Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Crocodile on Sandbank

Crocodile on Sandbank

Amelia Peabody, indomitable Victorian, embarks for Egypt armed with confidence, journal, and umbrella. Enroute to Cairo, she rescues dainty Evelyn, abandoned by her lover. They sail up the Nile to the archeological dig of the Emerson brothers – irascible but dashing Radcliffe and amiable Walter. A lively mummy, visitations, accidents, kidnap attempt – evil is afoot. (From Goodreads)

This book went off to a bit of a slow start, but it was a nice introduction to Amelia and how she came to be. I enjoy her character, she stands out in Victorian society, she’s strong willed and fiercely independent. Evelyn comes along later in the plot and she’s the complete opposite. Yet the two are fast friends and compliment each other. When the Emerson brothers are introduced, one can already come to conclusions as to who goes out with who. They make cute couples, although Amelia and her love interest was the best of the two couples (love their bantering)

The plot itself is a really nice mixture of historical fiction and mystery. There’s elements of thriller/horror in the plot itself so as it progresses. The mystery doesn’t really start until at least a third way into the story. There is a supernatural element into the story as well, but of course, being a historical mystery, there’s a logical explanation to it all.

The only few criticisms I have of this story is the slow pace of it, character development is fine and fills the plot in between, but it’s not until you read further into the book does the mystery intensify and become more thrilling.

Still, it’s worth a read. Historical mystery lovers will enjoy the start of what looks like a great series. I’ll be looking for the second one to read as well.

I give it an 8 out of 10

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Amped by Daniel H Wilson

Amped

amped

Some people are implanted with upgrades that make them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of “amplified” humans. On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, 29-year-old Owen Gray discovers that his seizure-suppressing medical implant is actually a powerful upgrade. Owen joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as “amps” and is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumoured, a group of the most enhanced amps are about to change the world—or destroy it. (From Goodreads)

This book grabbed me from the first page and I’m thinking Daniel H Wilson is quickly becoming my favorite new author. I loved reading this from cover to cover.

It’s certainly an interesting concept, where we can become ‘amplified’ to enhance ourselves but then you’d have to ask yourselves where the line is crossed and when it’s too much? when does it become out of hand to the point where those with ‘amps’ are then ostracized and become second class citizens. These are all the things to look at while reading this book.

What makes it so good is the action that begins right in the beginning of the book, and all throughout the book which engages the reader and makes the book a non stop read. It’s pretty much fast paced, although through the middle of the book it does slow down but only to give Owen a bit more character development.

As for Owen as a character, I had to admit I’m still not that crazy about him. He’s a bit of a twit. Sure, he looks at the world sometimes through a rose colored lens but you’d have to wonder when reality is going to hit him and when he’s going to react. It’s not until he’s actually FORCED with his back to the wall type of scenario to finally act. He does seem to be a bit blind to what’s going on around him and his fellow Amps.

The villains in this book are very well done. They’re awesome bad guys (Lyle moreso. Vaughn’s just a jerk). They’re so bad you’re not sure if you want to hate them (like Vaughn) or like them because they do such a good job at being bad (like Lyle). Overall the characters in the book are pretty well written. The only one character I wasn’t too keen on was Lucy, because I thought she was just there to play a romantic love interest and that was it. She didn’t really contribute much for this book in my opinion.

The writing style is good. Nothing fancy or so wordy when it comes to the ‘high tech’ part that you’ll be left looking through wikipedia on some of the terminology and all you get are metaphysical answers. Thankfully this book has none of that so even if you’re not much of a sci fi fan, you should give this book a try. The action packed writing should be enough to get you going!

I’m definitely going to put Daniel H Wilson on my authors to watch for list. I really liked his style of writing so I’ll be looking for more works by him. Definitely recommended for those that want an action packed read. Sci fi readers might enjoy this also (even those who don’t care much for high tech speak!)

I give it a 9 out of 10

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle. With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities. (From Goodreads)

Life as We Knew It was pretty good. I enjoyed reading it. The Dead and the Gone isn’t really a continuation of the first one, it’s set in a different setting this time in New York City. Instead of a female protagonist, we have a male one who’s like the previous main character, has a family to take care of.

What I liked about this book is the development of the setting. I liked how throughout the book areas around Alex and his sisters start dying out, and the city starts getting abandoned slowly. I enjoyed how this was illustrated throughout the story. Character development was well done in this book. I thought Julie did a lot of growing up especially during the last third of the book. Alex, well he did take charge of being the ‘man of the house’ but he wasn’t a great as a main character as I hoped he would be. Bri on the other hand, just ended up being the annoying character nobody wants to read about.

The plot itself isn’t as good as the first one, but it’s still worth a read through at least once at least to see good character development and how it was like in a different setting. I’ll be continuing along this series as it does have a lot of potential. I hope it doesn’t fall short.

I give it a 7 out of 10

Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Dust and Decay

Dust and Decay

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also been six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them. But before they even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town, and as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and face the horrors of Gameland—where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive? In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you—and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will survive…. (From Amazon.ca)

**Caution: Spoilers! Read at your risk!**

Loved Rot and Ruin. This book was also ten times better than Rot and Ruin. Everything just got better when I read this book.

The characters got better (except Nix, for some reason I just can’t get myself to like her). There were moments of close calls for these characters and some nail biting moments. I absolutely loved the introduction of the different hunters (the Surfers were awesome! and Sally Two Knives!). The humor is back again in this book, I loved the banter between Benny and Chong. I also loved the banter between Lilah and Chong. I’m so happy they eventually became a couple. It’s an odd couple nevertheless, but given the circumstances of what’s happening around them, it goes hand in hand.

The writing style and character development is excellent. There’s a handful of characters to keep track of but the main core would be Benny and his friends. Benny’s group including himself develop, and you see them grow up mentally. After what Nix experiences, she’s matured but through no choice of her own. However whenever you do read the banter between the friends, they act just like kids do and in a sense, it’s comforting because they can still act like their age despite what’s going on around them.

The plot itself was excellent, and keep in mind it follows right after the events of Rot and Ruin, so it’s best if you read in order. The final third of the book is filled with action and an epic fighting scene. Unfortunately some characters do have to leave. I didn’t want this particular one to go and was absolutely blindsided with this turn of events. I was so attached to this particular character, I have to admit, I cried. This shows though, that Maberry’s writing and characters are very well done, because we get attached to them emotionally and we cheer them on.
Definitely a good follow up to Rot and Ruin, and it looks like it’s a great series so far. An absolute must read for zombie YA readers.

I give it a 9.5/10