Pulse / Thirst (books 48 and 49)

Pulse / Kailin Gow

Synopsis – Poor Kalina. Her weird boyfriend died in a DUI accident, and now her dead boyfriend’s two half-brothers show up at her place with the hots for her. What’s a super smart and sexy high school girl to do? Resignedly, she must choose between these two devastatingly handsome, yet weird and kind of creepy beaus. To make matters worse, it turns out all three of the brothers are vampires, and (the smell of) Kalina’s Life Blood is irresistible to vampires. It gives them extra super vampire powers. And to further complicate the issue, she’s a virgin, and her blood isn’t ripe yet. And now vampires are coming out of the woodwork to get a taste of her. Or at least a sniff, until she ripens.

Reaction – Lots of windy weather and rogue wind gusts blowing around this YA novel. A high schooler dating a man centuries older than her was kind of creepy, but at least they didn’t do the deed. Shallow, under-developed characters and a predictable plot. The ever-present sexual tension was as irritating as the constant air-sniffing. This breezy teen vampire book might appeal to Twilight fans.

Recommendation – I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere.

Get it here – http://smile.amazon.com/PULSE-Vampire-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B0041D8CPC

*

Thirst / Claire Farrell

Synopsis – Ava is a human-vampire hybrid – an outcast from both worlds. She wants desperately to suck blood, but the thought of it is icky. So her life sucks. But Ava has special Daywalker powers, which makes full-blooded vampires jealous. One day she rescues a human from a vampire and inadvertently “charms” him into being her minion. Now she can’t get rid of him. So she enlists the help of the vampire world and its fringe characters. Then things really start to suck. So to speak.

Reaction – This YA book had a promising start with the main character struggling against a life-long compulsion which repulsed her. But then it delved into vampire history and politics and the plot stalled. It picked up somewhere with a confusing cross and double cross of alliances. The supporting characters were stereotypical and lacked clear motivations. Too much “vampire,” even for a vampire book. Where did all the humans go? An odd, unexplained cold presence kept feeling up the main character. A disturbing torture scene toward the end. For die-hard vampire fans only.

Recommendation – I guess some people would find this book worthwhile in some universe somewhere.

Get it here – http://smile.amazon.com/Thirst-Ava-Delaney-Book-1-ebook/dp/B004E9U9AY

*

Barbie Girl / Dollhouse (books 46 and 47)

Barbie Girl / Heidi Acosta

Synopsis – The queen skank ho of the local high school is failing another class. So she makes a deal with coolnerd. He tutors her, and she will make the popuprep of his dreams jealous by pretending to be his skanky girlfriend. Too bad crackpot high school schemes do not always go as planned. Despite the tutoring, she is still failing, and in the meantime, skank ho and coolnerd fall in love lust. But miraculously, popuprep claims coolnerd, and skank ho and coolnerd have a falling out. Can they reclaim the lust they once shared?

Reaction – Lots of smelling and touchy-feely going on in this tale of hormones and high school cliques. And apparently the characters skipped English class the day contractions were covered. Aside from the implausible jealousy scheme, this YA book had some riveting scenes, including a suspenseful OD scene, and a harrowing beating scene. A couple supporting characters added charm, and the ending was well-executed.

Recommendation – You are taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Girl-Baby-Heidi-Acosta-ebook/dp/B00A1GHSCG

*

Dollhouse / Anya Allyn

Synopsis – Four teens take a hike in a forest to complete a class assignment. When one of them goes missing, the other three decide to camp out in the forest to find her. The teens are kidnapped and held prisoner in a giant underground dollhouse. They now live with other kidnapped girls in the dark, cold, and damp twilight zone. Can they survive being drugged and malnourished long enough to execute their escape?

Reaction – Three teens camping out in a forest unsupervised is a bit implausible, but once the story got into the actual dollhouse, the mood and pace fell into place. Lots of teen angst and suffering. This YA book slowly immersed itself into the fantasy genre as the teens spent more time underground. A slow start, magical middle, and abrupt ending. Note – the version I read is no longer available on Amazon, and this book is not a standalone book, but rather the first one in a series.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get a different version here – http://www.amazon.com/Dollhouse-Anya-Allyn-ebook/dp/B00IY6QXN0

*

This Perfect Day / Plague Zone (books 44 and 45)

This Perfect Day / Ira Levin

Synopsis – In the future, a supercomputer controls civilization. The supercomputer decides everybody’s names, schooling, and careers. All eat the same, all play the same. All are content, cooperative, and drugged into compliance. But now and then a few individuals glimpse through the unity fog and wonder about a life without the lock-step conformity. What life was like before the supercomputer, when people where violent and selfish and sick. And now and then a few of these sick-minded individuals break away to try to destroy the supercomputer.

Reaction – The first third of this book was a bit dull with mechanical writing and shallow characters, even considering everybody was drugged. An odd preoccupation with sex ran throughout the book. A child sex scene, creepy and awkward, disrupted the flow of the story. Further on, an unexpected male on female rape scene also didn’t fit the story, and just added to the general misogyny reflected in the writing. Aside from those flaws, the book picked up in its action and intrigue just before the half-way point, and presented unexpected and intelligent questions about the meaning and value of freedom and conformity. An excellent premise with several exciting plot twists.

Recommendation – This hit and miss book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/This-Perfect-Day-Ira-Levin-ebook/dp/B004XEC084

*

Plague Zone / David Wellington

Synopsis – A family man decides to be a hero after the zombie apocalypse. Not by destroying all the zombies, buy by destroying just one of them – the one who took out his wife and child. And if he has to annihilate a few extraneous zombies in the process, well, that’s the price he has to pay. Now if he can only escape the little pocket of civilization he was lucky enough to stumble into, and immerse himself into the zombie masses to find and kill one particular undead brain-eater…

Reaction – The characters were a bit hung-ho and implausible, and the revenge motivation was eye-rollingly ridiculous. Nonetheless, this was a rip-roaringly exciting zombie apocalypse story. Plenty of walking dead suspense and action. Gruesome and creepy zombie descriptions and edge-of-your-seat escape scenes. A must read for zombie lovers.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Plague-Zone-David-Wellington-ebook/dp/B009HNKE3O

*

The Heartbreak Cafe / Bite (books 42 and 43)

The Heartbreak Cafe / Melissa Hill

Synopsis – An ensemble of women, some strangers, some best friends, are united by pregnancies and baby daddy drama. A Hollywood starlet, a suburban mommy, a spoiled housewife, a spurned mistress, and a jilted girlfriend. Star-crossed love, accidental pregnancy, a one-night stand, a morning-after pill, a broken marriage, and single motherhood. Who will end up happily ever after? Who will end up broken and bitter? Mix and match.

Reaction – High drama in mommyville. The start of this book was like reading the loose, scattered pages of several diaries. Half-way through the stories had intertwined. By the end, the fates had been meted. A lot of descriptions of motivations, and descriptions of emotions. Reading this book is like watching a Jerry Springer marathon without all the hair-pulling, bitch-slapping, and chair-throwing.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Heartbreak-Cafe-Lakeview-1-ebook/dp/B005IG6488

*

Bite / Nick Louth

Synopsis – On the eve of revealing a malaria breakthrough, a scientist is kidnapped. Her boyfriend gets little help from the police, and so must find and rescue her himself, with the help of his comrades. Of course, their plans are foiled by evil henchmen and even more evil BIG PHARMA. In the meantime, a new malaria strain starts sweeping the planet. Do the good guys have the grit and muscle to save the scientist? Will BIG PHARMA squash the new malaria cure?

Reaction – The book started out fast-paced and exciting, but soon got bogged down with long, drawn-out scenes with long, drawn-out conversations. Isn’t there a missing scientist and a possible malaria cure somewhere? Cut through the chase! Pages from the missing scientist’s diary of her previous kidnapping and torture were interspersed throughout. Well-written, but could’ve been half as long. Read this if you’re into overly wordy good guys VS bad guys scenes interspersed with overly wordy torture scenes.

Recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.

Get it here – http://www.amazon.com/Bite-most-gripping-thriller-will-ebook/dp/B00H9H7R1M

*