Hello my lovely followers,
I hope you have a great day so far? :3 I am excited to finally share my review of Frost by Isabelle Adler, a sublime book in a post-apocalyptic world during a nuclear winter, with you.
This post includes an excerpt and a giveaway.
I also revealed the cover of this novella last month and Isabelle Adler stopped by and talked about the process in writing this amazing story in this guest post.
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
A terrific, sublime post-apocalyptic romance story (with a HEA!) during a nuclear winter and where a brother is taking care of his sick sister but finds companionship, and more, along the way. A book which shows love can be found in a hopeless place.
I simply ADORED the characters & how knit tight the siblings were. Finn is such a charming, caring brother who does literally everything to get the needed medicine for his sick sister Siobhain, who is a second character I would have loved to learn more about because she’s simply adorable. Despite being sick she’s not fleshed out as someone who’s impassive – at least when she’s not sleeping in exhaustion and sickness – she shows a strong will and a driving force for Finn to keep moving. Without her, Finn might have lost hope and although it’s dangerous for him to get out and hunt for necessary medicine, food and the other needed stuff to survive in this utterly devastating world they now call their home, he does it because she is his last connection to a better place and time. The love both siblings share for each other is tender and sweet.
I can’t say how much I love this story about family bonds, responsibilities and second chances as well finding love & hope when you are very close to loose it. Finn is meeting Spencer at the most inconvenient time – but granted they’re living in the rough nuclear winter it’s hardly any good time to find someone who’s sparks your interest let alone your love of your life.
Spencer is filled with his kindness and his offer to share the rare, limited good surprised Finn, maked him humble, yet he’s first pretty hesitant and doubtful if Spencer is not having something malicious in mind. He provides Finn shelter when he needs it so badly and is literally saving his life by a hairbreadth.
You’re engrossed in this story from the start – Isabelle Adler catches the atmosphere in a few, easy yet powerful words – the hospital scene (see excerpt) opens up in front of the reader – unpleasant and dangerous, you get what’s meant to survive in the rough surrounding, it’s gripping you and evokes an inner unpleasantness for abandoned places like this old hospital (at least I was intrigued and slightly disturbed altogether).
Without any effort you have the world right before your inner eye – the stunning cover also carries this atmospheric tone perfectly – and from that moment on I couldn’t stop reading and I flipped through the pages and literally rushed towards the end because I wanted to know if there’s a silver lining for Spencer and Finn, as well as Siobhain. I didn’t wanted to give up the hope that these guys couldn’t have had their HEA – and the way it’s presented it absolutely fulfilling for this terrific, catching story.
Simply superb and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you. 5 out of 5 stars.
Author: Isabelle Adler
Genre: M/M, SFF, post-apocalyptic setting
Release Date: March 4, 2019
Publisher: NineStar Pnress
Length: 27.100 words
Cover artist: Natasha Snow
Warning: depictions of violence and physical beating
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The end of the world as they knew it had come and gone, and the remnants of mankind struggle to survive in a barren landscape. Twenty-three-year-old Finn sets out on a desperate mission to scavenge for the much-needed medicine to help his sister. He knows better than to trust anyone, but when a total stranger saves him from a vicious gang, the unexpected act of kindness rekindles Finn’s lost faith in humanity.
The tentative friendship with his rescuer, Spencer, gradually turns into something more, and for the first time in years, Finn lets himself yearn for joy and hope in the dead of nuclear winter—right until Spencer goes missing.
They say love is the greatest power of all, but it seems it would take nothing short of a miracle to overcome the dangers that threaten to destroy Finn’s only chance for happiness and the lives of his loved ones.
The hospital was huge, which was both a curse and a blessing. It meant Finn had more ground to cover. But it also meant there was a bigger chance of finding anything left after the building had been raided repeatedly for drugs and equipment.
The emergency generators had long gone dead, of course. The permeating chill made refrigeration redundant, and the fact that none of it worked hardly affected the leftover medications. However, the permanent gloom made the search difficult, and Finn had to waste more batteries for the flashlight, which produced a feeble, creepy glow.
He walked down the dusty corridor, making sure to read the plaques next to the doors and entryways carefully. There, behind the next nurses’ station, was another storage room with rows upon rows of drawers with faded labels. It had clearly been looted at some point in the past—probably more than once. Most of the drawers were upturned and scattered on the floor, devoid of contents. A thick layer of dust and shattered glass from the cupboard doors covered everything, and gossamer cobwebs spanned the far corners of the room and the bare shelves.
Finn stepped inside, examining the labels by the light of his flashlight. Two years ago, he’d pilfered a few medical books from a deserted doctor’s office and had studied them religiously, so he had some basic understanding of what he needed. General stuff like analgesics were great too, but those were increasingly hard to find—not to mention the majority of the stuff he managed to score was long expired. As he’d learned from experience, the meds could still be used after their nominal expiration date, if he was careful. What would happen in a few more years was a different question, but the impetus for immediate survival rendered these questions moot. If he couldn’t scavenge what was necessary now, there might not be a future to think about.
As he’d feared, the storage room was completely ransacked. All he could find were some empty pillboxes and a few rolls of gauze that had fallen behind one of the cupboards. Finn stuffed them in his cross-body messenger bag. These always came in handy, especially the ones that were still in their sterile plastic wrappers.
As there was nothing else to be salvaged from the room, Finn continued on to the patient ward. The hospital rooms weren’t always as thoroughly searched as places designated for storage, and that meant there were still some things to be found there—personal items, medical supplies, and the occasional blister pack left behind by the bygone patients. Even things like shampoo and tubes of hand cream were useful, but he hoped to come across something more substantial.
Siobhan had been unwell these past two weeks, and that was the only reason he risked venturing out into the heart of the city where there’d been sightings of feral gangs. Nothing she’d taken so far had had any positive effect. He had to find something to make her better, to take away the awful coughing she’d been suffering from, or at least to alleviate her pain. Their own little stash of supplies had greatly diminished (they were out of Robitussin and down to their last box of ciprofloxacin), and he had to replenish that somehow before she took a turn for the worse.
The beam from his flashlight picked up upturned beds and smashed monitors. The mattresses were gone, but the utilitarian white nightstands were still there, and Finn rummaged through them, despite the sharp smell of urine and mold that seemed to have seeped into the walls. He stuffed all he could find into his bag—bottles of antiseptics, plastic tubing, boxes of Band-Aids—deciding to sort through his loot later, when he didn’t have to conserve battery life.
He recoiled as a swarm of cockroaches scampered from a lower drawer he’d opened without thinking. Must have been true what they said about the nasty buggers surviving a nuclear holocaust. The cockroaches and other critters certainly seemed to thrive where mammals were now failing. Finn shook his head ruefully at the thought and continued with his methodical search.
The window was tightly shuttered, but he could still hear the distant howling of the wind outside. The weather had grown progressively worse ever since he’d left home. He should probably head back before the storm hit or he’d be stranded here for God knew how long. Just a few more rooms, to make sure he hadn’t missed out on anything important.
As he straightened his bag and left the room, the sound of footsteps echoed somewhere farther down the hall. A few sets of them.
Finn froze. It was never a good sign. Abandoned hospitals and stores usually attracted marauders and other sorts of people he had no desire to meet with. He turned off his flashlight and edged down the corridor, away from the noise, keeping to the deeper shadows, but the footsteps were fast approaching. He ducked into the closest room, careful not to make any creaking sounds, and peered out cautiously, concealed by the partly closed door.
Three bulky silhouettes drew nearer. Geared up as they were, carrying large bags and wearing several layers of outerwear, it was hard to make out details since their lights were facing him. After a short muffled conversation, they split, going down the length of the corridor in both directions, entering and checking rooms, apparently with the same idea as Finn regarding potential pickings.
Finn cursed internally. Judging by the looks of their bags, there probably wouldn’t be anything left after they were done even if he managed to slip out unnoticed and come back again later, and there hadn’t been much to begin with. At any rate, this was definitely his cue to leave. He waited until all the looters were busy searching the rooms and tiptoed down the corridor as quietly and as fast as he could, looking for the emergency exit at the end of it.
The heavy metal door was there, beneath the smashed EXIT sign, but when he tried the handle, it clicked dryly and didn’t open. Finn cringed at the sound that was far too loud for such an empty hallway. Shit, shit, shit. He only hoped the others were too absorbed in their rummaging and making too much noise themselves to notice it.
He tried pushing the door open with his shoulder, but it didn’t budge. Maybe there was something obstructing it from the other side. After a few tries, he left the door alone and crept to the window in hopes of finding it open. The snow-covered rails of a fire escape were visible through the patterns of frost on the windowpane—a tantalizing view of a retreat route.
When he tried the opening mechanism, though, it didn’t even click. It was either frozen solid or corroded into place. Possibly both.
Oh, fuck. Finn looked around desperately, but there was no other way out that he could see. He couldn’t really hide in one of the rooms for fear of being discovered, so his only hope was to make his way back while the looters were still inside the rooms. It would be incredibly risky, but he had no other choice. He didn’t know who they were, and he preferred not to find out. He kept to the wall as he hurried along the darkened hallway back toward the nurses’ station.
It might have worked out if by some shitty luck the looters’ search of the next room wasn’t shorter than the previous ones.
“Nothing here at all,” said an annoyed voice, and then two of the three men shuffled out of the room. One of them pushed a dilapidated bed aside with a loud scrape, which diverted his attention, but the other chanced to look straight at Finn and stopped in his tracks.
“Hey!” The guy said, blinding him with the ray of his flashlight.
Finn threw his arm up to shield his eyes from the light. There wasn’t anywhere to hide, but he took advantage of their momentary surprise and bolted down the hall that led toward the ER entrance.
“Hey, you!” the same guy repeated, none too eloquently, and ran after him, joined by his two comrades. The beams of their flashlights picked random patches along the hallway ahead, dancing jerkily, but it was hardly enough to make out the way clearly. As he rounded a corner, Finn bumped into a gurney, sending it rolling on squeaking wheels and losing his footing with the impact. He went down hard, hitting his knee on the floor that was luckily clear of broken glass and other debris.
Finn hissed in pain and frustration and scrambled back to his feet, but he’d already lost precious seconds. The foremost of his pursuers grabbed Finn by the strap of his bag before he could take another step, pulling him roughly backward to face them. Finn squinted, blinded by the glaring light.
“What d’you have here?”
“Nothing. Let me go!” Finn tried to tear away from him, his heart pounding. That was one unfortunate turn of events, to put it mildly. With three against one, he had no real chance of fighting them off, even if they were unarmed, which he bet they weren’t. If he was lucky, they might take his stuff and let him go. If he wasn’t…
Author bio – Isabelle Adler
A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.
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