A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal


A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising
By Raymond A. Villareal
Publisher: Mulholland Books
ISBN: 9780316561686
Pages: 432
Genre: Science Fiction/Paranormal


A virus that turns people into something somehow more than human quickly sweeps the world, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic thriller begins with one small mystery. The body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, walks out of the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult the local police, it’s a bizarre medical mystery.

More bodies, dead of a mysterious disease that solidifies their blood, are brought to the morgue, and disappear. In a futile game of catch-up, the CDC, the FBI, and the US government must come to terms with what they’re too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

Impossibly strong, smart, poised, beautiful, and commanding, these vampires reject the term as derogatory, preferring the euphemistic “gloamings.” They quickly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society: sports, entertainment, and business. Soon people are begging to be ‘re-created,’ willing to accept the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the transformation. The stakes change yet again when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, decides to do what none of his kind has done before: run for political office.

This sweeping yet deeply intimate fictional oral history–told from the perspectives of several players on all sides of the titular vampire uprising–is a genre-bending, shocking, immersive and subversive debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.

My Thoughts

A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising appealed to me with the promise of science fiction encapsulating a tale of the paranormal. I have and probably will always hold an affection for vampires and their mythical abilities and immortality. So when a book promises exactly that merged with one of my favorites genres, it is sure to be my cup of tea. And I have to admit, it went down pretty smooth!

The skinny..

Hard to fully summarize, this is an interesting timeline that follows the evolution of a disease and the impact it has on society. When a young woman’s body is discovered and then disappears from a local town morgue, a CDC investigator soon realizes there is something mysterious happening. As more bodies begin to surface and then also disappear, the CDC, FBI, and Government find they have a new virus and epidemic on their hands that can only be described as vampirism. As infected individuals that are now known as Gloamings emerge, they soon begin a campaign to stake their claim within a society that is equally terrified and mesmerized by them. A battle for power and control is brewing.

What I appreciate..

  • As a debut novel, this is one of the most ambitious I have encountered. Villareal has left no stone unturned, brilliantly covering all potential facets of an uprising.
  • The writing is knowledgeable and thorough, providing evidence of the author’s dedication and labor to the craft that sets a significantly high standard.
  • World building is solid and very reminiscent of the present, crafting something frighteningly familiar and viable.
  • Alternating perspectives, cleverly inserted footnotes and mixed media carve a concise and clear timeline of events that offer the reader a complete and fully engaging experience.
  • The author successfully combines elements of the paranormal and science providing something innovative and new, daring to examine humanity from every imaginable angle. This is an all-encompassing story ranging from religious and political viewpoints to the effects of a virus on the lives of everyday people and society.

Challenges some may encounter..

  • Multiple points of view can detract from establishing a solid connection with specific characters.
  • The pacing fluctuated greatly between specific perspectives.
  • The Gloamings were a fascinating new race that warranted more spotlight than they are given within the story. I craved more development than what we are shown.
  • During the last 25% or so the timeline takes an odd shift and the waters finally become muddled.
  • An abrupt ending felt incomplete.

Ultimately, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is a highly motivated read that offers something incredibly thorough and complex. The author leaves no avenue unexplored, covering every thinkable aspect (I know I have said this, but I cannot stress it enough). Fans of science fiction and the paranormal will easily devour its pages, but perhaps find themselves needing just a little more. If you do not mind alternating PoVs and the shifting pace, I highly recommend this one!

*I would like to thank Mulholland Books for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup

Serves well with a nice Pu’erh or favorite caffeinated blend to settle in for a long, gripping read.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com

Book Depository

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Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

By Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781524713928
Pages: 416
Genre: YA Science Fiction


On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

My Thoughts

*SPOILER ALERT* I LOVED THIS FREAKING BOOK! Seriously.. I cannot even maintain my maturity while trying to contain the enthusiasm I hold for LIFEL1K3. This was my first encounter with Kristoff’s work *hangs head in shame* but will certainly not be my last. Within mere pages, I knew I was committed and would be dropping everything else in my life like a bad habit. So what happened? A lot!

The skinny..

If I had to sum this up in a few words I might choose something along the lines of “A beautiful collision of Mad Max and YA!”   Eve is a young scavenger with a talent for robotics. Having developed her own robot gladiator Miss Combobulation, she competes in the Wardome for the credits necessary to keep her grandfather supplied with medicine and stay afloat. But when Miss Combobulation is diminished to a heap of junk and deemed OOC (out of commision) during a battle, she loses everything. To add insult to injury, when she finds her life in jeopardy as a result, she discovers she is an abnorm who holds the ability to shut down and interfere with electricity with her mind. Now things have become extremely complicated because she is being hunted by the Brotherhood as a result. It doesn’t seem like things could get much worse for Eve. Toss in the discovery of an android boy named Ezekiel Eve’s world unravels on all ends. Simply put- Read this one because I am not spoiling it for you!

“Rule Number One in the Scrap, remember? Stronger together, together forever.”

What I appreciated loved..

  • Characters – this is quite honestly one of the most ragtag and unlikely but completely compelling ensembles I have ever encountered in a book and they drive this story with incredible force! The real winner here came in the form of Eve’s bestest Lemon Fresh. She stole my heart and ran miles away with it. The relationship established between the two girls is one to be envied and admired on multiple levels. Each individual adds their own layer of depth to LIFEL1K3. Growth and development was on point.
  • Post-apocalyptic plots are nothing new, but this feels incredibly exhilarating and charged! Kristoff takes the familiar and really dresses it up, transforming it into something remarkable. The underlying tropes and themes we expect make their appearances do so but never once feel ordinary. There is a constant element of surprise lingering around each corner, commanding attention.
  • The world building is crisp and ambitious, opening up a new level of possibilities and exploration. We are supplied with a futuristic setting that seems not only possible but tangible. We have been entrusted with the knowledge of what was and what is. It all comes together flawlessly, creating something that is cohesive and immersive while fully supporting the plot. It feels complete.
  • Underneath all of the fun and chaos (because there is a ton!) we still find incredibly valuable messages tucked throughout. Each character holds their own story and secrets. But at the end of the day we are still reminded that life is what we make, we are who we choose to be!

“It’s simple to love someone on the days that are easy. But you find out what your love is made of on the days that are hard.”

Challenges some may encounter.. 

  • Some violence and graphic content with themes of loss (please feel free to contact me if you have questions. I happy to share my experience).
  • Having to wait for a sequel? Because I needed more of these characters immediately!

LIFEL1K3 is a high-octane read full of big heart! It delivers an incredibly fast-paced and fun experience with an unexpectedly emotional core that impossible to put down. It left me holding my breath and begging for more. Definitely a top read of 2018!

*I would like to thank Knopf Books & Netgalley for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup


Pair with multiple cups of your favorite black tea. You will want to keep up with this one!

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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84K by Claire North

By Claire North
Publisher: Orbit
Available 5/22/18
ISBN: 9780356507378
Pages: 480
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia


What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

My Thoughts

84k was my first experience with Claire North’s work. It is my understanding this is her pseudonym used for many of her adult fantasy stories. She has also published a collection of YA titles under her real name Catherine Webb and has works published under Kate Griffin. Quite honestly, I am still attempting to sort it all out. One thing is certain though, her writing speaks to me in a way I have missed. She has a firm working knowledge of dystopia and presents that to her readers on a very specific level. You can learn more about her and her work here.

The skinny..

The man called Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. His days are spent crunching numbers. In a world where every crime has a value, he estimates the incurred fees of each criminal act. Pay the costs and you go free. Your debt to society has been paid. But when an old friend Dani is assassinated, he finds the math increasingly impossible. Something is just not adding up. In his efforts to find more worth in her death, he uncovers something much larger. How far is Theo willing to go to set wrongs right?

“The man whose name was sometimes Theo Miller had been twenty-two years old when they abolished humans rights. The government insisted it was necessary to counter terrorism and bring stable leadership to the country.”

What I appreciated..

  • An alternative reality setting that is eerily familiar. This allows for full immersion on the reader’s part while maintaining that necessary level of discomfort that must be achieved in dystopian tales.
  • North’s writing offers a unique and defining prose that supplies the warranted air of bleakness and struggle. It carries her story with what feels like a triumphant victory.
  • Themes that explore the worth of human life and challenge societal structures and hierarchies.
  • Solid character evolution that reminds us to look behind curtains. Change can often come in the most unlikely form and when least expected.
  • A steadfast reminder to never lose sight of human rights and be ever diligent of our surroundings.
  • Brilliant transportation of emotions from page to reader.

“I can prove it. I can prove they broke it. They broke everything. They broke the world.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • This is a heavy read that at times can almost feel tiresome. North asks the reader to think and work for it all. I have come to appreciate and expect that in true dystopian stories.
  • The narrative is often supplied in incomplete or abrupt thoughts that while effective can feel disjointed and require an adjustment period.
  • There are a several graphic (violent) but never gratuitous scenes.

84K delivers a certain level of difficulty and the dismal that is reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. It makes no promises of being an easy read, nor should it. And for that, it is ultimately incredibly effective. Delivering a pertinent and powerful theme, it succeeds in capturing and supplying the necessary elements of true dystopia. Equally intelligent and challenging, it is a brilliant addition to the genre that will surely leave a notable mark.

*I would like to thank Orbit Books for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup


Pairs well with a nice cup of English Breakfast and small splash of milk.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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