Book Review: Infected by Tara Ellis

Infected by Tara Ellis  

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: Self-published May 2016 (first published 2013)

Pages: 241

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

An alien plague. A sixteen-year-old girl. A fight to save the world.

When a rare meteor shower unleashes a mind-altering infection, the people Alex loves begin to change. They’re smarter, faster, emotionless, and they have a plan. One that doesn’t include her.

Guided by cryptic clues left behind by her deceased father, Alex follows a trail of increasingly shocking discoveries. Earth’s history isn’t what she learned in school, and a new hive mind threatens to rewrite the future.

Alex is a fighter, but pursued by both friends and an unknown enemy, it will take everything she has to fulfill her destiny. Desperate to save her little brother, she flees to the mountains surrounding her home, where the only chance for humanity has lain hidden for thousands of years

Infected, The Shiners is book one in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy.

I read this as part of a book club. Although I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning, it got much better as it went on. The start has far too much info dumping about Alex’s past which took me out of the present story and made me lose interest. I got pretty bored of all the recap about her life. If it hadn’t been for the book club, that really would have put me off and I might not have carried on reading. Fortunately, I did carry on and things picked up. The first half was quite slow but I was intrigued, especially when it started getting creepy. The latter half of the book is much faster and I finished it quite quickly once I got to that point as the pace was full on. Although I like that it got really intense and fast paced, I think the first half could have been paced better so there wasn’t such a dramatic shift.

There’s not much I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers! It reminded me of a strange mix of The Host, National Treasure and Indiana Jones. I liked the mystery and adventure element – I do love a good hidden clue. There isn’t really an explanation for the infection and how or why it came to Earth in a meteor shower, but I’m guessing that’s something that will be dealt with more in the next books in the series. The middle section was particularly creepy once people started changing as a result of the infection, and the author did this suspenseful aspect really well.

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Book Review: Spin the Love by Lisa Terry

Spin the Love by Lisa Terry

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publishing Info: Self-published September 30th 2015

Pages: 192

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

It was supposed to be a game to heat up their summer—not ruin their lives.

Sixteen-year-old Whispy Callahan lands in trouble thicker than Florida’s humidity when she plays a twisted game of Dare. Everything would have been fine if she hadn’t fallen for one of the player’s “targets” along with dredging up buried murderous tendencies. Forget the game—now Whispy needs to find her boyfriend’s murderer, but that might prove difficult since everyone thinks she’s insane. They could be right.

In Spin the Love a game of dare takes main character Whispy on a bit of a roller coaster ride. A game of dare is quite an obvious tool for creating plot and tension, but what made it work really well in this book was the dynamics between the three characters involved in the game. The complications of their relations to each other made it much more interesting to see what would happen and how the plot would progress.

Whispy’s characterisation was great. Her voice and personality came through the first person narrative. Her mental health problems were dealt with with reasonable sensitivity to the subject, although the use of this aspect of her character for mystery in the plot is a bit of a trope. The other characters were also well described and fleshed out, with personal history that impacts on their present characters.

It doesn’t spoil anything to say that Whispy’s boyfriend is killed in the book, as that’s in the blurb, which is good because that’s something that didn’t quite add up to me and would like to discuss in this review. Her boyfriend is quite obviously murdered, and there is a funeral, but there doesn’t appear to be any investigation. I found this very odd and it doesn’t make sense. If someone is murdered there is an investigation, and people who know the victim are questioned. So why wasn’t Whispy questioned by police? It doesn’t make sense and I felt that was quite a hole in the plot.

The ending was phenomenal. There was a big twist that I didn’t see coming at all. I tried to piece it together as I read but I didn’t expect what happened. It kept me engaged and had a satisfying ending.

The book was well written and much more accomplished that the last book I read by the author, which while good wasn’t quite polished. Despite a couple of problems I had with the book, I really enjoyed reading it and it kept me hooked until the end.