Novella Review: Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean

 

Wish Upon a Star (Entangled Ever After)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.

Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as the second zombie uprising threatens them all.

Review:

‘Tis the season for zombies, witches, demons, and various other undead creatures, so I am trying to pack my reading schedule with horror stories.  The funny thing is that I usually don’t like them, and I can’t stand to watch horror movies.  As I have pushed outside of my reading comfort zone, though, I have discovered a new appreciation for scarier books, provided that gore isn’t the central theme.  I like seeing how ordinary people react to extraordinary situations, and that is what I enjoy best about dipping into the treasure trove of zombie apocalypse stories.  How are the protagonists going to reconcile themselves to the new normal, which is terrifying and may bring death at any moment?

Wish Upon A Star isn’t long enough to really delve into how Ceri and Jason’s lives and outlooks are going to change after zombies enter the picture.  This is an action read, and the primary focus is on saving Ceri’s daughter from the zombies shambling through the large building that they are all trapped in.  After Ceri’s ex-husband Russell unwittingly unleashes  a zombie apocalypse, Ceri and Jason, the only man she ever really loved,  and the man who left her at the alter, are left to pick up the pieces.  Ceri’s ex-husband was  a mad tinker, and he wanted to create and control the undead – until his creations turn on him.  Yikes! That is always a possibility for evil psychos – don’t these guys watch horror flicks? 

Huddled safely in Russell’s safe room, Ceri sees, to her shock, that her daughter is hiding in an office on the top floor of the building with her mother.  She and Jason are in the basement.  There are a gabillion hungry zombies between her and her family.  What follows is an action packed race to secure her daughter and mother back in the safe room before the military blows up the building.  Setting aside a few improbabilities, like will the room really survive having a huge building crumpled on top of it, this is a fun read.  It has one of my favorite romance tropes, too, and Ceri and Jason rediscover the love that they lost years ago.  Nothing like a zombie horde to put the trust back into a relationship.  After saving each other’s bacon many times on their journey to the top floor, how can they not realize that they are meant for each other, forever this time?

If you are looking for a light seasonal read to get you in the mood for things that go bump in the night, Wish Upon a Star is a good choice.  It’s got a little bit of everything, though the short length eliminates much depth to the story.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Seduction More Beautiful Than Love Vol 2 by Lee Hyeon-Sook Manhwa

Title:  Seduction More Beautiful Than Love Vol 2

Author:  Lee Hyeon-Sook

Publisher:  Tokyopop

ISBN:  9781427806093

May Contain Spoilers

After a promising start, this series sputtered and was reduced to a mangled mess.  Instead of focusing on Daoun and her conflicted feelings for bad boy student Ryumin, it degenerated into a contest to see who could be more manipulative – Ryumin or Hayoung, his want-to-be girlfriend.  Add into the mix the revelation of  Ryumin’s previously undisclosed life-threatening accident, it’s effect on his health, and Daoun’s crush from college, and things just became more convoluted as the story progressed.

The main characters are so unlikable that I really had a hard time sympathizing with any of them.  Daoun is especially hard to like – she’s supposed to be the adult, yet she allows Ryumin to toy so casually with her emotions.  She has zero common sense, and allows her students to constantly get the better of her, which isn’t going to do much for her performance review.  There’s a great guy, Hyunwoo, who’s just nuts about her, but he’s too shy to let her know.  He’s probably better off if he just keeps his feelings to himself.

Ryumin and Hayoung deserve each other.  Neither one of them hesitates to use other people to further their own ends, even when it means totally crushing the other person.  Life is a game, especially for Ryumin.  His confrontation with Hyunwoo about his plans for Daoun is taunting and almost a seduction of its own, ending with a self-assured smirk.  Too bad for Daoun that he eerily resembles Youngmin, the guy that she’s been in love with since college.  Hope their personalities aren’t similar.

With the tangle of past love, rejection, and near fatal accidents, a lot of the emotion of the story feels like it’s been lost.  Instead, everything seemed so predictable and forced.  The strength of Seduction More Beautiful Than Love is in the art, which is crisp and defined, showcasing attractive characters and equally striking attire.  Where do these guys go shopping for those gorgeous clothes?  And their hair?   I really need the name of their salon.  While the story may be thrashing about in search of direction, the art remains solid and oh so pretty.

Grade: C-

Rated for Older Teen