Reawakening by Charlotte Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was the first book that I was really nervous about reading and reviewing. An ARC was given to me by the author, as well as an opportunity to have her do a guest blog on my website. (No pressure!) After I agreed to it, I was scared. What if I ended up hating the book? I had never read anything by Charlotte Stein (although I do have two of her books in my TBR pile). I had never read any books about zombies. This had all the makings of situation that could go horribly, horribly wrong. Would I lie about the book and just say I liked it, even if I didn't? It was with all of these trepid thoughts that I began to read Reawakening.
Turns out, my fears proved to be completely unfounded because I loved the book! (Whew!)
A zombie apocalypse has taken over and there are very few humans left. June has been fighting them off for the past two years when she is rescued by Jamie and taken to a remote island. The only other inhabitant of this little island is Blake. Two hot guys and one chick. The only humans left (that they know of). I'll admit, this book was much different than some of the books I've read lately. You know, the ones where the characters are having hot monkey sex by page 3. Yea. THOSE books. It took me about 25 pages of constantly thinking "is this when they all have sex?" to realize that this isn't one of THOSE books. Oh yea, there's sex.....hot sex.....but not until much later on. Once I chilled out on the sex front, I was able to delve into the world where flesh-eating zombies roamed free.
The beginning of the book plays out in a way that I can only describe as unsettling. Like, I was constantly on edge, as if someone was hovering behind me with their fingernails poised over a chalkboard.....and I never knew when they were going to screech their nails down on it. It wasn't tense as in "OMG, I'm so scared" kind of way, it was just....unsettling. I was always a little confused, and I would go back a page or two and read a little bit, thinking maybe I had missed something. Then I finally realized - DUH! I'm supposed to be unsettled....zombies have taken over the fucking planet. How ELSE am I supposed to feel? For all those tense moments, you're right there with the heroine, June, wondering if a zombie is lurking around the next corner waiting to eat her face off.
After Jamie gets June to the island, things are a little tense and awkward for all of those involved. June is constantly thinking that Jamie and Blake will turn into zombies at any moment. She barely speaks to them and they basically just walk on eggshells around her.....trying not to spook her anymore than they know she already is. (If anyone qualifies for a major case of PTSD, it's a chick who's been fighting zombies 24/7 for the past 2 years.)
Eventually, June loosens us around them a little and they all sort of become friends. They share meals, play endless games of Scrabble, but the tiptoeing around each other continues. (Sexual tension, much?) And then June has a sex dream about them which awakens all of these sexual feelings that she has shelved for the past 2+ years. The sex dreams continue, although she doesn’t tell the boys about them. She thinks they aren’t attracted to her and then she finds out they think she is a lesbian. But eventually, it happens. She makes out with Jamie, and that’s as far as it gets. For now. And at some point, she makes out with Blake as well. It isn’t until they fly back to the mainland in search of supplies that things go from heavy petting to hot monkey sex. While searching for supplies (like food and fuel), Jane’s dumb ass decides to venture out in search of condoms, gets spotted by a zombie, and has to fight it off. She kills it and that’s when the guys realize that this bitch can take care of herself - though they’re not happy with her running off on her own. This whole escapade prompts June and Jamie to have a little talk, wherein they discuss the fact she has sex on the brain - hence the need for condoms - and the fact that Jamie and Blake also have sex on the brain, but they don’t want to freak her out by saying “Hey, yea, I know it’s the zombie apocalypse and all, but do you wanna have a threeway?” Ok, so no one ever says that, exactly, but that’s the subtext. How June could have ever thought they didn’t want her is beyond me. I mean, if there’s ever a sure way to get laid, it’s to make sure you are the ONLY KNOWN FEMALE LEFT ON THE PLANET.
Eventually, they all get to the hot monkey threeway sex part. And it is H.O.T. And Jamie even pops out the “I love you” during one of the threeways. (Good timing, dude!) And because these three dumbass kids can’t communicate with each other worth a damn, feelings get mixed up, there’s the whole Jamie / Blake “she loves you more - no she loves YOU more” stuff. I swear, even during a fucking zombie apocalypse, guys are still so damn thick-headed stubborn and stupid.
The thing is, June has fallen for both guys - in completely different ways and it takes almost losing one of them to a zombie that made it to the island for them to all realize that their threeway love circle could actually work.
I glazed over a lot - obviously, cause I don’t want to give it all away.....but this book just worked for me on so many levels. Like I said at the beginning, I was completely unsettled by the writing. I didn’t enjoy that at first; I didn’t understand it. I’m not used to reading romance/erotica that sort of gives me the heebie-geebies in a way that has nothing to do with anything sexual. As I continued through the book, I realized that the unsettling was a very deliberate effort to do just that.....unsettle me. It was saying - Don’t get too comfortable.....this ain’t your average erotica tale.
There’s also a great deal of humor in this book. I pulled out a ton of quotes to list in my review and I decided that I really didn’t want to pull them out of context for those that are going to read the book. But I will give you my favorite quote from the book: “Porn always made this look so easy. The guy had a cock the size of a ham hock? No problem! Just shove it right up that chick’s ass—hell, she could probably take it in her nostril if you push hard enough.”
And finally.....the scariest thing in the book? Learning that Miley Cyrus songs survived the zombie apocalypse. For fuck’s sake. ;)
*ARC provided by the author