchison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A New York Times best-selling author and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, Marvel Comics writer Jonathan Maberry continues the story he began in Rot and Ruin. Six months have passed since Benny Imura and Nix Riley learned that flesh-eating zombies aren’t the scariest or most dangerous monsters around. Now, Benny’s brother Tom is training them in the art of zombie whacking. But as they plan to leave and find a better future, a zombie attack puts a crimp in their plans.

    CRISTY says: "Hutchison's narration (once again) is excellent!"
    "Not as good as the first book but still well done"

    This is the second book in the Benny Imura series. Honestly I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the first. There are two more books in this series “Flesh and Bone” and “Fire and Ash”.

    I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was really well done. It has the same narrator as the first book and I really enjoyed listening to it. The narrator does an excellent job with character voices and an excellent job conveying emotion.

    Everyone is recovering from the events with Charlie Pink-Eye in the first book. Benny, Nix, and Tom are ready to leave Mountainside and track down the plane they saw in the first book. However Mountainside doesn’t want to Tom to leave, they are worried about other evil bounty hunters moving in to take his place. One bounty hunter, named White Bear, is causing a lot of trouble. Now there is a bounty on Tom’s head and it seems like Gameland is more prosperous than ever.

    This was still a good book but I didn't like it nearly as much as the first one. I was disappointed that this book was about similar issues as the first book. I was all excited to read about Benny, Tom, Lila, and Nix's journey across the Rot and Ruin, instead what I got was more of the same as the last book.

    Pretty much as soon as the group leaves Mountainside things start going wrong. We end up reading about territory wars with “evil” bounty hunters and trouble with Gameland. I find the whole Gameland idea to be a bit silly and was disappointed that so much of this book focused on that. I was hoping to read more about the Rot and Ruin as a whole, and gain better understanding of this world and why the zombies happened.

    Benny has definitely grown as a character since the first book. Nix is harboring a lot of rage for what happened to her mother in the last book, we watch as she struggles through this anger.

    Lila is in the story a lot, which is awesome. She too is struggling with issues of fitting in. She is so used to surviving alone, that it is tough to watch her as she struggles to become part of society.

    We meet a lot of awesome new “good” bounty hunters. It was super fun to meet some of the bounty hunters we’ve heard so much about from the Zombie cards. We also meet a lot of completely evil baddies. There was a lot more action in this book as welll we get to see Tom kick some serious butt. As I mentioned above we also get very up and personal with Gameland.

    This book is still well written and I love that there is a lot of philosophical introspection as well as zombie fights. There is brief mention about zombies starting to Swarm and some curious stuff going on where zombies are acting different than they have in the past. I just wish we had got to hear more about that and less about Gameland.

    Overall a decent continuation of this series. These books are well written and I love that there is time spent on philisophy, as well as fighting zombies. I was disappointed that this book was more about Gameland and evil bounty hunters. I was hoping to read about Nix, Benny, and Tom journeying across the Rot and Ruin. We do get to meet a lot of new bounty hunters that are awesome and there are some spectacular fight scenes in here. Recommended to those who enjoy post-apocalyptic zombie novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Friday Night Bites: Chicagoland Vampires, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Chloe Neill
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    "Vampires in Chicago! You'd think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us bloodsucking fiends. Instead, 10 months later, we're enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite - fending off paparazzi only slightly less dangerous than cross- and stake-wielding slayers. Don't get me wrong. Joe Public isn't exactly thrilled to be living side-by-side with the undead, but at least they haven't stormed the castle...yet."

    K. Eckert says: "Fun and entertaining read, love the narrator"
    "Fun and entertaining read, love the narrator"

    This is the second book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. The sixth book, Biting Cold, will release in August 2012. Right now the author has 10 books on contract for this series. I enjoyed this book. This series has just been so fun and entertaining. I listened to this on audiobook, which I highly recommend, it was a very well done.

    Merit is trying to finally get settled as Sentinel of Cadogan House, she's moving into the house and getting into a routine with the other Guards of the house. That is until Ethan needs her services elsewhere. Ethan has heard rumors that someone has leaked a story about vampire raves to the press and Ethan wants Merit to stop it. Then they find the Selena has been released from custody in Europe and is most likely on her way to shake things up. In an effort to make contact with the movers and shakers in Chicago Ethan asks Merit to do the one thing she vowed never to do again, reenter the elite social scene that plagued her childhood.

    Merit is your typical urban fantasy heroine in some ways but not others. She has unusual powers, she is in the middle of a love triangle of sorts, and she is surrounded by supernatural power figures. The thing that sets Merit apart from other UF heroines is that to unravel the mystery throughout this story she uses something else entirely...her brain and her research skills. It was refreshing to see an urban fantasy heroine that is valued for her intelligence and actually thinks through the consequences of her actions. Don't forget that Merit is also funny, snarky, and wonderful at sarcasm.

    Merit has also discovered that she is different from other vamps and this leads towards some interesting plot elements towards the end of the story.

    Ethan, who was kind of stick in the mud in the first book, becomes a much more well developed character in this novel. Ethan actually has a sense of humor at points and even shows some vulnerability throughout the story. He is mostly still a mystery but we are starting to get some hint of who he really is.

    We don't see a ton of Morgan in this book, he is definitely in the story but when he is he comes across as jealous and angry most of the time. This story focuses much more on Ethan. Mallory is also absent for much of the story; she's gone off to be trained in magic stuff. I missed Mallory and Merit exchanging witty dialogue, but Ethan was there to spice things up a bit.

    One thing that absolutely irritated me about this book is that Neill sticks to a lot of the same description words throughout. Almost every guy Merit meets is just "so pretty". Seriously there are more pretty guys in this book than any other book I have ever read. The other thing is raised eyebrows; there is a whole dialogue of raised/quirked/lifted eyebrows in this book. I have never before read a book where eyebrows are involved so much in body language.... Okay I just had to get that out, now I feel better.

    Overall this is a very fun and entertaining read. Merit does a lot of learning in this book and is as entertaining and snarky as in the first book. Merit is dealing with a lot in this book she is under emotional stress and under pressure to solve the mystery behind the rave stories. Ethan is the other big character in this book; we finally get to meet him and learn more about him. There is a great mystery woven throughout the story and it was hard to put the book down. This is a very entertaining read and fans of vampire urban fantasy will find a lot here to love. I would also recommend if you like the Night Huntress series; this series reminds a lot of that one but this series has less romance and more mystery.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Madeleine Roux
    • Narrated By Piper Goodeve
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One woman's story as she blogs about - and fights back against - the zombie apocalypse.

    Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop. It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures.

    Daniel O. Buchholz says: "Book Lover seeking not to meet Zombie"
    "Well done zombie story with excellent narration"

    I had been wanted to read this book for some time. I loved zombie books and this one had a great premise. It was an entertaining book that ended up being more about dealing with other people than smashing up zombies...although there is a lot of zombie smashing as well.

    I listened to this on audiobook and it was very well done. They have different voice actors for the different voices and blog comments. I highly recommend listening to this if you like audiobooks.

    Alison is at work at a bookstore when it happens. People start turning into mindless zombies and eating each other. Luckily the break room is where the safe is and has a huge reinforced metal door. Now Alison is trapped with her co-workers in the bookstore break room. As the world crumbles apart outside, Alison decides to start a blog detailing the day to day events. Alison's story is submitted to a book being written about American heroes during the zombie crisis. As the reader we read it as blog entries.

    There are a few things that are really interesting about the way this book is done. Firstly since Alison's story is being submitted for inclusion in a book about American heroes, we know that eventually humanity recovers from the horrible events that took place during Alison's life. Just that gives this book a more hopeful feel than many other zombie books I have read.

    Secondly the book is done as blog entries. This is similar to Mira Grant's Newsflesh series, but much different in tone. Alison's entries are more like a personal diary. Also interesting is that comments to Alison's blog are posted at the end of each entry. From these comments we get to see what is happening to the rest of the world; we hear about how other people are surviving and how the rest of the world is fairing.

    Alison is an awesome character. She is your typical grad student but she will do what needs being done. No matter how gross or gory. I was a little surprised in the beginning of the book at the inaction of her coworkers. None of her coworkers did anything, they were all victims...Alison had to spur them into action. I found this to be kind of unrealistic; I mean I can't imagine my coworkers ever being that apathetic but I guess I work with engineers not book store it may just be different.

    Most of this book isn't about slaying zombies. It's about making a life for yourself in the chaos and dealing with all of the people (good and bad) that cross your life. As with many zombie books, in the end the zombies aren't the's all the crazy people you have to deal with in a society that has completely broken down that are the problem.

    Is this book gory, heck yeah! Is it sad at times? Yep. But there are also some interesting revelations about life and the meaning of it in here too. There is also a sweet romance between Alison and one of the men she meets that offsets a lot of the violence. I should mention this is a book for adults. Alison swears a lot (I mean boatloads) and sex is discussed quite a bit (although there isn't anything really explicit). There are also some surgery scenes that made me squirm.

    The end of the book is pretty predictable, but that being said this is one of the more hopeful zombie books that I have read. Things actually end in a somewhat hopeful way.

    Overall this is a very good read. The story is told in a creative way and I really enjoyed Alison as a character. Alison is a tough, ax-toting survivor, but along the way she learns a lot about herself and those around her. There is a sweet romance in here, lots of crazy escapes, and lots of chopping up zombies with axes. I still enjoyed The Angels are the Reapers and Night of the Living Trekkies better; but I would still highly recommend this book to zombie fans out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Patriots

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam, Mark Boyett, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It’s been two years since the world ended. Two years since the dead rose and the plague of ex-humanity decimated mankind. For most of that time, the superhero called St. George, formerly known to the world as the Mighty Dragon, has protected the people of Los Angeles at their film-studio-turned-fortress, The Mount. Together with his fellow heroes, he’s tried to give the survivors hope and something like a real life. But the swollen population of The Mount is becoming harder and harder to sustain....

    Ryan David Bedford says: "Best worst book ever!"
    "Fun story, excellent narration"

    This is the second book in the Ex-Heroes series by Clines. I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was incredibly well done. They have different actors for the characters and the story is very well done. I thought this book was even better than the first book, I really enjoyed it. The third book in this series, Ex-Commincation, is tentatively scheduled for a December 2012 release.

    St. George the Mighty Dragon, Stealth, Zzzap, and Cerberus have been doing their best to protect the citizens of the Mount from the Ex-Humans dwelling outside of the Mount’s walls. Food is growing scarcer but things are going okay. That is until the military shows up with the supersoliders. The military claims they want to help the people of the Mount and join forces with Stealth and crew to protect humans and re-build America. But seriously, have you ever heard of the military being good and helpful after an apocalypse?

    This book was even better than the first. Like the first book it goes between Then and Now. The Then parts tell the story of the creation of the super-soldiers. The Now parts tell about the superheroes dealings with the military. The plot was put together better than the first book, more complex and interwoven, and really action packed which was very engaging. We get to know our favorite super-heroes even better and I enjoyed every second of it.

    What really impressed with this book were the layers of deception. Stealth and crew encounter so many layers of deceit as they deal with the army; nothing ends up as you think it will and everything is more complex than it first seems. Even though St. George is willing to give the army the benefit of the doubt as a reader you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time.

    Our favorite super-heroes all grow to some extent in this story (as much as can be expected in a pulp-fiction kind of story like this). Stealth is learning to act more human and Ceberus is dealing with her fear of being out of her armor. All of them are pushed to the very limits of their powers, yet always seem to be just powerful enough. A lot of the action scenes were very awesome and it was wonderful to Stealth in full battle-mode...she kicked butt a number of times.

    We meet some great new characters. The Driver is introduced, he can take over machinery and wear it like a body. We also meet the lead super-soldier Captain Freedom; he was a bit too cookie-cutter Captain America for me...but it worked for the story. I hope he developes into a more interesting character in future installments.

    The story wraps up nicely, as with the first book, and I can't wait to read future installments. These books have been fun action-packed reads set in an interesting post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world. They are well done and just plain fun.

    Overall I enjoyed this installment in the Ex-Heroes series. These are fun books, well-written, and just plain entertaining. The audiobook quality was exceptional. We get to see our favorite superheroes at the top of their game, lots of action, and a fast-paced and unpredictable plot add to the enjoyment. We also get to meet some great new characters. I enjoyed this book. I recommend to people who like action packed super-hero stories. This is also a good book for all those zombie fans out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Twice Bitten: Chicagoland Vampires, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chloe Neill
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway

    Merit, Chicago's newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene - and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

    Karen says: "Another writer for my "paranormal favorites' list"
    "Best book in this series so far"

    This is the third book in the Chicagoland Vampires series and my favorite so far. This book had a more solid plot than previous books and things escalate both between Ethan and Merit and between the shapeshifters and the vampires. Definitely a must read if you enjoyed the first couple books of this series.

    I listed to this on audiobook and the audiobooks for this series are incredibly well done. This is one of those series that I think sounds even better than it would read; the narrator just does such a wonderful job.

    Shapeshifters are meeting in the Windy City and they meet to decide if they will return to their homeland or stay for the oncoming supernatural war. Ethan lends out Merit's services as a bodyguard to the shapeshifter's leader Gabriel-Keene. As the time to the Shapeshifter Convocation draws closer it becomes clear that someone has put a hit out on Gabriel. Merit continually finds herself in the line of fire. Not only that but she is trying to navigate treacherous politics between the shapeshifters and vamps while also doing one on one training sessions with Ethan to try to improve her lackluster sparring skills.

    This was the best book in this series so far. Things are really building to a climax in multiple ways. The shapeshifters are on the edge of either staying of fleeing as war approaches the supernatural community and the way they choose will tip the balance one way or the other. The tension between Merit and Ethan is constantly building and it was absolutely killing me to know what would happen between them. Merit is starting to understand her own powers and finally figuring out way to break down the wall she keeps hitting when she tries to spar.

    Romance is a huge driver in this story. The tension between Merit and Ethan is absolutely sizzling. This is one of those books where I loved Ethan and then I hated him. Seriously he jerks Merit around so much; yet he does it in a strangely understandable way. The only other series I can think of that has had me as emotionally involved as this one is the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I swear there were parts of this book where I was holding my breath to see what would happen.

    Beyond that a lot of other neat stuff happens in this book. Lots of action in this one, Merit finds herself in a number of combat situations and performs admirably. The addition of the shapeshifters raised the stakes and ratcheted up the tension in this book, really driving the plot forward. So much depending on their decision to stay or leave. I continue to love the fun and witty banter between all of these wonderful characters.

    The story wraps up well, but will have people a bit frustrated I am sure. I am very eager to see where both the building-war and the Merit-Ethan thing ends up going. I am dying to read Hard Bitten now. I was a little disappointed that Mallory wasn't in the story more, she always adds a lot of fun. Hopefully we will see her more in future installments.

    Overall the best book in this series, absolutely stellar. If you liked the first few books in this series you'll love this one. Tons of action, building tension between the shifters and vamps, and lots of Ethan-Merit moments. This was a super engaging and fun read. Highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy. Reminds a bit of the Night Huntress series; so if you like that series I think you will love this one as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Bitten: Chicagoland Vampires, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Chloe Neill
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals---and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are tense.

    Stephanie says: "EXECELLENT"
    "Great continuation of this series"

    This is a hard book to rate. Those who’ve read it know why and it is going to be a whopper to review without giving away spoilers but I will try. Definitely not my favorite book in the series, in fact after some things that happen in the end I almost decided to completely give up the series. That being said, I guess the fact that it still elicited strong emotions says something.

    I listened to this as an audio book and the audiobook was exceedingly well done. This is a series I highly recommend listening to; the narrator does an absolutely stellar job reading it.

    Merit is still serving as Sentinel of Cadogan House. Vampires are being picketed against and are in a very precarious political position within in the city. Mayor Tate has reports of rising vampire violence against humans. Tate issues an ultimatum; Merit and Ethan will get to the bottom of the violence and stop it or else. Merit is left to unravel the mystery while Ethan deals with unwelcome visitors from the European Vampire Council. As more violent vampire situations arise and Merit learns of an illegal drug on the streets, things start to spin out of control.

    This was a very well done book. It was also a very emotionally wrenching book. As with all of these books all the little things that have happened in previous books are starting to come together. Secrets from Merit father’s past, from Ethan’s past, and from Mayor Tate’s past all come to light and they are not pleasant.

    We get to spend a lot more time with the Red Guard Jonas; he is an interesting character and was entertaining to read about. We also spend a lot of quality time with Ethan and Merit and their banter continues to be highly entertaining.

    This is one of the darker books in this series, that being said there is still a lot of humor here. Merit is as snarky as ever. Mallory is finally back in the story some, if not a ton, and it was nice to have her back. We also meet some interesting new characters.

    This book is definitely more of an investigative urban fantasy. Merit spends large amounts of time running investigations and dealing with politics. There are plenty of twists and turns that are unexpected but tie in well with the overall storyline. Lots of great action scenes like the previous books and I continue to enjoy those a lot.

    The bad thing thing that happens late in the book bothered me not only because it was bad, but because it was so sudden and seemed so out of the blue. I know there must be more behind it and it is killing me to not know why that happened and how it will be dealt with.

    Overall a great book in this series. Highly entertaining with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Lots of fun banter between the characters like usual. The ending will rip your heart out and stomp on it though so beware. The fact that this series gets me so emotionally involved really says good things about the writing. I highly recommend this series to all the vampire urban fantasy fans out there. This series reminds of the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost; so if you like that series I think you will enjoy this one as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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