Waiting on Wednesday–To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo

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?

Review: ZOM-B: City by Darren Shan

 

Title: ZOM-B: City

Author: Darren Shan

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

After escaping a secret military complex amid the zombie apocalypse, B roams the streets of a very changed London, dirty and dangerous and eerily quiet, except for the shuffling of the undead. Once again, B must find a way to survive against brain-eating zombies –and now also against those who have seized control of the city. With danger lurking around every corner and no one to trust, B must decide whether to join the creepy Mr. Dowling in exchange for his protection. When everyone around you is dead, where do you turn for help?


Review:

Darren Shan’s ZOM-B books are like crack.  You can’t read just one, and because each one ends on a cliffhanger, you squirm with anticipation until the next one hits store shelves.  While I normally abhor cliffhangers, the release schedule is accelerated, so you get a new installment every 3 months.  The story is also so straightforward that there’s not much to forget from one book to the next.  B, an revived zombie who managed to keep her intelligence, is fighting to keep her undead life.  The world is a dangerous place since the zombie apocalypse, even for a zombie.  Danger lurks behind every corner, and only quick thinking and luck keep B from a final, horrible death.

Told in tense, in your face prose, ZOM-B: City follows B from her escape from the underground research bunker to her journey through a devastated London.  Along the way, she encounters a handful of surviving humans.  None of these guys are right in the head, but after witnessing the end of the world, I guess everyone is entitled to their idiosyncrasies.  Some of the living want nothing more than to end her unnatural life, while others, though wary, mean her no harm.  As she wanders from one encounter to the next, she pieces together the reality of the new world after the zombie attacks.  Billions have been wiped out, the government is ineffective, and martial law is in effect.  The remaining humans have huddled together in walled compounds, and the search is on for survivors.  B thinks that she can help save humanity – since she hasn’t become a mindless monster, perhaps a cure can be manufactured from her blood.

Shan pushes the envelope with this series.  It’s truly horrific; he doesn’t shy away from gore and violence, and he paints an interesting picture of how the survivors would behave.  They have all been twisted by their experiences, B included.  They have all seen things that aren’t meant to be seen, and there is no going back to a time before the bloodshed and death of the zombie uprising.  Mr Dowling is particularly disgusting.  This sicko clown accessorizes with human remains.  I really want to know his story, and what’s the deal with the mutants?   How did the whole zombie nightmare happen in the first place?  These short novels are impossible to put down, and I look forward to hunkering down with each new installment.  While occasionally disgusting, ZOM-B isn’t so scary that I’m afraid to read it after dark, and plot advances so quickly that it’s hard not to gobble up each new installment in one sitting.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Cover Shot! The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul by Jon F Merz

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Ninjas? Zombies?? I don’t need to know anything else about The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul by Jon F Merz.  Bam! It’s on the wish list!

In stores September 2013

 

Ninjas and zombies! Book 1 in a new series, the Shadow Warrior saga. A young ninja in a fantastic land of dreams and nightmares must face an army of zombies to save a beautiful sorceress.Book One in an exciting new series, the Shadow Warrior saga.

In the fog-enshrouded peaks of the island nation of Japan, Ran, a newly-minted ninja field operative is set loose on a musha shugyo, a wandering quest, whereby he must travel alone and hone his skills. Journeying from Japan to Korea aboard a merchant vessel, Ran hears tales of a mysterious lord believed to have the dead for his servants.

Soon these tales prove all too real as Ran comes to the aid of Jysal, a beautiful sorceress, whose undeveloped power gives her the ability to heal a land — or destroy it.  But the Lord Kan-Gul also covets Jysal’s power. And when Kan-Gul sends a army of the undead to take Jysal by force, Ran is faced with the ultimate warrior’s choice: save himself, or face down a horde of enemies that cannot be killed for the simple reason that they are already dead!

Waiting on Wednesday–Waking Up Dead by Emma Short

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!

 

 

Not Available

What are you waiting on?

Win The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan!

Today I am giving away a copy of Carrie Ryan’s The Dead-Tosses Waves!  Got a hankering for a zombie story?  Enter for your chance to win!

About the book:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Want to win? Just fill out the widget below. US addresses only, please.

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Win The Dead by Charlie Higson!

In the spirit of the holiday, I am counting my blessings that I am not being chased by hungry zombies, and am  ravenously gobbling down turkey instead.  To help you get in the Thanksgiving mood, I am giving away a copy of Charlie Higson’s zombie thriller The Dead. 

About the book:

THE DEAD begins one year "before" the action in THE ENEMY, just after the Disaster. A terrible disease has struck everyone sixteen and over, leaving them either dead or a decomposing, flesh-eating creature. The action starts in a boarding school just outside London, where all the teachers have turned into sickos. A few kids survive and travel by bus into the city. The bus driver, an adult named Greg, seems to be unaffected by the disease. Then he begins to show the dreaded signs: outer blisters and inner madness. The kids escape Greg and end up at the Imperial War Museum. A huge fire in South London drives them all to the Thames, and eventually over the river to the Tower of London. It is there they will meet up with the kids in THE ENEMY in Book 3, THE FEAR.

Just fill out the widget below to enter. Earn extra entries by following.  US addresses only, please.

 

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Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

 

 

Title: The Dead-Tossed Waves

Author: Carrie Ryan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

 

Review:

I am trying to finish up some series that I started reading, and Carrie Ryan’s zombie series is at the top of the list.  I love the world-building; zombies have been decimating the human population for decades, cutting off the remaining human settlements.  Life revolves around not getting eaten by zombies.  A bite will turn a normal, healthy human into a slavering, mindless monster.  Walls and fences have been erected around the towns and villages to keep the creatures out, and Gabry’s mother, who lives in the lighthouse, must patrol the shoreline and dispatch any of the undead that the tide brings in.  Gabry is content with her life; she obeys the rules, helps her mom, and tries to stay out of trouble.  This makes one giant lapse in judgment on her part almost inconceivable.  Bowing to peer pressure, she sneaks over the wall to go to the old roller coaster, putting herself, and her entire village, at risk.  Gabry and her friends are, predictably, attacked by a zombie, and the consequences of her breaking the rules will have repercussions she could never have guessed at.  It sends her on a harrowing race through the Forest of Hands and Teeth, in search of her past, and in search of the truth.

While I love the deadly, menacing world where Gabry lives, I was not so enamored with Gabry herself.   I found her so shallow and immature, and I could not relate to her.  Even after the disastrous outing beyond the Barrier,  a willful act that destroys most of her generation of teens from Vista, she tells herself that she wouldn’t change a thing about that night, because then she and Catcher would never have brushed their together.  Wait? What?!  Most of her friends are either killed or turned into zombies, or are going to be banished from the village, and that’s okay, because why? She and her crush, Catcher, brushed lips together.  They don’t even share a proper toe-curling kiss! No, they brush lips, and that life-altering experience was worth the cost of several lives, including her best friend forever, Cira.  This made no sense to me, and made me dislike Gabry intensely.

When The Dead-Tossed Waves centered on Gabry and friends race to elude the undead and the Recruiters, I enjoyed this book.  As long as Gabry was reacting to all of the near-death situations she is constantly confronted with, I thought this was a tense, exciting read.  As soon as Gabry started her endless internal monologues, I was jarred out of the story and wished she would just. Stop. Talking!  to herself.  I think that I felt this way because she established herself to me as a self-possessed, self-involved, and selfish woman who always put her own desires ahead of everyone else’s.  When her mother makes confessions about her past, Gabry rejects her, condemning her for lying to her.  This bothered me because Mary’s whole life revolved around making a safe, secure home for Gabry, which was something that she didn’t really have when she was a girl.  For Gabry to abruptly turn her back on her mother, to let her venture off into the Forest by herself, I just couldn’t forgive her for that.  Gabry had already crossed the Barrier several times by herself, which was strictly forbidden, yet she was willing to let Mary go alone.  She was too scared to go with the woman who loved her and raised her, but she was willing to put herself in harm’s way if a cute boy was waiting for her?  That just didn’t say much about Gabry’s strength of character, and since I didn’t respect her, I had a hard time liking her.  She does come around by the end of the book, but it was a little too late for me.

That said, I did enjoy aspects of the book.  I just didn’t not like the protagonist.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy The Dead-Tossed Waves more, and  I am hoping that The Dark and Hallow Places will be more up my alley. 

Grade: C+

Review copy ordered from Amazon

Review: The Dead by Charlie Higson

 

 

Title: The Dead

Author: Charlie Higson

Series: The Enemy #2

The Dead (Enemy) Digital

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The disease only affects people sixteen or older. It starts with the symptoms of a cold. Then the skin begins to itch, and spots appear–spots that soon turn into pus-filled boils. But the worst part is the headache, the inner voices that tell you that you need to eat them . . . the young ones.

When the Disaster strikes, the world turns upside down for Ed, Jack, Bam and the other students at Rowhurst School. The parents and older siblings they left back at home are dead–or worse. Once the teachers go on the attack, the kids know it’s time to escape and make their way to the city.  It’s got to be better in London . . .
or will it be worse?

Higson’s terrifying, utterly compelling prequel to The Enemy introduces an all-new cast of characters and sets the stage for a dramatic third book in the series.


Review:

I have had The Dead on my TBR for over a year.  I actually started it, found it a bit too intense at the time, and set it aside for another day.  October always puts me in the mood for scary stuff, so I pulled the book out again and wondered why I ever put it down in the first place.  This is a fast-paced, harrowing vision of the future, with likeable kids left to fend off the crazed adults who are trying to eat them.  Yeah, that’s pretty scary and nightmarish, but Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series is so compelling that you want to see what happens next.  The only thing I am still iffy on is how the “sickos” got sick in the first place, but that is often a complaint with post-apocalyptic stories; there usually isn’t a concrete reason for why  things are now the way they are, and I need all of those background details to be fully invested in a story.  We get some background that was lacking from the first book, The Enemy, but there is still so much to know about what exactly went wrong.

Like The Enemy, The Dead follows a small group of kids as they struggle to survive in the terrible new world they wake up to.  All adults have contracted some weird disease that makes them flesh eating, pus-filled monsters.  They crave the tender flesh of kids, which makes it even more frightening.  These awful, nightmarish creatures are consumed with the need to eat kids.  Yuck!  They are weakened by sunlight, but if a group of yummy kids wanders by, the zombies will venture out into the sunlight for a tasty snack.  This book proves that it’s not easy being a kid!  At any moment, some gross, oozy adult may swoop around a corner and eat you!

I liked the protagonists, which made it hard when several of them met with an early demise.  I will give Higson credit for shocking me several times with the unexpected death of one of my favorite characters.  Talk about heart-breaking!  I have walked through the monster infested streets of London, gotten to know and like most of the cast, and then had my heart ripped out every time someone succumbed to death, either from sickness, grievous wounds, or becoming dinner for the zombies.  Sob!  This made reading a very tense experience, because I was so afraid that another favorite would meet his maker.  At point one, after Ed crawls into a house in a desperate bid for safety, only to find it filled with zombies, I screamed and had to set the book aside for an hour or so.  Gah! I felt as though I was working through an intense cardio workout as the end of the book approached.  I couldn’t breathe!  I felt all trembly!  I wondered how the younger kids hadn’t all keeled over in fear!  Even the teens were at a distinct disadvantage.  The adults were bigger, stronger, and they only had one thought in their rotting brains – EAT THE KIDS!!  GAHHH!!!

Some of the action and descriptions were a bit over the top, and only added to the gore-factor, without progressing the plot much.  While traumatic and action-packed, Jack’s journey back home didn’t serve much purpose other than to gross the reader out.  An arena filled with bloated, rotting corpses?  Check.  Three brave boys with a bit too much curiosity? Check.  A gooey, ooey race through mountains of stinky, maggot infested bodies to escape a zombie horde?  Yup, check, you got that, too.  I felt that much of this particular adventure dragged at the pacing, and it didn’t keep me engaged in this story thread.  I kept longing to get back to the other kids, get back to the day to day survival, and leave Jack’s selfish side adventure in the past.

The story roared back to life for me shortly after that,  and I stayed engaged until the end.  I don’t think that it’s necessary to read The Enemy before diving into The Dead, as the events take place prior to the first book.  I’ve got The Fear, the third book in the series, on my wish list, and I am curious to see where the story goes next.  Originally a planned trilogy, the series will now be seven volumes, according to a quote from the author.  I wonder how long he can carry the momentum, and keep the plot fresh and exciting.  I’m eager to find out!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher