30 April 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

It's hoppy time again!


YAY Spring!  It feels like it's been, well, 9 months coming...yeah.  Anyways, this great hop is co-hosted by Eve's Fan Garden and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer


My prize is one book of choice from The Book Depository, up to the value of EUR 10.00.  And don't forget to hop through the other blogs participating!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading #17


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey and is a great way for others to find out what you are planning to read this week and, best of all, see what others are reading.

What I Read Last Week

Partials by Dan Wells
Torn by Stephanie Guerra

After last week's reading binge, apparently I'm on a book diet ;-)

What I'm Reading This Week
Outside by Shalini Boland
Dead City by Joe McKinney

Uh huh, the Zombies are back in town!

What are you reading this week?  Read anything last week that you think I'd like?

 

Review: A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle


Expected Publication: 1 May 2012 by Amulet Books

Pages: 208 (Hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal


Source: Publisher for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis


Mary O'Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can't let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary's street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny's own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.



My Thoughts

I love the Irish - who doesn't?  So when I saw this book about a young girl and ghosts in Ireland, I knew I had to read it.

A Greyhound of a Girl is the story of Mary, her mother, her grandmother and a ghost.  I loved Mary - her  cheeky attitude made me smile over and over again.  Her mother, Scarlett was also endearing with her particularly enthusiastic way of speaking.

As a ghost story, this isn't a scary or creepy book, and nor is it aiming to be.  Instead it is a sweet tale of a girl and her family, and her family's past.  With flashbacks to the childhoods of Mary's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, the interaction between the characters at different stages of their lives was enchanting and was easily imaginable as real scenes being played out across the span of years.

The pacing of the book is relaxed, with a large amount of dialogue, which fits perfectly with the story.  I read this book over 3 or 4 hours and ended with a smile on my face - it really is a sweet, feel-good story, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone!

Z is for Zoology (A-Z Challenge)

Z is for Zoology



Killer animals?  What a cool idea!  Not popular in the apocalyptic genre.....

OK.  Let’s stop pretending.  We know what this post is actually going to be........

Z is for ZOMBIE

And in celebration, here's a collection of my favourite zombie books from the last two years or so:




Yep, the last post of this challenge and my favourite apocalyptic scenario – Zombies!  You can’t turn anywhere in the reading world nowadays without running across a few zombies now and then.  Whether in YA or adult literature, our fascination with zombies only continues to grow.  Why?  Because they are a damn scary thought – many other apocalyptic scenarios you could just stock up on bread and dry biscuits and hide out in your home until the heat dies down, but with zombies your dearly beloved aren’t just going to die, they’re going to die and try to EAT you!

There are so many variations on zombie books it’s impossible to get them all down in writing – there’s the action-man hero who goes out to battle zombies, the family trying to ride out the apocalypse together, groups of random survivors, average Joe’s trying to get home to their families, teenagers trying to find their place in the post-Z world, military POV’s, survival handbooks.

So what makes a good zombie book for me?  As I read so many I need uniqueness to make them stand alone from all the others.  But below are my generalizations for what makes a great zombie book for me, and what I think will also appeal to other readers.

Scenario:   The dead are walking!  As news programs broadcast live action of the zombapocalypse over the airwaves, panic begins and people try to make their way home to their loved ones.  Using whatever make-shift weapons they can get their hands on, as others fall victim to the horrific hordes, several characters make their way through a chaotic city.

Characters: an average Joe, a kick arse chick with an attitude and a teenage boy band together to make it out of the city.  Unlikely allies, they learn more about each other on their quest to make it out of the city unscathed, gather up their families and try and find a safe place to ride out the rotting storm.

Location: Any big city or largish town can work.  The apocalypse itself starts locally, a mutated disease leaked from a research facility, or bought back from the deepest jungle by an ill traveler.

Stand-alone or Series: Either – it depends on your eventual outcome for your characters. Does it end when they find their families and refuge from the undead?  Do they split up and there are separate stories to tell?  Is there a focus on long-term survival?

This is just one possible scenario that I enjoy in zombie books – there are many others out there, with a bigger or smaller focus on the actual zombies, concentrating on relationship development or long-term survival, gory and clean, scary and funny, YA and adult.  The point is, there are so many possibilities, you can make your story unique and stand out from the masses.


I hope you have enjoyed my A-Z challenge and hopefully learnt some more about the apocalyptic genre, either as a reader or a writer.  If I’ve unintentionally stolen the storyline to a book you have read or a book you have written, let me know so I can read it – after all I’ve just outlined all my favourite scenarios and chances are I’ll love the book too!

29 April 2012

The Sunday Session


After events of the past week, I have made a personal choice to no longer participate in IMM on Sundays.  As such, I have chosen to use my own feature to summarise the past week on The Aussie Zombie and the books I have received.


Welcome to The Sunday Session! A Sunday Session is an Australian tradition usually held in pubs on a Sunday afternoon where people feeling a bit 'fragile' from a big weekend can listen to some chilled out music, have a late lunch, catch up with friends and maybe indulge in a little hair-of-the-dog.

Usually on a Sunday I mooch about, read blogs, check out new releases and book news and just generally do SFA - so what better opportunity to look back at the past week's reading, posts and the new books I've picked up!

I've had a crazy busy week and I've only read ONE BOOK. ONE. Totally unheard of in Kat's world. But what a great book it was!



Books Read
Partials by Dan Wells
Reviews
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (adult fiction) 5 Bugs!
Prince Charming Must Die! by Isabella Fontaine (YA Fiction) 4 Bugs!
Ushers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer (YA paranormal) 5 Bugs!

Features
My Birthday Giveaway (ends 30 April)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #16 @ Book Journey
Fairytale Hop Giveaway (ends 1 May)
TGIF @ G Reads - Reading Blues

New Books


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma
John Dies at the End by David Wong
Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
The Loners by Lex Thomas (thank you Egmont USA)
Perfect by Jonathan Cole
Death Whispers by Tamara Rose Blodgett
What Zombies Fear by Kirk Allmond 
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
Hourglass by Myra McIntyre
Timepiece by Myra McIntyre (thank you Egmont USA)
The Undead Situation by Eloise J. Knapp

Phew! What an action packed week.


If you've got anything you'd like to share - giveaways, new books, reviews, funny clips, leave me a link for my Sunday mooching!

28 April 2012

Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Published: 3 April 2012 by Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 275 pages (hardcover)

Genre/s: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Source: Publisher for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?


My Thoughts

The Lifeboat is a book that taps into one of those great fear moments - a ship sinks in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and 39 survivors find themselves in a lifeboat, with little food and water and no idea when, or even if, rescue is coming.  As the situation becomes increasingly desperate, allegiances are formed and broken and the survivors are forced to make some impossible decisions.

Grace is a seemingly sweet if naive young woman, but as more of her story emerges before, during and after her time at sea, her motives and actions become more and more muddied.  Is it reality, or simply an over-active imagination and blurred memories?  With flashbacks to her and Henry's courtship, the hours before the sinking of the ship and her criminal trial, the truth becomes ever more evasive.

The Lifeboat also poses some interesting moral questions - if you own survival is at stake, how far would you go to ensure that you were last man (or woman) standing.  How can a particular situation or person influence your actions, and in such a fishbowl environment can everything be taken at face value?

The language in which The Lifeboat is written is perfect for the era - I was immediately immersed in the world of 1914, and the desperation and anxiety of the survivors had me completely hooked.

The Lifeboat is an incredible debut for Ms. Rogan - it reads like a book written by a seasoned, experienced author.

Y is for Young Adult (A-Z Challenge)

Y is for Young Adult



Recently the YA genre has scene has had a massive explosion of apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian and zombie books. Most, but not all, include a romantic element amidst the chaos and death of the world around them.

My point is that a YA apocalyptic book doesn’t need to have a romance, or at least an intense romance, to make it a good book. Friendships, family and romance without declaring undying love 10 pages after meeting widens the appeal of the book to readers that normally wouldn’t read a YA novel.

Young characters have a lot to offer an apocalyptic book – they have energy, new ideas and tend to be less held back by stereotypes or previous life experiences that can make older characters more wary. But if you choose to write a YA apocalyptic, please make your characters strong, independent and gritty as well as having their interactions with other survivors and peers realistic.

I do hope this trend continues as it is drawing YA readers to the adult post-apocalyptic genre which can only be a good thing for both writers, readers and bloggers, as we become more connected in our reading. Genre divides can be quite strong for some readers, and branching out is a good thing – it can either open up a new world or can reinforce exactly what we really do like to read, and helps us to choose more books that we love.

And on that note, if you’re not a fan of apocalyptic fiction, and you’ve still read all my posts on apocalypses………you have the patience of a saint and thank you for reading! Tomorrow is the last post in this challenge. Z – can you guess what it stands for?

Recommended by me

(This is purely apocalyptic - dystopia isn't included, sorry!)


Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

Published: 21 October 2011 by Pear Jam Books

Pages: 300 (paperback)

Read the synopsis and my review here



Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Published: 6 September 2011 by Egmont USA

Pages: 480 (hardcover)

Read the synopsis and my review here







The Undying Apathy of Imogen Shroud by Ben White

Published: 14 April 2011

Read the synopsis and my review here







Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Published: 1 June 2011 by Scholastic

Pages: 341 pages (hardcover)

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.


Mentioned in earlier posts (links will take you to my review)





After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Ashfall by Mike Mullin

27 April 2012

X is for eXtras (A-Z Challenge)

X is for eXtras

Okay so I totally forgot to schedule my X post for the A-Z challenge until the day before it was due to go up, so I'm doing this on the fly.

I've spoken a lot about books with specific post-apocalyptic/paranormal themes, so here are some books that didn't fit one of the previous themes:

Last Light and Afterlight by Alex Scarrow (Peak Oil)
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (floods, droughts and storms, oh my!)
Plague Year, Plague War and Plague Zone by Jeff Carlson (nano-tech!)
Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson (what it says on the box!)

I don't have the time to add pictures, but there's links at least! 

Informative posts will resume again tomorrow!


TGIF - Reading Blues!


It's FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY! And for me it's a long weekend as Monday is a holiday in the Netherlands. I can't wait to sleep and read and sleep and sleep and imprint my backside into the sofa. It's been a long week.

TGIF is hosted by GReads and is both a post re-cap for the previous week and a fun question!

This week's question is: Reading Blues: We all get them from time to time. What helps you overcome those reading slumps when nothing seems to grab your attention?
Such an appropriate question seeing as I've not read a SINGLE book all week (usually I read at least three!). Work has been super busy and my motivation is at an all time low. Although the books I'm currently reading are great, I find myself distracted by the smallest things......oh, look! a pigeon! (see!).

I know I'll get through the Reading Blues - I have before and I've worked out a few strategies for myself:

- Read some short stories - after a few I'm so HUNGRY for a full length novel with more storyline, character development and world-building.

- Stop pushing myself. Reading is supposed to be fun and something I look forward to in my downtime. If I'm not enjoying it, chances are I'm going to be pretty cranky by the end and that's not fair on the book nor the author.



- Allow myself to pick through all my books and start a few to try and find that 'click'. Getting caught up in lists and schedules and deadlines just turns me right off, I need to read something I want, not have to.

- Spend so much time on the internet I end up bored out of my skull and reading becomes my escape again. I'm working on that one right now ;-)

What are your tips for getting through the reading blues? Help me out!



Edit: I'm so confused this week, I even forgot the post links and now I have to work!  But I'll do better next week, promise!

26 April 2012

Review: Prince Charming Must Die! by Isabella Fontaine


Prince Charming Must Die (The Grimm Chronicles #1) by Isabella Fontaine

Published: 16 April 2012

Pages: 91 (kindle)


Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Author for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Synopsis

On the eve of her 18th birthday, high school junior Alice Goodenough feels on top of the world. Classes are almost finished. She’s about to start her summer job at the local library, where she’ll be surrounded by all of her favorite books. And she has a wonderful boyfriend.

Then the rabbit shows up. The giant talking rabbit. He has a message:
200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm unleashed their stories upon the world.
Literally.

With the help of a magic pen and paper, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm brought all of their characters to life. The world was a more magical place … for a time. Cinderella found her prince. Briar Rose's spell was broken. The dancing princesses spent their nights hidden away in a secret underground city. The old miller's boy found true love.

Then, slowly, the Grimms’ characters began to change for the worse. They became Corrupted. Evil. They didn’t belong in our world, but it was too late for the Brothers Grimm to destroy them.

Only a hero can save the day. Every generation for the past 200 years, a hero has been chosen to fight the Corrupted and rid the world of the Grimms’ fairy tales. To her horror, Alice has been chosen as the next hero. As her 18th birthday nears, she begins to realize life is never going back to normal. School will never be the same.

As for her boyfriend, Edward … well, he might be hiding a terrible secret.

My Thoughts

Prince Charming Must Die is a short book, but it packs a lot of action and character development into 91 pages. I love fairy-tales, and as an added bonus this book also includes some classic fairy-tales which I particularly enjoyed.

Alice is a strong, likeable main character, smart, savvy and sensible shes also has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humour which I particularly enjoyed.

The writing is clear and to the point, without over-simplifying the story, and I hold a particular fondness for the talking rabbit (I want one of my own!). The plot is simple - Alice finds out that she is the hero, chosen to save the world from the Corrupted and armed with only a pen (albeit a magical pen), she finds herself thrust into a strange world that is a cross between reality and fairy-tale with a boyfriend who just seems a little too perfect to be true.

Prince Charming Must Die is the first part of a series focusing on different fairy-tales and I'm really looking forward to the next installment, and seeing Alice develop along the way!

My one and only very minor disappointment was a slightly rushed feeling in one of the key scenes toward the end of the story - I can't tell you what it was without a spoiler, but a little more development would have made this a 5-star read!

W is for Weapons (A-Z Challenge)

W is for Weapons



In every apocalyptic scenario weapons are a necessity.  Whether taking head shots at zombies with a high-powered gun, fighting off scavengers or raiders after an earthquake or volcanic eruption, or shooting animals for food after an EMP or during an ice-age, you’re going to need some weapons.

Guns are good but not always the best choice – zombies will be drawn by the sound of gunfire, vampires need silver bullets and a flood is not going to be kind to your trusty sidearm.  Other favourites include baseball bats, rebar or if you’re really talented, a cross-bow.

How much detail should you go into with your weapons?  That’s a tough question because every reader has differing degrees of interest.  Personally, if you tell me someone is carrying a gun that is good at long range and will kill zombies or raiders that’s enough for me.  Others will want to know the type/make/colour of the gun – but if you’re going into that much detail do your research well – gun enthusiasts/military-types will have a field day picking apart your book if you describe weapons that aren’t easily available to the public, or *gasp* don’t even exist.

Picking a quirky weapon for your main character will open your book up to debate.  By this I mean that apocalyptic fiction enthusiasts, particularly of the zombie variety love to discuss weapon choices – pick something unique and it may even be referenced back to your book on a forum or review site!

25 April 2012

Giveaway: Fairytale Giveaway Hop


I LOVE fairytales - there's something unique and magical about every single one and the current trend of re-tellings of fairytales is something that I've really been enjoying.  What better way to celebrate than taking part in this great Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and vvb32reads.

My favourite fairytale character is Cinderella - after all this chick overcame her nasty step family just by being a good, hardworking girl AND then she got her Prince Charming!  Plus she got to wear glass slippers - envious, much!


So, what's the prize I hear you ask?  Because this hop is all about fairy tales, the prize is the choice of ONE of the following books:


Cinder by Marissa Meyer (paperback)
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (paperback)
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (paperback)

And due to the wonders of The Book Depository, this giveaway is open Internationally, as long as you qualify for free delivery!

When you're done with entering here, don't forget to hop through the other blogs!



V is for Vampires (A-Z Challenge)

V is for Vampires



Yep, I’m going there.  Bet you didn’t think I would!  My dislike for vampires is well known – and a certain book which shall not be named is the main cause.  However, I have become slightly more accepting in my old age, and therefore am including vampires in my apocalypse scenarios.

Scenario:  It’s going to have to be a vampire-human war here, because that’s pretty much the only way I’m buying into the whole vampire thing.  OK, I can maybe stretch to a good vs bad vampire war too.  Either way, there’s going to be a whole lot of bad vampires, and potentially a few ‘’good’’-ish ones.

Characters:  Tough humans, maybe some doctors or scientists who ‘discover’ the vampire threat.  Bad vampires are the kind that actually DO kill humans.  Can I make it any more simple? ;-)

Location:  Real vampires can’t go into the light – therefore part of the story is going to be set under a city, in train tunnels or at night.  Make it a small town with the surrounding woods infested by vampires, or a big city under threat.

Stand-alone or series:  Is there a vampire stand-alone out there, anywhere?  I honestly cannot remember seeing one (please correct me if I’m wrong), most are series.  And if you’re going to have a human vs vampire war, make it a big one and put it into a series.

Recommended By Me

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Published: 1 January 2009

Pages: 401 (hardcover)

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months—the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.


On My TBR


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Published: 1954

Pages: 320 (paperback)


Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood.

By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

24 April 2012

Review: Ushers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer


Ushers, Inc. by Rusty Fischer

Published: 22 June 2011

Pages: 106 (Kindle)


Genre/s: Zombie, Humour

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Synopsis


When the streets are full of bloodsuckers, werewolves, zombies and ghouls, where will you turn? The cops don’t know how to stop them, the Army’s pretty much given up and even the Marines are stumped when their bullets and grenades fail to stop the onslaught.

Have no fear, Ushers, Inc. is here! Four high school movie ushers, who collectively have seen over 42,000 hours of B- and C-horror movies know just what to do. 


My Thoughts

I love B-grade horror movies - you know the ones, where you spend most of the movie shouting ''don't go in the basement'' at the screen, or rolling your eyes whilst muttering ''yeah the pretty one dies first, EVERY time'' and there's nothing I like better than making up a whole lot of salty, buttered popcorn and curling up in my pyjamas whilst watching them.

Ushers, Inc. is written like a B-grade horror movie - and it's just as entertaining. The main character, Abby is sarcy, geeky and pretty damn clued up when it comes to vampires, zombies and werewolves - working as an usher with access to all those free movies has taught her, and her friends well.

Mr. Fischer writes a damn good, funny story and the sarcasm and one liners are fabulous:


''It smells putrid, like sixteen-day-old dumpster drool on crack'' 

''his massive man boobs jiggling like some x-rated theater usher peep show''

So next time you're off to fight some zombies, werewolves or vampires (or werevombies!), don't forget your roll of pennies, cheap watch battery and garlic lasso. Don't get what I mean? Read Ushers, Inc. and find out!


U is for Under a Cloud (A-Z Challenge)

U is for Under a Cloud



I’m not talking fluffy white spring clouds here – the cloud I’m talking about is dark, spooky and has far reaching consequences for humans, animals and the environment – to be specific, an ash cloud.  There are active volcanoes in specific parts of the world, and dead and dormant volcanos in many others.  Anyone have their flights interrupted/cancelled by recent volcanoes in Iceland or South America?  Compared to the eruption of a super-volcano that would be just an inconvenience…. Some science is recommended, but not necessary - this scenario is easily imaginable without dry facts.  Examples could be cool.

Scenario:  Either the localized fall out of a relatively small volcanic eruption or the far-reaching consequences of a super-volcano erupting make for a complex and scary scenario for an apocalyptic book.  As bigger is (almost) always better, this is more a super-volcano scenario.  In the immediate vicinity of the volcano there’s going to be an instant and massive loss of life due to the toxic ash, lava, flaming boulders falling from the sky and massive lighting storms, but outside that area there would also be the massive impact of the ash cloud moving across the sky.  Permanent darkness, the threat of a rapid-onset ice-age and ash in every nook and cranny, ruining cars and electronic equipment are going to make survival a tough prospect.

Characters: Families, average Joes, couples and groups work well.  Survivalists are going to find themselves in pretty much the same situation as everyone else, perhaps with the exception of having a good food and water supply.  For the rest of us, water will be a big problem, and longer term, food sources will be smothered or killed and planting crops in volcanic ash just isn’t going to fly.  There may be a place for a meteorologist or scientists, and government/military intervention are inevitable.

Location:  Pick a place on the map with any active or dormant volcano and you’ve got your location – the bigger the better, naturally.  Focus on a community or travelers and bob’s-your-uncle the story is ready to go.

Stand-alone or series:  Both are options here, the stand-alone can focus on the event and immediate fall-out, the series can focus on both those ideas plus long term implications and survival both in the vicinity and how humans are affected further away from the impact site.

Recommended by Me

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Published: 27 September 2011

Pages: 466 (hardcover)

For synopsis and my review click HERE

23 April 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #16



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey and is a great way for others to find out what you are planning to read this week and, best of all, see what others are reading.


What I Read Last Week


The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Until I Die (Revenants #2) by Amy Plum
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
John Gone by Michael Kayatta
Prince Charming Must Die by Isabella Fontaine
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Four Freedoms by John Crowley
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Fracture by Megan Miranda


There's no way I'd normally read this much in a week!  However the first four books I'd already started reading and only had to finish and the last four I read as part of a 24-hour read-a-thon I participated in at Goodreads.


What I'm Reading This Week
Partials by Dan Wells
Torn by Stephanie Guerra
The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters by Rhiannon Frater


Read any good books last week, or reading something you're really excited about this week?  Let me know!

T is for Tsunami (A-Z Challenge)

T is for Tsunami

A really big wave caused by an earthquake is heading for my low-lying tropical oasis?  Oh man, there goes my day at the beach.  Tsunami is another of those ‘quick win’ apocalyptic stories – there are enough examples in recent history that you can poach some science from, and you’re going to be jumping into the action pretty fast.

Scenario:  You’ll need to work hard on the actual impact stages to not fall into a clichéd story.  Once you get past impact and survival, you’ll also have to do some rebuilding, or at least planning for it.

Characters: Potentially some scientists or government-drones, but average-Joe and especially families work well here.  Heart-strings pulled, anyone?

Location: A low lying area is pretty much the only possibility, but luckily (or unluckily) you are spoilt for choice here as the possibility of tsunamis is high in any costal location.  Globally is going to be a toughie in terms of the science, or if you don’t actually want to flood the WHOLE world.  If you want to delve into a realm normally reserved for non-fiction, you could also choose a dam collapse.

Series or stand-alone:  Tsunami is almost definitely in stand-alone territory, as it will be difficult to keep your readers interested over a series.

Recommended by Me

Rogue Wave by Boyd Morrison

Published: 30 January 2009

Pages: 416 (paperback)

A minor seismic disturbance in a remote section of the Pacific causes barely a ripple of concern for Kai Tanaka, acting director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu. But when an airliner en route from L.A. to Sydney vanishes in the same location, Kai is the first to realize that a mysterious explosion has unleashed a series of massive waves destined to obliterate Hawaii. In just one hour, Kai will lose all he has ever known—including his wife and daughter— unless he can save them from nature’s most destructive force.

22 April 2012

In My Mailbox #22


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where bloggers and readers can talk about the books and booky things they have received in the last week - paper-books, e-books, library loans, swaps, wins, anything!


I haven't spent a single cent on books this week - not through being 'good', but I had so many awesome review books and winnings come my way, I didn't need to!


Free on Kindle
Bones by Mark Wheaton

Review
Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne 

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Zombie Night in Canada by Jamie Friesen
77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

Won
Fearless by Tawdra Kandle
Beyond the Sea by Emily Goodwin
Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace
Everlong by Hailey Edwards
Chasing Nikki by Lacey Weatherford
Mortal Defiance by Nichole Chase
Illicit Magic by Camilla Chafer


RAK
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting from the fabulous Kayla at Bibilophilia, Please


What did you get in your mailbox this week?  Leave me a link!

21 April 2012

Review: The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain

Expected publication: 24 April 2012 by Mira

Pages: 368 (paperback)

Genre/s: Adult contemporary

Source: Publisher for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis

A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there's no going back.Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he's never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe.But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he's worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble….Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a onetime criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions.With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter's sake.Even if it means he might lose her.

My Thoughts

I love Diane Chamberlain books – they’re my guilty pleasure. Ms Chamberlain writes excellent family dramas without getting caught up in legalese or clichéd love scenes – they are simply stories about families going through challenging times that either stick together or fall apart. So when I saw The Good Father on NetGalley I knew I had to read this book.

Told in alternating POV by Travis, Robin and Erin, this is a story about lost love, illness and most importantly, about what it means to be a parent. Travis’ love and dedication to Bella, despite all the challenges that life throws at him (with quite a bit of force) is nothing less than admirable, and with his determination to do the best he can in difficult circumstances whilst always putting Bella first made me as a reader fall just a little bit in love with him.

Robin and Erin’s stories, and the way that they are interwoven with Travis’ story are done very well, but my one and only criticism of this book is that I found Robin to be quite cold and distant given the circumstances. But perhaps this was intentional – as the book progressed I found my respect for her growing, especially after reading more about her upbringing and the difficult choices she was forced to make. My heart, almost literally, broke for Erin – her story is incredibly sad but also brings a very important aspect to the book.

Beautifully and engagingly written with realistic, understandable and loveable (well except for the bad guys) characters, after reading The Good Father I’m not going to call Diane Chamberlain my guilty pleasure anymore - I’m going to call her my favourite adult family-drama author. 


S is for Safe-House (A-Z Challenge)

S is for Safe-House



So you’ve survived the apocalyptic event, gathered up your family and friends and stocked up the wagon.  What’s the safest location you can hole up, regroup and possibly stay long term?  I touched on this topic briefly in my post-apocalyptic post, but let’s look a little more closely at safe-houses.

There have been some unique ideas over the years – and some stock-standard, tried-and-true ones like isolated farm houses, islands (often mulled over, rarely realized) and old forts or ranger stations in the middle of a wilderness reserve.  Some of the more unique ideas are jails, oil rigs or abandoned air-fields (though these tend to be more stop-offs as they are obvious choices for raiders).

Isolated farm house

Pros: preferably hidden from view of a main road, only the lucky or the very observant will ever realize you are there.  Arable land surrounding the farm makes ideal farming conditions and if you’re lucky there may still be a few livestock wandering around.

Cons: unless you’re perfectly perched on top of a hill, it’s going to be possible for the baddies to sneak up and steal your women and chickens.  Also restricted by size – one day you’re going to run out of room for your growing community.

Islands

Pros: Once you’ve cleared out any remaining threats and moved your people onto the island you’re pretty much set for an unmolested life.

Cons: Cleaning out the threats could take a while, depending on the size of the island, and if it’s zombies you’ll be keeping an eye out for stragglers for quite some time.  Supply runs will be dependent on boats, and if you encounter some bad weather, you could be stranded with no way of gathering supplies

Forts/Ranger stations:

Pros: Like remote farm houses, if your hidden from view and remove all incriminating road signs you’ll be tricky to find for those pesky raiders.  The forest will provide excellent opportunities for hunting and if you’ve got a few workers in your midst, you can easily clear some space for gardens.  Water supplies also tend to plentiful.

Cons:  If you are found out, defense whilst surrounded by thick forest won’t be easy.  Again you may be limited to size.

Jails
Pros: Once you’ve evicted the locals, security will be top notch.  Although designed primarily for keeping people in, jails are also designed to have minimum points of entry, making it much more easily defendable.  Jails also tend to have prison gardens already set aside; if not you can just plow up an exercise yard or two.  In a big jail, space shouldn’t be a problem for quite some time.  In addition, jails tend to be in locations set far away from towns and cities.

Cons: Cleaning out a jail isn’t going to be a pleasant or safe experience.  Although kind-hearted / guilt-ridden guards may have let most of the prisoners out, there’s still going to be some locked up in cells, lurking in offices or supply cupboards – all waiting for their next meal.  There’s also pretty limited wood for fires.

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