Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review: The Death Cure - James Dashner

Written by: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner, Book #3
Published by: Chicken House
Pages:329
Purchase from: Amazon   |  Book Depository

The Trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors' memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can't be trusted...
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?


I do not even know where to begin with this review. There were times when I loved it but there were times that I couldn't help but resent it. It was so frustrating with how it kept going back and forth with the action but, having said this, I couldn't put it down for a second so it definitely succeeded in keeping me gripped from beginning to end, no matter how much I started to dislike it. 
'I don't think there is a right or wrong anymore. Only horrible and not-quite-so-horrible.'
After reading the first two books in the series, you can read my reviews of them here, I did have a lot of expectations that I didn't think were really answered in this book. There were a lot of times where I kept thinking 'well now were getting there' but then it kept zigzagging to another problem that needed to be solved immediately so it felt as though it kept pulling me from one problem to another without really having a good explanation. It felt as though the problems were just being created for tension's sake and not really being significant to the story. Now I'm not saying this was the case for every single twist within the story. In some cases the twists were well thought out and a complete and total surprise but there were just so many that didn't feel impactful enough and they felt as though they were thrown in so to add more tension in an already drama filled book. In my opinion, it just wasn't needed so it didn't add anything. This is where my main frustration lied with this conclusion to the trilogy. 
'As we tried to instil in each of our subjects over and over, WICKED is good.'
Now I'm not going to lie, this isn't one of my favourite series ever but it did leave me wanting more after reading each book. Something about this trilogy just kept gripped from beginning to end no matter how many problems I had with it. So while this conclusion to the series didn't really excite me as much as I hoped there is no denying that it has that sort of quality that pulls you and keeps you reading more and more just because you have this compelling need to see how it ends and that is a quality of a good story, to keep the reader absorbed no matter how much it frustrates you.
'So let's say our bloody goodbyes, and then you can promise to remember me from my good old days.'
In conclusion, while this series wasn't really my cup of tea I can't help but admit that it really is entertaining enough that I had to keep going to the end. I did find myself getting extremely irked with some parts of the story making me go from loving it too hating it with each passing chapter. I just kept see-sawing from one emotion to the other making it hard to say on whether or not it was a good conclusion to the series because it did have that one redeeming quality of having that extremely engrossing feel that makes a brilliant story. 
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)
Read more »

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cover Reveal: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand, doesn't get released until March next year. But with a title like that how can we not get overly excited by the thought of this book. And seeing as Sourcebooks Fire revealed the cover a couple of days ago, we can now get a clearer imagine on what we will be anticipating for next couple of months.

Here is the cover I am talking about, full sized in all its unique greatness...


Now I don't know about you but I am so excited to get my hands on this book, and from the cover and the title alone I can tell it's going to unique, but why not learn a little bit more from the premise and about the author to get a better taste of what's to come. Plus, keep reading for an awesome giveaway and hilarious sneak peek below.

---------------------------------------------

Book Summary

Title: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Author: Jeff Strand
Release Date: 1st March 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…


---------------------------------------------

Jeff Strand gives readers a sneak peek at his latest novel The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, and shares his five favorite zombie movies:

Jeff Strand’s Five Favorite Zombie Movies:

My five favorite zombie movies are very similar to many other people’s five favorite zombie movies. I could’ve gone the condescending click-bait route and written about “The Five Best Zombie Movies You’ve Never Seen!” but, no, I’m going with my five real favorites….

#5: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004 version). I was one of the many people bellowing, “You can’t remake DAWN OF THE DEAD! This is blasphemy! Blasphemy!!!” But somehow this remake to a sequel (but not a sequel to the remake) turned out to be awesome. Not quite as good as the original (SPOILER ALERT: That’s #3 on this list) but one of my all-time favorites.

#4: RE-ANIMATOR. I’ve now seen plenty of movies that are more over-the-top insane than RE-ANIMATOR, but this was the first movie where I simply couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was hard to believe that a movie so dark and gruesome could be so funny.

#3: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978 version). Shameful confession: When I first saw this in high school I thought it was stupid and boring. Fortunately, I matured and accepted that it’s one of the high points of zombie cinema. It’s the reason I know to duck before walking toward spinning helicopter blades.

#2: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Fast zombies long before 28 DAYS LATER! The first time zombies ate brains! It doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but this is one of the most influential zombie movies ever.

#1: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The greatest zombie comedy ever. The greatest zombie movie ever. The greatest MOVIE ever.

---------------------------------------------

About the Author

Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books, and is a four-time nominee (and four-time non-winner) of the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his young adult novels, A Bad Day For Voodoo and I Have A Bad Feeling About This, were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Connect with Jeff

---------------------------------------------

Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.

"Don't look at the camera," said Justin Hollow, the director.

"I keep poking my lip on these things," said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn't been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.

"Cut!" shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. "C'mon, Harold. Stay in character. We're three hours behind schedule."

"I don't care. I hate this. You promised that I'd get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?"

Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. "The movie has to come out first."

"It's not even a real movie."

Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn't even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.

Had this been one of Justin's movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold's eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked "What...did...you...just...say?"

His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: "Huh?"

"I said it's not a real movie." Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn't come off, and probably wouldn't for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn't bother. "Nobody's ever going to see it. You probably won't even finish it."

"I finished my last three movies!" Justin insisted. "I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!"

That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use "hundred" in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been "This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise," which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.

Harold shrugged. "This is a waste of time. I've got better things to do on a Friday night."

"Nobody ever said this was going to be easy," said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. "You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?"

"I'm going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist."

Harold walked off the set. It wasn't an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin's home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting "You'll never work in this town again!" but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.

"Fine!" Justin shouted. "But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I'm going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn't even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I'll pronounce your name wrong!"

Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.

Pre-order the Book

---------------------------------------------

Giveaway

Enter to win an Advanced Copy of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read more »

Spotlight Tour: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

It's Spotlight Tour Time!
This time its to celebrate the release of Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins, a Young Adult science fiction romance novel that cleverly intertwines time travel within the story.

Like with every Spotlight Tour a small sneak peak is given, along with a cheeky giveaway, but first let's gather more information about the book and the author.


Until We Meet Again

Author: Renee Collins
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 3rd November 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time
Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck.
But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family’s private beach, claiming that it is his property—and that the year is 1925—Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence’s life into jeopardy. It won’t matter which century he is from if he won’t live to see tomorrow.

Desperate to save the boy who’s come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.



Buy the Book
Amazon  |  Barnes&Noble  |  iBooks  |  BAM  |  IndieBound

Excerpt
Prologue
The beach is empty. In the fading glow of twilight, the waves roll up to the rocks in sweeping curls of white foam. The sand glistens like wet steel. The grass bends low in the briny night wind. Always changing, yet always the same. I imagine the beach has looked like this since the beginning of time.

Stepping onto the soft terrain, I feel transported to some ancient evening, eons ago. Long before my uncle claimed this land as his own. Long before man even dared to taint these shores.

I wish the fleeting vision was true.

My gaze falls to the full moon’s reflection on the water. It’s broken into shards on the black sea, tossed about with each wave. A small, white shape catches my eye. It’s in the glare of the reflection, so I nearly miss it.

I step into the wave break. A seabird, dead and limp, is rolling back and forth in the foam. Her wings are spread open, her white-and-brown-speckled breast exposed.

I lift the small creature into my palm. What killed her? I wonder. There’s no sign of injury. Did she drown in the sea? Pinching her brittle, fragile leg gently between my fingers, I notice a small metal band snapped around her ankle. The sight of it startles me. Examining it closer, I catch the faint impression of numbers and letters etched into the band, but something in me resists reading them. I can’t say why.

What does it matter, anyhow? The poor creature is dead. And she reminds me that there is no going back. Time howls on, like the wind. And it is not only weaker creatures like this bird that succumb to it. Even the strongest man will fall before its crushing forward push.

I set the bird out into the water. As the tide pulls her away, I accept this truth. Soon the summer will be over. Too soon.

Chapter 1
Cassandra
Date: July 8.
Days at my mom and stepdad’s new summer home: 22
Hours spent at the froufrou country club: 0
Hours spent on the fancy private beach: 0
Hours spent lying on the couch bemoaning my lack of a life: somewhere in the 100s.
Number of times Mom has told me to make some new friends and stop moping around: also somewhere in the 100s.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Oh, for a muse of fire to convey how utterly and completely bored I am.

Given the circumstances, it should be clear that I have no choice but to try to sneak into my neighbors’ yard and swim in their pool at 2:00 a.m.

My two accomplices are less than ideal. Travis Howard and Brandon Marks are local royalty of this ritzy, historic neighborhood slapped on the coast of Massachusetts’s North Shore. Both have the classic all-American look—tall, sparkling blue eyes, and a crop of blond hair that’s been gelled to scientific levels of perfection. But given the circumstances, they’ll have to do.

Brandon can barely keep pace as we cut along the tailored brush that adorns the Andersons’ back fence. Maybe because he’s too busy shooting nervous glances behind us.

“We’re being followed,” he says.

Travis and I exchange a look.

“Chill out, dude,” Travis says.

I sigh. “Seriously. I didn’t pack my smelling salts, so try not to faint.”

Travis holds out his fist for a bump.

Brandon is resolute. “At the very least, we’re being watched. You think these people don’t have security cameras?”

“No clue,” I say brightly.

“Well, that’s reassuring.”

“I try.”

I probably should have come on my own. Trouble is, I need a pair of hands to boost me over the fence. My little brother, Eddie, couldn’t do it, since he’s three. And for obvious reasons, I couldn’t ask Mom or Frank. That left the only other person I knew here: Travis.

He and I met at a garden party. How bourgeois is that? I was so bored I was ready to claw my eyes out. Then I saw this crazy guy doing a chair dance, to the utter shock of the local hens, and I decided he might be okay. Travis is pretty cool. He reminds me a little of my friend Jade back in Ohio. A delightful troublemaker. Having Travis’s buddy Brandon tagging along, however, has proved to be an unwelcome change of plans.

It’s late, but humidity still hangs in the air. Not as oppressive as during the day, but enough to make the hair against my neck damp. Crickets chirp loudly in the surrounding brush, which makes me uneasy somehow, as if their incessant noise will draw attention to us. As if they’re crying, “Look! Look! Look! Look!” to some unseen guard. Brandon’s nerves must be contagious.

Luckily, I spy the edge of the fence before I can dwell on my uneasiness for too long.

“We made it,” I say.

Gripping the bars, I look for a good spot to grab midway up. Travis helps me with the inspection.

“Right over here,” he says, motioning. “The ground’s a little higher on the other side, and those bushes will break your fall.”

“Nice,” I say, impressed. “You have a lot of experience breaking into private property?”

“Yeah, except we usually go for cash and high-value items. Breaking in to go swimming should be a nice change of pace.”

I smirk and he gives me a Mr. Teen USA wink.

“All right then,” I say. “Hoist me up.”

Brandon steps in between us. “Are we seriously doing this? You know, your stepdad’s house has a huge private beach. If you want to swim so badly, can’t we go there?”

“You’re missing the point, Brandon.”

“You never explained the point.”

“Only a fool asks to understand that which cannot be grasped,” I say, pretending to quote some ancient philosopher.

Travis blinks. “Dude. That was deep.”

“I know, right?” I turn back to Brandon. “See? He gets it.”

“This is really stupid,” Brandon says, unamused.

I pull out my phone. “So, I guess you don’t want to be in the group shot then?”

Travis comes to my side and puts his arm around me. “Sweet! Selfie time.”

I hold out my phone, and he and I make an overly enthusiastic thumbs-up pose.

Brandon folds his arms impatiently across his chest. “Can we get on with this?”

“Well, look who’s eager to have some fun,” I say, giving him a hearty slap on the back. “About time you came aboard.”

Brandon shakes his head and holds out his interlocked hands. Travis stands across from him. Together, they form the perfect ladder. Pushing off of their shoulders, I reach for the top of the fence. One push and my leg tips over the edge.

“Got it!” I shout. Perched on the top of the wall, I survey my target. The pool is lit, even with the Andersons away for the week, and it gleams an appealing turquoise blue in the dark night. If I had time and my stuff, I’d paint the scene. For now, however, an immersive, performance-art type of scenario will have to suffice.

“Let’s do this,” I say, hopping onto the grass below. I land firmly on my feet and unlatch the side gate.

Brandon remains frozen at the threshold. “Cass…”

“Let me guess. You don’t think this is such a good idea.”

Travis laughs. “Seriously, dude, don’t be such a pansy.”

He starts through the gate when Brandon grabs his arm. “Trav. You know why we can’t.”

Travis says nothing, but a shadow crosses his expression. I frown. “What?”

When Travis doesn’t reply, Brandon exhales. “We could go to jail.”

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic—”

“No, seriously. We’re both…kind of on probation.”

He officially has my attention. “Explain.”

Travis shakes his head. “It’s not that big of a deal. Brandon’s freaking out.”

“Then tell me,” I say.

His eyes shift away from mine. “It was me and Brandon and some of the guys from the lacrosse team. One night a few weeks ago, we were a little drunk. It was late. And we sort of…broke into a liquor store.”

Brandon scrambles to explain before I can react. “It wasn’t my idea. We never would have done it—it was really stupid, okay? Anyway, we got caught, but Austin’s dad pulled some strings and got us off with a warning.”

I nod slowly. “I see. So, you got Daddums to skirt the law for you?”

“It’s not like that,” Travis says, but I can tell he’s really embarrassed.

Brandon sighs. “I can’t get into trouble. I’ve got a lacrosse scholarship on the line, and my parents would murder me if I screwed that up. Trav’s the same.”

I’m not sure which is more irritating, the sham justice system in these ritzy areas or the fact that there’s actually a legitimate reason to cut our little excursion short.

I fold my arms. “So after all this, we’re leaving?”

“I never said that,” Travis says, defensive.

Brandon glares. “Don’t be an idiot, Trav. It’s not worth it.”

I can tell by the look Brandon gives Travis that he actually means I’m not worth it. Irritation flares up in me.

“Well, I haven’t come all this way to wuss out now. You boys and your lacrosse scholarships are free to go back home.”

“Fine,” Brandon says. “I’m out of here.”

He storms off without a glance back. Travis lingers, but I can tell he’s seen the error of his ways and wants to go as well.

“Go ahead and leave,” I say. “I’m over the fence. I don’t need you anymore.”

Travis sighs. “Brandon’s right. We should probably get out of here.”

I plant my fists on my waist. “Nope. I’m going to swim.”

“Cass.”

“Seriously, go. I can take it from here.”

“I’m not leaving you alone at two in the morning. It isn’t safe.”

I laugh. “How very gallant, Travis.”

“I’m serious. It isn’t safe.”

With only a smile, I turn and head for the pool. He calls my name in a sharp whisper, but I ignore him.

Little garden lights illuminate the path and surround the flagstone patio. The pool shimmers. You’ve got to hand it to the Andersons. They have a nice place here.

I circle the pool thoughtfully, then dip one toe in the water. “Ideal temperature.”

No simple entrance into the pool will do. It’s got to be diving board or nothing. With determination, I march to the elaborate diving area and grip the ladder.

Travis calls my name again. I glance over my shoulder with a sigh. He’s in the shadows by the shrubs.

“You’re crazy,” he whisper-yells.

“Guilty as charged, Travis, my dear.” I blow him a kiss and climb the diving-board ladder. My nerve ends tingle as I approach the long plank. It’s a stupid little thing, but I feel more alive now than I have all summer.

“Okay. Here goes nothing. One…two…”

The porch lights snap on with the fury of midday sun. It startles me so much that I throw my arms up to block it and almost fall backward into the pool.

“All right, kids,” a man’s voice booms. “Fun’s over.”

Who knew an uber rich gated community would have twenty-four-hour guards on staff? Oh wait. I knew. I just didn’t care.

A big man in a bouncer-type jacket strides in at the side of the deck, right near where I entered. To my left, Travis flattens against the house. Trapped. If he runs, the guard will notice for sure.

The beam of a high-powered flashlight blasts in my face.

“Get down from there.”

I shoot a look to the gently rippling pool water, then to Travis, then back to the guard. He’s clearly not in the mood to screw around.

Something about this situation feels so symbolic of this whole summer. There I was, about to plunge into that film internship in New York. Or go to Paris with Jade. Or maybe the acting camp. I hadn’t really decided. Either way, I was ready to start living and get out of Nowhereville, Ohio. And what happens?

Mom and Frank get the crazy idea to rent a beach house in Massachusetts. And because Frank can work remotely with his finance job, they don’t rent it for a week like a normal family. They rent it for the entire summer. And of course, they insist on dragging me and Eddie down with them. To sit on my butt all day and to go to garden luncheons.

“Where are the two guys I saw you with?” the guard calls out.

Cameras. Of course there are cameras. The beam of the flashlight cuts from me to scan the yard. Travis’s whole body tenses, and a wash of guilt passes over me. As much as I initially wrote him off as a rich jock, I actually kind of like the guy. He’s been cool and willing to play along with my ridiculous little shenanigans. I can’t let him suffer serious, long-lasting consequences.

Meeting Travis’s eyes, I mouth the word “go” and then wave to the security guard with both arms. “It’s just me, big guy. Me and my lonesome.”

The flashlight snaps up to me. My pulse races. What I’m doing, I’m not exactly sure. But the recklessness feels good.

“I thought I saw someone else,” the guard says.

He starts to pull the light away to search the yard. I have to act quickly. Drawing in a breath, I pull my sundress over my head and toss it on the patio. For a single, humiliating moment, the guard’s flashlight illuminates my red bra and underwear for all the world to see. Travis better be halfway home by now.

The guard’s voice is calm but laden with warning. “Miss…”

“Last one in the water’s a rotten egg!”
Drawing in a breath, I give one good bounce on the diving board, leap into the air, form the perfect swan position, and plunge into the water.

About the Author

Renee Collins grew up on a beach in Hawaii. Sadly, she never met anyone from the past on those shores, but she did go on to get a degree in History, which is almost the same. She currently lives in Colorado with her family..





Connect With Renee

Praise for Until We Meet Again

“Mystery, romance, time travel, and danger…this one has it all…Suspenseful, poignant, and romantic: well worth the read.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A hazy, romantic mystery that might appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks.” — School of Library Journal

“Until We Meet Again is tragically beautiful with twists you won’t see coming.”— Martina Boone, author of Compulsion and the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy
"A beach house, a mystery, and time-travel love make Until We Meet Again a romantic, engaging read."— Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Until We Meet Again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read more »