Audiobook Review: Retained by Samantha Jacobey


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Bailey Dewitt is on a crash course with Armageddon. Orphaned, she and her young brothers find themselves living with their renegade uncle. Part of a group of survivalists, she is terrified to discover they are preparing for the end of the world! Surrounded by strangers, she ponders if they could be right; that is mankind headed for a global disaster. In a twist of fate, Caleb becomes her dearest friend and the one person she can trust to love and protect her, but when things spiral out of control, will their bond be enough to save the entire community? Or will rival forces strip away all that they have worked for at the time they need it most…


2017-01-06_10-44-15When Bailey’s parents died, her life changed in ways no one could have imagined. Taken in by her uncle and forced to live in a community preparing for global disaster, she is shown little kindness by the locals. Taught to work hard towards their common interests, the group pushes her to the limit… and beyond. Discovering that some of the members may have had a hand in her parents’ death, Bailey soon fears they may be plotting to send her to join them..

When Caleb Cross, her dearest friend, puts his own life on the line to get her to safety, he thought she should have been grateful. Instead, it opens a whole new set of obstacles for the pair as they fumble along their way. Together, they face new challenges as the world around them begins to decline into chaos. Faced with global events that could signal the coming of the apocalypse, will they discover the truth in time, and will they make it back to The Ranch before it’s too late? Find out when Bailey Dewitt becomes… Retained.



My Review

I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.


Retained picks up where Rendered left off. Bailey has tried to fit in with the community that her uncle belongs to but they decide she’s too much of a risk. She’s told she’s being taken back to finish school but Caleb takes her himself and insinuates that she never would have made it, that she would have “disappeared.” She can’t believe her uncle would have let them kill her!

Again, there’s not really a lot to this book. Rendered and Retained could easily have been one book.

Things start to go crazy when the weather turns cold and it looks like another Ice Age is possible. Caleb and Bailey decide to go back to The Ranch, hoping that she’ll be accepted by them since things have gotten so bad. When they get to The Ranch, it’s deserted. Will they be able to find the community members? Can they survive on their own?

Samantha Jacobey is a good storyteller and this was a quick and easy read. The narrator, Sarah Rogers, did a good job enunciating and made it easy to listen to Retained. She had also narrated Rendered and it’s nice to have the same narrator in a series. The pauses were appropriate and I could differentiate between voices.

I’m looking forward to reading (listening to) the next book and finding out what happens to Caleb and Bailey and hopefully get all my questions answered.


About the Author

2016-12-16_10-35-30Anyone who knows me could tell you, I am a friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations any where at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the middle of the night.

I grew up and still live in the great state of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons, my significant other, and many friends as well.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books that are currently available and hope you will enjoy reading them just as much. And of course, there will be many more stories to come.


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Book Review: Killshot by Aria Michaels


Book: Killshot (Icarus Series Book 1)
Author: Aria Michaels
Genre: Young Adult dystopian


After the death of their parents, seventeen year old Liv Larson and her younger brother are separated by the foster care system. Her grades slip, her friends drift away, and she gives up on her plans for college. The only thing that matters is keeping the promise to get back to her brother. After months of solitude and anti-social behavior, Liv’s best friend Riley drags her to their high school’s rooftop solar flare party. Despite the beautiful lights dancing in the sky, Liv finds herself captivated by Zander, a mysterious boy with a crooked smile. For a few hours, she allows herself to feel normal again.

That is until what should have been a small flare erupts into a massive solar storm. Cut off from the rest of the world with no sign of rescue, fear and paranoia begin to take their toll on the group. Battle lines are drawn and their ranks are divided. Soon, those left behind must embark on a perilous journey to save one of their own…but, something sinister awaits them in the shadows and it’s undeniably connected to Liv.

Can she keep her promise to reunite with her brother? What are Liv and her friends willing to do to survive? Will their bravery and determination be enough to save them all from a rogue military unit, a terrifying virus, and the things that go bump in the night?

Or was Icarus really the KILLSHOT? 

Available on Amazon.


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My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

Killshot starts like a typical young adult novel with Olivia (Liv) and her brother being separated and put into foster care after both of their parents die. Poor Liv not only loses her parents but then they take her brother from her. She’s understandably grief stricken and having difficulty dealing with day to day life. She has made a plan, though, to make enough money at her part time job so that she can take custody of her little brother when she turns 18.

Liv’s foster sister talks her into going to a solar flare party to watch what is supposed to be even more colorful than the Aurora Borealis. The decision to go to that party probably saves her life…and she also meets the love of her life. The solar flare ends up being much more than expected and is apocalyptic.

The second half of the book, which is action packed,  is about Liv and her friends learning what has happened to their world as well as how it has affected the people. So many have died but then there are some who are infected and become like zombies. Others are infected and are changed, but they’re still themselves…mostly. I’m hoping to learn more about the solar flare and what is exactly happening to the people in the next book, Ballistic.

The characters in Killshot are complex. They often act like typical teens, arguing, acting before they think, and arguing some more. They do care about each other and become close quickly, having gone through so much in so little time and having to have each others’ backs. Liv is a born leader and the others look to her for guidance. Ann Michaels does a remarkable job of showing what the characters are thinking and why they do some of the crazy things they do.

I definitely recommend Killshot for anyone who enjoys young adult apocalyptic novels.




Author Bio

Aria Michaels is the author of The Icarus Series, a bestselling young adult dystopian saga as well as a contributor to ATZ Publications’ Chronology of the Apocalypse, and Tricks, Treats, and Zombies (releasing in October 2016). Aria is an avid reader, die-hard zombie fan, and enthusiastic lover of bonfires and red wine. When she is not glued to her computer pouring out the voices in her head, this busy single mom can be found playing in the dirt with her boys, painting, or binge-watching The Walking Dead. Aria is currently hard at work on the next instalment of the Icarus Series and revelling in her role as instigator of literary mayhem and stealth assassin of fictional characters. 

“You are never more than one chapter away from a different future.” –Aria Michaels



Author Links:

Twitter or @AriaMichaelsYA



Book Review: The Rising Dead by Devan Sagliani

downloadTitle: The Rising Dead

Author: Devan Sagliani

Genre: horror, apocalypse

Publication Date: May 6, 2015

About the Book

(from Amazon)

Chaos breaks out when a virulent new strain of biological warfare is unwittingly released into the general population, causing all who are infected with it to turn into flesh hungry monsters driven by a hive mind that yearns to feed. Gunner, a paranoid war veteran and the head of security at the Biotech lab where the designer virus was created, knew this day would eventually come. That’s why he spent nearly every day since his return from Iraq preparing for the end of the world. It’s up to him to save the residents of Thunderdome, a run down apartment complex in Northern Las Vegas. Max hosts a live show as Asphyxia Stardust, a semi-nude cosplayer with a love of all things horror who is hosting the cities first ZombieCon. Travis is a computer nerd slash borderline stalker obsessed with zombies and Gemma, a misunderstood party girl everyone thinks is a tease. His roommate Parker is a star athlete gone bad who spends his days partying and chasing skirts. Holt is a stereotypical frat boy who finds new meaning in the apocalypse as a warrior for God with a crowbar sent to kill demons from the pit of hell. Together this unlikely band of college students and burnouts fight their way through a zombie horde in search of somewhere safe to take refuge, encountering every horror imaginable along the way. Is this an inescapable global pandemic or can they find a safe zone outside of Sin City and away from the endless sea of rotting monsters with razor sharp teeth trying to infect and kill them?


My Review

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author for an honest review.

I am pretty new to the whole zombie genre but, somehow, I’ve become hooked. I also like to get audiobooks so that I can listen to them instead of the radio in the car, so when Devan Sagliani asked me to review his audiobook, I jumped at the chance.

A lot of The Rising Dead is the typical zombie fighting, etc., but this one was a little gorier than the previous audiobooks I’ve listened to. Luckily, I’ve been in the process of watching The Walking Dead marathon so it didn’t bother me as much as it could have. How sad is it that we get used to all that gore and violence?

The Rising Dead just covers the very beginning of the zombie apocalypse, and in Vegas of all places. I’ve been there a few times for conferences and I thought how scary it would to be there when it happened. I couldn’t decide if I liked the end of the book or not. It’s not your typical ending but that kind of intrigued me.

The primary characters are mostly college kids except for Gunner, who is a security guard and a veteran. All the kids have always made fun of him because he’s actually prepared, he hopes, for just such a situation. There wasn’t much depth to the characters so at least I didn’t cry when one of them was killed. 

The story was full of action and, even with so many characters, it was easy to follow which I always think is a big accomplishment by an author. It’s so difficult to get into a book when you have to keep going back to figure out who is who. The narrator also did a good job at distinguishing between the different voices enough so that I could usually tell who was speaking. 

If you like zombies, you should read this book, but be warned: you may not like the ending.

Available on Amazon.


About the Author

downloadDevan Sagliani was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from UCLA. He is the author of the bestselling Zombie Attack series, The Rising Dead, A Thirst For Fire, Saint Death and the Undead L.A. series. Devan also wrote the original screenplay for the movie HVZ: Humans Versus Zombies. He writes a bimonthly horror column for Escapist Magazine called Dark Dreams. In 2014 he cofounded the At Hell’s Gates horror anthology series with Shana Festa, which donates all proceeds to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to help wounded soldiers and their families.

 Devan is an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association. His fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Million Writers Award. In 2012 his debut novel Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde won Best Zombie/Horror E-book on Goodreads. In 2015 The Rising Dead and Zombie Attack were both named on the Best Zombie Books of 2015 by Ranking Squad.

 He currently lives in Venice Beach, California with his wife and dog.