Guest Review from a FAN of A SIMPLE TASTE FOR READING, Sarah Kurz…Haven by Stevie Kopas

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They continued to talk in the humid darkness on the gravel covered roof, inadvertently bonding over shared tragedies.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Haven, the second book in Stevie Kopas’ post-apocalyptic trilogy, proves to be just as captivating as the first. After finally making it to the coast, Samson, Veronica, Ben, Juliette, Andrew, and Clyde find themselves out on the ocean in a boat to see what’s left of humanity. Their journey leads them to Emerald City, an upper class resort in a land full of condominiums, shopping malls, and death.

 

The group is greeted by Gary, an upbeat Brit, who has taken up residence in the main tower of Emerald City.  The group is invited to move into the tower with Gary and they are finding that out of tragedy they are forming an unconventional family.

 

Along with continuing on with the journey of the group from The Breadwinner, Haven also introduces us to Michelle, a rough and wild woman who seems to be on a mission to hate the world.  Michelle, along with Lulu, her quiet and almost too-innocent friend, sets out to take up residence in the shopping center where the salon she worked at is located. The women set up camp with Francis, a security guard from the shopping center, and Desmond and Catherine, both doctors.  It doesn’t take long for the group to realize that Michelle isn’t exactly a team player or a people person and lots of conflict arises before the new group finally bumps into to the Emerald City gang while out on a supplies mission.

 

Just as she did in the first book, Kopas has a wonderful ability to create diverse and realistic characters.  I absolutely love the people she has developed, even the ones I hate…and there were some that I really, really hated. The inclusion of both characters that you adore and root for and characters that you positively loath is something that really makes a novel complete.  Kopas also does a superb job of not only including action, which we all know zombie apocalypse novels have, but also portraying the conflict that can arise when a group of people is forced to depend on strangers for survival.  There is plenty of fighting with the eaters, but she also shows us that sometimes the monsters we need to fear aren’t the ones wandering around aimlessly and blood thirsty, but the ones in our inner circle.

 

I definitely enjoyed the second book in the trilogy as much as I did the first.  I more or less read it all at once, not wanting to put it down.  The general direction that Stevie Kopas took with Haven and the suspenseful ending have me very anxiously awaiting the final book!

 

*****She has both of her books free on Amazon tomorrow!*****

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Guest Review from a FAN of A SIMPLE TASTE FOR READING, Sarah Kurz…A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There wasn’t another way to see Marrowdell.  There was another Marrowdell to be seen.

As far as fairy tales go, A Turn of Light is simply delightful.  Czerneda creates the world of Marrowdell, a tiny village that is tucked away from the rest of society.  It’s home to a variety of residents, all of which were forced there many years after being exiled from their homes.  Over the years they have grown to love and trust their quaint village and not question it’s mysteries.

 

Living in Marrowdell her entire life, 18-year-old Jenn Nalynn longs to travel past its boarders and explore the world.  Her father forbidding it, Jenn finds comfort in her meadow and with her lifelong friend Wisp, who comes to her simply as a warm breeze whispering in her ear and playfully dancing around her. It’s not long before Jenn realizes that she, Wisp, and Marrowdell all have something in common.  None of them are as they seem at first glance.  Marrowdell is home to two worlds, the one she knows and the Verge, which is home to Wisp, whose true form is a dragon, as well as many other creatures.  Being born as a part of both worlds, Jenn is turn-born and as full of magic as Marrowdell itself. With the realization that she is turn-born and possesses magic, Jenn also discovers that she will fade away at the end of the summer when the Great Turn arrives, bringing with it a solar eclipse.  With the help of Wisp, her sister Peggs, and Bannan Larmensu, a new-to-Marrowdell truthseerer who is rapidly becoming more than just a friend to the girl, she fights to save herself and the Verge.

 

If you are looking for a quick, easy read this book is not it.  However, if you are looking for something long and comforting to curl up on the couch with for hours, A Turn of Light is wonderful.  This book was much slower paced than a lot that I normally find myself reading, and I found that very refreshing.  Czerneda possesses the ability to create a land so detailed you’ll forget it isn’t real.  She paints a vivid picture of Marrowdell as well as it’s many inhabitants.  And if you find yourself forgetting who a few of those inhabitants are she saves you the trouble of flipping back through the book by adding a wonderful list of characters in the back.

 

My favorite characters from the book were the main ones; Jenn, Bannan, and Wisp.  Throughout the story the narrator moves the focus from one character to another, allowing us to get a personal feel for each and understand each individuals take on the situation.  I loved that.  They are beautifully written characters that possess both strengths and weaknesses.  With Bannan and Wisp, we not only see their joys, but we begin to understand their past struggles. Bannan was a particular favorite for me because he was an outsider to Marrowdell, so we get to see the village through the eyes of someone that hasn’t always called it home.  He has left his service in the guard to find somewhere peaceful to live and accidentally stumbles upon the small village and almost immediately finds himself at home there. The friendship and romance that forms between he and Jenn is beautifully written, as is his encounters with the other characters.  As far as heroines go, Jenn proves to be a worthy one.  In the beginning we see her as a girl and somewhat childish and selfish.  But as the story builds we watch her grow and change into a confident woman who cares a great deal for her home and those she loves.

 

This review barely skims the well written story that is A Turn of Light.  There are so many intriguing characters and such a marvelous world created that I could go on and on.  But I think it’s better if you discover all that Marrowdell has to offer on your own.

 

 

Guest Review from a FAN of A SIMPLE TASTE FOR READING, Sarah Kurz…The Breadwinner By Stevie Kopas

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Without another thought, without another second to spare, she threw herself to her feet and tore off running in the direction of the highway.  Looking back only once to see a tsunami of death advancing on her only friend left in the world.

 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The residents of Florida have found that the world has turned to Hell and only the strong can survive.  The role you once played in society no longer applies here and neither do the rules. The bonds of family and friendship can turn up in the most unlikely of places and be taken from you just as quickly.  And the dead roam wild and free.

 

The Breadwinner, the first book in Stevie Kopas’ post-apocalyptic trilogy, gives us a glimpse into the lives of normal people in a not-so-normal world.  A violent infection has broken out, turning the sick into “eaters” that devour the flesh of living, thus spreading the infection.  The main characters find themselves moving farther and farther from who they were in their previous lives to come together as a group in this new life.  Samson Eckhart, a wealthy, high class lawyer, begins to realize that the trivial things he and his wife valued so much really have very little meaning.  He tries to hold on to what normal used to be while creating a new normal for his family and his disillusioned wife, who are living in the gated community of Franklin Woods.  Veronica, a 16-year-old high school track star, finds that she has more strength in the face of disaster than she thought possible.  She is a pillar of bravery for her father and older brother and an unlikely friend for 25-year-old Ben, a veteran who now resides in a restaurant.  And Andrew, a police officer in Franklin Woods, must find a way to balance his relationship with his unstable girlfriend and his brother, all while making sure they aren’t eaten alive.  The group begins the story as total strangers, but soon learn that their chances of survival increase as they work together, even if the group as a whole doesn’t always see eye to eye. With one common goal, make it out alive, they try to come up with a plan that will get them to the coast and away from the monsters they have been avoiding.

 

While zombie apocalypse novels seem to be everywhere these days, The Breadwinner really intrigued me because I enjoyed the characters so much.  Kopas creates a nice variety of people that balance each other well and each offer their own uniqueness to the story.  She does a wonderful job of not only shaping the lives of the characters, but also allowing us to see how the apocalypse has affected the individuals emotionally and mentally.   I enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of such a variety of people.  I also enjoyed how each character brought a different type of strength to the group.  Kopas avoided the all-too-cliche apocalypse “badass” character, who seem to naturally know what to do in such an event, and instead created characters that learn to survive because of their individual strengths and willingness to overcome disaster.  I’m very anxious to see what will happen to the group when the second book is released!

Guest Review from a FAN of A SIMPLE TASTE FOR READING, Vickie Newman…The Day the Falls Stood Still By Cathy Marie Buchanan

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Set in Niagara Falls—one of the most magical places on earth (at least among those I’ve visited), this novel will not let you rest….until you finish it! It is a powerful story of the love, faith, and coming of age of Bess Heath, who at seventeen faces the reality of being overshadowed by her sister’s beauty and popularity, her father’s dismissal as Niagara Power Company’s director, her family’s subsequent slide from high society, and her inexplicable attraction to a young man considered beneath her in every aspect.

I love the way Buchanan weaves actual newspaper clippings of the era into the novel, about a particular legendary figure, who, perhaps, plays the larger role (saying more might spoil the mystique). While such interweaving of news informs us of the historical magnetism of Niagara Falls, Buchanan masterfully bridges that reality to otherworldly powers of uncanny prescience.

What amazes me is Buchanan’s ability to build suspense as she depicts her characters’ thoughts, beliefs, and actions in such a clear and endearing manner that I recognized them as people I might have known. Human nature and Nature itself will grip you to the end of this tale.

Thank you Vickie for your wonderful review, I am excited to read this book! 😀

Guest Review from a FAN of A SIMPLE TASTE FOR READING, Sarah Kurz…Alice in Zombieland By Gena Showalter

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Right now, I was the only one capable of seeing the zombies, the only one capable of defeating them – and yes, I was beyond inexperienced.  But this was what I’d wanted.  A chance to save the world.  For better or worse, I’d take it.

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Alice Bell wanted nothing more than to be a normal 16-year-old girl, but “normal” definitely wasn’t what she was.  She had spent her entire life hiding indoors after dark, her father afraid of the monsters that lurked outside once the sun had set.  Monsters that Alice believed her alcoholic father had made up in his head until one fateful night when those monsters took her entire family.  The loss of her family leaves Alice living with her grandparents and going to a new school with new friends.  It also opens up the doors for her to truly experience living in the world for the first time, and the world has proven to be a scary place.

It isn’t long before Alice realizes that a few of the kids in her new school aren’t quite “normal” either.  They see what she sees.  They see the monsters.  With the help of resident bad boy Cole Holland and his group of zombie killing friends, Alice begins to train to be a fighter.  She makes it her personal mission to rid the world of each and every zombie while avenging the death of her mother, father, and little sister. She begins to uncover the well kept secrets of the town she lives in and the school she attends, as well as a few surprising secrets of her own.

Alice in Zombieland was one of those captivating reads that had me still up at 2:00am, not wanting to put the book down.  While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, I did just that.  I was drawn in by the gorgeously eerie cover combined with the idea of a young adult zombie book with a strong female protagonist. While this book definitely falls into the YA category, and I assure you I’m several years past that age, it is sure to be a fun read for all ages.  Some may argue that it was a bit heavy on the high school drama, but I, personally, rather enjoy that aspect of a YA novel.

The character of Alice was without a doubt the best part of the book.  While the story line is an extremely interesting one, Alice is what really impressed me.  I loved the confidence and strength she has despite all of the heartache she experiences.  Her passion towards her family and her mission to end the zombies will have you rooting for her through the entire book.  Unlike many other YA female leads, Alice doesn’t let a little boy trouble or girl drama get in her way.  One thing I pay attention to when I read a YA novel is whether or not I would want my own daughter to someday read it when she is old enough.  Alice in Zombieland definitely makes that list.  I’m anxious to next read Through the Zombieglass and see where Alice’s adventures take her next!

Thank you Sarah for your wonderful review, I am excited to read this book! 😀