Review: Until the End (Quarantined #1) by Tracey Ward

Until the End (Quarantined #1)
Author: Tracey Ward
Pub. Date: January 13, 2014
Acquired: Amazon

An outbreak of The Fever has taken hold of Portland, Oregon, bringing the population to its knees. The Fever spreads and kills quickly, but the dead aren't staying dead.

When her neighbor, Jordan, saves her from one of the infected, Alissa joins him in his plan to escape the city, the disease and the threat of a quarantine that will lock the living in with the undead.

What she doesn't tell him is that she has an illness of her own, one that plays tricks with her mind and makes her a dangerous companion. But Jordan has a secret as well, one that compels him to keep Alissa, a veritable stranger, safe at all costs.

As they fight for their lives and race for their freedom, they'll discover that what they truly need in order to survive is to stay together until the end.

~My Review~

Right now I have a serious fondness for all things zombie/apocalyptic/romance. It's scary. Maybe it says there's something wrong with me. Regardless, I'm an addict with writing a questionnaire. I can't stop. We can diagnose my issues later.

For now, let's talk about Until the End. Because here's the thing with the zombie genre, currently... It's really hit or miss. And Until the End was definitely a hit.
It takes a certain precious balance of romance and scary running-away-from-zombies-and-crazy-people to make me happy with these books. I need to know that I'm going to love the main characters and care about them and their relationships...Not just their survival. Both are equally important.

Ms. Ward did such an amazing job with that! Seriously. Because, here's another thing. Seeing as how there ARE so many authors tackling this genre right now, it's also hard to keep things fresh and original.

So, awesome balance of romance/horror? Check.
Originality? Check.
Able to keep me involved all throughout? Double check.

As a single book, Until the End shone bright for me.
I loved Alissa's already teetering balance on reality and life BEFORE she got inundated with dead people trying to eat her face. I loved that there was just enough of that little psychosis in there to keep her interesting without life or death scenarios. I loved the fact that she was a bad-ass with a bow.

I loved Jordan and his conflicted feelings regarding his decisions. These characters were totally relatable.

So, as a series? Well, you'll have to check back next time for my review of book #2 in the Quarantine series. But, I promise, this series is very solid.

~My Rating~

~About the Author~

Tracey Ward was born in Eugene, Oregon and studied English Literature at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) It was there that she discovered why Latin is a dead language and that being an English teacher was not actually what she wanted to do with her life.

Tracey's husband, son and 80lbs pitbull who thinks he's a lapdog are her world.

Review & Giveaway: Broken Skies by Theresa Kay

Oh boy!! My very first review in quite some time! And let me just say, this book is the PERFECT one to start with!!!

Title: Broken Skies
Author: Theresa Kay
Pub. Date: March 10, 2014
Acquired: Amazon
Find "Broken Skies":
Amazon | B&N

~Book Blurb~
Thirty years ago, civilization collapsed. Few survived.
Ten years ago, the aliens arrived…and stayed.
One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.
Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do anything to get him back.

In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell's world, humans are nearly extinct and alien settlers have arrived.

Until recently, the E’rikon have remained segregated in their city and ignored the few humans who have tried to engage them… but now they have taken Jax’s brother. To rescue him, she forms an uneasy alliance with a teenage E’rikon left stranded in the woods. She agrees to guide him to the city if he sneaks her past the human-proof barrier. Too bad it’s not that simple.

Jax, who cannot stand to be touched, finds that’s she’s drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales down his back. And he’s equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn’t know the alien’s true motives and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

In this world where alien and human are at odds, the connection forming between the two has consequences. What started off as a rescue mission sets a chain of events in motion which threatens not only the remaining humans and the growing alien society, but Earth itself.

~My Review~

So, I was feverishly looking for a new book to buy last week. And by "feverishly" looking, I mean "oh-my-goodness-I-need-a-super-wonderful-read-right-now-or-I'll-go-crazy" looking. It was intense. I couldn't really concentrate. It was late, I should have been going to bed but I knew that if I didn't buy and start a good book I'd never get to sleep. It's like a ritual for me or something.

I can't tell you how lucky I am that most of the Facebook blogging pages that I was browsing recommended Broken Skies. Because, seriously, I went into this book thinking I could read a chapter or two and be done but I didn't go to bed until about 3am. Yeah.

I felt like this book was one of those that immediately held my interest. Oftentimes, I find myself trudging through the first few pages of a book trying to get hooked by a character's inner dialogue or a descriptive introduction and world building. But Ms. Kay started strong by jumping right into the story with our main character, Jax, and an obviously semi-stressful situation. And THEN, we're given some background. The segue was flawless.

As for the main characters; Jax and Lir, I really can only complain that there wasn't more of these two! This is just the beginning of a series so I have a feeling we'll see a lot more depth to both of these characters as the story progresses but I am already very involved in their love story. It's the classic Romeo and Juliet type story that involves two people(uh, human and alien?) that connect and grow to care about each other but due to a world that just wants to divide them, they're never really able to just be together.

I think that is the beauty of a story like this. You have two people who are obviously young and still maturing and so confused about everything else in life. Life or death things. But when it comes to each other, regardless of how things seem, I don't believe for a moment that they doubt their connection. This is what the reader has to hold on to.

So, here I am... Holding on to this couple and their amazing story throughout the book. And then the end. Wow. I have to say that I don't think I expected the end.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Seriously. You absolutely won't regret it.

If you don't have the money to buy it right now, enter my giveaway. That's right. I loved this book SO much that I decided to give away a copy. :)

~My Rating~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~About the Author~

The only person she knows who had a subscription to Writer's Digest at eleven and was always excited to write research papers, Theresa Kay has been putting words to paper since a young age. She writes predominantly in the sci-fi and urban fantasy genres. Residing in central Virginia, she juggles two kids, a husband and a full-time job in addition to her writing and in her free time she reads almost anything she can get her hands on.

Ok, enough talking about myself in the third person… I love interacting with readers, so if you want to shoot me a line, you can connect with me on Facebook and Tumblr Even if it’s not about my books, I like chatting about my (many) fandoms, books and reading in general, or just about anything really.

Ducks in a Row

Hellooooooooooooooooo! Anybody out there?!

Seriously, at this point I'd be surprised if anybody remembers me. It's been a long time. I mean a SERIOUSLY long time. If you don't believe me, just look at the last post. Yeah. A LONG time.
What's changed since then?

Well, all of my kids are a year older. Which, when they're little, means a LOT! Homeschooling is so much more intense now! Gah!
Also, I have my very own computer now! (Yay!!!) I didn't have one before and that is one of the reasons that I had to stop blogging. It was intense trying to do everything on my iPad.

Oh, yeah! I don't have an iPad anymore. ;)

Okay. What else has changed?
I'm in my thirties, now. I was only in my twenties the last time I was on here. I'm a ripe 31-year-old, now. Okay, maybe not "ripe". When I think "ripe", I think smelly. I'm not smelly, I promise.

Besides that, I think when I left you all last, my husband and I were taking in two other children. Well, those children are NOT with us anymore, so it's just our teeny-tiny family of six now!

What else has changed? Uh, here's a biggie. BECAUSE I'm older and wiser (haha!) and seasoned I've come back to the book blogging world with a new mind-frame. A new mantra, if you will. That's right.
Here it is: I WILL NOT TAKE ON MORE THAN I CAN HANDLE. Which means that I will NOT agree to reviewing 20 books in two months. Nope. Because all that does is lead to me being rushed and being a bad mommy or a bad blogger. I'm over that.
Now that my youngest is actually not so much a baby anymore, I'm ready to jump back into this blogging business. Only this time, I know what NOT to do.
But, first I have to get my ducks in a row (you were waiting for this, right?). I need to start out slowly. I need to review what I'm already reading. Maybe do a few not-too-involved blog tours, and maybe just some old-fashioned getting to know people.
Because I have a feeling what's going on over here isn't the only thing that's changed. Right? Right.
So, please, if you're reading this, give me a comment. Some love. Some hate. Anything.

P.S. Here's what I've been doing this past year. ;)