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Chicken Challenge Read Along Wrap-Up and Reviews

At the beginning of this month, I challenged myself to read four books for Lys @ The Mad Reader's Chicken Challenge - I was really hoping to complete all of them, but I didn't half expect I would make it through the four considering everything on my plate this month.  But, good news!  I actually did it! 

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The Enemy by Charlie Higson fulfilled the orange on the cover option for the reading challenge.  It's set during the middle of the zombie apocalypse in London, England and follows teen survivors.  The zombie apocalypse came about due to a disease that only affected the adults who slowly deteriorated into mindless flesh-eating zombies.  The main group of survivors have holed up in a supermarket, so when another group comes and offers them refuge at Buckingham Palace, they begin the dangerous trek across the city in hopes of finding sanctuary.

I plowed through this 448 page novel in two days - it's that fast-paced and addicting.  I didn't want to stop turning the pages.  While thrilling and a good take on zombies, the storyline felt a little too familiar and it was difficult for me to fully connect with anyone from the cast.  However, the last hundred pages or so took everything up and even and made me bump my rating up to a full four stars.  If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, you may like to begin this series opener.  I believe I will be continuing on with it eventually.

I read The Enemy (The Enemy #1) by Charlie Higson from October 9 - October 10, 2016.

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Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who can means she can see visions when her skin is cut.  She and others like her are enslaved by the Controller, so they can have full access to the visions.  Then, Meg escapes to the Lakeside Courtyard, a business district in the city operated by the Others.  The Others are earth natives, they've been here long before humanity and they pull a lot of strings behind the scenes.  Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter and a leader in the Courtyard, is initially reluctant to hire Meg for the open Human Liaison position.  He can tell she has a secret, doesn't give off the usual "prey" scent that regular humans do, but instinct tells him to take the risk and hire her.  Then, when he discovers what she really is and that she's wanted and on the run from the government, he'll have to decide if she's worth the battle that's sure to ensue. 

Written in Red by Anne Bishop is the first book in a new-to-me series that I've been wanting to start for a very long time.  I've heard so many great things about it and, to be honest, I was actually kind of intimidated by it's size and all of the hype surrounding Bishop's series - that's the challenge option this novel fulfilled.  Anyway, I was so pleased to see that it is in fact really awesome and totally lives up to all of that hype!  Bishop's world-building and character development are absolutely top-notch.  I can totally see myself getting completely obsessed with this series.  I also listened to this novel on audiobook and it's narrated expertly by Alexandra Harris - I never lost interest in the story once in the 18 hours and 32 minutes of narration.  I will definitely be continuing this series, preferably on audio since the other installments are narrated by the same person.  If you're a fan of dark urban fantasy, do yourself a favor and try this take on an alternate America.  I can't wait to move on to book two, Murder of Crows.

I listened to Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop from October 4 - October 15, 2016.

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Brothers Nick and Alan have spent years on the run from magic after their father was murdered and mother was driven crazy by magicians and the demons that give them power.  The magicians want to reclaim what their mother stole from them, a charm that keeps her alive.  They'll do whatever it takes to get it back.  When two siblings come to them for help, one of whom has a deadly demon's mark on his skin, and when Alan himself finds himself marked as well, Nick will do anything to save his brother.  The only way to do it is to kill one of the magicians they've been hiding from for so long.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan fulfills the relatively popular novel option and I've been meaning to start this series for quite awhile, especially since I've heard it compared to one of my favorite tv shows, Supernatural.  Maybe I expected to much from it, but I had a difficult time getting into it.  Maybe it was the characters, Nick especially is very difficult to like.  I was hoping he could have at least been sarcastic or clever, but he doesn't come off that way.  Plus, it took me a little to long to get into to the story.  But, then, the twist at the end came a long and it was very well done.  I was quite pleased to see when the author took her characters, most importantly Nick.  I'll probably continue this series with The Demon's Covenant, but it's not at the top of my tbr.  If you are a fan of Supernatural, The Curse Workers series by Holly Black, or the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman, you may want to give The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan a shot.

I read The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan from October 24 - October 26, 2016. 

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After a bout with the Spanish Influenza, Ivy Rowan finally recovers to find her world torn apart on two fronts.  The war has claimed the lives of many in her Illinois town, including her brother, and her surviving sibling and her father have murdered a German immigrant in retaliation.  Horrified, twenty-five year old Ivy leaves home, to discover just how much further society has broken down under the strain of the war and the deadly disease at home.  Ivy begins to find herself drawn into the world of jazz and newfound freedoms as some begin to realize that they need to live their lives to the fullest because they might not live to see tomorrow.  By the way, the women in Ivy's family have always had the ability to see ghosts, aka uninvited guests.  These guests are always harbingers of death yet to come, and Ivy's world is being inundated with more guests than she's ever dealt with.

Cat Winters is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors - I loved The Cure for Dreaming and In the Shadow of Blackbirds - and The Uninvited is no exception.  Plus, this is her first adult novel.  This book fulfilled the ghost story option for the challenge.  Winters writes some of the best, most well-researched historical fiction out there.  I loved that this focuses on the effects of WWI and the Spanish Influenza epidemic.  There aren't enough novels that focus on this time period with as much detail as she puts into it.  The world she has created and her characters all feel incredibly real,  Even more impressive?  Winters also manages to make a story set ninety-eight years ago feel very timely.  Also, I have to say that the twist at the end is perfect.  I had my suspicions, but I loved seeing it exactly how exactly it would all play out.  If you like your historical fiction with just a dash of paranormal fantasy, you need to try Cat Winters.  I can't wait to read The Steep & Thorny Way and her newest release, Yesternight!

I read The Uninvited by Cat Winters from October 26 - October 30, 2016.  By the way, I am giving a way my copy of The Uninvited via Twitter - all you have to do is follow me & RT this status by 11:59pm Eastern October 31st (INT)!

Thanks again, Lys, for hosting this wonderful month long challenge.  I've really enjoyed it and I hope we'll get to do it again next Halloween!  If you'd like to check out my other Chicken Challenge posts, here they are: Horror Book-To-Movie Recommendations, The Chicken Challenge Tag, and Get Creative: Horror Movie Logic.


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