Dust & Decay-- Jonathan Maberry

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Genre:  Horror, Adventure
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 519
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Series: Benny Imura #2 (Review of #1)
Summary (Spoilers, highlight to view):
Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.
Blurb: A mystery that gives you time to think and a story that makes your mind run wild.

Review: I LOVED Rot & Ruin, and as such I knew there was a chance that this book would leave me feeling underwhelmed, and it did.

Rot & Ruin is full of action and emotion and running and jumping and zombies and monsters of the human variety. It's an imaginative smörgåsbord! Dust & Decay, however, is a much slower book. I felt like it took a LONG time for the story to get ANYWHERE.

The beginning of this book is a lot of "talk-talk-talk" and then FINALLY they get moving, but there is SO MUCH going on that the whole book only spans a couple days even though it's 500 pages long. The thing is, that "so much" that's going on isn't very... interesting. Sure there are zombie attacks and crazy-rhino attacks and new mysteries that really make you think, but they didn't go anywhere. Aside from some character growth, I feel like this book didn't progress the story at all. And because it was so slow, I felt like there was a lot more cheesy stuff in it. Lotsa teens acting like doofuses.

HOWEVER, this book is going to be quite a long series (I know there are at least two more books), and if Maberry works well with the other two books then this book could really pay off. I have a feeling that Dust & Decay may be one of those books that you don't really appreciate until you've read the entire series (i.e. Prisoner of Azkaban).

So if you liked Rot & Ruin, PLEASE pick this one up. R&R is WONDERFUL and I can't wait to see where Maberry takes the characters in this series. I just hope the next book takes them somewhere a little quicker.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

Birthday Bash 2011 Winners, Text Version

At this point in time I have e-mailed ALL winners and they have until Saturday night to get back to me with their address. As the prizes are claimed I will turn their names green.

Across the Universe
Thao Huynh

Blood Red Road
Lieder Madchen

Dark Eden

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Maria (pronounced Mariah)


Drink, Slay, Love

Dust & Decay
Tatiana L.

Fox Inheritance

Chen Chang
Farah M.J. Elmajdoub


Nerdy Earrings
Sarah E. Cruz

Plain Kate
Laura K.

Princess of the Midnight Ball

Lisa Richards


Swan Kingdom
jen7waters (Carla on GFC)

Swan Maiden
Melissa Caldwell

Threads and Flames
Nicole M

Tris & Izzie
the girl on fire

Michelle A

Ally M. (never responded)
Elanor Lawrence

Thanks to everyone who entered and participated!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

In the tradition of the hobbits...

..allow me to give you some presents on my birthday!
(for those of you who don't know, today is also Frodo and Bilbo Baggins birthday. Hence the Hobbit reference)

As is my tradition, here is the video announcement of the winners. The text announcement will come later today. Enjoy!

P.S. At the beginning of the video I’m snapping, not having hand convulsions

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011


All right! Today is the LAST day to enter any and all of the giveaways! I'll be announcing the winners tomorrow (my birthday!), so hurry up and enter! Click on the pictures below to be taken to each giveaway. If there's an interview associated with the giveaway then the picture will take you to the interview, if not, you'll go straight to the giveaway! Go forth and enter.



Go forth and enter!

May I draw your eye...

...to the donation button on the edge of your screen?

I haven't really pushed the fact that there is a donation button, because all of my contest hosts have already been so generous in donating their books. However, I am now faced with this daunting pile of books that will have to be mailed out next week; and I would really appreciate some help in managing the shipping costs. Even as little as $1 will help.

PLEASE do not feel obligated in any way. I don't run Squeaky Books for any kind of profit. I knew when the bash began that there would be lots of books to mail out. It's not like What have I done?!" (Okay... maybe I'm saying that a litte). I'm not going to offer you entries into a contest for donating, because I don't want to make you feel like you have to. You don't! I'm only putting up the donation button BECAUSE it is totally optional. It makes me very uncomfortable to think that some people might assume I'm trying to make money. Perish the thought!

Okay. Now that I've both asked for your money and told you that I don't want you to think I WANT it, I have hopefully confused you into pushing the button. But if not, here it is again for your leisure:

And thank you Jacinda for your donation!

I'm so sad that the bash is nearly over, but I'm REALLY excited to announce the winners! I've already picked out the song for the vlog where I will reveal who won what. Tomorrow I'll make a post to remind you what's up for grabs! Until then, happy reading!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Princess of the Midnight Ball Giveaway!

Hey y'all! Today's giveaway (which is the LAST ONE!) is a hardcover copy of Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. The contest is hosted by the AWESOME Myrna Foster, and following her blog isn't required but you should totally do it anyway.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Win Matched & Earrings!

Today you can win a SIGNED copy of  Matched by Ally Condie and some Matched-themed earrings! But you have to head over to Diana's Amazing Book Adventures to enter!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Laini Taylor & Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Ever since Laini's debut novel Dreamdark: Blackbringer I have LOVED her books and her awesome pink hair (her personality is pretty good too *wink*). This year she is releasing the much-buzzed Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I had a chance to read DoSaB earlier this year and I was floored. It's definitely in the running for the best book I've read all year. I was SO EXCITED when she agreed to be featured. I hope you enjoy her interview and take the chance to enter to win a SIGNED ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

What’s your favorite thing about birthdays and why?

I love planning parties: baking a cake, getting out a pretty table cloth, buying flowers. My daughter’s second birthday party was just days ago, and it really was a creative outlet for me. I had too much fun making little cupcake toppers out of thread spools, going overboard on balloons, and all that good stuff. Presents are good too!

Clementine is already TWO?! How time flies! I LOVE planning themed parties, but parties in general can be tough. If you could invite any person (living or dead) to your birthday, who would it be?

Hm. JK Rowling, maybe; I’d love to be tea friends with her, wouldn’t you? Just chat?

Yes! I've always wanted to know what kind of person could do the things she's done. Which of your books was the most enjoyable to write? Most difficult?

Well, Daughter was probably the most fun in terms of periodic sheer joy, but it had its rough patches too. Lips Touch was written without publication in mind, so there wasn’t “preciousness” and I was able, most of the time, to write just for pleasure. Silksinger was the hardest. It just had a lot of work to do — it was the second book of a planned five-book story arc, and it had to fit within the grand framework while also standing alone. Plus I bit off a lot with multiple crossing storylines, and sometimes I felt like slamming my laptop shut on my head. But in the end I was so happy with it, and there are some people close to me who claim it is their favorite.

I hope we'll get to see all five of those books someday! But your two most recent books (Lips Touch, and Smoke and Bone) are quite different from the world of Dreamdark faeries. What prompted the change from the more “fantasy” story of Dreamdark to paranormal? Would you consider writing other genres such as dystopia or contemporary fiction?

Well, it wasn’t conscious, especially with Lips Touch. Those stories all started out as short exercises I did for fun while decompressing from Dreamdark. But I don’t think they are drastically different, really, aside from the target age group. I would class Lips Touch and Daughter as fantasy more than paranormal. The purloining of folklore elements is very much present in all my books, sort of rewoven and altered and added to. I am very much interested in trying more genres. My kneejerk to dystopian is to say no, but I do have some stories in mind that fit there better than elsewhere, and as for contemporary: I would say it might be “contemporary-ish,” because I expected at least some magical realism would creep in. I can’t help myself. I love fantasy! I am interested in steampunk and sci fi, historical (especially Raj-era India, as in Spicy Little Curses) and of course romance, but as rendered by me, I think they will all turn out to be fantasy.

Are you working on the Smoke and Bone sequel? Does it have a [tentative] release date?

Yes, I am! The plan is a year after Daughter. It has no working title yet; I’m just calling it “sequel.” I thought I had come up with a great title and google informed me it was already taken … by Jack Kerouac. (Hint: it was not On the Road.) Darn it!

I think you could give Kerouac a run for his money! Would you ever trade lives with any of your main characters? If so, who?

Karou, for all that her life is pretty fraught, is a character of wish fulfillment. She’s just awesome. Beautiful, talented, speaks all these languages, can fight. Of course, if a genie really gave me the choice: “Laini, you can be you, or you can be Karou,” I’d pick me, but she is very fun to live vicariously. The same goes for Magpie. Her life is pretty fantastic, traveling to the farflung faerie holdings of the world with a troupe of gypsy crows? I love the texture of her life, the campfires and caravans, and best of all, the close-knit “family” she has assembled for herself.

All right, so if you lived in Karou’s world, would you rather be human, angel, or chimaera? And if you were a chimaera, which form would you like to take?

Hm. Again, I would want to be Karou, with all that that entails. Ha ha! (If you’ve read the book, you know what I mean.) If chimaera, I’d go with Kirin. I would love to see an artist’s rendition of a sleek, powerful Kirin warrior, long horns, sharp wings, crescent knives.

Mad-lib time!
Estella had been irridescent for a long time, and sometimes the romance had feared that she would never die, that he would be hamstrung by her human teeth forever. But now she was seething. Growing uncanny. Pain became plain in every furrow of her wings and in the way she moved boldly down the dead tunnels to their morning meetings. She was dying at last!
*mad-lib idea was inspired by Alysa at Everead!


Today's giveaway is hosted by Candace @ Candace's Book Blog, and as promised you could win a SIGNED ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone! This book is AMAZING! So go enter NOW!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011


Hey y'all!

I updated the schedule page, as well as added mad-libs to Esther Friesner's, Beth Revis's, and Erin Bow's interviews!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Erin Bow & Plain Kate

Today’s interview is from Erin Bow! Her book Plain Kate is an AMAZING story. Seriously. A-MAZING. It reads like a fairy tale and it’s BEAUTIFUL! Y’all should go read it right now. And you can win a copy today! Read on!

Connect with Erin

Describe yourself in 6 words, each with less than 5 letters.

(articles and prepositions don't count, okay?)
a cook, a mom, a geek, a poet -- a smart, sharp chick.

Very nice! Now describe Plain Kate in 5 words, each with more than 6 letters.

A Russian-flavoured fairytale, about belonging and heartbreak and redemption.

Ooh, with that said, if you could trade places with one character from Plain Kate for a day would you do it? Who would it be and why?

Good heavens no.

Characters in fiction never have lives you'd want, do they? Someone said on Twitter the other day, it's never: Jane and Rochester get married and live happily ever after: noises in the attic totally just the pipes. Conflict and misery and danger make for good fiction -- but one doesn't actually want them in one's life.

Still, if one could pick a quiet patch…. I think I'd like to try out Kate herself. If there's a self-portrait in the novel, it's her, and it would be good to try the carving with masterful hands, and to meet Taggle. Hopefully Daj would cook something with lots of garlic. Drina would teach me a song. Linay would stay the heck away. Could I kiss Behjet just for fun? The book never went that direction but I always felt it maybe could….

We had a discussion on twitter about how you didn't like people using the word "depressing" when talking about your book. Can you talk a little about that now? Why do you think people feel the need to use that word, and how would you better define it?

That word, "depressing" -- I don't like that word. It means something real: it means paralysis, the loss of hope. Now, I've read and liked books like that: 1984 is depressing, for instance. Or MT Anderson's Feed. They are books that suck you in and beat you up. When you've read them you feel less good about the world -- though perhaps willing to do something about that, which is the point of such books.

"Depressing," then, is quite distinct from "sad." Depressed people in fact do not feel sad: they feel horrible pain, they feel (contradictory) numbness, and (contradictory again) rage -- but not anything as simple and redemptive as sorrow.

I will accept that Plain Kate is sad. It made me cry, and I selfishly hope it makes other people cry too. If I may channel my inner Bugs Bunny: What do you want from a Russian Fairy Tale: a happy ending? I personally think that the novel -- particularly the ending -- is ultimately uplifting and driven by hope, but it's okay with me if people don't get that layer, and feel nothing but the sadness. That's one level at which the book can be read.

But "depressing" -- no, I hope not. I don't want it to be a book that beats you up, that makes you feel hopeless and numb. That's the opposite of why I write. (I take as my motto E.B. White: "All that I want to say in books, all that I ever want to say, is that I love the world.") And so when people that the book is just too depressing to read, that's a charge that hits home.

Lovely answer! And I totally agree. You've currently got two books in the works: Sorrow's Knot, and Children of Peace. Are these in a similar style/world as Plain Kate, or are they entirely different?

Neither one of them is a sequel to Plain Kate, and neither one is set in the same world.

Sorrow's Knot is another high fantasy, set in a place that resembles pre-Columbian South Dakota -- apart from the plague of ghosts, of course. Some of the ghosts have the unsettling property of being able to turn you into one of them with a touch. (Epidemiologically, then, they are like zombies: I call this my zombie book, though the zombies are disembodied and hidden most of the time.) The lead character is a girl who has inherited the power to bind such ghosts: a power that warps her life in both good and bad ways. I would say the style is similar to Plain Kate: it has a storytelling flavour. It's the sort of book that can credibly open: "The girl who remade the world was born in winter."

Children of Peace, on the other hand, is very different. Genre-wise, it rides the edge between dystopian and science fiction thriller, with a hint of Pratchett. It's about a group of royal children from around the world who are raised by robots in a rural school, where they study classics, grow their own food, and get killed if their home countries go to war. So it's …. a boarding school novel with ritual murder in it? An us-versus-our-robot-overlords novel that also has goat breeding? It's both funnier and more claustrophobic than I'm making it sound. The kind of novel that can credibly contain the line: "In the whole history of human discourse, no good announcement has ever started with and another thing.”

Thank you, Erin! Again, school is so crazy I haven’t gotten her mad-lib ready! I have time this afternoon, though, so you can be sure I’ll be doing it then! I’ll make a new post when the mad-libs have been updated.
They had machinated, Plain Kate learned, to breed the zeppelins, a project that required both laughter and frolicsome talk, and took everyone's attention. There was earlobe business too: trading of news and washrags, songs and stories. Pan Oksar's farm was a bustling, raggedy place, even in the mud and endless pencils. So it was that when Drina sorted the fire in the center of their tent, turning the walls green and the little space cozy with flickering light for the first time that Plain Kate could remember, they were quite alone, and likely to stay that way.
*mad-lib idea was inspired by Alysa at Everead!


Today you can win a hardcover copy of Plain Kate! Head on over to Smitten With Books to enter!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Beth Revis & Across The Universe

If you existed anywhere in the blogosphere in late 2010 or early 2011 then you already know about this awesome book. Want to know more about the author behind it? Read on!
Connect With Beth

I feel like Across the Universe is pretty solidly set in the sci-fi/dystopia genre. Is that your niche? Would you ever consider writing something fantasy, or even contemporary fiction?

Actually, I've mostly written fantasy--sci fi was a total departure for me! I believe the next thing I write will be fantasy...but I can definitely see myself coming back to sci fi in the future.

Well, you're a sci-fi natural. What is your most defining trait?

I think it's my empathy. I tend to be very positive and think the best of people--mostly because I can usually see where they are coming from and why they are doing what they do.

Oi. I could do with some of that. I'm WAY too much "my way or the highway." If you could only smell one scent, which scent would you want it to be?

Lemon-Lavender Yankee Candles. I adore that scent.

Mm! I LOVE lemon. I've never heard of Lemon-Lavender, though. Sounds good! If you could spend your birthday inside of any book, which book would it be and why?

Any of the Narnia books! I want to live in Narnia!!

You're the second author I've asked this two and you gave the same answer! I don't understand it. Narnia is so scary! Speaking of scary, imagine that you answered a knock at your door and found Elder standing there. What would your first reaction be?

I would probably crap a brick, LOL!

That would... hurt. Let's move on. Mad-lib time!

Ooooo! This is fun!!!

I force myself into the picture of green. If I have learned one thing from Eldest today, it is this: Losing my koi fish wil make me look foolish and childish. Instead, I speak slimey, pretty, and sleepy, as if I were writing something very simple. Eldest's notebook runs pale, then purples.
*mad-lib idea was inspired by Alysa at Everead!


Today's giveaway is hosted by the lovely Pica of Pica Reads! And, you guessed it, it's a copy of Across The Universe! Get over there and enter!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

Guest post from Pica!

Today I have a guest post from our contest host: Pica from Pica Reads! Check out what she has to say about the best birthdays & Harry Potter.

First of all, thank you to Enna Isilee for allowing me to be a part of her birthday bash! I’ve been having a great time reading all the author interviews and being a part of the giveaways. I am super excited to read all the new books she has introduced me to.

Book-related birthdays are the best!

Here are my favorite things about birthdays and books:
1. I always seem to get books for presents on my birthday!
2. Many of the Harry Potters were released just around my birthday, so I have had more than one Potter themed party.
3. One of my friends gave me a book journal for my birthday and I have written down every single book I have read since then in the journal. I’m up to 25 pages, single spaced, which turns out to be a lot of books. [Shout out to SS! Thank you for this great gift.]
4. I once planned to have a Harry Potter Party (see #2) and the night before the party I got really sick. Had to cancel the party which was a bummer. Ended up miserable on my birthday all day. Then, that night my dad came home with the latest Harry Potter which had just been released that day and read it to me for hours and hours. [Shout out to dad! Thank you dad, you are the best!]
5. A friend of mine had a wonderful book-themed birthday, where we wallpapered her room with post-its upon which we wrote the names of our favorite books, and then we had to guess who put up each title.

And most of all ...
6. Books that people give me for my birthday often turn out to be really special to me, just because they gave it to me and it remind me of them.

Also, I recently found the picture I used for a birthday invitation in elementary school. I edited it a bit in Photoshop so that my face looks a little bit different (like Enna Isilee, I don’t like to post pictures of myself online). If I edited it to much for you to recognize the book titles, I’m in my sleeping bag, surrounded by Harry Potter. Yes, I did love HP in elementary school.

[ENNA ISILEE: Gah! Can't get photo to work! Will try to fix it.]

Happy Birthday, Enna Isilee!

Mette Ivie Harrison & Tris and Izzie

This year I went on a Mette Ivie Harrison binge, reading all three of her Animal Magic books in just a few weeks. I'm so glad to get to feature her today as part of the bash and in celebration of her new release, Tris & Izzie. And guess what? TODAY IS HER BIRTHDAY! Be sure to comment and wish her a happy birthday! Now read on, and enter to win a copy!

If you could spend your birthday in any place (real or fictional) where would it be?

London. I fell in love with London when I was 15 and traveled by myself from Germany, where I was going to school while living with my sister. I stayed a couple of weeks on a shoestring budget with some friends at BYU Study Abroad. I took my two oldest daughters (15 and 17) back for two weeks this summer and we had incredible amounts of fun. London has all the big city fun but is so safe and the people are so polite and kind. I also love the art museums there and find art so inspiring for my writing. And the plays! We were all crying when we had to come home and are trying to figure out how to get back again.

If you could invite any person (living or dead) to your birthday, who would it be?

Jane Austen. I suspect she would be my kind of person, uninterested in pretense or in wordly honor, and mostly a homebody who likes words. I think we would play Scrabble together and I would let her win.

Which of your books was the most enjoyable to write? Most difficult?

The Princess and the Bear was probably the most difficult, because I felt horrible pressure after the success of The Princess and the Hound and I never intended to write a sequel. I had to play some weird mind tricks on myself to get words written every day.

The easiest book to write has been Tris and Izzie, but I think that is partly because I have figured out my own process. I tend to write an initial section in a burst and then my subconscious needs time to process the rest quietly. I had the idea for Tris and Izzie years ago, then got the idea for the first five chapters, then waited another year before writing the rest.

If you were living a fairy tale, which one would you want to live?

Seriously? None of them. Any of the original Grimm fairy tales are so dark. Yeah, there's the happy ending, but only after death, blood, tears, and much confusion and pain. But if I must choose, I guess it would be The Swans, because I can handle physical pain on my own pretty well and I'm naturally very quiet.

What kind of car do you drive? What kind of car do you wish you drove?

I drive a huge 12 person green van which we call "Hulk" for rather obvious reasons. We name all of our cars. Our previous mini van was called "Gorgon." You can see the trend there. I hate driving a big car and will be happy when I don't need to anymore. Although I will be sad because that will mean my kids are gone and I will miss them a lot. All I want is a nice, fuel efficient car. We've liked my husband's Saturn, but they're out of business. So probably a Honda Civic.

Define Tris & Izzie in 5 words
Clueless for Wagnerian opera

Mad-lib time!
She ran ahead of him, then stood directly in his gatorade, her hands tightened magically around his sword. It was not until then that she wondered what would happen if it came down to a fight between them, for he was several treadmills taller than she was, and, perspicacious as he was, still must jostle significantly more.
*mad-lib idea was inspired by Alysa at Everead!
Toda'ys giveaway is hosted by Jessica @ Books: A true story! She's giving away a preorder of Tris & Izzie! Head on over to her blog to enter.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011
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