Tag Archives: apocalypse

Scavenger of Souls

Scavenger of Souls by Joshua David Bellin (Survival Colony 9 #2, but stands alone)27206580


Querry has no memory of life before a few months ago, but he’s doing his best to put the pieces together and keep his family and friends safe as they journey across the desert. His mother isn’t ready to give answers and things get more complicated when they find another group of people thriving in the wasteland.

As the mysteries deepen, Querry must find answers before the world erupts in a second apocalyptic fire.


Romance Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort

I didn’t really feel the sparks in the main relationship, maybe because there was too much history between the two families or too many mysteries. I also think it’s tough when there are very small communities of people left and people end up with one of the only other survivors their age because it’s almost like an inevitable thing and not about feelings.

Feminist Score: Good Effort

The ladies in this book are interesting characters in their own rights. They make choices to keep themselves and the people they love alive. I appreciated that they were able to make mistakes, too. Through Aleka, we get an example of someone that does things for love and then must come to terms with the consequences – I like that she is allowed to without being villainized for her decisions.

Mercy is also a young woman that stands up for herself and struggles to find her place. She has been given a difficult situation and does the best she can to deal with it. She is strong, but allowed to be vulnerable.

There’s also a character that takes advantage of women. One of these women continues to fight against his (inhuman) power and the abuse on the page is light, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

Diversity Score: Good Effort

I LOVED that this was a post-apocalypse book with people of color. And not like in Fury Road – in this world, background and main players are people of color – just like the real world.

There’s also a couple of characters with gigantism, although that isn’t explored in a very full way. Off of my limited knowledge, I would say this plays to stereotypes more than to a holistic picture of the physical issues that come with it.

One of the characters also ends the story as an amputee and, while we don’t get a lot of time with her at this point, her reaction provides some insight into what life may be like after losing a limb.

Awesome Factor: Good Effort

The story is intriguing and you don’t need to have read the first to get into this book. I’m always interested in seeing how an author has decided humanity will destroy itself – the premise here is definitely an engaging twist on the science-gone-too-far idea, although I was a confused on the exact specifics at the end (perhaps due to my own poor reading).

Favorite Character

Nessa – she doesn’t get a ton of time on the page, but when she does, she’s fighting everyone’s (low) expectations of her and doing what she must to survive

Fun Author Fact

Bellin has a blog highlighting YA and the writing process and the books he features are all over the place, so it’s pretty cool.

Is this worth a book hangover?

Scavenger of Souls features determined characters with a lot of spunk that face a difficult world and situation. If you’re intrigued by how far we’re willing to push science for the “good of the world” and what consequences may come from it, this is a story for you. If you’re interested in books that are about characters making difficult decisions, this is also for you.

Read These Next

Origin by Jessica Khoury for another story about (un)ethical science or 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil for characters that must face themselves and determine what, if anything, of ground-breaking discoveries the world should have.

Post Author: Jess

I received a free copy of Scavenger of Souls through Netgalley and then failed miserably through procrastination and bought my own copy.





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Filed under Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Book Discussion: We All Looked Up

We All Looked Up.jpg

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach


When President of the United States announces that an asteroid has a 66% chance of hitting Earth in eight weeks, all hell breaks loose.

People all around the world go crazy. Riots and looting start, military states are formed, and chaos ensues everywhere.

For Peter, Misery, Eliza, Anita, and Andy  – high school students in Seattle – life falls apart. Suddenly, everything seems like life and death… because it is.  Unresolved romances, tensions with parents, and an increasing police state in their high school become an every day part of life. Each of them copes with it differently – and struggles to find meaning in lives that  may or may not exist in two months.

We  All Looked Up


heartRomance Score: You’re Trying 

This book is filled with some strange teenage non-romance – rumors about “slutty” girls, having sexual intercourse in jail, and some creepy boyfriend behavior. This could have been expected, given that we have a group of teenagers facing the end of the world. While there a few semi-real relationships, none of them were particularly compelling to me.

Feminist Score:  Good Effort   Rosie

This book made some really important statements about how rumors get started, especially about”slutty” girls (of course, the girl is always slutty, even if the boy was in a committed relationship). I liked the progress of the female characters in the book, and what they learn about themselves through the six weeks.

diversity people circle iconDiversity Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort 

I really liked Anita – the whip-smart black girl who’s always been the perfect student and daughter. I do wish there had been other non-white and non-straight characters, though.

wow iconAwesome Factor: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort 

While the premise was interesting and I really liked a few characters (especially Eliza), I didn’t love this story. It seemed to use the end-of-the-world plot point to explore every ounce of teenage angst possible, and create scenarios that could only occur in that type of world. It felt a little forced to me.

Favorite Character

Eliza – I love how her way of processing events is photograph them.

Favorite Line


“There were a lot of countdowns that had haunted her over the past few weeks, from the totally mundane (how many breaths she had left to breathe) to the whimsically specific (how many more time’s she’d get to watch Pitch Perfect), but this was definitely the most depressing statistic of all: Between now and the end of the world, there would be no one else who would love her, and no one else she would love”.

(I know.. it’s a little angsty. But I like counting the mundane).

Is this worth a book hangover?

We All Looked Up offered an interesting premise, but I don’t think the follow-through is quite hangover worthy. 

Fun Author(s) Fact

Tommy Wallach is both a writer and a musician. We wrote a soundtrack to the book (available on his website here).

Read This Next

I don’t have a good end-of-the-world book for you, unfortunately! But if you’re looking for some interesting teenage drama, check out Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, the story of Leila, an Iranian-American high schooler who has her first real (female) crush. You can check out our review here.

Post Author: Anisha


Anisha loves books, Gilmore Girls, and her Kuerig. She’s been reading mainstream YA since she was actually a young adult, and Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.


Filed under Adventure, High School, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Book Discussion: Trickster’s Girl

Trickster’s Girl by Hilari BellTrickstesr


Fifteen year old Kelsa is still reeling from her father’s death when she meets a mysterious boy. The Raven claims that he has the cure to the cancer that has killed millions of people, including her father. But he needs her help: a human touch is needed to enact the cure.


heartRomance Score: Not A Bit

To be honest, I’m not even sure that there is supposed to be too much romance in this book. Kelsa and Raven both have trust issues, which seems to be a barrier in their romance. However, there are some hints for romance in the future books.

RosieFeminist Score: You’re Trying 

Kelsa is supposed to be an independent, strong teenage girl. However, these characteristics don’t hold true in the story. Raven leaves her in the dark about everything, and despite not knowing him, she follows his explanations and directions without much question. This was a huge turn-off to me.

diversity people circle iconDiversity Score: Between Not a Bit and You’re Trying 

There are only two characters in the story: Raven and Kelsa. Raven is definitely different – he’s more of a mythical creature than a diverse character, though. I can’t give this book many diversity points.

wow iconAwesome Factor: You’re Trying 

This book had a lot of potential. The premise and setting were very interesting, but it just did not live up to it. The characters were not particularly interesting and the plot was okay at best.

Favorite Character

Kelsa’s father. You don’t get to see a lot of him, but I liked his influence in her life.

Favorite Line

She took a deep breath. If she was crazy she was crazy. She might as well go with it. “I’m ready to listen”.

I love the moment, any moment, when a character chooses to believe in the fantasy in front of them. It’s the “You’re a wizard, Harry” moment of a book, and it’s always pure magic.

Fun Author Fact

In addition to writing fiction, Hilari Bell has authored a series of writing and publishing eBooks!

Is this worth a book hangover?

Unfortunately, no. Though I really feel bad saying that, since I really wanted to like this book. But I would skip Trickster’s Girl and check out some other favorites (see below). 

Read these next:

The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey or The Host by Stephanie Meyers.  I’m pretty sure that I recommend the 5th Wave series on 80% of my posts, but it’s one of my favorite post-apocalyptic love stories.

Post Author: Anisha

AnishaAnisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.  

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Book Chat: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

[audio https://508b3cb9dddb5dd059dc9394589a7b755353c53f.googledrive.com/host/0B1btH5LeZjziOG1rM3VFYndrZVU/Coldtown%20-%20together%20FINAL.mp3]

coldtown coverThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Click HERE for the Podcast!


The plague of vampirism has spread across the globe and Tana knows first hand just how dangerous it can be. She wakes up after a night of partying surrounded by her massacred friends. Immediately, she begins a journey with her exboyfriend, Aiden, and a seriously crazy new companion, Gavriel, to find refuge in the nearest vampire refuge/prison. Tana must fight her inner demons, the possibility of turning into a vampire herself, and her confused feelings regarding a certain someone while trying to get back to her family.

coldtown table 2

Favorite Character

Winter – his enthusiasm for his sister’s project is endearing, but his skepticism about the plan also is a balancing force as the group rushes headlong into the Coldtown.

Favorite Line

“You expected me to be good, and because of you, I tried.”

In the podcast we discuss what it means to be “good” or “evil” and if the vampires are inherently one or the other. I think this line from Gavriel is a powerful reminder that people often perform to whatever expectation is set of them.

Fun Author Fact

Holly Black has a secret library in her house!!!!! (Fellow book nerds, you know this is a dream come true!)

Is this worth a book hangover?

Yes, it’s fast paced and exciting with just enough swoon – but fair warning, there’s quite a lot of blood and violence.

Read this next:

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater or The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan both deal in exciting, worlds very close to ours, but with something just a little more magical or frightening.

Post Author:


Jess loves SFF – old and new school –  and is learning to appreciate the more lovey-dovey YA under the careful tutelage of Anisha’s recommendations.

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Filed under Adventure, podcast, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Book Discussion: Ashfall

Ashfall by Mike Mullinashwall


The eruption of the super volcano covers the Western United States in ash, killing millions of people and turning the country into a disaster site. 16-year-old Alex, who had been enjoying a free weekend alone, is now desperate to find his family.  But he soon learns how quickly the civilized world breaks into pieces during the apocalypse.


heartRomance Score: A+ Success

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic romances, but this one is even better than usual. Darla and Alex don’t immediately fall in love, but when they do, their relationship is one of mutual respect and equality. I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes next!


Feminist Score: A+ Success 

Darla kicks ass. She’s smart, knows how to survive in the post-apocolyptic world, and doesn’t have any stereotypical “female weakness”. Other female characters have similar strength, though you don’t see them as often.

diversity people circle iconDiversity Score: Between You’re Trying  and Good Effort

While the main two characters are white and straight, there are a number of diverse characters – including gay neighbors and a black Christ-figure. My only issue is that it seemed a little bit forced. Every single character was not what you would expect, and it was a little too in your face. It’s not a perfect book, but it does a decent job with the side characters.

wow iconAwesome Factor: Between Good Effort and A+ Success 

This book surprised me. I was very, very impressed with the world and the characters’ relationships.  It was a little gory for me, but that’s just personal taste. I highly recommend this book, and plan to read the next books in the series.

Favorite Character

Darla – She’s tough, street-smart, but not unbreakable. She’s a great character and equal partner for Alex.

Favorite Line

“I was home alone on that Friday evening. Those who survived know exactly which Friday I mean. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing, in the same way my parents remembered 9/11, but more so. “

What a catchy first line. I was immediately drawn into Alex’s world, and did not leave it for the entire day. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

Is this worth a book hangover?

Yes. The story was fast and unpredictable. There was a lot of plot, but no lack of romance or character development.

Fun Author Fact

Mike Mullin’s bio on his website is hilarious. Actually, there are three bios: A Funny Bio, A Serious Bio, and a Boring Bio. My favorite line, “He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats”.

Read this next:

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. It’s a similar post-apocalyptic world with a kick-ass heroine.

Post Author: Anisha 


Anisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.  


Filed under Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy