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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.
Interview with Michelle McLean
Do you write in different genres?
I do! I love writing in different genres. It lets me explore different aspects of creativity and work out different parts of my brain. I write historical, paranormal/urban fantasy, and contemporary romances, and educational non-fiction. Along with a bit of poetry and a picture book or two
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
I really don’t have a favorite, unless you count romance But sub-genre-wise, I love them all. Historicals allow me to delve into the past which I absolutely love (my bachelors degree is in History). Paranormals and urban fantasies allow me to play around with the supernatural and other-worldly things which I also absolutely love. Contemporaries allow me to switch up my every day world a little. And my non-fiction allows me to tap into my analytical side and help people with educational matters, which I also really love. I’ve penned poetry since I was little, and have written several picture books for my kids that I still read to them. I can’t imagine not writing any of these.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Wish Upon a Star was originally a fairy tale retelling that was a mashup of Pinocchio and Rumplestiltskin. Most of the fairy tale elements were taken out in edits, but my main character was based on the blue fairy and spends a lot of time wishing on stars
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I almost always title the book afterwards. I like to use a line or some words or a theme that is special to or prevalent in the book to use as a title and often that doesn’t come across until it is finished. The one exception is a novella I’m working on. I heard a line in a song that I just loved and built a book idea around it
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Victoria Holt has been my biggest influence. She was my first authorial love Once I graduated to novels (at a fairly young age) I read everything I could get my hands on. I was always raiding my mom’s shelves and she had a ton of Victoria Holt’s gothic romances. I fell in love with the genre immediately. And when I decided to write my own first novel that type of story was in my head. A historical romance full of romance, danger, and mystery I write other genres as well, but historical romances, especially gothic, will always be my first loves.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
One of the books I’m working on has several shape poems in it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep them in there as it won’t show up correctly on all digital devices, but they are really fun to create. In the book, I have poems shaped like an hour glass, an ankh, a lightning bolt, a broken heart, a pyramid, an eye, a music note, and several others. Here is one, shaped to look like a drop of blood.
my face so tenderly,
in hands that had killed.
For me. Fingers gently touch
my cheeks. His lips kiss away my
tears, my blood. “Breathe,” he whispers.
His lips brush mine. “Just breathe.” I shudder,
my breath escaping at his command. “If you insist,”
I try to joke. Fail. Shouts fill the night air. “Go!” I cry.
“They mustn’t find you with me. Go!” He freezes, his storm
gray eyes on our hands, clasped between our pounding hearts.
The horror on his face mirrors that on my own. One last caress, so
bittersweet. He wavers. “Go,” I breathe. He steps back, back, raised
hand stained black with blood. Mine, his, theirs. His pained howl rips
through me, burning his image on my soul. “For you I’ll live,” I whisper,
unwilling to breathe, unable to stop. They will come for me, their hands
grasping, to return me to my clan. “Go!” I plead. One last look and he
runs, his tortured fury echoing through me, his pain my own. They
come, see me bathed in blood. “Who did this?” they ask. I shrink
from their touch. Gently they lift me, murmuring, “Let us help
you.” I swallow my protests, settle into their strong hands.
They ask, over and over, but I don’t speak. And they
don’t suspect. They take me home. I care not.
I’ll breathe because I promised I would.
But oh how it hurts. He is gone…
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The first draft. I’m horrible at first drafts. Editing, I love. I can revise very quickly and enjoy doing it. Pulling a first draft out of me is like yanking my own teeth. I’m not sure why, because I really love to get the stories down on paper. But those blank pages just staring at me are hard to fill sometimes. Give me a completed manuscript to polish up any day
When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
Mostly, I read I used to do a lot of cross-stitching and I play the piano. I love movies and spend a lot of late nights with my favorites. But mostly, I read
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I have a non-fiction book on how to write poetry that should be releasing at the end of the year. And next year, the last book in the Blood Blade Sisters trilogy will be releasing, along with a new historical romance set in the 1920s that will come out next summer. I’m also working on the book with the shape poems and have a fairy tale retelling series I’ll be shopping around soon
Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean
Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.
Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as a zombie uprising threatens them all.
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Jason sank down beside me and pulled me toward him, pressing a kiss against my temple.
“Are you okay?” he asked, brushing soot and a few burned leaves from my face and hair. The smell of burned plastic and singed hair coated everything. But it could have been worse.
I leaned against him for a moment before trying to push to my feet.
Jason stopped me. “Rest for a minute.” He reached into my backpack and pulled out another bottle of water.
I took it gratefully, gulping down half the bottle before handing it to him to finish off. When he was done, he bent down, kissing a drop of water from my lips. His hands cupped my face. “I’m sorry. For everything. All of it. Everything I put you through. These wasted years without you.”
“I’m sorry too.” I pulled away and looked up at him. “If we get through this—”
“When we get through this. Not if.”
I gave him a small smile and nodded, knowing he knew what I wanted to say without having to voice the words. “When we get through this, maybe we can talk. About things.”
He gave me one more lingering kiss. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“But for now,” I said, brushing a lock of hair from his forehead.
About the Author:
I grew up in California and have lived everywhere from the deserts of Utah to the tropical beaches of Hawaii to the gorgeous forests of the east coast. The oldest of five children, I am generally an organized mess with slight Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. I have a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, an insatiable love of books, and more weird quirks than you can shake a stick at.
I am the author of Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, (Career Press Jan 2011), To Trust a Thief (Entangled Scandalous Jan 2013), a historical romance trilogy Blood Blade Sisters (Entangled Scandalous 2013), and a zombie fairy tale retelling Wish Upon a Star (Entangled Ever After Oct 2013). In addition to my novels and non-fiction work, I write picture books and a bit of poetry. If I’m not editing, reading, or chasing my kids around, I can usually be found in a quiet corner working on my next book.
I currently reside in Pennsylvania with my husband and two young children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled cats.
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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Ruth, and welcome to Manga Maniac Cafe! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ruth Browne] I’m a writer with escapist fantasies about lawyering.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about One Thousand and One Nights?
[Ruth Browne] It’s the story of a busty biker redhead blasting zombies with a shotgun. It’s also the story of a sharp-witted young woman looking out for her little sister in a hostile universe, spinning stories to keep hope alive. It’s a romance, in more ways than one (but also in the most important, pleasantly erotic way). It’s a retelling of the Persian legend of Scheherazade during a zombie apocalypse.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Ruth Browne] I saw the Entangled ad for a zombified retelling of a fairytale, and took a few weeks to think about it. The mostly European Disney fairytales seemed pretty hackneyed, so I dismissed them. The 1001 Nights idea probably arrived via Aladdin, which is one of my favourite Disney movies. When it appeared in my head I pretended to ignore it so it would hang around. Pretty soon I was fleshing it out in my head, starting from the premise of being chained to the wall by an attractive man. The characters began as generic badasses of urban fantasy and developed from there. So, a combination of erotic daydreaming and Disney musicals. Forgive me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sheri?
[Ruth Browne] Brave, uninhibited, lonely.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Aleksy had a theme song, what would it be?
[Ruth Browne] Iron Maiden – The Trooper. I stole it from Max Brooks, sorry Max.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Sheri is never without.
[Ruth Browne] Her sense of humour.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Aleksy’s bedroom?
[Ruth Browne] Pretty pictures. Crime fiction. Boredom.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sheri’s greatest regret?
[Ruth Browne] Sheri tries to live without regret, but leaving Lebanon and her parents for the States as a child is a decision she really regrets, even though she had no control over it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Ruth Browne] Music, like the Beck track that plays in the van. Brilliant writers, like Gaiman and Miéville. And my own long-standing desire to write something I personally would want to read, especially in the genre of apocalyptic fiction.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Ruth Browne] Time, inspiration and Ceylon tea.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on One Thousand and One Nights?
[Ruth Browne] I was recovering from a death in the family. 1001 Nights was my distraction.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Ruth Browne] Max Brooks’ World War Z. Detailed, fascinating, epic beyond belief. It froze my blood with horror.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Ruth Browne] Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I wrote an enthusiastic book review on it when I was six.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Ruth Browne] Friendship and good times above all things, except food and sex.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Ruth Browne] I’m on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook so any contact is welcome.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
Sheri spends her days fighting zombies and her nights chained to a wall, earning her every breath by telling stories to her captor Aleksy—stories that make them both forget the ruined world. Sheri could put up with the conditions—at least she knows her sister is safe in the community Aleksy leads—until she realizes she’s falling for him…even though he wants her dead.
When Aleksy allowed Sheri and her sister into his compound, he didn’t know about the zombie bite on her back. It’s only a matter of time before she turns into one of the rising dead and threatens their existence, but Aleksy has a secret need for Sheri and her stories. For everyone’s safety, he chains her to his bedroom wall, hoping for just one more day. But how long will the community allow Aleksy to ignore his own rule: always kill the infected. Always.
ZOMBIES! I can not resist them, especially at this time of the year! Here’s a cover reveal for a Love in the Time of the Dead, which releases Oct 22. Perfect time to read a romance with zombies!
Title: Love in the Time of the Dead
Author: Tera Shanley
Genre: Adult supernatural/zombie romance
Publication Date: October 22, 2013, by Omnific Publishing
Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.
Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.
Two honorable and alluring men – one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and living.
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About the Author
Born and raised in small town Texas, Tera Shanley grew up in books. Her cousin gifted her a signed copy of Beauty by Bill Wallace when she was young and that was it for her. So smitten was she with getting lost in a story, that while other eleven year olds her age were groaning at the accelerated reader program in school, she was racking up the points just for fun.
Balancing chronic book-wormyness is her devotion to the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping – her soul is happiest out of doors. And lucky for Tera, her family feels the same. She grew up a wild child helping her grandma ranch cattle, and has a hundred memories out in the wilderness which tend to influence her books.
When she’s not eating chocolate, slinging rifles, or soaking up some sun, she’s lost in a book, but these days it’s more often one she’s writing. From historic western romance, to paranormal romance, to apocalyptic (zombie) romance, the genre doesn’t matter quite as much to her as the love story.
She currently lives with her husband and two young children, and is owned by two crazy mini-cujos.
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Title: Under a Graveyard Sky
Author: John Ringo
May Contain Spoilers
Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.
When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.
For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.
When I saw Under a Graveyard Sky on Netgalley, I immediately clicked the request button. I just can’t get enough of zombie books (you won’t catch me watching zombies shows, though – too gross!), and this sounded intriguing. It takes place right as a plague is decimating the human population, causing chaos and countless, bloody loss of life. The first 15% of the book felt a little draggy, as the author expounded on the science behind the man-made illness that was causing the infected to attack and eat their fellow humans. The biology of it exhausted me, but not to worry! Once things got underway with the out of control sickness, I was hooked, hooked, hooked! I was reading this everywhere – when I was filling the gas tank, standing in line at the store, even making extended visits to the bathroom so I could have a little peace and quiet time away from the puppers so I could find out what happened next!
This is a blast to read. The Smith family has fled to the sea in an attempt to escape the certain death that comes after contracting the virus, which is a modified form of rabies. The Smiths have been training for the end of the world for years, and they are more than prepared for the challenges ahead. What they didn’t really count on was their daughters getting caught up right in the thick of things back on shore. Steve’s brother has promised to keep the girls safe – and occupied – if they are allowed to help back in New York. While this section of the tale didn’t make much sense to me, it did get the action firmly moving forward. Faith, the youngest daughter, seems to have a zombie beacon strapped to her back, because everywhere she turns, there’s another one, ready to bite her face off. The fact that Steve and Stacey allowed their girls to go ashore once they were relatively safe on their boat didn’t seem like a smart idea to me, especially when they decide to go to a concert in the park. In the dark. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But no matter, it got my heart racing at the mere thought of being in that much danger, self-inflected or not, and made for very entertaining reading.
Once the family gets back on the water and sets sail for parts unknown, things really get nuts. After rescuing a young girl, the only survivor after her family turns and tries to eat her, from their yacht, Steve has a new mission in life. He isn’t going to take this zombie thing sitting down. No way! Steve is going to save as many people as he can, and take out as many zombies as he can, because there are people out there trapped and starving on boats just like Tina’s. Now, I never stopped to think about what it would be like to be trapped in a cabin with no food or water while my family was locked outside, noisily eating each other. Now that I have, well, I don’t know that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean would be such a good idea after all. Especially if someone was infected, but we didn’t find out until it was too late. What do you do? Try to throw them overboard before they bite your brains out? Not a pleasant thought, any way you contemplate it.
The sea rescues did get a little repetitive, at least until they got to the cruise ship. Then it was Holy Crap, you have GOT to be kidding me! How are a handful of people going to wade through that many zombies? Despite some lags in pacing, I found this a fun, fun read. The challenges faced by the small band of survivors made for compelling reading. I couldn’t put my reader down, and I blew through this book in no time flat. My one, major complaint? Those three dreaded words on the last page – To Be Continued. NO!! Really??? Why couldn’t there be just a teeny tiny bit of closure?! The wait for To Sail a Darkling Sea isn’t THAT bad, but come on! It won’t be out until February of next year!
Review copy provided by publisher
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I enjoyed the heck out of Under a Graveyard Sky, so I am quite eager to get my hands on To Sail A Darkling Sea by John Ringo. Check back tomorrow for my review of the first book in his zombie apocalypse series!
BOOK II IN THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky. A family of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.
A World Cloaked in Darkness
With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a rag-tag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours the Atlantic, searching for survivors. Within every abandoned liner and carrier lurks a potential horde, safety can never be taken for granted, and death and turning into one of the enemy is only a moment away.
The Candle Flickers
Yet every ship and town holds the flickering hope of survivors. One and two from lifeboats, a dozen from a fishing village, a few hundred wrenched by fury and fire from a ship that once housed thousands…
Light a Flame
Now Wolf Squadron must take on another massive challenge: clear the assault carrier USS Iwo Jima of infected before the trapped Marines and sailors succumb to starvation. If Wolf Squadron can accomplish that task, an even tougher trial waits: an apocalyptic battle to win a new dawn for humanity. The war for civilization begins as the boats of the Wolf Squadron become a beacon of hope on a Darkling Sea.
What are you waiting on?
Having met KISS, Glee and Nick Cannon, the Archie gang is now going undead in a new ongoing series called AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE that’s set after the zombie apocalypse has hit Riverdale.
Yes, it’s The Walking Jughead.
The surprise here? The series is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has worked on such things as the upcoming Carrie remake, many Marvel comics, the Spider-Man broadway show, and that Archie/Glee crossover we just mentioned—he’s actually one of the producers on Glee.
This time the accent will be on “zombie mayhem.”
“AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE combines two of my great passions: Archie comics and horror comics,” said Aguirre-Sacasa. “This series came out of conversations with Jon [Goldwater], asking questions like, ‘what if the Archie characters found themselves in a Stephen King novel like The Stand or a Sam Raimi movie like The Evil Dead?’ Could we pull that off, tonally? We’re really going for it. The first arc is called ‘Escape from Riverdale.’ The second arc is called, brace yourself, ‘Betty RIP.’ Of course, all the horror stuff will be balanced by elements that are quintessentially Archie.”
Why do we feel that Archie’s school cafeteria will be serving a very different cuisine?
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I love the tag line for Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt. Where there is horror can there be love? You betcha!! I don’t know much about this book other than it will be in stores in October, and it has ZOMBIES! Can’t wait!
What are you waiting on?
Tweet Or so this just released promo would indicate. The Robert Kirkman-penned (!) Marvel Zombies spinoff in 2005-6 was a bestseller for Marvel, leading to lots of rotting superhero covers. In the intervening time, zombies have lost none of their bite. (Sorry,) Like a zombie, this is a no brainer.
By: Chris Verstraete,
Feel like I have been sick for-ev-er..... finally I actually feel like myself again. Can't wait for spring now and flea market season soon!!
So, what is new?
* If you didn't read it, I have a Valentine's story (or just call it a twisted love story) over at King's River Life Magazine....
* I also won a Dog Writer's Assn. Award for best mainstream magazine story! Info and a link to the story is on my nonfiction web page.
* If you're intrigued at all by zombies, several of us writers have started a blog, GirlZombieAuthors -.http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/.. random postings, so come check us out!
* I am now almost through the last edits before the galley on GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie - which I learned should be coming out around JULY 1. Yay! Saw a preliminary cover too so that should be done soon.
Wow! After what also seemed like forever, it is now only months away to seeing the book! Wow!
Funny, how after so many reads, reading it again all these doubts rush in. But I still like the story so hope others do, too.
** So, how do you cope with an upcoming book release? Get scared still? Share your thoughts!
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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Author: Darren Shan
May Contain Spoilers
When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish.
B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn’t work, B doesn’t hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.
That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.
This is the first Darren Shan novel that I have read (I have read some graphic novel adaptations previously), and despite some reservations, I enjoyed it very much. ZOM-B kept me happily entertained on a flight to OKC; it’s a fast read, with blistering action and compulsively readable prose. I gobbled this up in just a few hours, and was disappointed when I reached the last page, because this one comes to a painful, screeching halt. It has no ending, just one of those annoying To Be Continued on the last page. While I now feel invested in the series and will be on board for the next volume, I worry that the next book won’t work for me as well. This one hit at the right time; with Halloween looming, I was in the mood for something scary, and being trapped on a plane for was few hours, I needed something to occupy my time and keep me from wallowing in boredom. ZOM-B did that; in spades. I don’t know if I will feel the same way, or have the right circumstances, when ZOM-B Underground hits stores February of next year.
B is a high school student, and after hearing reports of a zombie invasion in an Irish town, B’s father laughs the news off as a hoax. When B’s mother voices her concern, her husband reacts violently, silencing her fears. B isn’t sure what’s going on, but if the videos and the pictures of rotting dead people viciously attacking and eating helpless people is true, B doesn’t know what to do. When the zombies show up at school, chaos erupts. Only those brave enough, and willing to do anything to survive, will live through the massacre. Will B make it out of school alive?
B is a hard character to like. After years of trying to fend off his father’s abusive attacks, both on B and on B’s mother, B is exhausted. Playing along with his father’s racially biased views in order to avoid beatings, B comes across as just as bigoted and narrow-minded as his dad. While he tries to deny his prejudice, because, hey, he has a black friend, it’s hard to ignore the things B says and does. The intolerance towards other cultures is a strong theme in the book, but it is so heavy-handed that at times it didn’t work for me. It grated on my nerves. Yes, B’s dad is a bully and a jerk, but I didn’t need to be reminded of that every other page.
B has a lot to deal with at home as his father’s temper often flares out of control. When news of a zombie plague hits the news, everyone laughs it off as an elaborate joke. When B’s worst nightmare comes true and the zombies overrun school, it seems as though the world is ending. Only quick thinking and brutal reactions keep B and a small handful of students alive. The zombies are relentless, and B’s little group is shrinking fast. One after another is picked off and eaten by the ravenous zombies. Soon, it’s everyone for themselves. While the small group is forced to work together, it is painfully obvious that the peace will only hold as long as it is mutually beneficial. If tossing a student or two to the zombie mob will buy the more ruthless survivors a reprieve from a painful death, so be it. The group dynamics were always shifting, which made the read even more suspenseful, because you never knew when someone would be sacrificed or eaten by the zombies.
This is a fun, fast, gory read, right up until that dreaded, hated, To Be Continued. I like a little more closure to my books, but as this is the first in a projected 12 book series, I guess I need to get used to running into a lot of brick walls.
Review copy provided by publisher
The zombie won!! The Undead, brought back by overwhelming acclaim, snatched this year's Battle of the Books prize away from Between Shades of Gray
and Life: an Exploded Diagram.
Which book was this year zombie? The WINNAH!!! Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.
Am I happy? Yes. How could I not be? Even though I had trouble reading Life: an Exploded Diagram
, had that book won, I would have been happy! Any event that causes the excitement, discussion, ardor, - even factions - about books that Battle of the Kids Book does, makes me very happy.
What a Battle!!! It's a good thing Summer Reading Club is just a couple of months away, because I can barely wait for next March. SRC will give me something to take my mind off wondering what books the BoB group will choose for 2013.
Battle of the Kids Books needs a theme song, I think - oh, and t-shirts and mugs! Yeah!
I've still got a handful of readers in my fourth grade classroom who are reading beginning chapter books. As long as these books are what's "just right" for them and they are reading with understanding and joy, I don't mind. They'll get there, one book at a time!
Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk
by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Candlewick Press, 2012
review ARC provided by the publisher
A couple of my boys read this arc and chatted with me about it when they'd finished. This story is mostly about Stink and Webster, and Stink is as funny as usual. He's trying to get money for a Midnight Zombie Walk. The boys' favorite parts were at lunch time, when the characters in the book talked about gross zombie things, and the pages of extra information, like "Zombify Yourself," and "Zombie After School Snacks."Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash
by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Miguel Benitez
Albert Whitman & Company, 2012
In this fourth book in the Zapato Power series, Freddie Ramos' super power shoes go missing and Freddie has to figure out how to deal with a bully and how to conquer his fear of putting his face in the water at the swimming pool...all on his own.Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week
by Caroline Adderson
illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher
Jasper John Dooley is one of my new favorite characters! Seriously, how can you not love a character who has a collection of lint?!? (Including rare belly button lint from his dad's belly button!)
It's his turn to be Star of the Week, but things just aren't turning out right. His friend Ori has a new baby sister, and she seems to be getting all the attention, when it should be Jasper's week to shine. Even his wooden brother Earl bites him (gives him a splinter). But Jasper makes it all the way through the week to the day when his classmates write compliments to him.
1 Comments on Supporting Readers at All Levels, last added: 4/12/2012