Series Review: Alice in Zombieland; Through the Zombie Looking Glass; Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter

Monday, November 24, 2014
Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
Genre: YA Paranormal > Zombies
Setting: Alabama, USA
Copyright: 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Paperback: 404 pages
Axie's Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Envy: I have no cover envy. These covers are the worst.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. 
Her father was right. The monsters are real.
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.
You Should Read This Book/Series if you Like:
**Paranormal elements. I wouldn't necessarily call this series Paranormal Romance b/c there isn't any romance between a human and a non-human. It's about slayers fighting zombies.
**Extreme Alpha males. Which I honestly think aren't too popular in YA. They show up more in the Romance genre. But Showalter is a Romance author, so her boys are extremely aggressive/sexual.
**Sexual tension galore. He loves me not...he loves me.
**Lots of snark. Kat (Ali's BFF) is the queen of snark.
**Lots of characters. Ali, Cole, Kat, Frosty, Reeve, Mr. Ankh, Bronx, Mackenzie, Justin, + many more.
**If you DON'T like zombies. The zombies in this book are not really zombies, so if you're afraid of zombies, then this book is for you.
**A Romance book transformed into a YA book, courtesy of Romance author Gena Showalter.

Quick Plot: Sixteen year-old Ali Bell's whole family dies in a car crash. Waking in the wreckage of the crash, she witnesses zombies coming to finish off the bodies of her parents & little sister. After this extremely traumatic incident, she goes to live with her grandparents, attending a new school. On the first day of school, she locks eyes with this HOT DUDE and they have a vision in which they're kissing. Apparently, these visions are of the FUTURE. She finds out hot guy (+ his friends) fight zombies. She joins them in order to fight zombies, too! [Oh man, that was a bad plot overview].

Review: Obviously I enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 stars for the fact that it was just...extremely entertaining. It's not mind-blowingly deep or emotional, but it's super fun with lots of sexual tension between the hero and heroine. Other than the super depressing beginning, the rest of the series is fast-paced and fun.

Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles, #2)

Genre: YA Paranormal > Zombies
Setting: Alabama, USA
Copyright: 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Paperback: 480 pages
Axie's Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover Envy: That is definitely a different model than the first book.
Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine...
Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.
After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.
She's never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her...from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole's secret and learn to fight the darkness.
But the clock is ticking...and if she fails at a single task, they're all doomed.
Quick Plot: The above synopsis is pretty accurate. After the events of book 1, Ali is now embroiled with the zombie slayers and their leader--sexy, bad-ass fighting machine Cole Holland. But when a zombie attack poisons Ali's blood, strange things begin to happen to her, which doesn't help when Cole and Ali have a vision (& they always come true) in which she's kissing another boy. With Cole keeping his distance and the rest of the slayers weary of Ali's erratic behavior (she's blacking out, seeing things), she has to figure out what's happening to her before...the darkness consumes her. Not really a spoiler alert: "the darkness" is an alternate-Ali who surfaces after Ali's blood is poisoned and makes her do crazy stuff. 

Review: This book was super fast-paced. The angst was a little contrived (After Cole sees Ali kissing a mysterious guy in a vision, he breaks up with her), but it's still angst--which is always fun in YA. This is also the longest of all three books, but I read it the quickest, which goes to show that it's pretty unputdownable. There's the introduction of new characters, namely a boy & girl from another slayer group, Gavin & Veronica, who create complications and misunderstandings between Ali & Cole. It's a "second" book (aka the Breakup Book, or the Book Before the Finale) but it's a really entertaining one.

The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles, #3)
Genre: YA Paranormal > Zombies
Setting: Alabama, USA
Copyright: 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Paperback: 464 pages
Axie's Rating: 3 out of 5
Cover Envy: Admittedly, I like this cover the best, but it's still pretty bad. Why must they have full face views of the characters on the covers? At least give us profiles. I don't like being told/shown what the character looks like. Especially if that's not how I'd imagined them all. 

Quick Plot: After the events of the first book, Ali & Cole are stronger than ever, ready to finally face down Anima once-and-for-all. The book begins with a massive attack by Anima (in which 4 slayers lose their lives) & Ali and crew plan an counter-offensive. Meanwhile, Ali is being visited by a mysterious Watcher (a ghost-like guardian who stays around after death to help the living) named Helen, a slayer, who gives Ali new, extraordinary powers. But Cole doesn't trust Helen. In fact, she's the woman who killed his mother. When Ali is captured by Anima Industries (for experiments), Cole has to save her or end up losing his ALI-GATOR forever. 
Review: I gave this the lowest score of the 3 books, but not because I didn't enjoy it. It seemed like fan fiction of the first two books. Meaning, every significant character gets lovey-dovey time with their significant other. Every character (& I mean every character) talks like Kat, that is, super snarky and full of ridiculous quips that no one would actually say in real life. It's like teen-speak on crack. And the book overall moved slower than the other two b/c there wasn't as much emotional angst or discovery, as there was in the first and second book. But, like I said, still very enjoyable and a definite need-to-read if you've read and enjoyed the first two books.

Concept: Alice in Wonderland was totally just a "concept", a theme to work the series around and draw in readers. This book has nothing to do with the original Lewis Carroll children's classic, other than the names and some chapter titles, and the fact that Ali's dead sister communicates with her through a white rabbit. 
Main Character: Ali's a pretty straight-forward YA heroine. She's blonde, weak-looking, but very beautiful and strong. 
Love Interest: I really like Cole, even though he's ridiculous. Weirdly, the author is vocally in love with Cole. Here's a look at his POV: A Note from Cole. Apparently, this is how she sees him:
I'm okay with this.

Favorite Secondary Character: Kat. I legit laughed out loud at some of her lines. By the third book, every character pretty much has morphed into a version of Kat (bombastic humor).
Quote: “You’re my friend,” [Kat] said. “That means something to me.”
“Yes, but why do you like me?” I asked. “I’m nothing special.”
“Nothing special? Everyone makes fun of love at fight sight, but Ali, that’s what I felt for you. Love, not like. You’re the sister I never had, but always wanted. The day we met, when I walked into your hospital room, I saw a scared, pale girl with the most haunted eye. You’d lost everyone, and I understood. I had to bury my mom, my world, too. So, why don’t you do me a favor and think about why you love me—or if you do?”
“I don’t have to think.” - Through the Zombie Looking Glass
Villain: It's Anima Industries overall (a company that researches zombies in order to create medicines, etc.); evil alternate-mirror Ali in the second book.
Quote: Zombies were spirits, the source of life—or afterlife in their case—and had to be fought by other spirits. That was why, to engage, we had to force ours out of our bodies, like a hand being pulled out of a glove. - Through the Zombie Looking Glass.
World Building: It's a present-day Alabama if soul-eating zombies existed. 
Writing: Fun. [See above]. Very readable, w/ lots of snarky dialogue.
Diversity: Like most titles in the YA Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy genre, this is lacking diversity. 
Recommendations: Kresley Cole's Arcana Chronicles, for the similar snarky spirit & fun cast of characters.
Final Thoughts: Overall Series Rating: 3 out of 5.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I Want to Read (in 2015)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week we’re listing our…

Top Ten Sequels I Want to Read (in 2015)

Earlier this week I did a post on the 26 books I want to read coming out in 2015, which featured a ton of sequels. For this list, I'll solely be including the books that have covers released, plus more books that weren't on that particular list! Yay for sequels!

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
1. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead (Book #6 in the Bloodlines series).
Super excited for the final book in the Bloodlines series! What will happen to Mr. & Mrs Ivashkov?!?!
2. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (Book #2 in the Remnant Chronicles).
I really enjoyed The Kiss of Deception (link to my review). Obviously I'm not a fan of love triangles, but I'm interested to see what happens next for the characters.
3. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Book #2 in the Winner's Trilogy).
Gah. The cliffhanger at the end of The Winner's Curse killed me. I need this last book now! It seems like it might be even more political than the first book (political in YA means pretty dresses and balls).

Empire of Night (Age of Legends, #2)A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter, #3)
4. Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong (Book #2 in the Age of Legends series).
I wasn't too big of a fan of the first book, Sea of Shadows (link to my review). But the first book did setup a ton of action for the second book. Interested to see where the story goes from here.
5. A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd (Book #3 in the Madman's Daughter series).
These characters have gone through so much. I need to know how it all ends. Plus this is a re-telling of Frankenstein!!!

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3)The Heir (The Selection #4)Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)
6. Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole (Book #3 in Arcana Chronicles).
Answer all my questions, book!
7. The Heir by Kiera Cass (Book #4 in The Selection series).
These books frustrate me to no end, but they're like....toxic candy. I wrote a joke review of the first book using Bachelor gifs...I won't lie, though, I'm a huge reality t.v. fan. And this book sounds like The Bachelorette.................I will read this.
8. Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (Book #2 in the Internment Chronicles).
The first book was o-kay, but I do love DeStefano's writing style. The ending of the first book was a wtf-moment, so I'm interested to see where the second book picks up.

Please Remain Calm (This Is Not a Test, #2)Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #2)
9. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers (a novella in the This Is Not a Test series).
I really liked This is not a Test, which I found emotional and terrifying. It made my favorite Horror novels list. I really hope this novella explores what happens to the characters after the events of This is not a Test.
10. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman (Book #2 in the Prisoner of Night and Fog series).
I really enjoyed the first book in the series (link to my review). I love that this is a historical fiction series, as opposed to a standalone. Excited to see what's next for Gretchen & Daniel!

What sequels are you excited to read??? 

Beautiful Books #2: How's the Writing Going?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Questions for Round #2: How's The Writing Going?

  1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

    It's....going. Slowly, but surely. At first, I just stuck to writing in order b/c I wanted to fight the compulsion of being the most disorganized person ever, but lately I've been going all over the place....once again. But hey! It adds to the word count, right? And I'd eventually get to those scenes....I'm really behind, but I'm not too discouraged. I will eventually finish--now it's more of a battle to see how many words I can actually write in one month, haha.

  2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

    The Myth of my people says only a true bride of the Sea God can bring an end to his insatiable wrath. When the otherworldly storms rise from the East Sea, lightning breaking the sky and waters ripping up the tide, a bride is chosen and given to the Sea God.
    Or sacrificed, depending on your level of faith.
    Every year the storms begin and every year a girl is brought out to sea.
    I can’t help wondering if Shim Cheong believes in the Myth of the Bride of the Sea God, and if she’ll find comfort in it before the end.
    Or the beginning.
    There are many pathways destiny can take.
    For instance, there’s my own path—the literal path before me, stretching narrowly through the waterlogged rice fields. If I follow this path, it’ll eventually lead me to the beach. If I turn around, the path will take me back to the village. Which destiny belongs to me? Which destiny will I grasp onto with both hands?
    Even if it were up to choice, it wouldn’t really be mine. For though a large part of me longs for the safety of home, the pull of my heart is infinitely stronger. It tugs me towards the open sea and to the one person I love beyond destiny.

  3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

    Ugh. I have a ton of pictures. Questions like this one and the one below are dangerous because it just means I'm about to go on tumblr & pinterest for an hour....::never comes back::

  4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

    I really like these two as Ren & Mina (Nam Joo Hyuk & Soohyun for High Cut Magazine). Or maybe I just ship them in real life... He starred in her MV for the songs 200% and Give Love. Check them out: here and here. They're super adorable. 

  5. What scene are you most excited to write?

    I really like writing (and reading) emotional scenes. Towards the middle to end, when the characters have grown to know each other and love each other, there are going to be some epic emotions. Excited to write those scenes!!!

  6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

    See above? (#2) For every book I've ever written (or short story), the beginning has always been the easiest to write. For some strange/odd reason. Maybe b/c it's just a blank page until it's written? Anything could happen!

  7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

    Hmmm...Each chapter seems to get longer and longer. I'm trying to keep each other chapter 2000 words or less, so I end up cutting up chapters. My second chapter has already been split 3 times, to make 3 chapters instead of 1.

  8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?

    The hardest aspect of the novel is to convey the magical aspects in a non-"telling" manner, but also clearly so the reader isn't confused. It's also from a first person perspective of a human girl in a magical world, so I'm trying to have her discover things without it being info-dumping.

  9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

    My favorite aspect of the novel is the overall quest of it--the discovery, the adventure. I can't choose a favorite character! They're all my babies!

  10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters? characters from other forms of art count? Like manga or K-dramas? Or books? B/c I've drawn from pretty much everything I've ever read, or seen (or dreamed). As for real life experiences, I've drawn from the emotional standpoint, if not the reality (my book, after all, is a Fantasy). Just kidding, I live in Fantasy-Land.

  11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

    Oo. Not really a playlist, as of yet. I usually don't listen to music when I'm writing since my brain needs to focus entirely on the words. Although when I'm roughly writing an emotional scene, I like to listen to a song that has that emotion.

    I do like the folksy-ballady quality of this song, as an overall "tone" for the book.

    J-Min's "Hoo"

  12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

    Mask, Dai & Miki. They're Mina's spirit guides in the Sea God's realm. They're ridiculous/hilarious, and I'd be hanging out with them, most likely.

  13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

    COFFEE... COFFEE signals writing for me in my brain.

  14. What your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

    Write what you love & read a ton.

  15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

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