Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2016
Books I’ve Read This Month
It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space–and change their lives forever. Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band’s ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it’s her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space… no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true. – Goodreads Synopsis
It’s been a decade since the Viral plague that brought the dead back to life with a hunger for living flesh. The survivors have long since fled the big cities and resettled in the countryside, mountains, and plains, building a network of fortresses and cavernous sanctuaries.
As civilization rebuilt and reshaped itself in this nightmarish new world, there arose an overwhelming demand for the supplies and riches left behind in the remains of the old one. A system of trade and barter formed around the market of these goods, a macabre economy for a dead world. Those brave or foolish enough to seek out treasure among the wastelands became known as the Reapers.
Gus and Oscar are a two-man reaping crew, facing down the horrors of a shattered world in search of its hidden wealth. But more dangerous than the undead Virals, and their various deadly strains, are the others like themselves, cutthroat scavengers bent on plundering the riches of the Reaperlands… – Goodreads Synopsis
Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez and his ‘bro-bot’ E are making new friends every day as E works as his bedridden sister Maddie’s school proxy. But disaster strikes when E malfunctions just in time to be upstaged by the super-cool new robot on the block – and loses his ability to help Maddie. Now it’s up to Sammy to figure out what’s wrong with E and save his family! – Goodreads Synopsis
From outside it was simply an ordinary looking London pub, a place you’d have to be guided to more than once before you memorized it’s location, somewhere between Fleet Street & the Embankment. But, if by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists & interested layman–drinking, swapping odd bits of information, &, like as not, listening to Harry Purvis’ memorable stories.
A scientist by profession, Harry Purvis has had or heard about some of the most astonishing experiences–like the story of the carnivorous orchid that was used in a murder plot, or the one about the military computer that was converted to pacifism. – Goodreads Synopsis
Pearl Blackthorn is a novelist and investigative reporter for Darkside paranormal magazine. Armed with her digital recorder and accompanied by her friend and photographer Harry Raymond, Pearl is sent by her editor J.J Benson – affectionately known as Benny – to the four corners of Great Britain, (and sometimes further), to investigate stories of spirits and specters, demons and doppelgangers, prophecy and possession. The problem is, Pearl doesn’t believe in the supernatural; her creative imagination is tempered by a strong skepticism. She is immovable on her stand that there is always a simple, rational explanation behind every report of paranormal activity. But Pearl soon realizes that the intricacies of paranormal events are often far from simple and not always rational. – Goodreads Synopsis
Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get any more unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and—oh, the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother has been kidnapped.
Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. But she’s not the hero they want. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren’t meant to swoop in and save the day.
Now all Casey wants is to go home, but the veil between worlds is on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail has placed on her head. But if Casey fails, the Arabian Nights will disappear forever—and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time. – Goodreads Synopsis
A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.
Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family. – Goodreads Synopsis
Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show. When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.
Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?
He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen. Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives. – Goodreads Synopsis
In 2072, Earth faces the ultimate extinction event. In an America turned authoritarian, a desperate race against time begins. To send a starship to a distant planet, where the remains of humanity can survive.
However, while the government wants to recreate the society it has engineered, there are those who secretly conspire to let the starfarers choose their own destiny. As mankind on Earth faces its final blow, the selected few set course for Aurora, more than 40 light years away.
Follow Maria Solis, the billionaire daughter, Kenneth Taylor, Harvard professor of psychology, and Tina Hammer, a scramjet pilot and officer, through the selection and preparations for the adventure of a lifetime – and a final chance for a doomed civilization.-Goodreads Synopsis
Cherry blossom lipstick: check | Smokey eyes: check | Skinny jeans: check | Dead kid in the mirror: check | For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.
Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally. Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.
Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim… Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her? – Goodreads synopsis
What starts as an episode of playground teasing ends when Devon gets a rock to the skull. He falls into a coma, only waking up after a close brush with death. But now that Devon is back, he finds out that he’s not alone.There’s a mysterious entity talking to him in his head. And Devon’s not sure if he likes the new imaginary friend.
Devon’s uncle Joe is a writer out in California. Devon tells him about the new voice he’s hearing; it’s a red flag for Joe — he knows that he has to drop everything to go help his nephew. Joe knows that Devon inherited the family curse. It’s a devastating and powerful secret, and one that’s not fit for a boy to tackle alone. But even Joe isn’t prepared for what’s coming. Together, the two of them are about to embark on a terrifying journey where they confront the darkest evil they’ve ever known. Pure evil. – Goodreads Synopsis
Anyone can be positive . . .Years after a plague killed 99 percent of the population, turning them into infectious zombies, Finnegan and his family live in a barricaded New York City. But Finn’s sheltered life fractures when his unsuspecting mother falls sick with the zombie disease—latent inside her since before her son’s birth.
Finn, too, can be infected. If he remains healthy for the last two years of the potential incubation period, he’ll be cleared. Until then, he must be moved to a special facility for positives, segregated to keep the healthy population safe.
Tattooed with a plus sign on his hand that marks him as a positive, Finn is exiled from the city. But when marauders kill the escort sent to transport him, Finn must learn how to survive alone in an eerie, disintegrated landscape. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger is his fellow humans. – Goodreads Synopsis
Police Officer Jack Wardsley’s life ended the moment his partner died, stabbed to death by a deranged druggie. Now, years later, Jack is a changed man, with a head full of secrets driving him insane. His recent record of police brutality and a reputation for not following the rules has prompted his seniors to give him an ultimatum: take a few weeks off, relax, and find some way to let go of all the anger – or else find another job.
That’s why Jack is about to board The Spirit of Kirkpatrick, a cruise liner built for relaxation and fun. Pretty soon, however, Jack realises that a little R&R is the last thing he’s ever going to get aboard the cursed ship. There’s a virus onboard, making people insane and bleeding from the eyes. The whole ship is overrun with blood and death, and there is nowhere to escape. Just when Jack thinks his number is up and his life is over, he wakes up. The day is exactly the same. In fact, everything is the same. Jack is forced to witness the viral outbreak again and again as it ravages the ship and its passengers over and over, day after day. Jack finds himself trapped in a repeating hell.
It won’t be long before Jack realises there are others onboard just like him – and that some of them know more than they’re letting on. – Goodreads Synopsis
What’s your worst nightmare? For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams. And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.
Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting. Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing. By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run. – Goodreads Synopsis
When a series of grisly murders terrorizes the Steel City, Theo-an undead “Riser” working as a forensic technician for the Pittsburgh police-decides to use his dark gift to hunt the killer. He finds a partner in his only friend, Dr. Henry Libitin, but Theo’s unique talent of experiencing the victims’ last moments comes with a shocking price. – Goodreads Synopsis
It’s in the rain…and just one drop will kill you.
They don’t believe it at first. Crowded in Zach’s kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach’s parents’ frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, “It’s in the rain! It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure.”
Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby’s only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he’s even still alive. – Goodreads Synopsis
SAMSARA: The cycle of birth, death and rebirth within the realms of existence …
The plague of 1918 A.D.
The mortal world is in a state of devastation.
A woman wakes up in an abandoned temple of Kali, the goddess of darkness, in the ancient city of Gaya.
She does not know where she is.
She does not remember the events leading to this.
She only hears the familiar voice of a tormented man who has haunted in her dreams.
He tells her a story – of a time of souls and suffering, of immortality and gods, of life and death.
This, he says, is Mesopotamia. – Goodreads Synopsis
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.
Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives. – Goodreads Synopsis
Books that I’m Currently Reading
Books (and movies) I reviewed in April 2016 – Title links take you to the reviews.
Adult Books Reviewed: A Walk on the Dark Side by Corinna Underwood | The Spirit Chaser by Kat Mayor | Mother by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross | Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke | Pure Evil by Jesse Bastide | Sea Sick by Iain Rob Wright | Down Solo by Earl Javorsky | Reviver by Seth Patrick | H20 by Virginia Bergin | Ameerah by Rebekkah Ford | The Samsaric by G.W. Lwin | Highway 7 by Perry Prete | The Zyne Project by Sara Brooke | Takers by Ann Swann | Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake | Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nuevel | Flotilla by Daniel Haight | Mercy by T. Fox Dunham | Night Things: Dracula Versus Frankenstein by Terry M. West
Kids Books Reviewed: Blue Ocean Bob: Into the Lead by Brook Olbrys | House of Robots: Robots Go Wild by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein | Your Star Will Glow Forever by Joshua Blum | Cindercast #1 by Michael Blackbourn | Horrible Harry and the Drop of Doom by Suzy Kline | Summons by A.L. Brown | Simon Cup’s Box by A.B. Syed | Magic Words by Edward Field | You are my Best Friend by Tatsuya Miyanishi | I’m Undead and Hungry by Shannon Knudsen | Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay | Xander & the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dalloway
Top 5 Wednesday Posts:
Top Ten Tuesday Posts: