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.

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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.

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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

Review: ZOM-B by Darren Shan

 

Title: ZOM-B

Author: Darren Shan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

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.


Review:

Spoiler free!

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.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Feed Your Kindle–Get in the Mood for Halloween!

Here are some horror or post-apocalyptic young adult titles to get you in the mood for Halloween!  All priced under 4 bucks.  Click on the covers for the Amazon product page.

Sudden Independents by Ted Hill – .99

Jimmy never thought he’d be spending the apocalypse farming in Nebraska and worrying about Hunter. But when the plague killed their parents, along with everyone over the age of seventeen, Jimmy suddenly became head of the household.

Then the oldest kid in town turned eighteen and the plague chased him down. Now Jimmy has one more thing to worry about—and he’s running out of time.

Hunter finds a little girl named Catherine under a cottonwood tree in the middle of nowhere. When Catherine magically heals Hunter’s broken arm, Jimmy hopes he will survive his eighteenth birthday if he can protect her from the horseman responsible for unleashing the plague.


The Scourge by A G Henley 2.99

Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She’s never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings’ tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.

And she’s always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn’s.

Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.

As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.
A tale of star-crossed lovers, strange creatures, and secretive, feuding factions, THE SCOURGE introduces readers to a rich and exciting new world where nothing is as it seems.


The Outside by Shalini Boland – 3.99

A post-apocalyptic romance thriller.

The world of the future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you’re inside you’re lucky, if you’re outside life expectancy takes a nose dive.

Riley is fortunate to have been born on the right side of the fence. But her life of privilege comes crashing down when someone breaks through the Perimeter and murders her sister. She forsakes her own safety to go in search of the killer. Luc decides to go with her otherwise she’ll be dead before she’s past the security gate. But what awaits her outside is more unbelievable than she ever expected.

Cut to the present day where Eleanor’s world is falling apart. This time next year, civilisation won’t be quite so civilised . . .


The Burn by Annie Oldham – .99

The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That’s what Terra’s father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right. She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. But then she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, and she must decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.


Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn – 2.99

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.


The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin – 2.99

Everything is in ruins.A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.So what does Araby Worth have to live for?Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Interview with Susan Dennard, Author of Something Strange and Deadly

Susan Dennard is the author of Something Strange and Deadly.  This YA historical takes place in an alternate Philadelphia, one with zombies!  This is one of my most anticipated 2012 reads, so I was thrilled when Susan agreed to stop by for a chat.

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

[Susan Dennard] I’m a reader, writer, animal-lover, and cookie-fiend!! I was a marine biologist, but now I’m an author!

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

[Susan Dennard] Okay, so…you can’t laugh at how cliche this is, but…the original idea for SS&D came from a dream! You know those dreams that haunt you all day long? I had one of those about a girl whose older brother had gone missing, but the only way she could rescue him was to get help from a group of outcasts–outcasts with special skills and even magic. I took that basic premise and started to build on it. I chose Victorian times because I thought it would add a nice dollop of conflict (so many social restrictions! Not to mention the difficulty of running in a corset!) and I thought I’d enjoy researching it. Then I fleshed out my cast of characters to fit this setting–and to fit the people I remembered from my dream. Finally, I threw in walking dead because there is nothing in the world that scares me more than a zombie!

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

[Susan Dennard] Curious, impulsive, and brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Eleanor would never have in her bedroom?

[Susan Dennard] For one, Eleanor would never have a boy in her room–at least not without a chaperon of some sort. ;) She wouldn’t have much in the way of comfort either–her bedding is threadbare, and her wardrobe is quickly getting that way too!  Her mother may pretend they have wealth by doing up the "public" rooms, but in the bedrooms, you can really see just how hard the Fitt family has it. Finally, Eleanor would never have any sort of wall adornments. She hates the Victorian fad of stuff-stuff-stuff, and so she likes to keep things simple and empty. (It’s funny because I am SO not like that! I’m all about clutter and wall ornaments!)

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

[Susan Dennard] This is suuuuuuuch a hard question, Julie!! Yikes! I started reading very young, and I devoured books. I have a distinct memory of the original Nancy Drew getting me especially exciting about reading. So much so, that I made my mother take me to the library EVERY day. I wanted to read all 56 books in the original series over my summer break, so I literally read one (sometimes two) a day! My poor mother…

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

[Susan Dennard] I’m actually trying really hard this year to be MORE balanced with my time. It used to be all write-write-write-work-work-work, but that’s not a very happy way to be. Plus, it wears out your muse. ;) So nowadays, when I’m not writing, I spend time with my husband and dogs. Weekends are devoted to being outside–hiking, swimming, walking, whatever!–and evenings are for watching TV (right now, we’re obsessed with Psych!) and cooking. My husband and I make pretty elaborate meals, so it’s nice to use it as quality time together.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


You can learn more about Susan by visiting her website.

You can pre-order Something Strange and Deadly from your favorite book seller, or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital

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