A Savage Generation by David Tallerman

Thank you so much to Flame Tree Press for the ARC of A Savage Generation, which I won in their Instagram giveaway!

Synopsis off GoodReads: Sickness is ravaging America, driving the infected to savagery. Petty criminal Ben Silensky is determined to get his girlfriend Carlita and son Kyle free of the quarantined city they live in, enough so to risk a foolhardy crime and then to team up with Carlita’s equally desperate cop cousin Nando. Once they’re out, Nando is certain they’ll find a place in the open prison where his uncle works, unbeknownst to him already become a survivalist colony named Funland under the management of entrepreneurial convict Plan John. In Funland itself, guard Doyle Johnson is shocked when his ex-wife abandons his son Austin into his care. Fearing the vulnerable position he’s been placed in, he recruits the help of Katherine Aaronovich, the former prison’s doctor. But Aaronovich’s traumatic past has left her with vulnerabilities of her own, along with radical theories on the nature of the epidemic that will place all their lives in jeopardy. As the last vestiges of civilisation crumble, Funland may prove to be the safest or the most dangerous of places, depending on who comes out on top – and what can’t be held together will inevitably be torn apart. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

I really hate to liken a book to something popular like ‘The Walking Dead’, but reading this book felt like watching 4 episodes in the middle of a season! Each chapter is told from a rotating point of view and the action rarely stopped, resulting in a super fast read that I downed in three sittings! The infected are referred to as “Sickers,” and while there are no resources to find a cure…one popular theme in the book was how people from different backgrounds find ways to coexist and live and survive. The cast had to work with each other, the Sickers had to stay together… and the next generation of youth, unborn babies, and even Sicker children had to just find a way to live.

There was a pretty interesting psychological element involving the youth; I knew what Tallerman was trying to do at least. How are the youth supposed to react to these surroundings? What do they turn into when plain and pure survival becomes their primary instinct? Actually he did a pretty good job but I wish there was more focus on the youth going forward. The book started and ended pretty abruptly, which led me to believe that the psychological, thriller, and survival aspects were more important than the “zombie” theme.

I recommend for fans of thrillers, survivalist reads, dystopias, zombies that aren’t toooo scary, or even a slightly scary seasonal read. Warning for some graphic violence involving bites and shootings!



The Bone Ships by RJ Barker


Thank you so much to Orbit Books via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Honestly I just want to start by saying that The Bone Ships is one of the best books I have read all year, and I can’t wait to have it in a hard copy with the rest of the trilogy!! I KNOW I will be re-reading this! I was swept away by all 500+ pages and never felt bored, never skimmed, and definitely can’t wait for the sequel.

The description from NetGalley:

“For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war. The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted. Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour, because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war”

I will start by saying that the cover and internal map are both really awesome designs, and I think the map adds a lot to the story. It is helpful to be able to visualize the ship’s route and have some sense of scale to the journey they are on.

The story itself is completely unique to anything I have ever read before, and very dark as well. The entire war at this point is based on stealing children from the other side to sacrifice their souls as corpse lights on their ships. Additionally, each healthy first born of the Hundred Isles’ women is sacrificed in the same regard. These souls seem to make the ships literally alive, as when the ships take damage, the corpse lights go out. This doesn’t seem like an intelligent way of life to some people, which may or may not be one of the many sources of intrigue, treason, and subplotting within the empire.

There are also black ships of the dead, where the brilliant white ship is painted black to signify that those on board are condemned to death as criminals. They sail to their deaths…. Good lord what an amazing cast of characters as well. Meas, the ship’s captain, or shipwife, is one of those morally grey characters that I wanted to hate but ended up loving. She is known as the best shipwife in the isles, if not the world, and stole command of the black ship Tide Child from the other main character, Joron Twiner, who had an arc of growth and leadership that made me proud of him. My favorite character was probably the Guillaime, I wanted to set the book down and clap when he finally did his thing but I really can’t talk about him without spoilers, but trust me. The same concept kind of goes for the sea dragon, an amazing being but too full of spoilers. The ship’s crew was such a rag tag bunch but they faced soooooo many things together including learning discipline, enemy ships, inclement weather, traitors in their midst, and becoming unsung heroes… Watching the crew come together was a huge strong point for me.

I also can’t get over how well Barker describes, well, pretty much everything. The flora and fauna as the crew discovers new places, I felt like I was there. The ships themselves felt so visible in my mind as well, even the clothes and uniforms and weather. The language and ship slang is done impeccably as well, right down to Black Orris! The one other thing that really had my spine tingling were the naval battles, let those giant bows fly!!

So long story short, I absolutely 100% recommend this book to anyone with any slight interest whatsoever in fantasy, dragons, pirates, sea life, old gods and legends, treason, morally grey characters, women in charge, snarky animals….basically read it. Thank you again to Orbit Books and NetGalley for this early read! The book comes out September 24th so be sure to preorder if it sounds up your alley!

Paranormal Suspense Thrillers Young Adult

The Furies by Katie Lowe

Thank you SO much to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! Here is the first part of the Goodreads summary:

In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

The Furies by Katie Lowe is an atmospheric read set in a small coastal town at the end of the line. All the lines. Literally. It seems like a very depressed area that has a history of witch hunts and unexplained deaths/murders. At the heart is a school for girls, where Violet is a new student and she ends up falling in with an odd group of girls that are part of a secret society. The past is mixed with the present as Violet recalls the events of her first year at the school.

So the good things first: I really did enjoy Lowe’s writing style. Violet had a detached voice that kind of mirrored the….. ….hell, I’ll say it, she’s a bit of a sociopath. The whole book had a creepy, depressed, airy tone that her voice did a good job imparting.

The other voice that we hear a lot of is the secret society/art teacher, Annabel. She gives us some interesting discourse on the history of the town and school, as well as a critical view of some mythological and literary classics through a feminist lens. The only parts that really lost me were these discourses – yes it is cool to have mini lessons on Chaucer, Dante’s Inferno, and others, but it was a bit of a sidetrack. And extensive. Very occasionally it was hard in other places to understand what was happening, but the storyline would pick back up quickly enough.

The girls might have been abused by the men in their lives, and then had good reason fo seek revenge, but they took women’s empowerment to a scary level! They attempted – attempted? to summon the mythical furies as had their study group’s members in earlier years, evoking their powers. Violet was an at risk teen to start but she seemed way too eager to start smoking, drinking, doing drugs, losing weight, and contemplating murder…just to fit into this group. None of those girls were healthy.

Otherwise I really loved how the witchcraft, history, and mythology all tied together in the book. I don’t think anyone could have possibly seen that end coming. I would definitely recommend the book if atmospheric, spellcrafty, spooky and slightly psychopathic reads are up your alley!

The title releases on 10/8 and is available for preorder!


Fiction Historical Fiction

Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley for the e-ARC of Today We Go Home in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

The description from GoodReads:

Seattle, Washington: Larkin Bennett has always known her place, whether it’s surrounded by her loving family in the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, or riding on a dusty convoy in Afghanistan. But all that changed the day tragedy struck her unit and took away everything she held dear. Soon after, Larkin discovers an unexpected treasure: the diary of Emily Wilson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union in the Civil War. As Larkin struggles to heal, she finds herself drawn deep into Emily’s life and the secrets she kept. Indiana, 1861. The only thing more dangerous to Emily Wilson than a rebel soldier is her own comrades in the Union. But in the minds of her fellow soldiers, if it dresses like a man, swears like a man, and shoots like a man, it must be a man. As the war marches on and takes its terrible toll, Emily begins to question everything she has been told about the freedom she is supposed to be fighting for.

So everyone that knows me knows that I am a huge Civil War reader, and this book was an obvious choice for me. I have read a few nonfiction books about women in the war, but nothing from a fictional perspective.

I honestly didn’t care much for Larkin, although she made a lot of excellent points about women in the military and society’s perceptions of them. I also felt like there was a statement about mental healthcare for veterans in the book, somewhere, as it seemed like a suicidal veteran shouldn’t have been discharged from treatment as early as she was, and/or the program she was in was lacking effectiveness. The themes of suicidal ideations, suicide in general, grief, loss, and coming to terms with traumas were handled fairly lightly as Larkin found an interest, purpose, and then connection to Emily Wilson – the Union army soldier. I thought Emily’s traumas were handled even lighter, I would have loved to know (as did Larkin) how Emily coped.

I loved Emily though, she was a spitfire. When she squared up and said she WAS a soldier, I just about put my phone down and clapped for her. I feel like the author got a lot of camp details right, but there wasn’t a lot of historical information in the book itself. That said, there is a fantastic annex of resources in the book for additional reading that I highly recommend checking out.

One thing that threw me off was how the historical time period was presented in the ARC: some times Larkin would be reading the diary, then sometimes the chapter would be written as if the Civil War period was present day. Otherwise I did find it to be a really quick and interesting read

I rated it 3 stars because I really loved Emily’s chapters, while feeling indifferent towards Larkin’s. I would totally recommend for anyone interested in women in the military, historical feminism, historical fiction, and good fiction in general!

Thank you again so much to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the early read! The book released September 3rd so by all means check it out if it seems up your alley!