30 December 2011

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012 and 2011 recap

I love lists - Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books have put together a year end Top 10 of 2011 event. Today is the final Top 10 - Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012.

This is a bit of a mixture - some are books I already own but haven't read, others I want, and others I'm waiting to be released - this is my Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012


1. Divergent by Virginia Roth
It seems like every reader and their dog has read this except me - so 2012 will be the year I (and my e-reader) join the cool kids.


2. Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies #2) by Rhiannon Frater
I loved The First Days and I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to read the second in the series.


3. Survivors (Morningstar Strain #3) by Z.A. Recht 
I read Plague of the Dead and Thunder and Ashes in 2009 and they were two of my first ever zombie books and played a huge part in the obsession I have today.  After Z.A. Recht passed away in 2009 it seemed that the trilogy would remain unfinished, so I'm really excited about this one - I'll also be re-reading the first two books in anticipation (and because I'm old and my memory is failing).


4. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Several other readers have convinced me to buy this book, despite my reluctance to read another YA love-story.  It's currently sitting in my office, awaiting my return to work on Monday *sobs*.


5. Tribulation (Rapture Trilogy #2) by Phillip W. Simpson
Need I say more?  I NEED to know what happens next!


6. Zombie Fallout 4 by Mark Tufo
The Zombie Fallout series was one of my favourites for 2011, so the 4th book needs to be read.  Just a question of fitting it in!


7. Article 5 by Kristin Simmons
Another YA dystopian that I'm looking forward to, as I've heard quite a few good things about it.


8. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
I read a great review of this book (can't find the blog again sorry - tell me if it was you!) which made me throw it in with my latest Amazon order.  


9. The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
I loved Ami McKay's The Birth House and her writing style really struck a chord with me, so I'm looking forward to this one.


10. The Declaration by Gemma Malley
YA dystopia (again) that I've read some great reviews about.  The premise sounds quite thought-provoking.


So there we have it my Top Ten anticipated reads for 2012.  I'll be interested to see how many of them I actually manage to read by the end of the year!


And finally, my 2011 recap:


I started 2011 with 641 books on my TBR
I've read: 144 books
I've read: 45982 pages
I ended 2011 with 779 books on my TBR (does that mean I amassed something like 300 books this year....holy cr@p!)


I started my blog on 5 November 2011:


Published 46 reviews
3212 page views
139 followers via GFC, 309 followers on Twitter and 37 likes on Facebook
4 book and 1 gift card giveaways


Phew, I'm tired now!



The Dying of the Light: End by Jason Kristopher

The Dying of the Light: End by Jason Kristopher

Published: 19 May 2011

Pages: 410 (paperback)

Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK 

Synopsis

"I didn't see Rebecca die the second time."

The United States military hides a secret: the completely real existence of eat-your-brains, one-bite-and-you're-dead zombies. The Army has known they exist for over a hundred years, and has been quietly and expertly keeping the secret.

Until now.

His hometown destroyed, with everyone he has ever known dead and gone, the sole survivor of the massacre at Fall Creek joins a secret military group to combat the single greatest threat our world has ever faced. Unfortunately, his help may come too late. Even as victories over the walkers mount, the seeds of our ultimate doom are sown from within, and at the last, only a brave few may survive to carry on. 


My Thoughts

The Dying of the Light: End starts with a prologue about David, who I would consider to be the main character of the book and a run-down of some recent US zombie outbreaks and how they were contained by the military. Fast forward a year, and David is recruited into the secret military group that is responsible for containing and covering-up zombie outbreaks.

There is not a lot of zombie action in this book – the story is centered on the secret military group charged with keeping the outbreaks under wraps and the forming of their relationships, both positive and negative. Although the book is heavily militaristic in setting, it’s not an overkill of talking about tactics, guns and other weapons – these are all, naturally, mentioned and explained, but for the reader who (like me) doesn’t particularly enjoy this kind of stuff, there’s no skimming required as the information is kept to the necessary minimum. There’s also some information about the virus itself, which is interesting but not excessive.

The Dying of the Light: End, does read a little like a movie script – it reminded me of Starship Troopers to be honest, but with far less battle scenes. The dialogue is a little cheesy in some places, but not overly so, and the characters that should be likeable are, and the ones that shouldn’t be are not (no cheering on the baddies here). The POV does shift from David in the first person to other characters in the third person, which can be a little confusing.

There are some emotional scenes, one had me particularly misty-eyed, but the overall feeling of this book is that it is a set-up of characters and relationships for the next book. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for a whole lot of zombie-killing brain-munching heart-skipping action, you may find this book slightly disappointing. I did like this one, quite a lot, and will be looking forward to the next book. 



29 December 2011

Top Ten Characters 2011

I love lists - Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books have put together a year end Top 10 of 2011 event. Today is the Top 10 Book Characters of 2011.

As I did my Top Ten Male Characters (aka Top Ten Book Boyfriends) yesterday, today is a mixture of my favourite Female Characters, with a few male characters that didn't quite make the cut yesterday (for reasons revealed below!).


1) Dez from Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry - butt-kicking, tough-talking Dez is the perfect female character for a zombie novel.  With her complication relationships and rough childhood, this former-soldier turned cop is the highlight of this book.


2) Imogen Shroud from The Undying Apathy of Imogen Shroud by Ben White - Imogen is the ultimate anti-hero - the depressed, gothic, smoking, reluctant hero isn't afraid to take on zombies, all the while protecting her younger brother and trying to work out just what the hell is going on.


3) Loki from Thicker Than Water by Greg Sisco - as Greg says, vampires aren't supposed to sparkle.  And Loki is the ultimate vampire bad boy without a hint of glitter.  Rampaging his way through the centuries with no remorse and 'living' vampire life at full-throttle, you'd be hard pressed to find a more vampirish-vamp!


4) Jenni from The First Days by Rhiannon Frater - the zombapocalypse is hard on Jenni - her family killed in the in the opening scene, she transforms from a scared, wimpy housewife into a lean-mean-zombie killing machine, all whilst holding back a potential mental breakdown.


5) Hetti from 20 Years After the Zombie Apocalypse by Lee Emerick - imagine being the last human alive in the world all the while being hunted by your now undead-fiancee.  As Hetti tracks across the country, her previous life told in a series of flashbacks, it's hard to think of a character with more reasons to be haunted by her past and present.


6) Liz Hall from Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin - in this poignant, sad and emotional book, the torture that Liz puts herself through after her death would be enough to send anyone slightly loopy, especially a teenage girl who suddenly finds her life is being lived backwards.  Funny, stubborn and confused, Liz is the perfect character for the story.


7) Alex from Ashfall by Mike Mullin - Alex almost made into my top ten male characters of 2011, but had some stiff competition.  Starting from the first pages of the book, Alex needs to be self sufficient and selfless - his determination to be reunited with his family, whilst protecting and falling in love with Darla make for one nice book guy.


8) Marty from The Walk by Lee Goldberg - Ah Marty, the anti-hero.  Or is he?  ........


9) Aaron from Dead Living by Glenn Bullion - Poor Aaron holds a lot of responsibility and he is the perfect match for his love interest, Samantha.


10) Pete from His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson - the dirty rat!

Z-Boat by Suzanne Robb


Z-Boat by Suzanne Robb

Published: 30 November 2011

Pages: 280 (paperback)


Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Author for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Synopsis

The Earth has been pillaged and polluted; the sun has not broken through the smog for over a decade. The oceans and rivers have all turned toxic. Man’s last hope for survival is to search the ocean depths for alternative fuel, food, and clean water sources. If they fail, mankind will die. The Betty Loo, a search and rescue submarine, captained by Iain Kingston, is hired at for a price no one could refuse. The crew must deal with distrust, sabotage, and spies willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. What they find on board The Widowmaker the submarine they have been dispatched to help will test each person’s will to survive and force enemies to work together. If they don’t they will all die, and what rises to the surface will bring hell to Earth. 


My Thoughts

Zombies on a submarine, a small, confined space, thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface – can it be any scarier than this?

Z-Boat opens with a quick recap on the state of the world, overpopulation has taken its toll, resulting in undrinkable water, overly-genetically modified food that has lost its nutritional value, and of course, the fuel is running out. The superpowers have been taken over by military regimes and dictators – education in Russia is far to superior to that of the American educational system, and spies are rife.

The action on the Betty Lou begins with a recap of all the characters – which I really appreciated as the list of characters is quite long, and all of them are introduced into the story right from the beginning. Z-Boat reads like a movie – the first movie that it brought to my mind was Deep Blue Sea – which fits perfectly with the story.

The characters are a mish-mash of different personalities, skills and motives, and part of the mystery is trying to work out who is working with whom, who they are working for, and who they are working against.

I know nothing about submarines, but the explanation of the workings of the sub and the equipment are well written and add to the story – with just enough content to keep it interesting without being bogged down by an overload of information.

There are a few negatives for me in this book – the story takes place over several days, but reads like it is happening all at once, for example there are no references I can remember that refer to the characters sleeping or eating a regular meal. At times the action is a little slow, and other times too fast which made it hard to keep up with what was happening.

This is a good, solid Zombie book – the setting is unique, the characters (although there are many) are easily distinguishable from each other, there is a strong mystery element and the writing is good. Zombies don’t appear in force until the second-half of the book which normally would disappoint me, but in Z-Boat the build-up was worthwhile. With a few touch-ups this could be an excellent book.


28 December 2011

End of Year Book Survey 2011


Over at The Perpetual Page Turner the End of Year Book Survey is in full swing!  I know I'm participating in a lot of these annual summary posts right now, but I really like the idea of this one - it highlights so many top moments of 2011 I couldn't resist.  Come and join in or just read some of the survey results!

Without further ado, here are my survey answers!

Best Book You Read in 2011

Can I choose two? No? Oh.... - then it would have to be Swan Song by Robert McCammon – I read it in two days (960 pages!) and was completely enthralled by the story, the characters, the setting, everything.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one and re-reading!

Most Disappointing Book/Book you wish you loved more than you did

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – the whole idea of the book appealed to me, but I found it didn’t keep my attention and I had no feeling at all, negative or positive for Mary.  It’s put me off reading the rest of the series too.

Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2011

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo – when I read there was a supernatural element I was a bit cautious as supernatural is not usually my scene.  But it was so well combined with the zombie story, and fitted perfectly with the characters and the situations they found themselves in, that I can’t now imagine it NOT having a supernatural element. 

Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson – I was completely blown away by the story, the characters and the writing – and I knew it would appeal to a lot of people, particularly readers of YA and post-apocalyptic /dystopia fiction.  And I was right!

Best series you discovered in 2011?

Definitely the  Zombie Fallout series – a series of 4 books and a prequel, I’ve read three so far and I will be reading the prequel and book 4 in 2012.  As soon as I finished one book I went straight out and bought the next so I could keep reading!

Favourite new authors you discovered in 2011

Phillip Simpson – as well as being a fantastically talented author he is also a lovely person.  Patrick D’Orazio, Mark Tufo, Joseph Talluto are my other three ‘discoveries’ for 2011.

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you

I didn’t really read much outside of my comfort zone this year – but one book that I wouldn’t have picked myself was Thicker Than Water by Greg Sisco – I have a real aversion to reading vampire novels (blame Twilight!), but Greg’s fantastic blog post about REAL vampires convinced me to give his book a spin, and I really enjoyed it!

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry – I’m a massive fan of his writing but Dead of Night sucked me in from the first page and I couldn’t bear to put it down.  Every time I had to go and do something it was always after ‘just one more chapter’ – which always turned into four or five more!

Book you most anticipated in 2011

The First Days: As the World Dies by Rhiannon Frater – I’d heard so many fantastic things about her writing, and in the zombie genre women are in the minority, but she’s top of the game.  The book was right up there in my favourites of 2011 and I look forward to Fighting To Survive in 2012.  I particularly loved the lead characters were female, again very uncommon in zombie writing.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2011

Again, Swan Song by Robert McCammon – I have the 2009 re-released cover which perfectly reflects the book.

Most memorable character in 2011

Dez from Dead of Night – I love characters that are flawed, and ballsy female characters – she fit the bill perfectly.

Most beautifully written book read in 2011

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse – the language was exquisite and fit the story perfectly.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011

After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen by Ben Shephard.  I do read some non-fiction, and this one was so emotional that it will stay with me for a long time.  Told from the POV of the medical staff involved with the initial liberation in April 1945, the care of the survivors of Belsen during the first weeks and the eventual moving of people to DP camps and back to their home countries made for an extremely moving book.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to read

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart – originally published in 1949, I’d heard about this book several times over the past few years as a classic in the PA genre, but I wasn’t able to get a copy until 2011 when it was released as an audiobook.  In hindsight, I should have been more persistent and tracked it down a long time ago.

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2011

‘It was almost a relief to feel the little stab in his heart, to know it was still there, that it still mattered, that the ring was still important.  If he let himself think about it long enough, he knew the little feeling would swell into something that made his throat tight, his shoulders tense, something that made him grieve for the pictures he used to have, the pictures that had been lost in London.  It was the only thing he could do for her.  He hadn’t got home in time, he hadn’t been able to help her, he hadn’t been able to do anything to save her, but he could still save her memory, keep it as something he would never betray’

from Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna

Book that you read in 2011 that would be most likely to be reread in 2012

Meat by Joseph D’Lacey – a grim, unsettling dystopia that I listened to as an Audiobook – I’m looking forward to reading the written version.

Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about?

20 Years After the Zombie Apocalypse, when Harri returned to collect her baby.  I can’t say more than that without giving part of the story away, but it was horrifying, emotional and tender all at the same time!

New favourite book blog that you discovered in 2011

This is really hard because this is the first year that I’ve started reading book blogs, so I’m going to do a few honourable mentions instead of a favourite:

Candace’s Book Blog: www.candacesbookblog.com
Pure Imagination: www.pureimaginationblog.com

Favourite review you wrote in 2011

Patrick D’Orazio’s The Dark Trilogy – reviewing the whole trilogy at once was a massive undertaking, but I really enjoyed writing it and reflecting on all the books at the same time.

Best moment of book blogging in 2011

Running my Happy Zombie New Year giveaway – I met so many fantastic people, found some new bloggers and had the chance to give books away that I’d loved in 2011.

Most popular post on your blog
High Moor by Graeme Reynolds – I’ll always be scared of werewolves now!

Post you wished got a little more love

Definitely Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry – it was a great book and I hope that more zombie lovers can share it with me!

Best bookish discovery

The Book Depository – I can send books so easily all over the world.  A great tool for giveaways too!

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

Yes, I set myself a goal of reading 104 books in 2011.  So far (28 December) I’m at 142 books so I’ve completely smashed it! 

One book you didn’t get to in 2011 but will be your number 1 priority in 2012

I’m really looking forward to Divergent – I’ve heard SO many good things, but I’ve only just bought myself a copy.

Book you are most anticipating for 2012

Survivors by Z.A. Recht.  I loved his first two books, and after he passed away in 2009 it looked likely that The Morningstar Strain series would not be finished, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2012

In reading I hope to expand my horizons a little, but also to continue to read great books by Indie authors.  Some of my most fantastic reading moments in 2011 were discovering hidden gems, and I really want that to continue.

In blogging I hope to keep spreading the word about books that readers wouldn’t normally stumble upon during their book rambling through book blogs, Goodreads and Amazon.  It’s really exciting to fall in love with a book that I’ve accidentally discovered and I want to help other readers discover these books too.


Thanks for stopping by and if you kept reading the whole way through!

Top 10 Book Boyfriends 2011


I love lists - Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books have put together a year end Top 10 of 2011 event. Today is the Top 10 Book Boyfriends of 2011.








Arghhhhhhhhh this one is SO difficult for me. I don't read a lot of books with 'boyfriend' type characters (they keep getting eaten!), so I'm going to turn it around into My Favourite Male Characters 2011. This will also slightly change tomorrow's Top Ten (favourite characters). But I was always a bit of a rule breaker ;)

Here we have my Top Ten Male Characters of 2011 - from 10 to 1






Chris Price
of Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna


Outwardly tough but inwardly grieving for the family and life he lost to the virus, Chris' journey to make it back to his family and friends, and the emotion of the book makes Chris a character that everyone can feel for.
And when he falls in love unexpectedly and has to make a difficult decision, he (eventually!) makes the right choice.




John Talon
of White Flag of the Dead by Joseph Talluto

When John is suddenly left alone with his baby son, Jake, during the zombapocalypse, he does the only thing he can do - takes his son, puts his grief behind him, and sets off to find a safe place for them both, picking up other survivors and battling zombies along the way.






Michael Talbot
of Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

Michael is the head of the Talbot family - at least in name. His wife is really the one in charge, and he knows it. Funny, crazy and taking every step and then some to protect his family, Michael is one of the most memorable male characters I met in 2011.






J
anusz of 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

Poor Janusz - all he wanted was to get back the life he had before the war with his wife and son, but so many years of being apart took their toll.







Freddie Watson of The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse


It would be hard not to like Freddie - haunted by his brothers death and wandering around France in search of some kind of relief, or answers, or just escape from the world he falls in love with a girl who, in her own unique way, helps him to see the dead are not really lost.




Peter Mellor of Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore

It's tough being a zombie - especially a walking, talking, emotionally-driven zombie. As Peter struggles with the idea of being one of the walking dead, he also finds out many things about his 'before-death' life and sets out to find out just who has it in for him, all whilst leading his own personal zombie gang.






Ig
of Horns by Joe Hill

Waking up as the devil, complete with horns, is going to put a downer on anyone's day. Haunted by the death of his girlfriend, Ig sets out to find the truth about how she died, and has quite a bit of devilish fun along the way.





Bradwell of Pure by Julianna Baggott

Bradwell is not one of the two 'main' characters in Pure, but he was my favourite. Living in a destroyed world, haunted by the memories of what happened to him during The Detonations and determined to live outside the rules, he's tough, smart and guides Pressia and Partridge through challenge after challenge.






John Simpson of High Moor by Graeme Reynolds

Despite seeing his childhood best-friend killed, despite the tragedy of his parents death, and despite the fact that he is, oh, a werewolf, John is still determined to stop the beast stalking High Moor.








oh...who'd have guessed - yep, it's Sam of Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson.

I challenge anyone not to like Sam - forced to live life on the edges, isolated from everyone except his adopted family, he takes on any challenge thrown at him with style, grace and dedication. Driven by his love for Aimi, with his incredible Japanese fighting skills, this is the guy you'll want on your team if the Rapture comes.




Tell me who you fell a little bit in love with in 2011!

Up tomorrow - Favourite Characters of 2011.

27 December 2011

The Children of Men by P.D. James - book and movie review






















The Children of Men by P.D. James

Book
Published: 1992
Pages: 256 (paperback)

Movie
Released: 2006
Runtime: 109 minutes

Genre: Dystopia

After starting this book, several readers and bloggers commented on the movie. I knew there was a movie, but I’d never seen it. Therefore this has become a double review – the book and the movie.

The Book

The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race. 

The Children of Men is a book that paints a disturbing picture – if human beings ceased to be born, what would happen to the world? How would we continue to function, knowing that as a species, we are dying out? There are some sad, touching moments in this book – the mass suicide of the elderly (willing or not), women cherishing dolls as if they were babies, and kittens being christened as the ageing population try to find a substitute for childbirth and child-rearing.

The main character, Theo, is not instantly likeable, seemingly happy to be self-reliant and distanced from the people around him, teaching history to bored middle-aged women and reminiscing on his earlier years with his cousin Xan, Warden of England. However, as the story progresses, through his willingness to become involved with the underground who are striving to make the dying world a better place, even although on the surface he seems to most unlikely candidate for rebellion, and his particular way of caring for Julian, he develops into an intricate, fascinating character.

The writing is incredibly descriptive, perhaps for some readers overly so, and I had to call up my dictionary more than once.

There are some negatives to this book – I found the middle part to be incredibly slow-moving after a riveting start, however the action does pick up again. I also didn’t fully understand the relevance of The Painted Faces, and wanted to know more about what they represented and why they were terrorizing people so randomly.

However, The Children of Men is today also a relevant social commentary, as the average life-span of humans continues to grow, in places the elderly outnumber the young and in first world countries the birth rate steadily falls, how immigration is managed (or mismanaged) by wealthier countries and the trial and punishment of criminals is undertaken. Perhaps, after reading P.D. James’ dystopia, there could be some changed opinions

The Movie

In 2027, in a chaotic world in which humans can no longer procreate, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea, where her child's birth may help scientists save the future of humankind.

The Children of Men is set in world that is not that far away from todays world. Race riots and terrorist attacks have decimated the world, leaving the UK as the only ‘safe’ country in the world (at least according to British media!).

Voluntary suicide is legal, although weed remains illegal, but the expulsion of non-British citizens has led to a heavy military presence, demonstrations and a strong, radical, violent resistance.

The Children of Men is grim, gritty and shocking right from the very first scene, and doesn’t let up for the whole film. The main character, Theo, has a black past and isn’t doing much better in the current day, but forms strong bonds with those he can trust, those who need his protection and has a strong sense of right and wrong.

I jumped about 15 times watching this movie – I was completely immersed in the story telling and action sequences and the actors all had me totally believing in their characters – so when something unexpected happened I almost spilled my popcorn. There were also several moments when I found myself getting a little misty eyed (and that doesn’t often happen to me!).

And one ironic moment – the refugee camps are run by ‘Homeland Security’.

Comparison

I didn’t know if I would, or even could, make a comparison between the book and the movie. They are different beasts, and apart from a few basic connections, could be considered completely seperate. The basis of the storyline is the same (human beings becoming infertile), some of the characters names are the same (Theo, Julian, Jasper, Miriam, Luke) and one scene of the movie has an almost direct quote from the book.

I liked the writing of the book, the wider focus on social issues that are current in today’s society, and the idea of how the end of human civilization could come about.

I liked the action of the movie, the focus on one particular social issue rather than many, and the actors had me completely believing in the characters and the story.
Book: 
Movie:

Top Ten Covers 2011


Oh I love lists - Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books have put together a year end Top 10 of 2011 event. Today is Top 10 Covers of 2011




I'm putting my own spin on this one. As I don't buy a lot of paperbooks, mostly e-books, I don't tend to look at the covers all that often - these are also all books that I've purchased in 2011, not necessarily published in 2011.



Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

Published 1987

Pages: 960 (paperback)


This is the reissued cover for the 2009 edition, but for me perfectly sets the scene of the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the book.








Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Published: 25 October 2011

Pages: 358 (paperback)



As well as looking completely the zombie part, this book even FEELS creepy with the slightly grainy cover of the texture.
Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

Published: 1 October 2011

Pages: 300 (paperback)

As well as the funky cover, Rapture is also beautifully presented inside the book, with page numbers and chapter headers having graphics that complement the story.
The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale

Published:1 January 2010

Pages: 400 (hardcover)


I love the black and white colours of this cover, with silhouettes that hint at what the book is about. I have yet to read this book (bad Kat, bad!)

Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Published: 1 February 2008

Pages: 320 (paperback)

First glance screams spooky - and I wasn't disappointed!
Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore

Published: 1 February 2011

Pages: 240 pages (paperback)



Doesn't take a genius to work out what this book is about ;-) - I also love the red sky in the background - really makes the sign stand out.


Eden by Keary Taylor

Published: 6 June 2011

Pages: 408 (paperback)


Ohhhh it's going to be a dystopia, I can feel it in my bones! Great combination of bright and muted colours.





Life Among the Dead by Daniel Cotton

Published: 1 March 2011



One glimpse at this and I know exactly what this book is about - and the fantastic simplicity of it really appeals to me.










Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Published: 1 October 2010
Pages: 274 pages (paperback)


Now, I did say at the beginning of this post that I'm not influenced often by book covers. And this one didn't influence me to check out the book either, but if I saw this on a shelf in a bookstore I could guarantee I would pick it up. Great silhouettes.






Seed by Ania Ahlborn

Published: 1 June 2011


Great symbolism here with the tree roots, and the various shades of orange. And the gravestones. And the font. Yep, it's a creepy read too!










Some very cheery looking books hey :) but I know what I like and I'm happy to stick with it. If you're participating, leave me a link so I can come and check your favourite covers. 

And if you're not participating, let me know your favourite book cover so I can go and check it out!

26 December 2011

Top Ten Reads of 2011



Oh I love lists - Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books have put together a year end Top 10 of 2011 event. And what a way to start this even - Top Ten Books Read in 2011.

With 141 books read this year, and 25 of them being 5 star reads, this is a tough one. But here's my top 10 for 2011:


Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

Published 1987

Pages: 960 (paperback)

Swan Song is undoubteldy one of the best loved post-apocalyptic novels ever written.  I devoured Swan Song in two days (and at nearly 900 pages that speaks volumes).  The story, characterisation, writing are amazing and this will remain as one of my top ten reads ever!

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

Published: February 2010

Pages: 322 (paperback)

Mark Tufo's Zombie Fallout is a won't-let-go-can't-put-down read, combining black humour, zombies, survival and a touch of the supernatural all in one great book.  And with three books following on, the great reading doesn't stop here.


The Dark Trilogy by Patrick D'Orazio

Published: 4 May 2011

Books: Comes the Dark, Into the Dark, Beyond the Dark and Dark Stories



Patrick D'Orazio's The Dark Trilogy was reviewed by me in November (review here) and remains as one of my favourite Zombie trilogies of the year - action-packed, Zombie-crammed, survival-jammed - with bonus material from Patrick's blog it's got even more punch than books read individually.

Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

Published: 1 October 2011

Pages: 300 (paperback)


Phillip W. Simpson's Rapture (review here) captivated me from the first page with a fall-in-love-with main character, demons and angels, heaven and hell and everything in between.  Wonderfully written and presented, Rapture is my hidden gem for 2011.


His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson

Published: 20 March 2008
Pages: 320 (paperback)



His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson (reviewed here) turned chick-lit on it's head, proving that what sounds like a light, fluffy read on the outside can be far from the truth - chilling yet tragic, funny yet frightening, His Other Lover has a fantastic twist and is incredibly well-written.


Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Published: 25 October 2011

Pages: 358 (paperback)

Jonathan Maberry once again sucked me straight in, with Dead of Night - chillingly atmospheric, my favourite female character of 2011, zombies, serial killers - it was one of my most awaited and most satisfying reads.


High Moor by Graeme Reynolds

Published: 16 November 2011

Pages: 354

High Moor (review here) is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time - complete with werewolves and some fantastic (and accurate!) descriptions of northern-England towns and the people that inhabit them.  Incredible writing and a wonderfully scary first book.


White Flag of the Dead by Joseph Talluto

Published: 2009




White Flag of the Dead by Joseph Talluto, and the subsequent books in the series, is another fantastic zombie trilogy by an up-and-coming author that I discovered in 2011.  But as well as being a zombie book, it also concentrates on the area that some books in the zombie gang miss - survival and building a family and community during the zombapocalypse.


All eight of these books got 5 stars from me, but there are also two four-star reads that I really feel deserve a mention.  They weren't perfect, but they were pretty damn close:

Horns by Joe Hill

Published: 1 January 2010

Pages: 368 (hardcover)

Joe Hill's Horns was one of the most unique, dark, chilling, emotional books I've read.  Driven by grief and guilt, the main character Ig suddenly finds himself in possession of some devilish powers - and subsequntly the chance to put wrongs to right.


Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Published: 1 February 2008

Pages: 320 (paperback)


Meat by Joseph D'Lacey was one of the most disturbing, thought-provoking and enthralling dystopia's I've ever read.  I recently learnt from the author that my audiobook of Meat is an older version of the book, so in 2012 I will be reading (and reviewing) the updated written version - stay tuned!


There we have it - my top ten reads of 2011.  Heavily zombified, but some amazing books that deserve to be checked out.  Particularly if you haven't heard of them before, follow the links, read the synopsis on Goodreads and support these fantastic authors!

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