Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

*No Spoilers*

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I joined TikTok to find more book recommendations (like I need more books). And this was one of them. I wish I could remember which BookTok I saw talking about it. However, I’m glad I dove straight to this dark adventure! Let’s hop into The Last One.

I listened to this one as an audiobook, and I believe this is the best way to enjoy this novel. You have two distinct voices narrating; the present from Zoo’s perspective and another narrating what happened once the filming for the TV show began. The TV show perspective is more of a third person point of view. Often referring to the contestants by stereotypical nicknames such as ‘black doctor’ and ‘cheerleader boy’.

I’ve heard believers speak of the coldness of science and the warmth of their faith. But my life has been warm too, and I have faith. Faith in love, and faith in the inherent beauty of a world that formed itself.

Alexandra Oliva, The Last One

The Last One tapped into my irrational fear of coming back from a long night shift at work and not knowing that the world is actively falling apart around you. The atmosphere is portrayed beautifully. I was actually waiting for Zoo to come across her first zombie and how she’d handle that scenario. Thankfully there’s no zombies here.

When Zoo breaks her glasses after getting attacked, that made me feel even more nervous and on edge since I wear glasses and I am like Velma when she loses her glasses. I couldn’t imagine having to survive in the wilderness without the ability to see clearly.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last One. It’s full of suspense and a relatable main character you can really root for. I would recommend this novel for people who enjoyed Bird Box by Josh Malerman and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you haven’t read those novels, that’s okay. If you like Survival Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, or stories with strong female leads. Then I would check out The Last One by Alexandra Oliva.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

UPDATED REVIEW: Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley By Tony Lee and Sam Hart

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*Historical Spoilers*

A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been waiting for a long time to find a good pirate story. Sure it’s nonfiction, however, Pirate Queen takes the high-stakes adventures of pirating up to 11. I love how this is not just a story about pirates and how they were degenerates and on the lowest caste of society. This is a story about how a woman saw that her country needed her, and not only stepped up to the plate, but made a name for herself as the Queen of the Pirates.

I am not familiar with the time period or Grace O’Malley and I think this graphic novel does an excellent job at telling a complicated story. A story that I imagine has been lost to time to a certain extent due to the “colonization” of Ireland. I never felt lost or confused as the story progressed and seeing how not only Grace’s worldview changed over time, but the world as a whole was changing.

My favorite part was how the O’Malley clan was deep in a battle and Grace was below decks giving birth to a baby boy. As soon as the birth was complete, she wrapped her baby up and went to confront the British soldiers. So awesome to see how progressive she was for her time.

Overall, I enjoyed Pirate Queen. There was plenty of swashbuckling action as well as plenty of heart and emotion. I think if you liked the movie Brave or are itching for a good pirate story then I would highly recommend checking this graphic novel out.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Deconstructed by Mariko Tamaki

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*No Spoilers*

Jennifer Walters has survived the second Civil War…barely. But, having risen from the rubble, she re-enters the world a very different kind of hero. Fueled by a quiet rage, Jennifer is determined to move forward, to go on with her life, but the pain of the past and all that she’s lost is always there. An undercurrent, a pulse waiting to quicken and trigger Jen’s transformation into the one thing she doesn’t have control over…


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have read some of the She-Hulk comics in the past. I admire how she can be an awesome superhero and be a successful lawyer for the other superheroes. I think it would be awesome to have someone like Jennifer or Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) in your corner when you need it most.

We meet Jennifer with an internal struggle. She wants to leave her superhero past behind her and focus on her return to lawyering. However, the past is more difficult to run away from than Jennifer can handle.

When Jennifer returns to her job, her first client is a woman about to be evicted from her apartment. Jennifer investigates the matter, and comes back to inform the client there’s nothing she can do. Things get out of hand fast, and soon Jennifer is forced to make a tough decision.

Overall I enjoyed this story. There are small appearances by Captain Marvel and Hellcat (aka Patsy Walker to fans of the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones and The Defenders). And I want to be the friend Hellcat is to all of her friends. She cares about Jennifer in this story, but when Jennifer rejects her help, Patsy gives Jennifer her space. That is a good friend.

In conclusion, I enjoyed She-Hulk: Deconstructed. Even though the overall plot was not overly complicated, this is a great introduction to She-Hulk. I would recommend this graphic novel for Marvel fans or people who love female-driven stories. 

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Rise Again (Rise Again #1) by Ben Tripp

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*No Spoilers*

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun – starting with what might very well be the end of the world.

Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny’s epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . .

I thought I’d make a return to the zombie subgenre after a hiatus. This novel definitely satisfied my craving for a good zombie apocalypse. There’s action, suspense, violence, and plenty of blood and gore.

My major complaint with this novel was I felt like there were too many survivors that the author focused on. I found it difficult keeping track of who’s who and what motivates them.

I did like how the author made the protagonist a female veteran. Even with what she’s seen during her service and the injuries she’s suffered from, she was still able to feel fear and confusion throughout the novel. I felt this made her more likable and relatable.

My favorite character was Amy, the local veterinarian. Even though she worked on animals before the apocalypse, she was still able to help fellow survivors and give first aid when needed. She slowly gained the ability to lead the others after Danny goes alone to look for her sister.

When Danny goes rogue from her group to go look for her sister, the finality of the apocalypse sets in really strong during this time. Towns abandoned, littered with corpses and abandoned cars. It also foreshadows the coming conflicts between various groups of survivors. You can feel the tension as Danny is on her selfish mission.

I enjoyed this novel, and I am highly interested in reading the next one in the series. I would also recommend this for lovers of female protagonists, zombie apocalypse, and science fiction.