After the Cure
This isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse as there’s a cure for the zombie condition and a lot of immune people who are rebuilding society. In fact, they’ve captured the scientists they believe started the zombie plague. It’s up to Dr. Nella Reider, the court- appointed psychiatrist to decide if the defendants are mentally able to stand trial. While interviewing them, she and the defense lawyer discover clues that lead to other conspirators and a second planned outbreak (which they’ve got to stop.)
Exciting, but what made this story for me was the likable ex-zombies, who gave their take on their zombie history and then went on to rebuild their lives and to play major roles in the story’s action.
If you want to see a zombie outbreak from the zombie’s point of view, or if you’ve ever wanted to envision what might happen as society rebuilds after it collapses, this novel is worth checking out.
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After the Cure
Jack has always felt unneeded, ignored—almost invisible, but when his parents divorced, he’s shipped off to an uncle and aunt, who live in a small Iowa town. For the first time in his life, he is noticed. He makes friends, and he’s needed. He can’t believe it. He’s important. There’s an evil only he can right, if he can figure it out and if he doesn’t die first.
My favorite thing about this story of magic and secrets is that the characters are human. Even those who have extraordinary gifts struggle with emotions and ordinary life and they need help from a fascinating and likable cast of small town folk who are simply regular joes.
The story comes to a satisfying end when even the villain does the right thing. If you’re a fan of fantasies and feel-good stories, this would be a great read for you.
Molly and Kip, an orphaned sister and brother, seek employment at the Windsor House, but the house is falling down and the family that lives there are curiously losing their health and vigor even as they seem to gain the things they wish for. And this is only the start. Thugs threaten the master of the house. The branches of a sinister tree scratch the windows while its roots wiggle into the cellar and a ghostly gardener creeps through the halls. If Molly is to save her brother, the family and herself, she must figure out why all this is happening and stop the gardener.
This is a creepy ghost story with a plucky heroine who is likely to win your heart as she struggles through some surprising reversals. If you like dark fantasy and eerie stories, this might be right up your alley.
The people in the Protectorate think that the baby they sacrifice to the Witch of the Woods each year will keep them safe from the dangers of the volcano and the swamp, but that’s not the case. For years, they’ve been lied to; however, when the Xan, a good witch, rescues a baby she names Luna, things change.
I don’t want to tell you too much of the plot, but the all characters are well drawn and fascinating. There’s a baby dragon, a swamp beast, a renegade sister, a courageous carpenter, a scheming bureaucrat, a nagging mom, and a mad woman, as well as good and bad witches, and a lot of dysfunctional families that need to be reunited.
My favorite part of this story about love and magic is that good shines through. It’s a story where hope wins over sorrow and right is stronger than wrong. The longer I listened to this tale, the better I felt. When I got to the end, I was grinning ear-to-ear and planning to start the story again. If life has you down, this could be a great fictional fix for you.
In the middle of London, during the plague, Charlie Tuesday investigates a ritual murder, only to be framed as both a witch and a killer. He escapes, but then he is forced to find the real slayer to clear his name, and well, live. Of course, the killing is part of a web of mysteries and conspiracies and everything is more intense because of the sickness and the chaos it causes. Oh, yeah, there is also this key that Charlie wears around his neck. It is his only clue to a mother who abandoned him and it is somehow connected to the witchcraft and the strange doings in the city.
There’s also a romance of sorts. For me, it didn’t quite work. I wasn’t fond of the woman he fell for. Yet, I kept reading because I was rooting for Charlie and I had to see how all the mysteries came together.
If you like historical whodunnits, this is a read for you.
My favorite thing about Passages is the world building, which is complex and deeply thought out. It’s a world a reader could immerse herself in. There is so much depth and so many possibilities that I’m guessing Laurel could write many, many tales about the world.
Yet, like all good science fiction, the cool-strange becomes comprehensible as the characters experience the world. This story starts out with Quinn on the run with his grandmother. He’s lost his memory, so as he discovers cross jumping and goad as well as love, we as readers get to learn along with him. Quinn’s returning memories give clues to a conspiracy, a psychic force that suspends aging and an army of cyborg agents. In between there’s a love story. Two strong, but vulnerable people work out their differences and succeed in finding acceptance in each other.
If you like worlds that are as fascinating as Faberge eggs, this is a story you’re sure to enjoy.
The Haunting of Sam Cabot: A Novel
This is a cautionary tale. When you’re a less-than-stable main character and you’re driving through the country and you see a huge, but lovely fixer-upper in the middle of nowhere that is for sale, don’t stop. When there’s a creepy old caretaker who gives you a tour and everything from the overgrown lawn to the monster of a heating system gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t offer to buy the place. Don’t move in. Nightmares, anxiety, murders, and ghostly visitations are sure to follow.
However, if you’re a reader and you like the shivers that run up the back of her neck as you turn the page, this is worth your time.
I’d like to tell you more, but I’ve been warned to never tell what’s in the well. Yes, there is a bad-smelling, boarded-up well that, sure enough, the main character opens. It’s almost certain, any number of innocent geeks are going to get dragged in, chewed up and spit out, but I’m not telling.
Then the story gets even more scary. It reads like a Stephen King or Peter Straub thriller. My one complaint might be that the ending wasn’t the payoff I’d hoped for. Yet, for the twists and chills in the middle I recommend this read.
Forgotten God: Remembering Our Crucial Need for the Holy Spirit
Francis Chan challenges readers to evaluate their relationship with God and to consider what it means to trust him. It’s thought-provoking, deeply moving and more than a little convicting. Francis backs up his points with scripture, so readers can test his words. My takeaway is God is with us and he wants to help, especially in those impossible and yet daily situations—expect trouble and know that it’s natural and we’re not alone in it.
If you want to turn your Christianity into an adventure, this is the read for you.
The Sick House
This is an old fashioned haunted house tale with secrets, murders, spirits and underground tunnels. The main character, Harlan Ulrich, an aging private investigator, cares more about coffee beans than people, yet I liked him. He is flawed and quirky and just plain interesting. Needing to pay his rent, he accepts a missing person job. He’s to locate kindly Dr. Siegfried Klein, who disappeared after making a house call in the ghost town of Moonville. Well, neither the doctor nor the ghost town are quite what they seem and Ulrich is determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries despite how over-the-top spooky everything is. Ulrich was probably as scared as I would be the first time he peeked into the old place. Birds were crashing into the windows; the rain was rattling the roof and Ulrich was all alone with only the glow of his cellphone to light his path. Then something grabbed him. As a reader, my heart stopped, but you know, I kept reading. I’m going to look for the next book in the series.
The Star-Touched Queen
This story starts with a princess born under an unhappy horoscope. It’s a beautiful written fairytale with lush prose and vivid images about star-crossed lovers. The story drew me in. I was right with Princess Mayavati as she tried to figure out her new circumstances and right beside her when she journeyed to find her lost love and managed to find herself. If you like fantasies with fantastic world building that are laced with sweet romance and dreamlike events, you’d probably enjoy this tale. I did.