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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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29 / 40 books. 73% done!

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11 / 25 books. 44% done!

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17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Monday, January 22, 2018

Thrilling Tomorrow Series Keeps Up the Action, Adventure With Third Installment

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for A Killing Frost, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Tomorrow, When the War Began books.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Six months have passed since a group of teens emerged from a camping trip in the bush to find their world changed overnight.  Not only has their small town been taken over by an unknown enemy, but so has all of Australia.  By keeping out of sight, Ellie and her friends have been able to fight back in small—and not so small—ways.  They've experienced both triumph and tragedy, but they've yet to drive away the forces that are keeping their town captive.  It's time to take more extreme measures, which means putting themselves at even greater risk.  Will their efforts pay off?  Or will they end up prisoners of a seemingly unstoppable enemy?

I've enjoyed all the books I've read so far in John Marsden's excellent Tomorrow, When the War Began series.  A Killing Frost, the third installment, is no exception.  The novels are full of action, adventure, humor, romance, and intrigue.  Ellie remains a likable, relatable heroine.  Although she's tough and brave, she's also vulnerable and human.  It's easy to root for her and her friends to triumph over evil.  The installments in this series are short, making them quick reads that will appeal to reluctant readers as well as those who enjoy fast-paced survival stories.  I'm a fan and can't wait to dig in to the next book in the series.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the series, including Tomorrow, When the War Began; The Dead of the Night; Darkness, Be My Friend; Burning for Revenge; The Night is for Hunting; and The Other Side of Dawn)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of A Killing Frost from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Intriguing Bolton Thriller Not As Exciting As Others, But Enjoyable Nonetheless

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

On a lovely Fall morning near the English/Scottish border, thirteen people float languidly along in a hot air balloon.  The passengers are excited to breathe in the fresh air, take in the bucolic scenery, and watch for colorful wildlife.  The last thing they expect to see is a vicious murder.  Below them, a man is brutally killing a young woman, unaware that he is being observed.  From the balloon, one woman captures his face on camera, but he sees hers as well.  When the balloon is shot down, only one passenger survives.  Suddenly caught in a deadly cat-and-mouse game, the woman must outrun the murderer and get her photographic evidence to the police before she becomes the next victim.

It's best to go into Dead Woman Walking, Sharon Bolton's 2017 crime thriller, without knowing too much.  Although the murderer is identified right off the bat, there are plenty of twists throughout the novel that make it both surprising and satisfying.  Because we know whodunit from the get go, Dead Woman Walking isn't quite as tense or exciting as Bolton's other books.  Still, it's engrossing.  Even though I guessed some of the plot's big reveals, the novel remained entertaining for me.  It's not my favorite of Bolton's books, true, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

(Readalikes:  A hundred titles should be coming to mind, but I got nothin'.  Suggestions?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Dead Woman Walking from the generous folks at Minotaur Books (a division of St. Martin's Press.  Thank you!)

Subterranean Dystopian Trilogy Starts Off With an A-Grade Bang

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Protected from the toxic air outside, a whole city of people live in a silo that extends 144 floors underground.  With no elevator or alternative way to move quickly from the bottom of the structure to the top (or vice versa), the residents remain mostly on their own floors, rarely making the arduous trip up to the first.  There's little to see there, anyway—only a ruined world, desolate and deadly.  Why bother?  Leaving the silo altogether would be suicide, so no one dares.  Only those who are forced out flee the safe, subterranean world.  Exile means almost instant death; no one survives that sentence.  

When the silo's venerable, long-time sheriff makes the shocking decision to leave the silo, he sets a life-changing chain of events in motion.  He selects a surprising candidate to take his place, 34-year-old mechanic Juliette "Jules" Nichols.  Unused to the comparative luxury of life on the silo's top floors, she struggles to find her place tackling a new job in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  Although she has no experience in law enforcement, she's smart and determined to do her job well.  It's only as she begins to study the inner workings of her community, however, that Jules realizes it's not quite the utopia it seems to be.  In fact, the silo hides some devastating secrets—revelations that could change everything.  The more Jules uncovers, the more her tenuous place at the top is jeopardized.  In order to make crucial changes, she'll have to risk everything to expose long-buried truth.  Will her efforts be successful?  Or will hers be the next corpse rotting away just outside the silo's sheltering walls?

Wool, the first book in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian trilogy by Hugh Howey, is a beast of a book.  At 500+ pages, it's hefty and yet, the novel never drags.  Propulsive and engrossing, it speeds along, capturing the reader's attention with complex characters, imaginative world-building, and an intriguing plot.  Yes, the novel embraces typical dystopian elements that will undoubtedly feel familiar to genre fans.  At the same time, though, Howey's inventive world manages to feel fresh and new.  Everything about this vividly-detailed book kept me completely riveted.  I ate Wool up and cannot wait to get going with Shift, the second installment in this addictive series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Icebreaker by Lian TannerThe Compound by S.A. Bodeen; and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Wool from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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