Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun (Stone Braide Chronicles)



Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 3.5/5


In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah’s really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers–and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander’s distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her–Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.”

My Review:

Thunder was an interesting novel that I was skeptical about. I read the synopsis and thought, Hm, the title and the cover are rather cliche, but it doesn’t look awful. Wait…hunting other people and selling them? Isn’t that…slavery? After I saw that, I was even more interested in reading this book. I know a guy who woke up one day and attempted to write a book about slavery, with little to no legitimate researched knowledge on the topic. The book quickly, painfully, thankfully fell apart. Slavery just isn’t the type of topic you can just hop out of bed and start writing about. So when I noticed (and it was impossible not to) that Calhoun has it as a rather large part of the book, I had to see how she was going to pull it off.

The verdict? It was respectful and I wasn’t left with the feeling that Calhoun wrote Thunder in a lackadaisical manner, but it still was centered on the capturing and selling actual beings. A post-apocalyptic slavery (in America no less) that sprang up due to another type of person that someone put a bounty on is an odd choice, given America’s history.

Onto the actual book: I wasn’t impressed. There was just no…Google, help me out, what word am I looking for? Enthusiasm? Maybe. When I read a book, there’s always some sort of inner voice that I hear reading with me. The one that creates the characters’ voices and really helps my mind use my five senses to really read. My inner voice was reading this story to me in the same way you talk about something you aren’t really interested in. A flat tone of voice, mechanical descriptions, just disinterested. Make no mistake, having the right amount of description in a young adult novel is hard. You either have no descriptive words/phrases or all of your sentences sound like this:
She gently lowered herself to the ground until her delicate fingers grasped the flower. Its pink color looked like the rosy cheeks of a newborn baby, quiet gibberish on their lips. The flower’s gossamer petals tickled the nerve-endings in her fingers as she sighed, thinking about Joseph.

Admittedly, this is a really descriptive piece, but in my opinion–even though I wrote it–it’s trying too hard and I don’t like it. It’s incredibly difficult to find that descriptive balance, but when it comes down to it, you would want your book to be over-descriptive, rather than not descriptive at all. Continue reading

Germination (Feast of Weeds series) by Jamie Thornton



Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 2/5


A group of runaways. A horrifying virus.

Mary knows how to thrive on the street. She makes it her mission to keep other kids away from everyday monsters. But when she’s attacked by a crazed man clutching a bloody heart she realizes—there’s a new kind of monster in town.

A single drop of blood, and now Mary’s one of the infected. Unless she can stop the virus and save her friends, the new monster in town might just be her.

A post-apocalyptic Young Adult series where the runaways are the heroes, the zombies aren’t really zombies, and you can’t trust your memories—even if they’re all you have left.”

My Review:

If I had two words, I would describe Germination with “possibility” and “little.” Now if I had, say, a whole blog post to describe Germination, this is what I would say.

It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t an awful novella that lowered my expectations for other novellas, but it wasn’t great. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, despite the action that takes place on almost every page. Nonetheless, I saw a sound plot which is why Germination received a two star rating.

Mary was a different pre-heroine. She wasn’t different because she was more special than the others (she wasn’t from what I could tell) nor was she different because she was the “only” one in the world that distrusts the government. Mary was different because she was poor and homeless. In a numerous amount of stories, the heroine is usually saying “We never have a lot of food on the table, but we’re happy because we’re together as a family.” or something along those lines. What made Mary stand out is that she has a family, yet she ran away, embraces her homelessness, and made a new family/tight-knit group with a few other homeless kids on the street. There wasn’t enough of the novella to really understand much more about Mary. You are brought to an understanding about her that she is loyal to her new family and that she writes a blog giving advice to other teens who might want to run away. Besides that, there isn’t much to go on.

The plot was fascinating, or rather, hints to being fascinating. That was what Thornton lacked in Germination: Plot building. She had successfully built the characters and gave them a backstory, albeit a small piece of a backstory, but it sufficed, she had completed the world building, and her description skills are admirable. Unfortunately, Germination didn’t have a chance to develop the upcoming plot. As a reader, I was left with a large amount of action, little information, and a bit of indifference towards the characters.
Germination isn’t worth almost three dollars; the price isn’t practical, especially when you consider the fact that it’s only ninety-two pages. It wasn’t a bad novella as I said, it had a glimmer of promise in its pages, but it just didn’t strike me as a riveting read.

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.