2015 Goodreads reading challenge

All posts tagged 2015 Goodreads reading challenge

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Genre: Horror > Terrorists > Zombies


Synopsis: When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills… and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills.  And that’s both a good, and a bad thing.  It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance….


My Star Rating:



My Review:

Not into zombies? Don’t be turned off by the thought of ambling flesh-eaters, you’ll love this tale regardless.

As it reveals in the synopsis, Patient Zero follows Detective Joe Ledger’s experience on a special mission against a terrorist group creating zombies.  Remove the flesh-eaters and the terrorists could be releasing the plague or a nuke or herd of sex-crazed ducks, and you would still fall in love with Joe Ledger in Maberry’s story. The true danger is the terrorists, the zombies merely their chosen weapon.

Quick-thinker by nature Detective Ledger’s take-no-shit approach makes him a perfect protagonist and Jonathan Maberry has captured the action and chaos of an unbiased game changer affecting all who comes in contact with the threatening pathogen.

Taking on multiple perspectives throughout the novel, we the readers get a glimpse into many agendas led by task force fighting the good fight and the terrorists who have concocted a near-perfect plan.

While the novel includes a love story, it’s not one which slows the pace or makes you scream “Why are you kissing? There’s zombies behind you!” Not even close. Maberry has found the balance between action, love, science, and procedural covert tactics while keeping you flipping pages to see how it all turns out.  I finished it in only a couple sittings and although I haven’t read more in the series to date, I promise you I will be.

Where to buy:

www. Amazon.com

Author Bio and Contacts:

JonathanMaberryProfile-2-266x300JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

Website: http://www.jonathanmaberry.com

Twitter: @JonathanMaberry

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/72451.Jonathan_Maberry

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Genre: Science Fiction


Synopsis: In the first novel of C.S. Lewis’s classic science fiction trilogy, Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet’s treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there. Ransom discovers he has come from the ‘silent planet’ – Earth – whose tragic story is known throughout the universe…


My Star Rating:

4 stars



My Review:

This is my first experience with C.S. Lewis. Yes, I know, shame on me. Also, I never read the Narnia books, but a good friend and fellow author sent the first of this space trilogy to me for Christmas so it was added to the to-be-read pile. Again, not a Lewis follower, or even a huge science fiction fan, I was unsure of what to expect and found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Kidnapped and brought to an alien planet (Mars or otherwise) would have left me fetal and useless, but Ransom is an intelligent man. Once he meets some natives of the planet he integrates well and even learns their language. Besides Ransom’s impressive survival skills, I was drawn into the world of colour and creatures Lewis created and took a moment every few pages to sit back and explore the possibly of encountering these beings, visualizing them with ease.

The world around Ransom, even the trip to the planet itself, is captured with brilliant description as well as a knowledge of humankind which add a few layers of wisdom within the pages.

An excerpt: ‘Be silent’ said the voice of Oyarsa. ‘You, thick one, have told me nothing of yourself, so I will tell it to you. In your world you have attained great wisdom concerning bodies and by this you have been able to make a ship that can cross the heaven; but in all other things you have the mind of an animal.’

Considering some of those I’ve met or encountered in some form, I agree much of mankind is no better than the animals we cage.

I haven’t yet read the rest of the trilogy, but based on what I’ve read so far, I will be seeking it out.


Where to Buy: Amazon.com


Author Bio & Contacts:

1069006CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.


Website: http://www.cslewis.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1069006.C_S_Lewis






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**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal – YA (Young Adult)

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.


My Star Rating:

4 stars


My Review:

After given this book from mother with the only description of “It’s weird. Just read it and tell me what you think.” I had to give it a try. Sifting tumblr_m3rxb53fhf1qe5r69o1_500through it before reading, the first thing I noticed was pictures. I haven’t read a picture book in many years, and as soon as I saw the odd photos, I was already hooked. To my extreme delight, as you’ll find explained in the back of the book, besides some “minimal postprocessing, they (the photographs) are unaltered.” Saved from flea markets and old trucks, Riggs uses photos from the collections of 10 others (including the cover photo), injecting them into the narrative to illustrate Jacobs journey in finding answers about fairy tales his grandfather told him all his life.

Drawing me into his world of creepiness (my favorite), I wanted to know the answers as much as Jacob. Not a typical supernatural thriller, Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children are rather desperate and hanging on to old notions of life Jacob finds difficult to understand. With a mix of history, not only in the vintage photographs but in the story as well, Jacob navigates this odd turn of events as well as any storybook bumbling hero who is everything but a hero, but strives to save those he cares about in a time and place he knows little about.

peregrine2Miss Peregrine is an odd old bird keeping the whole lot in line. Her children her life as she keeps care of them like a school house head mistress. Each child with their own story and Riggs pairs them well with these creepy photographs.

The deserted island in Wales hosts a wealth of interesting characters you want to pull up a bar stool and chat with, if you can understand them. The world Riggs created alongside this island a place you could picture getting lost on and finding folks like Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children.

For a sixteen year old kid who had a life designed for him while in diapers, Jacobs finds himself on a journey all his own.

Read for the adventure, linger on the vintage photos, and imagine yourself in the life Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children live. Running away to a circus will seem boring in comparison.



Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Also find: The sequel ‘Hollow City’

Author Bio and Contacts:

3046613 I grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for mentalfloss.com, and make short films.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I’m really excited about it — it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, you might be interested in a book comprised entirely of found photographs that I have coming out January 2012 from HarperCollins. It’s called Talking Pictures. You can find sneak peeks by doing a search for “mental floss talking pictures” (I included a number of images in blogs there) and I made a kinda-sorta book trailer for it, which is on my youtube page: youtube.com/ransriggs.

Also, watch out for a Miss Peregrine book trailer, which I’m working on right now! I get to go to Belgium and film inside creepy abandoned chateaus, which I’m *really* looking forward to.

Website: http://www.ransomriggs.com

Twitter: @ransomriggs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ransom-Riggs/191481354199281


Click cover photo for Goodreads profile


**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Paranormal Suspense – YA (young adult)

Synopsis: Heading off for a weekend in Las Vegas with her friends, Jessie Ralle has only one worry—how to make it through the road trip in the same car with her Ex, Jimmy Kelter. The guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. The guy who’s finally ready to tell her why he did it, because he wants her back.

But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.

To Witch World.

Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?

My Star Rating:



My Review:

The synopsis leaves so many holes it’s difficult to review without spoiling, but I’ll do my best.

Witch World was a roller coaster for me. In the beginning I was unimpressed, made no connection with Jessie the main character, who I felt was dramactic and  arrogant, plus I couldn’t envision the direction Pike was headed and floundered on putting the book down all together. Then along came Russ and he peaked my interest as the first character worth my emotional investment.

Russ is an immediate mystery and captivated Jessie as much as he did me. While his description painted him deliciously, his prowess in gambling let us know something about him wasn’t normal, and as interaction between him and Jessie continued, so did my curiosity, keeping me flipping pages I thought I was done with.

Then the left hook hit and I fell in love and read for hours, losing sleep, and waking up for work with a reading hangover. When action scenes hit, Pike held me within the emotion of his characters and kept me holding on. Even when Witch World was introduced I wanted to discover the differences and understand the new game Russ taught Jessie.

The relationship between Jessie and Jimmy fell flat for me. I didn’t understand the love between them, but it’s possibly because Pike was so focused on Russ in the beginning, that Jimmy became insignificant and uninteresting in comparison. I’d like to say I understood, but I didn’t.

The duality of Jessie was confusing as well. We all have our polarizing aspects of personality, but Jessie’s felt forced by the author and lost authenticity. Something I found myself questioning and shaking my head at when it crept up into extreme actions and reactions that made no sense and had me disliking Jessie all the more.

At one point a significant death occurred. I was shocked. Not only at the fact this character was gone, but that not enough attention was brought to this fact. The disappointment made me want to shove the book into a snowbank, but I kept on hoping Pike would redeem himself and find a way for the reader to mourn the character. Nope. The opportunity never came.

Once I pushed away the disappointment in order to read on, I was clobbered by a history lesson. A few, actually. While I enjoy historical facts and the depth it brings to certain characters, this was too much, and I felt myself skimming, happy for it since it did nothing for the story but leave me dissatisfied again when a characters dies and I’m left wondering why.

I gave Witch World a 3-star rating because the plot points and characters that were good, were really good, but the others lacked depth and created frustration as the reader. I still think anyone who is a Pike lover should read this, but understand it won’t be the best piece of writing you’ve ever read, while won’t be the worst worst either. I’m all for making the reader feel a myriad of emotions, but it needs to be for the right reasons.

I do see there’s a sequel. And even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the first, I will still definitely check out the second and other Christopher Pike novels.

Where To Buy: Amazon.com – available in paper and ebook formats

Also Known For: Thirst Series (In my To Be Read Pile)


Click cover photo for Goodreads link








Author Bio and Contacts:

19954Christopher Pike is the pseudonym of Kevin McFadden. He is a bestselling author of young adult and children’s fiction who specializes in the thriller genre. McFadden was born in New York but grew up in California where he stills lives in today. A college drop-out, he did factory work, painted houses and programmed computers before becoming a recognized author. Initially unsuccessful when he set out to write science fiction and adult mystery, it was not until his work caught the attention of an editor who suggested he write a teen thriller that he became a hit. The result was Slumber Party (1985), a book about a group of teenagers who run into bizarre and violent events during a ski weekend. After that he wrote Weekend and Chain Letter. All three books went on to become bestsellers.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherPikeBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CPikeForever

Simon and Schuster: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Christopher-Pike/1080960

Website: ChristopherPikeBooks.com (not working at time of review)


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Click cover art for Goodreads page


**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Mystery/Detective thriller

Synopsis: Doyle Godwin works nights as a Private Investigator in the small town of Gabriel’s Horn. He has learned how to hide his twisted, giant frame in the dark, avoiding the cruel eyes and taunts of the locals as he ekes out a living tracking down adulterers and other night-dwellers, living vicariously through the images he captures on camera.

Lurking in the shadows, he is content with his world until, one day, the only woman he ever loved walks into his office and hires him to find her missing daughter. Emmy Watson is losing hope. After three long weeks, her daughter Scarlett remains missing and the FBI have slowly removed themselves from the search, leaving an impotent Sheriff’s department no closer to solving the kidnapping. Her heart broken and her nerves frayed to their ends she hires Doyle, Sheriff Reid’s main suspect, forcing the town’s Boogieman out into the daylight.

Sheriff Emerson Watts has discovered a body beneath Mt Rainier’s watchful gaze. An ex-FBI agent with a once bright future, he sifts through the detritus of the murder scene and realizes there might be a connection between his case and the missing girl in Gabriel’s Horn. Trying to meet with Sheriff Reid, he instead bumps into the deformed detective and triggers an avalanche which threatens to swallow them all up. MONSTERS is a dark, complex, character driven psychological thriller.

My Star Rating:



(Yup! That’s 5 stars)

My Review:

I seldom stray from my beloved genres but am branching out. ‘Monsters’ gives me a reason to seek others like it while knowing I’ve never read something that made me fall in love with the main character so quickly. Doyle Godwin is not your average Private Investigator. You won’t find a jilted ex-wife,  a military past, a boss threatening to can him if he screws up one more time, or the typical fractured man in a yummy package waiting for the right damsel in distress to add glitter to his outlook on life. No. Doyle works on his own terms, utilizing the shadows, while refusing to allow his physical limitations to prevent him from solving cases. His brain and tenacity for the truth his brand of “sexy” that keeps your heart pattering for all the right reasons.

When Doyle’s high school love – Emmy Watson – comes to him in desperation in a last ditch effort to find her missing child, Gareth S. Young takes his readers through Doyle’s struggles as his disfigurements paints him the town “monster”, everyone focusing on his jarring exterior instead of his prowess at seeking the truth. Gareth S. Young ensures to keep his readers guessing at who the real monsters are while exploring our preconceived notions of what a “monster” is during his search for what happened to Emmy’s little girl.

I kept an open mind the whole way through, but couldn’t pinpoint the evil doer until events culminated in a climax that had me frantic to flip the page. While I grit my teeth at the audacity of some characters ignorance, shuddered at the extent some traveled to satisfy their selfish needs, and inwardly cheered for small triumphs peppered along the way, the only criticism I would give Monsters is there were a couple flashbacks that tripped me up. These did not lower my 5-star rating as they injected a plethora of information and emotion into the characters they involved and amplified my zeal to know more. My frustration stemmed from my need for instant gratification. I wanted answers. Those emotions don’t deserve to be penalized. As readers we crave the opportunity to be swept away and Gareth S. Young did not disappoint.

I can’t recommend ‘Monsters’ enough. While some parts make it unsuitable for youngsters as the use of sexual content and gore play their parts, the story has something for everyone. Which sounds trite, but is true. Emotionally rich characters, loyal friendships, action, suspense, the Private Detective elements, appropriate sexual content and gore, even hints of revenge with psychological elements that have you questioning your own views while guessing at the true monsters.

Read it now, people. Thank me later.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com – Kindle Edition (worth every penny)

Author Bio and Contacts:


Gareth S. Young was born and raised in Scotland. He packed up his kilt and moved to the United States and now does much the same as he did in Scotland, only people think his accent is way cooler.

In 2010, he self-published his first full length story, a mystery/suspense novel called Monsters.

In April 2013, his short story “The Orange-headed Serpent” was published in the Orange Karen Anthology.

Currently, he is hard at work editing a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel based in the fictional Dynamo City. “The Wolves of Dynamo” is book one in an ongoing series.

Also coming soon, the mystery/suspense story “Persephone”, a follow up to Monsters, which he intends on querying to agents.

Website : http://1000trillionsuns.blogspot.ca/p/about.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpartaGus

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4118697.Gareth_S_Young

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004196356545







Click for Goodreads page


**Any spoilers are unintentional and I apologize in advance if I let any slip that ruin the story for you. The purpose of the reviews are to highlight books I’ve read as part of a personal reading and blogging challenge for 2015. Read here for my personal expectations. I have not been asked by authors to do these reviews, I’m just reviewing as I read.**

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Crime Drama

Synopsis: Detective Elliott “Eli” Robinson and his new partner, Ava Aguilar, are baffled by a series of brutal murders happening in their fair city. No evidence, no eyewitnesses…only mutilated corpses with missing internal organs.

When Eli and Ava stumble upon evidence of similar gruesome crimes around the globe, they realize there is more to the murders, but the answers continue to elude them. In a race against time, Eli and Ava must figure out who is behind the killings and stop them before more people die.

But the answers will take them out of their comfort zone and into the realm of the fantastic: another world with a different set of rules, and a leader who has no qualms about killing.

My Star Rating:

4 stars



My Review:

As the synopsis tells us, ORGAN REAPERS is a mash of two worlds. For the reader this means the grit of real life we drive by and rubberneck at, and the fantasy world equipped with steam powered technology we imagine when we can’t sneak a peek at the gore past the police tape.

Detectives Eli and Ava are faced with too many mutilated bodies with similar causes of death, and zero evidence of their murderers, to leave the case alone. It consumes them and takes their mind off some of the not so glamorous consequences of being married to the job.

First thing, I love these two. A good crime drama needs it’s archetypal heroes and Eli and Ava filled out the roles and made me want to know more about their private lives than what Shay West shared. Plus, every good story needs an ample smattering of eye candy equipped with a keen intuition for the nasty side of life. Secondly, Shay West made me grit my teeth along with Eli’s impatience at lacking answers, never immediately convinced of anything without proof, and feel giddy and alive with Ava’s anticipation to delve into the otherworldly explanation behind these murders. This keeping me stabbing my e-reader to find out what happened next.

While allowing us to tag along with Eli and Ava, Shay West also brings us into the lives of two young and naive idealists, Keena and Tani, who skip into our world with a purpose they question. A mission considered of the near highest importance in their world and handed down by someone you don’t say no to. Besides being truly entertained by them navigating the modern world, I found myself cursing their actions and then rooting for their cause, attempting to wrap my mind around their decisions and question if I would have made the same.

Alongside driving the plot with characters I rooted for, Shay West brought about a continuing theme I couldn’t ignore. How do you choose one life over another? How do you decided how far is too far when considering saving a life? Should you blindly follow leaders without question regardless of the higher power they speak for? In Keena and Tani’s world these answers is easy, but since Eli and Ava’s world is the one suffering, they won’t stand idly by without intervention. Shay West ensures I never got lost between worlds, yet also challenged me to think deeper into the lengths at which is appropriate to explore when considering the stakes involved.

I was left with many questions. Not ones that diminished the ending or I’d be pulling my hair out and giving it a lower rating, but ones I was curious about enough to give me a reading hangover as I contemplated the possibilities. HOWEVER, I’m fan-girling after hearing Shay West is releasing a sequel called SOUL REAPERS on October 31, 2015. One that promises to step things up a notch and (I’m hoping) answer some of those mind-boggling questions I was left hanging with.

If you enjoy genre crossing stories that hit you with compelling characters, and moral quandaries which question your corner of the world, than ORGAN REAPERS is worth picking up and binge reading as I had, having finished it in 6.5 hours.

Sacrificing sleep was worth the payout.


Where to Buy: Amazon.com – Kindle Edition

Author Bio and Contact:

Author pictureShay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military scifi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fundraiser), Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy), and Horror in Bloom.



website: http://shay-west.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shaywestauthor
Twitter: @DrShayWest
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4687346.Shay_West
WattPad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/ShayWest5

I’ve heard you can’t be a writer without reading A LOT. Turning pages has never been an issue for me, I carry a book with me damn near everywhere I go, until my writing became more than a hobby and sucked up free time like a scavenging pug.

In efforts to simultaneously read more and utilize my blog, I’ll be participating in the 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge. Over the course of 2015 I pledged to read 35 books.




For some, that number laughable, they can speed read through book every two days and think I’m being lazy. Well, I have a somewhat busy life and a full-time day job on top of this author life I’m trying to break into, so 35 is a respectable challenge for me, one I’m stepping up to, having read two books already and starting in on my third. However, I’ve been home sick so I’ve got a head start.

To hold myself accountable to the blog piece of my goal, I’ll then write a blog review of the book I read and post it on the Wednesday morning after I complete the book as well as on Goodreads and Amazon. I don’t make a habit of doing reviews, which is shameful as their importance is greater than people realize. You read a book, give it a review. Doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, but an opinion and a star rating go a long way.

To further challenge myself, I’ll also try to utilize the wonderful #MondayBlogs tag (If you blog and don’t know about it, hit the link and discover the brilliance) and blog of more personal inspirations and happenings on Mondays as I did last week on Journalling which I enjoyed sharing my love of with everyone.


With attempts to get my first novel out into world with Booktrope Publishing (no, I don’t have a release date yet) this is more than enough plates spinning above my head, so keep an eye out on Mondays and Wednesdays for personal blogs and book reviews, and I’ll do my best not to drop the goal like a New Years work out regiment.

Have a great weekend dreamers and screamers.