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Completed Challenge Books

1) To Speak For The Dead by Paul Levine

A very captivating story. Main character is Jack Lassiter, football player turned lawyer, imagine that combination. The story had a great pace with a story line that had its twists and turns, keeping me hooked. I would think I knew where the story was going, and to a degree I would be very close, but Mr. Levine always managed to throw in a curve or two.

There were a few lines in the book that made me laugh and had me thinking of my hubby. “If you have to put lime in your beer, you might as well drink Kool-Aid.” and “I’ll start drinking American beer when it gets as good as its TV commercials.” While some were thought provoking for me. “Our credo is ‘to speak for the dead, to protect the living.'”.

My favorite character was Charlie Riggs, retired ME. He just had this old school, old timer, down to earth attitude. I loved it, loved him!

This was one of those books that I started, then lost track of time, finished, and realized it was a new day. I say sleep well lost! Happy Reading!!

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2) Wool by Hugh Howey

I feel like a fish, and Wool is the hook.  I’ll start by saying that when I reached the end of this Novella I was a bit miffed. I had not payed close enough attention to the length of this first part before starting it. I was so wrapped up in the story and then BAM this first book in the series was done! In hind sight, I realize that my being miffed was actually a good thing,I did thoroughly enjoy this book and I was definitely heading for book 2. That means I just became that fish I mentioned earlier and I am hooked!

The premise of the story is several hundred years into our future, something yet unknown occurred to force our world underground into specially built silos. These silos are totally self sufficient and have an interesting legal system. This first installment in the series involves the silo’s Sheriff, Holston. The first sentence grabbing you, “The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.”. When anyone is found to have broken the laws they are sent to “cleaning”. Sent out into the worlds toxic environment in a suit that gives them just enough time to clean the sensors that bring light within the silo. One of the cleaning utensils is a wool pad, thus the title. For more you will need to pick the book up.

I loved it, I highly recommend it! Happy Reading!!

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3) Wool 2-Proper Guage by Hugh Howey

This is where my favorite character makes her debut. Juliette Nichols, one of the choices in the search for Sheriff Holstons replacement. Juliette, or Jules as she likes to be called, is a strong, independent woman which is why I found her so appealing a character. Her journey to becoming the silo sheriff was not an easy one, she was not Bernards, the head of IT’s choice. I found Bernard to be a nerdy man with a “wanna be” attitude, he felt that he ruled the silo, and to a degree he did.

The Mayor and the Deputy Sheriff make a journey to the down below to personally seek out Jules, making a stop in IT where they discover that Bernard has his own canidate, Peter, his second in IT.  Mayor Jahns stands her ground and continues her journey down, to mechanical where Jules has worked most all of her life. Through some convincing Jules agrees to head up top, but only if they call for a power holiday so she can repair the generator that provides a majority of the silos power. Once the repair is complete Jules will take the job.

On the way back up tragedy strikes, Mayor Jahns falls ill and dies. Or so it would appear.

I must say this is where Hugh Howey set the “hook”. At the end of this book I knew that I was going to read the whole series. He leaves you hanging to a degree that you almost have to pick up the next one, if anything to find out what happens next. That to me is as frustrating as all get out, but at the same time I think so smart of a way to keep the reader reading into the next books. Happy Reading!!

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Off to Book 3 I go!

4) Wool 3-Casting Off by Hugh Howey

In book two Mayor Jahns is murdered, drinking poisoned water from a canteen intended for the deputy. Jules first order of business it to figure out who murdered the Mayor. Deputy Marnes knew that canteen of poisoned water was intended for him and that knowledge coupled with the loss of the mayor, a woman he loved from afar is too much. Jules finds Marnes in his apartment, hanging.

In comes, in this book, another of my favorite characters. His name is Lukas and he works in IT, but his most endearing quality for me is that he is a dreamer. He sits in the cafeteria after most all are gone, staring at the screen that shows the outside, sketching in a book. Curiosity gets to Jules and she joins Lukas, a friendship develops that you can wish will go further. Little does anyone know just how important this relationship will eventually be.

Bernard, who has recently appointed himself as “acting” mayor, appoints what was his choice for sheriff as the new deputy. Can you say conspiracy?

Jules’s research ends up leading her down the path that was first come across by the former sheriff’s wife, then himself and now she is finding even more, including that the suits worn by those that are sent to cleaning are intentionally made to fail. That fact is leading her in directions that will ultimately prove to be unhealthy. Jules is eventually “demoted” back to mechanical and Bernard eventually charges her with crimes against the silo and sentences her to cleaning. Lucky for her she has friends that love her and will do anything to help. When she disappears over the hill after being sent out to clean, a task that she does not do, Bernard makes a bee line back to IT, into the server room to a secret panel that only the head of IT is aware of. There he puts on a head set, plugs in a jack and BAM cliffhanger number three!!!! WAIT…WHAT…THERE IS MORE THAN ONE SILO? Happy Reading!!

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You guessed it, on to book 4!

5) Wool 4-The Unraveling by Hugh Howey

Now this is a series that I just can not put down. Cliffhanger after cliffhanger. I love it. The cliffhanger from book three was torture so there was no “down” time between books. Jules lives!

Walker from mechanical and Jules longtime friend had figured out that sub par supplies were used in the constructing of the cleaning suits. They were built to fail, allowing the wearer only enough time to clean the sensors and then the wearer succumbs to the lack of oxygen. Every wearer but Jules. Walker substituted the sub par supplies with good ones and Jules, unknowingly dawns a suit meant to extend her life. Making the decision not to clean, but to try and see what is beyond spurs her on. Making her way forward, to what she discovers is another silo she discovers bodies, lots of dead bodies surrounding the silo. She pushes through the air lock and into the silo, eventually coming to a section of the silo where the air is breathable!

While Lukas mourns Jules death, she is finding more and more in this other silo. She discovers that she is not alone either.

The people of the silo have been taught over the years of the uprisings that came before them. Learning that this existence they live is the same one that has been lived by their ancestors for hundreds of years. This silo is about to discover that sometimes fighting for something was part of their history as well.

I love the energy I feel as Jules and Lukas learn that they are stronger both as individuals and as a pair than they thought. I wanted to read fast so that I could get to the finish line, but I would slow myself down so that I didn’t miss a thing. I know that I need not tell you that my finger is poised at page one of book five. Happy Reading!!

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6) Wool 5-The Stranded by Hugh Howey

A war has erupted!! Civil unrest is taking over. Now there are two silo’s and Jules has figured out with the help of Solo how to communicate with Lukas. Bernard discovers these communications and knows that in order to gain control back what he needs to do. It is so hard to write reviews when it involves a series that is as good as this one. You get so excited that you find yourself blurting out spoilers, backspace has become my friend!! Hugh Howey has created a cult type series that this reviewer has no doubt is movie bound!! I have to say the end shocked me!! But that is it, that is all this reviewer is saying :-). I will be stepping in the next portion of this series, Shift, however I have some other great authors that I will be checking out first!! Happy Reading!!

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7) Red Tide by Peg Brantley

This book just swallowed me whole. I loved having the dogs be such an integral part of the story and how each characters individual story was woven into the whole. So many surprises along the way in each of their lives. I would have thought I would get lost with so many but they were knit together so well. Jamie was such a strong character, independent yet relied on her group of friends. The family bonds that tied a few together. You will not be disappointed with this book, of that I am sure. Happy Reading!!

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8) Angel Omega: Imprisonment by Brandon Godbee

I truly enjoyed this book. An imaginative take on an age old story. My first caution is for those that are avid readers of the Bible, this IS A WORK OF FICTION please read it as such, you will enjoy it for sure if you can do that. My second caution is for the perfectionist reader, this book is THE FIRST WORK OF A TRULY INDIE AUTHOR. The reason I gave this book the five stars and not four is that I overlooked the fact that most truly INDIE authors are not afforded the help of professional editors, that is how much I enjoyed the story. The Arc Angels are forced to become more involved in the human world than they should, but there is no option. In doing so however it also opens a pathway for Satan, the fallen Arc Angel. An epic “family feud” ensues and faiths are put to the test. I would recommend this book to those that can abide by my two cautions, as that will truly allow you to enjoy this great book!! Happy Reading!!

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9) Immortal Dreams by Jennifer Sage

I read many genres, and paranormal romances have become a favorite. This book definitely hooked me from the beginning. I loved getting what I call outcome teasers all through the book. Those just give me encouragement to keep reading. The in between time of Isabel’s visits with her two suitor choices were nicely filled with time at “home” with her friend Amele. The tantalizing steam filled additions were just the right amount of “icing” on this “cake”. I love reading a book that literally has me cheering for the characters to figure things out, you almost want to shout at them, jump in a help, and share in the victories. Go on, grab a glass of wine, draw yourself a nice hot tub of water, light a few candles, and enjoy!! Happy Reading!!

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10) Rebecca by Adam Nicolai

I went into reading this with some trepidation. Not over the gay issue, but over the killing the baby statement. I was more curious over how that was going to play into a novel. I was caught from the get go, I love how the story just dove right in. Sarah is gay, and this will not sit well with her mother or her church. To throw people off she starts dating, and yes, she ends up pregnant. Sent off to live in a apartment that her mother pays for she finds her friends really weren’t her friends. Detached from her infant Rebecca she slips into despair, until the night she hears it, hears him, God…he tells her to kill the child. WHOA, wait, WHAT…I’m a mother, that was one statement in the synopsis of this book that I HAD to check out. Do not freak out!! I promise you, without spoiling, you will love this book. I was so riveted that I finished it five hours later!!!! Happy Reading!!

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11) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

The main character is a zombie, his name is “R”. You see, they are not supposed to be able to have memories, or to be able to speak…but R is different. He starts to experience one of his “meals” memories after consuming the brains. R starts to dream, starts to feel, and he does the unspeakable. He saves a girl, an alive girl, Julie! This book follows R through his morph into something that starts to resemble an alive human young man and the changes that start to occur in several of the other zombies. I read this book right after my 15 year old son finished it, it was the book he chose off of his high schools summer reading list, and said it was awesome. He was right! Happy Reading!!

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