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1. Court tries to kill Zombie Stan Lee Media yet again

stan lee media Court tries to kill Zombie Stan Lee Media yet again

Once again, Stan Lee Media, the shell company that does nothing but line the pockets os lawyers with frivolous lawsuits, has been dealt a blow in their attempt to take over the world. The 9th Court of Appeals ruled that no, Stan Lee Media doesn’t not own Spider-Man.

I’ve written about Stan Lee Media and their endless lawsuits before. This time, they had been claiming tha tthey owned SPider-Man because Stan Lee, the founder of the company back in the go-go 90s, said they did. or something. No court has ever agreed with this reading of the law, and it was no different this time, Eriq Gardner reports:

SLMI might contend that it was assigned rights to valuable comic book characters, but a panel of appellate judges writes, “The record demonstrates that, between the date the [1998] agreement was signed and the filing of related litigation in 2007, SLMI never announced that it owned rights to these characters (even when publicly disclosing company information pursuant to a securities offering), licensed the characters, produced content related to the characters, or asserted or attempted to enforce its ownership rights.”

YOU’d think a winning record about on par with Charlie Brown’s baseball team would dissuade the folks behind SLMi that it was time to take the ball and go home, but no, they are still trying to appeal a judges ruling that Disney did not owe them $1 billion for using Spider-Man and the Avengers and so on.

Good luck with that.

2 Comments on Court tries to kill Zombie Stan Lee Media yet again, last added: 10/31/2014
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2. Burp or Treat... Smell My Feet!


Happy (almost) Halloween everyone!

Sorry for the extreme lack of blog posts and news on here. I've been very busy with lots of projects- including my first book as author. I usually just post quick news to my Facebook Page and Twitter. So feel free to follow me there, but I'll try to blog news more often. Lots of good monstery mayhem coming up!

The new George Brown , Class Clown book came out way back in August but it's Halloween themed, so I thought it was the right time to post about it. The brilliantly titled- Burp or Treat... Smell my Feet! is a double book Super Special and full of spooky and silly mischief from GB and his pals.



Some interior illustrations- 





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3. My Zombie Hamster - interview and giveaway

With Halloween just around the corner, it's a good time for a zombie book - even better yet - a free zombie book for a lucky winner.  Even if you don't win the book, you can enjoy my interview with Havelock McCreely, author of  the very funny, My Zombie Hamster

Havelock McCreely was kind enough to answer three questions for me.  Here goes ...


Three questions for Havelock McCreely, author of My Zombie Hamster:

1. I’m shocked that MS Word will highlight McCreely as a misspelled word, but not Havelock. Do you need three syllables, or can you get it done in two?
HM:    The name is Irish in origin, so the correct amount of syllables for authentic pronunciation is eight. (Or nine. It depends if you have all your own teeth or not.) But for our purposes, three will suffice.
2. I can find little about you on your “official” bio, other than “Teller of Tall Tales. Adventurer. Swordsman. Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth. Author of many great works, the latest of which is My Zombie Hamster.” Did your discovery of the Fountain of Youth pique your interest in longevity, thus inspiring your interest in zombies, or did another path bring you to zombies? I’ve drunk from your Fountain of Youth, by the way.  It tastes terrible. One does wonder though, what would be the effect of the Fountain of Youth on a zombie?
HM:    Many good questions there. My discovery of the fountain of youth is a story that would put Indiana Jones to shame. And perhaps it will one day be told. Many are the times I’ve thought about writing down my own adventures in a series of easy-to-read volumes aimed at the younger audience. Thrilling is not the word. Well, it’s one word. But there are many others. Exciting. Dangerous. Death-defying. Amazing. (For instance, there’s the time I took up with the traveling circus as they crossed the planes of Africa. This is where I saved one of my young protégés from a life of mind-numbing boredom cleaning up after hippogriffs. Then there’s the time I saved an entire city from the Witch King of Mallidar. And this is where I saved my second protégé. They booth accompanied me on my many adventures and were with me when I discovered the fabled city of Shangri-La (which lead directly to my discovery of the fountain of youth.) Perhaps someday these tales will be told. 
As to the taste, yes, I agree.  Like rusted metal filtered through an old sock in which cabbage has been boiled. It’s not pleasant. 
Finally, as to my discovery of the fountain possibly inspiring my interest in zombies, yes. You are indeed correct. The fountain was guarded by a village of zombies who had all drunk from the fountain. It brought back their minds and consciousness (but did not repair their bodies.) That was where I got the idea of my little twist on zombies.
3. And of course, the most important question, what will Anti-Snuffles do next?
HM:    Never fear, he will be back. I have recently put down my fountain pen and completed the second book in the series, Attack of the Zombie Clones. It features everything from the first book, but bigger, better, and undead-er. 

Thanks for being a good sport, and best wishes to you for continued success with My Zombie Hamster.



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4. My Zombie Hamster - a review

Put some fear of the undead into your October reading!

McCreely, Havelock. 2014. My Zombie Hamster. New York: Egmont.
See below for print copy giveaway details.

Zombie Zappers and constant vigilence keep Matt and the residents of his community safe from "deadbeats" - the zombies that live outside the town's protective walls.  So on Christmas Eve, December 24,  Matt Hunter isn't thinking about zombies; he's thinking about the new video game he wants for Christmas.  His mother, however, had a more educational, more nurturing idea. On December 25,  Matt  receives Snuffles the hamster—a dumb, boring, little pet.  At least it was—until it died.

     I'll say one thing for zombie hamsters.  They don't move as slowly as their human counterparts. ...
     Snuffles had curled up and was rolling down the stairs like a bouncing ball.  I raced after him.
     He bolted along the wall.  Dad was carrying a huge pile of firewood inside so the front door was wide open. I tried to get ahead of Snuffles to slam it shut, but I tripped on one of the stupid throw rugs Mom insists on leaving everywhere and landed on my stomach.
     I pushed myself to my knees just in time to see Snuffles dart through the door and out into the front yard.
     Was it my imagination, or did I hear a little undead squeak of triumph as he did so?

In chapters titled with the days beginning on December 24,  Matt chronicles all the events until everything comes to a head at the annual town pet show on Saturday, February 4.

Matt doesn't do it alone, however.  He enlists the help of his friends,
(excerpt from "Thursday, January 2")
I emailed Charlie and told her to come over.  I couldn't keep it a secret any longer.
     "So let me get this straight," she said after I'd explained it to her. "Your dad bought you a hamster from a sleazy store and now it's turned into a zombie?"
     "Yes!"
     "And it's escaped?"
     "Yes!"
     "And you called it Snuffles?" she asked, trying not to laugh.
     "I didn't call it Snuffles! The name sort of came with the hamster.  But now he's called —" I paused dramatically.— "Anti-Snuffles."
At 208 pages, this is a quick read, but despite the adorable cuteness of the cover, it's a suitable choice for older kids, too.  My Zombie Hamster should appeal to grades 3-7.  McCreely does a great job of combining the fear factor with humor.  Matt and his friends are believable middle-schoolers - a little bit snarky, funny, sure of themselves, and prone to making poor choices. This is the first in a series that should have wide appeal.

Want your own copy of My Zombie Hamster?  
Check back tomorrow for an interview with Havelock McCreely
 and a chance to win a print copy of My Zombie Hamster.



(digital review copy provided by the publisher)

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5. Review: Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper #zombies

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I enjoyed Alison Kemper’s Donna of the Dead, so when I saw Dead Over Heels on Netgalley, I was all over it.  I was expecting a continuation of that story, but Dead Over Heels features different characters.  It is set during the same time period, in the mountains of North Carolina.  It’s not as campy as the previous book, but once again, I was hooked and couldn’t step away from the zombie apocalypse.

Ava’s parents purchased a vacation home in rural North Carolina, so she’s stuck in the cold mountains during Thanksgiving break, instead of prowling the mall with her friends in Florida.  After her parents head to town, a 45 minute drive from their new digs, Ava’s world comes crashing to a halt.  Cole, who has been doing yard work for her father, comes pounding up the porch steps with unbelievable news – the zombie flu has arrived from China, and a band of zombies are about to eat them both.

Ava doesn’t believe him at first, but a glance at the shambling corpses quickly convinces her.  Grabbing her purse, which holds her live saving EpiPen, she races into the woods with Cole.  She’s desperate to stay alive and find her parents.  With zero wilderness survival skills, it’s a miracle that Cole was there to shepherd her away from the zombies.  He is familiar with the woods, he has extensive camping experience, and he has hunted on the mountain his entire life.  And oh, yeah, he’s drop dead gorgeous.

I am not a big fan of roughing it, so Ava’s extreme roughing it adventure was spellbinding.  She and Cole have practically no supplies, and did I mention that she is allergic to everything?  One insect bite and she goes into anaphylactic shock.  She is toast without her EpiPen.  She has spent her entire life avoiding the great out doors, and now she’s fleeing through the woods from zombies, trying to avoid wasps, bees, and every other stinging creature out there.  The zombies are the least of her worries.  While they are certainly a threat, she can outrun them.  A bug is a death sentence.

Dead Over Heels is a frantic race through the woods, battling hunger, the weather, bears, and the walking dead.  With all of the adrenalin pounding through their systems, Ava and Cole are constantly in a state of distress.  They hit it off like oil and water at first, due to their very different backgrounds.  Cole thinks of Ava as a Floridiot, and Ava rudely calls Cole a redneck.  As they are forced to rely on each other, and as they save each other from death time and again, they begin to develop feelings for each other.  Who could blame them?  They have no idea if anyone else is still alive, or whether everyone on the planet is now a stinky zombie.  It’s comforting that they have each other.

Told in alternating POV, I found both Cole and Ava likable and relatable.  I charged through Dead Over Heels, and I can hardly wait to see what’s next.  

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

The end of the world just might be their perfect beginning…

Glenview, North Carolina. Also known—at least to sixteen-year-old Ava Pegg—as the Land of Incredibly Boring Vacations. What exactly were her parents thinking when they bought a summer home here? Then the cute-but-really-annoying boy next door shows up at her place in a panic…hollering something about flesh-eating zombies attacking the town.

At first, Ava’s certain that Cole spent a little too much time with his head in the moonshine barrel. But when someone—or something—rotted and terrifying emerges from behind the woodpile, Ava realizes this is no hooch hallucination. The undead are walking in Glenview, and they are hungry. Panicked, Ava and Cole flee into the national forest. No supplies, no weapons. Just two teenagers who don’t even like each other fighting for their lives. But that’s the funny thing about the Zombpocalypse. You never know when you’ll meet your undead end. Or when you’ll fall dead over heels for a boy…

The post Review: Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper #zombies appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Book 1) Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up Series: The Maze Runner Series (Book 1) Paperback: 375 pages Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010) If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Nice to meet ya,

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7. Abhorsen read-alikes

nix sabriel Abhorsen read alikesLike me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years.

A lot of them.

Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen read-alikes — featuring badass heroines, restless dead, adventure, and a hint of romance, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide — in case you can’t wait until October either!

armstrong sea of shadows Abhorsen read alikesEvery year, the Seeker, currently teen Ashyn, enters the Forest of the Dead to quiet damned spirits. The Keeper, Ashyn’s twin Moria, remains in the village as protector. But things go terribly awry, and the sisters are forced to travel across the Wastes to save their kingdom from the undead. Author Kelley Armstrong’s elaborate world is populated with complex characters in Age of Legends series-opener Sea of Shadows. (HarperCollins, 2014)

bick ashes Abhorsen read alikesAn electromagnetic pulse kills most of the country’s population instantly at the beginning of Ilsa J. Bick’s trilogy opener Ashes; many of those left become zombielike, “brain-zapped” cannibals. Survivor Alex teams up with eight-year-old Ellie and soldier Tom to search for other people. The trio’s deepening bond adds to the already high tension. This horror/survival story (with graphic violence) presents an intriguing take on zombie fiction. Look for sequels Shadows and Monsters. (Egmont, 2011)

bow sorrows knot Abhorsen read alikesAfter Otter’s mother, a binder of the dead, commits suicide rather than allow herself to be possessed by a ghostly White Hand, Otter and her friends venture beyond the bounds of their forest settlement to find the White Hands’ origin. The spirit-filled fantasy world of Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot gives a hair-raising sensation of being surrounded by unknown dangers and evokes Native American cultures without caricaturing them. (Scholastic/Levine, 2013)

burtenshaw jenna Abhorsen read alikesIn Shadowcry, the first volume in the Secrets of Wintercraft series, fifteen-year-old Kate discovers she’s a Skilled, able to see and manipulate the “veil” between life and death. Moreover, she learns her ancestors wrote the coveted tome Wintercraft, which explains the veil’s secrets. Author Jenna Burtenshaw’s elegant, complex prose sweeps readers along to a dark world teeming with creepy underground passageways, abandoned buildings, and graveyards. Kate is a bright spot, facing each obstacle with defiance and determination. The series continues with Blackwatch and Winterveil. (Greenwillow, 2011)

moore texas gothic Abhorsen read alikesStriving for normality in her magic-practicing family, Amy is happy for a summer of hard work at her aunt’s Texas ranch. But the deathly cold apparition in Amy’s bedroom pulls her into a dangerous mystery. Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic mixes suspense, humor, and lots of local flavor in this lively teen ghost story — with sex appeal — that’s one part Texas history and one part CSI. (Delacorte, 2011)

lafevers grave mercy Abhorsen read alikesRunning from an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Ismae lands up at St. Mortain’s convent, discovers she has special gifts (and that her true father is Mortain, the god of Death), and trains to become an assassin — the true vocation of a daughter of Death. Robin LaFevers’s Grave Mercy is a romantic fantasy, set in an alternate, fictional, quasi-late medieval Brittany. The His Fair Assassin series continues with Dark Triumph; volume three, Mortal Heart, will be published this November.

ryan forest of hands and teeth Abhorsen read alikesOnly a fence separates Mary’s village from the Unconsecrated — zombielike creatures that must be kept at bay in order for her primitive post-apocalyptic community, governed by a religious sisterhood, to survive. Carrie Ryan’s inventive horror story The Forest of Hands and Teeth combines mystery, romance, and suspense as it records Mary’s quest to search beyond the barrier for alternatives to the life she has always known. Also look for companion books The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places. (Delacorte, 2009)

archived Abhorsen read alikesIn The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Mackenzie’s job is to return the wakeful dead to the Archive, a repository of all human memory. Persuading the dead to return to their rightful resting place often involves kick-ass combat, but this is no common policing-the-supernatural romantic thriller: Schwab writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor. The story continues in sequel The Unbound. (Hyperion, 2013)

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The post Abhorsen read-alikes appeared first on The Horn Book.

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8. 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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9. My Zombie Hamster, by Havelock McCreely | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of My Zombie Hamster, by Havelock McCreely. Giveaway begins August 28, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 27, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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10. Review: Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Once again, I succumb to the zombies’ siren call.  I was looking forward to spending more time with Faith and Sophia as they struggle to survive the zombie apocalypse, but I was disappointed with the pacing of the first half of Islands of Rage & Hope.  There weren’t enough zombies to keep me entertained, and the military aspects of the story bog things down for me.  I like the zombie battles, and even though they get repetitive, the zombie clearance missions.  There’s nothing quite like imagining a bad-ass 13 year old girl leading a squad of Marines into the thick of a zombie battle and showing her troops how to get the job done.  Faith’s efficient dispatch of the infected is something I look forward to with each new installment of the Black Tide Rising series.

The Wolf Squadron, in need of medical facilities to produce vaccine against the virus that has wiped out most of the population, leaving those that don’t die outright mindless, savage beasts with an endless hunger for flesh, have taken back Gitmo from the hordes of zombies that have taken up residence on the base.  In order to free the submarine crews from their vessels, the Wolf Squadron needs the vaccine.  They need the expertise of the personnel trapped on the subs.  One of the sad results of losing so many to the plague is a void of skilled scientists and engineers to help rebuild civilization.  The key to taking back the world from the infected lies with the submarine crews, and Steve Smith, leader of the Wolf Squadron, will do whatever it takes to get them vaccinated against the flu and back in active service with his troops.  He’ll even put his daughters, Faith and Sophia, at risk obtaining the materials necessary to manufacture the vaccine.

After securing Gitmo, the story stalled for me.  Faith has to learn how to get along with her new Gitmo Marine troops, and things just aren’t going well for her.  People she trusted have been promoted to other units to help prepare for missions against the zombies, and she’s struggling with her new duties and her new Staff Sergeant.  Military protocols are as much a mystery to me as they were to Faith, and the lack of action made me put the book now down for a while.  I just wasn’t in the mood for the personnel struggles;  I wanted more zombie killing action and less procedural training for Faith.  Who really cares whether she can write up a report when the world is overrun with zombies?

I picked up the book again and gave it another go while torturing myself on the treadmill.  Once Faith was given the mission to clear some islands, the plot picked up and I couldn’t put my Kindle down.  I even walked longer on the treadmill than I intended, because I didn’t want to stop reading, not even to relocate to a chair.  Back in her element, slaughtering plague victims, Faith proves her worth as a Marine.  Her skeptical new squad members see first hand that she’s a zombie killing machine, and her confidence is restored.  Report writing, meetings, and parade drills don’t mean much to Faith.  Killing zombies, though – now that makes all the sense in the world.

Islands of Rage & Hope ends on a high note, and I was sorry to hit the last page.  The Wolf Squadron now have most of the tools they need to begin restoring some sort of civilization to a world gone mad.  I am really looking forward to the next book, but I’m sad that it will be the last.  I don’t normally like reading series, but Black Tide Rising has been a fun ride, so I’ll be sad when it’s over.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

BOOK 3 IN THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to To Sail a Darkling Sea and Under a Graveyard Sky.

With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

The next step: produce a vaccine. But for do that, Wolf Squadron forces led by Smith’s terrifyingly precocious daughters Sophia and Faith must venture into a sea of the infected to obtain and secure the needed materials. And if some of the rescued survivors turn out to be more than they seem, Smith just might be able to pull off his plan.

Once more, exhausted and redlining Wolf Squadron forces must throw themselves into battle, scouring the islands of the Atlantic for civilization’s last hope.

The post Review: Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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11. Micro Reviews: Zombies, Cowboys, and Rock Stars

Here’s a look at some books that I read recently but never got around to reviewing.   

Donna of the Dead is a fun, tongue-in-cheek YA zombie book.  I didn’t take this too seriously, and I enjoyed it better for that.  There’s a ton of action, a little romance, and room for a sequel, which I will definitely read.  Donna’s adventures begin on a cruise ship, and her vacation goes to hell as the other passengers succumb to the zombie plague.  She and her best buddy, Deke, manage to battle their way to freedom, only to seek sanctuary at their high school with a handful of uninfected classmates.  This reminded me a lot of the Buffy the Vampire movie (not the TV series!). If you like campy humor and groan worthy one-liners, Donna of the Dead should appeal to you.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy head cheerleader, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

Last of the Red-Hot Cowboys is another book that is best enjoyed with a sense of humor.  Some of the characters are so odd that I feared for the small Texas town they resided in.  Ava has traveled to Hell, Texas to train at the Outlaws Training Center, only to learns, much to her dismay, that Trace, the spokesman for the rodeo training instructors, refuses to train women for the dangerous arena.  Ava wants to be a bullfighter, and she knows that she rides well enough to protect bull riders after they get tossed into the dirt, but Trace says no way!  I liked the quirky characters and verbal exchanges, but some of the shenanigans had me rolling my eyes.  And the mayor’s hair could be a character by itself!  This is the perfect read for a day in the sun.  The smexy times are hot, and the oddball cast kept me amused.

Grade:  B = BEACH READ!

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A sexy cowgirl gives a rugged Texas loner the ride of his life in USA Today bestselling author Tina Leonard’s seductive new series.

Ava Buchanan dreams of a career on the rodeo circuit. Winning a spot on a one-of-a-kind team would be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted. Ava won’t let anyone stand in her way—not even a stubborn cowboy whose slow-molasses smile and red-hot swagger set her senses aflame . . . and whose talents as a trainer could make her a star. Rodeo might be a man’s game, but Ava knows the right woman’s touch can tame the wildest heart.

Trace Carter believes his mayor’s plan to raise the town’s profile has disaster written all over it, and he won’t allow the Hell’s Outlaws Training Center to be dragged into the fiasco. Yet watching Ava’s delectable body on horseback proves too much of a temptation, and his fantasies stray to her riding skills outside the arena. Soon Trace is fighting like hell to rein in his unbridled desire for the petite brunette before it becomes a passion hotter than the Texas sun.

May Contain Spoilers

I loved this novella!  Poor Lou, a total control freak, chases away the band she’s managing on the eve of their big break.  Desperate to salvage her chance at the big time, she is forced to confront her extreme stage fright, with the help of Zippy, better known as Crash Burns.  Zipman was the big time, until tragedy derailed his career.  Now he has the opportunity to help Lou get over her anxiety about performing onstage.  The chemistry clicked between the protagonists, there’s a great sense of humor, and Lou’s fear of performing live was completely engrossing.  If you are looking for something quick, sexy, and romantic, give Zipless a go.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Rocking, rolling and romancing in New York City — Scottish style!

Unable to perform due to paralyzing anxiety, singer-songwriter Lou Marzaroli has been managing her brother’s band for years, driving them out of Scotland and into the big time. But days before their American network debut, the band is imploding and Lou is relieving her stress in a no-strings-attached sexual encounter with an aging scenester she’s nicknamed Zippy.

The Zipman is sometimes remembered as Crash Burns, formerly of seminal L.A. glampunk band, Snakebite. It’s been years since he’d trashed the eyeliner and hairspray, and he hasn’t written a song since. Now he’s penning lyrics about the mysterious woman he last saw sprinting barefoot in a miniskirt down West Twenty Third. She’s the muse he’s been longing for, and he’s determined to be more than her one night stand.

When the head honchos learn Lou wrote the band’s material, they agree to give her the TV spot, sending her to be coached by their performance guru, Crash Burns. Now Lou must put herself in Zippy’s hands as he coaxes a life-changing performance from her. And the man who used to perform in nothing but a leather thong must find ways to get her confident on stage— and content in only one bed.

20,390 Words

The post Micro Reviews: Zombies, Cowboys, and Rock Stars appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. Novel Wisdom (23)

This post is part of a series on the blog where I share some of the nuggets of wisdom and inspiration — related to writing and/or life — that I find steeped in the pages of novels that I’ve read.

I seem to have an obsession with horror. Particularly zombies. Why I want to read something that gives me nightmares is beyond me. This started early as a kid — like 11 or 12. Maybe it’s being able to live through an apocalypse and see what how it fares out. At least my zombie survival skills are on point. I think I would be able to make it.

I’m actually reading a zombie book now, The Girl with All the Gifts but one of my most favorite zombie books is by Courtney Summers and I found out recently that there will be a sequel next year. So the first book may be on my summer re-read list. I originally read this book while on vacation in Italy. Lucky for me Rome was so beautiful and consuming that I didn’t have any nightmares.

How can a zombie novel give a nugget of wisdom? Basically you’re in survival mode so you have to stay in the present. You have to be aware of everything in the moment. Stay out of the past. That is something that we can transfer into our own lives.

From Cary to Sloane, the narrator of the novel This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Summers
“Maybe but you need to bury it,” Cary tells me. “All of that’s over. You have to be here now.”

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13. DARK METROPOLIS by Jaclyn Dolamore

"Review My Books" Review by Emily @ Books & Cleverness DARK METROPOLIS by Jaclyn Dolamore File Size: 1429 KB Print Length: 304 pages Publisher: Disney Hyperion (June 17, 2014) Goodreads | Amazon Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a

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14. The Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson, 195 pp, RL 4

When N. D. Wilson realized that many young readers think all great fantasies begin in England, he wrote the 100 Cupboards trilogy, an other-worlds-fantasy that begins in Henry, Kansas with baseball-playing Americans. And, while I love this magical trilogy, Leepike Ridge, Wilson's debut, which I reviewed in 2010, remains my favorite. In Leepike Ridge Wilson gives readers something rare - a

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15. 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:

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Buy Links:

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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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16. #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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17. 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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18. 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:

Amazon

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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

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19. Now That Was A Good Zombie Book

Okay, Picture Book Month is over. Now it is time for...zombies!

Not to worry. I'm not doing a month on them. I'm not even all that enthused about zombies. I've read a couple of good books, seen a few movies, and that's about all I need. Especially since many zombie books are also apocalyptic novels. And, as Garrison Keillor once said about pumpkin pie, the best apocalyptic novel you've ever read isn't that much better than the worst.

That's why I ignored Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry for a long time when it was on my library's new YA shelf. It wasn't until I saw a review for one of its follow-up books that I gave the first book in the Rot & Ruin series a second thought and made a point of finding it.

What makes this book so intriguing is that while it is set in a vague American future, it has a western vibe. The characters in this book are fourteen years into zombie world and the little group we're interested in are living in a small town they've created to keep themselves safe from the zombie horde. One character goes so far as to compare the people living there to western townspeople protecting themselves from Native Americans. Horses figure in the story because society has fallen and power for machinery is limited.

Our protagonist's older brother fills the roll of the lone gunslinger with his own code, making him noirish, too. There's no law in these parts, so you've got outlaw types who are far worse than the zombies, just as you had outlaws in westerns. Our heroes head out of town to save their woman from said outlaws. There is even a scene that calls to mind the cavalry coming over the rise to save the day.

For those of us who grew up with parents who watched westerns on TV every night of the week, it's fun to pick up all the western, well, cliches. (I didn't enjoy doing this anywhere near as much while watching Defiance.)  It's been a long time since television was populated by cowboys, though. The western connection won't be an issue one way or the other for younger readers.

Rot & Ruin is an apocalyptic novel that works for me because the society in it isn't stagnant. So often in these books the world goes to pieces and stays that way for generations. No one shows any interest in technology or even changing the height of a hemline. Given the last 500 years or so of human existence, that seems unrealistic to me. Cultures evolve.

And there are suggestions that the culture portrayed in Rot & Ruin is going to. It's only been 14 years since the world fell to zombies, and already the young people who are growing up there are thinking that they'd like something better. If the zombies come, it seems likely to me that before long people are going to get sick of them and start thinking of ways to make a better life. Trying to make a better life is what we do.

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20. 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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21. Spotlight and Giveaway-Reaper’s Touch by Eleri Stone

 

 

REAPER’S TOUCH by ELERI STONE

Genre: Western Paranormal Romance

Print Length: 280 pages (95,000 words)

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: February 10, 2014

ASIN: B00GKBHIT4

Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

Available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Reapers-Touch-Eleri-Stone-ebook/dp/B00GKBHIT4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386544072&sr=8-1&keywords=reaper%27s+touch

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reapers-touch-eleri-stone/1117366830?ean=9781426897900

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/reaper-s-touch

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reapers-touch/id793184925?mt=11

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-reaper039stouch-1380296-140.html

REVIEWS:

“Stone crafts a dark and delicious tale of cowboys vs. zombies and bittersweet love found in unexpected places. Truly exceptional! I did not want this to end!” —Kristen Callihan, bestselling author of FIRELIGHT

“A thrilling, original romance with the right mix of danger and desire.”—Zöe Archer, award-winning author of SWEET REVENGE

“Stone isn’t afraid to bring on the heat in this twisted tale of life on the range.” —Karina Cooper, award-winning author of TARNISHED

Author Bio & Contact Links:

Eleri Stone grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. Writing fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Lost City Shifters series (cat shifters in the Amazon), the Twilight of the Gods series (Norse demigods in the American Midwest) and the Spellcraft series (adult high fantasy).

Contact links:

Website: http://eleristone.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EleriStone

Twitter: http://www.eleristone.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4193895.Eleri_Stone

Newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/EleriStone/app_137541772984354

TOUR GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

GRAND PRIZE: One $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

RUNNERS UP: Two $10 gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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22. 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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23. Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Vault (The Farm series) by Emily McKay

Age Range: 18 and up  Grade Level: 12 and up Series: A Farm Novel Paperback Publisher: Berkley Trade (November 4, 2014) Language: English ISBN-10: 0425275884 ISBN-13: 978-0425275887 Pre-Order The Vault: Amazon In a world where vampires rule and teenaged humans are quarantined as a food source, there is only one choice—resist or die. But fighting the vampires comes at a

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24. 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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25. 30 Days: Undeaditorial

Dear Editor:

With great interest, I read your special issue about biometric computer authentication (March, 2014). My firm has been looking for a viable biometrics solution for quite some time and several of the products you reviewed look promising.

However, we have one question that remains unanswered by any of the articles in this otherwise excellent issue: Do any of these products work for the undead?

You see, we take being an equal opportunity employer quite seriously. Hiring the undead keeps us in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and contributes to a diverse work environment. We also recognize that there are certain advantages to hiring people who have risen from the grave. For one thing, they seldom object to working the night shift. In fact, they prefer it. As long as the shift ends before sunrise, you can count on zombies to remain alert and productive way into the wee hours of the morning. They also tend not to require expensive health benefits or group life insurance.

But for these prized workers, traditional passwords don't do any good because people tend to forget them when their brains rot and leak out of their ears. Unfortunately, biometric authentication often brings its own set of problems.

It's hard to log in to the network with a fingerprint reader when your fingerprints have decayed and your finger tends to remain in the reader after you pull your hand away. Likewise, iris recognition devices are problematic when the eyes keep falling out of the head and dangle well below the beam from the reader. Face recognition? Forget it. As the face deteriorates, new patches of mold or the continual changing of the shape of a rotting face with its sagging skin and ever-more-deviating septum renders such systems useless.

Some of our employees have suggested that it might be useful to have a device that allows the employee to pull the bowels from his belly and run them through a scanner. This might help solve the problem, but it raises an obvious security issue: What's to stop somebody from pulling the guts out of a coworker and using them to gain access to a restricted system? DNA-based devices have similar security problems. We even tried odor-based biometrics, but quickly learned that this type of device overloads and fails when the workplace houses more than a small number of rotting corpses.

As you can see, current biometrics don't work for an organization like ours. In this economy, more and more people seem to be dying every day, and as they venture forth from their coffins to seek suitable employment, biometric authentication seems like the way to go.

If the research you did for your special issue provided insight into how to use biometrics for this under-appreciated segment of the workforce, we would love to hear about it.

Thank you,

Rip Morguenstern,
VP of Security
Liquid Putrefaction, Inc.

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