30 June 2012

Review: Zomblog by T.W. Brown

Zomblog by T.W. Brown

Published: January 2010

Pages: 262

Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Own library

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

Synopsis (Goodreads)

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.

My Thoughts

Zomblog is the story of a guy who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Nothing new there, but Sam is no action hero - he's just an average kind of guy, divorced with a teenage daughter and an easy going lifestyle playing with his band and works delivering newspapers. Told in the form of a blog/journal, Zomblog is the story of his journey through a world filled with the undead and the best and worst of humanity.

Telling a story in journal format is risky - the reader needs to really connect with the main character, empathise with them and cheer for them....and this is where I had my first issue with Zomblog. Sam is an average guy and Hooray! I love average-guy characters in zombie books. I don't want an instant action hero or someone who figures out how to make a grenade with a paperclip and some gum. My problem is, he's TOO average. There's nothing that made me feel connected to him as a character, despite the personal devastation he went through. Even now, after very recently finishing the book, there's nothing that I can actually remember about him that would make him stand out.

I also found the seemingly pointless wandering around the country, in search of nothing, more than a little disjointing. Sure, if the world was taken over by the living dead, you'd move around some - but it seemed like there was no destination or goal in mind.

Zomblog is an intensively cynical book - there are some really depraved scenes and ideas depicted in the story, which may be exactly what would go down during a zombie apocalypse, but even though I'm also cynical by nature, I need some kind of redeeming features in such a bleak landscape.

There are some unique ideas in Zomblog which I haven't seen explored before, and an unexpected twist about 2/3 of the way through that really grabbed my attention, but overall I just couldn't enjoy this book.

29 June 2012

TGIF - The Halfway Mark!

It's Friday!!!!!!!! And that means it's TGIF at GReads - every week a different fun question, and this week it's: Best I've Read So Far: We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?

Top three? Three? Eeeep. I've read over 100 books this year already, so these are three very special books!

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

After stalking this book for months I finally worked up the courage to *gasp* ask the publisher for an eGalley. This tells you how very excited I was about this book because it was the first time I ever contacted a publisher directly without hiding behind NetGalley or Edelweiss.

And it was SO worth the nerve racking 'should I hit send' and 'does my email sound lame' moments - although this is a book about zombies, which I <3 - it was so much more. Courtney Summers definitely has herself a new fan in me!
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Yep, here it is again in one of my favourites lists - and deservedly so. This is the only book that has ever made me cry - not just a bit of moisture, but full on tears-running-down-my-face-can't-breathe type crying. And although it broke my heart, I loved every minute of it, despite my initial reservations around the subject matter.

Partials by Dan Wells

I was so skeptical going into this one - I've read so many post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA books that just didn't QUITE hit the mark - but the world building, strong characters and the fact that there was no budding romance, only a previously established one, made this a shiny sparkly five-star read for me

That's my 3 favourite books of 2012, so far. What are yours?

28 June 2012

Review: Wormwood by Michael James McFarland

Wormwood by Michael James McFarland

Published: 7 June 2011

Pages: 328


Source: Author for review

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

My Thoughts

After a satellite crashes to earth, a deadly virus is released into the atmosphere - Wormwood. Infecting those who have already died, the dead rise and for the residents of Quail Street, there is only one option - to barricade themselves in their homes and work together as a community and try and keep themselves alive and survive.

Beginning with news footage of the virus spread and it's gory symptoms, one of the men living on Quail Street tries to rally his neighbours to defend their homes. As the story is based around a neighbourhood trying to survive, there is a large cast of characters. Some of them are easily distinguishable, others play a more minor role and don't have any really outstanding features. Told in multiple POVs, it was a great way to get into the minds and hearts of the characters.

The book, understandably, does begin quite slowly - the actual infection itself doesn't start to really kick the pace up until about a third of the way in. And it certainly doesn't gloss over any of the realities - this is a pretty gruesome read, with a high level of suspense.

Overall the writing is very good, and the shifting POVs is done very well in that it is easy to distinguish the voices of the characters. There are some preemptive lines at the end of chapters (e.g. ''It was a decision he'd later come to regret''), which does dilutes some of the surprise factor.

26 June 2012

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour - 3 Authors and a Giveaway

I'm incredibly excited to be part of the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, and today it's my turn to host three awesome zombie authors - John O'Brien, Armand Rosamilia, and a return guest, Mark Tufo!  And as an added extra special bonus, there's a giveaway!

I've been a long time fan of Mark's Zombie Fallout Series, and I recently read one of Armand's books, Darlene Bobich and there will be a review of John's first book in his New World series, Chaos posted during July.

So without further ado, let's meet the authors!

When did you first decide to write?

John O'Brien: I decided to write about a year and a half ago. I had read a few zombie novels and they equated with several stories that had been running in my head. The stories were more of survival scenarios but fit in nicely with the concept of a zombie apocalypse. The books were becoming prolific and the idea just entered that I would like to write my story and see how it went. It was more to write it down that it was to actually sell copies but I also wanted to get the story out. The anticipated trilogy of books turned into something much greater and the story just grew as I thought more and more about it.

Mark Tufo: I never decided to write, I just always enjoyed it. I wrote Zombie Fallout on a dare from my wife, and I DECIDED to make a career out of it after the series took off.

Armand Rosamilia: The Great Old One Shub Niggaruth compelled me to write. Actually, it was Dean Koontz books read as a twelve year old that had me hooked, and I wanted be just like him. And I am because I started getting thinning hair early as well. And that's about where the similarities end.

Why write zombie?

John O'Brien: The story is really more of a post-apocalyptic survival book and thriller but I added the zombie aspect to create a little more danger to the environment. I should note that the “zombies” in the story aren’t true zombies. They are not undead but more genetically altered; fast and agile.

Mark Tufo: I love zombies, have ever since I was 7 years old. And if the Mayans were right and an apocalypse is right around the corner, I would rather it be slow, shuffling zombies rather than a Texas sized asteroid.

Armand Rosamilia: I've always been a huge zombie movie fan, but after reading The Rising by Brian Keene I had to give it a try.

Is there something 'unique' in your writing that you think is your biggest selling point?

John O'Brien: I think the timeline of the story is unique. It has more of a “24” feel to it with each book encompassing only a short period of time. I am just finished up the fifth book and the story line is only approximately three months down the road. I also enjoy the first person aspect so the reader can get inside the head of Jack Walker and the other characters.

Mark Tufo: I think it is the every man aspect to my characters, none of them are carrying rocket launchers or holding 45 different belts in martial arts. They are just your average person trying to survive.

Armand Rosamilia: my main character, Darlene Bobich, is just your average woman: twenty-eight, a bit overweight, not a model but good-looking, and not trained in the military or a bad ass. She worked a dead-end job at the makeup counter at the mall, she cries, she has panic attacks, she is a normal person.

What has been your biggest challenge, and biggest achievement in writing?

John O'Brien: One of the biggest challenges is to keep the story line straight with regards to past events. I would also say the hardest parts of writing for me are the transitional scenes. I can race through the actions scenes but sometimes writing the transition aspects is like pushing an elephant.

I would definitely say the greatest achievement is seeing and knowing the readers are enjoying the story. I just hope I can keep delivering a story that is enjoyed. It makes my day seeing the messages and reviews from readers and knowing the story is being enjoyed. That keeps me pecking away at the keyboard. To all of those that have messaged and left reviews, thank you! And a thank you to all who have taken a chance on the books and read them.

Mark Tufo: Biggest challenge I think has been the marketing aspect of indie writing. I think a lot of folks think they can write a book and become a bazillionaire, it doesn't work like that. The work involved, the shameless self promotion everything besides the actual writing is a challenge. Biggest achievement - definitely rejecting offers from 3 publishing houses (that had initially rejected me) it was an affirmation for me that I had succeeded.

Armand Rosamilia: The biggest challenge is to keep writing no matter what is happening in the real world around me, and try to get these stories out of my head and onto the page. The biggest achievement was when I became a bazillionaire and the Brinks trucks were lined down my block… oh, wait, forget it. The biggest achievement for me is when I get personal e-mails from a reader I didn't know I had and they talk about my books and ask questions.

Has any person, or situation (or dream), inspired you?

John O'Brien: I would say it is the various survival scenarios I play out continuously in my head.

Mark Tufo: I honestly never saw myself as an author, but I can't tell you how many times I've been reading a Stephen King book and thought 'How cool would it be to write one of these!'

Armand Rosamilia: I love to eat weird crap at 2 am and then have nightmares. Then I try my darndest to write it down in the morning, but it hardly ever works. I once had a short story, "Stairs To The Ocean" (in my Skulls collection) that was exactly from the nightmare I had, so that was neat.

The old desert island question - if you could only take one book with you, which one?

John O'Brien: Can it be a series? I would have to say it’s a tie between the “Dark Tower” series by Stephen King and “The Wheel of Time” series by the late Robert Jordan. If I had to narrow it down to a single book, I would take the thickest one out so I had plenty of paper.

Mark Tufo: I'm going to cheat - John Christopher, The White Mountain Trilogy (which is now actually 4 books) But they're very small so they could be considered one book!

Armand Rosamilia: Since everyone else is clearly cheating and not taking the question's rules to heart, it's my turn: I'd grab an omnibus edition of the Lord of The Rings series, the complete collection of HP Lovecraft and the full run of RE Howard's Conan books… or I'd just load up and bring my Kindle to the island and die happy.

* * * * *

All six of us - Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O'Brien and Dave Jeffery - hope you'll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.

And… one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we'll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!

Thanks guys! And don't forget to come by and pick me up when the dead rise - I totally want to be on your team!

Want to buy the books?
John O'Brien's books on Amazon
Armand Rosamilia's books on Amazon
Mark Tufo's books on Amazon

25 June 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #22

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.

Finally I'm back to some kind of 'normal' reading pattern!

Books Read Last Week

Gone (Gone #1) by Michael Grant
New Coastal Times by Donna Callea
Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb by MJA Ware
After the Virus by Megan Ciara Doidge

What I'm Reading Now and Next

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey
Zomblog by TW Brown

What are you reading?  Have you read any of these? Let me know!

24 June 2012

The Sunday Session #9

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!

Last Weeks Bits
Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Review: Extinction Point by Paul Jones
Review: Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer by Armand Rosamilia
Review: Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb by M.J.A. Ware
Feature: The World Ends on Wednesdays: My Favorite Zombie Websites
Feature: Book Blogger Confessions: The Time Machine
Feature: Wicked Wildfire Readathon!

New Books 

The Annihilation of Foreverland
by Tony Bertauski
The Weeping by O'Dell Hutchison (owner of Book Twirps blog!)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Slated by Teri Terry
Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham
Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
The Absolutist by John Boyne
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

For Review
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry from HarlequinTeen

What's Coming Up - It's a Zombie kinda week!
Next Tuesday I'm hosting a stop on the Zombie Summer Blog Tour
Reviews: Wormwood by Michael J. McFarland and Zomblog by T.W. Brown

I've been hugely busy this week and haven't been able to do as much blog-stalking as I normally do, but I'm hoping to get back online this week!

Leave me a link to your wrap-ups or book hauls and have a great week :-D

23 June 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne

Published: 5 June 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 294 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Post-Apocalyptic

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

More Info: Emmy Laybourne's website

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

My Thoughts

I loved the idea of Monument 14 - fourteen kids across a wide age range stuck in a superstore in the midst of tsunamis, earthquakes and a chemical weapons spill. And it is a great idea that for the most part is very well executed.

Told through the eyes of Dean, the action begins right from page one, and keeps a pretty good pace the whole way through. As the kids are stuck inside a superstore, there's not a lot of information on exactly what is happening in the outside world, just snippets that they garner from a near-obsolete TV found in the electronics section, and far more focus on how the work together to survive.

With such a large range of kids, from the school jock down to the cute twins that constantly talk about their beloved mother, the kid from a hardcore religious background, the 13-year-old that is desperately trying to fit in with the older kids, there is a lot going on to keep your attention. And of course, as any of us can imagine, as kids suddenly thrust into a very scary, adult situation, they react in pretty much the ways you would expect - there aren't any suddenly miraculous 'I can build a bomb from a paperclip and a role of tape' style moments, and some of the issues that they face as a group are issues facing any teenager today.

Ms. Laybourne's writing style is pretty straight-forward and clean, and all the characters (except the two teenage girls who I had trouble distinguishing from each other in a few places) are pretty individual and stand out from the others. I didn't have a huge connection with the main character, but that didn't really bother me, as there were so many other great characters to focus on.

However, there is a continuity problem in the closing part of the book - something that I believe should have changed the ending a great deal. Otherwise, I really enjoyed Monument 14, and if you like YA PA, there's definitely a big enjoyment factor here.

22 June 2012

Review: Extinction Point by Paul Jones

Extinction Point by Paul Jones

Published: 3 March 2012

Pages: 239 (e-book)

Genre/s: Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Reporter Emily Baxter has a great job, an apartment in Manhattan, and a boyfriend she loves. All that changes the day the red rain falls from a cloudless sky. Just hours after the first reports from Europe, humanity is on the brink of extinction, wiped from the face of the earth in a few bloody moments, leaving Emily alone in an empty city. As she struggles to grasp the magnitude of her situation, Emily becomes the final witness to the end of our world… and the birth of a terrifying new one. 

The world she knew and loved is dead and gone.

Now Emily must try to find a way out of New York as the truth behind the red rain is revealed: the earth no longer belongs to humanity.

My Thoughts

I've been a fan of Paul Jones ever since I read his book 'Towards Yesterday' last year, and as one of the first books ever reviewed on The Aussie Zombie it's got a special place in my history. When I found out via a Goodreads group that his new book, Extinction Point was due for release, I religiously stalked it until I could grab a copy of my own.

Extinction Point takes place in near-future New York, when reporter Emily finds herself in the midst of a worldwide phenomenon - red rain. After the rain stops and people start to die, Emily finds herself the only survivor in New York, with no clue of what is happening, or if she is the only human survivor.

Writing a book with one main character is a tough gig - it's hard to keep a reader's attention with inner dialogue, but Mr. Jones has done an exceedingly good job in the character of Emily. She's easily likable and at no point did I feel that I was growing sick of her being the only character (apart from a few bit-part guys at the beginning of the book). Her job as a reporter gives her a pretty even-keeled insight and a keen eye for observing her surroundings, and she's a pretty self-sufficient kinda gal, although shes definitely not superhuman and does succumb to the inevitable pressure of surviving on her own in an uncertain world.

The idea of red rain is an intriguing one, and Mr. Jones certainly does make it feel real - and as the story progresses it runs from slightly disturbing to spine-chillingly creepy, and the action scenes are edge-of-your-seat kinda stuff.

In all, I really enjoyed Extinction Point. Paul Jones writes excellent apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic stories and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

21 June 2012

Review: Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer by Armand Rosamilia

Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer by Armand Rosamilia

Published: 23 January 2012

Pages: 110

Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

More Info: Armand Rosamilia's website

Synopsis (Amazon)

Thirteen tales of Darlene Bobich! The prequel to the successful "Dying Days" zombie novella Includes a free preview of "Dying Days" 

My Thoughts

Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer is a novella that packs a lot into its 110 pages. Darlene finds herself alone after the zombieapocalypse claims her only family, her father - as she travels around the US in search of something she never seems quite sure of, she encounters the good, the bad, and the ugly of the remaining human population.

Mr. Rosamilia has a strong imagination when it comes to a zombieapocalypse, which makes Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer a fun, intense zombie read. As a series of 'short stories', this is a simply a snapshot of what happens to Darlene on the road but it's easy to like Darlene as a character - although she appears to be as tough as nails she has very real fears and emotions that are displayed throughout the story.

I really enjoyed this one, it was a quick but memorable read and I'll definitely be checking out more of Mr. Rosamilia's work.

20 June 2012

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon: Goals & Updates

I know, I know, I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date. It's the Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon, hosted by Kindle Fever and My Shelf Confessions!

Goals? Ah I'm going into this one pretty much as goalless as the Irish football team. I did a week long read-a-thon last week, and now my only priority is to get some of the books finished that I put on hold last week:

Gone by Michael Grant
Zomblog by T.W. Brown
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Otherwise, it's just anything that comes along in the next four days!

I'll be adding my progress here at the end of each day, so stay tuned.

10% read of Zomblog (like 20 pages).
Must do better!

40% read of After the Virus by Megan Ciara Doidge (not even on my TBR)

Finished reading Gone by Michael Grant

If you're participating, leave me a link too :-D

The World Ends on Wednesdays - More Zombies Than You Can Poke a Stick At

Now, you guys know I love zombies. If you don't know that, well....

Anyway, this week I want to highlight some of my favourite Zombie review websites, because there's no such thing as too many Zombies! These websites review books, movies, products, the whole lot - so there's something for everyone!

Firstly, three brain-munching, zombie-hugging book lovers!

Giselle @ Xpresso Reads - As well as being an awesome book blogger who can read books at the speed of light, she's a hardcore zombie lady!

Ashley @ The Bookish Brunette - The Zombie Queen herself, with a wicked sense of humor and some amazingly awesome Zombie graphics!

Kristin @ Blood Sweat and Books - Kristin loves Zombies so much she even has a weekly feature called Zurvival Saturday - books, movies, the whole lot!

And then, if Zombie books aren't enough - maybe you need some movies, t-shirts, accessories or games to go with your new fetish!

BuyZombie.com - My favorite go-to sites for anything and everything zombie!

But what if the world doesn't end with the walking dead?

Then here's a great directory that takes in all aspects of post-apocalyptic survival - there's die hard survivalists, reviewers, speculators and authors galore, as well as a forum and live chat environment - PostApoc.net

Do you know any other amazing zombie-loving book reviewers, or are you one yourself? Leave me a link!

19 June 2012

Review: Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb by M.J.A. Ware

Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb by M.J.A. Ware

Published: 5 September 2011

Pages: 204 (paperback)

Genre/s: MG, Zombie

Source: Author for review

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

Synopsis (Goodreads)

When life gives you lemons, kill zombies -- turns out lemon juice neutralizes the undead.

After a failed attempt at running away, best friends Nathan and Misty return home expecting to face angry parents. Instead, they discover the military has destroyed the bridges out of their rural town and everyone's fled--except a small horde of the living dead. The stress of flesh-eating zombies may be more than their already strained relationship can handle.

Even with the help of the town geek and lemonade-powered Super-Soakers, there's not enough time to squeeze their way out of this sticky mess. Unless the trio eradicates the zombie infestation, while avoiding the deadly zombie snot, the military will blow the town, and them, to pulp.

Their only shot is something with a lot more punch. Something like the Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb. But even if their friendship survives, there's another problem: Someone has to lure the undead into the trap.

My Thoughts

I've developed an interest in MG/YA zombie novels of late - and it's incredibly interesting to see how a story written for a (much) younger audience than myself can be appealing to a whole range of ages.

Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb (SZJMB) is one of those books, and I really enjoyed this one. It's a zombie story, but more appropriate for kids around the 8-10 year age range, although it doesn't hold back on the realities of what would happen during a zombie apocalypse.

I particularly liked the kryptonite-style weapon that Nathan and Misty discovered by accident - it gave a great new spin to the story, and all the characters were well rounded and realistic.

This is definitely a book that I'd let my own (hypothetical) child read and it's also great fun for adults. Plus the comic-book style cover is great!

18 June 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #12 - The Time Machine

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger's All Consuming Books and For What It's Worth - every second Monday book bloggers spill the beans on some juicy book blogging questions!

We have created a blogging time machine! Pretend you can start over. Knowing what you know now about blogging – what do you wish you did differently when it comes to creating/running your blog?

I did a similar post for Armchair BEA a couple of weeks ago, so rather than rehash that, I've written a letter to my pre-blogger self.

Dear Kat,

As your future self, I'm going to give you the low down on this book blogging thing you're thinking about doing. There's a few things I think you should know before you start - trust me, I've been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

Firstly, don't make it a chore - this is fun right?! And when you first start, and you get your first, wonderful followers, you're going to be so excited you'll sign up for everything: tours, challenges, memes and every singly bookish event you can find. That enthusiasm is great, it's what will keep you going through the not-so-fun times, but think carefully about what you CAN actually do.

You know how much you LOVE reading? Forcing yourself to read review book after review book is going to seriously squish that if you keep doing it for a long period of time. Mix it up, read things YOU want to read more than once a month. No one will die if you DON'T make that deadline - just explain to the person who asked you to do it that you can't. You're not superhuman, and you have a life (ya know, that job-ish thing, that boyfriend, those friends. And sleep, yeah that thing!).

Twitter is your friend. You'll never guess it now, but it's your second-highest referral source. It's confusing at first, and it's kinda dead when you only follow 5 people, but you'll meet some awesome people so it's totally worth sticking with.

Expand your horizons when it comes to genres. I know right now the very thought of reading YA makes you feel kinda nauseous and you probably won't believe me when I say it, but you're going to grow to love it. It's not what you think it is (well, most of the time). Yeah, you'll even read CONTEMPORARY YA.

Another thing you're probably not going to want to hear is that you're going to learn basic HTML. I KNOW! In fact, people are going to ask your advice on making buttons and banners and all that stuff. Freaky huh?!

But the most importantly, I have to tell you that you are going to LOVE being a book blogger. It's a lot more work than you think right now, but it's going to be an absolute blast. And despite what you may think, you will stick with it because you have so much fun with it. Not like those other blogs you started where you posted like three times (yeah I totally know you are going to go and try to find if they still exist now - you'd forgotten about them, hadn't you?).

So have fun, but be realistic and don't be so hard on yourself. You're just one person and you can't do everything as much as you would like to. And although it will take a little time, you'll find your niche and be pretty damn pleased with it.

Now, go decide on that blog name, decide on your template, set up that Twitter account (yes, it WILL be useful, promise!) and write your first review.


Your Future Self.

Oh, and P.S. - You're totally going to need a calendar!

What advice would you give your pre-blogger self? Anything you wish you had done differently?

17 June 2012

The Sunday Session #8

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!

It's been a busy week for me - as this posts I'm JUST about finished with a week-long readathon through my GR group YLTO. It's a competitive readathon in teams, and I'm a competitive person, so I've been reading like crazy to rack up extra points and not been around much.

New Books
Only two books this week but I read seven - so I've actually reduced my TBR by 5 - hurrrah!
Silver: The Lost & Damned by Keira Michelle Telford - a massive thank you to KM for sending me this - my first ever physical proof copy, and signed!
Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Books Read

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Carrie by Stephen King
Ping by Susan Lowry
A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma
Extinction Point by Paul Jones
Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Phew! I spent literally EVERY spare minute of the day reading this week.

Last Weeks Bits
Announcement: I introduced my new Associate Reviewer, Ashley! Drop by and say Hi!
Giveaway: June New Release Giveaway Hop
Feature: TGIF @ GReads: My Most Valuable Books
Review: Zombie Fallout 2 by Mark Tufo
Review: Silver: Acheron by Keira Michelle Telford
Review: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Oh, and if you haven't done so yet, I'd love to hear your opinion on book blogs with by Book Blog Survey - there's a giveaway too!
Link me up! I want to know what you got this week!

16 June 2012

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Expected publication: 19 June 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 336 (paperback)

Source: Publisher for review

Genre/s: YA, Zombie

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

More Info: Courtney Summers' website ~ Courtney Summers' blog

Synopsis (Goodreads)

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually wantto live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

My Thoughts

When I first read the summary of This is Not a Test, I knew I had to read this book.  A bunch of students barricaded in a school in the midst of a zomb-apocalypse?  Oh HELL yes!  I even did a little happy dance when I received my copy and immediately started reading.

I was hooked from the first page - the writing is so gripping, intense and emotional, it'd be hard for anyone not to be sucked into Sloane's story right from the beginning.

Zombies are not the focus of This is Not a Test, they are the catalyst.  Barricaded inside their school, six teenagers are isolated from what remains of the living world and emotions are running high as they begin to realise exactly what they have lost, with no real plan on how to survive except for minute-to-minute.

All the characters are flawed, but in a way that makes them more human and their actions and reactions are completely understandable and realistic, particularly Sloane who is battling so many inner demons whilst living in a fishbowl where nothing is guaranteed and the future is bleak.

It's a testament to Ms. Summers' writing that I didn't give a fig that zombies weren't at the forefront of the story - it was so intensely emotional that at times I almost forgot them lurking outside the school, and I'll definitely be checking out more of her work.

The ending for some may not be what the reader wants or expects, but for me it fit perfectly with the tone of the book.  All in all, This is Not a Test is an outstanding book with great writing, characters perfectly suited to the story and unique, gripping emotions.  

Winners: 1000 Followers Giveaway

A massive congratulations to the winners of my 1000 Followers Giveaway! These ladies have some awesome taste in books!

1st Prize of 3 Books: Jessica B. who chose Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, The First Days by Rhiannon Frater and Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

2nd Prize of 2 Books: Courtney A. who chose Partials by Dan Wells and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

3rd Prize of 1 Book: Emily D. who chose The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Thanks to everyone who entered!


15 June 2012

TGIF: My Most Valuable Books

It's FRIDAY! And that means it's TGIF, hosted by GReads. This weeks question: Most Valuable Book: From your personal collection of books, which ones hold the most value to you?

I don't get to go to book signings - sad but true. Therefore the books that mean the absolute most to me are my signed books - particularly the ones that are sent to me by the authors, at their own personal cost. I have maybe half a dozen signed books, but the two that are of most value to me are:

Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

As well as being one of my favourite books, it's signed and personalised - AND was my first ever signed book. I still get it off the shelf and just look at it every now and then.

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

Mark was kind enough to send me a signed copy when I couldn't find anywhere to purchase the paperback in Europe. As a book by one of my favourite zombie authors it takes pride of place on my shelf and I've never actually read the paperback version as I don't want to crease it!

What is your most valuable book? Is it signed, does it have a particular memory tied to it that makes you love it so much?


14 June 2012

Giveaway: June New Release Blog Hop

It's Giveaway time again! Hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light Reviews, this one is all about June new releases - and there's some amazing choices here!  This is open INTERNATIONALLY!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Arise by Tara Hudson
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

a Rafflecopter giveaway Don't forget to hop on over to the other giveaways!

Review: Silver: Acheron by Keira Michelle Telford

Silver: Acheron by Keira Michelle Telford

Published: November 2011

Pages: 168 (paperback)

Genre/s: Post-Apocalyptic, Romance

Source: Author for review

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

More Info: Keira Michelle Telford's website ~ Silver website

Synopsis (Amazon)

2342 CE Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists. Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate—death. Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests—they need someone to pull the trigger. They need an executioner.

SILVER: Acheron is the first book (a 40,000 word novella) in a 10-book series featuring the character of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross. Set more than 300yrs in the future, the Silver Series takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. No longer at the top of the food chain, humans are preyed upon by the Chimera—genetic mutants that outnumber humankind 25:1. And Silver is a Hunter—the best the city. She’ll risk her life in the pursuit of a human resurgence on Earth. 

My Thoughts

Silver: Acheron is one of 'those' books for me - the world-building is top-class, and I'm hard-stretched to think of any recent read that has done it better. Nuclear war is the cause of the apocalypse that has pushed human beings to the brink of extinction. The prologue didn't really work for me, I found it a little choppy and difficult to immerse myself in - but once the story itself started, I was completed hooked.....

When Ella 'Silver' Cross is banished to the Fringe District after saving a naked, seemingly deranged woman from the Chimera, she finds herself expelled from the life she has always known and living alongside the dregs of society. The Fringe District is a place where evil freely flourishes, and Silver: Acheron pulls no punches in describing just how low humanity can stoop when pushed to the knife-edge of survival. Slavery, degradation of women, drug abuse - the Fringe District is a disturbing place, but the descriptions and writing makes you really feel as if you are there.

The series is started perfectly in that although secrets are alluded to, there is so much 'taster' for the rest of the story that it's impossible to not crave more. The writing is edge-of-your-seat thrilling - as Silver finds and begins to befriend the woman she seemingly rescued from the Chimera, Ms. Telford drops tantalising tasters of the revelations that are to come.

I also have to mention the artwork in the book - it's truly chilling and all through the story I had the Chimera pictured in my mind - which made the book come to life even more.

I can't wait to read more of this world, and find out just what those secrets are....

13 June 2012

Introducing - My Associate Reviewer Ashley!

A few weeks ago I put out a call for Associate Reviewers, and I'm super super excited to introduce my first Associate Review, the lovely, fantabulous Ashley!

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley Prince. I am an Army wife, full time student at UTSA, and part time bookseller. I am also an aspiring author and have been working on a book for quite some time now. Along with writing, reading is a huge passion of mine. I have been reading since I was four. My first sentence was "Daddy bought me my book." 9 out of 10 times you see me, I will have a book in my hand or at least close by.

I have been told that I have an obsessive personality. Here is a short list of things I am obsessed with: books, tattoos (though I only have one...for now), Dr. Who, The Big Bang Theory, Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, yoga pants, yoga shirts, yoga mats, cultures, religions, psychology, anthropology. I assure you, the list goes on.

My favorite genres are: YA paranormal , YA dystopia, and YA fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance (not erotica!), mysteries (cozies and thrillers), historical fiction (preferably Henry VIII or anything before 1900s), psychological thrillers, steampunk, and classics.

I am really excited to be an associate reviewer here at The Aussie Zombie and can't wait to start finding zombie books to read!

You can stalk Ashley in a variety of ways:
Blog: http://thebibliophilescorner.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Ashley_E_Prince
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBibliophilesCorner

I'm super excited that Ashley enjoys so many different genres, some of which I don't read a lot of myself, so she's going to bring us some awesome new reviews for books that you might not see here often!

Please join me in welcoming Ashley, and please stop by her blog and say hello, stalk her on Twitter or like her on Facebook. And keep your eye out for her reviews! (Unfortunately I'm having technological fails with my laptop at the moment, but Ashley will have her own signature so you can differentiate her reviews from mine!)

12 June 2012

Review: Zombie Fallout 2 by Mark Tufo

Zombie Fallout 2 by Mark Tufo

Published: September 2010

: 342 (paperback)

Genre/s: Zombie

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK

More Info: Mark Tufo's website ~ Mark Tufo's blog

Synopsis (Goodreads)

The Talbot family is evacuating their home amidst a zombie apocalypse. Mankind is on the edge of extinction as a new dominant, mindless opponent scours the landscape in search of food, which just so happens to be non-infected humans. In these pages, are the journal entries of Michael Talbot, his wife Tracy, their three kids Nicole, Justin and Travis. With them are Brendon, Nicole’s fiancĂ©e and Tommy previously a Wal-Mart door greeter who may be more than he seems. Together they struggle against a ruthless, relentless enemy that has singled them out above all others.

The Talbots have escaped Little Turtle but to what end, on the run they find themselves encountering a far vaster evil than the one that has already beset them. As they travel across the war-torn country side they soon learn that there are more than just zombies to be fearful of, with law and order a long distant memory some humans have decided to take any and all matters into their own hands. Can the Talbots come through unscathed or will they suffer the fate of so many countless millions before them. It’s not just brains versus brain-eaters anymore. And the stakes may be higher than merely life and death with eternal souls on the line.

My Thoughts

Eliza, Tommy, the Talbots and of course, the zombies, are back for the second installment of the Zombie Fallout series, Zombie Fallout 2 - A Plague Upon Your Family. I'm a massive fan of the Zombie Fallout series and the author, Mark Tufo. Earlier this year I re-read the first book in the series, Zombie Fallout (read my review here), and always fully intended to go back and re-read the second book in the series too.

I read a lot of zombie books (probably 20-30% of my total reading), and I enjoy them all for different reasons, but the main reason I enjoy the Zombie Fallout series so damn much are really the characters. Mike Talbot, the narrator of the story, is one of the most sarcastic and snicker-worthy characters I have ever encountered in a book. Coupled with Tommy, the seemingly clueless boy with his secret guardian angel (who appears to be a famous TV presenter), an evil zombie chick with a goal to destroy the Talbot family and anyone who gets in her way, and probably the most underrated character of the series, Mike's long suffering wife (who is also a firecracker in her own right), Tracy.

The action sequences are incredibly well-written - a perfect balance of tension, description and character interaction make them completely visible in the mind, and the zombies are truly terrifying.

The story itself moves at a pretty relentless pace in ZF2 as the Talbots and their friends run into some pretty hairy situations, both at the hands of the zombie army that are continually hunting them down, and other humans they encounter on their journey to escape Eliza's clutches. There is also a bunch of extremely likable 'good guys' that save their bacon more than once.

It's rare that I re-read a book, and even rarer that I would re-read a whole series. But I will be re-reading ZF3 in the very near future before moving onto the two books in the series I have't yet read, ZF4 and ZF5. The Zombie Fallout series continues to cement itself in my top 3 zombie series of all time.

My favourite quotes:

''It looked like an all you can eat buffet had opened up right next to a fat camp with a damaged fence''
''Between holding his pants and the inhaler he was losing more ground than the French in WWII''
''I was beginning to wonder if Justin was just a zombie GPS. Own own portable ''Harmin'' or better yet how about a Zom-Zom'' (I have to include this quote, seeing as I work for a GPS company!)
''I know, sooner rather than later, my brain is just going to freeze up. It will be the human equivalent of the blue screen of death. Unfortunately I have yet to discover my reboot button''

''Zombies flung in the air like a giant spoiled baby was done playing with his GI Joes and Barbie dolls and was throwing them around in the fits of a tantrum''.

11 June 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #21

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
I had a bit of a reading slump last week, not helped by the excitement of Armchair BEA (which was awesome fun!), but I did finish two books:
Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer by Armand Rosamilia
Wanted: Dead or Undead by Angela Scott

What I'm Reading This Week
I'm participating in a week long readathon with my Goodreads girls this week, so I'm aiming high! The readathon also has a theme, so it's an eclectic reading list.
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Virgin Cure by Amy McKay
A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma

What are you reading this week? 

10 June 2012

The Sunday Session #7

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 and see what's coming up this week!

Last Week's Stuff

Armchair BEA! Great fun and I met some amazing new bloggers - will definitely be doing this again next year! Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five
Review: The Judas Syndrome by Michael Poeltl
Review: The Living Dead Boy and The Zombie Hunters by Rhiannon Frater
Review: Zombie Night in Canada: First Period by Jamie Friesen

New Books

Eyewall by H.W.Bernard
Orpheus by Dan DeWitt
Quarantined by Joe McKinney
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Deadlocked 3 by A.R.Wise
Deadlocked 4 by A.R.Wise
After the Virus by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Postcards From No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers

Hurricanes, wars, viruses, a book set in Amsterdam and loads of zombies - YAY!

What's In Store For Next Week

Review: Zombie Fallout 2 by Mark Tufo
Review: Silver: Acheron by Keira Michelle Telford
Review: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (oh, yes!)

I'll also be participating in a week-long readathon with the Goodreads group YLTO - so there's going to be a whole lot of reading going on!

There'll also be a special announcement next Wednesday, so keep your eyes peeled ;-)

And if you haven't done so yet, tell me your thoughts on book blogs with my Book Blog Survey - there's giveaways too!

You know the drill, link me up to your book hauls or anything else you've got going on!


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