Tag Archives: Nerys Wheatley

The Top 10 Cheap Reads of 2016

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          Happy New Year’s everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the last day of 2016! In case you need some help getting started on your 2017 reading list, here are the top ten books I had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Since the books cover such a broad range of genres and styles, I figured it would be better to list them alphabetically by the authors’ last name. If a title catches your eye, be sure to click on it to read the full review. Let’s check them out!

1. Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

rarity           An android crashes outside a rural Appalachian town and offers to cure young Lacey Dawn’s family. In exchange, Lacy Dawn must save the universe.

          Between the zany characters, outlandish scenarios, and heart-breaking believable tragedy, “Rarity” stands out as one of the most memorable and unique books I’ve ever read. I’ve been informed that Mr. Eggleton has revised certain aspects of the book, so the version you read might be a bit different than the one I reviewed, but I promise it’s still well worth your time. Please note the content warning on the review.

 

2. Twiceborn by Marina Finlayson

51IKBSPYMHL          Kate O’Connor does her best to continue living after the death of her only son, but when she winds up in a battle for the dragon crown, her efforts to live a normal life gets put on the back burner.

          “Twiceborn” blends the action, magic, and adventure of YA fantasy and the personal struggle of more adult-centered fiction. The resulting story is an exciting journey that you won’t be quick to forget or put down. I personally enjoyed the wide array of folkloric creatures that prowl the pages. It’s rare that an author includes so many diverse beings without the book feeling crowded, by Finlayson does a great job.

 

3. Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

51xlqnu7xml         Cameron never imagined that time travel was possible, until a college professor shows him that it is, giving Cameron the opportunity to save the love of his life.

          John A. Heldt is such a treasure. I’m not usually a fan of romance, but he’s easily one of the best authors I’ve discovered this year. “Indiana Belle” really showcases his strengths, making it my favorite novel of his that I’ve read so far. He brings the past to life with pinpoint accuracy and vibrate scenery, his characters are charming and memorable, and the stories are impossible to pull away from. If you love romance and/or history, “Indiana Belle” is a must read.

 

4. This Crazy Infection by Kaylim

51dudwx5ydl-_sy346_        Interstellar playgirl Myrha is just looking to get away a while. A cooky host, weird campers, a hot android, and flesh-eating zombies weren’t part of her promised vacation package, but that’s what she got.

          I love this novella so much. When ever I’m feeling down, I always come back to it. The writing is great, the story is hilarious, and the characters are a lot of fun. It also includes a great gay protagonist, which I feel is rare when looking for cheap self-published works. So, if you’re a fan of works like “Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy,” or are looking for more LGBT+ representation I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

5. Heart of Earth by Mark Laporta

511litsn4ml          After selling top-secret information to intergalactic warlords, Ixdahan Daherek is exiled to Earth and doomed to live as a human teenager. Just as he’s getting used to humanity’s strange customs and walking on two legs, his mistakes come back to bite him.

          This is another one that I absolutely love. Between watching Daherek adjust to Earth and his efforts to save the world, this book is a lot of fun. Laporta knows how to craft a story that’s equal parts hilarity, adventure, and heart. I can’t wait to see more of Daherek in the coming years with the continuation of his series.

 

6. Let There be Linda by Rich Leder

LetThereBeLinda      Life gets hard for brothers Mike and Dan when their mother dies suddenly. A girl claiming to breathe the dead back to life seems like the answer to their problem, but dealing with the colorful cast of characters that come with her, including a comedian cop, a coked-up dentist, and a reanimated poodle, just might be too high of a price.

       Rich Leder is easily on of the best authors I discovered this year. His books are zany, hilarious, creative and human in surprisingly equal measure. “Let There be Linda” showcases that all perfectly and I can’t wait to have the time to read it again. If you like darker humor or are looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, Leder is definitely your guy, whether you decide to go with “Let There be Linda” or one of his many other works.

 

7. Moonchild by Kate L. Mary

519zBDCvYyL          All Scarlett wants to do is survive, but when her best friend is kidnapped, she has to put her own safety and that of her friends aside. When she enlists a band of airship pirates for help, including the dashing Asher Kimura, her years of solitude and single-minded survival begin to fall away.

          I don’t even know where to start with this book since there’s so much to like. The story is captivating, the world building incredible, and the characters are a lot of fun, especially Asher. I also love that it has enough action and adventure for any YA fantasy fan, but it’s mature enough to capture New Adult readers as well. It’s a unique and enjoyable read and I highly recommend it to fans of either genre.

 

8. Twice Upon a Time edited by Joshua Allen Mercier

61wy8hnhlzl          Fairy tales often have dark roots and fables can sometimes end in tragedy. These roads and many more, most which are as dark as they captivating, are explored at great length in this collection of short stories by writers both experienced and new.

          I love folklore and fairy tales. The hold so much possibility depending on who decides to reinterpret them and which angles they decide to explore. “Twice Upon a Time” does a brilliant job collecting stories that breath life into timeless tales and new ones that could one day be timeless. It’s a great read for those who love darker fantasy and/or shorter fiction.

 

9. Pilgrimage by Carl Purcell

51xzcodflgl          Roland and Griffith are probably the most unlikely companions in Australia. One is a young optimistic man claiming to be a sorcerer and the other is a washed up loner who wants to drink his days away in peace. When they start making magical enemies, however, they’ll have to worth together to survive their road trip to Salem.

        Between it’s complex characters, simple yet fun plot, and exciting blend of magic and adventure, “Pilgrimage” is definitely one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year. It blends elements of fantasy with believable real-world dilemmas to create a unique read for any adult who grew up reading magical adventures.

 

10. Mutation by Nerys Wheatley

Mutaion          Just as the world is recovering from the horrors of the zombie virus, a new strand threatens to bring humanity back to a halt. It’s up to Alex, a virus survivor, to put an end to it before it spreads beyond his city.

          You might be burnt out on zombies by now, but trust me, “Mutation” is worth shaking off the zombie-frenzy fatigue and checking out.  The writing is superb, the story is exciting, and the characters are thoroughly enjoyable. Even the ones off their rockers. Even if you’re not a fan of zombies, “Mutation” is such a fun ride even if you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan in the least.

 

  So, there they are, folks. I hope you found a title or two to take with you into the New Year. I know I already have a few.

  Thank you everyone who found this little blog and gave it a chance. I’ve learned a lot since April and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store, both in terms of books and this blog itself. Happy New Year!

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Mutation–Nerys Wheatley

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Mutation–Nerys Wheatley

 

Plot: 5/5       Characters: 5/5       Writing: 5/5       Entertainment: 5/5       Word Building: 4/5

Mutation is an exciting, action-packed, zombie-filled thrill ride with something for undead fans an non-fans alike.

Alex MacCallum thought life had gone back to normal. Sure, he’s stigmatized like everyone else who recovered from the zombie virus, but at least no one’s munching on other humans anymore. That is until a new strain surfaces, turning its victims into monsters faster than ever before. Now Alex must find out who let this new disease into the world with the most unlikely partner: an anti-Survivor mob-leader who was just trying to run him out of town. Who will turn out to be more dangerous: the un-dead or the living?

I should mention that I’m a bit of a zombie fanatic. The Walking Dead, Zombie Land, The Last of Us, 28 Days/Weeks Later, The Night of the Living Dead, Zombies Run!, the whole shebang. If it’s got zombies, I’ve probably watched, read, or played it, so I was incredibly surprised that Mutation brought something new to the genre: zombie virus survivors (Warm Bodies doesn’t count!). That’s honestly something I can’t say I’ve seen before (seriously, it doesn’t count) and it was enough to hook me on the first page. Wheatley’s spectacular ebb and flow between action and stillness, character development, and unique, although very bizarre, conflicts kept me reading for hours.

Wheatley’s writing is outstanding. She knows just how to balance action, world building, back story, and character interactions without getting lengthy in any one category. Everything feels just long enough to satisfy your curiosity but still leave you wanting more. Her use of dialogue is impeccable as well. Characters give information, but it never feels like exposition. Their conversations feel very natural, which tells you a lot about their relationships without using narration to explain it. Even if you’re not a zombie fan, I recommend you check out Mutation simply for its craft alone. If you write fiction that relies heavily on dialogue, it’s definitely worth taking the time to study how Wheatley uses it, because she’s awesome.

And then there’s the character development, which is also brilliantly executed. The supporting characters are developed enough to be their own people, but not so much that they take away from Alex and his frienamie, Micah, whom I love. His character development is as perfectly paced and fleshed out as the rest of the novel, which is especially impressive considering how easy it would have been to make him easy to hate and condemn. He plays off Alex so well that, even before we get to know him, he’s hard to completely dislike. I at least wanted to see what he would do or say next, even if he didn’t come across as a great person. While I didn’t enjoy Alex to the same extent, his character arc is well done as well, not to mention unique. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever seen a story about an ex-zombie trying to reconcile what he’s been and who he is in society now, which was fascinating.

So, in conclusion, go read this book. Whether you enjoy zombies or not, there’s enough great writing, character development, and excitement to satisfy anyone who is into speculative fiction. And if you are into zombies, there’s plenty of creative, nail-biting, edge-of your-seat undead gore to really sink your teeth into.