Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Featured Author: Claire C Riley(Breakwater Harbor books)

Claire C Riley, is a mother first, a wife second, but a writer at heart.

Claire likes to break boundaries with her writing, incorporating an old school style of horror and romance. Sexy and dark. (Think Bram Stokers Dracula, but for the 21st century!)

Claire is a mother to three amazing little girls who hold her heart. She hopes to make them proud, and show them that if you work hard and believe in yourself... then, as Cinderella once said... dreams really do come true.

She is an avid book collector and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for on her blog!

Claire is currently working on the sequel to Limerence and also a dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie novel called- Odium.

She actively encourages reader participation on her blog and author Facebook page, with questionnaires, quizzes, and fan art. So get in touch!

Where can I find Claire? 

It's better to die by the gun than die by the dead.

Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise.
Now, she lives behind the walls.

The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. Life behind the walls has become as terrifying as roaming the zombie-ridden landscape beyond.

Citizens trade what they can to gain food, water, and shelter. Nina has only one currency—her body and she is tired of submitting herself to the greedy hands of the self-proclaimed leaders.

An opportunity to escape presents itself in the fate of a young girl named Emily-Rose. For the price of a stale piece of bread, she is set for banishment from the city, and most likely a horrific death at the hands of the deaders. Nina tells herself that it is sympathy and not self-preservation that makes her follow the young girl out of the walled metropolis, and into the overgrown world beyond.

Unused to fighting the deaders, Nina tries to scrounge for her survival and against her better judgment, begins to care for Emily-Rose. However, when you have a bread-stealing liability providing your only back up, survival seems even tougher. Nina is forced to fight for their lives, and with every zombie slain, she becomes fiercer, faster – a grim reaper with her not-so-sharp butcher’s knife.

Along the path to a safe-haven that might not exist, Nina and Emily-Rose meet Mikey who introduces them to a new life they could not imagine, a life above the ground. However, this new world brings new dangers, and darker shadows than she knew.
Nina finds out that the deaders aren’t the only thing to fear beyond the wall.

And that fear will not be ignored, or Forgotten

Where can I buy this book? 

My review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Review updated May 2014*

Before you read this book, remember to take a look at 'Life after after: Nina's story', the prequel. It is available in the anthology Fusion by Breakwaterharbor books. Well worth a read!

Nina survived the zombie outbreak to find sanctuary within the walls of a man made 'city', but life there became a nightmare. Now Nina is facing up to the freedom and danger outside those walls with the zombies and the danger from other survivors.

I liked the idea of the sanctuary being built by survivors to keep zombies out so they can live in safety but we get hints at the start that life behind those walls was far from safe. Nina and Emily are now having to take their chances away from this place and try to survive with the zombies. Neither of them are smart or super-skilled, they make bad decisions, they get into trouble, they get lucky. It is realistic and it is how you would imagine a normal person trying to survive when being sent out into a world of zombies with few or no survival skills. I liked the action scenes at the house, the garage and in the forest which all showed a bit of imagination but also felt as if could actually happen. Nina's new home, for example, was a great idea(don't want to spoil it!) and I had hoped to see a bit more of it and adventures in the hub. The zombie scenes were well written, there was plenty action and tension and a bit of zombie gore, and the story moved along at a good pace for me. This book had a lot of great and fresh new ideas in it which had me excited when I picked it up.

The problem was that I didn't like Nina much in this book. I didn't like the way she was continually moaning about her new friends, people who had rescued her, fed her, gave her a safe place to live. She was ungrateful, mean, rude and whining, all qualities that I hate in my main character. She viewed everything as a personal insult and it got on my nerves after a while. She could be really nasty to Emily at times, making her cry, making her feel useless. Bullying a child to make herself feel like the Big I Am for a few minutes did not endear Nina to me and I found I didn't care if the zombies got her at that point! I know this attitude is because she has suffered a lot since we last saw her but I still found her a bit annoying!

I wasn't really into the romance and the whole love triangle thing didn't really interest me. I was more interested in the zombie story which at times took a bit of a back seat to Nina's love life. I'm not a great fan of this falling in love with a total stranger in books especially during an apocalypse but that is just me! This is something I'm not keen on in most books I read so its not a reflection on this book. I'm an action not romance girl!

The idea of the Forgotten interested me when they first turned up in the forest and I was looking forward to a battle with them and the survivors, especially as the raid on the hub was supposed to be about getting weapons to defend their home from invaders as well as supplies. But that story was abandoned with everyone suddenly fleeing with few supplies which was a shame. Nobody even seemed prepared for a quick getaway, which was surprising given how organised Duncan was! They had been hunted by these people for months yet no supplies were hidden nearby in case of a quick exit or relocation. Why were supplies not hidden ready in the boathouse? A back up place to hide across the lake with a few essentials? For a group of smart survivors I felt their exit strategy was a bit half assed, and the sudden end of the forest adventure was a tiny bit disappointing. Still these are just niggles and don't take away from the story. And it did lead to a really good scene in the fields. 

I would maybe have liked to have seen more of the most interesting characters-Duncan and Britta, and a lot less of the annoying Crunch. I'd have liked a few more zombie encounters and maybe a battle in the forest with the enemy, but that's just because I love zombies and always want to see more of them. It might have been nice to find out a bit more about what happened to Nina in her 3 years behind the walls, maybe through a flashback or nightmare or two. Now as I edit this review I think that the reason we didn't see what happened to Nina behind the walls is because history could be repeating itself in book two. Not saying anything more!

Overall the concept was excellent, the ideas were new and interesting, the zombies were the shambling traditional ones that I love, the dangerous situations were exciting, and the action was tension filled. 5 stars for the zombie bits so I would recommend zombie fans to take a look at it as I feel the writer puts together a realistic and often gripping book. If you also like a bit of romance thrown in, this book could really appeal to you. 

note: I edited this review to give clarity to why I had a few plot issues as I don't feel I explained it very well first time round, and it sounded a bit harsh on the author which was not my intention!

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Life Ever After: Nina's Story(Odium prequel). Appears in the Fusion anthology.

My review:
Nina and Ben are on the verge of divorce when the zombie apocalypse comes. When their plan to stay safe in their house fails, they must make a run for it to try and reach safety. 4 stars for this story!

Really enjoyed this story! I felt that this was a very realistic look at how an ordinary couple would deal with a sudden zombie outbreak. Do we stay at home and wait for help or risk a road trip to get to the country? What do we take? What do we need? Can the zombies get in? It made me think about what I would want to do in that situation. Nina and Ben are nicely developed through their interaction with each other before the zombies arrive, and during the crisis itself and both are likable characters. The zombie incidents are nicely written with plenty tension and a little bit of gore to keep horror fans happy! 

Where can I buy this book? 

One man’s obsession will destroy her world.

Mia loves her fiancé Oliver, however after a chance encounter with his new employer Mr Breckt-the mysterious new owner of The Island, her thoughts are constantly consumed with the handsome and powerful stranger. But there is much more to her fixation of him than she realises.

Mr Breckt is a hundred year old vampire, and he isn't used to being told no.

He could take her at any time, but his ego insists that she wants him of her own freewill. With his obsession spiralling out of control, he finds her body, her mind, and most importantly her blood continuously calling to him, and the more she fights him, the more he wants her. Could his own narcissism be his downfall?

Mia finds herself at the centre of a struggle that she can’t resist nor understand. Caught between life and death, hope and fear, love and lust. Ultimately, she will have to make a sacrifice that will affect everyone. But no matter what choices are made, Mia could still lose.

Limerence is a dark story of love, lust, and obsession.

Where can I buy this book? 

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