Cover Shot! A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

While I am not a big fan of the big dress, I love the colors in this cover.  A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard will be in stores July 2013


Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan



Title: The Dead-Tossed Waves

Author: Carrie Ryan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.



I am trying to finish up some series that I started reading, and Carrie Ryan’s zombie series is at the top of the list.  I love the world-building; zombies have been decimating the human population for decades, cutting off the remaining human settlements.  Life revolves around not getting eaten by zombies.  A bite will turn a normal, healthy human into a slavering, mindless monster.  Walls and fences have been erected around the towns and villages to keep the creatures out, and Gabry’s mother, who lives in the lighthouse, must patrol the shoreline and dispatch any of the undead that the tide brings in.  Gabry is content with her life; she obeys the rules, helps her mom, and tries to stay out of trouble.  This makes one giant lapse in judgment on her part almost inconceivable.  Bowing to peer pressure, she sneaks over the wall to go to the old roller coaster, putting herself, and her entire village, at risk.  Gabry and her friends are, predictably, attacked by a zombie, and the consequences of her breaking the rules will have repercussions she could never have guessed at.  It sends her on a harrowing race through the Forest of Hands and Teeth, in search of her past, and in search of the truth.

While I love the deadly, menacing world where Gabry lives, I was not so enamored with Gabry herself.   I found her so shallow and immature, and I could not relate to her.  Even after the disastrous outing beyond the Barrier,  a willful act that destroys most of her generation of teens from Vista, she tells herself that she wouldn’t change a thing about that night, because then she and Catcher would never have brushed their together.  Wait? What?!  Most of her friends are either killed or turned into zombies, or are going to be banished from the village, and that’s okay, because why? She and her crush, Catcher, brushed lips together.  They don’t even share a proper toe-curling kiss! No, they brush lips, and that life-altering experience was worth the cost of several lives, including her best friend forever, Cira.  This made no sense to me, and made me dislike Gabry intensely.

When The Dead-Tossed Waves centered on Gabry and friends race to elude the undead and the Recruiters, I enjoyed this book.  As long as Gabry was reacting to all of the near-death situations she is constantly confronted with, I thought this was a tense, exciting read.  As soon as Gabry started her endless internal monologues, I was jarred out of the story and wished she would just. Stop. Talking!  to herself.  I think that I felt this way because she established herself to me as a self-possessed, self-involved, and selfish woman who always put her own desires ahead of everyone else’s.  When her mother makes confessions about her past, Gabry rejects her, condemning her for lying to her.  This bothered me because Mary’s whole life revolved around making a safe, secure home for Gabry, which was something that she didn’t really have when she was a girl.  For Gabry to abruptly turn her back on her mother, to let her venture off into the Forest by herself, I just couldn’t forgive her for that.  Gabry had already crossed the Barrier several times by herself, which was strictly forbidden, yet she was willing to let Mary go alone.  She was too scared to go with the woman who loved her and raised her, but she was willing to put herself in harm’s way if a cute boy was waiting for her?  That just didn’t say much about Gabry’s strength of character, and since I didn’t respect her, I had a hard time liking her.  She does come around by the end of the book, but it was a little too late for me.

That said, I did enjoy aspects of the book.  I just didn’t not like the protagonist.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy The Dead-Tossed Waves more, and  I am hoping that The Dark and Hallow Places will be more up my alley. 

Grade: C+

Review copy ordered from Amazon

This Week’s New and Notable YA Releases

Here are this week’s New and Notable YA releases.  I missed some interesting titles last week, so I included them here.

Click the cover for the Amazon product page.

No Man’s Land by S. T. Underdahl (Nov 8, 2012)

Sirens by Janet S. Fox (Nov 8, 2012)

Bitter Blood (Morganville Vampires, Book 13) by Rachel Caine (Nov 6, 2012)

The Blue Door (Threshold Series) by Christa J. Kinde (Nov 6, 2012)

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor and Khristine Hvam (Nov 6, 2012)

Deity: The Third Covenant Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Nov 6, 2012)


Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved) by Cate Tiernan (Nov 6, 2012)

Fishtale by Hans Bauer and Catherine Masciola (Nov 6, 2012)

If We Survive by Andrew Klavan (Nov 6, 2012)

The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn (Nov 1, 2012)

The Lies That Bind (The Liar Society) by Laura Roecker and Lisa Roecker (Nov 1, 2012)

Rootless by Chris Howard (Nov 1, 2012)

Shade and Sorceress: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 1 by Catherine Egan (Nov 1, 2012)

Time to Shine (Fab Life) by Nikki Carter (Oct 30, 2012)

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul) by Leanna Renee Hieber (Nov 1, 2012)


Infinity Ring Book 2: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan (Nov 6, 2012)

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss (Nov 6, 2012)

Smells Like Pirates (Smells Like Dog) by Suzanne Selfors (Nov 6, 2012)

Chronicles of the Red King #2: Stones of Ravenglass by Jenny Nimmo (Nov 1, 2012)

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (Nov 1, 2012)

Legend of the Ghost Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Nov 1, 2012)

What’s on your shopping list?

Interview with Kira Brady, Author of Hearts of Darkness and Giveaway!

Today, Kira Brady, author of Hearts of Darkness, is visiting the blog.  Let’s ask her a few questions about her new release, and then you can enter for a chance to win Hearts of Darkness!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kira Brady] Author of apocalyptic PNR set in a gritty alternate Seattle. Knitter. Crafter. Hiker. Vintage dress enthusiast. Tea drinker. New mum.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hearts of Darkness?

[Kira Brady] Hearts of Darkness is an apocalyptic paranormal romance set in a modern day, grizzly Seattle where two shape-shifting races fight in secret for control to the Gate to the Land of the Dead. The Kivati seek to protect the Gate, the Drekar to destroy it. When human Kayla Friday arrives in Seattle to ID her sister’s body, she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but she’s quickly forced to join forces with a mercenary werewolf to find a key her sister died protecting. Hart will stop at nothing to earn his freedom from the cruel dragon-shifter he serves, no matter what gorgeous human gets in his way. As they race to stop the Gates from falling, they risk everything—even their hearts—to stop the world from total destruction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kira Brady] I took a ghost tour of Pike Place Market and Butterworth Mortuary and learned all about the city’s scandalous start and the ghosts that still haunt the streets. I was inspired by a quote from Chief Seattle in which he says, “These shores will swarm with the invisible Dead of my Tribe. The White Man will never be alone. Let him be kind and just to my People, for the Dead are not power­less. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a Change of Worlds.” It brought to mind a city plagued with ghosts from a cracked gate between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. As for the two shape-shifter races, the Kivati and Drekar were inspired by the mythology of two of the major cultural populations in early Seattle—Native Americans and Scandinavians. There is a legend that Thunderbirds fought and killed giant reptilian monsters, which fit in perfectly with the idea of the Drekar dragon shape-shifters. The characters are all people who belong in both worlds and neither, each searching for a place to come home to. Hart jumped from my imagination fully formed. I’ve always loved werewolves and anti-heroes with a hidden heart. Kayla took more time, but I knew she represented those blind to the magic in the world. Through the Deadglass, her eyes are opened.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Kayla?

[Kira Brady] Tenacious, loyal, rational.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Kayla would never have in her purse?

[Kira Brady] A gun, a flask, and a condom.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Hart had a theme song, what would it be?

[Kira Brady] “Uprising” by Muse

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Hart’s most prized possession?

[Kira Brady] His Mother’s necklace.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Kira Brady] The fantasy novels I read as a kid. I loved the survivalist books where kids were stranded in the wilderness and had to hack it out alone. I also loved books about dragons and the fierce as nails heroines who weren’t afraid to ride them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Kira Brady] A big chunk of distraction-free time, tea, my computer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Kira Brady] Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Kira Brady] I guess I’d have to say the Disney version of Peter Pan, which I had memorized at three. I’ve always loved reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Kira Brady] Read, hike, and make crafts with my toddler.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kira Brady] Website:

Twitter: @kirabrady


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


Just fill out the widget to enter for your chance to win Hearts of Darkness.  Earn extra entries by following.  US/UK/Canadian addresses only.

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