The Tide, by Anthony J. Melchiorri

The Tide, by Anthony J Melchiorri, narrated by Ryan Kennard Burke
Captain Dominic Holland (Dom) is head of a covert operations team which investigates bioterrorism. As he and his team check out some suspicious activity on what was believed to be an abandoned oil rig, bone-armored mutant men begin to wash up on shores of countries around the world. Soon, citizens become crazed – brutally attacking and devouring people. Dom’s team rushes to find a cure to the bioweapon, as civilization crashes around them. 


I found this book in the new releases in Audible and thought I’d try it out. The genre is basically bioweapon zombie apocalypse, but the “zombies” aren’t actually zombies. They are living humans who develop bony armor around their bodies and get brain activation of unthinking violence. It was a fast-paced, high-action book. The science was very reasonable – clearly Melchiorri did his research – which I like to see in biotech books (otherwise I tend to roll my eyes and criticize every little mistake). Yes, the race for a cure moved along much too fast to be realistic, but that’s the nature of the genre, not a problem with Melchiorri’s writing. Nobody wants to read a book with the pacing of real life, after all. 🙂 

I think this book will be quite enjoyable to anyone who likes biotech apocalypse thrillers, especially those who enjoyed Jonathan Maberry’s Patient Zero. But beware, it is the first in a series, and the story just cuts off at the end – there’s not a satisfying conclusion. Luckily, Melchiorri is releasing the second one hot on the heels of the first, so this may not be an issue for many readers. 

I decided to give this book four stars despite the fact that there wasn’t a satisfying ending. The science was excellent and it was just what a biotech thriller should be. 

Let Me In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let Me In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist, narrated by Steven Pacey

Oskar, a 12-year-old boy, is bullied by his schoolmates. He spends his time fantasizing about revenge and stabbing trees with a knife. He obsesses about violent crimes, keeping a notebook of newspaper clippings. One day, a strange girl and her father move in next door. She seems quite unaware of social norms and completely immune to getting cold. Her father and she argue loudly and frequently, which Oskar can hear through his wall. Despite the fact that she tells him they can’t be friends, Eli and Oskar soon form a bond. She encourages him to stand up to his bullies, and he starts growing in self-confidence. But strange murders are suddenly occurring in his neighborhood, and Oskar begins to suspect that Eli is more than he thought she was. 

I have been interested in reading this book after reading a fascinating short story of his a few years ago. This book did not disappoint. It was eerie and consuming. It was also very gruesome, and it has some graphic child-sexual-abuse scenes, so beware. Luckily, I had read reviews of this book beforehand and already knew about the child abuse, so I was not quite as repulsed by it. However, this book lost an entire star because of the child-sexual-abuse, which didn’t appear at all in the movies and wasn’t absolutely necessary. The child abuse did help develop the character of Eli’s father as a disgusting and pathetic failure, but I think both attributes could have been manged in other ways. Or, at least, without the graphic scenes.

In general, I am pleased with Lindqvist’s style – it is mysterious and flows well. The characters were well-drawn and believable (in a there-be-vampires sort of way). There dark, dreary mood was set early in the book and retained steadily throughout. There was nothing particularly original about Lindqvist’s vampire, though Eli had some original personality traits and circumstances. Also, I’ve seen this book described as a romance, and I don’t agree with that. Yes, Oskar asked Eli to “go steady,” but that was about it. I mean, he was 12, and those feelings were very naive and not pronounced. This was a book about friendship, not romance.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and would read another by Lindqvist, though I’ll probably wait before I can get through another that has sexual abuse in it. The audiobook was well-read – the voices were distinguishable and the pacing was quite reasonable.
3.5 stars for flow, eeriness, mystery – star lost for child sexual abuse



My Life as a White Trash Zombie, by Diana Rowland

My Life as a White Trash Zombie, by Diana Rowland, narrated by Allison McLemore

This book was a huge surprise to me. I was told it was fantastic – funny, fun, good plot – but I didn’t really believe. I mean, there are so many zombie books out there, right? But it really was hilarious and fun. I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Angel Crawford is a down-on-her-luck, pill-popping, high school drop-out who can’t hold down a job and is being dragged down by her alcoholic father and deadbeat boyfriend. One day, she wakes up in a hospital – told that she overdosed and was found naked on the side of the road. Humiliated, she is about to return home when she gets a mysterious note telling her to drink a mysterious power-shake each day, and that she now has a job picking up and helping autopsy dead bodies. She’s told she must keep this job for at least a month, or she’s going to prison for parole violation. Angel is terrified of prison, so she begrudgingly starts her new job. 

Strangely, she realizes that she desperately wants to eat the brains of the bodies she’s been autopsying – and she thinks it must be some weird side-effect of the OD…maybe she’s just going crazy. But then hints begin to turn up that she’s been zombified. Proving to be more intelligent than she thought, Angel begins to investigate who zombified her, sent her the mysterious notes, and who, in God’s sake, is the serial murderer who’s beheading all his victims?

Like I said, it was really funny. I loved Angel’s character, and the mystery kept me listening even when I should have been doing other things. Angel really developed during this book – changing from an self-hating loser to an almost self-confident, poised, intelligent woman. (There’s still some room left for “refinement” in the next books, of course.) Much to my surprise and gratification, this was a very character-driven book. I will definitely pick up more from this series. 

This book gets 4.5 stars for humor, characterization, and mystery.

Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake

After listening to the audio version of Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake (and disliking the narrator), I decided to pick up an old-fashioned copy its sequel Girl of Nightmares

Cass Lowood has now become used to life in Thunder Bay. He’s finished a school year in the same school for the first time in years. He has friends: the beautiful and popular Carmel Jones and nerdy voodoo teenage witch Thomas Sabin. The three have tried to move on from the devastating events in Anna Dressed in Blood. They’ve been going to school by day and killing ghosts by night. But when Anna starts haunting Cass, he becomes obsessed with saving her from whatever hell she is suffering. His quest to save her drives a wedge between him and his friends, and leads him across the ocean to follow ominous clues sent by anonymous people.


I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares even more than Anna Dressed in Blood. I began the book with an attachment to all the characters, and was genuinely concerned about Anna’s fate. Cass, Carmel, and Thomas begin to develop more rounded personalities in this book – showing sides of themselves that weren’t obvious in the first book. Girl of Nightmares had a good mixture of action and intrigue, which kept me turning the pages. I’m hoping there will be another book coming up soon. 

4 stars for fluffy YA fun

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake; narrated by August Ross
Anna Dressed in Blood, Book 1

Cas Lowood has always worked alone on his quest to dispatch murderous ghosts and discover the demon who killed his father. Imagine his annoyance when he moves to Thunder Bay to kill the intensely horrific ghost Anna Dressed in Blood and he accidentally picks up a couple of teenaged tag-a-longs. When he attempts to dispatch Anna, he discovers that she’s unlike any ghost he’s ever fought before. She’s frightening and mesmerizing in her power. Cas digs deeper into Anna’s story and begins, for once, to see a ghost as an unwilling victim rather than simply a supernatural murderess.


Initially, I picked up this book because of the fantastic cover art (Yup! I’m one of those people). Turns out Anna Dressed in Blood was a really good choice if you’re a fan of teen horror. I hadn’t read a good ghost story in a long time, and this one was quite refreshing. The characters were easy to like, and the mystery kept the book interesting. This book was fun and quick. 

Unfortunately, I listened to the audiobook rather than reading the book. I don’t recommend this course. Ross annoyed me with his too-clear annunciations, his pauses, and his slow reading. It ruined the rhythm of the narrative, and made the dialog fall flat. There were several times I wanted to give up on the book just because the narration was annoying me. But I couldn’t do it because I was enjoying the story too much.

4 snowflakes for fluffy YA fun

This post is for R. I. P. X @TheEstellaSociety and the 2015 Halloween Reading Challenge @ReadingEverySeason. It is also for #Diversiverse, @BookLust, which is all about reading books by people of a variety of ethnic/racial backgrounds, so I will provide tell you a little about the author, Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake


Kendare Blake was born in Seoul, Korea and was adopted by her American parents when she was very young. She writes dark fantasy including, but not limited to: The Girl of Nightmares series and The Goddess War series (beginning with Antigoddess). 

After enjoying The Girl of Nightmares series so much, I’ll probably be picking up Antigoddess sometime soon. 

Knights of Badassdom


In the spirit of the Halloween season, I watched The Knights of Badassdom with my boyfriend. As expected, it was both cheesy and hilarious. For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, here is the YouTube official trailer.  In summary, Joe is an intelligent underachiever who lives with his accidental millionaire friend in a castle. When Joe is dumped by his long-time girlfriend, his friends decide it would be a great distraction to kidnap Joe. He wakes up at a LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) expedition at the “Fields of Evermore” (a large parking lot near a forested park). There, an “epic battle” is about to take place. It’s all going pretty well until Joe’s sorcerer friend accidentally summons a succubus that looks exactly like Joe’s ex-girlfriend. The succubus wanders around the forest attacking LARPers, who mistake her for a lost LARPer soul who has stumbled upon the “wrong” LARPing event. Joe and his friends must send the succubus back to hell.


This movie is exactly what you would expect from the summary. It’s silly. It’s funny (if you “get” LARP). And it’s gory, but only in a humorous way. One of Joe’s friends is played by Peter Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame). Yes everyone. You can stream this on Netflix.


For humor, originality, and quality LARPing

Reason for watching: Thought this would be a nice touch for the Halloween season

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black



2015 Media #6 / Book #3: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black 

Reason for reading: This was the January pick for my bookclub.

Summary: In this near-future book, vampires have emerged into the public eye due to an outbreak started by a sloppy newly-made vampire who left his victims living instead of completely draining them. Vampires, and the Cold (people infected with the vampirism disease, but who haven’t yet tasted the blood of humans and so haven’t turned) are forced to live in ghettos called Coldtowns. In this setting, the story starts out with Tana waking up to a vampire-related disaster, which begins both a physical journey away from the disaster and a spiritual journey of self-discovery.

What I thought: This book was fast-paced and difficult to put down. It asked some interesting philosophical questions. Do we all have monsters within us? Do we crave immortality and beauty at the price of humanity? If not, why are so many people attracted to paranormal romances? Is it because we want the ultimate bad-boy? Or, in the opposite line of questioning, why do so many people seek good in what seems evil?T