Red Hill (Red Hill #1) by Jamie McGuire #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #postapocalyptic #zombies

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you? – Goodreads.com

I’m a zombie apocalypse fan – no doubt about it.  The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later – count me as a loyal viewer and movie fan.  I’ve had Red Hill in my TBR for quite some time, and I finally got to it when it fit my book club monthly selection.

Did this book bring anything new to the zombie genre?  No.  But some of the characters kept me reading – namely, Skeeter.  If Daryl Dixon is unavailable, Skeeter McGee is your guy.  He’s big-hearted, full of common sense, owns a plethora of guns, and knows how to use them.

The rotating narrative between Scarlet, Miranda, and Nathan gives different perspectives from characters with varying situations and what they go through to survive.  Many of the characters are well-rounded, and I especially enjoyed the realistic portrayal of a father willing to sacrifice anything to ensure the survival of his daughter (Nathan and Zoe); however, some of them disappointed me with their unrealistic choices and their willingness to readily endanger the lives of others.  There’s also a lot of insta-love going on.  And for a weekend house, it sure seems well-stocked, as there’s no mention of supply runs.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because I’m a fan of the genre.  You may have to suspend your disbelief (and I don’t mean about the zombies) over choices, actions, and romances, but Red Hill is a solid read.

The Old Man at the End of the World: Bite #1 by A.K. Silversmith #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how 34338410quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald.

Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millenial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time.

Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu. – Goodreads.com

This was such an entertaining read!  Gerald is in no way prepared for the zombie apocalypse, and is even oblivious to the fact that it’s happening around him as he works in his garden.  The banter between Gerald and his neighbor, Ham, had me laughing out loud more than once as they beat the odds and fumbled their way through several precarious situations.

Being American, I missed some of the British references, but didn’t feel it detracted from this well-written novella.  This is a humorous take on the ‘zompocalypse’ that isn’t filled with doom, gloom, gore, and body parts (well, not many).  I’ll definitely be looking forward to the second bite.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

 

Let Go by Michael Patrick Hicks #bookreview @mikeh5856

Widowed and with retirement drawing near, Everett Hart believes he has already lost everything – until the dead 29916085begin to rise.

Trapped in a cheap restaurant with a small band of other elderly survivors, Everett is forced to decide if he’ll fight for whatever scraps of a future remain, or if he will simply… let go.

LET GO is a short story of approximately 10,000 words. – Goodreads.com

Yes, this is a obviously a zombie story – isn’t the cover self-explanatory?  But Everett will reach out and grab your heart from the first page.  This short story is less about zombies and more about a man coming to terms with certain aspects of his life and I have to admit – I wasn’t expecting such an emotional read.  Powerful imagery with outstanding characterization.

#BadMoonOnTheRise Day 30 Rotter Apocalypse by Scott M. Baker @vampire_hunters #books #zombies

bad moon on the rise

Welcome Scott M. Baker!  Today is release day for his book, Rotter Apocalypse!

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The zombie apocalypse is about to reach its inevitable conclusion, but not before it unleashes a few more nightmares on Natalie Barzagan, Mike Robson, and Windows.

After breaking away from the rest of the group, Natalie and her Angels succeeded in getting the vaccine to the government-in-exile in San Francisco where Natalie joins the military effort to clear the West Coast of the living dead.

Robson destroyed the rape camp that had kidnapped Windows, but not until after she had escaped. Along with the remaining vampires and a band of camp stragglers, he sets off to build a new compound.

Windows and the ten-year-old girl she rescued from the camp are taken in by a kindly widower who gives them the opportunity to start over and heal their wounds, emotional and physical.

Just as Natalie, Robson, and Windows are settling into their new lives, each will be confronted with a final life or death decision that will decide their fates.

How long have you been writing horror/thrillers and what drew you to the genre? 

I’ve been writing horror since 2003 when I began The Vampire Hunters trilogy and published my first zombie-related short stories—“Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” and “Cruise of the Living Dead.” I’ve been working on the Rotter World trilogy, which concludes with Rotter Apocalypse coming out on 30 October, since 2010.

This is not the first genre I’ve written in. I worked for the CIA for twenty-three years so, when I first started back in the 1990s, my first books were about espionage. The first two manuscripts were amateurish and mediocre, and I never got them published, although I did hone my craft while working on them. The third book was a techno-thriller about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons and blackmailing the United States. I had an agent and several New York publishers interested in purchasing the book; however, after the terrorist attack on 11 September, the market for that genre dried up overnight.

Switching genres was easy for me. I’m a Monster Kid from the 1960s/1970s. You know the geeky type. I had a stack of Famous Monsters of Filmland in my desk drawer, all the Aurora monster models on display, and a poster of Godzilla on the wall right beside Farrah Fawcett in a bathing suit. Making the transition into horror also gave me more freedom. When writing espionage and techno-thrillers, I had to follow certain guidelines and keep the plots feasible. I don’t have to worry about those same restrictions with horror, and I’ve had fun with it. Over the years, I’ve launched a vampire apocalypse in Washington D.C., had an alcoholic mall Santa battle zombie reindeer, and terrorized New Mexico and Florida with giant insects. I’m not even close to being finished yet.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? 

Coming up with the concept for the first book in the trilogy, Rotter World, was difficult because I wanted to provide an aspect on the story not found in every other zombie novel. I eventually settled on a plot involving vampires releasing a government-created Zombie Virus on mankind, only to have the living dead eat their way through both human and vampire species. A small group of humans and vampires who made it through the outbreak have put aside their differences and joined together in order to ride out the apocalypse. The détente lasts for several months until the doctor who created the Zombie Virus shows up at their camp and claims he has a vaccine that will nullify the outbreak, but it’s located in an underground military facility half way down the East coast. This small band that barely trusts each other now embarks on a road trip from Hell.

[SPOILER ALERT] In the sequel, Rotter Nation, the group returns to their base camp with the vaccine, only to find that the camp has been destroyed by a rape gang and everyone (except for one woman taken hostage) has been murdered. They split into two: one group travels west across a zombie-devastated country to bring the vaccine to the government-in-exile in Omaha, and the second attempts to rescue their friend from the rape gang. [END SPOILER ALERT]

For Rotter Apocalypse, I wanted to do something that is not frequently done in the genre, which is to show the final battles between humans and zombies. This is my favorite book in the series, and not because I cranked up the body count and gore to an all-time high. In a lot of the novels and films in this genre, the main characters fight until they’re eventually over run by the living dead. In Rotter Apocalypse, I explore how the survivors would reorganize and take the war to the living dead. The novel is violent, graphic, and depressing—which is exactly the feel I was going for.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be? 

There’s once cliché in horror that I’ve always hated (although it’s mostly confined to film), and that is the female character being a helpless, screaming victim. Thankfully, it’s a cliché that has been correcting itself over the past fifteen years. It’s the main reason I find it hard to enjoy slasher movies. Yes, there will be women (and men) who will fold under pressure in a horror situation, but they’re the exception, not the norm. In my vampire and zombie trilogy I have several characters that are weak, cowardly, and easily manipulated; it wouldn’t be realistic without them. However, I include strong female protagonists in every one of my books. If I have to battle aliens or the living dead, I want Ripley and Alice by my side.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two projects that I’m very excited about. The first is a series of young adult novels set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a failed anti-matter experiment renders the world’s electronic devices useless and opens several portals between Hell and Earth, allowing hordes of demons to pass through into our realm. The story focuses on a small group of survivors who have figured out a way to reverse the process and travel around the world to close the portals. The second is an adult-oriented series that takes place during World War II and pits Allied intelligence officers against Nazi Germany, which is waging a secret occult war against the West. I received my Master’s Degree in modern German and Soviet Studies, and am a huge history aficionado, so this is a project I’ve been planning for years.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m done with zombies. I’m working with a close friend to flesh out (pun intended) a concept about a U.S. covert operation that uses programmed zombies as weapons, a project which of course goes FUBAR and leads to the inevitable apocalyptic consequences. Think of it as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Zero Dark Thirty.

Favorite horror movie and book? 

Only one? That’s like asking me to choose who is my favorite child.

Favorite zombie book: World War Z by Max Brooks. I loved the way that he breathed new life into the genre (again, pun intended) by covering the zombie apocalypse from the initial outbreak to the end of the war, and doing it an oral history format.

Favorite zombie movie: Resident Evil. It’s the combination of setting, building tension, and kick-ass action that makes this my favorite zombie movie. If I stumble across this movie while flipping through the TV channels before going to bed, I’m watching it no matter how late it is.

Author bio

Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia unnamed (24)working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives in Gainesville, Florida as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written Rotter World, Rotter Nation, and Rotter Apocalypse, his post-apocalyptic zombie trilogy; Yeitso, his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid; The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C.; as well as the novella Nazi Ghouls from Space (the title says it all). He is currently working on a series of young adult post-apocalyptic novels and a second series about Allied intelligence officers fighting Nazi occultism in World War II.

Scott has also authored several short stories, including “Cruise of the Living Dead” (a zombie outbreak aboard a cruise ship), “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), “Last Flight of the Bismarck” (steampunk zombies), “The Hunger” (cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse), “Lebenden Toten at the Gate” (Nazis versus zombies at Stalingrad), “From Space It Came” (a giant spider from space), and the novella Dead Water.

When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers and two cats that kindly allow him to live with them.

Where to find Scott
Blog
Facebook
Twitter: @vampire_hunters
Pinterest

Buy link
Amazon

 

 

 

Positive by David Wellington

In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author 22547942of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic

Anyone can be positive . . .

The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan’s hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he’ll be cleared.

Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time. – Goodreads.com

If you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, it’s a zombie book, I don’t like them because they’re stupid and gory and I don’t want to read about people getting eaten,” just hang on a minute.  Yes, this book has zombies and yes, they eat some people here and there, but are they the primary focus?  Absolutely not.  This book is so much more.

Finn has lived his whole life behind a wall, only knowing safety and never having seen a zombie, but when it’s discovered he may be infected, he’s tossed out of the only home he’s ever known and forced to learn how to survive.  During this process, he learns his biggest threat may be other humans, not zombies.  He picks up survival skills along the way from various characters – some who survive and some who don’t.  In writing fiction, a general guideline is that your MC must undergo a change of some kind from the beginning of the story to the end and honestly, Finn could be the poster child for that rule.  Seeing his transformation from a teenager who probably wouldn’t survive the night into what he became was part of what kept me so riveted.

Besides Finn’s character development, the story line was so engrossing I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and I honestly didn’t know how it would end.  There were a few hokey lines toward the end and occasional repetitive phases, but I chose to overlook those and focus on what was happening instead.

I highly recommend this to any horror/post-apocalyptic/zombie fans because it offers a new angle, but also to those of you who just enjoy a good story – because that’s definitely what Positive is.  Give it a try.  Positive is scheduled for publication April 21, 2015.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Rot & Ruin (Warrior Smart) by Jonathan Maberry

Brand-new adventures set in the world of Rot & Ruin!24840459

Written by New York Times best-selling author and multiple Bram Stoker award-winner, Jonathan Maberry, this all-new storyline continues events from the award-winning series of novels.

We meet Benny, Nix, Lilah, and Chong as they travel through the Sierra Nevada mountains just one faltering step ahead of zombie hordes and one giant leap behind the plane flying through the sky that set them on their journey of discovery. – Goodreads.com

Today’s review comes from my fifteen-year-old son, Reese.  The Rot & Ruin series is one of his favorites and he’s read it through twice – so far.  When I saw this new graphic comic series, I knew he would love to read and review it.

Compared to the Rot and Ruin series, this was an okay read.  The concepts were good, but it was such a short book, the story felt rushed.

I liked revisiting the characters again and thought the elements of the zombie babies and the ‘cows’ were innovative ideas.  The art work was really good and similar to The Walking Dead graphic comics.

I thought a few of the character details were off from the main series, like Lilah is supposed to have extremely white blonde hair, but in this book she had blonde hair.  She also speaks softly because of a voice injury, but in this book she could yell over people.

I would definitely read the next book in this series and would recommend it to my friends.  Maybe you don’t have to have read all four books in the Rot & Ruin series before this one, but I’d recommend reading at least the first two books.  Personally, I would prefer to have a series about Tom’s (my favorite character) adventures before Rot & Ruin.

This book is scheduled for publication April 21, 2015.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

 

 

 

 

Severed by Gary Fry

When an unknown virus is unleashed on London, it turns everyone in its path into violent, zombie-20742681like killing machines, leaving their souls separated and floating away to form a giant halo above the capital. Flesh and spirit, dead and alive, they are both. They are severed.

As a beleaguered government brings in scientists to work on an antidote, the problems become even more complex. The virus spreads. The mayhem grows. There’s no solution in sight and time is running out.

Enter Stephen Hobbs, a hard-drinking, womanizing academic with a violent past of his own. Due to his special skill set and experience, he is enlisted to figure out what the virus is and how to stop it. Despite his own demons, Hobbs may very well be humanity’s last chance to survive becoming…SEVERED. – Goodreads.com

This book demonstrated what could happen when a person loses the capacity to exercise moral restraint and chooses emotions versus morals – and it was not a pretty sight.  Imagine if you were able to actually say what you really thought to someone and act on any emotion you felt with no regret or remorse.  Mayhem doesn’t come close.

There really weren’t that many likeable characters in this book – in fact, most were loathsome.  The MC, Stephen Hobbs, was especially hard to connect with, but on the flip side of that, his character arc was profound, making made him more intriguing than likeable.

This was a quick read and the action started from page one, so I appreciated the fact that the backstories were woven in instead of having to sift through the first several pages to get to the real plot line.  Naturally, in a book of this genre you have to suspend disbelief, but if you enjoy this type of book, that’s not a negative.  I’ve also read Conjure House by this author, review here, a creepy novel I’d recommend to horror fans.

Something I missed with this novel was the lack of anyone to root for, a charismatic protagonist instead of Stephen Hobbs, who was more of an antihero.  I also felt like his mother seemed to be two different people, at times making statements that seemed inconsistent to her character.

DarkFuse is an independent publisher of modern horror, suspense, and thrillers and after reading a few of their books, I can say I haven’t been disappointed.  Severed is scheduled for publication April 1, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

Monsters (Ashes Trilogy #3) by Ilsa J. Bick

The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The End…is now.

When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn’t get much worse-until the doctors found the 15947841monster in her head.

She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won’t quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn’t over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And…they’ve had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.

A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise. – Goodreads.com

Let me start by saying my son and I are huge fans of this series and I mentioned these books at https://teripolen.com/2013/01/16/would-you-survive-a-zombie-apocalypse/.  It’s been about a year since the second book, Shadows, came out, so I was glad Monsters included a cast of characters (there are many secondary ones) and summary of who’s where and doing what at the end of the second book.  Unfortunately, that part began on page 673, when I was already finished with the book.  Had it been in the first few pages of the book, my reading experience would have been tremendously improved.

I’m glad I finished this series, although I feel like the original storyline got lost along the way.  The first book, and to some extent the second, focused more on Alex and her situation, how far she’d go to survive and protect her loved ones, the decisions she made, and discovering her limits.  Monsters had so many varying POV’s that it was hard to keep up at times.  The action sequences carried on for pages, especially in the first several chapters.  It quickly became tedious reading about a fight scene that seemed to go on for hours.  Typically, action scenes are designed to make the reader want to keep reading, being unable to put down the book.  In this case, it just make me skim through the pages to see what happened when it was finally over.

Although the second book left me feeling as if a love triangle between Alex, Tom, and Chris would be the focus of the third book, it was practically nonexistent, and for that, I was grateful; however, the relationship between Alex and Wolf left me scratching my head and was never really resolved.

The ending of the book was ambiguous and left many unanswered questions – Who was behind the EMP’s?  Why were some spared and what was their purpose?  Why had some of the Changed held on to part of their humanity while others hadn’t?  – just to name a few.  Some of the mysteries from the first book that held my attention were never solved and left me very frustrated.

The book was well-written, but really could have been shortened by 200 pages or so and focused more on the primary characters instead of the numerous secondary players.  I would also strongly suggest moving the character and previous book summaries to the front of the book instead of the back.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

Quarantine (Alone #3) by James Phelan

In a dangerous, devastated New York, one 16-year-old Australian boy finds himself alone…

It’s now or maybe never sixteen year old Jesse has spent eighteen days in post-apocalyse New York, 17214425waiting for help that never comes. He owes it to his new friends, Rachel and Felicity, to go beyond their temporary refuge to find other survivors who may hold the key to escape. Could the collective at Chelsea Piers have the answers or prove to be just another distraction in his quest? Meanwhile, Jesse is burdened with guilt and sadness at the fate of his other friend, Caleb, who has fallen prey to the virus and become a Chaser. So when it emerges that a cure-all serum may be available, Jesse determines to secure it to save his friend. At any cost perhaps even his own future. – Goodreads.com

I seem to be on a roll lately for reading books I didn’t realize were part of a series.  I thought I had the basic gist of the first two books – Jesse was visiting New York from Australia when the virus hit and lost some friends along the way – no problem keeping up with that.  As I got into the book, I realized I didn’t understand the different degrees of viruses (some Chasers were passive, others more aggressive) or the prior relationship between Jesse and Caleb, things I assume the two other books in the series could explain.  And then I got to the epilogue and was completely thrown for a loop – I’m still not sure exactly what happened, but it seemed like it was supposed to be a shocker.

The group dynamics at Chelsea Piers were thought-provoking as far as how people react in the aftermath of a disaster, what they believe in, and if they choose to take a course of action or wait for rescue.  However, I felt the “insta-love” of Paige for Jesse was implausible – she was ready to make life-altering choices for him after only knowing him a couple of days for seemingly no reason.

The pacing held my attention, the book was well-written, and there was a lot of action, but I still felt like some pieces of the puzzle were missing and questions left unanswered as to the military involvement.  Jesse was an admirable protagonist – likeable, determined, fearless, and seemed to have his heart in the right place.  Although I enjoyed reading this book, I’d still recommend starting at the beginning of the series.

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

End Dayz by Kellie Sheridan

It’s month after the dead first began to walk. The miracle vaccine that was supposed to save us all has failed.

Now, four teens fight to stay alive as a stronger, smarter breed of zombie begins to appear, threatening to end17210281 humanity for good.

Four short stories, 11,000 words total.

Prequel to Mortality (March, 2013). – Goodreads.com

You know I’m a zombie fan and I’ve read Mortality, so I was excited to see this short story prequel.  And the cover is absolutely killer – it caught my eye immediately.  If you haven’t read Mortality, I highly recommend you do before reading End Dayz.

This novella gave me more information and background on some secondary characters from Mortality, but also a little about Savannah.  Some of what I learned was expected, but I was surprised about the actions of a few characters.  I enjoyed the journal style of writing in some of the chapters, allowing the reader a more introspective view of the characters’ thought processes.  Alex’s story was especially heartbreaking.

Overall, this was a great companion piece to Mortality, giving me a broader perspective of events that happened before that book and I’d definitely recommend reading it.

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley.