I'm a writer (not yet published, but working on it) based in Sydney who loves to read and, as an excuse to share my thoughts on what I'm reading, I review!
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Smashwords book reviews by Bonnie
- Hungry For You
on June 09, 2011
I really enjoy zombie movies and the odd zombie game, and even though I have a soft spot for horror stories and dark fiction born from my reading background, I haven’t read many zombie books or stories in general. When I first read the description for Hungry For You I was a little wary, mainly because I’ve read my fair share of paranormal romance (enough to last me a lifetime – not a major PR fan here) and I admit I was a little concerned about love mixed in with zombies, but I was willing to give it a go with an open mind. And I also thought maybe it couldn’t be too much of a stretch to like zombie stories in print so why not start with a short story collection?
Well wasn’t I happy I decided to read it? It’s a short read, but one that might be better read spaced out. I read a few stories, then switched to another book that was a review request, before coming back to it. The first time I spent reading it I read far fewer stories compared to the second. I think for me, even though it is something that can easily be read in a day and probably better if you’re a zombie fiction fan, it would be better to space it out so I’m not inundated with zombie love.
And the zombie love is present, but not always in the way you would expect. Those stories are more about humanity and inner struggles than about fright and necrophilia, they’re just told with the use of zombies. The zombies themselves are interesting because Harte has stories in there that show traditional views of zombies, but at the same time she’s diversified how zombies are perceived and created several different ways to experience them. There’s the traditional plague, zombie apocalypse type of thing, and that is present in the background quite a bit, but there’s also the musician trying to drown out his pain, a couple with heart and morals, one that is very short and yet poignant about loss and love, zombies in a sex trade and a zombie union for their rights (that one was pretty good & I would love to read an expansion) and my absolute favourite The Cure, which I can’t really say anything about without completely spoiling it, but I love how it is done. There’s so many to choose from that are entertaining, have great use of emotion, good characterisation, and that are creative, but those few listed give you an idea of the variety even though they are definitely all connected with love.
I really do love how Harte has presented her stories, their meanings, with the use of zombies. I think the fun is reading this story collection to see how she entwines zombies into the mix rather than reading it as purely zombie fiction and I do highly recommend it.
- The Last Man on Earth Club
on July 06, 2011
I’m a fan of dystopia mainly, but I guess you could say as a result of that, I’m also a fan of post-apocalyptic stories and not just in books. One of my favourite games is Fallout, one of my favourite movies is 12 Monkeys, and one of my favourite books is The Road, all of which have a post-apocalyptic theme.
All of those stories, like many other post-apocalyptic ones, look at survival after the fact and that survival usually involves other people of that society being present. Where it’s the case of the last man standing, so to speak, it’s usually their struggle with being alone and adapting to their situation. I found it interesting to read a concept based on that last man standing to not only survive, but be taken away from their isolation, and yet still have to struggle with being alone and adapting to their situation.
The Last Man on Earth Club is one parts Rehab Genre Fiction, one parts apocalypse concepts that tantalise the imagination, and a whole lot more inbetween. As you would expect when it comes to a story that deals with a therapy group, there are a lot of issues that are covered, and far more than I was expecting. Of course there’s grief and coping with loss, but there’s also issues of sexuality, identity, acceptance, religion and belief, interpretations of justice, and politics around genocide.
The story touches on all the above issues, their nuances, and more, but what I really like about The Last Man on Earth Club is that whilst it draws attentions to all of these topics, it is about the people in this group, their progress and growth, and how they react from grief. All the other elements are extras to show the kaleidoscope of human emotions and processes of grief. Yet at the same time, when we are following the story of the group, we are also following the story of the group’s therapist who is the one narrating.
There are several different characters, but unlike other books I’ve read where it can get messy and confusing, there is no confusion and characters are easy to follow. Part of this can be attributed to the chapters being presented for each character with their individual sessions and then bringing the group together for group sessions in another chapter, but it can also be attributed to the characters being very clearly defined.
The characters all show an array of responses and personalities, such is the way of human behaviour, and I quite enjoyed their interactions. I found myself warming up to quite a few of them, including the angrier ones, and when it comes to the ones I didn’t warm up to straight away, I found myself feeling something for them by the end. These characters all go through some sort of transformation throughout the story, but also don’t lose what set them apart from each other in the beginning, which is great because the story is a very character driven one.
I found myself drawn along, chapter by chapter, wanting to find out a combination of elements to the story; what would happen with the characters, what occurred on their planet, who was responsible for the devastation on their worlds, and what was the cultures and histories of all these different races. For a post-apocalyptic fan who wants something different or perhaps a break, but also doesn’t want to stray too far from the genre, The Last Man on Earth Club is definitely a book to consider.
For more of my reviews check out www.bookishardour.com
- Lunara: Seth and Chloe
on Sep. 04, 2011
For a reader who reads more dystopian style and virus related science fiction, I found Lunara: Seth and Chloe to be a pleasant surprise. While I found it difficult to feel the urgency the character's felt in the beginning, I was quickly swept along by the story and finding myself thoroughly engaged by the characters, in the end cheering the good guys, booing the bad guys, and generally caring about their outcomes. The character's reactions were believable and relatable for a story set in space with realistic ideals of what humanity can accomplish as the background setting.
The plot came across as being thought through, but without the reader having to see the effort, creating a story that can grab the reader with plenty of intrigue, a dash of conspiracy, and a fast pace, something of which made me want to find out what happens next.
Wyatt Davenport has the ability to balance action, plot twists, and characterisation together so you can enjoy the story from different sides all at the same time. Lunara: Seth and Chloe is a light science fiction story, which can be enjoyed by die hard sci-fi geeks, someone new to the genre, or a reader who prefers only to dip their toes in.