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Results 1 - 25 of 65
1. Quick-Fire Review: FROZEN by Melissa De La Cruz

Review by Andye FROZENHeart of Dread #1by Melissa De La Cruz & Michael JohnstonAge Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and upSeries: HEART OF DREAD (Book 1)Paperback: 352 pagesPublisher: Speak; Reprint edition (August 5, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing

0 Comments on Quick-Fire Review: FROZEN by Melissa De La Cruz as of 11/20/2014 1:16:00 AM
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2. THE BOOK OF IVY {Book & Audiobook Review}

Review by Andye THE BOOK OF IVYThe Book of Ivy #1by Amy EngelAge Range: 12 - 18 yearsGrade Level: 7 - 12 Audiobook Publisher: Random House AudioPublisher: Entangled: Teen (November 11, 2014) Goodreads | Amazon | Audiobook What would you kill for? After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more

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3. Review: Knockdown by Brenda Beem

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Knockdown piqued my interest because it’s a survival story, and it takes place on a sailboat.  The mega-tsunami threatening to destroy every coastline in its path also seemed pretty interesting.  I haven’t read a post-apocalyptic story like this before, so I was game to give it a shot.  I really enjoyed it!

Toni’s at dive practice when her father sends her a text message to hurry to the marina where the family sailboat is docked. She’s worried and confused when he won’t answer his phone, and neither will the other members of her family.  She hears from teammates that disaster is headed in their direction. Mega-tsunamis are rushing toward the Pacific coastline, created after historic seismic events in Indonesia.  They have 18 hours until the tsunamis hit the Oregon coastline.  They have 18 hours to evacuate before the monster waves crush everything in their path.  Only when she gets to the boat, her parents aren’t there.  Only her twin brothers, and some of their friends, are waiting at the dock.  Toni doesn’t want to leave without her mom and dad, but they left strict instructions to head out to the ocean if they didn’t arrive by a certain time, and when they are no shows, the teens have no choice but to brave the open waters without them.

Goodness! Up until the tsunamis knockdown the sailboat, I was on the edge of my seat.  Literally.  The pacing is fantastic; it’s unrelenting and tense, and I could hardly breathe.  I didn’t understand how Toni and her small band of friends were continuing to function.  There is a raging wall of water bearing down on them, and their only hope of survival is to get far enough out to sea, seal up the boat, and hang on as the waves toss it about, flipping it over like an angry child with an unwanted toy.  Having once been caught in rough waters in a disabled boat, I could easily imagine how helpless Toni felt as their vessel was batted to and fro.

I was worried that after the tsunami raged by, the story would slow to a crawl.  That did not happen.  Though the teens survived the waves, they still had to survive the new world they found themselves in.  Coastlines all around the world were ravaged, island nations wiped clean, and most modern conveniences a thing of the past.  With the little group struggling to survive, suddenly the teens find themselves in need of water and provisions.  Worse, as the climate begins to change, sliding towards a new Ice Age, they must find ways to keep warm.

Toni is a capable narrator.  She easily conveys her feelings and fears, her dreams and hopes.  The boat is overcrowded, and tensions and personality conflicts begin to pick away at morale.  When tragedy strikes, it seems that the team will unravel into chaos, and Toni wonders how they will survive afterwards.  She worries that she’ll never see her parents again, and knows that the life she once had is long gone.  I really liked her and found it easy to relate to her.

I didn’t realize that Knockdown was the first in a series, or I might have passed on it.  I’m glad I didn’t.  The ending is satisfying, and I knew that Toni had found a temporary shelter from the destroyed world around her.  I liked the characters and I want find out what happens next, so I’ll be looking forward to Toni’s next adventures.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A sail boat can tip over and come back up again. Sailors call this a knockdown.

In eighteen hours a mega tsunami will hit the Pacific Coast. It will leave in its wake massive destruction and the threat of an ice age.
Sixteen-year-old Toni, her brothers, and their friends race the clock as they sail Toni’s family boat far out to sea. They must get beyond where the wave crests, or the boat will be crushed.

Without their parents to guide them, the reluctant crew improvises. Romances bloom and tempers flare. There is no privacy. Cell phones won’t work. The engine breaks down. They are running out of time.

Even if they survive the wave, there is nowhere in this ravaged world to go. When disaster strikes, it is up to Toni to find the strength to lead the crew when her brothers cannot.

The post Review: Knockdown by Brenda Beem appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz

"Review My Books" Review by Tamara  THE YOUNG WORLDThe Young World #1by Chris WeitzHardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (July 29, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens. After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant

0 Comments on THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz as of 7/23/2014 12:19:00 AM
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5. DROWNED by Nichola Reilly {Review}

"Review My Books" Review by Emily  DROWNED Drowned #1 by Nichola Reilly Series: A Drowned Novel (Book 1) Hardcover: 304 pages Publisher: Harlequin Teen (June 24, 2014) Goodreads | Amazon Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright

0 Comments on DROWNED by Nichola Reilly {Review} as of 7/31/2014 1:30:00 AM
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6. Review: Dead Sexy by Aleah Barley #zombies

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love zombie books, but I have to admit that boyfriend zombies are my least favorite trope.  I just can’t get onboard with undead boyfriends.  I mean, let’s think about it for a second.  They are essentially decaying corpses with a craving for brains and raw flesh.  Your flesh, or the flesh of your friends.  It just doesn’t seem worth the risk to date a dead guy who could turn on you at any moment, going from Romeo to Hannibal Lector.  Though, since raw meat is his preferred dish, even my humble cooking skills would wow a hungry zombie.  Just head up to the local butcher shop, buy a tasty steak, and serve.  No fuss, no muss, if you overlook the dripping blood.

Now, I might be willing to make an exception for DS Thomas Conroy, the zombie government agent in Aleah Barley’s Dead Sexy.  He’s gorgeous, tall, dark, and firmly in control of his motor skills.  He works for a government agency that works to ensure equal treatment for zombies.  Since the plague 12 years ago, businesses have found a way to exploit this new source of labor.  Zombies work for low wages, rarely complain, and contentedly accept ground beef for an annual bonus.  This cheap influx of employees has forced many of the living factory workers out of a job, so the economy hasn’t improved much in Barley’s post-rising Detroit.  With the dead and the desperate roaming the streets, Motor City is even more dangerous than ever.

Gemma Sinclair works at the family mortuary, in addition to hunting zombies to help make ends meet for her and her mother.  Her uncle Donny works for them, and he’s a typical zombie; slow, can’t remember the past, and speaks only in stilted sentences.  Still, he’s family, and Gemma loves him, despite his undead condition.  Gemma is still mourning the death of her father, the one person who understood her.  After his death, he made certain that he didn’t come stumbling back to life, and now Gemma is bitter about losing him.  She doesn’t get along with her mother, and she chafes at still living at home.  Worse yet, she’s still a virgin and with her dangerous profession, she worries about dying before experiencing some hot sexy times.  No wonder she can’t get DS off her mind.  He’s about the only guy she’s been attracted to, even if he is dead.

I really enjoyed this short read.  It’s about category length, and the tone is snarky and humorous.  I don’t always like snarky heroines, but I found Gemma engaging and relatable.  She’s just trying to make a buck, be independent, and find herself a guy to love at the same time.  She and DS get off to a rocky start; she Tasers him and turns him over to the police, even after he saved her from a feral zombie.  To say that he’s a bit annoyed with her is an understatement.  To make up for the major inconvenience she has caused him, he makes her partner up with him on the case he’s working on.  An agent from Toledo, he needs help from someone more familiar with the streets of Detroit.  Zombies are disappearing, and it’s his job to find out way.  For 150 bucks an hour, plus expenses, Gemma’s happy to pitch in on his mission to find the missing Biters.

There are some annoying editing errors that jarred me from the story, but at .99 for the Kindle, Dead Sexy is a great buy.  I liked the protagonists and the setting, but I would have liked more background on the zombie plague.  Maybe I’ll get that in the next installment of this series, which I am eagerly looking forward to reading.

Grade:  B / B+

Review copy purchase from Amazon

From Amazon:

Mortuary attendant Gemma Sinclair hunts zombies for a living. It’s messy work, but it pays the bills… right up until she stun guns the wrong dead man in the ass.

Now to keep her family business going, Gemma’s forced into a partnership with federal agent D.S. Thomas Conroy. Zombies are disappearing all over town, and he needs Gemma’s help to figure out why.

With a villain on her trail and a gang of zombies ready to attack, Gemma’s just glad her backup is dead sexy…

The post Review: Dead Sexy by Aleah Barley #zombies appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Book Review: Rebel Heart


Rebel Heart
Dust Lands Book 2
by Moira Young

Warning: this review may contain spoilers for the first book, Blood Red Road. If you haven't read Blood Red Road, I highly recommend it! It's about an incredibly tough heroine on a quest to save her brother in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. 

In Blood Red Road, Saba had one goal: find and save her twin brother Lugh from the people who took him. Saba knew that once she found Lugh, everything would be all right. But everything is most definitely not all right. Lugh and Saba have both been changed by the traumatic things they experienced, and the bond that connected them their whole lives seems to be broken and unrepairable.

Saba and Lugh, along with younger sister Emmi and another young man, Tommo, are on their way west to start a new life. Jack, whom Saba recently discovered is her heart's desire, separated from them to take a hard journey to deliver bad news, but he promised to meet them in the west. Saba is desperate to go west and find Jack again, but the group is stuck in the Waste, waiting for an injured horse to heal.

Then word comes that the Tonton, so recently defeated by Saba and her friends, have a new leader, who is cleansing the land of everyone except his own followers, killing or driving out the weak and the old, and taking the young and healthy. What's worse, Jack has been seen with the Tonton and may be one of them. Saba can't believe that Jack would be a part of such horrors, and she's determined to go back and find the truth, and help if she can.

Like Blood Red Road, Rebel Heart is a roller coaster of a story that grabs you and won't let go. Saba is one of the best YA heroines I've ever read. She's tough, oh yes, she's tough, but she also has heart and depth and an unshakeable resolve. Saba is a flawed heroine. She makes mistakes, she's not always kind, and she sometimes lets her single mindedness blind her. But Saba is a person who cares deeply, and would do anything for her family and her friends.

As with the first book, Rebel Heart is told in first person in Saba's distinctive voice and dialect, which is a little difficult to read at first, but it doesn't take long to seem natural, and it's such an integral part of the book that it's hard to imagine this book without it. The entire book is also written without quotation marks. All dialog is simply written out as part of the text with nothing to set it off. This also seems odd at first, but you get used to it and don't notice it. The biggest effect, to me, is that with the breakneck pace of the novel, the lack of quotation marks to slow the eye down contributes to a feeling of going downhill without brakes.

Overall, Rebel Heart and its predecessor, Blood Red Road, are excellent books that will have strong appeal to anyone who enjoys dystopian YA literature. Although more post-apocalyptic than dystopian, there are some dystopian elements in the Tonton society ruled by their new charismatic leader, the Pathfinder, and the book has a dystopian feel to it.

Rebel Heart ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the third book, Raging Star, is due out May 13. I can't wait to read it!

Who would like this book:

Anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian books and who doesn't mind the unusual punctuation and dialect.

Rebel Heart is a 2013 Cybils Awards Nominee. The first book, Blood Red Road, was the 2011 Cybils winner for YA Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Get it from:
Audiobook:

Rebel Heart is available as an audiobook from Audible.com. I haven't yet listened to the audiobook, but I did listen to the audiobook for Blood Red Road and thought it was very well done. Narrator Heather Lind did an excellent job. There appears to also be a version narrated by Moira Young, but Audible tells me it isn't available in my area, so I suspect it's the Canadian version. The links below are to the Heather Lind narrated version.
FTC required disclosure: Reviewed from purchased copy. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

0 Comments on Book Review: Rebel Heart as of 4/1/2014 4:05:00 PM
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8. Review: Vampire’s Hunger by Cynthia Garner

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

It seems as though I have fallen into a zombie rut again.  I don’t know why I keep turning to these books, because they are starting to give me nightmares.  Seriously!  Vampire’s Hunger isn’t even that graphic, and I woke up during the night after I finished it from a scary dream.  Heart pounding, can’t fall back asleep nightmare.  Good thing the puppers were there to cuddle!  I am taking a little break from zombies, but I bet it won’t last long!

 

Kimber is a necromancer.  She works with the police, raising the dead to find out who murdered them.  After a summoning goes wrong, she discovers that she’s unleashed the zombie apocalypse.  In addition to fending off zombies, she has to deal with the threats of the rest of humankind who also blame her for bringing doom upon the human race.  I would so not want to be in her shoes.

Duncan is the second in command of the local vampire clan.  He has been lusting after Kimber for years, but she keeps rebuffing his advances.  She doesn’t trust vampires after they murdered her family, and she’s not about to get close to Duncan.  He vows to protect her and her friend Natalie as society takes a nose dive.  Along with the fairy Aodhan, Duncan has his work cut out for him.  His queen, Maddalene, wants Kimber to raise her consort from the dead, and she just won’t take no for an answer.  Sworn to obey her every command, Duncan is torn between his growing feelings for Kimber and his loyalty to his queen.

Vampire’s Hunger is a fast, sexy read.  I liked the setting – the world has just ended, and Kimber is still adjusting to her new normal.  She blames herself for the zombie plague, and she is determined to figure out a way to put an end to it.  The day she brought Richard Whitcomb back to life something went wrong, and she is going nuts trying to understand why the Unseen, the source of her power, has changed.  The day she called Richard back, something felt wrong and evil, and when she tried to release him back to death, he fought back.  The entire episode was a complete disaster, challenging Kimber’s skills to keep him under control.  It also marked the start of the zombie apocalypse, leaving one unfortunate observer bitten and infected.  Yup, Kimber’s slip up resulted in Patient Zero and the end of the world.

I originally started reading this book because I saw the word zombie in the blurb, but I think it was more focused on the vampires.  I felt that the zombies were more of an obstacle for Kimber and  her friends to get around than an actual threat.  There were a few battles with them as they traversed from Kimber’s apartment to Duncan’s vampire enclave, but it was the vampires that were the real danger in Vampire’s Hunger.  Duncan’s queen is a nutbag, and she is going to force Kimber to raise her dead consort, come hell or high water.  Kimber knows that the attempt will kill her; it’s hard enough raising someone who just died, let alone someone whose original death was a hundred years ago.  The Unseen isn’t being very friendly to her, either.  Something dark, evil, and dangerous keeps lurking in it’s depths.

The main conflict between Kimber and Duncan is Kimber’s distrust of vampires.  She is afraid that Duncan will lose control and drain her of every drop of blood in her veins, leaving her a lifeless husk.  Her family was murdered by vampires, and they haven’t done much to gain her trust since then.  Duncan, however, has been nothing but protective of her, watching over her and Natalie and working with Aodhan to keep them safe.  Still, with the insane Maddalene threatening everyone she cares about, it’s no wonder that Kimber has no love for vampires.  Duncan refuses to go against his queen, even though he knows that she is off her rocker and that she is becoming increasingly unstable.  I was disappointed that it took him so long to decide to do something about her, but once he makes up his mind that Maddalene is too much of a liability to keep her power over the clan, he quickly moves against her.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, but Vampire’s Thirst comes out in May, so I didn’t give it a ding for that.  I enjoyed Vampire’s Hunger, and I am looking forward to book 2.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:


In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her . . . except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.

As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse . . .

Approx. 50,000-60,000 words.

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9. Cynthia Garner’s Top 5 Items in a Post-Apocalyptic Woman’s Survival Kit and Giveaway!

Cynthia Garner dropped by the virtual offices to share her Top 5 items every woman needs to pack in her post-apocalyptic survival kit.  See if you agree, learn about her latest release, Vampire’s Hunger, and then enter the giveaway!

Cynthia Garner’s Top 5 Items in a Post-Apocalyptic Woman’s Survival Kit

1. Chocolate

2. Tampons

3. Pain reliever

4. Lip balm

5. Fabric refresher

What do think?  What would you add to your post-apocalyptic survival kit?  Maybe the guy on the cover of Vampire’s Hunger??

 

VAMPIRE’S HUNGER  by Cynthia Garner (April 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99)

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her…except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.

As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse…

About the author:

Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that Cynthia’s love for all things paranormal was born.  When she’s not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she’s on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.

Social Media Links:

Website

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Buy Links:

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iTunes

Excerpt –

Two nights later Duncan answered the knock on Kimber’s door. Murray stood there, just as fragile looking as ever. “What now?” Duncan asked.

The other vampire lifted his chin, motioning toward the inside of the apartment. “Maddalene wants to see your little necromancer again.” His face was expressionless but Duncan caught the smirk in his voice.

He clenched his jaw. No way in hell was Kimber going back there until he and Maddalene came to an understanding. The fact that Maddalene had overridden him and allowed hungry vampires into his living quarters, to threaten Kimber and her friends, had driven home the point that the sense of loyalty he felt toward Maddalene was a one-way street.

“Tell Maddalene to forget it,” he told Murray.

“I’m not your messenger boy, MacDonnough.” The skinny excuse for a vampire gave a grunt and pointed to his head. “Still attached, the way I like it. You got something to say to Maddalene, you say it yourself.” He gave a sardonic salute with two fingers and sauntered off.

Damn it.

Duncan closed the door and turned to face the other inhabitants of the apartment. Natalie stood in the kitchen, leaning back against the counter, her hands braced on either side. Aodhán was kicked back in the recliner, his gaze steady and calm. Kimber, his lovely Kimber, stood beside the sofa, arms crossed and one foot tapping on the floor.

“I am not going back there,” she said.

“No, you’re not.”

“I mean it, Duncan. Maddalene wants the impossible, and I won’t do it.”

“I agree.”

“No matter what you…” A frown dipped between her brows. “Wait. What?”

He couldn’t stop the small grin that quirked his lips. She was adorable when she was confused. It wasn’t a look he got to see very often because she had such a sharp mind. “I said I agree. You’re not going to see Maddalene.”

“Oh.” Her hands dropped to her sides. “Um, why not?”

Ignoring the interested gazes of Aodhán and Natalie, he walked over to Kimber and took her face in his palms. “Because I don’t trust her right now, and I mean to keep you safe.”

Her lips parted and he couldn’t stop himself from dipping his head to press a soft kiss against her mouth. When he drew away, her lashes fluttered and swept up to show slightly dazed eyes. That was a good sign, anyway. He knew she wasn’t indifferent to him. If he could prove to her that he wouldn’t lose control and drain her, maybe one day she’d trust him enough to let him close again. To let him love her.

He took a step back. Where the hell had that come from? He didn’t love Kimber. He couldn’t love her. She was mortal. He was not. He didn’t deny he wanted her—his lust for her was nearly a living entity on its own. But love?

No.

He didn’t have the time for love. He didn’t have the luxury for love.

He didn’t have the right. He’d done things he wasn’t proud of. Kimber deserved better than him. She certainly didn’t deserve the danger he’d be putting her in if Maddalene found out he had a soft spot for Kimber. And he deserved…

He firmed his jaw. He deserved only what she gave him. But that didn’t negate the fact that she had something he wanted—well, actually, two things he wanted: the ability to contact the Unseen and a body he wanted to lose himself in. Both might be within his reach if he could just get Maddalene to back the hell off.

Yeah, Duncan. Just keep telling yourself all you’re interested in is her body. You might really believe it someday.

He turned away from Kimber. Grabbing up the tire iron from where he’d placed it underneath the coffee table, he headed toward the front door. “I’m going to talk to Maddalene.”

“Wait.” Kimber’s soft voice stopped him. When he looked over his shoulder at her, she said, “Be careful.”

He gave a nod and pulled open the door. As he closed it behind him, he heard Aodhán say, “He’s strong and he’s fast. On his own, he’ll be able to get around any zombies out there. He’ll be fine.”

Fine against zombies, yes. Against his own heart? He wasn’t so sure.

5 print copies of VAMPIRE’S HUNGER, Grand prize: Twilight Saga White Collection

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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10. 5 Things Not to do During a Zombie Apocalypse by John L Campbell

John L Campbell’s zombie apocalypse novel, Omega Days, will be released in paperback May 6.  I’ll have a review in early May, so please check back for it.  In the meanwhile, John dropped by to share some tips in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

FIVE THINGS NOT TO DO DURING A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

-John L. Campbell

It’s the end of the world, and our communities are crawling with the walking dead. Finally! No more nine-to-five, no more bills, and you can at last have that Corvette you’ve always wanted; just drive it off the lot. For years we’ve been bombarded with information about how to survive, through film and books, television shows, commercials and what-if discussions over beers. We’re ready. It’s go time.

There are some unexpected dangers lurking, however, that will bring your visions of EOTW glory to an abrupt halt. In the interest of public service, I’ve outlined the pitfalls that should be avoided in order to have a safe and happy zombie apocalypse.

Do not attempt to rescue your relatives.

First of all, they’re zombies by now. And you don’t like most of them anyway, remember? Think back to that last family holiday. Now imagine your bunker filled with those same relatives, now zombies, sitting down for the big dinner. Zombies have awful table manners, and they’re just as ungrateful for all the hard work you put into it as they were at Thanksgiving. And just because they’re the undead doesn’t mean they’ve changed; they still hold grudges, bring up embarrassing memories, try to borrow money, complain about medical conditions you’d rather not hear about, and empty your liquor cabinet. You’ve been looking for a way out of these family gatherings for years. The zombie apocalypse is the perfect excuse.

Do not go out in search of food and supplies.

Remember the way you complained about the crowds during your last holiday shopping trip? Think of Black Friday times ten. By the time you get to the stores, they’ll have sold out of all the good stuff, and, of course, most of the clerks will already have turned. Zombie retail clerks. Ew. The lines will be endless, your awesome apocalypse vehicle will get dented by shopping carts in the parking lot, and when you get home, survivors will be squatting in your house. Better to stay in and eat those things you’ve been neglecting at the back of the pantry for years; the pumpkin pie filling, the granola you bought during your last Get Healthy kick, the prehistoric croutons. You wanted to lose weight anyway, right?

Don’t forget to wear clean underwear.

Your mother warned you for years. Now the probability of “getting in an accident” has just multiplied.

Do not hang around New York City.

Yes, Will Smith made it look cool. And yes, carriage rides in Central Park are very romantic. But the city is swarming with the walking dead, and if you thought it was difficult to get a cab before? New York zombies are pushy and rude, and will become unbearable once the power grid goes down and they can’t get a cell phone signal. NYPD will be busy ticketing all the abandoned cars in the street, so they won’t have time to give you directions to Radio City, or save you when you’re being pursued by an undead bike messenger. Zombie bike messengers. Ew. In addition, Wicked and Phantom just won’t be the same as zombie actors lurch across the stage, croaking their lines and devouring the people who paid five hundred dollars for orchestra seating.

Do not isolate yourself on a Caribbean island.

But an island is perfect, you say, and you love the tropics. Sure, the idea is logical on the surface; wait out the plague on the beach, getting hammered on fruity umbrella drinks. But Caribbean islands have snakes. Ew, snakes. And island zombies hate tourists, especially if it’s a French island. French zombies. Ew. They do, however, find tourists delicious, and this will negatively impact the level of service you receive at hotels and resorts. And let’s think it through. The pool bar will be mobbed, the pool itself will have questionable objects floating in it, and the locals will triple the price for para-sailing and native crafts. No, better not to travel, and avoid that undead TSA agent challenging you on the size of your travel mouthwash.

Survive the zombie apocalypse by staying home. Don’t leave the garage door open, remember that you can drink toilet water if necessary (from the tank, not the blue stuff in the bowl,) and pass the time with a good book. I could recommend several. In the meantime, just sit around and wait for the government to save you. They have a plan for this, right?

 

 

About the book:

When the end came, it came quickly. No one knew where or exactly when the Omega Virus started, but soon it was everywhere. And when the ones spreading it can’t die, no one stands a chance of surviving.

San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face…
University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…
Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before…
Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.

About the author:

John L. Campbell is the author of the zombie apocalypse series, OMEGA DAYS from Penguin Random House. Book One, “Omega Days,” was an overnight Amazon Horror bestseller, and remained on the list for 17 weeks. In addition, he is the author of two collections of short horror stories, RED CIRCUS and IN THE FALLING LIGHT, and a novella based upon actual events, THE MANGROVES, which chronicles the most horrific crocodile massacre in recorded history. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary magazines and ezines.
John has lived all over the U.S., and has worked as everything from a limo driver to professional investigator and executive. He currently resides with his family in New York, where he is hard at work on the next novel in his Omega Days series.
Campbell is an Active Member of the HWA; Horror Writer’s Association, and is represented by the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in New York.
Coming soon, SHIP OF THE DEAD. Prepare to be boarded…

The post 5 Things Not to do During a Zombie Apocalypse by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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11. The Village-Slash-Hannah-Slash-Toy Story, or After the End by Amy Plum

AFTER THE END After the End #1 by Amy Plum Hardcover: 336 pages Publisher: HarperTeen (May 6, 2014) Language: English Mark on Goodreads Buy the Book: Amazon Michael Grant's Gone series meets M. Night Shyamalan's The Village in this riveting story of one girl's journey to save the very people who have lied to her for her entire life. Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die

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12. #zombie Review: Omega Days by John L Campbell

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I just can’t resist zombies!  When I was offered a chance to review Omega Days, I didn’t have to know anything else about the book other than it was full of zombie goodness.  Originally self-pubbed as an ebook, Berkley is releasing it in paperback with expanded material from the author.  Though Omega Days clocks in at over 350 pages, I gobbled it up in two sittings.  I couldn’t put it down!  Well, I did read for a while before I went to bed, which gave me a few nightmares, but that’s why we read these horror novels, isn’t it?

The setup for John L Campbell’s zombie apocalypse isn’t much different from any other, but I liked most of the characters and didn’t want to see them go down under the snapped jaws of a ravenous corpse.  There are plenty of deaths, though, and that is one of the criticisms I have about the story.   After we are introduced to the main protagonists, there is a section of random character intros, and almost all of them are quickly made into zombie chow.  I don’t believe that section added much to the story, and the death of Baxter just pissed me off.  It seemed that the section was more for shock value than to move the story forward, and that is actually the spot that prompted me to close the cover for the night.  The action picks up again with the recurring characters right after, so I did breeze through the rest of the book without a break.

There are multiple protagonists, and the story unfolds through alternating POV chapters as they each have to deal with the new, frightening normal that includes walking corpses, relatives that try to bite your face off, and no safe haven.  It means having to learn to be quiet, to scavenge for vital supplies, and how to defend yourself when one of the walking dead catches you unawares.  But don’t think that the zombies are the only monsters here.  There are plenty of uninfected people who make the zombies look like teddy bears.  During the crisis, everyone’s true colors shine through, and there are quite a few with hearts and spirits as black as coal. 

While I enjoy the zombie mayhem, it’s the survivors’ reactions to the situation that keeps me reading these books.  Let’s face it – it’s rare to find something completely new about a zombie story, so it’s the characters that carry my interest.  It’s a formula that works without too much tinkering; sure, the form of transmission may change, but there’s not much else that does.  The rate of transmission is staggering, the uninfected struggle to stay alive without modern conveniences, and their true selves begin to show.  Will they be willing to help others, despite the danger?  Are they out only for themselves?  Or do they have visions of megalomania, and start taking measures to take over what’s left of the world?  That’s why I read these time and again.  To see how the characters react and I take comfort that no matter how awful conditions become, a handful of people will survive.

By the end of Omega Days, there were characters I loved, and characters I hated.  There are actually two that I want the zombies to tackle to the ground, rip up, and rend to pieces, and I want this to happen now.  I was caught up in the action and the fear, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.  If you are a fan of zombie stories, this is right up your alley. 

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

When the end came, it came quickly. No one knew where or exactly when the Omega Virus started, but soon it was everywhere. And when the ones spreading it can’t die, no one stands a chance of surviving.
San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face…
University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…
Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before…
Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.

The post #zombie Review: Omega Days by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. Review and Giveaway–Vampire’s Thirst by Cynthia Garner

Today I have a review of Vampire’s Thirst, as well as an ebook giveaway, and an awesome tourwide giveaway.  Check it out!

May Contain Spoilers

After reading Vampire’s Hunger, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Vampire’s Thirst.  I’m pleased to report that my harshest criticism of the book is reserved for the cover, which I can’t stand to look at, and  I was so glad I read this on my Kindle so I didn’t have to gaze at all.  Maybe I am jealous that the guy has bigger breasts than I do.  Maybe it’s the weird shadows that make me want to give this guy a support bra.  And what is up with the complete lack of chest hair on cover models?  Bleh!

 

Moving right along, Vampire’s Thirst did not suffer from the awkwardness that is the cover.  This book rocked!  Better still, I read part of it during a power outage, and was scared to death when Dean suddenly loomed out of the darkness in front of me.  Needless to say, even the neighbors heard my shriek of fright.  Sorry!

While the book isn’t really that frightening, the threat of a zombie horde lurking outside Duncan’s vampire enclave made for tense reading.  The story picks up shortly after the events in Vampire’s Hunger.  Duncan is the vampire king, Atticus is his second in command, and the vampires are sheltering a small band of human survivors.  There is dissention in the ranks, and some of the less intelligent humans are resentful that they aren’t allowed to go to the park to toss a ball around.  Instead, they are confined in the vampire enclave, where they are feed, given numerous outlets for entertainment, and have access to all of the comforts of home.  Their only expected payment – they have to give blood to an assigned vampire partner once a week.  Sounds like a deal to me!  The vampires are in charge of security, scavenging for food for their human guests, and even locating doctors just in case one of the humans gets sick.  Duncan is learning that being the vampire king is a huge headache, especially with the rebellious humans giving everyone a hard time.

Kimber is struggling to contain the darkness that has slipped inside her.  A malevolent thread of the Unseen is giving her no end of grief.  It thirsts for power, and she fears that she won’t be able to contain it.  After a near disastrous encounter with a group of zombies, where she leaches away some of Atticus’ power, she finds herself the object of fear as the vampires realize that she could quite possibly suck away their life essence.  Whoa!  I thought it was so cool that Kimber was so strong, and so unpredictable.   The Unseen wrecks havoc for her, and she finds it both empowering and frightening.  What if she accidently kills Duncan because she can’t control the hunger inside of her?

Despite her reservations, Kimber is certain that she can end the zombie apocalypse with her new power.  She just has to convince Duncan that she can keep herself and her ever increasing flares of aggression under control.  To test her theory, she’s going to need the help of other necromancers, as well as a someone to channel their powers.  Can she convince anyone to risk their lives to help her end the zombie apocalypse, a plague that she, and everyone else,  believes she started in the first place?  Ugh!  Poor Kimber!  The guilt was driving her just as crazy as the nasty bit of Unseen hitchhiking inside her.

While there is a lot of zombie fighting, most of the story is character driven.  The small group of survivors has to learn to get along, and more importantly, learn to trust each other.  After Kimber’s accident with Atticus, even Duncan is leery of her.  With a heavy heart, Kimber has to win back Duncan’s trust, as well as put an end to the zombies.  She doesn’t want to live her life trapped in the vampire enclave, constantly worrying about finding supplies or being overrun by the walking dead. She’s incredibly brave, always willing to put herself at risk to save everyone else.  I really liked Kimber, even when the Unseen was scrambling her emotions and making her act out of character.   I loved the tension her unpredictability created.

If you enjoy paranormal romances, Vampire’s Thirst might be right up your alley. I admit that I am biased because I love, love, love zombie apocalypse stories.  I don’t get sick of them, and constantly seek new ones out to read.  If I have one minor complaint about Vampire’s Thirst, it’s that the sexy times started to seem like filler, and I got tired of those scenes after a while.  I would have rather read more zombie battles than one more bedroom tango, but your mileage will vary.

 

VAMPIRE’S THIRST by Cynthia Garner (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99)

THE FEEDING
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

After accidentally starting the zombie apocalypse, Kimber Treat now lives with her vampire lover in a compound where humans and vampires live together peacefully. A gifted necromancer who can summon the dead, Kimber is beyond happy when she learns she’s pregnant. But as her body changes, Kimber fears that her powers are being influenced by evil, a fact she must keep from everyone, including Duncan . . .

Duncan MacDonnough is preoccupied with his new role as leader of the local vampire conclave, but not so preoccupied that he doesn’t notice that Kimber is acting strangely. She’s grown distant, and Duncan is convinced she’s hiding something. Duncan knows the key to stopping the apocalypse is Kimber’s powers, but using them puts her life at risk. With the threat from the Zombie outbreak looming, will Kimber and Duncan learn to trust each other once more to save themselves, their unborn child, and the rest of the world?

About the author:

Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that Cynthia’s love for all things paranormal was born.  When she’s not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she’s on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Excerpt

Duncan watched Kimber tend to the wounds she inflicted and wondered at her attitude. This was the second time they’d made love in the last few days, and both times he’d seen her struggle to contain a new level of aggression. She wouldn’t talk to him about it, though, and it was making him crazy. How could he be an effective leader if he couldn’t even help his own lover?

He waited until she’d capped the bottle of peroxide and set the first-aid kit on the bedside table before he said, “Talk to me, Kimber. Tell me what’s going on with you.”

She heaved a sigh and got to her feet. Going over to his dresser, she pulled out one of his T-shirts and slipped it over her head. She usually wasn’t uncomfortable being nude around him, so her action told him what they were about to deal with wasn’t going to be pleasant. Was she tired of being with him? Had he been too dominant in their lovemaking?

“Kimber?” The waiting was hell on his nerves.

“The day before yesterday, when we went out for tampons?” She glanced at him. When he nodded, she went on. “You know on our way back we were attacked by zombies.”

“Yes, Atticus told me. I came up here to see how you were doing, but you were already asleep. I didn’t want to wake you. Then you were gone later that night when I woke up.” He watched her to gauge her reaction.

She gave a slight wince. “Yes, well, I had things to do.” She waved one hand in the air. “That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that when we were fighting the zombies, I stumbled, and when I flung out my arm to try to keep my balance, I ended up grabbing hold of Atticus.” She looked at him. “Atticus didn’t tell you any of this?”

He frowned. “He told me you had to fight zombies, that you were successful, and everyone was all right. Was there more he should have told me?”

She shook her head. “No. I mean, there was more, but I asked him to let me tell you.” She blew out a breath. “When I grabbed him, I drew energy from him and it allowed me to push the Unseen out of the zombies. You should have seen them drop to the ground.”

“You did what?” He straightened from his slouched position against the headboard. He couldn’t have heard her right. She attacked his second-in-command?

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” she said. “He must have seen me stumble and reached out to help me at the same time I flung my hand out. Once I had hold of him and the power transfer started, I couldn’t let go. I tried, Duncan.” Her eyes went round and pleading, and her lower lip got a slight tremble to it. “It hurt, just like before, but it…” She clamped her jaw shut.

“It what?”

“It felt good, too. It was power, and it was mine.” She began to pace the room, her hands gesturing wildly. “This could be something big, Duncan. If all necromancers have this ability, we could end the apocalypse.”

He got off the bed and pulled on his jeans. “And just how many vampires do you propose we sacrifice?”

She came to a stop and stared at him. “It wouldn’t have to be a sacrifice. I didn’t kill Atticus.”

“But you came close, didn’t you? Or you could have,” he amended. At her stubborn expression, he said, “I know you, Kimber. I know the kind of power you have. Plus you have some of the Unseen in you. How did that affect what happened with Atticus? Or did it happen with Atticus because of the Unseen in you?”

Her shoulders slumped. “I don’t know.”

He studied her for a minute, then left the bedroom. He strode through the living room and yanked open the door to the hallway. “Find Atticus and bring him here,” he said to the guards. Without waiting for a response, he closed the door. When he turned around, he saw Kimber standing in front of the sofa, twisting her fingers together. She’d pulled on her jeans but still wore his T-shirt.

Her auburn hair, tousled and silky-looking, cascaded around her shoulders. “I didn’t do it on purpose, Duncan,” she whispered. Her teeth dug into her lower lip. “I wouldn’t do something like that. You have to believe me.”

“I’d like to believe you, sweetheart. I would.” He walked over and put his hands on her shoulders, giving them a slight squeeze. “But I’ve seen how you’ve changed. I’ve seen you fight whatever is rising in you. I think if a situation presented itself and you believed taking energy from a vampire was the only solution, I’m not sure you could stop yourself.”

A knock sounded on the door, and it swung open to reveal Atticus.

“Come in,” Duncan invited. When the door closed behind his second-in-command, Duncan said, “Kimber just told me what happened on your way back from the drugstore.”

Atticus shot a glance her way but said nothing.

“This is a serious development,” Duncan went on, “and poses a potential threat to all vampires. I want all necromancers under guard until further notice. Let everyone know they’re considered dangerous and should not be touched under any circumstances.”

Atticus inclined his head. “Understood and agreed.” With another glance at Kimber, he departed.

“Does that include me?” Kimber asked, her voice hard. “Am I to be kept under guard? Am I not to be touched?”

He clenched his teeth. “If you’re not with me, then, yes, you will have a guard. And anyone else will be advised not to touch you, but you and I will definitely be skin to skin, sweetheart. You can count on that.”

“Don’t be so sure,” she said. “I’m not just any other necromancer, Duncan. I’m the woman who loves you. The woman you claim to love.” Her fists clenched at her sides and he had the distinct impression she was fighting throwing a punch at him. After a few seconds she let out a little growl and headed back toward the bedroom. Over her shoulder she threw out, “You’re treating me like a monster. The way I’m feeling right now, that might be an accurate assessment. You might not be safe from me.”

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14. Book Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands Book 3) by Moira Young


Raging Star 
(Dust Lands Book 3) 
by Moira Young

New Eden is a paradise: a fertile land surrounded by post-apocalyptic wastelands. New Eden holds promise and hope for the future, and one man, DeMalo, who calls himself The Pathfinder, has a vision of leading humanity into that future. DeMalo feels that the future belongs to the strong, that only the strong and healthy can bring about a utopian future. In DeMalo's New Eden, those not strong and healthy enough to be among the chosen are either exiled, enslaved, or put to death.

Saba and her friends, including her twin brother Lugh and younger sister Emmi, have gone underground, and this small band of guerrillas fight back against DeMalo in any way they can. Saba secretly meets with Jack, her love and heart's desire, who gives her strategic information uncovered by his group of rebels. The only problem is, Saba can't let anyone in her group know that Jack is still alive, because some of them hate him and would kill him on sight, including her brother Lugh.

Saba loves Jack, but then why is she so drawn to DeMalo? Why does the heartstone warm when she's near him, as well as when she's near Jack? DeMalo is smart, charismatic, and seductive, and he runs New Eden with a tight control. Saba's Free Hawks will have to be smart, too, and find a new way to fight back if they hope to defeat DeMalo.

Raging Star is the conclusion of the trilogy that began with Blood Red Road, and it may be the best of the three. Raging Star has the same driving plot, awesome characters, and distinctive voice as the other books, but it goes deeper in exploring the themes. The huge gray area between right and wrong is explored in a thoughtful way. DeMalo truly believes that what he's doing is good and right. He's trying to rebuild and repopulate the Earth, turn the deserts into paradise. Is it so wrong to eliminate the weak in service of that goal? Yes, he kills people, but Saba and her group have killed also in fighting back against DeMalo. DeMalo is charismatic and convincing, and it's hard for Saba to know what's right. And so the girl known as the Angel of Death is left trying to find a better way.

We did wrong today at the bridge. An' he's wrong. He is wrong. What's right must lie somewhere else. Between us maybe. Or beyond us.
Saba also keeps secrets: from Jack, from Lugh, from everyone. She does it with the best of intentions, but she discovers, as many have, that the more you lie, the more you have to lie to cover your lies. Other characters also have secrets, and the weight of secrets threatens to destroy the group.

Saba has always been a great character. She's a survivor and a fighter, who'll do whatever it takes to save the ones she loves. But what if fighting isn't enough? What if you're in a fight you can't win? Saba experiences some real character growth as she tries to resolve her dilemmas. It's also great to see Emmi come into her own in this book, and become more than just the little sister.

As with the other books, it's hard at first to adjust to the dialect and the unusual punctuation. The entire book is written without quotation marks. Dialog just flows in with text. However, it doesn't take long to get used to it, and before too long it seems so natural you don't even notice it. I could hear Saba's distinctive voice in my head as I read.

Altogether, Raging Star is a moving, gripping, and sometimes heartbreaking book. Both the plot and the character arc will keep you turning pages.

I do have one complaint, and that's the cover. The picture of two random people against a green background just doesn't do anything for me. I assume they're supposed to be Saba and Jack, but they don't look anything like I imagined these two, and in fact they really just look like someone snapped a photo of two random people walking down the street in any modern city, and Photoshopped over a vaguely post-apocalyptic background. I didn't care for the cover of Rebel Heart, either.

Diversity?

I didn't notice a lot of diversity in this book. Saba is described as dark, but that's in comparison to her golden brother Lugh, so it's not clear whether she is actually dark skinned or just a dark haired caucasian. Other characters are described in ways that don't make clear their ethnic origins, at least not that I could tell.

One of the characters is an older man who wears dresses. He's a likable character who plays an important role in the rebellion.

Who would like this book:

Teens and adults who enjoy dystopian and post-apocalyptic books with strong female protagonists. Recommend this series to fans of The Hunger Games.

Get it from:
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FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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15. Waiting on Wednesday–To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I enjoyed the heck out of Under a Graveyard Sky, so I am quite eager to get my hands on To Sail A Darkling Sea by John Ringo.  Check back tomorrow for my review of the first book in his zombie apocalypse series!

 

BOOK II IN THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky. A family of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.
A World Cloaked in Darkness
With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a rag-tag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours the Atlantic, searching for survivors. Within every abandoned liner and carrier lurks a potential horde, safety can never be taken for granted, and death and turning into one of the enemy is only a moment away.
The Candle Flickers
Yet every ship and town holds the flickering hope of survivors. One and two from lifeboats, a dozen from a fishing village, a few hundred wrenched by fury and fire from a ship that once housed thousands…
Light a Flame
Now Wolf Squadron must take on another massive challenge: clear the assault carrier USS Iwo Jima of infected before the trapped Marines and sailors succumb to starvation. If Wolf Squadron can accomplish that task, an even tougher trial waits: an apocalyptic battle to win a new dawn for humanity. The war for civilization begins as the boats of the Wolf Squadron become a beacon of hope on a Darkling Sea.

What are you waiting on?

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16. Review: Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo

 

 

Title: Under a Graveyard Sky

Author:  John Ringo

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.


Review:

When I saw Under a Graveyard Sky on Netgalley, I immediately clicked the request button.  I just can’t get enough of zombie books (you won’t catch me watching zombies shows, though – too gross!), and this sounded intriguing.  It takes place right as a plague is decimating the human population, causing chaos and countless, bloody loss of life.  The first 15% of the book felt a little draggy, as the author expounded on the science behind the man-made illness that was causing the infected to attack and eat their fellow humans.  The biology of it exhausted me, but not to worry!  Once things got underway with the out of control sickness, I was hooked, hooked, hooked!  I was reading this everywhere – when I was filling the gas tank, standing in line at the store, even making extended visits to the bathroom so I could have a little peace and quiet time away from the puppers so I could find out what happened next!

This is a blast to read.  The Smith family has fled to the sea in an attempt to escape the certain death that comes after contracting the virus, which is a modified form of  rabies.  The Smiths have been training for the end of the world for years, and they are more than prepared for the challenges ahead.  What they didn’t really count on was their daughters getting caught up right in the thick of things back on shore.  Steve’s brother has promised to keep the girls safe – and occupied – if they are allowed to help back in New York.  While this section of the tale didn’t make much sense to me, it did  get the action firmly moving forward.  Faith, the youngest daughter, seems to have a zombie beacon strapped to her back, because everywhere she turns, there’s another one, ready to bite her face off.  The fact that Steve and Stacey allowed their girls to go ashore once they were relatively safe on their boat didn’t seem like a smart idea to me, especially when they decide to go to a concert in the park. In the dark.  In the middle of a zombie apocalypse.   But no matter, it got my heart racing at the mere thought of being in that much danger, self-inflected or not, and made for very entertaining reading.

Once the family gets back on the water and sets sail for parts unknown, things really get nuts.  After rescuing a young girl, the only survivor after her family turns and tries to eat her, from their yacht, Steve has a new mission in life.  He isn’t going to take this zombie thing sitting down.  No way!  Steve is going to save as many people as he can, and take out as many zombies as he can, because there are people out there trapped and starving on boats just like Tina’s.  Now, I never stopped to think about what it would be like to be trapped in a cabin with no food or water while my family was locked outside, noisily eating each other.  Now that I have, well, I don’t know that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean would be such a good idea after all.  Especially if someone was infected, but we didn’t find out until it was too late.  What do you do?  Try to throw them overboard before they bite your brains out?  Not a pleasant thought, any way you contemplate it.

The sea rescues did get a little repetitive, at least until they got to the cruise ship.  Then it was Holy Crap, you have GOT to be kidding me!  How are a handful of people going to wade through that many zombies?  Despite some lags in pacing, I found this a fun, fun read.  The challenges faced by the small band of survivors made for compelling reading.  I couldn’t put my reader down, and I blew through this book in no time flat.  My one, major complaint?  Those three dreaded words on the last page – To Be Continued.  NO!! Really???  Why couldn’t there be just a teeny tiny bit of closure?!  The wait for To Sail a Darkling Sea isn’t THAT bad, but come on!  It won’t be out until February of next year!

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

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17. Meet Katie From Laura Bickle’s The Outside

Please welcome special guest Katie to the virtual offices! Katie is on the run for her life, hiding from the undead.  Hopefully, they haven’t followed her here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Katie} Faltering, but not yet broken.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your typical day like?

[Katie} Before the end of the world, I had a peaceful Amish life. I worked on my parents’ farm. I raised Golden Retriever puppies and helped take care of my little sister, Sarah. There was plenty of work to be done: tending the garden, working the crops, feeding the cattle, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. But it kept me busy, and for the most part kept my mind from wandering to all the interesting things that must be in the outside world: comic books, Coca-Cola, jeans, and make-up.

But after…after the end of the world…I am on my own. I’ve been exiled from my community. With my two friends, Alex and Ginger, we search for other survivors by day. By night, we try to fight and outrun the vampires. We eat whatever we can scavenge and try to find safe places to sleep. Winter’s coming, and there’s less and less food as it grows colder.

I miss home.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Katie} I know that my parents would want me to regret being shunned in the first place. Fearing contagion, the Elders made a rule that no one was to come in our community, and no one was allowed out. But I found Alex, an injured man, just beyond my fence. I brought him into our barn to heal.

I know that my parents would want me to say that I regret this, and that I regret falling in love with him. But I don’t.

The thing that I regret is not being able to make my family and my community understand what terrible evil was coming, that it could affect us just as much as it has the outside world. They didn’t believe me then. But I know that they do now.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s the one thing do you prize above all others?

[Katie} Of all things, certainly my faith. Though I wrestle with knowing that God has chosen not to intervene in this evil that has spread over the earth, I still treasure it.

In terms of material things? The only thing I really have is the Himmelsbrief my village Hexenmeister created for me. It is a letter to God, a beautiful and powerful thing. It deters the vampires, and I credit it with my survival so far.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think the world has become such a dangerous place?

[Katie] I have heard many explanations for this. My village Hexenmeister has said that the Darkness has always been with us. He says that it was with us even in the Old Country. He remembers the old ways of dealing with the Darkness: with stakes and fire and sunlight. People believed in it then, and struck it down before it had the chance to take root.

Others tell me that it is a scientific evil. That something has crawled out of a radioactive experiment in a place half a world away. Chernobyl? I can’t remember what it was called. Some think that a meteor fell. Others think that it is a virus.

I don’t know the answer. All I know is that there is Darkness and light, and that one must choose a side.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think you have survived, while so many others have not?

[Katie} Alex says that it’s because I’m used to being without modern conveniences: that I know how to make my way without electricity, cars, and telephones. I know what’s edible in the forest and which animal tracks to follow and which to avoid.

I think it’s partially because of the Himmelsbrief. Without it, I would have been devoured long before.

And it’s also because I am not truly alone. I have my friends, Alex and Ginger. We have a horse and have just been joined by a wolf. The wolf is good with hunting…more dog than wolf. He is good with finding chickens, and he shares what he finds.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Katie} No more blood and Darkness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Katie} Thank you so much!

Purchase link:

About the book:

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

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18. Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle

 

Title:  The Outside

Author: Laura Bickle

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?      In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?


Review:

Last year, I read The Hallowed Ones, and it totally creeped me out.  It was scary and suspenseful, and protagonist Katie was brave, level-headed, and firmly grounded by her Amish beliefs.  I eagerly awaited The Outside, the next book in the series, which picks up right where The Hallowed Ones left off.  The end of the world has come, in the form of a terrible sickness that turns its victims into blood sucking monsters.  Katie, her English boyfriend Alex, and Ginger are trying to stay alive after being expelled from Katie’s Amish community.  They have no shelter, dwindling provisions, and the vampires are dogging their every step.  Only sacred ground is keeping them safe at night, as they trek north to find Alex’s family.  Winter is coming (sorry GoTs fans!), and the odds of their continued survival are bleak.

While I didn’t think The Outside was as suspenseful as the previous book,  I still had a hard time putting it down.  This outing is all about the running.  Running from vampires, running from the weather, running from the knowledge that the world has ended and there few survivors of whatever horrible virus has turned humanity into monsters.  Along the way, they meet some of the desperate survivors, and Katie and Alex are at odds about what to do with the weapon they receive to alter themselves to survive the fight with the Darkness.  Alex jumps at the chance to save himself and have a better way to protect Katie, but Katie struggles with her decision about what to do.  She has already gone against her belief system so many times, and she’s afraid that this measure of self-defense will steal away whatever humanity that she has left.  I thought that this method of battling the vampires was genius, in a Ha! Take THIS evil vampires!! kind of way. 

What I enjoyed best about The Outside was Katie’s struggle to accept the bad things that had happened to her.  She made some choices in both books that had very serious repercussions for both herself and for Alex and Ginger, and while she regretted some of the outcomes, she never regretted the initial decision to save Alex.  That one choice was the catalyst for everything else that happened; being shunned, being forced from the protection of her community, seeing the terrible things she saw while she was Outside.  She is angry with the Elders for not believing the Hexenmeister, and for how their treated Ginger.  She’s hurt that her parents did nothing when she was kicked out of the community, yet she can’t stop worrying about them.  Even though her friends and everyone she knows have turned their backs on her, she is still willing to give up her life to save as many of them as she can.  She’s a very admirable character.

One quibble with the book, and it’s the same quibble I have with most post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels, is how quickly they start to feel repetitive.  The steps are always similar to this – travel as far during the day as possible, forage for food and water, seek a safe place to sleep, encounter monsters and life-threatening events along the way.  Stop to rest after finding a safe haven, then gear up and get back on the road, facing even more danger than before.  The pattern and the pacing occasionally frustrate me.  Katie was an interesting enough character that I remained engaged in this story.  With her Plain upbringing, she’s even better prepared for the end of the world than most heroines.  Katie hasn’t been exposed to modern conveniences, so she’s used to a more rugged life-style.  She knows the land, and knows how to forage.  She hasn’t had a cushy life, but instead had chores and obligations to her family and her community.  I thought this gave her a huge advantage that made her survival more believable.

I enjoyed Laura Bickle’s foray into YA, and look forward to her next project.  I like her voice and I really like her characters.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

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19. Interview with Ruth Browne, Author of One Thousand and One Nights

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Ruth, and welcome to Manga Maniac Cafe!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ruth Browne] I’m a writer with escapist fantasies about lawyering.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about One Thousand and One Nights?

[Ruth Browne] It’s the story of a busty biker redhead blasting zombies with a shotgun. It’s also the story of a sharp-witted young woman looking out for her little sister in a hostile universe, spinning stories to keep hope alive. It’s a romance, in more ways than one (but also in the most important, pleasantly erotic way). It’s a retelling of the Persian legend of Scheherazade during a zombie apocalypse. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ruth Browne] I saw the Entangled ad for a zombified retelling of a fairytale, and took a few weeks to think about it. The mostly European Disney fairytales seemed pretty hackneyed, so I dismissed them. The 1001 Nights idea probably arrived via Aladdin, which is one of my favourite Disney movies. When it appeared in my head I pretended to ignore it so it would hang around. Pretty soon I was fleshing it out in my head, starting from the premise of being chained to the wall by an attractive man. The characters began as generic badasses of urban fantasy and developed from there. So, a combination of erotic daydreaming and Disney musicals. Forgive me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sheri?

[Ruth Browne] Brave, uninhibited, lonely.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Aleksy had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ruth Browne] Iron Maiden – The Trooper. I stole it from Max Brooks, sorry Max.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Sheri is never without.

[Ruth Browne] Her sense of humour.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Aleksy’s bedroom?

[Ruth Browne] Pretty pictures. Crime fiction. Boredom.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sheri’s greatest regret?

[Ruth Browne] Sheri tries to live without regret, but leaving Lebanon and her parents for the States as a child is a decision she really regrets, even though she had no control over it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ruth Browne] Music, like the Beck track that plays in the van. Brilliant writers, like Gaiman and Miéville. And my own long-standing desire to write something I personally would want to read, especially in the genre of apocalyptic fiction. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ruth Browne] Time, inspiration and Ceylon tea.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on One Thousand and One Nights?

[Ruth Browne] I was recovering from a death in the family. 1001 Nights was my distraction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ruth Browne] Max Brooks’ World War Z. Detailed, fascinating, epic beyond belief. It froze my blood with horror. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ruth Browne] Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I wrote an enthusiastic book review on it when I was six.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ruth Browne] Friendship and good times above all things, except food and sex.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ruth Browne] I’m on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook so any contact is welcome.

https://twitter.com/browne_rh

https://www.facebook.com/onethousandandonecorpses?skip_nax_wizard=true

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7258617.Ruth_Browne

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

About the book:

Sheri spends her days fighting zombies and her nights chained to a wall, earning her every breath by telling stories to her captor Aleksy—stories that make them both forget the ruined world. Sheri could put up with the conditions—at least she knows her sister is safe in the community Aleksy leads—until she realizes she’s falling for him…even though he wants her dead.

When Aleksy allowed Sheri and her sister into his compound, he didn’t know about the zombie bite on her back. It’s only a matter of time before she turns into one of the rising dead and threatens their existence, but Aleksy has a secret need for Sheri and her stories. For everyone’s safety, he chains her to his bedroom wall, hoping for just one more day. But how long will the community allow Aleksy to ignore his own rule: always kill the infected. Always.

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20. Graphic Novel Review: Attack on Titan V 2

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Much like the first volume of Attack on Titan, this series just feels like a mish-mash of things I’ve read before.  The action picks up with the carnage after the wall has been breached by the human-eating monsters, and the precious few humans on Earth run scattering like chickens from foxes.  The young military graduates, newly recruited, are being slaughtered at an alarming rate.  Eren has already fallen in a gruesome attempt to rescue Armin, Mikasa is struggling to help the citizens save themselves from their own greed and privilege, and everyone has pretty much lost their minds during the bloodbath and ensuing feeding frenzy.

There’s a flashback to Mikasa’s meeting with Eren; her parents were murdered when she was a young girl, and she was kidnapped because she’s the last human of Asian descent.  Her kidnappers think they can sell her for a bundle on the black market, but Eren helps put an end to their horrible plan, giving Mikasa the drive to fight and save those important to her in the process.  I found this character defining moment somewhat enlightening – at least now I understand what drives Mikasa to be such a badass.  It also made less of a muddle Eren and Mikasa’s relationship, and gave a underlying reason for their strong bond and Mikasa’s loyalty to Eren.

There’s a lot of action in volume 2 – the humans are hopelessly overwhelmed by the towering Titans, and they quickly fall before them.  Lots of eating occurs.  Then a huge Titan lumbers onto the scene, ruthlessly tearing other Titans to pieces!  The page flipping got a little more frantic after that – I wasn’t sure how the Eren Titan came to be, but I have to admit that I was jarred out of my disinterest and I wanted to find out what’s up with all of that. 

I have decided to read through two more volumes of Attack on Titan to see if it can take a better hold of my imagination.  The art is still butt ugly, though the action panels are well rendered.  I guess I just don’t have as high a standard for death and dismemberment.  I like that the most capable and commanding character is a woman, and I admit to a certain curiosity regarding the Titans.  What are they?  Where did they come from?  Why do they keep gobbling up humans with unrestrained zeal?  And what, what, what is up with Eren??

Grade:  C+

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

BIRTH OF A MONSTER
The Colossal Titan has breached humanity’s first line of defense, Wall Maria. Mikasa, the 104th Training Corps’ ace and Eren’s best friend, may be the only one capable of defeating them, but beneath her calm exterior lurks a dark past. When all looks lost, a new Titan appears and begins to slaughter its fellow Titans. Could this new monster be a blessing in disguise, or is the truth something much more sinister?
This volume of Attack on Titan includes special extras after the story!

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21. Review: Elixir by Anna Abner

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was in the mood for a little zombie chaos, so when I received a copy of Elixir as part of a blog tour, I loaded it up and started reading.  Despite some reservations, I did enjoy this quick read, but I would have enjoyed it more if the protagonist hadn’t been so lacking in common sense.  She hates guns and refuses to carry one.  She is being attacked by a Red, a couple of guys save her by shooting the zombie, and she is upset that they didn’t try to reason with him first.  Uhhhh – dudette, you are one of the few human survivors of a zombie apocalypse!  Trying to reason with mindless, flesh-eating monsters will only get you killed.  Really?

I kind of feel like I should write this review as a list of pros and cons, so here we go!

Pros -

Lots of zombies chasing the terrified Maya after she emerges from the safe room her father installed in their house before he left for work and never returned.  Her father was a chemist, and he believed that he was THIS close to finding a cure for the 212R virus, which was turning everyone who didn’t die from it into frothing beasts, completely lacking higher brain reasoning.  When she runs out of water, she is forced to leave the safety of her little room, only to find herself fleeing from a pack of infecteds who want to eat her for lunch.

The zombies have a few weaknesses that give the surviving humans a chance to survive.  The virus has destroyed their sense of equilibrium so they can’t climb trees or walk up a set of stairs.  While they are fast and fiercely single-minded when it comes to catching a meal, this flaw makes things a little more interesting because the humans can seek higher ground, and then they have to puzzle their way away from the zombies. 

Pollard, one of the young men who saves Maya from the kid zombie, is my favorite character.  He wants to find a way to restore the world to the way it was, and he’s not afraid to put himself into danger to do just that.  When Maya wants to go to her dad’s lab to find the antidote for 212R, he doesn’t hesitate to go with her and protect her. 

Cons -

Maya often behaves irrationally.  I mean, to the point where she is severely lacking in common sense, has a death wish, or has somehow escaped Darwin’s theory of evolution.  She is just too stupid to live at times, but sadly, the only deaths are not her own.  She is hungry, dehydrated, injured, and exhausted, but instead of staying with Pollard and his little crew in a safe place, she stubbornly insists that she must carry on with her plan to get the elixir.  A few days spent eating, sleeping, and resting her sprained knee would have been the best investment of her time, but no!  Off she hobbles, putting others in danger and getting someone painfully killed.

Maya’s mother was killed in a horrific moment of domestic violence, and now she has a deep aversion for guns.  While I can understand how losing her mother like that would make her leery of guns and the people waving them around, the world has changed.  If she didn’t want to go packing, fine, but don’t berate and judge others poorly because they believe it’s now necessary to carry a firearm.  Her rage at Pollard for asking questions.  NEVER.  before saving her hide from the Red made no sense.  The kid was going to eat her.   The was beating her, most likely to her death, with toy steel trucks.  There was no need to ask questions, other than – is this chick worth the hassle of saving??

Maya has made it her life’s single task to find the elixir that might or might not exist.  She and Pollard’s group suspect that there is a military presence at Camp Carson.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to go there and ask them to retrieve it for them?  It’s not like Maya could do anything with it.  If she did find an antidote, she knew that the next step was to find scientists and equipment to mass produce the serum.  If she gets killed before getting the serum to people who know what to do with it, she’s just destroyed everyone’s last hope for a cure.

I sense that a love triangle is brewing between Maya, Pollard, and Ben, the zombie.  Ugh.  I hate love triangles.  And I wanted a better explanation for why Ben wasn’t a mindless, flesh consuming monster.  Instead, he follows Maya around like a puppy, defending her from other Reds, occasionally uttering a vague, “Mmmmmmm.”  Why?  We never get an answer in this volume as to why he’ is different from others of his kind.

The cliffhanger ending is a bummer.  Major league!  These books are short, less than 170 pages each.  It would have been better to package them together in a single download, rather than having Elixir just grind to a halt.  Very frustrating!  A quick check over at Amazon shows that they were all released on the same date – Feb 26 – so the only reason for breaking them into installments seems to be to make the cash register ring more often. 

Despite my reservations, I did enjoy Elixir.  The entire series is available for rent if you are an Amazon Prime member. Otherwise, be aware that there are three books in the series (that I know of), and they are all quite short.  I’ll have a review of the next book as soon as I can fit it into my reading schedule.

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

From Amazon:

 

The red plague has devastated the human race, turning billions of people into zombies with red eyes and an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

The 212R virus sweeps through the population so quickly a possible cure is left to rot. Seventeen-year-old Maya Solomon may be the only survivor who knows where it is. But to reach the lab in Raleigh, North Carolina she will have to outrun the infected boy tracking her every step and cross into a city swarming with monsters.

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22. Graphic Novel Review: Attack on Titan Vol 3

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Well, Attack on Titan just isn’t doing it for me.  I have one more volume checked out of the library, and after reading that, I am more than likely done with this series.  The art is so painfully awkward and this installment was slow and dull.  I don’t know how that’s possible, considering that the remaining humans are making a last stand against the Titans, but I just did not get caught up in the plot.

After Eren regains his human form, he is accused of being a traitor to the human race in a tense standoff with a military commander who is cracking under the pressure of the latest Titan attack.  He is more than willing to kill Eren and then ask questions about how he changed into a Titan afterward .  Commander Pixis arrives just in time to save Eren, Mikasa, and Armin from being blown to itty bitty pieces.  Pixis sees how useful Eren can be, if he can change into a Titan at will.  They decide that Eren will plug the hole in the wall with a huge boulder, while splitting their forces and drawing the enemy Titans away from Eren so he has a clear shot to the wall. 

Things go wrong from the get go; the other soldiers don’t trust Eren, and when he transforms into a seemingly mindless beast, they want to abandon their posts.  Pixis recognizes the huge risk he has taken, but if they lose yet another wall, there won’t be enough resources to support them all, and sacrifices will have to be made.  He would rather die making a last stand than being sent out on a suicide mission later, and he convinces his men that they feel the same.

The only plot aspect that I found remotely interesting was Eren’s sudden memory of the key his dad gave to him before he disappeared, and the room in the basement of his old house.  That is the answer to everything, he was told, just before his father injected him with something to make him forget he was ever told that.  I am curious to know what’s in the basement, and the fate of his dad, but I don’t know how willing I am to keep reading the series to find out.

Grade:  C-

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

TRAITOR
The last thing Eren remembers before blacking out, a Titan had bitten off his arm and leg and was getting ready to eat him alive. Much to his surprise he wakes up without a scratch on him, with a crowd of angry soldiers screaming for his blood. What strange new power has he awakened, and what will happen when the boy devoted to destroying the Titans becomes one himself?
Includes special extras after the story!

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23. Interview with Vanessa Garden, Author of Carrier

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Vanessa!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Vanessa Garden] Happy, creative, crazy, writer, mum  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Carrier?

[Vanessa Garden] I’d love to. Carrier is set in the Australian outback, seventeen years after the outbreak of a disease called the Y-Carrier (a disease which is carried by males but kills females). Lena, Carrier’s heroine, has lived a sheltered existence on a razor-wired, hundred acre property she shares with her mother. The story begins when Lena decides she wants to see what lies on the other side of the fence, and comes face to face with the first boy she has ever laid eyes on! But she soon discovers that boys and men are not the only danger she faces on the outside…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Vanessa Garden] Carrier began as a vision of a girl running through the beautiful and stark Australian outback. It was then up to me to fill in the blanks. Why was she running? Who or what was she running from? The second character to form was Patrick – inside my head Lena literally ran into him. Then came Lena’s mother, who is just as crucial as Patrick is to Lena’s story and growth as a character.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Vanessa Garden] I think I enjoyed the setting the most. During the writing process, the Australian outback almost became a character in its own right. This may sound odd, but I felt that the outback wanted to help Lena survive. As though the land she was born to was trying to protect her.

I also loved writing about the complex relationship between Lena and her mother. I won’t say too much so as not to give anything away, but I’d like to think that after finishing Carrier, that people can understand why Lena’s mother behaved the way she did and don’t judge her too harshly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Vanessa Garden] Bringing Alice’s character to life via her diary. It was tricky trying to capture the voice of a teen who has lived pre-Y-Carrier and post-Y-Carrier. Hopefully I’ve done Alice justice.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Vanessa Garden] ‘That’s Amore…’ just popped into my head when I read this question. I love to cook, eat pasta and I love romance so I guess it fits, lol.

But I do love the musical score to ‘Edward Scissorhands’ the movie, that music is a little bit ‘me’ too.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Vanessa Garden] My pocket-knife. Only kidding! Most likely my handbag – boring, I know.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Vanessa Garden] A massive pile of books, a metal dragonfly and a pen.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Vanessa Garden] One of my kids. So that I could see the world through their eyes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a few life saving tips in case of a world ending apocalypse?

[Vanessa Garden] What a great question! Pocket knife for hunting and building shelter. Water. And, most importantly, if the world is truly about to end, grab someone you love and just hold them <3

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Vanessa Garden] I absolutely love the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer and I’m about to begin ‘Secret’ so I can’t wait. I also have ‘Forever’ by Karen Ann Hopkins waiting too. But I recently finished ‘The Book Thief’ and I was so touched and moved by it that I sat on the couch just holding the book against my chest for about half an hour because I just didn’t want to let the characters go.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Vanessa Garden] Just hanging out with my husband and kids, doing things like going to the beach or parks. Oh, and I’m never without a book. I love watching movies too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Vanessa Garden] Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7349685.Vanessa_Garden

or my blog : http://vanessagarden.blogspot.com.au/

or twitter: @vanessagarden27

Thanks for having me :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

For fans of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games comes a YA novel about freedom, choice and family — and the terrifying disease that makes them mutually exclusive.

From the day she was born, Lena has viewed the world through the jagged window of a razor-wired fence. The hundred-acre property she shares with her mother in the Australian outback may keep her safe from the Y-Carrier disease, but it is no longer enough to hold Lena’s interest, and her mother’s increasingly tight grip on her free will is stifling.
Just as her curiosity blooms and her courage rises, she meets a boy through the fence — the first boy she has ever laid eyes on. His name is Patrick and he comes with a dangerous yet irresistible invitation of adventure beyond the fence, an invitation to which Lena cannot say no.
But Lena’s newfound freedom is short-lived and she soon discovers that the Y-Carrier disease is not the only enemy she faces on the outside. Her new enemies want something Lena has, and they are willing to do anything to get it…

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24. THE FOREVER SONG by Julie Kagawa {Review}

THE FOREVER SONGSeries: Blood of Eden (Book 3)by Julie KagawaHardcover: 416 pagesPublisher: Harlequin Teen (April 15, 2014)Mark on GoodreadsBuy the book: Amazon Review of The Immortal RulesReview of The Eternity Cure VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. MONSTER Allie will embrace her

0 Comments on THE FOREVER SONG by Julie Kagawa {Review} as of 3/13/2014 12:08:00 AM
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25. Review: The Remaining by DJ Molles #zombies

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This book came along at a perfect time.  I am under a lot of stress and in a bit of a funk, and my usual romance comfort reads weren’t holding my interest.  When that happens, I usually turn to post-apocalyptic titles, and bingo!  there was The Remaining on Netgalley.  This was such a good read!  I read it in almost one sitting, and if you enjoy zombie tales, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  This is so far from my usual read, too, in that there wasn’t one speck of romance anywhere.  This is a straight up run away from zombies and try to save the world adventure yarn.

 

Lee Harden has been holed up in a bunker in his basement.  He’s part of a special unit of the US Army, and when things get dicey in the world, he is ordered to lock himself in the bunker and await orders from his superiors.  Every other time has been a false alarm, but this time, the world as Lee knew it really did cease to exist.  With only his dog Tango and his strong sense of duty to rely on, he has been tasked with the impossible.  To survive, rescue, and rebuild the US government.  Good luck, Lee!  You are going to need it!

The time Lee spends in the bunker, just waiting for his orders dragged a bit for me, but once he dons his personal protection gear and heads upstairs – whoa!  I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire book!  Argh! My contacts were glued to my eyes by the end because I stopped blinking!  It was almost like I was afraid I would miss something if I took my eyes off my Kindle for even a second.  I was disappointed by the non-ending, but heck, I always am.  The story stutters to a complete stop, like someone stopping just an inch before toppling off the edge of a cliff.  Ugh!  At least four books in the series are currently available, with book five due early next year.  If I space them out over the rest of this year, I won’t go nuts waiting to find out what happens next.  Plus, I need a give my overworked heart a little rest.  There are parts of The Remaining that made me jump! 

This series was originally self-pubbed.  Orbit picked it up, gave the covers a face-lift, and re-released the first four books in January in ebook format.  Print editions are on tap starting in May.  I love zombie books, and The Remaining managed to fly under my zombie radar, so I’m glad I finally discovered the books.

Lee is skeptical that a killer virus has over taken the population.  Once you catch the disease, you become a mindless savage.  A mutated form of the rabies virus, there is no hope once you become infected.  Lee quickly learns that the infected are violent, strong, and take a lot of fire power to stop.  After he’s almost killed by a teenage girl,  his whole attitude changes.  If one teenage girl gave him so much trouble, what is going to happen when he encounters an adult male infected?  Good thing he has his bunker full of ammo, food, and water to fall back on.  He also has power, so it’s not like he roughing it.  Hot showers are just a shower stall away.  Until a miscalculation costs him his safe house, and every advantage he was counting on.  How is he going to save the world without supplies?  How is he going to defend himself against the infected?  How is he going to protect the ragged band of survivors he’s managed to rescue?  Things are looking mighty grim for Lee, and the odds are stacked even more against him after some unpleasant run-ins with rogue normals.

I found the story so appealing because Lee’s mission is so hopeless.  He’s working on nothing but adrenaline, but he doggedly continues with his directive.  Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse for him, they do, and yet he still refuses to give up.  He always keeps a level head, falling back on past combat experience to get him through the nightmare he’s found himself in, and this is a nightmare of epic proportions!

Fans of John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising will fit right in here.  If that series isn’t your cup of tea, The Remaining probably won’t be, either.  If you enjoy a fast-paced, non-stop action zombie thriller, give The Remaining a try.

Grade:  B+ (This would have gotten an A had there been an ending!)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS.

TO RESCUE AND REBUILD.

This is the first novel in the action-packed series:

Book 1: The Remaining
Book 2: The Remaining: Aftermath
Book 3: The Remaining: Refugees
Book 4: The Remaining: Fractured

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