Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Published by Gollancz
Pages: 310
Genres: Dystopian YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Thoughts: The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a beautiful, terrifying book. I completely understand why people are so enamoured with Carrie Ryan’s writing!  It is elegant, poetic and well, frankly, gorgeous. This book swallowed me whole and didn’t let go until I’d finished the whole thing.

The world Ryan creates is simply terrifying. Actually, the entire book is one long nightmare.  It is a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale (by Margaret Atwood) and The Village (film by M. Night Shyamalan) – only with zombies. Scary stuff, especially for a wimp like me!

Unfortunately I was unable to relate to any of the main characters in this book. I didn’t actively dislike any of them, but I did often felt their personal dramas were an annoying distraction from the action. The romantic triangle in the book had a lot of tell-no-show aspects – referencing feelings from before the book began. It was disappointing, but probably for the best – true love can’t last long during a zombie apocalypse!

Bottom Line?  The Forest of Hands and Teeth haunting book. I’d recommend it to older teens and adults – especially those who don’t pick up “genre” books. Ryan has a way of making a book about zombies into a book about everything but zombies.

DNF Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

DNF Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene FrostHalfway to the Grave (DNF) by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress #1
Published by Gollancz
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father--the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner--are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

I don’t like reviewing books that I haven’t finished – after all, how can I judge a whole book by only looking at part of it?  But sometimes there are books that people love, while I had to struggle to get through 50 pages (which is when I allow myself to give up).  So, I thought I would share my misery – a books that I was excited to read, have great reviews on goodreads, but I found utterly unendurable.

Feel free to snark back at me, as I haven’t been all that kind.

Average goodreads rating for Halfway to the Grave: 4.26
My rating: I could have bought Buffy DVDs with this money.

I was crazy excited to start this book.  There must be a few hundred praising reviews about Cat and Bones and their epic hotness.  What did I get from it?  Buffy fanfiction.  Now, Frost says that her character Bones is of absolutely no relation to Spike from BtVS.  Well, even if that is the case, Bones is still his literary twin.  People can come up with similar concepts independent from each other – I know.  But seriously?  A bleached, accented, cocky, luv’-and-darlin’-saying vampire?  One was enough.

Besides my issues with Bones, I had also not been so crazy about Cat.  She seemed angry at the world – especially vamps – when really she should have been pissed about her mother’s crappy parenting.  But that wasn’t enough for me to even dislike her.  Zero personality.

Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine HarrisDead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1
Published by Ace/Roc, Gollancz
Pages: 292
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Dead as a Doornail

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too--he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next.

 I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.

Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book. What got me out to the bookstore was seeing the True Blood pilot. I would highly recommend watching it when the season airs and as it totally added to the experience. I bought it mostly out of love for Bill – who reminds me of Edward from the Twilight series despite being nothing like him at all.

Anyhow, this book was so much fun. It was such an amazing look on the whole vampire/human romance because they are all “out of the coffin”. Usually it’s all one big secret, but in this case everyone and their mother knows what Sookie is up to with Bill.

Another thing that I really appreciated was Sookie being just that little bit special and it not being such a good thing. Charlaine Harris deals very well with the fact that a young girl hearing voices in her head is not exactly healthy. Reminds me of the J.K. Rowling quote, Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.

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