Month: November 2018

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Author: Matt Killeen
Published:  March 20, 2018
423 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined.

Kim’s Review:

This book was slightly disappointing to me. I had just finished the exhilarating Resistance by Nielsen; I got this book brand new off the shelf at Barnes and Noble, and the cover is so beautiful, so I picked it up right away. I know it’s not fair to compare books, so I’m going to try not to. Orphan Monster Spy just felt shallow to me. I didn’t feel any real connection to Sarah.

The story itself was good, but often times it felt inconsequential. By the time I finished it, it was empty, I felt very little. I really didn’t like the way Sarah was constantly comparing herself to the Nazis. It annoyed me that someone who was standing up against a regime that was so obviously evil, could then put herself into the same category as the “monsters” she was trying to fight. Killing someone who is about to kill an innocent person does not put you on the same level as the killer. I like having clearer distinctions of morality and this book suffered because it didn’t have those distinctions. It kept my attention well enough and I did like certain things about the story. Certain circumstances came to light to show just how evil individual Nazis were, and I liked the perspective of condemning not just the Nazi organization, but individuals as well. Seeing the brutal standards that the Nazi held not just for themselves but for their children was interesting.

I think my favorite part of the book was when Sarah participated in the River Run. She showed courage and cleverness and it was the one time in the book where I actually found myself rooting for her. I am glad I read this book, I did learn a little from it, but I don’t plan on reading it again and I can’t really bring myself to recommend it.

 Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies series finale: The Living is available NOW!

After nearly a decade of hard work, Isaac Marion has brought us The Living, the final book in the Warm Bodies Series:

In February of 2009, Marion printed the first 100 copies of Warm Bodies at a local print shop and started selling them on his website.  Later came a feature film and a long, difficult publishing journey which brought him full circle: He is independently publishing, printing, and selling the final book, The Living, on his own and it is out today!!!  You can order The Living here in hardback or e-book. I ordered my copy and can not wait for it to arrive!

I first listened to the audio book of Warm Bodies with my husband (at the time we were just dating) in September of 2010 when we were heading to Florida for our first vacation and we both really enjoyed it.   I need to read it again and the rest in the series! 

Book Description:

The New York Times bestselling Warm Bodies Series has captivated readers in twenty-five languages, inspiring a major film and transcending the zombie genre to become something “poetic” (Library Journal) “highly original” (Seattle Times) and “ultimately moving” (Time Out London). Now the story of a dead man’s search for life reaches its conclusion on a scale both epic and intimate.

Before he was a flesh-eating corpse, R was something worse. He remembers it all now, a life of greed and apathy more destructive than any virus, and he sees only one path to redemption: he must fight the forces he helped create. But what can R, Julie, and their tiny gang of fugitives do against the creeping might of the Axiom Group, the bizarre undead corporation that’s devouring what’s left of America?

It’s time for a road trip.

No more flyover country. This time they’ll face the madness on the ground, racing their RV across the wastelands as tensions rise and bonds unravel—because R isn’t the only one hiding painful secrets. Everyone is on their own desperate search: for a kidnapped daughter, a suicidal mother, and an abused little boy with a gift that could save humanity…if humanity can convince him it’s worth saving.

All roads lead home, to a final confrontation with the plague and its shareholders. But this is a monster that guns can’t kill. A battle only one weapon can win…

The rest of the series:

Warm Bodies:
270 pages

“R” is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

Isaac Marion’s genre-defying Warm Bodies series startled the literary world with its poignant subversion of the zombie mythos, inspiring a major film adaptation and being translated into twenty-seven languages.

The New Hunger (Prequel novella):
193 pages

The must-read prequel to the “highly original” (The Seattle Times) New York Times bestseller Warm Bodies—now a major motion picture—from the author whose genre-defying debut turned the classic horror story on its head.

The end of the world didn’t happen overnight.

After years of societal breakdowns, wars and quakes and rising tides, humanity was already near the edge. Then came a final blow no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more.

Born into this bleak and bloody landscape, twelve-year-old Julie struggles to hold on to hope as she and her parents drive across the wastelands of America, a nightmarish road trip in search of a new home.

Hungry, lost, and scared, sixteen-year-old Nora finds herself her brother’s sole guardian after her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle.

And in the darkness of a forest, a dead man opens his eyes. Who is he? What is he? With no clues beyond a red tie and the letter “R,” he must unravel the grim mystery of his existence—right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly.

The New Hunger is a crucial link between Warm Bodies and The Burning World, a glimpse into the past that sets the stage for an astonishing future.

The Burning World:
513 pages

Being alive is hard. Being human is harder. But since his recent recovery from death, R is making progress. He’s learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love, and the city’s undead population is showing signs of life. R can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart—building a new world from the ashes of the old one.

And then helicopters appear on the horizon. Someone is coming to restore order. To silence all this noise. To return things to the way they were, the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. The plague is ancient and ambitious, and the Dead were never its only weapon.

How do you fight an enemy that’s in everyone? Can the world ever really change? With their home overrun by madmen, R, Julie, and their ragged group of refugees plunge into the otherworldly wastelands of America in search of answers. But there are some answers R doesn’t want to find. A past life, an old shadow, crawling up from the basement.

About the Author (from his website)

Isaac Marion grew up in small towns around the Pacific Northwest, pursuing careers in writing, painting, and music until one of these finally sparked with the publication of his debut novel in 2010. WARM BODIES become a New York Times Bestseller, inspired a major film, and was translated into 25 languages. He spent the next eight years writing the rest of the story over the course of four books, now concluded with THE LIVING. He lives and writes on Orcas Island and plays music in Seattle with the band, Thing Quartet.

Now here are the fun facts from Isaac about Isaac:

I also write music, though it’s been a while. Here’s an album I did in 2007, it’s called DEAD CHILDREN.
I used to PAINT and was fairly serious about it for a minute, but I haven’t touched a brush in many years.
I am sinister (left handed) do not trust me.
My beard hides a doorway to a hidden world.
I live in a van more often that you might expect.
I have never won a contest or prize of any kind.
The house my family lived in when I was 14 (a modified motorcycle garage) was condemned and burned down by the city. That was the year I started writing.
My job history is long and puzzling.
One time I almost got decapitated.
One time I felt genuine emotion toward a cactus. (his name is Stabby and he is my son.)
I have enjoyed the company of all the following pets: dog, cat, rat, mouse, gerbil, guinea pig, grasshopper, rabbit, turtle, frog, snake, iguana, horse, goat, fish, snail, slug, salamander, and unknown lamprey-like creature discovered in the mud of the Skagit River.
I’m tall and it brings me great delight when little old ladies ask me to get things off high store shelves for them. Finally I have purpose.
I don’t really understand what anything is for and I suspect it’s not for anything but I think we can invent our own meaning and live in it, like writing and reading a story.
I have never traveled anywhere warm or pleasant, only desolate European wastelands, probably because some part of me doesn’t think I deserve a tropical beach.
My number one travel destination is Antartica. Bury me in the ice until the next age.
Let me know if you’re ever on Orcas Island! I’m friendly and approachable and I love coffee, haha, lol, ok see you later!

Contact Isaac:
Website
Twitter @isaacinspace
Tumblr
Instagram @isaacmarion

Trailer for the Warm Bodies movie: The book is so much more than this! 

 

 

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Blog Blitz: Thalidomide Kid

Today I am one of the stops on the blog blitz for Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby. I will be sharing an extract from the novel. And if you live in the UK, there is a giveaway going on!

Book Description:

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.

The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


This is an excerpt where Celia overhears a conversation about ‘the boy with no arms’.  Celia is still at primary school and her father, deputy head of ‘the big school’ has invited the head Miss Bond, for a meal. 

“Should we retire to the snug?” Dad said, when second helpings had long been demolished; a cue for the girls to clear away the plates and help Mum with the dishes. Celia and Abby took out the sherry glasses first, sipping the bits left at the bottom.  They knew which was Miss Bond’s glass by the pink shade of her lipstick.

By the time they’d done the dishes and their mother had seen to the coffees in the best Prinknash cups, the conversation had switched again. Dad, in one of the armchairs, was relighting his pipe, the blackened match nearly burning his fingers in its dying flare, while Miss Bond was holding forth on the studio couch, the tail end of which was about a fourth year boy from Upper Churnside who was always truanting and up to no good, even when he did attend school. 

“Let’s be blunt …” Miss Bond continued, her glasses on the end of a chain and her plump knees pointing to one side. “They’re a family of juvenile delinquents and congenital liars.”

Mrs Burkett, after offering the coffees, sat at the other end of the studio couch. Abby took the other armchair, leaving Celia with the milking stool one of the boys had made in woodwork at Dad’s old school in Accrington. She sat on it against the wall and pulled out one of her old Buntys that had somehow found its way into the magazine rack, having decided that it was OK to flick through her comic in this situation, seeing as the grown-ups were talking about stuff which wasn’t strictly for her ears. In this situation, discretion was a good strategy, she decided, and tried to lose herself in the pictures of fictional schoolgirls, some with pudding-basin haircuts like her own.

“It’s not surprising,” Miss Bond went on. “The father’s in and out of prison and a couple of the older ones have been sent to borstal.” She looked at their father over her slanted glasses. “Even the younger ones are at it. There’s one, only about ten years old.”

Celia noticed how this Bunty had lost its new smell, that hot off-the-press smell it had when the instalments were all eagerly waiting to be read.

“A Thalidomide,” said Miss Bond. “So he gets away with a lot of mischief because of his handicap. Apparently he was caught stealing and was sent home with little more than a slap on the wrist, except he hasn’t a wrist to slap, of course. Maybe he wants to prove to his family that he can be like them, though I think it’s more a case of them exploiting his handicap. He’d be about Celia’s age.”

Miss Bond glanced over at Celia who’d become enthralled by the story unfolding outside the confines of her comic. It must be him that Miss Bond was talking about. The boy with no arms. 

“I think he goes to her school,” continued Miss Bond. “The mother had a fight to let him go there, I believe, instead of the physically handicapped place. Of course, we’ll be presented with the same dilemma next year, though we pride ourselves on our progressive policies towards the integration of the handicapped at Cirencester High. A mark of any civilized society, don’t you think?”

The conversation gradually moved on again to the fourth year parents’ evening and PTAs and school governors, and Celia drifted off, glowing on dregs of sherry and thinking of May and June with their severed legs and the handicapped boy with hair the colour of a doll’s. Lovely, unspoilt hair.


About the Author:

Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England.  She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.

She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.

However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.

She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.

She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).

She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback.

Contact Kate:
Website
Blog
Goodreads
Bookbub
Pinterest

 **UK GIVEAWAY**

 Win 1 signed copy of Thalidomide Kid

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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