Contagion by Teri Terry Book Review

Image result for contagion teri terry cover

Synopsis: URGENT! An epidemic is sweeping the country. You are among the infected. There is no cure; and you cannot be permitted to infect others. You are now under quarantine. The very few of the infected who survive are dangerous and will be taken into the custody of the army. Young runaway Callie survived the disease, but not the so-called treatment. Her brother Kai is still looking for her. And his new friend Shay may hold the key to uncovering what truly happened. From the author of the international sensation Slated comes the first book in a powerful new story of survival and transformation; love and power.

My Review: Teri Terry has become one of my favourite authors through the Slated trilogy. So when I saw Contagion up for request on NetGalley how could I resist.

Teri Terry certainly doesn’t disappoint. Contagion is a strong opening to an exciting new series.

I thought I knew where the book was going when I read the synopsis. However, Contagion was an unpredictable story that made me keep turning the pages.

The story follows Shay as she tries to help Kai find his younger sister who went missing a year before. But, their priorities soon change as a deadly flu starts to sweep through Scotland.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good old deadly plague and Contagion delivers a great plague setting. However the book doesn’t become over whelmed by this story line but focuses more on the characters and origins of the flu.

The story is split between two character perspectives. The short chapters work really well, often showing one scene through two pairs of eyes. Shay and Callie, who are the those two pairs of eyes, are the main characters. I really liked the character of Shay. She wasn’t overly brave and strong, but these imperfections are what made her character feel more real.

My one grumble is the relationship between Kai and Shay. It isn’t even a spoiler to say that they are together because it happens from page 1. It was far too quick. It felt off and annoyed me through the first third of the book. About half way through would have been a better point for them to actually become a couple.

Overall, Contagion is a brilliant start to a new trilogy that I cant wait to keep reading. Especially after the nice cliffhanger ending, thanks Teri for that one.


4/5


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I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Synopsis: “Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!”

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life.


My Review:  Set in 1940’s war torn England, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir  tells the tale of the women who are left behind when the men go off to join the war effort. This is simply a beautiful read, showing the lives of these different women and girls through letters and diary entries.

The setting of the small English town was perfectly created. The characters were superbly written. Each one had a unique voice and tale. Jennifer Ryan managed to weave all the character’s tales together in a way that flowed perfectly.

The heartbreak from the cost of war is balanced out by the determination that the Ladies of Chilbury show to carry on. The characters draw you in and make you feel everything that they do. From young Silvie, who has fled from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, to Mrs Tilling who is trying to cope with her son  being sent to war, their struggles and their voices spring off the page.

The story has a little bit of everything. There are quite a few dramatic story lines, however they work.

My only issue is that the diary entries and letters had too much dialogue to be genuine. This is only a small thing that I noticed after I’d finished reading the book. To actually tell the story, the dialogue between characters was needed so it could not really have been done any other way.

Overall, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a touching story that I’d highly recommend.


4.5/5 stars


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Disclaimer – I received a copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith Book Review

Synopsis: What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an ageing Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiance, is a fine man from a neighbouring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
 


My Review: Firstly, a thank you to David Meredith for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Reflections of Queen Snow White is not normally my genre of book. I’ve read very few fairy tale retellings, but when asked if I’d be interested in writing a review the synopsis did intrigue me.

The book shows what happens after ‘happily ever after’ has finished. After Charming’s death Snow White is lonely. And she is reminded of this as her daughter prepares for her own wedding. Snow White just can’t quite get to grips with the fact that he’s gone, which is the central theme of the book’s beginning.

In an attempt to avoid everyone who could remind her of Charming, Snow White wanders around the castle and eventually finds the ‘magic mirror’. David Meredith takes a new approach to the magic mirror from the fairy tale. The mirror acts like any other, it shows the reflection of a person. However, it wouldn’t be a magic mirror without the fact that it does this through visions of the person’s past. I did really like the way the book went through the mirror to show Snow White’s past and what happened to her after the fairy tale. It was an interesting way to tell the story which did keep me reading on.

I read The Reflection’s of Queen Snow White in one sitting as it is quite a short book. And that’s where the downside of this book lies. It feels a little rushed towards the end. There were more areas that could have been explained and explored. It felt almost like this was book was showing excerpts of a longer book. Although, I did enjoy the concept I would have liked a little more padding to the story.

Overall, The Reflection’s of Queen Snow White has an interesting plot and good elements to it. However, it felt like there were a few aspects missing.


3/5 Stars


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Feed by Mira Grant Book Review

SynopsisThe year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected.

The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

My Review: Did someone say deadly virus turns people into things they are not? Yes, throw in a nice deadly plague onto the synopsis and you have my attention. Sometimes you just need a good apocalypse.

So of course Feed ended up in my shopping cart (still have no idea how that happened). Was I disappointed? Absolutely not.

The whole ‘oh-look-there’s-a-deadly-virus-turning-people-into-walkers-introduce-stereotypical-bunch-of-survivors-who-argue-all-the-time-and-at-least-3-of-them-are-going-to-die’ trope has been done many times. Yes, I still end up falling for those books… Which is why I bought Feed thinking it would be similar. However, Feed managed to sit in it’s very own category of apocalypse book. It’s a political thriller set in a world where by the way we have a slight problem with people who may want to eat you. Like I said, different. This is a world where bloggers took ever in the apocalypse (always knew we had our uses) and when society is doing just fine, the infestation aside, they still control the internet. It’s not a tale of a destroyed world. It’s one where yes there was a minor Apocalypse but the worlds puts itself back together (you know the world is revolving around the sun just fine when Starbucks is still open).

Feed is less of a character driven book and feels more like you’re reading through a blog or drama documentary. Don’t let that description put you off however as it fits perfectly with the story and overall feel of the book.

Feed follows three bloggers in a world where blogging took over during the outbreak and never left. The blogging world was split into three main categories; newise (those who blog about the news, Irwins (basically idiots who poke dead things with sticks) and fictionals (I think the name is self explanatory).

Georgia is a newsie and the complete opposite to her brother Shawn who is an Irwin. Along with Buffy, the fictional, they go from being little bloggers to being given the opportunity to follow the presidential campaign tour with one of the candidates.
It sounds like a pretty simple story line, but there are so many twists and turns along the way. It is quite a dense book with the running theme of the politics, news/blogging world and then the actual characters. Hence why it took a while to get through, but it is surprisingly gripping. Just when you think everything is cut and dry something else comes out of the blue. One thing I will say is that no plot twist is ever predictable in this book. The plot is constantly evolving and that’s one of the things that makes the book as good as it is.

I’m still on the fence with the characters. They all felt pretty normal however I found the dependency between Georgia and Shawn as siblings a little unreal. No brother and sister I know get on quite like that. Overall however, the characters were not predictable. They managed to surprise you more than once and sometimes that’s all you want from a set of characters. One thing I do love about this book is the lack of love. There was not great romance. Sometimes you just want a decent book without having to roll your eyes at the main character for being so stupidly and blindly in love. One of the main three does have a significant other during the book, however it is not a main thread in the book. Also last thing to praise on the characters is the lovely lack of whiny teenagers. Yes, you did indeed hear correctly no whiny teenagers in a YA book. Our main trio are in their twenties (yes an age that actually can exist in YA lit). The older than 15 characters did help the book feel more real. Because something tells me that 15 year old bloggers on a presidential campaign may have felt a little fake.

The world that Mira Grant created for these characters is unlike any post apocalyptic world I’ve seen, It’s a world governed by terror. The detail the book goes into on the security measures that are taken out of fear of the virus is amazing. Personally I think Feed shows what the world would look like if a similar virus broke out today.

So if you’re looking for a gripping read that has twists at every corner and a few near death scenes to keep it interesting, Feed is for you.


4/5 Stars


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