Category Archives: Apocalyptic or Post-apocalyptic Romance

After Yesterday – Jacqueline Hayley

After Yesterday
Jacqueline Hayley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A great, gritty, hot follow up to After Today


Surviving the virus was one thing, surviving humanity after is another.

Rachel Davenport has always liked things ordered and neat, so when the Sy-V virus decimated the world around her, she was left reeling. With winter closing in and danger everywhere she turns, the last thing she needs is the unexpected arrival of her former high school sweetheart—a man who left her without so much as a goodbye.

When James O’Connor crossed the country to declare his love for Rachel, the girl he left behind eight years ago, he knew he’d have a fight on his hands. But the girl he left has become a woman he struggles to recognize. As the apocalypse forces him to balance his morality against Rachel’s determination, can he cross the chasm growing between them?

As humanity crumbles around them and survival becomes everything, James and Rachel must choose between what is smart, and what is right.

The stakes are higher than ever… can love survive a second chance?

Author’s note: After Yesterday is the second book in The After series of post-apocalyptic romance novels. If you love reading stories by Kate L. Mary, Kate Morris, T.L. Payne and Kyla Stone, then you will love this series.

After Yesterday is a standalone story with no cliffhangers and a HEA, however will be enjoyed further by reading the other books in the series. Possible trigger warnings for violence against women and consensual rough sex; this is mature content written for 18+ readers – there is unsavory language and gratuitous sex. Lots of it.

The second book starts off a bit before the climax of the first. It’s from the point of view of Rachel and James, who were secondary characters in the first book. There is a good recap of what has gone on before. I wasn’t lost even when it had been months since I read the first book.

To remind you: Jake and Mackenzie had escaped Sanford, but Rachel, James, and others were still stuck there under Townsend’s cruel dictatorship. There, they were kept prisoner, made to work, and given little food and heat. Rachel and James are stuck together and not getting along.

“James could take one for the team,” she offered helpfully. “I wouldn’t mind so much if he got shot.”
He winced. “Harsh, Davenport.”

James and Rachel had been sweethearts in high school, but James left, abandoning Rachel. He returned to Sanford just before the pandemic hit, intent on winning her back. After his betrayal, Rachel grew strong and tough but cold. She needs that strength to get through this apocalypse and fight for what she believes is right. I really liked how badass Rachel was.

“You are such a beautiful, fragile woman,” he murmured, reaching out a finger to run it down the tip of her nose.
“Fragile?” She pulled back, smile slipping.
“Not like a flower,” he hurried to reassure her, mentally kicking himself. “You’re fragile in the way a bomb is fragile. Powerful and potent and explosive.”
She narrowed her eyes, thinking. “Okay, I can accept that.”

Now I knew the Council of male-chauvinists was evil from After Today, but this clinched it for me:

Two armed guards would sweep a house first, identifying dead bodies and shooting any pets that had been left behind. When James, anticipating Rachel’s outrage, asked if they couldn’t just release the pets and leave them to their own devices, he’d received a rifle butt between his shoulder blades. They all took that as a no.

The Council had to die!

Dex, Mackenzie’s dog from After Today, was thankfully alive!

James: “Why did I wake up naked, spooning a dog?”

Once again, the action was very well written, and there was a lot of it. There are compelling cliffhangers at the end of chapters and sections. I just raced right along reading this and couldn’t put it down. Some great moments of humor relieve the bleakness of the story.

“Can you believe there was a book in the library on lock picking?” Jake said to Quinn, shaking his head.
“Who needs the internet when you have books?”

“These gangs, exactly how fucked up are they?” Even as he asked, James wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Why did it seem like Sy-V had upset the ratio of asshole to normal human beings, with the assholes coming out on top?

I liked all the characters and the chemistry between them. The sex scenes, of which there are many, are scorching hot. James is dominant and Rachel is submissive in the bedroom, but it’s only in the bedroom. This was handled well with there being a true partnership in the rest of life. This aspect of sex isn’t so kinky that it needs a trigger warning. There is no non-consent. There is much more story than sex, a good ratio. The plot kept me reading, and the sex spiced it up.

Overall, I loved this. It’s a great follow up to After Today, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

Contains graphic sex scenes. Very hot ones.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Rachel and James.

Errors were fixed after I sent them to the author.

284 Pages

$5.99 at Amazon.

I received a copy of this for my honest review.

After Yesterday also contains the novella, The Beginning of the End.

The Beginning of the End
Jacqueline Hayley


It’s the beginning of the end…

Seventeen-year old Cassie is home alone planning her first ever house party, unaware the deadly Sy-V virus has begun to ravage humanity. But when most of her classmates fail to show for the party, she can’t contact her parents, and her best friend becomes sick, in the blink of an eye her entire world changes.

Stephen has lived next door to Cassie forever, only as the virus tears their friends and family apart, the boy-next-door suddenly becomes a hero burning brightly in the devastating dark of their new world. But no way could she fall in love. Not at this moment. With this boy. Right?

This novella is a prequel to The After series, which begins with After Today.

It’s about Cassie and Stephen, the teens we’ve seen in the novels. It covers their experience of the virus break out and the take over of the Council. It’s very short but very good!

After Today – Jacqueline Hayley

After Today
Jacqueline Hayley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Realistic, immersive, and hot apocalyptic romance that kept me up way too late!


Can love survive an apocalypse?

After a deadly virus ravages Chicago and destroys Mackenzie Lyons’ carefully curated world, Mac escapes the devastation and horror to her childhood hometown with the help of her best-friend’s little brother, Jake. But the small-minded community of Sanford isn’t exactly welcoming, and the virus isn’t the only battle brewing.

Jake Brent has secretly loved Mac forever, and while this isn’t the way he’d dreamed of their relationship beginning, with the uncertainty of the outbreak he’ll take every opportunity with Mac he can and hope—pray—for a better future.

But when Sanford’s misogynistic council torment the survivors with horrifying demands and a lawless motorcycle gang threatens their fragile sanctuary, somehow Jake and Mackenzie must form new alliances and face down dangerous enemies in a struggle far worse than the outbreak.

Surviving the virus was one thing, surviving humanity after is another.

Mackenzie was totally unprepared for the end of the world.

She wasn’t a heroine in some Hollywood blockbuster. She was a twenty-six-year-old environmental lawyer, living in Lincoln Park and trying to forget Sanford, the hometown she knew had forgotten her the moment she’d skipped out.

The story starts with a pandemic brewing out of Syria, having moved into Europe, and it may be within the US now. The President is denying it. People are saying it is a hoax to control us, much the same as people are now saying about COVID in real life.

“This whole Syrian Virus is a hoax—it’s a conspiracy to control us.”

“It’s a plan-demic! Big pharma is behind it!”

Jake risks everything to go get Mackenzie from Chicago when things start to disintegrate.

“I’ve been in love with you since that day you sprained your ankle at the lake. Remember? I carried you to the car so you could go get it x-rayed.”

“That’s seven years ago, Jake.”

I found the beginning very realistic, especially with what we’ve seen actually happen. The insanity of a panicked city population with the looting, wanton destruction, and guns was very realistically described as Mackenzie and Jake tried to gather supplies before leaving Chicago.

Mackenzie cries, whimpers, and complains quite a bit. But it is a realistic reaction. She watched soldiers gun down civilians, ran home barefoot and got lots of blisters, got through the looting, and is now walking on her blistered feet and witnessing death all around her. She is an environmental lawyer, a city dweller, book smart instead of street smart, and tends to live in her own head, blocking out much of reality. So she isn’t prepared for this. All in all, I think she holds up well in the beginning. I expected she would grow stronger, turn into a survivor as time passed.

It was hard not to succumb to “damsel in distress” when every step rubbed her raw feet, her shoulders ached with the heavy pack, and she was tired. So tired.

Jake quickly became Mackenzie’s rock. He’s a mechanic, just the sort of man I would want with me in the apocalypse.

He welcomed—hell, he relished—the responsibility he felt for Mackenzie. Even when he dated other women, she was always somewhere in the back of his mind. Now, the instinct to care for her, to protect her, had strengthened to a tangible level. He could feel his dedication to her in the thrumming beat of his heart.

Jake’s declaration of love and Mackenzie’s budding attraction to him made her uncomfortable at first. Jake was her best friend’s little brother, just three years younger, so nothing weird. So it took some time for Mackenzie to change her view of him.

Jake was energized with purpose and Mackenzie took a moment to admire his assertiveness, the straightforward manner in which he’d taken control, allowing her a comforting warmth in his steadfast protection. Who knew making someone feel safe could be sexy?

I loved this novel. I found the situation and the characters to be very realistic, so it was immersive to read. I know I keep repeating this “realistic” bit, but it truly is remarkable in this genre. I didn’t have to suspend disbelief – I believed!

I truly liked the main characters. Neither is perfect, so that makes them relatable. They are both strong when they need to be and vulnerable with each other. There is a nice build to the relationship. Jake lays his heart bare, but he doesn’t push Mackenzie. He’s not an alpha male, you’re mine, type. This was refreshing and sweet.

It was a very fast read with excellent pacing. There was quite a bit of action, which was very well written – clear but concisely described, so things moved along very quickly. There are some scorching hot sex scenes, but this is definitely much more story than erotica. I felt it added the right level of spice to the meat of the overall story.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Mackenzie does grow throughout this novel, eventually becoming a bit of a badass. I absolutely loved that she didn’t need a man to save her! Girl power! Woot! Woot! 😊

Amongst the chaos are little moments of very welcome comedy.

“Don’t get weird on me. It’s just an erection. Happens most mornings.” He grinned.

“No. Nope, not going there.”

“It’s a normal bodily function.”

“Jake, stop! We are not talking about your dick.”

“You just did.”

It relieves the tension here and there and stops this from being too depressing. As Jake says:

Why was everything so damn hard? Nothing was easy anymore. He prided himself on being resilient and practical, but was it too much to ask for a simple home ransacking to go to plan?

And Mackenzie is a dog lover! My love of her grew exponentially the moment I found that out! 😊

This had my rolling with laughter:

“That’s…. psychopathic, right? Who plays fantasy apocalypse?” Mackenzie’s question was met with silence…

Writers of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels do. Hey! That’s us! So a little fun was poked at the author herself. Loved it!

If you’re with us, fantasizing about the end of the world, picturing yourself driving down a completely empty interstate instead of being in your traffic jam reality, this is a must read!

This is the first book in a series but can be read as a standalone. Future books will be centered on other main characters, but we will see Mackenzie and Jake as secondary characters. This has a great ending. We know the story continues, and it definitely makes me want to read the next book. But we aren’t left with a nasty cliffhanger. Like the characters, I can wait, and plan, and survive.

Contains graphic sex scenes. Very hot ones. But only really three.

Occasional foul language. I loved Mackenzie’s mantra.

3rd person past tense from Mackenzie and Jake.

Errors: 8 (misspelled words, wrong word, missing word, a name spelled differently in two places, inconsistent punctuation, a missing quotation mark) Not bad at all! I sent these errors to the author, so I hope she’ll fix them soon.

UPDATE: Errors have been fixed!

258 Pages

$5.99 at Amazon.

I received a copy of this for my honest review.

Book 2 is available for preorder but won’t be out until April 2022.

Wolf Hollow (Wolf Hollow Shifters Book 1) – Nikki Jefford

Wolf Hollow
Wolf Hollow Shifters Book 1
Nikki Jefford

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Paranormal shifter romance set in a post-apocalyptic world with unique shifter lore. Currently free on Amazon.


Breed or die off.

The future of Wolf Hollow is in the hands of their single shifters to claim mates and rebuild their pack after a devastating attack leaves them vulnerable.

Sasha is the only surviving female pureblooded wolf in her pack and feels the pressure to claim the pack’s only pureblooded male . . . until he runs off rather than claim her. The elders have chosen a new male for her with no concern for her feelings on the matter. None of her packmates appear to care who mates her, except for one.

An attraction that threatens the future of the pack…

Tabor, a hotheaded half-breed, is the hollow’s only wizard shifter. Constantly overlooked despite his strengths, Tabor believes Sasha is as shortsighted as the rest of the pack until she proves there’s more to her than a blindly obedient lapdog.

Unable to resist the proud and sensual pureblood, Tabor would risk everything to claim her.

Despite her vanishing bloodline, Sasha can’t resist the charismatic half-breed, even as the elders set her up to breed with another pureblood.

Predators are closing in, threatening to eliminate their pack permanently, and there are shifters within Wolf Hollow willing to do anything to prevent the pair from claiming one another.

It’s a savage, Mad Max kind of world where only the strongest survive. Meet the Wolf Hollow Shifters in Nikki Jefford’s dark and addictive dystopian romance series for adult readers.

Wolf Hollow has unique shifter lore I haven’t come across before. There are four different kinds of wolf shifters: pure-bloods who always lived in the wilderness; non-pure-bloods whose ancestors lived among humans and perhaps mated with them – I’m not clear on that point; werewolves who shift into the monster form we’ve seen in movies; and half-breeds who are a mix of wolf shifter and another magical race – the only one we know of is wizards.

This shifter world does not have fated mates. They choose their mates just like humans do. And they can cheat, having sex with other people than their “mate”, which I don’t like. Both male and female claim each other with a bite to the neck, but it doesn’t have to be during sex (as I often see).

“Wolf shifters, in both animal and human form, could only become pregnant during the full moon. The closer to the exact second, the better their chances.”

“Once a female shifter reached her second trimester, her body became incapable of shifting into wolf form until after she gave birth. With pure-blooded native wolf shifters, the opposite was true. When two purebloods mated, the female was stuck in wolf form the moment she became pregnant until she gave birth. Purebloods were considered the strongest wolf shifters in existence, but they were a dying breed.”

I loved Sasha. She is strong, fierce, and honorable. Tabor is the same but fighting against the prejudice and exclusion of his pack growing up. They both grow throughout the novel.

This was a fast paced read with a lot of action and emotion. I only found one error in this novel, so it is extremely well edited. I’m eager to read more in this series.

There are a few sex scenes, but they aren’t detailed.

SAFE – no Other People drama, cheating, or abuse.

3rd person past tense from Sasha and Tabor.

293 pages. Currently free on Amazon. There are 4 more in the series, $3.99 each.

Die For You: A Dark Post-Apocalyptic Romance (Catastrophe Series Book 1) – Michele Mills

Die For You
A Dark Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Catastrophe Series Book 1
Michele Mills

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Possessive alpha male post-apocalyptic romance with a ménage kink

A strain of Ebola has just killed 99.99% of the world’s population. Rachel is somehow immune. As soon as she leaves her home in San Diego, she runs into Adam, a Hispanic former marine. Adam is much older and has a kink – he likes to share his woman with other men in ménage situations he controls completely. Rachel is a virgin, and Adam tries to stay hands off, but he’s only human.

It was good, but I’m not fangirling. I’m curious about the next book, thinking of reading it, but thinking there’s got to be better stuff out there. Why? It dragged a little. The writing just didn’t keep me needing more. I read this in pieces during my lunch breaks and wasn’t compelled to read it at home instead of watching movies or while I’m supposed to be working.

There were some very good descriptions of the changed world in the beginning, full of dead bodies, some gore, and reminiscent of The Stand. The cause of the virus is known, opening a strong plot element that wasn’t explored, at least not in this first novel. I liked the mixed-race aspect. There were some funny scenes. I appreciated them but wanted more.

I did love that our lead female didn’t need her man to save her. She kicked ass when it counted. I wasn’t a fan of her starting virgin status, but it didn’t bother me too much. Her horrible self-image got annoying.

The sex scenes were okay. It was hotter when they were just talking about sex than when it was actually going on. There was a little bit of talking during sex, which I liked, but not enough. Overall there weren’t enough sex scenes to really make this an erotic novel. There also weren’t enough plot elements to make it a good non-erotic novel. So I’m stuck in mediocre.

3rd person past tense alternating between the main characters. HEA, graphic sex scenes, some foul language, some violence. Contains an off-camera rape concerning a secondary character. No cheating. No OW/OM drama. Does contain one consensual ménage scene. Speaking of, a huge deal was made of Adam’s kink. Rachel not being able to accept it and Adam not being able to be himself sexually was touted as a deal breaker. But we got one sex scene and the issue goes away at the end. This was very unrealistic. Either the setup or the ending was false.

Very few grammar mistakes other than no commas between independent clauses, which is consistent so accepted as style. Three missing words. One wrong word. One missing comma after an introductory clause. One case of head-hopping within a section. One unnecessary dialogue tag.

Favorite Quotes:

“Unfortunately for you, I’m a breast man.” – Adam

“He was so confident, so sure of himself. Like Babe Ruth pointing and calling an out-of-the-park homerun before he’d even picked up the bat.”

“She glanced at all three men, still amazed to have been left alive with these three perfect specimens of masculinity. How did this happen? Apparently, in this new world there would be no potbellies, no receding hairlines and no man boobs. No, not here. It was like they’d been outlawed.”

“Nice man.” He chuckled. “Have you seen my gun collection? I think you have me confused with someone else.” – Adam

Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas Book 1) – Colleen Gleason

Beyond the Night
The Heroes of New Vegas Book 1
Colleen Gleason

Rating: 4 out of 5.

SciFi Mystery Romance

Mystery, action, and romance. Elliot and his friends woke up in a cave they had been exploring to find 50 years had passed and the world as they knew it was gone. This is more SciFi than post-apocalyptic as significant time has passed since the upheaval. It’s not so much about survival as the mystery of what happened to the world and these men. We don’t get the answer in this first novel, just clues. But it’s not a cliffhanger. Subsequent novels in the series take up the mystery with other couples as the main characters.

The beginning drew me in with a sense of mystery, making me want to understand what was going on. It’s not an action start but a teaser start – a creepy feeling. We aren’t given a load of backstory at the beginning. The setting and action slowly revealed the state of the world. Great writing with quick pacing kept me reading. Little things like new slang words and names not matching the genders they are currently most often assigned to helped add realism to the future setting.

There were good action scenes, very good descriptions of the environment, good world building, and some humor to relieve the tension. The women are strong and don’t wait for the men to save them. I don’t want to give too much away, so suffice to say I adored Jade’s action during the climactic action scenes.

3rd close, past tense. Chapters from different characters, most from the mains, but a few from secondary characters. We also get some journal entries written by a secondary character at the beginning of the upheaval. I liked the glimpses of the beginning.

Occasional foul language. Significant violence. There are some graphic sex scenes. A lot of it is described with scatterings of verbs or adjectives in a poetic way.

No cheating, OW/OM drama, or nonconsent.  HFN

Error count: 11 – Pretty good. These were missing, extra, or misspelled words and missing punctuation marks. Commas are not routinely missing, so I marked where they were for a total of 38 missing commas. Head-hopping occurs in only one chapter.

Overall, I really liked this. I don’t see myself wanting to re-read it, so 4 stars. I am going to read the next in the series.

More than Survival (A Zombie Apocalypse Love Story Book 1) – Kate L. Mary

More than Survival
A Zombie Apocalypse Love Story Book 1
Kate L. Mary

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Post-apocalypse is just a backdrop for this set of sex scenes

Previously published as More Than Survival by Camryn Lynn

I didn’t enjoy this. It has many positive reviews, so I wasn’t expecting to be so disappointed. I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic romance, especially those with some smut in them. But this just didn’t do it for me.

There isn’t much world building here. The story doesn’t leave the cabin. Uncle Seamus disappears and Sawyer appears. Nothing else happens besides sex. There really isn’t a plot here. A post-apocalypse is just a backdrop for this set of sex scenes.

There was too much sex, and I found the sex scenes unrealistic and somewhat boring. There was barely any dialogue during the sex scenes. The dialogue is usually my favorite part and what makes a sex scene hot for me. I didn’t find any of these hot.

I didn’t like how ignorant Lucy was about sex. At 18, she hadn’t learned the basics and had never tried touching herself. This is difficult to believe. I hated that she tried to get pregnant on purpose to keep Sawyer with her and that after she had decided she wanted to wait, he decided to chance it. There was never a discussion about having children.

I never connected with Lucy. She was a survivor and able to take care of herself, hunting, cooking, chopping wood, etc. But she didn’t feel emotionally strong. She was lonely, and her focus was on keeping Sawyer happy so he would stay. I got the impression that if she hadn’t been lucky and some abuser had come along instead of a nice guy, she would have accepted the abuse to not be alone.

Fortunately, Sawyer was a nice guy. I didn’t feel that Sawyer was a developed character either. We never get his point of view or learn much about him. Both characters were unrealistically beautiful and perfect.

I hated that it ended on a cliffhanger. We never find out what happened to Seamus or if Sawyer returns. Near the end, I was so bored that I started skimming, looking for something to happen, and then it ended abruptly. I thought there was much more to the story because I was only at about 70%, but the rest is another novella. So turned out I had started skimming during what should have been the climax of the novel. Not good.

Error count: 12 before I started skimming in Chapter 8. 4 in the Prologue, but they became less frequent after.

M/F, no cheating, no OW/OM drama. 3rd close to h only, past tense. Lucy is a virgin, but Sawyer is not. His sexual history is not revealed.

Skin (Flesh Series Book 2) – Kylie Scott

Flesh Series Book 2
Kylie Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-apocalyptic dark romance with zombies

This is the second book in the Flesh Series. I gave the first, Flesh, four stars as well. I enjoyed this one just as much. Flesh was a ménage, but Skin is a dark romance. Nick buys Roslyn and chains her to the bed in the beginning. There is some nonconsensual kissing and touching but no rape. He didn’t want to keep her chained up forever and was hoping he wouldn’t have to resort to that, but she cracked his head open with a wine bottle as soon as he got her home. Watching these two sort out their differences was entertaining and often made me laugh.

Nick was not a bad guy. He was just in a bad situation and made some mistakes. He is an alpha male but not over the top. I liked that Roslyn was strong, didn’t give in to Nick right away, and had the guts to stand up to baddies. The sex scenes were hot. The action scenes were well written and paced without too much gore in the book overall.

Just like Flesh, the story grabbed me from the start. There isn’t too much backstory at the front. It is set in Australia, but if it wasn’t explicitly stated, I wouldn’t have known. There is no dialect speech, not a lot of “mate”s and such. Just a little flavor thrown in.

M/F, no cheating, no OW/OM drama, contains several graphic sex scenes, contains a bit of foul language and a good dose of violence, standalone, HFN.

Error count: 11. There are many comma splices (sentences with two independent clauses joined with a comma but not a conjunction). It happened so often that I have accepted this as style. I’m not a fan of the style, but that’s probably because my brain keeps yelling, “Error!” while I’m trying to enjoy the story. I do think it may add to the fast pacing.

Favorite Quotes:

“He was a beast, an animal reeking of sweat and ready to pounce, rock hard and hurting. His hard-on gave Godzilla a run for its money. If he swung it about, Tokyo would be leveled.”

“Men were such complicated creatures. Women were so much more straightforward.”

Flesh – Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hot post-apocalyptic ménage romance with zombies

I love The Walking Dead and Z Nation TV series, but I generally prefer post-apocalyptic novels without zombies. That said, I did enjoy this. It is a post-apocalyptic ménage romance with zombies.

Ali has been holing up in an attic since the zombie apocalypse started. When she runs out of food, she goes foraging in empty houses. There she finds Dan and points her shotgun at him.

This novel started out with a whoosh instead of a lot of backstory, which I enjoyed very much. The action kept on going, with the zombies and other humans and in the bedroom. It contains several graphic sex scenes, M/F and M/F/M, because along the way, they meet Finn. I loved the characters in this, especially Dan, who is very funny. This novel made me laugh out loud a few times. I liked that they are in their 30s and 40s. I also loved that Ali is a strong woman. She helps herself, fighting back instead of waiting to be saved. She’s no annoying damsel in distress!

It is set in Australia, but if it wasn’t explicitly stated, I wouldn’t have known. There is no dialect speech, not a lot of “mate”s and such. Just a little flavor thrown in.

Everything is totally consensual. There is no cheating or OW/OM drama. It contains foul language. There is lots of sex and quite a bit of violence. For a zombie story, I wouldn’t say it was gory.

I thought it was well written with good pacing. I caught only 6 outright errors, which is fantastic. There are many comma splices (sentences with two independent clauses joined with a comma but not a conjunction). It happened so often that I have accepted this as style. I’m not a fan of the style, but that’s probably because my brain keeps yelling, “Error!” while I’m trying to enjoy the story. I do think it may add to the fast pacing.

If you like ménage and zombies, I recommend it. I plan on reading the next in the series, Skin. This is a standalone novel but part of a series, with different characters in each book.

Population and Saltlands – Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m combing the two reviews for these together here because they comprise one total book. Saltlands picked up exactly where Population left off. It’s like someone just tore the book in two along it’s spine, ala Bed Knobs and Broomsticks!

I liked Saltlands better, but that makes sense. Population is slow at the start because of necessary world building. Taken as one book, the action builds throughout, hitting a steady stream near where the book was broken in two, and goes on to the climax.

Over a decade ago, “the Others” arrived on Earth. They have since carved up much of the planet into private kingdoms. Humans remain in the leftovers, fighting over scraps. This is a post-apocalyptic romance.

I loved the strong female lead, Abel, her African and Spanish genetics, her ability with the sword and hand to hand fighting, her determination, and her emotional strength. I loved Kane, who is complex but honorable. The world-building was good and something I haven’t seen before. I enjoyed the “Others”. The pacing was good, most of the time, and there were some great action scenes. There was a good dose of violence, but it wasn’t described in gory detail. You can cut someone’s head off with a sword without describing blood sprays and such.

There is a cliffhanger ending, but the sequel is out. It’s basically one book split into two parts. I definitely want to read the next one, but I hate this modern tendency of splitting books. “The Stand” is hugely long but is one book!

Child molestation and rape is hinted at in some parts but not seen directly.

This is M/F. No cheating. No love triangle. It is written in 1st person pretense tense. I find this much less jarring than 3rd close present tense.

There are basically two sex scenes. They aren’t graphic but rather camera obscura. They lack detail, so the words could be taken to mean more or less depending on the reader. For example:

I tear his belt free and kick his pants off with my feet, then I tease him with my fingers and then again with my lips.

What is meant by this? Exactly where her fingers and lips go is up for interpretation.

Grammar and spelling: I found 13 errors in Population, including missing words, wrong words, and repeated words or phrases. Not bad at all. This is aside from the routinely missing commas between two independent clauses, missing commas after introductory clauses, and extreme run-on sentences that I have accepted as the author’s style of writing. This is fiction, not academia, so the rules are less rigid. I found this style distracting because my brain shouted “error” frequently, and the run-on sentences were confusing at times.

Unrealistic Timing: Abel is seriously hurt after the forest cult part in the beginning but seems mostly recovered 1-2 days later. She has never worn heels, wears and dances is stilettos for 48 hours, and no mention is made about swollen ankles or legs. There is definitely some almost instalove. It happens pretty fast. But I’m okay with it.

Confusion: Earlier in the book, Abel talks about having been raped or was it attempted rape that was thwarted? I thought two of a gang had actually succeeded until the second sex scene when blood is obliquely mentioned twice along with some pain. If she wasn’t a virgin, where do the pain and blood come from? At the least, it’s unclear. At most, there is a contradiction.

There were times when the story got too close to familiar fairytales. There was some “Beauty and the Beast” when Abel first gets to Kane’s estate and some “Cinderella” with the ball preparation.

I would have given this 4 stars, but the aforementioned problems drop it to a 3 for me. I will be reading the second half of this ONE book.

In the second half, action is almost nonstop with lots of gory fight scenes and drama. Each chapter has a black and white inkblot image above the chapter title, blood splatter, and they are appropriate! The violence is certainly amped up. Abel goes through hell, one desperate situation to another, and keeps her determination and resilience. It was a wild ride, very fast paced, and kept me reading very quickly. It made me laugh out loud a few times. The humor was appreciated amidst the intensity. It tickled my funny bone that the villain always sets up in dental office buildings. I liked the secondary characters, especially Mikey.

There are a couple of short sex scenes, not graphic. Romance is not the focus of the second half of the ONE book. There is some OM drama. I was very happy that our main couple dealt with this in a mature fashion, by talking it out. It didn’t cause anything stupid to happen except a ridiculous fight for fair maiden’s hand.

I found more errors in this half – 17. Mostly missing words, a few repeated words or phrases. As with the first half of the ONE book, commas are missing everywhere, but I accepted that as writing style long ago. At the opening of this half of the ONE book, I thought to myself, “Someone has a thesaurus.” Many words were used that just aren’t common enough to be in Abel’s thoughts since she hasn’t spent the last decade reading literature.

This is a 1st person present tense novel. One scene could be considered cheating, but wasn’t exactly consensual, so I don’t want to call it cheating. OM drama. Occasional foul language, but it gets as bad as it can. HEA.

A third book is hinted at called “Generation 1”. I couldn’t find anything when Googling this. If it is published, it will at least be a totally different book than this ONE.

Surviving Seduction (The Shattered World #2) – Maia Underwood

Surviving Seduction
The Shattered World #2
Maia Underwood

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Entertaining But OM/OW Drama Is The Story

This is the second book in the series and continues right where the first left off. There wasn’t a cliffhanger, so you don’t have to read this one.

I enjoyed parts of this. The fight scenes were especially good.

Other Man and Other Woman drama is the core story here, so if you hate that, stay away. There is a fake out dream scene – we are subjected to a sex scene with OM. Even if it isn’t real, we still had to read it.

If you enjoy OM/OW drama, go for it!

I would love to read the third book the author planned, but she seems to have disappeared from the book world around 2012.