Tag Archives: zombies

Teaser Tuesday – 10th October, 2017

Standard

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my choice of the day:
Falling Apart – Book 2 of the Otherworlders series by Jane Lovering

3% I am vampire. I am top of the food chain, a mover-in-shadow; desired by women, envied by men. I have the grace of a cat, the sight of an eagle and the speed of a greyhound – so why can’t I find a bloody biro when I want one?

BLURB: Jessica Grant liaises with Otherworlders for York Council so she knows that falling in love with a vampire takes a leap of faith. But her lover Sil, the City Vampire in charge of Otherworld York, he wouldn’t run out on her, would he? He wouldn’t let his demon get the better of him. Or would he?

Sil knows there’s a reason for his bad haircut, worse clothes and the trail of bleeding humans in his wake. If only he could remember exactly what he did before someone finds him and shoots him on sight.

With her loyalties already questioned for defending zombies, the Otherworlders no one cares about, Jess must choose which side she’s on, either help her lover or turn him in. Human or Other? Whatever she decides, there’s a high price to pay and someone to lose.

I loved the first book in the series Vampire State of the Mind and couldn’t believe my luck when I realised that this book, which has been languishing on my TBR for far too long, was the sequel! Funny and engrossing – this is just what the doctor ordered while I’m still in the throes of influenza.

Advertisements

Favourite Fantasy Worlds – Part 2

Standard

I posted my first five Favourite Fantasy Worlds a few weeks ago, so here are the next group. All of these worlds are well developed, nicely complex and provide satisfying backdrops for the stories. It’s no accident they are all series. One of the reasons I really enjoy multi-book story arcs is the extra layers of detail that can be built into the worldbuilding.

The Glass Thorns series by Melanie Rawn
This original, remarkable series is set in the equivalent age of the Tudors, with horse-drawn conveyances Touchstoneand charts the fortunes of a magical travelling theatre company. In the first book, Touchstone, they form their group and the next three books in the series records their highs and lows as they steadily get more prosperous and successful. Though that brings its own pressures. The glass thorns of the series title, are the drugs the actors dose themselves with, in order to heighten their emotions – or help them relax after the excitement of performance. I eagerly await each book and so far, have not been disappointed at the unfolding drama of these enormously talented, difficult people battling to produce their best work in less than ideal circumstances.

The Worlds of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones
This series of books covers the adventures of the state-appointed enchanter Chrestomanci, who is taskedCharmedLife with keeping law and order amongst the magical community. I have read most of these books to my granddaughter, after having devoured them myself several decades ago – my favourite is Charmed Life. And rereading them aloud has not only proved they can stand the test of time, but increased my respect at the quality of the writing, the crafting of the story arcs and the sheer quirky genius of Jones’ imagination. Yes – I know they are supposed to be for children, but give them a go if you appreciate magical mayhem. They are a joy for any age group.

The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong
nohumansinvolvedThis world is extensively portrayed in the thirteen-book series, with a number of accompanying novellas and short stories. It all kicks off with Bitten, where werewolf Clay accidentally bites his girlfriend – and her life is never the same again. But don’t go away with the idea that the series is all about werewolves – it also encompasses witches, necromancers and vampires. In short, anyone who dabbles with the paranormal or magic. Read my review of No Humans Involved. The world is enjoyable – I love the way Armstrong manages to slide from everyday normality into something else.

Einarinn by Juliet E. McKenna
Again, this extensive, detailed world has been produced over a long period of time through several series dangerous watersof books – there are five books within The Tales of Einarinn; four books in The Aldabreshin Compass; three books and a novella in The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution and her latest trilogy, still set within the same world – The Hadrumal Crisis. Juliet provides an excellent explanation of her world on her blog. They are all great reads – but my personal favourites are The Aldabreshin Compass series and The Hadrumal Crisis – see my review of Dangerous Waters.

The Inheritance trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
thehundredthousandkingdomsThis is an extraordinary series – particularly the first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms which is set in the city Sky where gods and mortal co-exist. See my review here. The book is pervaded by the sense of threat and a feeling that a set of rules apply here that our protagonist needs to know, but doesn’t fully understand. The second book, The Broken Kingdoms had me in tears at the end – and that doesn’t happen all that often, these days. If you like remarkable fantasy on an epic scale focusing on gods, then give it a go.

And there you have it… a few of my favourite fantasy worlds to date. What are your favourite fantastic worlds?

Review of Two Weeks’ Notice – Book 2 of The Revivalist series by Rachel Caine

Standard

I enjoy Caine’s writing. Her Morganville Vampires series stood out in a cluttered sub-genre as a classy, chilling take on the blood-sucking varmints – see my review of the first book, Glass Houses, here. The series I suspect she is more famous for, the Weather Warden series, is such a sharply cool idea that I recalling grinning with the pleasure of it as I read the opening pages of the first book in the series, Ill Wind – read my review here2weeksnotice.

So when I came across this offering, I immediately scooped it up figuring that Caine’s take on zombies was likely to be worth reading – and I wasn’t wrong.

After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returné, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife – with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost.

Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming – thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returné addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn is called in to find out what is going on – and suddenly her life is once more turned inside out…

That is most of the blurb. I hadn’t read the first book, Working Stiff, but Caine is far too an experienced and canny a writer to lose readers like me who still insist on picking up mid-series books, so it wasn’t a major problem. I soon came up to speed as slices of necessary information interleaved the action. For the more squeamish among you, I’d like to reassure you that although this is a zombie-chick book, stomach-churning descriptions of rotting corpses are kept to a minimum.

Which doesn’t mean that it’s all sweetness and light – it isn’t. There is a torture scene where the torturer waves a spoon threateningly near the victim’s eyes and mentions how she doesn’t have to hold back. And then we cut to the aftermath. Leaving the reader to join the dots and realise the full horror of being subjected to an extraordinarily painful procedure – then left to regenerate, before having to relive the ordeal all over again.

The pacing in places is a tad uneven, and the story did take a while to get going – which those of you familiar with Caine’s other work, will know is uncharacteristic. But it wasn’t a dealbreaker – I liked Bryn and enjoyed the premise far too much to be remotely tempted to abandon this entertaining book.

Caine brought the narrative to a satisfactory conclusion – while leaving a particular plotpoint regarding Bryn’s relationship with Patrick at an intriguing impasse. So I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series called, Terminated, and if you enjoyed Caine’s other series but haven’t yet given this one a go, then track it down. It’s worth it.
8/10

Review of EBOOK Eternal Aftermath by Michael D Griffiths

Standard

I read the Kindle edition of this book, as it was quicker and cheaper than waiting for the printed edition to plop through the letterbox – and this, after all, is what I bought my Kindle for in the first place…

Eternal-Aftermath-Griffiths-D-Michael-9781611990232Devon has made a huge mistake by leaving the side of his wife and the safety of the compound on a gamble that the plague of undead has run its course. On his own, with thousands of Tucson’s restless dead tracking his every move, is there any way he can hope to survive? He might have a chance with the undead, but his real enemy could end up being his fellow survivors. If Devon isn’t careful, he may find out that there are worse things than death, and those who have already perished were the lucky ones.

This is one of the latest offerings in the slew of zombie books avalanching onto our book shelves – a sub-genre of the horror market whose popularity shows no sign of abating. Griffiths’ first book was a modern take on Lovecraftian horror with his hero, Jack Primus hitting the road in an effort to overcome the terrors dogging him. Eternal Aftermath has a far more claustrophobic feel, as five years after the zombie-producing plague that enveloped the globe, the remains of the human race are reduced to living in armed encampments. And when Devon finds himself battling – in every sense of the word – to survive, he has to find his own hiding place.

Energy crackles off the pages – a hallmark of Griffiths’ writing – and the plotting and narrative tension is also very polished. In between the action scenes, we get a chance to really get to know Devon as more than just an effective killing machine with a justifiable chip on his shoulder – which is so often the staple of these books. As a result, I really cared about him and his companions and found myself unwilling to put down the Kindle, but read on into the small hours to find out what would happen next.

This isn’t my favourite genre by a long country mile. Partly because I’m rather squeamish, and partly because it is characters that always draw me into a story and often action horror tales don’t spend much time on character development. In amongst all the mayhem, Griffiths manages to flesh out Devon, warts and all. I found it satisfyingly realistic that he was strongly tempted to shoot his wife when given the opportunity, for example. And those lulls in the action scenes also provides plenty of gathering tension, backlighting the fight scenes with greater emotional investment.

The scene setting is excellent, and clearly one of Griffths’ strengths. It is particularly crucial in this book that he manages to clearly portray the various backdrops to the action and at no time did I find myself floundering or backtracking to work out exactly where I was while it was all kicking off. Which is something I regularly have to do during action scenes, partly because my spatial awareness isn’t that wonderful – and partly because authors often tend to skim over the where and when as fists and bullets start flying. Not so, in Eternal Aftermath.

Any niggles? Well, there were a few typos and the left-hand margin keeps indenting in an annoying way that I’m more used to seeing in self-published novels – and given that I wasn’t paying a rock bottom price for this book, I think the formatting issues should be addressed by Living Dead Press sooner rather than later. However – unlike a lot of self-published books – these glitches weren’t on the scale that significantly intruded, but this would have had a 9 if it hadn’t been for those – the writing certainly merits it.
Griffiths satisfactorily ties up the plot, but leaves the possibility open for a sequel, which I very much hope he will soon start writing. I want to know more about how Devon and his little band of followers are going to cope – and whether he can keep true to his ideals in this grisly Aftermath…
8/10