More zombies (part two)!!

sffh

This is the second part of a multi-part blog post about my recent experiences with the zombie genre.

Six Feet from Hell by Joseph A. Coley is a fantastic series. It’s inventive, somewhat realistic, engrossing.

Again, I found one of the books from the series for free or a really low price. And then I had to read all of the other books.

Here is the synopsis from amazon:

Six Feet From Hell: Response

Six feet from hell is where it all started. A coal mine accident in the hills of Southwest Virginia has unleashed a deadly toxin that not only kills the living, it brings them back as ravenous zombies. Follow the men that try to escape the chaos in the first book of the Six Feet From Hell series.

Six Feet From Hell: Escape

After the events of Six Feet From Hell: Response, Joe and the remainder of his crew must now face a difficult decision. Do they stay and try to fight off the hordes of undead that seem to have no end? Or does he rally the troops and try to live with a bold decision that will impact the lives of all the people that he has tried to save thus far? In the second book of the Six Feet From Hell series, they must make their escape and pray that the zombies are their worst enemy…because there are far worse things out there than the undead.

Six Feet From Hell: Salvation

They responded to the zombie outbreak, they made their escape, but now what? Simply living the life of being on the run just won’t cut it for Joe and his ever-increasing band of survivors. Their saving grace may not have been found yet, but they must keep seeking their salvation. In the third book of the Six Feet From Hell series, Joe and his group try and find a stable life even though it might not be what they wanted. They have to come to terms with the fact that the help they want may or may not be the help they get…

One thing I absolutely love about this series?  Joe and most of his friends are zombiephiles just like me.  They have seen all the movies, read all the books, and know exactly what is going on very early in the crisis.  The have not only done their homework, they are also prepared for the apocalypse.  I know so many people who are prepping for some sort of world-ending event in the near future, so this was very humorous to me.

Also, the characters make references to the zombie books/movies that have defined the genre.  I particularly like the nod to “Monroeville” as I grew up about 20 minutes away from the actual town outside of Pittsburgh where Dawn of the Dead was set.  I have been to that mall too many times to count.

I also like the way the zombies were created.  Very creative, imaginative, and makes the situation that much more dire in this series.

Like other series in this genre (see the previous post here), the zombies are just part of the problem.  Apparently when the world ends, morality and a sense of right and wrong take a vacation.  Example:  the Governor in “The Walking Dead”.

Hell, even when humanity experiences a crisis, there is always those who seek to profit from the misfortune of others.  There are those that loot, create elaborate hoaxes to get money or use the calamity to kill or hurt others.  This happens all over the world.

Overall an engaging and page-turning zombie read.

I would love to read future books about Joe and his little band of survivors.

More zombies (part one)!!

zomblog

I have been promising this post for awhile and now it is here!!

This is the first part of a three or four part series.

I have recently read a TON of zombie books, thanks to the Zombie Kindle ebooks page on Facebook.  The zombie writers have the formula right:   offer one of the books of a zombie series for free, and then watch how many sales result from people addicted to the genre and NEED to find out what happens next.

That is how I found the “Zomblog” series by T.W. Brown.

I saw the book  “Zomblog: Snoe” was free and downloaded it.  I realized about 10 pages in that I probably should read the three other books that came before in the series.  Lucky for me, I recently had a birthday and someone was gracious enough to gift me with an Amazon gift card (thank you Patti!)

By the way, if anyone is every hurting for gift ideas for me, I am not offended by an Amazon gift card.  It is actually preferred.

So I started the series in the proper order, with the original “Zomblog”.  Here is the synopsis from amazon:

Samuel Todd is a regular guy: …Failed husband… …Loving father… …Dutiful worker… …Aspiring rockstar. He had no idea if anyone would care, or take the time, to read his daily blog entries about his late night observations. But what started as an open monologue of his day-to-day life became a running journal of the firsthand account detailing the rising of the dead and the downfall and degradation of mankind…

It utterly captivated me.  Extremely well written, well thought out, thrilling, and terrifying.  I finished the ENTIRE series in three days.  I think that’s a new record for me.  Four books, three days.

It’s dark.  Most books in this genre are “dark”, but this one has an added twist of terror.  The zombies are very believable and deadly, but it’s the remaining humans that are more horrific.

What I absolutely love about this series?  Much like “The Zombie Bible”, there is no explanation for the zombies.  No complicated medical jargon or mass casualty event that causes people to become zombies.

As a nurse, I often find myself critiquing zombie books that get too medical or too scientific because I have a general understanding of the human body.  This series entirely omits that process and just tells the story.  I am free to read the book without comparing it to actual medical knowledge and as a result, I am less distracted from the actual story.

Mr. Brown creates amazing characters who the reader feels for throughout the entire series.  And he doesn’t spare anyone from carnage.  You like a main character?  Too bad, they die. 

Too many zombie series have the protagonist survive multiple brushes with death to survive it all.  In this series, it is incredibly more realistic that some of the main characters succumb to a zombie bite, a shooting, or something else.  This is the first zombie series I have read that does this.  And it is refreshing.

“Zomblog: Snoe” takes place nearly 20 years after the zombies began devouring humanity.  It is very intriguing to read about the way society rebuilds itself.  And it hits home that some things never change.

I would caution that there is graphic sexual abuse present throughout this series.  Yes, it is more realistic, especially in light of those three women freed from a decade of captivity in Ohio earlier this month.  But if you have PTSD and things like this are a trigger, I would consider skipping the series.  It didn’t trigger me, however.

Overall, this is an excellent zombie series.  I posted a question to the author via Facebook asking about the next book, and he said it should be coming out next month.  I. Can’t. Wait.

I would love to get into the author’s “Dead” series, but as funds are lacking, that is not happening anytime soon.  Might be a good time for someone to get me that amazon gift card…

Will I survive a zombie apocalypse?

This is a poster in my bonus child's bedroom

This is a poster in my bonus child’s bedroom

Out of all of the horror genres right now, I am a huge fan of zombies.

I love “The Walking Dead”, I love the numerous books and series I have read featuring zombies.  With all of this reading/watching, I have learned one thing:  if the zombie apocalypse happens anytime in the near future, I am so screwed.

Here’s why:

1) I am a walking zombie buffet.  Have you seen any FAT people alive on “The Walking Dead”?  Didn’t think so.  Everyone left is lean and muscular.  My guess is that the fat people couldn’t out run the zombie hoard…

2)  Due to chronic illness, I have limited strength in all of my limbs.  I highly doubt I could use an ice pick to impale a zombie brain in my current state.

3)  I will go blind eventually if I do not have the medications that keep me functioning during my current health crisis.  Yeah, I could knock off a pharmacy if it hits the fan, but injecting medication and trying to run from zombies doesn’t sound too promising.  And some of the side effects of medications leave me foggy and sleepy.  A zombie could sneak up and I would be none the wiser.

4)  Sleep.  At the least, I require 12 hours to even FUNCTION these days, let alone run from a herd of zombies.  So unless I find a fantastic, zombie proof shelter and stay there permanently, I’m screwed.

5) I don’t know how to drive a motorcycle.  In “The Stand” (not zombie, but scary nonetheless), many people choose to travel via motorcycles to drive around the various traffic calamities that plague (ha!) the roadways after the apocalypse.  See Darryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead”.

6) I live in Texas.  Yes, this is a very gun-friendly state, but with the weather, the wildlife and the religious fanatics, I’m not sure I would pick this location to ride out a zombie apocalypse.  In some of the books I read (namely World War Z), zombies freeze.  It rarely freezes in central Texas.  Also living in central Texas, I am an hour to three hours away from three major population centers.  Ask my cousin what happened to Houston after the Katrina survivors showed up.

In my favor:

1)  I know how to load, fire and shoot various firearms.

2)  I live near a small reserve post for the Texas National Guard, and about 20 miles from a huge military instillation and about 60 miles from one of the largest army bases in the country.  Supposing the military isn’t evil, like some of the books I read (Zomblog), I would have either a nifty location to stay in, with fences and barbed wire, or a place to scavenge.

3) I live about 10 miles from a prison.  See “The Walking Dead” for the reasons prisons are a good idea.

4)  I’m a nurse.  I have knowledge that others lack. I am the daughter of nurses and my husband aspires to be a nurse.  We will not be dying of any preventable infection or from bleeding out.

5) I live about three miles from a huge hospital.  In the zombie books (Apocalypse Z, Zomblog, Zombie Games), hospitals are usually bad places to be near, but if someone has the knowledge on how to lure zombies out (apparently all zombies like noise and light) and how to get in…jackpot!

5) I live in Texas.  I know that I also listed this on the “why I’m screwed” list, but I have several relatives and friends who live in the middle of nowhere, complete with fences and livestock.  They also tend to be heavily armed.  Also, the Texas landscape (at least in this part) is so wide open, you can see zombies and other people coming from a mile away.

6)  Dead bodies and gore don’t freak me out.  I have been a nurse for over a decade. I spent a part of my early career in critical care.  I have seen disgusting, infected wounds, horrible hatchet jobs by less than stellar surgeons and one 500 lb lady with green ooze seeping out of her gargantuan legs.  At one time she also harbored a colony of maggots.  I am definitely not squeamish.

7)  I have read so many zombie books and post apocalyptic books that I have a wealth of knowledge on how to kill zombies, flee zombies, trick zombies, provided that the zombies are the ones depicted in popular culture.

I guess it’s a mixed bag.  I hope the zombie apocalypse doesn’t occur until I can at least get this weight and my health conditions resolved.

I am currently reading the “Zomblog” series by T.W. Brown.  I am not disappointed. Look for a review for that series soon.

Here are my postings on the zombie books I have read so far:

Memoirs of the Walking Dead

The Zombie Bible

Westmarket

Zombie Games

World War Z

Apocalypse Z

The Zombie Bible

I love my zombie stories. I have posted about this series before, but the last book was just so incredible, I had to make another post.  You can read about my past posts on this series here.

Stant Litore is an amazing writer. The way he constructs sentences and weaves them into paragraphs is a true art form. I always appreciate great writing, and these books are incredible.

Some background info: although I grew up Catholic, I know next to nothing about the Old Testement. I have no clue who these main characters in his books are, other than “oh, I might have heard that name before”. The books take the supposition that zombies have always existed. They are a fact of life from the beginning of time.

The protagonists in his books are usually some know Biblical figure. In the first one, its the prophet Jerimiah (although he uses the Hebrew spelling). In the second its Polycarp. And in the third, its Devorah (Deborah).

The characters literally leap off of the page. They are so real and so textured that you *KNOW* these characters. You understand their struggles, understand their emotions. The reader can also watch them evolve throughout the book, as they struggle against the walking dead.

I love the relationships discussed and expounded upon in the books. The relationship between Regina and Polycarp, between Devorah and Hurriya. Jerimiah and his wife. You can literally feel their emotions. Their love for each other.

I appreciate the strong female characters, what they have endured and who they are by the end of the book. How they accomplish the impossible. How they can still move on after witnessing such gore and having those close to them devoured.

And the reader is treated to a history lesson as well. The settings for these books are so real, you can almost feel the stones in the streets of Rome on your feet. You can feel the oppressive environment in which Jerimiah finds himself. You can literally feel the heft of Devorah’s sword.

And in each is a deeper meaning to hunger and the walking dead.

There are heart pounding elements of a thriller as well. Page turning passages that you cannot put down because you cannot bear the ignorance of not knowing. The passage with Regina being carried through the streets of Rome with zombies in pursuit is so well written, the reader can feel the terror that she experiences. Tachycardia inducing, hyperventilating, abject terror.

The zombies are of the variety of the common zombie. Due to some failure, they are doomed to walk the earth in search of flesh to feed their insatiable hunger. The zombie scourge sweeps through cities, villages and settlements, nearly decimating the population. It usually falls to the main characters, who occasionally have a special gift or talent, and who understands the zombie hoard, to rid the land of the walking dead.

I wholeheartedly recommend this series to any lover of novels. Even if you have a particular aversion to this genre, try these books because they are so well written, the stories so artfully told, they deserve a wide distribution.

I can credit these books with sparking an interest of ancient characters from the Bible. In the course of writing this post, I googled some of the characters. And I spent hours just reading about about the real people on whom the characters are loosely based. That spark alone is worth the extremely reasonable price of these books (right now I think the most expensive one is $3.99 for the kindle edition).

I know Stant Litore is writing more, because he occasionally posts passages from the emerging book on his facebook page (look up “The Zombie Bible”). I can’t wait to see further works in this series. However, if you are deeply religious, you may not like Biblical figures in battle with the walking dead. I think that Litore is planning on mentioning Jesus in an upcoming novel.

Give it a shot, see if you like it. I most definitely did.

Favs for 2012

As of right now, I have read 125 books this year.  All kinds of books, across all genres.  Mainly ebooks.  Due to my financial situation during the last half of the year, most of the books were free via the kindle lending library or on smashwords.  I also review books posted on bookbloggers.net.

This year I started branching out of my usual reading patterns and started reading more horror, romance and erotica.  Thanks to the phenomenon of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, apparently most women have started on the “mommy porn” craze.  You can read my ideas on “Fifty” here and here.

And zombies!! I started watching “The Walking Dead” after the first season, yet I didn’t start reading zombie books until this year.  And now I’m hooked.

Here is a list of my favs (that I read) this year, in no particular order:

Crossfire trilogy by Sylvia Day– I love this romance/erotic series much more than “Fifty”, I outlined my reasons above.  I just feel that it is more realistic, better written, and takes in to account that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in some way during their lifetime.  This in mind, some of the BDSM presented in “Fifty” are huge triggers for survivors.  Can’t wait for the next book in May 2013.

Future Perfect by Tony Bayliss– My fav religous/political statement book.  Very intense and thought provoking. For another amazing read, try Past Continuous as well.

There Goes the Galaxy by Jen Thorson – Fun, hilarious, an epic journey through space.  Absolutely loved it.

Double Cross:  The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre – I am a huge fan of these books.  Yes, spy books are fun, but these are TRUE spy books outlining the missions and lives of real spies who helped to save the world.

Automaton by Cheryl Davies – futuristic sci-fi with a romantic twist.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – what more can be said?

Faking It by Elisa Lorello – my first foray into a different kind of chik lit.

War Brides by Helen Bryan – I love historical fiction, this book was very emotional and provided a different perspective on WWII.

And I can’t pick a favorite zombie book…I loved all of the ones I read, check through my reviews.  I love the Zombie Bible series by Stant Litore, I finally read World War Z by Max Brooks and the Zombie Orgins Series by Kristen Middleton is funny and thrilling.

Any suggestions for 2013?  Any new genres I should explore?  What are your favs for this past year?

Giving Thanks

I am extremely thankful for the printed (or electronic) word.

I have been losing myself in books since I was 7 or 8 years old.  Good novels have taken me away to far away places, taught me about other people, other cultures, other time periods.  Because of books, I kill at Trivial Pursuit.

I am thankful for good authors, those who pour their dreams into print and  share them with the world.  They produce characters that stay with readers for a lifetime.  They spin intricate tales, paint vivid settings, they use the simple word to convey emotions and report on the human condition.  Regardless of genre, it isn’t easy to sit down and start writing something from nothing, and then to make it capture the imagination of readers.  I am truly thankful that they do.

I am thankful to the good people at amazon.com for inventing the kindle.  The e-reader has revolutionized the institution of publishing and writing and has enabled authors who might not have been able to have their voice heard in a traditional setting to share their work with the world.  Through the kindle, I can store hundreds of books in a slim device, which is paramount for someone with health issues and can no longer hold up huge, lumbering tomes.  I can access a library of works, many of them for free, without leaving my bed.

I am thankful for Dr. Seuss.  He started me on this journey, and I am eternally grateful.

I am thankful to the historical authors, Stephen Ambrose, James McPherson, David McCullough, who have found away to sift through tons of musty historical records and found a way to make history interesting.  They found a way to appeal to the masses and make battles and military campaigns read like movie scripts.  Because of them, and authors like them, Americans have more respect and reverence for their veterans.  They know what was sacrificed for their freedoms.

I am thankful for the voodoo culture and to George Romero, who have brought on the current zombie craze and have provided me with hours and hours of entertainment reading about the apocalypse and impending zombie uprising.

I am thankful for sites such as bookbloggers.net that allow me to read amazing books for free in exchange for a review.  I am extremely low on funds, can barely pay for my bills, yet I can keep up my reading habit by doing something I was probably going to do anyway.

I am thankful to those of you who read this blog.  I obviously love reading, and I love being able to share it with the world.  In a perfect existence, I would get paid to do this, but I haven’t found that perfection.  Yet.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

 

European Zombies!!

European Zombies!!

I didn’t review this book, because there were plenty reviews already.  I recently devoured “Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End” by Manel Loureiro and translated by Pamela Carmell.  It was interesting reading a zombie book from a non-American perspective.

Apparently this book started out as a blog by the author and then eventually came out as a book.  There are two more books in the series, but they have yet to be translated into English.

What I like about this book is the format.  It is written as blog and journal entries.  Entirely from a first person point of view.

The main character, and person writing the entries, is a man who has recently been widowed at a young age.  His therapist suggests that he start writing to help with his grief, so he starts a blog.  He documents current events, as he is a lawyer, he pays attention to those things.  He mentions issues with a military incursion in Russia.  At a lab of some sort.  Something happened and the Russians are being very tight lipped.

Rapidly, the world starts falling apart.  In the blog, day by day new information is documented: troops are being sent to this area to help with the sick.  The sick are attacking people, this area is now under quarantine, no information from that area.

I like the fact that the main character is an every day person.  He is just a lawyer.  No military training, no gun training, the only special “skill” he has is one that is ordinary but helpful.  It was fascinating to see him adapt to the post-apocalyptic world around him.

The main character does have to leave his safe haven of home and make an attempt to find other survivors.  The action of the story is so detailed, the reader has the ability to create a 3D version of events in their head.  It is extremely gory as well, what zombie book isn’t?

The author also discusses the emotional/psychological aspect of the horror of a zombie apocalypse.  Not too many authors of these types of books mention that aspect.  The idea of “shell shock” is put forth.  It’s hard to survive day after day being hunted, and the author addresses this beautifully.  The idea of safety and security and its impact on the psyche.  Also the idea of companionship, be it of the animal kingdom or from humans.

The only difference I noted between American zombie stories and European zombie stories are circumstances.  In Europe, they do not have ready access to guns as we do in America.  Unless you are in the military, you do not grow up with a familiarity with guns.  This is definitely highlighted in this book.  Not much else was different.

Overall, this is a great read.  It fulfilled the need for action, horror, conspiracy (Russians), human relationships, and adventure.  And of course, it ends with the promise of more books to come.  Someone please translate them soon!!

I would recommend to anyone who likes the zombie genre.

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