Review: Feed

Feed
Feed by Mira Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sick of politics right now? Feel like blowing someones or your own brain out? Well read this book and be absolutely blown away and giddy and crying and whooping ….chewing the inside of your cheek till it bleeds..and being ok because at least your following a presidential campaign which makes you feel almost proud to be an American..despite the fact it resides in a fictional and alternate future.

Zombie genre though this maybe labeled, but do not mistaken it for a zombie book. This is not about zombies nor is it even about a zombie apocalypse. This is a story about us and our world climate. It is some of the best writing and story telling I have read this year … hell in decades. This is piece of political, sociological, psychological, anthropological and fictional art. It is something worth putting down the book you are reading, whether you read zombie books or not, and start reading now.

I recommend this to anyone who has a brain and has ever thought hmmm what if. Because folks, this is completely feasible, and Mira’s absolutely relentless attention to detail and facts on virology and political climate makes its a book for the ages.

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Review: San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short Stories are an under-appreciated genre but with the advent of ebooks it is allowing for authors to share single stories instead of being dependent on acceptance to anthologies. It is also a great way to get a taste of the flavor of an author. This definitely happened to me today and boy was I in for a surprise!

 

The only difference between a Comic-Con and a siege is whether or not they’re actually trying to kill you. And sometimes these ones try to kill you anyway, just to keep things interesting.

The author, Mira Grant had me first at Comic-Con and second at Browncoats**. The fact it as a zombie story had me clicking buy before you could moanbraaaaaaaaainnnnsss“. I cannot think of a more perfect setting for the zombie outbreak. Just who are the real risen and who are in makeup? I giggled purely with the thought of how I would deal with that “little” problem. It is one of those book discoveries you end up doing “facepalm” after recovering from your “OMG” face and then asking yourself how in the world you missed it! The perfect Weekly Shorts entry at $2.99, sitting at 120 pages an, what I believe to be the perfect length for a novella (approx 30K). 

A viral-based zombie story (Kellis-Amberlee),  is told in the form of flash-backs and memories being compiled by Journalist Mahir Gowda 30 years after the “Rising”. She has the task of obtaining an interview with a the only known survivor of the 2014 Comic-Con “event”, from a very reluctant CPT Lorelei Tutt USCG. Due to the wi-fi being turned back on the people who ended up trapped inside the San Diego Convention Center, the stories of the hero’s, the fallen and the general chaos were uploaded and preserved in digital format. This novella reads as a window to the past, or at least the column of blood and hunger.. despair and sacrifice making up this tale. It tells the stories of the first hero’s of the zombie apocalypse.

Ms. Grant introduced and developed definitive characters we immediately fall in love with. The challenge with the novella is to do this in a very focused presentation. It is a challenge that many film writers have when trying to take a novel and make it into a 2 hour film. What will need to be cut, or at least in this instance, what details can be left out or glossed over but still have a new reader to the series, like me, “get” the story and be sucked in. There were references and “whispers” to the news that was all over the wire and blogosphere about a zombie outbreak, and that was all I needed to know this was part of a bigger plot. 

Referencing so many sci-fi pop-culture tales, as well as one made up one (which honestly I wish would be made into a real TV Show) it made the fan-girl in me giggle and smile, even though I knew having Browncoats in the title, it was bound to be tragic in the end, especially when we know that Lorelei was the only known survivor. I cannot shout loud enough about this novella. It was out of this world fantastic, festive and phenomenally fun!

I would recommend this for not only those fans of zombie reads, but of anyone who likes a tragic adventure to boot! Grab a hold of a cricket bat, 2×4 or weapon of choice and dive in! I am giving this a bio-hazard rating of ? ? ? ? ? – FULL CONTAINMENT of excitement needed!

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Zombie Week Launch – GAMELAND – SUNDAY SHORTS | Cabin Goddess

 Zombie Week Launch – GAMELAND – SUNDAY SHORTS | Cabin Goddess.

FULL ZOMBIE EXPLINATION OF ZOMBIE WEEK AND WHY NO ONE HEARD ABOUT IT!

Interested in being part of it? Give me a buzz or leave a comment. I plan on featuring authors, books, movies reviews, recipes and even recipes. Indie Zombies baby INDIE!

BTW this is my 100th post here on Alaskan Dreams! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Hell Colored Glasses – World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Review)

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks
My rating: 4.5  of 5 stars
Awards: Audie Award (2007)Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2012) 

“…like looking at the world through hell colored glasses…” – Tod at the Mural of Victory in Denver, CO

The cat knocked over a pile of books I have yet to find a home for (which is why I read ebooks for the most part now) and this was one. I have not read it in a few years but I remembered how much I did plus I have his ‘Zombie Survival Guide‘ in my backpack for when the horde shows up I am ready to go.

So many books focus on the terror during, but Max is focusing on what happens after. What is the world like? What have peoples psyches become? How does this effect the children? Government? Economics? Even more addressed in his personal compilation using the information he collected for an official report addresses.

This book is really interesting. But fair warning, if you are looking for the blood, the guts and the infection of a traditional zombiesque novel Z style you maybe disappointed because this is after the war. But I beseech you to give it a chance.

I just acquired the audio version of this book and it is worth every penny. It has a cast, each tale being told in their own voice. I found myself crying, horrified, terrified at times and shocked. The story structure is in a type of retelling of the oral accounts from the survivors, so hearing the story is so powerful. The audio format is the maple syrup on the bacon that is the book! I can go to sleep listening to this (yes I am a glutton for punishment and obviously a masochist when it comes to my dream cycles).

The sociological implications being addressed with each story from each survivor our ‘Author’ interviews. I realize this probably has been an issue with some readers, especially those that want their zombies fed to them on a plateful of “BRAAAAAAAAAINS”. But the tale could not be any different without it being just another book about zombies. Being a medievalist I adore the oral format, I truly enjoyed how he presents each of them, how he let the stories flow from each person to the next, a global bonfire. A futuristic book of post apocalyptic lays with the tragic nature of the stories. At the same time more complex due to the subject nature. Each tale like a mini-short of horror and survival with each persons experience.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarIt is an elegant and dark mockumentary compiled together in a simple and powerful presentation. The cover is under spoken in a color of rusty orange, the Z standing out. The font is jagged, blood dripping down a deconstructed Z  and the flames in the background psychologically presented us with the end and the beginning.

I recommend this to someone who wants a step up from the fictional tales and that want to take this belief to the next level…who knows these tales may actually help you when patient zero emerges, so take notes!

QUESTION!! WHAT was your favorite interview in the book? For those that listened to the audio version who struck at you the hardest?

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________________________________________________

Brooks is the son of director Mel Brooks and the late actress Anne Bancroft. He is a 1994 graduate of Pitzer College. His wife, Michelle, is a screenwriter, and the couple have a son, Henry.

Max Brooks lives in New York City but is prepared to move to a more remote and defensible location at a moment’s notice.

WWZ Now Set For Summer 2013

Paramount has just announced that they have pushed the release date of World War Z to the summer of 2013. According to a source at Plan B, the studio now feels confident enough in the project to promote it to the summer slot.

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ANTICIPATION KILLS Preview: Days with the Undead: Book One

Days with the Undead: Book One by Julianne Snow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would you do? How would you survive? During the first 33 days after patient zero follow a group of survivors as they are faced with the challenges of staying alive and ahead of the horde.

This is an amazing book. It was amazing to read it on the website and put together in this gorgeous presentation is even more wonderful. I cannot wait to do my Cabin Goddess posts during her blog tour. She will be stopping by for Guest Posts, interviews and I will post my final fantastical review of the most anticipated book for me of 2012!

My final review will be released on the 28th! BUT I have treats galore set up along the way!

It is spring and the dead are defrosting their teeth and arising from the snow drifts..

Days with the Undead is finally here!

EXCERPT

“Four days ago my world, the world, went to hell and I don’t think it’s coming back. From what I’ve been able to gather from Ben, Brooks VanReit, who I will refer to as Patient Zero from this point, came into the ER of St. Michael’s Hospital with practically non-existent vital signs. The staff assigned to treat him tried to resuscitate him but their efforts failed. Sometime between 7:30AM and 7:45AM, he was pronounced dead and as quickly as he died, he came back to life. From what I understand, the doctors and nurses first thought they were witnessing a miracle. They immediately found out how wrong they were.

Ben had tucked himself away in the nearby nurse’s station while completing a few charts before going home and he said he had a fairly good view of what transpired. His description of the carnage left in the wake of the reawakening is brutal. As a doctor, you get used to the sight of blood but even Ben tried to impress upon us the sheer volumes that covered the ER that day. It was all over the floors making any means of escape difficult if you were in the direct vicinity of the attacks. Arterial spray marked the walls in long sweeping arcs of crimson. It didn’t take long for the nurses and doctors who had been working on Patient Zero and thus been attacked in the chaos that erupted to reawaken and start attacking other people. It was like a wave, attack, death and then reawakening. The more that were attacked, the more that came back. And in one of the busiest Emergency Rooms in Toronto, it was absolute pandemonium. With blood everywhere and many of his colleagues succumbing to death and then entering a second life of sorts, Ben knew it was only going worse”

__________________________________________________________________

It was while watching Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of 6 that solidified Julianne’s respect of the Undead. Since that day, she has been preparing herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead.

As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own.

The horror and forensic/crime thriller genres top her list of favourites, but she can never turn down a good science fiction, fantasy or mystery read.

Julianne appears in the anthology Women of the Living Dead with a story entitled The Living Dead at Penderghast Manor. Look for her short stories in future anthologies.

Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name.

(Goodreads reviews View all my reviews)

Published and Promoted by Sirens Call Publications

Day 3 – the beginning of it all from dayswiththeundead.com

The post that started it all. If you do not read Julianne Snow’s webisodic tale you really should, so why not start at the begining and work your way through because coming up here on February 29th her book that contains these days plus more content!

When I open my email and find a post update from her I am so excited! I hope you can enjoy it too!

GO READ IT HERE!!! Day 3.

Review: Sundered – A Zombie Apocalypse tale of Love and Survival

Sundered
Sundered by Shannon Mayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is going to be a fun series to read! I ended up starting and finishing in one evening. I did not read any reviews on this so had no clue just what kind of zombies I would be dealing with. I was pleased with Shannon’s take on what caused the people to turn. I also like how they are not all mindless drones screaming for brains. This is a love story, a story of survival and a story of new beginnings. Pretty hard to surprise me when it comes to zombie stories, but Shannon did. It is well written and the characters well fleshed out for as short of a read it is.

Though not a social commentary outright on the desperation behind today’s easy fix it thinking, it definitely was loud and clear that people, when desperate and lazy enough will do anything even blindly going along with the masses, to fix the flaws they perceive themselves having. Need to lose a little weight? Oh pop a pill, or in this case get a shot! If the doctor gives it to us it MUST be OK right? Tell that to our protagonist Mara who was lucky she was allergic to this quick fix. Remember everyone, if nothing is ever as easy as it looks and if it looks to good to be true, it most likely is!

This zombie apocalypse is just starting to get rolling in the first of this series. I am moving on to the next on “Bound” to find out! Edgar Allen Poe had it right… Nevermore

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After a 2 year period waiting on her agent to actually do something, Ms. Mayer dropped the agent, and self published her first trilogy, A Zombie-ish Apocalypse which includes Sundered, Bound and Dauntless. Her latest book, Dark Waters: Celtic Legacy Book 1 centers on the bonds of sisters while delving into the world of nightmares and magic. For more info on Shannon Mayer and her writing visit her blog  Wringing out Words , follow her on Twitter @TheShannonMayer and like her on Facebook.

forget zombies…ice age’s greatest challenge: the wicked winter witch (a short story)

This weekend was a challenging one for the Tundra Tart AK-Mamma. Between not making the Wicked Winter Ball in time, and when she did  (due to her excellent date, John Taylor and his packets of pepper and her ability to hit a zombie square in the forehead with one shot of her Marlin 30/30…most of the time) her brilliant and borrowed wedding dress from Sheriff Penny was covered in brains and blood. Not to mention losing one of her precious glass stilettos to her harpy of a step-sister got when the dress tripped her up after double-tapping two of the seven dwarfs. Having to kill her life long friend Snow didn’t help her mood either. From what she  could gather from the lone surviving mouse, Sneezy sneezed (big surprise there) a huge zombie infected snot-ball all over Snow’s face causing her to turn.

This was all so monstrously overwhelming and it was only Friday! By the time she locked the cabin down tight  (having cleared the traps of mutant squirrels and feeding them to her pet polar bear, George) she was more than ready for bed. This time she set her own alarm instead relying on the Man-Beast or the lone surviving mouse (who had his own problems tending to the animals in the barn and that damn pumpkin).

By Saturday morning she knew something was brewing over the Tundra expanse of her Alaskan home. The woods were a little too quiet as she went to fetch water down at the creek in with the stainless steel water bucket, making sure the iodine was in her pocket for purification. It was to be expected somewhat since collectively herself, John and her Man-Beast Geoff had cleared out a five-mile radius of roving hordes of zombies. But when she got to the stream the hole in the ice she had just cleared on Wednesday had already frozen over. This should not have happened, the weather didn’t seem to be that much colder. In fact none of this made sense!?

Shrugging her shoulders she took her hand-ax out of her belt loop and started hacking at the ice. She had to have water so she could do dishes and make coffee for the Man-Beast when he came home from hunting what was left of the zombie strippers who just kept on dancing even after some of the runners made it into the clubs down in the red-light district. (He had all sorts of tricks up his sleeve and apparently they were quite easy to lure into a trap, all he did was scatter a path of blood soaked singles to the cage and as soon has he had the group he would slam the door shut.

You see Zombie strippers make good perimeter guards. We had a circular corral around the three acres of woods in which we let them roam free. Their food was endless because of the mutant animals that inhabited the woods (Ft. Wainworth was testing a strain of the virus on them to try to find a cure for the what caused the zombie outbreak. Officially their escape is credited by a local PETA group, but unofficially all us locals know that some idiot specialist was to busy listing to his headphones and dancing rather than double checking the cage doors after filling their water bottles).

Up here on the Tundra between roving zombie hordes, the militant crazed survivalists over on Gold Creek Ridge and the dang squirrels (and other small animals they infected) there was never a dull moment! But AK-Mamma really wanted to have fun! SHE REALLY needed a break from all of this. When the ball became another unfulfilled affair turned into yet another fast paced zombie slaughter, to say she was stewing was a major understatement. So when she noticed the ice kept forming right after she whacked another hole in it, she became quite agitated and  perplexed and down right pissed.

Stomping back up to the cabin, almost killing herself in her snow shoes, she spotted a plume of billowing smoke. After a brief moment of panic thinking this was a forest fire she realized she couldn’t smell any smoke in the air but what she could smell was moisture, the kind you smell before a rain storm. OK things had officially gone from JUST surreal to Crazyville. Had the cured meat she traded with the local militia been tainted with one of the mutated squirrels? Because you do not have moisture in the air in winter in the Tundra, not like this. It is a desert, a very cold one but a desert.

With her heart racing she called out to the mice, only remembering at the last-minute the correct phrase “should be” mouse, to saddle up her polar bear George It was time to go exploring. While he managed to do that the help of some new squeeks he found over night, she went inside and armed herself with her new winter camo survivalist gear. One cannot be to careful out there, and the color matters when hunting in the winter (in her case being undetectable by anyone else as she moved through the woods)

Man-beast also insisted that I take his new rucksack loaded with dried fruit, meat strips, two extra water bottles, a first aid kit, sun glasses and goggles. Oh and a packet of freshly soaked dollar bills in case I needed to call upon our four very special zombie ‘pets’ . These gals were a bit higher functioning, and in trade for freshly soaked dollars would defend us to the end. I mean rip a Grizzly down to his gall bladder (which since it was no longer illegal to poach if he was taken out BY ACCIDENT made a very high protein steak with lots of curative properties which we really needed) But I was hoping this would just be a false alarm or the crazed survivalist up on the ridge getting out of hand with one of their experiments again. When she was finally adjusted on George’s back, making sure that all her supplies tacked down but easily drawn (the weapons at least) Man-Beast came running out the door with a hand mirror taped to the ski pole we killed our first zombie with.

“WHAT in the wold is that you crazy hippie?”

“It’s for peaking around corners! Jo gave me the idea last night when he was using it to try and get that new batch of Zombie Hockey Mom’s into the back of the truck. They like shiny pretty things remember? Mamma, if he hadn’t had this we never would have seen the last of the runners from the catering fiasco you MISSED when you cleared the event perimeter yesterday!” he says as he waggled his eyebrows at her.

“FINE Geoffrey, I will take the g’dam mirror, but you better have those dishes cleaned up and my dinner cooking when I get home from checking this out, and do NOT forget to water the strippers this time! We only have one trained mice, the rest of his new crew is barely fit to keep the pumpkin happy!”

As she sauntered off on top of George she shook her head, bended down to scratch behind his ear and mumbled quietly,

“He really is a good duck huh?”

After about an hour into the ride and about 8 miles out, things officially went nuts, the air started swirling, there were small snow cyclones everywhere, visibility had gotten to only about 20 feet and this was no good because the area she had been heading into was well known to have random groups of walkers. The source of the smoke or whatever it was only about 1/4 of a mile away so she decided to keep going. As she pulled the compass out from under her new homespun sweater she knew she was officially screwed.  Nothing in the years since the perpetual winter and the zombie apocalypse had prepared her for what she saw as she looked down. The needle was spinning non stop.

Stopping George, she quickly laced up her snow shoes and jumped down to not only get her bearings but also try to stop from having the biggest panic attack ever. She could handle almost anything, because there was a reason, an explanation.. SCIENCE! But this went beyond all that, her ODDU loop for this morning did not prepare her at all for this, nor did it prepare her for what burst out of a larger cyclone that had come barely towards her unnoticed due to the compass.

Standing before her was what could only be described as the Wicked Winter Witch gone Gandolf the White, but not it the good way! Her features were chiseled, as if some deranged Ice Sculpture had created her for a fantasy exhibit. Her hair swam around her face like tendrils of cobwebs and her eyes were ice blue and looking straight at her pointing a large and scary looking staff!

“YOU, you who hunt my creatures, who take my meat… you must pay the penance and become part of my ice menagerie!” she cackled.

Instead of freaking out, because let’s face it after this weekend of a band of dwarf zombies, running around in a wedding dress covered in blood, dealing with freaking hysterical pumpkin (we will get ‘IT’S’ issues at a later date) hearing THIS broke the spell. Mamma grabbed the first thing she could thing of, her mirror and rifle and decided if she blinded the witch she could just jump on George and go home. This obviously was not smoke, it was this ice hag gone rogue and looking for a fight. Well if it was a fight she wanted she was going to get it. Drawing her rifle and shaking her ski pole she just let a banshee like scream at the witch. And the witch stopped short looking at her like she was even crazier than herself.

But it only lasted a second, but it was the crucial second that mattered.. in that second the snow started settling, because her magic could only be focused on one element of energy at a time.. as she drew in the power to turn Mamma into ice the sky cleared and the sun hit the mirror directly.. and the Wicked Winter Witch slapped her hand in front of her face and screamed… a scream that quickly left the woods in a dull echo..followed by the sounds of wild life once again. Where the witch once stood, threatening and enraged was the form of  a perfect snow angel. As Mamma put away her rifle shaking her head and muttering,

“What next… werewolves?”

Just as she was about to climb back onto George the largest and blackest of Ravens came gliding down landing next to the staff the witch dropped and cawed. Ravens were Mamma’s spirit animal so she took it as a sign. Picking up the staff she immediately felt a sense of harmony with all around her. Instinctively she new the witch had at one time been someone beautiful, not the cold and bitter thing that appeared out of billowing snow. This is what happens when you live your life alone, surrounding yourself with things that you value as beauty. When you should be out there finding the beauty that exists in the lone pine in your backyard, or in the smile your partner gives you when you come home with a full bucket of fish for dinner. Even here, in this ice and snow-covered land,with the undead and the constantly shifting dangers both in nature and in this newly forming society. The beauty that surrounded her daily kept her smiling. Well that and her Man-Beast’s special moose meat chili which she hoped would be waiting for her when she came home to her little lost cabin in the woods. Hoping back up onto George she promised herself to never question her Man-Beast Geoff’s silly self made tools again. Sure, the thing that almost brought an end to her life here in the woods was made of magic, but the magic that existed in her heart, in her own world turned out to be strong enough to beat even the Wickedest Witch of Winter.