Marshall Law is in place in North America, a mysterious virus has struck down most of New York State and only essential travel is authorised. 70’% of the population are quite simply not going to make it and all the checkpoints in the world can’t stop it from spreading. For Vivian only one thing matters, getting to California to see the child she was forced to give up 4 years before. Armed with travel papers, obtained through a lie, and a vehicle which is barely mechanically sound she hits the highway.
Her journey doesn’t go quite the way she planned and soon she finds herself part of a small band of survivors trying to put together the pieces. Where you come from and all the money you had become meaningless, survival puts everyone on equal ground.
Broken world pull no punches right from the start, I enjoyed that we start with Vivian halfway through her journey and right into the heart of a nation gripped with fear. Her feelings and fears are so well written that I felt them with her, her encounters as a lone female travelling through a nightmare put my heart in my mouth and that was just the first few chapters! She’s had a tough lot in life but she is determined to do one thing right by getting to her daughter, even if that means teaming up with with strangers who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Vivian is a strong and fiesty character even if she needs a bit of time to let those strengths show through, she is as human as the rest of us and I love how all the characters remain this way too, giving you an affinity with their reactions.
The book is essentially a road movie with characters joining and leaving the group along the way, Vivian and the Brothers Axl and Angus remain the constants, with Vivian having battle with containing both her attraction and revulsion for each brother who couldn’t be more different from one another. There are some really strong set pieces, most notably the section where they find shelter within a luxury hotel and there are some real heart stopping moments too, are the dead moving again? A too good to be true proposition presents itself and the group find themselves on a journey which could lead to either shelter or suffering, either way it’s the only option left.
This book is both full of action and emotion and whilst it has plenty of tried and tested apocalypse moments they feel right in the context of the story. It could have been a little longer however and I felt that it only ended where it did for maximum impact. The series is quite a long one and this book does feel that it is a lot of “set up” for the characters and story arc for the rest of the series. I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to read more in the future when my tbr reduces!
After feeling a little let down by last months box, January’s box made up for it in spades! Promising to be a box for fans of Sarah J Maas, this didn’t disappoint and I think every item is superb! I also liked that there were more UK suppliers this month as obviously for me this suppliers will have cheaper shipping so more likely to want to check them out for future bookish purposes!
The first item on opening the box was the most amazing cushion cover, it contains a quote from A Court of Wings and Ruin “Only you can decide what breaks you.” It was created by Evie Bookish and the quality is so good! This was an announced supplier so whilst I knew it was coming I didn’t know the quote, which is perfect. I can’t wait for pay day to roll round so I can get an insert and have it with me whilst I’m curled up reading! The next item was a set of magnetic bookmarks from Dreamy and Co they feature Feyre and Rysand, this item was a complete surprise and one that I was so happy with as I have been checking out their bookmarks for a while, I can’t wait to start using them in bookstagram posts. The next UK supplier object was a fab lip balm from Geeky Clean (fact – I love lip balms) This was a random item and came in either Seelie (which I got) and Unseelie. I love Geeky Clean, they are 100% cruelty free and vegan!
If you have followed me a while you will know that last year I got into colouring books in a big way so a big smile broke out when I saw that the next item was a faerieland colouring book by Michael O’Mara an independent UK publisher. All the images are fabulous and I can’t wait to start colouring – although Little Miss Playground has her eye on it too! There were 2 art prints included in this months box and whilst prints aren’t up my street I can appreciate the talent and they are wonderful pictures, again the are based on Sarah J Maas, this time from the Throne of Glass series. The last item was a real surprise, not so much in that it was a candle (all the boxes I have had have had a candle so far) but that it was from Meraki Candles. This company ceased trading at the end of 2017 so it was nice for them to have a little last hurrah, the candle is inspired by “Price Cardan” and links in with this months book, the fragrance is a little masculine but that was the point!
Finally, this month’s book was The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, my fellow Fairylooter Rebecca Gibson, guessed this way back when the theme was announced. Holly Black was not on my radar until then, she’s been dubbed the Faerie Queen and I’m excited to be able to read one of her works, so stay tuned for a review hopefully soon! (although I am slowly being crushed by my tbr!)
It was an amazing book by Fairyloot this month, I’m so glad I kept up my subscription!
Also, if you haven’t already seen my post searching for reviewers to join my review team, check it out here I would love to have like minded readers to help me 🙂
For a few weeks now I have been considering adding a review team to the blog, I’m struggling to keep up and I feel bad turning down ARC offers. I’m now also aware that that my current penchant for YA is perhaps not covering a diverse enough range of reviews for my followers. So my considering has become a reality and I would like to open up the opportunity for 2 to 3 readers to join me in reviewing for the blog!!
For anyone who may be interested in this opportunity I’d like to give you a bit of information about my review policy. At Post-Apocalyptic Playground I am all about Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and YA versions of the same. Whilst I’m happy to review books with a romance element, I don’t go so far as to accept erotica within the genres. I am also passionate about sharing the books I love! I will never post anything less than a 3* review – writing a book is hard, it’s the authors baby and after all not everyone will love every book. That doesn’t mean that you have to give every book a 3* or more, as part of the team if you feel a book is deserving of either 1* or 2* I would explain to the author that a review wont be posted to the blog and give feedback if appropriate. You would still be welcome to post your review to your personal amazon and goodreads accounts. I would be grateful if you could commit to reviewing each book within a 2 week period.
If you feel that this is an ethos that you can get behind and that this is a blog you would like to be part of then please get in touch at email@example.com I am happy to answer any questions or give you more information about reviewing with me!
So I know I said I wouldn’t be reviewing long published books but oh my word I just had to for this one! Combining my love of dystopian and gaming, with a whole ton of geeky pop culture references it was probably the most perfect book for me!
The year is 2044, the world has burnt through it’s fossil fuels and the effects of global warming has left the world in decline, many turn to drugs and crime to survive and to cope with the world around them. Tech giant James Halliday offers humanity an escape in “The Oasis” a virtual universe where you can pretty much do anything you want and mostly for free. When Halliday dies he has no heir to his vast fortune and announces to the world an elaborate game, the first to win and find his “easter egg” inherits everything. The game however is fiendish and after 5 years without a single clue answered, many have given up searching until one day, Wade Watts, becomes the first to enter the scoreboard and the race to win explodes back into everyone’s lives.
I think it’s safe to say I devoured this book! Whilst set in a future world, most of what takes place is within the Oasis itself as Wade is a “gunter” (an whittled down name for egg hunter) he dedicates his life to the search for the egg, living on a diet rich with 80’s pop culture his knowledge is great enough to rival Halliday’s himself. He is far from alone in this though, many are still searching and the race is on against corporate egg hunters, the Sixers, who want to take the egg purely for profiteering. I loved Wade as a character and whilst everything seems overwhelming for him the writing never feels so. You feel everything he goes through, willing him to solve each riddle, sharing his frustration at each dead end and his joy when something goes right. It’s almost as if Wade becomes the readers avatar. The 80’s references are many as well as throwbacks to all kinds of gaming which I loved and there was many a knowing smile and laugh out loud moment for me whilst reading. I loved how the solving of each puzzle was well laid out and researched (apart from the Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters that is) and how the story felt comfortable moving away from it’s linear path, sometimes surprisingly so.
It’s quite lacking in female avatars though which I think is a little sad, other than Art3mis it’s pretty much a lad zone, which given that female gamers now make up over 40% (various sources) of the gaming populous makes it feel that the book was written for a male stereotype (and stereotyping crops up a lot). Not only is she the only female avatar but it feels like she is only there to be the “love interest” despite her being a formidable gunter. It’s not all bad, she is pretty much the most kick ass of all of them but I just wished there was a more even presence. There is also sadly a fair bit of tokenism going on and I felt some minority groups were marginalised.
It didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book at the time which I read pretty much every opportunity I got, but now having had time to reflect I’m going to have to knock a star off for everything I mentioned above. If you grew up in, or have a good knowledge of the 1980’s and have a thing for retro gaming this will tick a ton of boxes for you. If you didn’t or don’t, this is still a great adventure that will pull you in and you will likely discover a whole new world of games, films and TV that you may find yourself wanting to check out!
Blurb: No matter what I do, no matter what steps I take to avoid it,
I’m always playing right into somebody’s hand.
Playing the role I was destined for.
Two years have passed since her willing return to the DSD, and Wynter Reeves is no longer the timid girl who only wanted to blend in. Strong, confident, and in control of her once debilitating powers, the world trembles at her feet while news of what she’s capable of spreads like fire among the State’s enemies. As the death toll rises and Dr. Richter further warps her into a weapon of war, Wynter is forced to embrace the daunting reality of what she’s become. With the remnants of her humanity hanging on by a shoestring, she must choose between the one sacrifice that could lead to her salvation or the dark path of destruction from which there can be no return.
Torn between two sides of a war she never asked for, will Wynter find her freedom, or will she be doomed to remain a monster forever?
M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.
I dream of death and warm blood on my hands. I dream of the day I burn the world to the ground. I dream of the day I will finally die.
Running is something my mother taught me to do very well. I never knew why until the night I cause an earthquake and meet Isaiah. My shadow. My protector. My other half. I need him. I need his blood. He is the only one who can keep me hidden from the man who created me. The man who created the monster.
The world is depending on me not to fall in love. But what happens when the temptation becomes too great and falling is my only option? Can I live knowing I will destroy the world because his touch is the only thing keeping me alive?
Blurb: Dominique has conquered the evil within her, only to find her one true love now has to kill her. Desperate to save her friends and loved ones from sharing her fate, Dominique ditches her companions in an effort to protect them. With Trent left for dead in the past, she has no idea that Infiniti and Fleet have banded together, facing their own adversity as they struggle to find her.
Sure of nothing, and trusting someone from her first life who promises to be on her side, Dominique decides to set out on her own mission: kill before being killed. With time running out and her friends in hot pursuit, Dominique is hell bent on finishing what was started nine lives ago. Or finally face her final death.
Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other-worlds, fantastical creatures, and life and death situations. More recently she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Final Life Series—a Young Adult science fiction/fantasy series about people who have the ability to control the energy in and around them. Rose is known for bringing richly diverse characters to life as she draws from her own cultural experiences. Rose lives in Houston, Texas with her awesome husband and two amazing kids. You can visit Rose at www.rosegarciabooks.com.
I have been very blessed with bookmail this week! There are 2 indie authors who I am a huge fan of and I received goodies from both. Firstly from M.A. Phipps! I took part in a takeover she was hosting a little while ago and I was lucky enough to win a signed paperback copy of Ultraxenopia, which is book 1 in her Project W.A.R trilogy, what was even more awesome is that it has the new release cover from Seven Sisters Publishing. As I am such a huge fan, I am also part of her Phipps Phanatics group on facebook. If you are in this group and you have reviewed Ultraxenopia you can apply for exclusive trading cards – 2 will be available for each book in the trilogy and I have started off my collection with Wynter and Ezra!
The next bookmail was from the ever wonderful Jo Michaels. At the end of last year Jo released Utterances, a NA Fantasy with one hell of a twist! You can check out my review here. I was not only lucky enough to be part of her ARC team but I was also honoured to host a read along with my fellow advance readers. Through being part of that team I was able to get my mits on an exclusive wrap bracelet which is beyond beautiful and as an extra special surprise I also received a signed paperback copy which I was blown away to receive, thank you so much Jo!
I think the only dampener on this week was the discovery that the great and powerful Zon has again shoved a wedge between authors and readers. A couple of ramblings ago I spoke about a great facebook book release party I had attended, I was so excited as I won 3 ebooks from taking part in that and I was really looking forward to entering a new to me genre of Steampunk. Sadly all the authors were only able to gift to me from amazon, who no longer allow US accounts to gift to UK accounts. I invited the authors to redraw so others could get the chance, but this was a little sucky for me. I’m determined to find the time to give this genre a go though, and who knows maybe it will be another avenue for this blog to move into in the coming months!
Breaking news: I have just been auto approved by a publisher on netgalley – I had no idea such a thing existed, I’m so happy!
17 year old Helene Crawford is a California girl struggling to fit in with her peers, she lives with her mother and their hoard of cats. After a day at school like any other, Helen comes home to chaos, her mother is missing presumed dead and in the space of just a few hours, she goes from school girl to running for her life – the only person Helene can go to is a Godfather she has never met or even heard of before…….who lives in Greece. When Helene arrives she is swept up into a world of myths and legends whilst trying to find out what really happened to her mother and balancing that with rebuilding her life in a new Country.
There is a ton to love about Protogenesis and for the most part I didn’t want to put it down. It’s a fantastic adventure full of mysteries to be solved, hidden rooms, strange portals, Gods and Monsters. There is a seamless science fiction element woven into the mythology which I really enjoyed. Helene is a difficult character to pin down though, at times I really enjoyed her snark and her willingness to boldly jump into all sorts of situations to help her in her quest. But she is also incredibly ditsy and I often struggled to reconcile the fact that she was so easily distracted from her task of finding her mother. Granted, her search is hampered by her Godfathers insistence that she attend school but her all encompassing distraction by the “Greek boys and their eyes” gets a little tiresome and is one of my biggest pet peeves – what I did enjoy however is that the author herself has a little tongue in cheek dig at this, which was refreshing. I enjoyed the school element however, it really drove the plot forward and I liked seeing Helene being able to open herself up in way she never could in her old school, it brought balance to her life and I found this more believable than a 17 year old being allowed to run amok in a strange country on her own.
I sometimes found it difficult to put an appropriate age bracket on this book and I’m mindful that I am not the target audience, in light of that I found it easy to forgive a lot of the angst and bratty elements but there was one paragraph that was filled with really bad language which was really out of tone and felt a bit forced.
The start was shaky but once we got to Greece this book really comes into it’s own, it gives you a nice little reminder of Greek mythology and I found the world building nicely paced with just enough information to really have you wanting more for the next book in the series. Keep an eye out for Bestat, she is a bit of a scene stealer! This is a really light and easy read which quickly pulls you in and despite the bits which weren’t really for me (it’s quite tropetastic in places) I found it actually quite a joy to read and it’s a series that i will want to stick with!
I have been dabbling in twitter now for about a couple of months, I’m not finding it the greatest of mediums but it’s one hell of a way to soak up time. The other day something caught my eye, which had pretty much died down when I saw it and the offending account had been deleted. The bulk of my understanding came from #authorsriseup where an “author” had campaigned against a blogger in response to a negative review on Goodreads. I like Goodreads, it has a lot to love about it, however, I have always said that when it comes to reviews though it can be like a no holds barred playground for negativity. As bloggers, we have have all seen it – authors offering an ARC in return for an honest review but then not really enjoying the honesty part of it if someone has something unflattering to say.
Of course there are ways of a reader saying they didn’t like your book which are tactful and educational and there are ways which are, quite frankly, not. I can imagine it was a review which fell into the latter category that prompted #authorsriseup to post. I’m not sure what was to be achieved by it. From the user name it appears that they were after some solidarity and for other authors to add their voice, unfortunately for them, bloggers banded together and the opposite happened. If you put your book out there to the masses you’re going to have to take the rough with the smooth, treat things as a learning experience and keep you head held high. I know an author who printed out and framed both her first 1* and 5* review as a reminder that with good comes bad and visa versa. At the end of the day attacking someone because they didn’t enjoy something will achieve nothing, especially if they have parted with money for your book; they are under no obligation to write a good review.
Now the thing that did sting in the tail for me a little bit was when I was reading through the comments thread. One user said that they didn’t trust reviewers that never posted a bad review and that reviewers should have balance. I have balance, I just choose to not publicly stamp all over someones dreams. I did find it concerning though that perhaps, to some, my reviews may not be taken seriously because I never “balance them out” with kicking people in the teeth. I’m always 100% clear about my policy of only sharing reviews about the books I love, but perhaps to the casual observer that may not be clear. I don’t think that there is anything I can do about this, but I would hope that followers of this blog know what to expect from me and to not judge me on it.
I think it helps me that I don’t sign up for every arc under the sun, I am careful about what I sign up for and have only just started venturing back out there with receiving books for the sole purpose of review. I have to love the blurb, the genre, and the feel I get for it when I look at the cover, that way I have the best chance of being able to leave a good review. Life is to short to read books that I am not going to enjoy and it’s certainly too short to start a campaign against one person because something they said on the internet. To any authors out there reading this, not everyone will love your book but to some readers out there it will rock their world, let those readers be your focus and who knows what will grow from it ❤