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By: Carolyn Napolitano,
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, Audio & Podcasts
, Afterlife in Popular Imagination
, Entertaining Judgment
, Greg Garrett
, music playlist
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Whether they be songs about angels or demons, Heaven or Hell, the theme of the afterlife has inspired countless musicians of varying genres and has embedded itself into the lyrics of many popular hits. Though their styles may be different, artists show that our collective questions and musings about the afterlife provide us with a common thread across humanity. Here are some of the songs that best represent this wide range of emotions that many people have about what lies beyond.
The post Death and all of his tunes appeared first on OUPblog.
May Contain Spoilers
I read Rot & Ruin last year and loved it. It was one of my top 10 reads for the year. I loved how Benny and Tom’s relationship changed as they faced one life-threatening adventure after another, and how Benny grew from an angry, petulant teen in to a courageous young man. When he learned the truth about First Night, when the zombie plague wiped out most of human population, he finally saw his brother in a new light and forgave him for abandoning his mother. It’s one best bonding moments in young adult fiction, but really, the whole book is about Benny learning how to come to terms with his feelings for his brother.
Dust & Decay didn’t work as well for me. It’s still a page turner, with loads of pulse-pounding action, but the deeper emotions from Rot & Ruin are lacking until the very end. After seeing the plane at the end of the previous book, Nix and Tom want to go and find it. Where there is a functioning plane, there must be an enclave of survivors with more technology than they have. Lilah doesn’t like being in town, and Benny’s just along for the ride. The closer it comes time for them to leave, the less certain he is that he really wants to go. Nix, however, has nothing left in town since her mother died, and she wants to see what’s out beyond the fence. She’s tired of being afraid and she’s tired of living with a bunch of people who are terrified at the thought of expanding out into the Ruin.
Things go wrong almost from the moment they step into the Ruin. They are attacked by wild animals, keep stumbling upon zombies, and run into creepy individuals that make even Tom uneasy. The predicaments they find themselves in are exciting, and I constantly wondered how they were going to get out of them unscathed. It really was hard to put the book down.
The disconnect for me is with the villains. They are one-dimensional, and that made them boring. They are all bad, for no reason. They don’t have an interesting backstory to explain their brutal ways, and because they are defined only by their evil deeds, with no real reason why they are committing these atrocities, there was nothing compelling about them. I love a bad guy that has some depth, that I can feel even a twinge of compassion for, because something happened to turn them into monsters. The only thing that happened to these guys is the same thing that happened to everyone else, but most of the surviving humans don’t run around killing children and anyone else weaker than them.
There is a terrible, horrible thing that happens near the end that also spoiled some of my enjoyment, but after reading George RR Martin, the demise of favorite characters doesn’t pack quite the same punch as it used to. Until that moment, there wasn’t much emotional connection to the story for me, and that’s why Dust & Decay fell a bit flat for me. That being said, it’s still an adrenaline rush, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Flesh & Bone.
Review copy read at Scribd
Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.
Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?
In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.
May Contain Spoilers
Please Remain Calm picks up right where This is Not a Test left off, but from Rhys’ POV. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but I actually liked his narration better than Sloane’s. Rhys is a straight forward kind of guy, and while he is torn up over what he had to do to his parents on the first awful night of the zombie apocalypse, he has done a fairly good job of moving past the ordeal. While he does suffer from nightmares, he counts himself lucky to be alive, and he is determined to stay that way, so that his parents’ deaths will mean something. Unlike Sloane, he is not suicidal, and he strives to find some sort of normal in the new horror of his existence.
Rhys and Sloane are headed to Rayfield, where a refugee camp has supposedly been established. They make a major blunder, though, and are soon running desperately away from a group of zombies. They are separated, and Rhys is saved by Jesse and Lisa, a couple who are making their way to their safe house in the woods. They also have their four year old daughter with them, and Jesse is understandably suspicious of Rhys. He doesn’t trust him, and he doesn’t want to put his small family in danger. He warns Rhys that if he messes up, he won’t hesitate to eliminate him.
Please Remain Calm has a lot more action than This is Not a Test. Because Rhys and his new companions are outside, with no shelter, they are tempting targets for roaming zombies. Regardless of how careful they are, it’s inevitable that there will be encounters with the undead. They are adrenaline fueled battles for survival, against foes that just don’t stop. The zombies don’t ever quit, and where there is one, there are usually many more. Every shadow, every boulder, every tree is a possible hiding place, and the tension kept me flipping the pages. I gobbled this novella up in short order, and immediately hoped that there will be more in the future. The ending is ambiguous, leaving everything up in the air, so be forewarned.
Grade: B / B+
Review copy obtained from my local library
In Please Remain Calm, the gripping sequel to Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more–people who offer him the closest he’ll get to everything he’s lost, if they can just hold on long enough. Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find Sloane, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways…
The FUBAR comic books might not be familiar to the traditional Wednesday Warrior, but they’re a major player in the growing zombie and anthology markets. Even though the one time it strayed from its anthology roots its Kickstarter raised over $95,000, FUBAR is committing to sharing a selection of short stories by a variety of creators. Next up are FUBAR: By The Sword and FUBAR: Declassified, exploring zombies during different periods of wartime. I spoke to the founder of FUBAR Press and major contributor to the series, Jeff McComsey, about crowdfunding the two graphic novels.
Art by Steve Becker.
Congrats on the success of the new Kickstarter! Did the stories collected in this campaign start before or after FUBAR: Mother Russia?
The stories in By The Sword and most of Declassified have been a long time coming. We’ve been publishing quite a few By The Sword stories as issues first, in the two-issue miniseries FUBAR: By the Sword and then in the Guts & Glory one-shot. Mother Russia’s success moved back the Kickstarter for By The Sword just because we needed a little more time to wrap up that campaign.
From FUBAR: By The Sword. Art by Chris Peterson. Story by Shawn Aldridge.
What made special ops and the periods of history covered in By The Sword the logical next projects for FUBAR?
The Special Ops stories are mostly made up of stuff Steve [Becker] and I wanted to draw and we just kind of came up with a reason afterwards. By The Sword was a natural extension of our American history volume. Plus we wanted to draw some swords and shields [laughs].
From FUBAR: Special Ops. Art by Steve Becker. Story by Jeff McComsey.
You’ve covered so much of world history at this point. What’s left to explore next?
We’ve got a whole music-themed issue that has already been unlocked as a stretch goal for the current campaign. After that, who knows!
FUBAR: Mother Russia. Art by Steve Becker.
All the FUBAR campaigns have done well, but what do you think made the Mother Russia Kickstarter in particular such a huge success?
Well, I think the standalone story nature versus the anthology is one aspect. Another would be I think it’s a neat story that we were able to convey with the little info you can when doing a Kickstarter. Kickstarter was also kind enough to feature us in one of their “Projects We Love” email blast and that really set the campaign off.
I wrote a piece awhile back about how Kickstarter was making anthologies possible again, but the standalone long form nature definitely seemed to have been a positive factor for Mother Russia. Has it made you consider doing more graphic novels?
I always have one or two ideas for OGNs going at all times. I have a few projects I’ll be finishing up until summer but after that, if something crazy doesn’t come up, I’ll be working on one of those OGN ideas.
American Terror by Jeff McComsey.
FUBAR-related or no?
Well, Mother Russia 2 is one of them. I have a pretty fleshed out idea about where things go after the first volume. American Terror is another option. I also have a hankering to do a bio comic.
Would you use Kickstarter for all of those?
Most definitely. I plan to Kickstart projects until people stop backing them.
From FUBAR: Special Ops. Art by Steve Becker. Story by Jeff McComsey.
How do you think your career would be different without Kickstarter?
It’s hard to say, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get nearly as many books on the shelf.
What makes Alterna Comics a good partner for FUBAR?
Alterna has a great business model for small press creators that are willing to help push their work. Alterna gets us into shops, book stores, ComiXology. It’s up to us to then get people to pick up those books and enjoy them.
At this point, after some really impressive Kickstarters, how much would you say FUBAR is a business and how much of it is a hobby for you and other contributors?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it’s a business. Publishing, Kickstarters and all the other ephemera that pops up is itself a full-time job. Then I still have to get freelance work done. It can be tough. My love/need of drawing comics is only seconded by my love/need to publish/make comics.
From FUBAR: By The Sword. Art by Chris Peterson. Story by Shawn Aldridge.
Check out the latest FUBAR Kickstarter, which ends Sunday night. Follow Jeff at his website and on Twitter.
Blog: The Children's Book Review
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, Good vs. Evil
, Peter Lerangis
, Seven Wonders Series
, Ages 9-12
, Books for Boys
, Chapter Books
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Seven Wonders: Book 3: The Tomb of Shadows, by Peter Lerangis will appeal to tweens and teens who like lots of action and danger in their stories and who are curious about ancient history.
May Contain Spoilers
I LOVE this series! I meant to read a romance on Valentine’s Day, but once I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down. This works fairly well as a jump on point for the series if you don’t want to go back and read the first two books (which you really should!). I think the action flowed better, and we finally get to find out what happened to Angie’s family. Some of it is devastating, because the real monsters in zombie fiction are usually the surviving humans.
The action picks up pretty much where it left off in Ship of the Dead. Angie, Vlad, Skye, and Carney are on the Black Hawk, headed to the safe house at Angie’s parents’ ranch. When they get there, all they discover is devastation. It looks like a small army has overrun the bunker, killing Angie’s father and cleaning out their stockpile of weapons and supplies. There’s no sign of Dean or Leah, so Angie staunchly believes that they are still alive. Dean is an urban warfare specialist; surely he found a way to keep himself and their daughter alive.
Told through a series of flashbacks and present time chapters, at first I was a little confused by the flow of time. Probably because I had to think, just a teeny bit, and I usually don’t like to do that when reading about zombies. Just let them keep coming, and the protagonists keep running away, and I’m happy. The timing of the events jumped around, ebbing back to Dean and Leah, and then surging to Angie’s frantic efforts to find him. It all ties up near the end, but it was a slight shift from previous installments in the series, and it took me a few chapters to get used to.
We have a whole new cast of characters to love to hate, and I was counting down the pages until they meet their long overdue end. This time, it’s a bunch of bikers and an Army deserter kicking the ant hill, and boy, did I want to see these guys suffer. A couple of them got off way too easily, and I thought they deserved worse than they got. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the scum that sacrifices his companions to zombies, only to end up outwitting himself and getting eaten in the end. Yeah! Or the guy who brutalizes everyone, and then gets turned on, meeting a bloody, justified fate.
Once again, the fighting is fierce, the zombies are relentless, and the bad humans are BAD HUMANS! All of those new characters to wish death upon, as well as a few to cheer for their survival. I think that’s why I enjoy the series so much; I get so caught up in the characters and their struggles (both good and bad) to survive, and the tension is so great that it’s hard to disengage from the story. I save these for the weekend, so I don’t have to go anywhere and can just sit like a lump and read them to the last page.
There’s a scary new type of zombie, and I can hardly wait for September, when Crossbones hits store shelves, to find out more about them. If you are a chicken sh!t like me, read this on an eReader at night, turn off the lights, and prepare to be FREAKED out! Fun, fun read
Review copy obtained from my local library
The survivors of the Omega Virus make a desperate effort to find the living. But the walking dead aren’t done with them yet…
Helicopter pilot Vladimir Yurish is a man of his word. The last thing he wants is to abandon the safety of the U.S.S. Nimitz and his newly adopted son Ben. Still, a promise is a promise, no matter how close to death it brings him…
Angie West has fought hard to keep strangers alive, but now it’s time to tend to her own. Only, when she finds her family missing and their hideout burned and looted, she realizes the threat to her family isn’t just the undead—the living can do so much worse…
Halsey has done well for himself, given the circumstances. Between his secluded ranch and precise shooting, the plague hasn’t touched him. Until a Black Hawk crashes on his property, bringing the war to his front door…
Amid the chaos of a destroyed civilization, the survivors encounter a new threat. And these new monsters can’t be outrun—or outwitted…
The post Review: Drifters by John L Campbell #Zombies appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
May Contain Spoilers
Yay, they finally got Ship of the Dead at the library. I enjoyed Omega Days, and was eager to meet up with Xavier, Angie, Vlad, and Skye as they continued to navigate the terrifying new world they now shared with the walking dead. Not place is safe, no one can be trusted, and there’s always a ravenous dead monster ready to chomp you up! Yes, me, premium chicken sh!t, and enormous fan of zombie fiction.
Like Omega Days, Ship of the Dead is a lightning fast read. It’s all about the action, action, action, too, which makes it hard to put down. Told from multiple POVs, I did occasionally become irritated when one of my favorite characters was ignored for a few chapters. I always wanted Carney’s inmate buddy, TC, and the fallen televangist, Brother Peter, to DIE! Soon! Painfully! Perhaps even many times over. These guys are just scummy, and didn’t deserve to contaminate the air everyone else was breathing. Patience is a virtue, or so I’ve been told, but nothing would have been as satisfying as a rotting zombie grabbing one of these guys and biting off an ear. Or an arm. Even more fun would have been if Vlad’s Black Hawk had landed on them and smooshed them! One can only hope, and that hope, unfortunately, was not realized.
All of the splintered groups of human survivors from Omega Days join together on Alameda, and they decide, as a group, to storm the listing USS Nimitz, clear it of zombies, and make it their safe haven. Easier said than done, right? Right! With limited man power, training, and arms, this small group of determined refuges have nothing to lose. If they stay were they are, the walking dead will just eat them, eventually. But the ship will have power, medical supplies, food, and water! How could they not attempt it? It’s a suicide mission for many, and these are painful losses to a group that is so small to begin with.
I think Ship of the Dead shares many similarities with John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising, but with less (thankfully) military jargon. Or maybe there are only so many ways to present a zombie apocalypse. So it’s a good thing that I love my zombies! This really is one genre of horror that I never get tired of. I love reading about how people react to the monsters suddenly out to eat them, and more compellingly, how they react to other survivors. You’d think that everyone would be willing to work together to help everyone survive, because there’s strength in numbers, but nope! Some people are just evil and are out only for themselves. Why aren’t they the ones that get taken out early in the book??
If you enjoy zombie fiction, give this quick, adrenalin fueled books a try!
What’s your favorite zombie series?
Grade: B+ because it’s just that much fun!
Review copy obtained at my local library
Father Xavier Church never wanted to be a leader. Nonetheless, he’s grown attached to his fellow survivors, and he won’t let anyone cause them harm—though he may be the one who inadvertently leads them to destruction…
Ex-con Bill Carnes may crave freedom, but he still prefers sticking with the group rather than fleeing to Mexico with his former cellmate TC. Maybe he’s changing. Or maybe the look in TC’s eyes is more dangerous than the undead…
EMT Rosa Escobedo gave up on hope after she watched the man she loved rise from the dead. But when a patient seems to start getting better, she can’t help but hope for a cure, even if it means risking her life…
As the numbers of the dead swell, the living are running out of safe havens—especially when the biggest threats lie within their own ranks.
The post Review: Ship of the Dead by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
Blog: The Children's Book Review
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, Books for Boys
, Chapter Books
, N. D. Wilson
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The Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson, will appeal to readers 8 to 12 who like football, scary tales, and stories about complex family situations.
I can’t resist zombie stories, so I was intrigued when I saw Accumulation. Nothing quite gets one in the mood Christmas mood than having their pants scared off, so check out the excerpt and giveaway for this frosty zombie tale.
Publish Date: November 28, 2014
~ Book Synopsis ~
“…Frosty The Snowman was a jolly happy soul…” unless his once mortal form was infected with an unknown pathogen that’s turned him into a biting machine.Then Frosty doesn’t get a corncob pipe and a button nose…he gets two in the head.
Seeking a safe haven from the impending danger of the infected, Governor Steve Landis commandeers a rural peninsula at the top of his state to enact a grandiose plan outlined in the survival guide passed down to him by his great uncle.
People of the Bay Peninsula latch onto the ideals of their trusted official, desperate for sanctuary. But not Terry Riley. This hardened conspiracy theorist had packed up and fled to the north woods to join his son, who, like him does not trust the eager governor. In agreement on the uncertainty of the days to come, they journey to the family cabin to wait out the end of the world.
Try to avoid hypothermia as you plow through this bone-chilling blizzard of flesh tearing chaos, because snow isn’t the only thing accumulating on Christmas Eve in this neck of the woods.
~ About the Author ~
G. Nykanen was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This small, rural land mass seems to cultivate a wide variety of colorful characters who provide a plethora of inspiration. The Point, Nykanen’s first novel, is filled with nuances of these local characters and the landscapes one might find in the north woods.
Well traveled thanks to her husband’s government career, she has lived in Europe and many of our United States over the last twenty years. She has recently returned home, moving back to her beloved Upper Peninsula where she resides with her husband and three children.
With The Point now completed, she will continue working on her next novel, Accumulation, along with continuing to develop other stories in the works.
Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Laney glared at her daughter; the stress of the morning had built quickly. Once again she faced the digital display on the stainless steel microwave, which was mounted above the induction cook-top. With her hands planted firmly on each side of the stove for support, she eyed the numbers: 7:20 and already on the verge. She studied her reflection in the microwave door. With professionally tousled hair and covered in the finest embellishments available for purchase at the local mall, her polished exterior was no indication of the mess that squatted within. She’d struggled, the last year or so, with some emotional issues. Her court-appointed therapist had suggested she visualize a gauge, “let’s call it your snap gauge,” she’d offered. Laney Riley stood in her high-end kitchen, visualizing the needle on her snap gauge, which was already in the orange, as she struggled with the stress of her rowdy sons and the promiscuity of her teenage daughter.
Elle, who at seventeen had the attention span of a gnat, had returned to surfing the Net.
“Mom! Mom, come see this, look what I found on YouTube.”
“You know I don’t like to watch anything on there, and besides, you shouldn’t be watching it either. I think restriction from the computer and a week of being grounded is on your schedule.”
“No, really, it’s crazy.”
Laney approached her daughter. “Move over a scosche would ya’, my ass is too big—I’ll hang off the end.”
Elle slid over in attempt to provide enough bench for her mother’s behind. “I can’t believe this footage.”
“What’s that? Oh my… is that a man?”
Mesmerized, they watched what appeared to be an African man in the midst of what seemed to be a series of seizures. He was lying on a dirt road, the fine dust clinging to his skin; it gave him a ghostly appearance. Several villagers had gathered around the poor soul. None of them came to his aid; they just kept their distance, simply spectators to the events that were unfolding before them.
Convulsions ripped through him in waves, every tendon in his body visible as his muscles tensed under the extreme strain of the violent episode. Dark, thick blood began to run from every orifice, cutting a path through the dust on his skin as he shook and flailed. With his back arched and his head thrown forward, he gurgled and groaned through his clenched teeth.
Laney was suddenly overcome with the impulse to shield her daughter’s eyes.
“What the hell, Mom?” she swatted her mother’s hand away from her face. “I’m seventeen, you don’t need to protect me.”
“I can’t look anymore.” Laney shut the laptop. “That’s one Internet hoax that’s gone too far.”
“It doesn’t look fake to me.” Elle re-opened the MacBook with every intention of viewing the video.
Laney couldn’t help but take one more peek herself. I’m sure if I really concentrate, I’ll find proof that it’s fake. “He does seem to really be suffering,” she was suddenly uneasy at the thought that whatever was happening to him could be real.
Once again they were sucked in, mesmerized by what unfolded before them. They both watched as he underwent this horrifying and seemingly real metamorphosis.
“You know,” Laney began to explain to her daughter, her head tilted to the side as she contemplated, “It kind of reminds me of those lycan movies… like he’s shifting.”
With his hands open and his palms facing skyward, he lurched and writhed as though he were pleading for divine intervention.
“Is that the sound of his bones cracking?” Elle gawked as his form twisted on the screen before them.
The bent and tensed fingers broke, each snapping loudly under the intense strain of the relentless spasms.
He was suddenly still, his joints bent and locked into configurations now more animal than human. His teeth were exposed to the gums, his mouth drawn into a snarl like some unknown force had pulled back his lips.
“Holy shit!” Elle cried. “You don’t think that’s what all the talk’s been about lately, do you?”
Laney cringed. “Don’t let your brothers see this.”
Just when they thought it was over, he popped up, lunging forward; the crowd scattered.
Startled, they jumped, the intense moment palpable even through the computer screen.
With great speed and agility, he moved, as he swept a man to the ground and tore into his flesh with his jutted jaw and extended teeth. He snapped, his head popping back and forth from his now distended neck. The camera kept filming as this now-rearranged man mauled an onlooker. Flesh was torn from tendon, as bits of tissue and sinew stretched from prey to predator, each tear followed by a gush of blood.
Unable to contain his horror, the filmmaker gasped with his heavy British accent, “Oh my god!”
The creature, now crouched on all fours, snapped his head, and turned in the direction of the camera. That’s when the filming stopped.
“What did we just see?” Laney sat mired in disbelief.
Elle was emphatic in her response. “I think we just saw a guy turn into something and then eat another guy.”
“Nonsense. I won’t believe it…I can’t. It’s just a farce, special effects.”
“Well, I’m convinced,” Elle crossed her arms at her chest.
“Convinced of what,” a familiar voice called from the kitchen doorway.
Laney turned to find her father-in-law, the shock of his presence plastered on her face. “What’re you doing here?”
Sue Riley, (Nan to the kids) crossed her arms and tapped her foot, already striking her judgmental posture.
Laney eyed her in-laws and then the dog. “Good job, if it was an intruder we’d all be dead.”
Spencer was still sleeping soundly, his nose stretched and pressed against the crack under the back door.
“My gut was telling me to flee Vegas. Weird news reports, brownouts, watering bans, felt like they were building up to something, made my ball hairs tingle, I didn’t like it. So I packed Ma into the car and started the drive north. I figured if the shit was going to hit the fan, this was the place to ride it out. I mean, could you imagine trying to survive out in that desert once the system broke down. The goddamn highway would be littered with bodies for miles. No water or air conditioning—certain anarchy.”
Elle harassed her grandfather. “Is this another one of your conspiracy theories, Pop?”
Now worked up, with his eyes glossed over, he flexed the tendons in his neck while his stiff and wiry gray hair stood at attention. It was unwavering as he flailed and gestured (in his typically violent fashion) while he explained his theory.
“No. You know they never tell you the whole story; trying to control the masses, manage the chaos by keeping us in the dark, only out to save themselves. Why do you think they try so hard to discredit people who’ve had encounters?” His thin but muscular arms tensed as he made air quotes. “And even if they don’t discredit them, they make them come off as crazy.”
The five o’clock shadow that coated his tanned and wrinkled face darkened the deep creases activated by his overly animated expressions. “Besides, it seems we got here just in time. If I hadn’t listened to that little voice telling me my government was lying to me, I wouldn’t have been able to get into town. National Guard vehicles were setting up a checkpoint.”
“What? What are you talking about? Why would they be doing that?” Laney’s anxiety multiplied. First the video, now a checkpoint, what the hell… With her hand now jammed into her sweater pocket, she rolled the pill bottle through her fingers, the sound of the powdery white pills tapping against the amber plastic a soothing lullaby for her tired nerves.
“To keep people in, or something else out. Probably whatever illness, or virus, or whatever’s been mentioned on the TV lately. Where is my son?” he transitioned abruptly as though it just occurred to him that he wasn’t present.
“He’s already down in his office. The ever-pressing needs of his job, I guess.”
Doolin Riley had left his station in D.C. when he was granted a virtual position to move his sick wife to a quieter setting. So now he analyzed his slice of the bureaucracy from his basement office.
Laney wished he were upstairs now; she didn’t think she could deal with the in-laws alone. (They made her self-conscious).
Both rail thin, she felt judged by them for her size and the size of her kids. They weren’t fat by any means, just thicker than Pop and Nan who subsisted on coffee and cigarettes.
Suddenly a high-pitched alarm blared from the television, cutting through the momentary lull in the kitchen. Laney clutched her chest, startled by the sudden noise.
“This is the emergency broadcast system. THIS IS NOT A TEST.
Please stand by.”
Gift Card $25.00
The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Accumulation by G Nykanen appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
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  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.
By: Aaron Blecha
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, george brown
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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
. 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-
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
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.
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.
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
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?"
"And it's escaped?"
"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)
May Contain Spoilers
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.
Review copy provided by publisher
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.
By: Rea Rea,
Blog: Reading Teen
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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,
Like 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!
Every 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)
An 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)
After 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)
In 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)
Striving 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)
Running 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.
Only 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)
In 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)
The post Abhorsen read-alikes appeared first on The Horn Book.
May Contain Spoilers
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
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.
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.
May Contain Spoilers
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.
Review copy provided by publisher
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.
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)
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.
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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 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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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
"Review My Books" Review by Emily @ Books & Cleverness
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
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
“Maybe but you need to bury it,” Cary tells me. “All of that’s over. You have to be here now.”
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.
Review copy provided by publisher
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
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.
Review copy provided by publisher
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.
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May Contain Spoilers
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.
Review copy provided by publisher
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.
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