Looking Back at April 2014

Another month, another look back at how my last month of reading went. April was a pretty busy month for me personally as I made trips to Denver and Los Angeles to see family for various reasons, but thanks to a couple of plane rides, I still managed to stay on pace towards my 100 books read in the year goal. This month I had a book to read provided by a publisher, the chance to finally finish one of my incomplete series, a couple of unknown authors, and a couple novels by a favorite.

The list of books I finished in April:

Somewhat surprisingly, Fortune’s Pawn was probably my favorite book of the month. I love all of the books in The Seafort Saga, but Fortune’s Pawn was an awful fun time while I was reading it. I think I really had been starved for some light-hearted sci-fi action and didn’t really know it. The same could be said for Crimes Against Magic, it was good fun, exciting characters, and off the beaten path for me personally. Looking back on the month, I have to say none of the books were disappointing, which isn’t always the case. Usually I have one or maybe two that really didn’t do it for me, but not this time.

I was really happy that I managed to finish the final books of The Seafort Saga after so long of trying to get that series completed. Those books might not be for everyone, but I really liked them a lot, and now I can say I’ve read them, and that I’ve finished off one of the bigger uncompleted series on my list. It’s all smooth sailing from here now, right?

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Book Review: “Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of)” by F.J.R. Titchenell

Confessions of the Very First Zombie SlayerI was provided a copy of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of) by the publisher in return for an honest review just before the book becomes available for purchase. According to Amazon the book becomes available on May 6th, but perhaps it will roll out a little earlier if readers are lucky.

With a lot of young adult zombie thrillers the author tries to do a little too much and sometimes things get a bit convoluted. With this book, F.J.R. Titchenell seems to dial back the extra plot lines and spends her time focusing on the characters. To be honest, at times she dials things back a little too far and I felt like I was reading just another zombie book that did not offer me anything unique, but just as I began to feel that way she would fix it and get back on track.

The book is written from a first-person viewpoint and in the style of a running memoir or journal. That is something you don’t see all the time, and it worked rather well. Cassie, the main character, has a lot of spunk and she has an edge to her that works well within the confines of the story. As the zombie outbreak gains steam and she and her friends are thrust into survival mode as they try to make it from California to New York to rescue a family member, Cassie has to make some tough decisions. She also has to deal with trying to keep the group rolling along with as little tension as possible. At the beginning of the story a character known as The Boy Scout takes charge of the group, using is rather obsessive Boy Scout training to try and keep them all safe. He knows what he is doing for the most part, but he still buckles under the pressure from time to time.

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of) moves fast as it is not a very long book, but it does not move so fast as to leave the reader feel like they are missing out on some important piece. It did move fast enough that even though it isn’t the absolute best zombie thriller I’ve read I had a hard time putting it down. The story is strong enough to hold up on it’s own, and the characters are developed well. I feel like it is a strong entry into the young adult zombie thriller genre and I’m interested to see if the author has more in store for these particular characters or not. If not, the book holds up well as a standalone piece anyways.

My only regret about the book was The Boy Scout. I don’t want to give away much in the way of important plot developments, but I found him to be one of my favorite characters. He had an edge about him that was not fully explained and I liked trying to figure out for myself what was really going on inside of his head. I wish he would have had a little more screen time when all was said and done.

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