Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Mini Reviews: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker and Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

From Goodreads: Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food. Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus. While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker reminded me a little bit of Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test – only it wasn’t as good because the characters were kind of flat. I also didn’t like the flashbacks to the ‘good old days’ at the end of each chapter because they distracted me from staying in the present moment and often didn’t relate to the chapter I’d just read. Nor did I enjoy Sherry’s penchant for listing how many days it had been since she last experienced something (e.g. eating an apple, using shampoo, etc.) because it made me question how she could remember everything so accurately. Overall though, The Other Life was a short, satisfactory read that featured smart zombies, some tense action sequences and an ending that suggests the series has the potential to get better.

The Other Life was released by Marshall Cavendish in May 2012.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Marshall Cavendish) for free via NetGalley.  

From Goodreads: Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west": California. Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company — there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very much aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

My Rating: 1.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Pretty much the only redeeming thing about Sarah Zettel’s Dust Girl was the way Zettel managed to make the atmosphere of the Dust Bowl era come alive because the plot was just so slow-paced and confusing with things being mentioned or events occurring in an unpredictable manner. Besides the random plot, the ending was really weird and completely out of the blue. As well, the characters weren’t that interesting, and it was hard for me to picture Callie in my mind since her age was never mentioned. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but Callie sometimes acted like a tween and at other times acted as if she was an older teenager. 

Dust Girl was released in June 2012 by Random House Children's Books.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley. 


  1. The Other Life was a pretty good read for me, but I do agree it's not on the same level as books like This Is Not a Test. Now that I think about it, it seems strange for Sherry to have remembered days, hours, seconds etc, without a proper explanation for HOW she managed to do that. Anyway, great mini review!

    I haven't read Dust Girl myself and doubt I will be any time soon. It hasn't been getting the best reviews. :/

  2. I actually quite enjoyed The Other Life and I would agree that the series has the potential to get better. I liked Sherry and Joshua. I wasn't into the flashbacks either, I stopped reading them, because as you say, they didn't seem to relate to much. Great mini review.

    I haven't read Dust Girl and it's not one I was really interested in.

  3. It reminded you of This is Not a Test?? Well, I'm definitely sold! It's too bad it wasn't as good as Courtney Summers' book, but considering how amazing that was, I'm not surprised haha :') Still, it sounds like a great first book for a zombie series! But I'm actually the kind of person who get frustrated with no-age characters, so I'll probably think the same thing about Callie from Dust Girl x)

    Thanks for the awesome honest mini-reviews, Z! :) <3

  4. o
    booooooo... I dont do slow-paced and confusing books. So sad that it didnt satisfy at all your reading experience.
    I hope you read next something you'll like and leaves you totally hooked. =)

    SO Happy reading! ^_^
    thanx for sharing your honest thoughts

  5. Well, that settles it... I'll read This is not a Test instead. LOL

    Never heard of Dust Girl before, but the cover is pretty freaky. Sorry that the story was rather slow. I probably would have given up on it.

  6. Hm. I'm thinking I could probably pass on both of these and not be too upset about it. It's hard when you can't get a feel for a character because they're all over the place and you can't really pinpoint their emotional age because they act both older and younger than their actual age. Thanks for the mini reviews Z!

  7. I haven't read This Is Not A Test yet (the cover weirds me out) but I've read so many positive reviews about it, so I'm definitely going to give it a try. Seems like you've been reading too much of not too good books? :p

  8. I'm not into zombies, so I think I'll pass on The Other Life, especially if it's not extremely amazing. I'm glad you found some good qualities in it, though! As for Dust Girl, I'm sorry to hear that it wasn't for you. I'll probably pass on Dust Girl. It just doesn't sound like a book for me. Excellent mini reviews, Zahida! :) <3

  9. I don't think I'll be reading Dust Girl. I was hoping it would be better, but I wasn't getting great vibes and you've confirmed it—not for me. Thanks!

  10. Yeah, I don't think I've read anything favourable about these two. Especially Dust Girl. I dislike it when characters are inconsistent and you can't tell what their age is. I'll be skipping both of these - thanks for the reviews!

  11. I have Dust Girl on my tbrlist, but now I'm not so sure if I want to read it. ;) It just sounds so meh... :( So sad.

  12. Oh noes! I have Dust Girl on my reading pile now. It got decent reviews from journals and I thought I'd give it a shot. I think I'll lower it in my pile.

  13. I knew Dust Girl was going to be a disappointment. Which is why I dropped it. I haven't read the other life because I heard it has a bit of gore and I can't read that.

    Anyways great reviews! I love this mini feature!!

    - juhina


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