I recently went on a Kate L. Mary reading binge. She sent me a review copy of the first book in her Broken World spin-off series, Twisted, and I discovered that I had missed a companion book and two short stories that had been published in the Broken World series! Plus, I had never gotten around to reading the book of short stories or the YA companion to the series (both of which I had bought while back, but hadn’t managed to pick up for some reason). I had some serious reading to do!
Of course, I didn’t have to read ALL of these books right now, but I found that once I ventured back into Kate L. Mary’s zombified world, I didn’t want to leave again!
So, this is my taste of Halloween—I don’t know that I’d call these books scary, but zombies are more than a little creepy, right? If you’re looking to get a taste of this series, you could probably read ANY of these books on their own, but if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop reading and you’ll just want to read all of Mary’s books!
Self Published on 10/18/16
Genres: New Adult, Dystopian, Zombies
Source: The Author
Twenty years ago a deadly virus swept the globe, ravaging the population. People died and came back as monsters, and through the tragedy that rocked the world survivors were born. Megan James is the product of survivors. Her parents crossed hundreds of miles of dangerous countryside to reach Atlanta, and the promise of a real future.
Now, two decades later, Meg is facing a crisis of her own. Her father has vanished and is presumed dead, and her mom is teetering on the edge of insanity, but all Meg really wants is to return to the safe world she always thought she was living in. Only Atlanta isn’t everything her parents thought it would be. The slums have grown and corruption is rampant, and despite the promise of democracy the new government has been slow to change. Through it all, the only consistency seems to be the zombies. Decayed and barely more than skeletons, there is no reason they should still be moving. But they are.
Facing the harsh world alone, Meg gets a job in the entertainment district of Atlanta where she meets convict fighter Donaghy. Angry at the world and his circumstances, all the fighter really wants is to be left alone. But when he gets swept up in Meg’s problems, he finds it impossible to turn his back on her.
When a mysterious note resurrects old rumors about what the CDC is really doing, Meg can’t help wondering if her father might have met the same fate that her uncle did twenty years earlier. With the help of Donaghy, she will search for the truth among the darkness that has settled over Atlanta, where they’ll soon discover that the mutated virus has brought forth creatures nobody could have imagined, and the evil intentions of the men in charge are much more sinister than anyone ever thought possible, making the future look harsher than ever before.
***This novel is the first book in a zombie/dystopian series, set twenty years after the final book in the Broken World series. While reading the first seven books will be helpful, it is not necessary to follow the plot of Twisted World.
I actually didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I started reading it. I just knew that it took place twenty years after my adored Broken World series ended and that Kate L. Mary wrote it. That was pretty much all I needed to know in order to decide to read it. So, I was delightfully surprised to discover that this new series is told from Meg’s perspective, adopted daughter of Vivian and Axl (birth daughter of Hailey and Jon).
Unfortunately, despite Angus’s sacrifice in the Broken World series, the zombie apocalypse was not quite thwarted. Sure, when this book starts, things have gotten a little better, and hope is certainly on the horizon, but the miracle cure that everyone was hoping for wasn’t as completely miraculous as everyone had believed it would be. When this book starts off, we see that the fortified city in Atlanta (where the CDC is housed) is becoming overpopulated and overrun, but it’s still not safe to leave the walled cities, so people crowd in anyway. Meg has lived a somewhat charmed life because of her status as the niece of the “savior” (Angus, who is now actually worshipped in many ways), but when the book starts we see that her somewhat sheltered life is starting to fall apart. We find out that Axl is missing and Vivian seems to have gone slightly crazy with the pressures of it all.
I LOVED seeing the situation twenty years after Broken World ended, even if the world wasn’t as rosy as I had imagined it to be. At first, I was very nervous that Mary had destroyed Vivian, a beloved character, but it became evident as the book went on that something was amiss—and that we needed to give poor Vivian the benefit of the doubt. Most of our other old friends were involved in this story as well, though most of the action centered around Meg and other new characters. There were LOTS of twists and turns in this book, and plenty of mysteries for Meg to try to sort out—a few of those I had ferreted out ahead of time, but there were some definite surprises.
I was completely invested in Meg’s story and in the romance between her and Donaghy, who was a bit rough around the edges (but understandably so, considering the world he was living in). My one and only complaint about the book is that it ends pretty much mid-action on a major cliffhanger. I’m not a fan of books that end this way because it feels like you get an unfinished story arc. (I don’t mind cliffhangers when there’s a natural ending to the book’s arc and then something that happens to propel us into the next book, but this didn’t really work that way. It did, however, end with some interesting surprises.)
Kate L. Mary has written another winner, and I’m eager to find out what she has in store for us with the next installment. I give this book 4/5 Stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Silent World by Kate L. Mary
Series: Broken World #7
Self Published on 7/10/16
Genres: Dystopian, Zombies
My content rating: 18+ (Sexual content, Violence)
When Jim ran out of that farmhouse in Forgotten World, not only did he leave the promise of safety behind, but he was sure he was about to meet a horrible end.
Amira has lived most of her life surrounded by silence, and this new world has dangers lurking around every corner that could mean the end for her.
When two survivors, never meant to meet, find each other in the middle of an apocalypse, it will mean the difference between life and death. With silence as their constant companion, and the threat of death always hanging over their heads, Jim and Amira will learn not only what it means to trust another person, but how to let go of the past so they can survive this new world of violence.
This book was much more of a traditional romance than the other Broken World series books have been. Instead of focusing on a large group of characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse in various ways, it focuses much more on the relationship (and survival!) of just one couple—Jim and Amira. It’s more of a companion novel to the series than a true seventh book (I still kind of feel like book six is the “final” book of the series because it gives us a more solid, true ending). That didn’t stop me from loving being able to jump back into this world, though.
It took me a little while to remember who Jim was (he was Jon’s friend with a criminal past), but I still found that I was invested in his story from the very beginning. The book starts out with Jim’s narrow escape from the zombies. Amira is a fascinating character, and I loved how her Deafness added a completely new layer to the zombie apocalypse than I’d ever imagined before. She has to be that much more vigilant because she can’t hear danger coming, but she makes up for her lack of hearing with her other, more sharpened senses and with her keen intelligence. Of course, it takes Amira and Jim both some time to trust each other, but they quickly became a favorite couple of mine! Overall, I give this book 4/5 Stars.
Series: Broken World #0.5
Self Published on 7/4/15
Genres: Dystopian, Zombies
My content rating: 18+ (Some sexual content, Violence)
Broken Stories is a compilation of Short Stories and Novelettes that accompanies the Broken World Series. From California to Oklahoma, South Carolina and Colorado, readers will get a glimpse at what other people went through before, during and after the zombie virus outbreak.
Some of the characters featured in these stories have close ties to the main characters in the Broken World series, while others are brand new. It’s an emotional, intense and exciting look at how the zombie apocalypse has changed the world.
Loved, loved, loved this collection of short stories! The first story gave us some insight into what happened to Vivian’s dad, and that right there had me hooked. We also got a short story that centered on Brady (before he met up with our crew). Two other stories featured new characters in familiar circumstances: One followed two of the women who escaped Monte Carlo when the gang broke Hailey and Vivian out, and another told the story of what happened to the girl who had been discovered to be immune (before Angus). Then there a couple of completely brand new stories. (One, about a newly married couple, kind of ripped my heart to shreds.) These stories are brutal—just like the rest of the series—and they’ll kick your heartbeat up a notch! If you haven’t read any of the Broken World series, you can get a taste of it by reading these—I’m guessing you’ll be hooked!5/5 Stars.
Self Published on 9/20/16
Genres: Dystopian, Zombies, Romance
My content rating: 18+ (Explicit sex, Some violence)
Lucy was just nine years old when a deadly virus swept the country, killing most of the population and turning them into zombies. For the past eleven years she’s lived in seclusion with her Uncle Seamus, a prepper who was more than ready for the end of the world.
But all of Lucy’s skills are put to the test when Seamus disappears, leaving her to face the harsh winter on her own.
Sawyer went into the mountains to escape his past, and when stumbles upon Lucy in the middle of a blizzard, he doesn’t think he’s ready for the responsibility having another person in his life will bring.
Only, Lucy isn’t as helpless as she first appeared, and as they brave the long winter together, Sawyer will soon come to learn that even at the end of the world, there’s more to life than just survival.
This is the least actioney book I’m reviewing today. It reads more like a sweet romance with a zombie apocalypse background. Which isn’t to say that there’s no zombie action, but if you’ve read any of Mary’s zombie books you know that the zombies become much less active in the cold winter weather. So, the humans are actually more dangerous in this story than the zombies.
Lucy has lived an incredibly sheltered life, and Sawyer has been hiding from his past failures. When the two of them are thrown together, they believe at first that it’s just a short-term arrangement. Lucy has no experience with men, but she finds herself drawn to this new stranger, and Sawyer finds his attraction to Lucy undeniable, but he refuses to take advantage of her. Plus, he has seen what the responsibility of taking care of someone in a zombie apocalypse can mean, and he’s not ready to relive the experience. The romantic tension was palpable, but the romance was slow-moving enough to be believable. I enjoyed these characters’ progressions as they discovered that surviving the apocalypse means more than just making it through alive. It seems like this story could definitely continue—I’m wondering if Mary plans to bring us back to these characters in the future. I give this one 3.5/5 Stars.
Self Published on 9/2/16
Genres: Dystopian, Zombies, Romance
My content rating: 18+ (Explicit sex, Some violence)
Kyra knows she’s screwed. Trapped in a school while zombies stumble around outside just waiting for the survivors cowering in the building to come out to play, she has no hope of getting out alive. She’s not the only one, either, and sexy fellow survivor Riley seems hell bent on making their last few hours alive memorable ones.
But in a twist of fate neither one could have seen coming, Kyra and Riley realize that they might not be facing the end after all. Even more, they’re hit with the realization that what had started as a distraction might just turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to them. Assuming they can find somewhere safe.
Riley’s pretty sure his life is over, so he figures he might as well enjoy his last few days with a beautiful girl. Kyra, on the other hand, doesn’t want to let anyone in so she doesn’t have to risk losing them. Besides, she can tell that Riley is a golden boy who’s used to getting his way, and she doesn’t figure giving in to him is smart. But it doesn’t take long for her to change her tune when she decides that she’d rather forget the pain around her. Riley’s the easiest way to do that.
I loved Riley. He’s sweet (even if he is a little cocky) and he stands up for Kyra when she needs it. He convinces her not to give up on life so easily. And, let’s face it, the apocalypse would be easier to face with a guy like Riley by your side. 🙂 Kyra is a bit of a rebel, so she balanced Riley out nicely. The plot took an interesting twist, and I thought there was a good balance of action and character growth for a novella. I give it 4.5/5 Stars.
Self Published on 3/29/16
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Zombies, Romance
My content rating: Mature YA (Characters have sex, though it’s not really shown; Some sexual situations; Violence)
A zombie novel.
For the past two years, Jules has floated through life.
When the virus was released it changed everything about the world. Jules lost her mom and her home, forcing her to live with the father she barely knows. Now, even as society works to rebuild, Jules still feels like she doesn’t quite fit in.
Then she meets Roman.
Even before the zombies, he only had himself to depend on. Brooding and rebellious, Roman isn’t anyone Jules would have pictured herself with before the zombies came. But now she finds herself willing to give up everything to be with him.
The attraction is too strong for either one of them to ignore, but Roman and Jules soon discover that the uncertainty of their new world extends much farther than just the zombies. When disaster strikes, Roman must race against the most terrifying clock imaginable to save Jules, or once again end up alone.
This dark YA companion to the Broken World series ties in fantastically, but it’s certainly not necessary to read Broken World to enjoy it (which is good, since the main series definitely isn’t YA fare). The story follows Jules, who has spent the last two years resenting her father for treating her like an obligation and playing the dutiful parent role, when he hadn’t been much of a parent when her mother was alive. Then she meets Roman, who is even more disenchanted with his father than she is (with good reason). He shows her that there’s more to the world than their sheltered little existence and introduces her to a world of danger—and freedom.
Roman is the ultimate bad boy with a heart of gold, and you can’t help but fall for him a little right along with Jules. The romance is a little bit rushed, but it stayed just on the okay side of instalove for me. Roman and Jules make a few pretty immature decisions, but I had to give them a little leeway since they’re teenagers. I was definitely rooting for them as a couple and I was hoping they’d find an HEA together. The action in the book really picked up in the end and I found myself racing through the last quarter or so. And the ending is … well, I just can’t even describe it. It’s pretty incredible, but Mary actually gives us an alternate ending too, so you can take your pick! (I prefer the original.) I give this book 4/5 Stars overall, but the ending definitely deserves 5 stars!