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Thicker Than Blood, by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley

Thicker Than Blood______________________________________________

A true friendship never dies.

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn. ______________________________________________

Okay, so, if I had to define this book in a word, I’d say intense. Like reeeeeeeally intense!

I really enjoyed it though. Of course, it’s not really what you’d call a feel good novel, what with all the people dying or killing each other or trying to rape women. But I still enjoyed reading this book. I was really engaged in it from the start.

“But when it did, when the first American fell to his knees, the government was ill prepared for the fallout and the sickness spread like wildfire.”

I really enjoyed the prologue that set the mood and the atmosphere of the whole book. I thought the way the epidemic and the end of the world as we know it was really well described and I almost felt like a documentary or a historic novel. And then comes chapter one. We get pretty quickly into the thick of the matter since the book opens when Leisel just killed the man she was forced to marry. 

It took me more time than usual to read this book (10 days to be exact), but it was so dense I felt like I had just ran for an hour every time I picked it up. But mostly, it was because some of the things that happen in the story are so awful and sometimes disturbing that I had a hard time keeping on reading. Sometimes, I was afraid to read the next line, especially when the scene depicted was a difficult and sexual one.

“We should have learned by now that nothing was ever easy in this world. Yet, like children, we remained forever hopeful, optimistic that just once something would go right for us.”

At some point, I started wondering if I wasn’t watching a Game of Thrones episode because every time I started trusting or liking someone, they ended up dead. I knew it was dumb of me to hope, but I couldn’t help myself and always ended up wanting to slap my book around for hurting the characters again and again when they had already gone through so much.

“To always having someone to rely on, a person in your corner to fight for you no matter the reason, no matter the cost. To having more than a friend, more than a sister, but a soul mate. To the hope they give us, the strength they provide us, and the unconditional love they empower us with. To best friends.”

I really enjoyed Evelyn and Leisel’s relationship and how strong it was. They really cared for each other and were looking out for each other. What really moved me was Evelyn’s attitude when Leisel and Alex started falling for each other. It could have been really easy for Evelyn to feel left out and resentful toward Leisel for finding happiness and comfort in someone else. But even if sometimes she did feel alone, she was always happy for Leisel and I really enjoyed that because it surprised me.

“Where was the humanity? Dead, I thought bitterly. Dead, like everything else.”

I really enjoyed the change in Leisel’s personality and how she grew as a character and a person. She’s really the character you expect the less from and who ends up making the biggest change while still being the one that stays true to herself. It’s so easy in their situation to forget what is right and what is wrong and to let the lines blur. Leisel always stayed “good”, at least considering the world she has to live in while getting stronger.

“It had been worth it to learn there was someone else in the world, other than just Evelyn and me who hadn’t succumbed to the corruption and the wickedness everyone else had seemed to.”

I really enjoyed the romance in the book too. It was really what helped make the book lighter with the good and tender moments that aloud Evelyn and Leisel’s friendship. The romance wasn’t overwhelmingly present in the book, but the amount there was of it gave the book a little something more.

“Everything good left in this world was going to be eventually snuffed out altogether, one by one, and not by the infected but at the hands of the selfish, greedy people who’d taken control, who’d turned a worldwide devastation into their own personal playground.”

Toward the end though I was really concerned with how things were getting and where the story was going. I knew when I started the book that there wouldn’t be a happy ending per se, but I was still concerned. Especially since I caved and started reading reviews to get an idea of what was to come. Let’s just say that it didn’t help all that much. I knew bad things were coming, I could feel it even before I took a look at the reviews, but I really didn’t want the book to end on something bad. Someone wrote in their review that the ending was bittersweet and that some would be find comfort with this ending, while others may not. Personally, I liked the ending. It was bittersweet indeed and left me not knowing if I wanted to smile or cry, but I liked it. I liked what happens to Leisel and the ray of hope she gets after so much heartache and I really liked the Evelyn was finally at peace. They both got a “happy ending” but,and I’m not going to say why I’m saying this because it would involve spoilers, it was still bittersweet.

“Whatever happens Lei, it was worth it.”

So all in all, I’d say that you should give this book a try if you think it is a story that could be for you. I know I usually enjoy zombie themed books with a little steam in it and I did enjoy this one too even though it was darker than the ones I have read in the genre before. But it is important to say that this book touches a lot of serious and heavy topics. The place and role of women in this world in truly awful and it makes for really awful scenes and situations sometimes. This book is definitely not for the weak of heart and you will most likely be shocked by the event taking place in the novel. But if you feel up for it, you should definitely give it a try.

“The infection ran so much deeper than just turning people into mindless cannibals. It destroyed people’s souls.”

This book was the first one in a series of standalones. The next book in the serie, Beneath Blood And Bone, is about one of the truly awful characters we met in this book, Eagle and a new character, Autumn. And I can’t wait to see how big bad E and savage Autumn will work out.

Origin (Lux #4), by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Origin

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Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

________________________________________________________

“Well then, it’s time to introduce the world to a little bit of extraterrestrial awesomeness.”

Like I said when I reviewed Opal, it get harder and harder to do in-depth reviews of the book of the serie as I read them because the plot is so thick that doing so would spoil the whole book for you. So I’ll keep it short because it’s no fun for you to know to much at this point. It’s frustrating really because this book like the last one (and I have a feeling Opposition will be no exception) is full of action and there is so much stuff happening!

“Things went from bad to craptastic in a matter of seconds.”

Good Lord this book was intense. I swear this serie will ruin me for the other out there. I mean, Jennifer really put everything that is good in this serie and made it awesome. Opal hinted at it, but Origin really represents a turning point in the serie. Well leave behind West Virginia and get sucked into something that neither Katy nor Daemon expected I think. This book was amazing. After the ending of Opal, Origin starts in the thick of it and and the story keeps its fast-paced rhythm. This book is especially action-packed compared to the previous books, so if you’ve read them, then it gives you an idea of how things go.

“I want a year’s worth of seconds and minutes with you. I want a decade’s worth of hours, so many that I can’t add them up.”

As with the other book titles, I loved discovering the meaning behind Origin. And I loved meeting the new characters like Archer and getting to know more about Luc that we met in Opal. But I really liked that throughout all this action and suspense and nerve wrecking tension, there were sweet, tender moments between Daemon and Kat. My heart was in my throat during the first part of the book because of their situation and when things “got better”, I could breathe more easily just knowing they had each other to lean on again. It was great to have the dual POV for this book because even if I love Katy’s voice, being into Daemon’s head is a great place to be. And seeing just how much he loves Kat and how deep his love for her runs was amazing. That, was a total bonus with this book.

“Staring down at Kat, I fell for her all over again. Lost my heart when she smiled.”

Again, this book was a roller-coaster of emotions. Between the action moments, the down right disgusting and revolting ones, the really beautiful and sweet moments between Daemon and Kat, the good surprises they get and the really really bad and heart wrenching ones, my emotions were all over the place when I reached the end and then I was smacked in the face with yet again a freaking cliffhanger that leaves you screaming at your Kindle in frustration and agony.

Oh shit. ET so phoned home, kids.

I loved every line of this book down to the last comma! I keep saying this but this serie gets better and better as it goes and I really think I’ll need rehab when I reach the end of it so I can function normally again. Jennifer proved to be a literary genius with this serie!

“Yeah, it was going to be ….epic.”

Finale (Hush, Hush #4), by Becca Fitzpatrick

12751687

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Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank’s absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels – destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.

_____________________________________________

Like I said before, this serie and the story each book tells are a bit of a roller coaster.

I had a huge high while reading Hush, Hush. Then it went a bit downward with Crescendo that I found very dark and where Nora was a bit of a pain. The serie picked up again with Silence where I was able to reconcile with the Nora from book 1. And then there was Finale. And even though it is the continuity of the story started in Hush, Hush, this book was very different from the rest of the serie. Not necessarily in a bad way, but still very different.

Nora was very different in this book from the Nora we’ve come to know since book 1. As a matter of fact, the problems she had before don’t seem so big compared to what she has to deal with in Finale.

“I personally believe Patch scared the pants off normal, and it took off running for the far side of the world. (…) I wouldn’t know normal if it marched up and poked me in the eye.” 

This book we start in the thick of the story. Hank is gone, Nora is in charge of his army, has to lead it to war against the fallen angels and cannot go back on her promise since if she does, she will die as well as her mother and let’s not forget that now that she is a Nephilim, she basically is archenemy with her boyfriend Patch who is a fallen angel. Yeah, it’s a lot to take in. And Nora is out of her depth, which is what everybody think in her army. If you though Hank was a problem, you have seen nothing yet.

“I have no intention of letting you go easily, something to keep in mind. I don’t care if it’s another man, your mother, or the powers of hell trying to pry us apart, I’m not easing up and I’m not saying good-bye.” 

I found her character very brave and mature in this book even though she is not at all the Nora we know. Even though I had no problem with her change of personality while reading (it fit her character somehow), now that I think of it, it was a little too much of an evolution. So okay, she isn’t “human” anymore, has new crazy abilities that make her a new and improved version of herself, etc, the fact remains that in this book, Nora is quite the badass. She handles fights like never before without much help, all of a sudden she takes charge and decides what her and Patch need to do (when usually it’s the other way around), etc. 

One thing that annoyed me is that once again, she started to keep secrets from Patch,  and she made a lot of bad decisions without ever telling him about the mess she got herself into when they are supposed to be a team. I felt like that in book 2 and it was something that irritated me. A lot. And it did again here, even though you know things will get better.

I really liked the unraveling of the story. I usually do in Becca Fitzpatrick’s books. You never really know what is going to happen next and you are always surprised. This is something I appreciate a lot about her writing. Whatever guess you make while reading, you cannot possibly figure out what is going to happen in the end. And once again, the plot gets thicker and thicker as you read. In book three, most of the questions you have about the story get answered and in a way, a new plot starts in Finale.

It is a very emotional read and it will wreck havoc your nerves. I felt drained by the end of the book, like physically exhausted. I was so tense while reading and at some point, I felt like Nora and Patch’s cause was hopeless. It really feels like the ground is falling under their feet sometimes. But it is what keeps you turning the page. Once again, I was grabbed by the story from the start and even though I had to take a nap after reading this book, I loved every minute it. Even the parts where Nora was being stupid.

“If I could make this go away, I would. If I could stand in your place, I wouldn’t hesitate. But I’m left with one choice, and that’s to stand by your side through the end. I won’t waver, Angel, I can promise you that.”

Nora and Patch’s relationship is at it’s strongest in this book. Yes, she keeps some things secret from him and doubts him at times but she is not really herself when she does. Patch is very dedicated to her and will stop at nothing to protect her. I really liked the ending of their story. I would have liked to see more of Patch in this book though. I know it was focused on Nora but Patch has always been my favorite character of the serie. Still, my pulse raced more than once when he was involved and he still made me smile. 

“I want to wake up with you every morning and fall asleep beside you each night,” Patch told me gravely. “I want to take care of you, cherish you, and love you in a way no other man ever could. I want to spoil you — every kiss, every touch, every thought, they all belong to you. I’ll make you happy. Every day, I’ll make you happy.” 

“Every time you strip my sword, I owe you a kiss. How’s that sound?” I bit my lip to keep from giggling. “That sounds really dirty.” Patch waggled his brows. “Look whose mind just rolled into the gutter.”

There are a lot of unexpected revelations in this book about many characters (Vee, Detective Basso, etc) and at some point I just couldn’t believe the stuff that happened to some of them. I wish we had more of Vee in this last book since she has been there all along and really steps up in this book. I felt heartbroken because of some of the stuff she goes through. But the epilogue treats her well. 

We meet new characters as well (Dante, fallen angels and archangels) and we get to see some old ones such as Scott, who I felt deeply for in this book. He really stood out and I came to really love his character, in this book especially. Dabria makes some annoying appearances again as well as Marcie who well stays true to herself.

I would have liked a little more romance in this book but then it didn’t bother me that much either because the rest of the plot was pretty full in itself and had a healthy dose of twists. And even though the romance was lighter in this book, it was still a deeply emotional story that made me go though the all the level of the emotion scale. I felt sad, happy, betrayed, scared, devastated, relived, shocked, etc…

 “Kiss me in a way I’ll never forget. Kiss me in a way that will stay with me until see you again” 

All in all, even though Hush, Hush stays my favorite book of the serie, I think Finale was a great book and was a nice conclusion to the story. Becca Fitzpatrick is a remarkable author who is able to pull you into her world with the snap of a finger. I really enjoyed reading her story even though my reading style has changed throughout the serie. I would recommend her books to any YA paranormal romance lovers out there. 

This is the end of a good story in which I met nice characters that I enjoyed following and reading about. I’m a little sad that the serie is over because it is part of my past but I think this book was a good end to the serie and I don’t feel like another book was needed.

“You broke my suffering. You’ve given me a new eternity. Be my girl, Nora. Be my everything.” 

“I loved him in a way I’d never be able to express in words. He was part of me. And I was part of him. Tethered together for the rest of eternity.” 

AMAZON.FR                                                   AMAZON.CO.UK

Red Hill, by Jamie McGuire

17457124

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When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

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Wow! I think I’m at a loss for words. Which, all things considered, is not convenient right now since I’m gonna try to write a review that does justice to this book. But as is usually the case when I loved a book, it’s probably going to be more blabbering than anything else. So bear with me 😉

And to add to that, I am so book hangovered right now! I finished Red Hill at four in the morning because I couldn’t put it down.
I think it’s my first horror (romance?) fiction and I’m so glad I picked this one to be the first. Jamie McGuire wrote a fantastic story that had me scared, stressed, nervous, hoping ,smiling and on the brink of tears at times.

Here’s a kaleidoscope of how I felt while reading:

465345

741511

6217526

6587787

I might have driven my roommates crazy while reading Red Hill. But this is the perfect example of how this book makes you feel, and if you’re a tiny bit like me, for your own sanity you’ll have to talk it out. But I digress.

The story will grab you from page one until the last and not once will you be bored or skip pages.

“I wasn’t sure how long we could survive, but I knew I wasn’t dying on day one of the fucking zombie apocalypse.”

I got so attached to the characters in such a short amount of time it’s scary. I was right there with every one of them and even though very creepy at times, it was a great feeling and I loved it. Everyone of them reveal themselves as the story goes and you discover great people full of wonders. You’ll feel like part of their family.
I was so sad when something tragic happened to them. And more than once I felt as frustrated, sad and/or angered as the characters were.

This book broke my heart and lifted it too. It was an emotional roller coaster but boy did I enjoy it. I was more than impressed by this book and its author’s talent. If you were hesitating about reading this book, I cannot tell you enough to give it a chance because you won’t be disappointed. That is if you don’t mind reading about the end of the world as we know it of course.

I could repeat myself over and over now to tell you to grab a copy and start reading but I won’t. Hopefully, this review will do it for me. 🙂

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