Review: Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo

 

 

Title: Under a Graveyard Sky

Author:  John Ringo

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

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

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

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


Review:

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

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

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

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

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Meet Katie From Laura Bickle’s The Outside

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

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

[Katie} Faltering, but not yet broken.

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

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

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

I miss home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Katie} No more blood and Darkness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Katie} Thank you so much!

Purchase link:

About the book:

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

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

Interview with Madelynne Ellis, Author of Come Undone

Please welcome Madelynne Ellis to the virtual offices this morning.  She dropped by to chat about her latest release Come Undone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or  less.

[Madelynne Ellis] The quiet one, who listens and doesn’t say much.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Come Undone is the first in a series of books that explore the relationship between Dani Fosbrook, a university student with Xane Geist, the frontman of an internationally famous goth metal band called Black Halo. (I’ve also plans for other members of the band, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.) Come Undone covers the first few critical days of Xane and Dani’s relationship, which happen to coincide with Xane announcing the band’s demise.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] I’m never entirely sure where my characters come from. They mostly arrive, tell me there names, and I learn about them as I write. I did know I wanted to write about an extreme metal band and the dynamics within such a group.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Insecure. Loyal. Survivor.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] I really, really want to say something loud and raucous, much like the sort of music Xane likes to write and perform, but actually, it’s Come Undone by Robbie Williams.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Clothing. She really doesn’t like being exposed.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Hairspray, Ash’s underwear (Black Halo’s lead guitarist) and anything pink or frilly.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Losing contact with her father.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] I’m not sure I have any very specific ones. I tend to mine ideas from all over the place. I have a bit of a fangirl crush on Gackt, does that count?

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

[Madelynne Ellis] 1) Writing implement, laptop out of preference but I’ve been known to write on toilet tissue using eyeliner pencil. 2) Silence, if at all possible and 3) A large cup of decaf coffee.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Come Undone?

[Madelynne Ellis] Watching clips of rock bands and music videos, but it was research, honest.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] It’s not often that a book grabs hold of me and won’t let go anymore. I think being a writer makes it harder to read without analysing the work at the same time. Probably either Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn or Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Finally, an easy question :) That would be The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. I’ve adored that book since I was about thirteen.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] Roleplay, both tabletop and live, read and watch DVDs.

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

[Madelynne Ellis] By using any of the following:

Newsletter: http://ymlp.com/xgbsjhujgmgj

Website: http://www.madelynne-ellis.com

Blog: http://www.madelynne-ellis.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadelynneEllis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadelynneEllis1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/271150.Madelynne_Ellis

or by email madelynne at madelynne-ellis dot com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

About the book:

On stage he’s dynamite. Off stage he rocks her world.
When red-hot, Goth-metal band, Black Halo, split live on stage, fate throws Daniella Fosbrook into the path of sexy vocalist Xane Geist. Initially, Xane’s only looking for a ride home, but Dani tempts him in a way a thousand other women haven’t. Determined to explore their heady chemistry and avoid hashing things out with the band, Xane whisks Dani off to Monaco for a steamy weekend.
There, Dani tries her best to hang onto her heart and some clothing, while Xane soon loses both. However, Xane isn’t being entirely honest about the reason for the band’s demise. When the truth comes out, can Dani accept the facts, or will everything come undone.

About the author:

Madelynne Ellis is a multi-published British author of erotic romance. Her novels and short stories have been published by a variety of houses including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Samhain and Virgin Books, and have been translated into German, Spanish, Italian and Norwegian. Her aim is to deliver scorching, character-driven stories that enchant, torment and don’t shy from darker aspects of life.

Madelynne lives in the UK with her partner of 20+ years, their two adorable children, a chocoholic rabbit and a demented puppy. When not writing she enjoys live role-playing, and solving puzzles. She loves hearing from readers. You can reach her at Madelynne at Madelynne-ellis dot com.