What I Loved: I really loved the writing in this story. I just felt captivated by what was happening and I really wanted to get to the truth. Nina Croft did a great job of writing this one!
How I Felt: Right from the start, I was hooked on Malfunction. Waking up in a cryotank…finding it’s 500 years in the future and there’s a problem. It was right up my alley and I loved it! There’s a bit of humor and I appreciated that to lighten the story a bit. The murder mystery was a good plot and I was definitely interested in who did it. Overall, I was very happy with this book and I look forward to reading more from Nina Croft!
To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy science-fiction, end-of-the-world survival, paranormal mysteries, this book is right for you!
Investigator, Sergeant Logan Farrell, has never been convinced the human race deserves saving. But it looks like he’s got the job anyway.
It’s been five hundred years since we fled the remnants of a dying Earth in search of a new home. Twenty-four ships, each carrying ten thousand Chosen Ones. All sleeping peacefully…until people start dying in cryo.
Malfunction or murder? Hopefully, the former—a serial killer in the fleet would be drastic for morale. But Logan is determined to find the truth. Unfortunately, he’s got a new partner—and he works best alone.
Katia Mendoza, hot-shot homicide detective, has been woken from cryo to assist with the investigation. But is she really interested in solving the case, or does she have her own agenda?
Before he can answer that question, though, they become targets themselves.
Nothing like a few near misses with death to bring a couple together, and Logan finds himself falling for the alluring detective. But he doesn’t know that Katia is hiding a secret.
It’s not only humans who fled the dying Earth.
Malfunction by Nina Croft
Series: Dark Desire Origins, Book 1
Page Count: 269 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Pub Date: January 20, 2020
Growing up in the cold, wet, north of England, Nina Croft spent a lot of time dreaming of faraway sunnier places and ponies. When she discovered both, along with a whole load of other things, could be found between the covers of a book, her life changed forever.
Later, she headed south, picked up the perfect husband along the way, and together they volunteered to work in Africa. There they discovered a love of exotic places and a dislike of 9-5 work. Afterward they spent a number of years travelling (whenever possible) intermingled with working (whenever necessary.) Eventually they stumbled upon a remote area in the mountains of southern Spain and the small almond farm they now call home.
Nina spends her days reading, writing and riding her mare, Gencianna, under the blue Spanish skies—sunshine and ponies. She reckons this is proof that dreams really can come true if you want them enough.
Nina’s writing mixes romance with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.
I love a good zombie book that is more focused on the survival than on JUST guts and gore, and I found just that in this book. I really loved that this book started well after the Zombie Apocalypse, when groups of people had found ways to cope and survive. The main characters are living in their various situations, some are well protected with farming systems in place, while others are traveling across vast sections of unprotected, zombie-infested locations. I enjoyed that there were characters in both situations as it made for quite an exciting story!
How I Felt:
I was really invested in the main plot of this book. A group of people trying to deliver vials of vaccine to stop people from turning into zombies! I was all about it! The book gives you a chance to see a bit of how the zombies started, which I appreciate. I like having a bit of context around the “What happened” and A.M. Geever did a great job of offering this information while still moving the story forward.
I was a bit less invested in the romance portion of this story. Without spoilers, I just didn’t find the connection I was looking for to be excited about the relationship. And honestly, it wasn’t necessary for me to BE invested to enjoy this book, so I was ok with that. I felt that the focus was more on the mission of getting the vaccine to a safe place and it was QUITE the mission!
There were some unexpected twists and turns in this book that I didn’t see coming, which made me love the story all the more! I really look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Content Warnings: Zombies are in this book, so some blood, guts, and gore. Profane language, which I felt was completely justified and I would have used if zombies were after me!
To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy zombie-apocalypse stories, this is the right book for you! If you haven’t tried a zombie book, this might be a good starting point for you. The zombies were a part of the story, but there was also a lot of focus on PEOPLE and the dangers they can cause as well.
A few years after the Zombie Apocalypse, survivors have begun to put back together their lives. They have fenced-in settlements with secured perimeters to keep zombies out. Farming has begun, allowing for food sources and a vaccine is available to keep you from turning zombie if bitten.
For Miranda, this life is working well for her. She used to go on raids in the early years, but has settled into a life of cultivating the vertical farms. Then, her ex, shows up in the city after years of being away. Still reeling from this news, she is told that things are not as they seem in their settlement. To save all of humanity, she must be a part of a mission to get the vaccine to a lab in another city.
Now she’s part of a dangerous operation full of perils, unknown trouble, ex-boyfriends, and zombies.
Love in an Undead Age by A.M. Geever
Book 1 in Undead Age series
Page Count: 456 pages
Pub Date: July 20, 2019
I chose this excerpt because one of my favorite aspects of this book was the way the characters interacted when they were trying to escape zombies.
“Are they inside?” she yelled as she powered the hatchet down again.
“Just trying to block their path,” said Doug. “How you doing there?”
Another shot, then another.
“I need another minute,” Miranda said.
“That’s about all you’re gonna get.”
Doug’s rifle fired almost continuously. Then the world began to sparkle as bits of glass showered over her. Miranda flinched away and leapt up, turning once again to the window behind her. Zombies were trying to slither through. They cut their arms on jagged glass still stuck in the frame, but didn’t stop. Zombies didn’t feel pain. They never even noticed.
Excerpt from Love in an Undead Age by A.M. Greever
I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
Cassie Morgan watched the world die from the comfort of her penthouse suite. She never expected her life of privilege to come to an end but, with all food gone, she has to face the survivors in the city alone.
Sometimes, when the SHTF, you have to kick off your strappy sandals, let your fake tan fade, your Brazilian grow out, and become the woman you are meant to be.
Rick Carter is the last of his unit to survive. To stay alive he must escape the disease infested city and head north to his prepper friend’s self-sufficient farm. The last thing he needs is to rescue a woman with zero survival skills.
When the apocalypse arrives, most will die, some will survive, whilst others will thrive.
With most of the city dead, and no sign of rescue, Cassie and Rick have to rely on their own ingenuity to deal with the end of the world. Working together wasn’t what either had planned, but these are desperate times.
Does Rick have what it takes to get them to the farm?
Can Cassie rise to the challenge of survival?
Will Rick have the stomach to help when he discovers Cassie’s secret?
‘A World Torn Down’ is an epic tale of the apocalypse with a fresh take on TEOTWAWKI.
* Previously this book was published as six books: ‘The Road to Ruin’, ‘The Savage Road’, ‘The Outcast’s Journey’, ‘The Path to Despair’, ‘The Route to Justice’, and ‘The Road to Redemption’.
Title: A World Torn Down by Rebecca Fernfield Subtitle: A novel of survival after the apocalypse Genre: Post-apocalyptic Page Count: 664 pages Publisher: Fruits of All Hallows Pub Date: November 19, 2019
Where to Find This Book:
What’s the Word on the Street?
Excerpts from reader reviews:
“The series gave me a very Walking Dead comic feel. I loved it, and the characters were all very well written. The detail that went into all the characters was brilliant.”
“It was fast paced and kept you interested right to the last sentence.”
“I loved the strong female characters, Cassie being my absolute favorite, I love how she just gets things done and doesn’t let the male characters walk over her.”
“This series kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. I would have to stop to go to work, and all I could think of was the book and getting back to finding out what would happen next.”
Author. Mother. Free spirit.
British author, Rebecca Fernfield, is a lapsed medievalist, and former research fellow, given to flights of fancy about the end of the world and what she’d do if the supermarkets suddenly ran out of chocolate, wine, and other essentials!
A full-time novelist, she lives with her numerous children among the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Vikings and Saxons once fought and where, sometimes, on foggy mornings, you can still hear the echoes of clashing swords.
She writes action-packed, suspenseful tales of horror, the supernatural, and the apocalypse.
She can’t stop writing because the voices in her head just won’t shut up and there are SO many stories to tell.
Don’t lose touch! You can join her newsletter for the latest updates about new releases and the bribe of a free book.
She Just Loves Books (SJLB) had the chance to get some questions answered by our author, Rebecca Fernfield. Take a moment to see what she had to say.
SJLB: How long have you been writing?
“The official start of my writing career was in March 2017 when I published my first novels. However, I had been writing for a while before that. At first, I wrote for children, then progressed to young adults, until finally my confidence grew and I decided that what I really wanted to do was write books for adults.”
SJLB: Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
“The characters usually come to me as I write. I often have one or two characters to start with but, as the story moves along, other characters will introduce themselves. Often new characters take the story in new, unexpected directions, which can be exciting. I particularly enjoy it when a quirky or unpleasant character turns up; they can be the most fun to write. A great example is Saskia in my novel ‘A World Torn Down’. She’s a first-class bitch and says the worst things to the other characters! I don’t think she has any kind of social filter and operates at a psychopathic level.”
SJLB: What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
“Research for my books can span a whole lifetime! There may be things I research as I’m writing to give the scene/idea more depth, but my books often contain ideas that have been part of my knowledge base for years. My stories are often triggered by something I’ve read or heard about several years prior to actually starting to write a book. For example, ‘The Kielder Strain’ is my version of the werewolf story. Research for the book started with the first film I saw in my teens.”
SJLB: Do you see writing as a career?
“Absolutely, and it is a very rewarding one once you have readers who love your work. I love getting emails and messages from readers asking when my next book is going to be published, or letting me know that they’ve just read one of my books and loved it.
However, writing fiction or non-fiction as a career has to be coupled with a business mindset. Writing a great novel is one thing. Writing a great novel that you are able to bring to market and sell to readers is quite another.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Publishing is tough. It’s a business, and you have to have a business mindset to really succeed and as a creative that can be a massive challenge.”
SJLB: Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
“I love to read and lose myself in someone else’s imagination. I’m an eclectic reader, so am willing to try most genres, Jane Austen used to be an absolute favorite (I even started a university degree because they had a program of study dedicated to her) but my go-to genre is horror, so Stephen King, and James Herbert are my author heroes! I’ve read and re-read many of their novels. One book I discovered recently, although it was published in the 1960s, is Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’. I found it completely enthralling and read it in two sittings. It’s the book that inspired the film starring Will Smith. The story is quite different, but I love them both.”
SJLB: Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I have to write in a quiet space, so no music for me. If I’m in the flow, then I don’t notice the noises around me, but trying to get my head into that writing space can be tough and I’m far too easily distracted.
SJLB: Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
“I have tried SO many times to write more than one book at a time, but I just don’t seem to have enough head space to carry two stories. I can think about another book, and that often happens as soon as I start writing my latest novel; a case of the next shiny new thing! I know authors who do manage it, but I need to immerse myself in the story and my characters, so whilst other characters may start nagging at me to write their story, I can only jot down ideas rather than write their stories.”
SJLB: If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
“I am in awe of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’. I wish I had his talent for prose.”
SJLB: Pen or type writer or computer?
“I used to write with a pen and then type up what I’d written. However, this is laborious and wastes a lot of time. If I’m out and about I always carry a notebook and pen so that I can jot things down, or even write a paragraph or two if need be, but I use my laptop 99% of the time. I can touch-type so it’s much easier to keep up with my flow of thoughts; my handwriting becomes an indecipherable scrawl if I get overexcited!”
SJLB: What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
“I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. I have an aunt who writes, and she was very fond of telling me that there is a novel in us all. I’m creative, and have to have an outlet for that creativity, and telling stories lets me do that. Plus, I love the idea of entertaining people, and as a writer, that is my main goal. That I get to earn a living doing just that is absolutely fantastic. Self-publishing is a roller-coaster ride and can be very tough when your book doesn’t sell as well as you’d like, or someone leaves a bad review, but I definitely made the right decision.”
SJLB: Tell me about a day in the life of the author.
‘I write when my children are at school as I find it impossible to write when they are at home. They also need my attention and I have given up trying to write and look after them too. My day starts at 5 am when I get up and do my chores then get the children off to school. Once back home, I check my sales and any messages from other authors or readers. I also check to see how my adverts on Facebook and Amazon are running. As soon as possible, I get down to writing. If I’m a little stuck, I reread the previous chapter, or refresh my memory with any notes, then try to use the time until school ends to write. It’s a matter of bum in seat and fingers on the keyboard five days a week for me.’
SJLB: What advice would give new authors?
“If you want to write just write. If you want to write in order to earn a living, learn as much as you can about self-publishing, read heavily in your chosen genre, then write a book those readers are going to love.
Also, once you’ve written your book don’t ask friends or relatives to read it and give you feedback. Instead, find a reader who loves that genre and ask them for an honest response. Listen to negative criticism and use it to improve your craft. It’s far more difficult to find someone willing to tell you where you’re going wrong than it is to find a reader who will tell you your story is just great!”
SJLB: Describe your writing style.
“Fast-paced and full of action. I write in the present tense which I think gives my writing an immediacy. Readers often comment on how vivid my writing is too, as though they’re watching a movie in their head.”
SJLB: What makes a good story?
“A good story is one that captures your attention from the first page and doesn’t let it go until the end. I love character-led stories. Discovering how a character thinks, what drives them, and their past lives is fascinating. I also love plot-twists that I don’t see coming. A good story has to entertain, and engage with the reader’s emotional need whether that is to read a story that scares them, intrigues them, or makes them laugh. Each genre has readers with different needs.”
SJLB: What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
“I write the blurb first! I know it sounds odd, but I find it a great springboard for the story. I may have a vague idea of what the story is about, but thinking about how I will present it to the reader in a few short sentences helps crystallize it for me. I often have the ending and a general idea. I’m rubbish at plotting although when I get stuck, I will sit down and try to think through key scenes.”
SJLB: What is your writing Kryptonite?
“Being tired, comparing myself to other writers and feeling inadequate by comparison.”
SJLB: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
“I try to be entertaining within the expectations of the genre but with my own twist on the story.”
SJLB: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
‘For a sixty thousand-word book, it can take between four and eight weeks depending on how easily the words flow. My first book took me two years to write and, in those days, I would often only manage 200 words a day. Since then, I’ve written a fair number of books, and nearly a million words. It’s true that the more you practice the better you become. On a good day I can write five thousand decent words although I’m far more comfortable with around three to four thousand.”
SJLB: Do you believe in writer’s block?
“Not really. Sometimes it can be tougher than at other times to get the words down, or get into that state of flow. If a story comes to a grinding halt it is perhaps because I don’t feel comfortable with the subject matter and need to do more research, or sometimes the story doesn’t have legs. I came across a really interesting article the other day outlining steps you can take if you’re stuck with a story. Basically, have a brain-storming session and list twenty exciting things that could happen to your character in the story. Choose the five most intense and work those into your story. I won’t go through the whole process here, but it works.”
What I Loved: This book took me on so many twisty turns, I was just in awe! I really loved the way the author created this world and pulled me right in. I was right there with Hogan as he tried to make it into the NSC organization!
How I Felt: I’m giving this book a 5 star because it was great! The story, character building, and surprises were wonderful. There is a little character building for a friend of the main character who probably doesn’t seem to be needed in the story, but it is fairly brief and may be a set up for book 2. The first 20% of the book is building out the world, showing us how the common people are living. We gain some background on Hogan, the main character, as well as the overall culture of the civilization now. From there, the book takes off on this crazy story that is so fast-paced and well told!
To Read or Not To Read: I highly recommend this book for readers that enjoy action and post-apocalyptic stories!
What’s This Book About Anyway?
In 2031, the world is a different place. The oceans are rising, the wealthy are extremely wealthy and well off, while the other 99% live in poverty, struggling to find work, food, and lodging from day-to-day.
Hogan is an ex-officer of the police force. He spends his days applying for a position with the NSC, where he would be set for life. Then, the acceptance letter comes, and he’s in! He boards transportation and heads to the NSC base for a rigorous competition to be the ONE candidate that makes it into the NSC. Can he do it? As he fights to make it to the top of this group, he starts to realize that the NSC may not be exactly what he had dreamed it would be.
I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
All Amazon links on SheJustLovesBooks are affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales from the use of them. If you fall in love with a book because of my review and you want to buy, I would greatly appreciate the use of the link on my page.
What I Loved: This dystopian world was really fascinating. This world had one of the better dystopian governments that I have encountered in this genre and I really enjoyed it. Electronics to monitor safety, and cameras everywhere that are only reviewed if someone’s heartbeat gets erratic so that the person can be helped. It was quite intriguing.
How I Felt: I wanted to know a bit more about what happened to make the end-of-the-world catastrophe. There were so many little nuggets throughout the story, but nothing that really told me how it went down and I would have liked that. I was happy with the character development in the book, I connected with the characters, some growing on me, while others grew on me less and less as I got to know them. Good writing will do that! I would definitely like to see a sequel and it sounds like one is coming!
To Read or Not To Read: If you are into dystopian/post-apocalyptic, this would be a great book for you! Fans of books like Divergent by Veronica Roth or Breathe by Sarah Crossen would really enjoy this book.
What’s This Book About Anyway?
Ana’s brother Finn has gone missing from The City. This is hard to do in a city that is enclosed by a giant wall with electronic monitoring systems everywhere, but somehow, he has done it. She is ready to go find him and must partner with a government official, Aaron to get outside The City. Together they explore the lawless, outside world meeting a variety of people, some terrifying, and some gentle and helpful. Will Ana be able to find her brother and if she does, what will she learn about herself?
They have a good library here. I have come to measure every town and village by whether they keep books and how well they keep them.
The Book of Flora – Meg Elison
What I Loved: Oh, I loved this book. There were so many times I wanted to stop reading just so that I could start writing about it. My two MAIN loves were:
The reverence for books throughout the entire story. It’s a book-lover’s dream. This love of books is shown in Book 1 (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife) and Book 2 (The Book of Etta), however, in this book, I felt like that love of literature had evolved and was just lovely.
The LGBTQ+ stories were just so enlightening. The confusion and struggles that Etta/Eddie, Flora, and Connie go through give the reader such a wonderful view of the inner and outer struggles that a person could be going through.
How I Felt: I was so relieved to love this book. I still adore The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and it is my favorite, but I was less in-love with The Book of Etta. I was concerned that I would read The Book of Flora and realize that I didn’t enjoy the series any longer, but that was not the case at all. This book seemed to take us back a bit to the feeling of the first book. There is so much travel to different places, and meeting different people. The struggles of sexuality and sexual identity are there, and were more vast, than in the Unnamed Midwife, as there were more characters dealing with their own situations. The book is definitely more sexual than The Book of Etta was. There are some pretty detailed scenes, but what I loved about those scenes were the insight they gave to me about the character’s personalities and their struggles with their own sexuality.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to anyone that has read the first two books in the Road to Nowhere series. If you haven’t read the first two, I wouldn’t start here. There are many characters spoken about in The Book of Flora that were introduced in Book 1 and Book 2. If you haven’t read this series yet, go read my review of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife.
The Book of Flora picks up where The Book of Etta left off, but now our narrator is Flora. Flora tells her story with chapters focused on the present and then jumps back in time to fill in the gaps from her time after escaping the Lion to the present. Her writings in the present speak about an army coming and about the danger this army brings. As we progress in the book, the story about the army takes shape and we begin to slowly understand more about it.
In the “past” story of Flora, Eddie (Etta), Flora, and Alice set out to find a place where they can be accepted for who they are. This is a big theme in the book surrounding the sexual confusion of some, the transformation of others, and the feelings each person has about their own sexuality. There were some great quotes surrounding this that really gave me pause and made me think.
“It’s no great crime to live as a man. Men are plentiful and everyone understands why you do it. Women lying with women is a waste, but you’ll hardly get killed for it. Living as a woman without being one is the thing that always stirs hate and violence. As if there is some great deception in it. As if it is the worst kind of fraud. Yet a woman who cannot breed or will not try is never the same sort of problem. And women past the end of their blood are no threat. I am no different from them.”
The Book of Flora – Meg Elison
This book’s plot surrounding the army is a bit understated, the main focus of the story felt more like a road to finding acceptance to be who they know they are. That said, I loved this book, and was so happy to have found it.
The writing for this book just pulled you into the story, allowing you to visualize this world and the people. I loved the descriptions of the characters and the places. I was completely immersed in this story.
How I Felt:
I cannot tell you enough how sucked into this story I was. There are some books that you read where you kind of look up a the clock, go grab a snack, check Instagram, or whatever. With this book, however, I was just like what is going to happen next and had to keep turning the page. The character’s lives are filled with love, fear, sadness, and so much more and Rachel Anne Cox puts it all on the page in a way that just completed this story perfectly.
To Read or Not To Read:
If you love a good dystopian or post-apocalyptic story, this is just the book for you!
Sam has been in a work camp for the past 7 years and after finally being released, heads back home to find Gemma, his life-long love. He finds her, but she is already married to someone, and she’s trying to lead a new rebellion.
In the year 42, the world is in a post-apocalyptic state without many of the comforts we know today. The people are controlled by a shady government that controls their freedom. There are those who will stand for it no longer; they are the women, ready to stand up and rebel. Sam tries to adapt to his new life outside the workers camp, precariously balancing his loves and his want for peace and rebellion.
This book was provided to me by the author for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
“I want to change my punctuation. I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.” ― Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies
Rating: 3 out of 5.
What I Loved: Warm Bodies is written with the main character, R as the narrator. As a zombie, he feels a bit different from the other zombies. He is more self-aware and seems to be having feelings. It makes a really interesting perspective and it was my favorite piece of this book.
How I Felt: This book was interesting and kept my attention. It is the first book in a series, but I haven’t yet read the second one. The struggle R goes through with his feelings was very captivating and I felt it was the thing that kept me reading this book. The love story was secondary for me. It was interesting, but I loved the way the author wrote the zombie’s thoughts and feelings. Isaac Marion writing is beautiful and was a major bonus in this story.
“In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.” ― Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies
To Read or Not To Read: This is a YA novel and is perfect for romance sci-fi junkies. If you enjoy the post-apocalyptic YA stories, it’s a good book for you! If you are looking for a traditional zombie-eating-brains kind of story, you should move along…this one isn’t for you.
What’s This Book About Anyway?
R is a zombie, going about his zombie-day eating humans and living in his 747 at the airport. He doesn’t remember anything about his before-life and he’s pretty much just, a zombie.
He meets Julie and he can’t understand why, but he doesn’t want to eat her. He takes her captive and she begins to change his life. She brings something new out of him that he’s never felt before.
Julie and R live in a world where zombies are bad…people kill zombies or zombies eat people. What if though, zombies could be something a bit different given the chance?
“Well, thanks for not shooting anyone, I guess”, said Marcus. “My contribution was to somehow refrain from peeing myself. You can thank me later.” ― Dan Wells, Partials
What I Loved:
I loved the character Marcus and his very funny attitude. I loved all the characters in this book. I loved the way this Dystopian society was created and what the aftermath looks like. Overall, I just really loved this book.
How I Felt:
I was utterly pulled into this book. I could not consume it fast enough, and honestly once it was done, all I could think to do was find the next book. I love a survival story after a post-apocalyptic event and this was did not let me down.
“I’ve never been this wet in my life, ” said Kira. “Even immersed in a bathtub I swear I was dryer than I am now. “ “Look on the bright side, ” said Marcus. Kira waited. “This is the point at which you would traditionally suggest a bright side. “ “I’ve never been a real traditional guy,” said Marcus. “Besides, I’m not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a great time to look at one.” ― Dan Wells, Partials
To Read or Not To Read:
There are very mixed reviews out on this book, so here’s a list and if you identify with it, check this book out!
It’s 2076 and Kira Walker, 16, lives in Long Island with what is left of the human race after a devastating virus, released by the Partials, wiped out most of humanity. The Partials are engineered beings that look just like a human, but are not and they seem to only want to kill humans. The virus has severely damaged reproduction for humans with babies only surviving for just over 2 days.
Kira, a medic at a hospital, sets out to find a way to help babies live when her friend realizes she is pregnant. Kira believes that since the Partials released the virus, they must also be the answer. She is determined to capture a Partial and discover the cure.
I love a book series! I hate saying goodbye to a character’s story, so the continuation of the series, is always so much fun! This book definitely lived up to that expectation of a series for me, with a bit of a twist. Instead of carrying on the first book’s character’s story, this book picks up years later with new characters, but in the same town. It gave me all new people to meet, while staying true to the original story.
Additionally, I loved that Meg Elison tackled LGBTQ topics here. The main character is Etta on the outside, but is Eddie on the inside. I was so pleased to read this book and get to understand this character.
How I Felt:
This book did not feel quite as gritty as the first. There were less X rated scenes and less swearing, but still had enough that it clearly belonged to the same series. I was carried away with Etta and her story. It was not confusing at all to have the character jump back and forth between her true self. And I loved that there were times where Eddie would step aside because Etta was needed to survive, and vice versa.
To Read or Not To Read:
If you’ve read book 1 in the series, you have to read book 2! If you haven’t read book 1, and for some reason happen to have this book right now and want to read it without starting with book 1, I think you can. While, it’s clearly part of a series, because it is new characters, and there are some explanations as to what previously happened, I really think this book can stand alone.
Years after the epidemic that wiped out most of humanity, small tribes of people are trying to survive and carry on with what is left of life on earth. So much of the “before-time” is lost. The characters end up in Merrimack Caverns and they have no idea what it is. They find old t-shirts that have survived and are excited for the cloth with no understanding of what it used to be.
Women continue to have difficult births with survival rates for mother and daughter still very low due to the epidemic. Men outnumber women significantly, and in Etta’s town, many form hives with one woman living with many men. Etta chooses to become a scavenger, rather than the sacred midwife she could be. She does not feel like a girl and chooses to be a man on the road. She leaves Nowhere and finds herself in a new city when the Lion and his men come and take away a young girl from her mother. Etta makes a choice and puts herself on a track to stop the Lion at all costs.
Her travels take her through different cities and we, the reader, get a chance to envision a world where towns are so far apart, that no two towns have adapted to the new way of life in the same way.
This was an absolutely wonderful book. The storyline continues from book one, and I can’t wait to pick up book three, The Book of Flora!
What I Loved: Dystopian novels are always interesting to me. I loved this novel’s idea. The world has no oxygen; you pay to breathe manufactured air. This book offered insight into a different version of class separation and I found it so intriguing.
How I Felt: I was nervous with the story, so concerned for these teenagers as they set out to change the world, and survive.
To Read or Not To Read: This is a YA novel all the way, and if that is your thing, this is right up your alley! BONUS: It’s a series, so you don’t have to say goodbye to this world after the first book. If you haven’t tried YA, this is an interesting start. It is focused on three teens, but it’s also about a world of people and how they live. It is a great read.
Breathe is the story of a dystopian world where a catastrophic event has cause oxygen to be depleted from earth. Glass domes were built for humanity to survive in. Oxygen has to be paid for, separating the rich from the poor. Alina, Quinn, and Bea, all from different backgrounds, end up on the outside of the glass domes. They will take a journey through the outside, discovering secrets, and endangering their lives. Can they survive?
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is written as a diary of the main character. I found that to be such an intriguing way to tell this story. I loved that at times, she had others write their stories in her diary, so we got to see the experiences of others as well. I also loved that the author wrapped up loose ends with side characters, so we know where their stories went as well. It made the story feel complete.
How I Felt:
Oh, this book was gritty and raw. The writing didn’t pull any punches, making the reader feel the pain and suffering happening to characters. I felt disgusted at times when the characters would come across things that had happened, or were happening to people. There was little happiness in this book, it is post-apocalyptic, and as that genre goes, this book nailed it. There were moments, where I was so happy to have a ray of sunshine in the Midwife’s experiences. This helped to make the book ebb and flow just right.
The story is one of post-apocalyptic suvival. A fever has broken out, almost completely obliterating human life. The fever has made pregnancy almost entirely fatal to mother and child, making women extremely rare in the post-apocalyptic state. The Unnamed Midwife finds herself awakening from her fever in the aftermath of this devastating turn of events. She keeps a diary as she travels from town to town trying to survive. As she realizes the danger of being a women in a world where men wholly outnumber women, she begins to dress, walk, and talk like a man to fool people. This was a very interesting part of the story. The way she writes in her diary, you experience the transition she goes through, forcing herself to think this way, and then at times, falling back into being a woman. She encounters few people on her journey, but the ones she does encounter leave lasting impressions on her.
To Read or Not To Read:
With 5-star books, I’m usually saying “Everyone Read This!”, however, with this book, while it is 100% a 5-star-read for me, it has a lot of topics and language that could be offensive for people. So, here is my warning: F-Bombs, female anatomy words that are offensive, rape, death, fairly explicit sexual scenes. Other than all of that terrible bleakness, this book was amazing. I like the post-apocalyptic genre because I like to see how people would cope, what they do, how they eat, etc and this book did that for me. If you enjoy that, this book is for you.
When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.
In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.
A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.
After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.