Thursday, 31 March 2016

Book Review: Day by Day Armageddon by JL Bourne (Book #1)


START INTERCEPT

SPORADIC NEW REPORTS INDICATE CHAOS AND VIOLENCE SPREADING THROUGH U.S. CITIES. AN UNKNOWN EVIL IS SWEEPING THE PLANET. THE DEAD ARE RISING TO CLAIM THE EARTH AS THE NEW DOMINANT SPECIES IN THE FOOD CHAIN.
INTERCEPT COMPLETE

In your hands is the handwritten journal depicting one man's struggle for survival. Trapped in the midst of global disaster, he must make decisions; choices that ultimately mean life, or the eternal curse to walk as one of them.

ENTER IF YOU WILL INTO HIS WORLD. THE WORLD OF THE UNDEAD.


My Review:
A Naval pilot decides to ignore orders for military personnel to return to their bases as the zombie apocalypse begins, preferring to barricade himself in his home with supplies and weapons and hide from the new enemy, recording the events in his diary. Finding his neighbour John alive along with greyhound Annabelle, they decide it is getting too dangerous to stay and plan to find an aircraft so they can find somewhere safer. But every place they find has new dangers and other survivors and a plan is made to find somewhere they can all hide.

I don't generally enjoy the diary format used in zombie books but this was an exception. I loved our hero and John, and the gorgeous and adorable Annabelle! I was very anxious about her safety through the book-I'm always rooting for the dogs and I have a soft spot for greyhounds! It's vital in a zombie book that I care about the MCs and want to see them survive and the author does a good job of getting the characters developed so you root for them. The new additions are all very much to be liked, so I was pretty happy with the 'cast' and liked the story of their survival.

There is a lot of action to be enjoyed ion this book. There are scenes with zombies on the street where the men live, their escape, the airfield, the marina, the supply runs and the journey to the hideout. Then there is the big and exciting action scene at the end to enjoy! The action is well written and tense which I liked. Usually those choosing the diary format lose a lot of bthe tension by telling, not showing but the author manages to convey the danger and excitement despite the diary format. There are lots of zombies which is another bonus. Too many zombie novels seem to get distracted by romance and zombies become an afterthough, but this book is about the zombies and how the characters deal with them.

I liked the idea of Hotel 23, which you and the characters think will be a safe sanctuary but turns out to be a lot more complicated! There is a great potential for plots of all kinds with this as a base and I am quite excited to see where the story goes from here. This book does end on a massive cliffhanger which some readers might not like but as I already had the whole trilogy in paperback, I was already grabbing the second book to read on.

The one thing that puzzled me was that our narrator, the naval pilot, doesn't seem to have a name, which was unusual. Or maybe it was mentioned and I just couldn't find it when I was looking through the book again to add to my notes. I don't suppose it really matters!

There was a lot to like about this book-the characters, the dog, lots of zombies, psycho humans, lots of action, changing locations and transport, and tension filled. I very much recommend this for zombie fans! 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Gardening With Chuckles


Yes it's that time of year when we reluctantly cast our eyes towards the garden, when the hedge is growing, the grass is full of dandelions and the weeds are doing a conga up the garden path! I've never had green fingers and a mixture of ill health, bad weather and family issues means my dad and I have neglected the garden over the last five years and now we have a ton of work to do! You can follow our 'adventures' through the summer!

Yesterday, I decided for the first time ever, to cut the hedge. I usually leave it to my dad but now it's time to do more myself. I bought a new hedge cutter at Aldi at a great price two weeks ago so yesterday, out I went to tackle the hedge in the front garden. I was expecting it to be hard work but although the hedge cutter was heavy to hold, I was wielding it like Leatherface in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre! I was thinking how great this would be during the zombie apocalypse then I realised we wouldn't have electricity to run it...

So I had a nice dinner of stir fry chicken with Peking Lemon sauce and long grained rice and sat down to read a nice zombie novel...and the pains started in my back, knees and hips. Erk! I couldn't get comfy in my bed so this morning I looked and felt like a zombie plus I feel like someone pulled my arms out of the sockets! Great! Another week of soreness to enjoy! Still, it's one job of many done and my dad did a bit of weeding.

Still to do:

Lay new paving stones in front garden
New gate for front garden
Gravel for side of path in front garden
Construct water collection bin in back garden
Construct compost bin in back garden
Paint fence in back garden
Plant holly bushes front and back gardens
Lay circular patio in back garden
De-weeding rockery

*sigh*


Sunday, 27 March 2016

Reading With Chuckles


I have renamed my TBR Reading Challenge and changed it back to Reading with Chuckles as it sounds better, especially at times when I have no specific challenge running. So this is where I'll share what I read and abandoned each week, and I'll give the odd update on the state of my poor TBR! It does suffer at times...! The link under the book takes you to the Goodreads page for that book so you can decide whether to read it, and see my reviews when they are posted.

I couldn't really decide on a theme at the start of the week as I wasn't feeling much like reading but luckily I read a great zombie book and that got me motivated for another week of reading. It basically turned into an apocalypse week which I enjoyed! I haven't decided on a theme so I'll just do a read what I feel week! 

FINISHED:

TJ Reeder-Revolt at Muddy Bog Texas
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19316532-revolt-at-muddy-bog-texas 

Quent Cordair-Sheltered
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13615750-sheltered 

Glynn James-Mogadishu of the Dead
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13000340-mogadishu-of-the-dead 

Glynn James-Three Parts Dead
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16063889-three-parts-dead 

Kettle & Christine-Beau Peep vol 5
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21049038-beau-peep 

Kettle & Christine-Beau Peep vol 7
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18276679-beau-peep 

Kettle & Christine-Beau Peep vol 20
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19677415-the-return-of-beau-peep 

Jerry D Young-Neighbors
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25741869-neighbors 

JJ Holden-Life After pt 1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19489964-life-after 

Paul Bryce-Extinction
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22301598-meltdown 

Nicholas Olivo-Sync
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18044396-sync 

Susan Gregersen-A Tale of Two Preppers
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13649266-the-tale-of-two-preppers 


ABANDONED:

Shaun Whittington-Monsterland
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26823548-monsterland 

Mitchell Layne Cook-Z1N1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9106301-z1n1 

Theresa Shaver-Land
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13614942-land 

Madeline Sheehan-Thicker than Blood
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23573808-thicker-than-blood 

Gerald Rice-30 minute plan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11345145-30-minute-plan 

 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Stacking the Shelves #127


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. I don't allow any company access to my social media accounts and I certainly don't allow them to edit and take over my accounts the way DISQUS does. So if you use DISQUS, I can't leave comments on your page so I can't really follow you back, sorry! And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me so there might not be a message from me some weeks or you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
                        
Another week done! It was not greatly productive. On the home front I tidied out the cupboards in the kitchen, checking expiry dates on tins and picking out a few extras to put in a donation bin for the local food bank. I try to get a bag to them every month or two as you never know when you might need to rely on the kindness of others yourself. Next week, I'll be taking four bags of unwanted books to the local charity shop before I decide to trip over them again! I also plan to get the new rain collection bin up and running to save water. We get plenty rain so that will be fine for the future needs of the garden! On the book review side of things I sort of gave up when I saw how many old reviews needed to be done. What I thought was a few days hard work will take at least a month to do. I was depressed about that and didn't blog most of the week! That was stupid as I could've got some reviews done and reduced the pile! I'll start again this weekend.

The reading side of things went ok. I couldn't decide on a theme so I decided to mood read a zombie book and it got me started on a mad desire to read more zombies! I think I'll be mood reading again this week as I have no definite plan yet. I'll decide on Sunday I guess. I need a few quick reads to keep me motivated after a few abandoned books. I did get into a great series at the start of the week-a zombie series called Arisen and I read books 2 and 3 before trying a few other zombies. I think I'll get on to book 4 tonight which will be GREAT!

DOWNLOADS:




















Friday, 25 March 2016

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green


Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.


My Review:
Quentin is in love with outgoing neighbour Margo who is famous at school for wild adventures. When she finds out her boyfriend is sleeping with her best friend, Margo convinces Quentin to help her on a night of revenge against them. Then she vanishes, leaving clues to follow to find her which Quentin feels he must do.

I liked the revenge night antics which were amusing if not exactly legal and the two of them deserved what was dished out for betraying Margo. Margo is pretty self obsessed and vain, and seems to think about weird things all the time, and is desperate to be the most popular person at school. She runs off for adventures to have everyone talking about how awesome and cool she is. Not really sure if I liked her but as soon as she vanishes, I kind of lost interest as at least she is semi-interesting. We are now left with Quentin, who has little of interest about him, and his dull friends.

Quentin is pretty much anti-social and because he has no interest in things like proms, he looks down his nose at his friends who do have dates. His friend Ben is dateless which is not surprising when he calls every woman including his mother 'honeybunny'. Yeuch! Their other friend Radar is the most boring guy alive and there seems to be a running joke about his parents collecting Black Santa merchandise. If this is funny in some way, I'm obviously not getting it. The thought of following the loser guys on a hunt for Margo sounded like the road trip to hell for me. I didn't read much further.

Not my thing.
 
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Book Review: Fortress Britain by Glynn James (Arisen #1)


A world fallen - under a plague of seven billion walking dead
A tiny island nation - the last refuge of the living
One team - of the world's most elite special operators
The dead, these heroes, humanity's last hope, all have...

When the Zombie Apocalypse came, one country had shut down its borders in response to a major terrorist attack. Now Fortress Britain is the last bastion of the living - with 50 million beleaguered survivors facing down a world of 7 billion animated corpses.

And when civilization fell, one international team of supremely elite special operators was being assembled for a nearly impossible mission, deployed out of the SAS barracks at Hereford. Supremely trained and armed, always the most skilled, resolved, and unstoppable amongst us, now the commandos of Alpha team are humanity's last best hope for survival. Searching through the detritus of fallen Europe, scavenging pharmaceutical labs for clues to a vaccine that might bring humanity back from the brink, now they are tasked with one last desperate operation.


My Review:
Britain is the only country who seems to have the zombie apocalypse under some kind of control, due to a terrorist scare shutting their airspace to aircraft just as the virus went global. The Channel Tunnel has been blocked off and the military have all but a few random zombies taken care of. But things are about to go very wrong...

Firstly, military based in the UK have to go on missions into Europe for supplies and information about a cure. The missions get more dangerous and new mutant versions of the zombies with more speed and intelligence are appearing, putting the troops in extreme danger. You have the ordinary Romero style shambling zombies. Then a couple of different types of fast moving zombies are detected. Seriously I never want to see a Foxtrot! These guys can run like an olympic sprinter, climb, jump and their sole purpose is to infect, not feed. Then a breach appears in the Channel Tunnel and a Foxtrot gets out and starts infecting people and soldiers around Folkstone, turning the local population into zombies. Now home defence becomes a priority starting with a tunnel clearout where there are rumours of survivors. We also meet Wesley, one of the few in the area to survive along with Captain Martin.

I liked this book. The writing was very tight and the author has a good way of drawing you into the story. The missions are very tense and exciting as you wait to see if the troops or the zombies are going to get the upper hand. I liked the different types of zombies with different threat levels. The action near the tunnel takes place in the dark, where you know bad things are lurking and people are being pounced on by the undead. It was quite a gripping read and it was not hard to get caught up in events as things go wrong.

I'm not a military expert so I have no idea how accurate the portrayal of the soldiers and weapons are but to the untrained eye it feels realistic and authentic. This is how I imagine that a military base in a crisis would be operating, complete with the mix of characters getting on each others nerves, but uniting to get on with the job. It is TEOTWAWKI as REM would have said, so things are going to be tense and fights are going to break out.

However, the gripe? The US military are in the UK which is the only safe place to launch operations from. So of course they decide to throw their weight around, barking out orders and causing resentment from the UK soldiers-and this British reader. This is our bloody country and foreign troops should do what they are told or they can go back to the Infected States of America. The religious bits also held no interest for me but it was clear that they were introducing the beliefs of certain characters for development purposes so I was ok with it. Having now read on in the series, the religious things are kept to the minimum required and the story is very fast paced so I was happy with that. Also to my delight, the teams forget their differences and both US and British team members become friends and the tension between any of them and fights over chain of command are gone.

This book is set in the UK and I'm pleased about that because there are so few good zombie novels based here for British fans to read. Too many of them are Shaun of the Dead type storylines which ends up with loser characters you hate doing dumb stuff. This is different-US army, US Navy, SAS, Special Forces, Bristish Armed Forces, Border Security and a cast of civilians give you different viewpoints all the time and the switching action keeps it exciting. This book is more of an scene setting introduction to the crisis so it's a bit slower than the action packed sequels but still not slow, as there is good action in it.

I originally gave this 3 stars but a reread this week had me wondering why I marked it so low! I'm loving the series now so have rewritten this review. If you liked ZA Recht's Morningstar zombie books you should like this. Recommended for fans of zombies!
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Reading With Chuckles


I have renamed my TBR Reading Challenge and changed it back to Reading with Chuckles as it sounds better, especially at times when I have no specific challenge running. So this is where I'll share what I read and abandoned each week, and I'll give the odd update on the state of my poor TBR! It does suffer at times...! The link under the book takes you to the Goodreads page for that book so you can decide whether to read it, and see my reviews when they are posted.

This week didn't go quite as well but was still ok. I started by reading horror fiction but by the middle of the week I didn't know what to read next so I switched to fiction about nuclear war, which is basically a different kind of horror. As a kid growing up in the 80's, nuclear war was the thing that gave you nightmares so it was fun to go and read a few short stories about it. So I ended up a bit adrift in the last day or so and read a few prepper non fiction books as well, making it a mixed up week!

FINISHED:

Kelly Gay-The Better Part of Darkness
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6318238-the-better-part-of-darkness 

John Shirley-Doom
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/111191.Doom 

Joseph D'Lacey-The Kill Crew
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6961338-the-kill-crew 

Brenda Beausoleil-Due to circumstances beyond our control
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22710154-due-to-circumstances-beyond-our-control 

A Horman-Aftermath Apocalypse
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21015085-aftermath-apocalypse 

Jim Cobb-Prepper's Home Defense
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13590643-prepper-s-home-defense 

Arthur T Bradley-Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13590643-prepper-s-home-defense 

Jim Cobb-The Preppers Complete Book of Disaster Readiness
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17318669-the-prepper-s-complete-book-of-disaster-readiness 

Max Cooper-Realistic Bug Out Bag
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23797545-realistic-bug-out-bag 


ABANDONED:

Jack Ketchum-The Girl Next Door
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/179735.The_Girl_Next_Door 

Sarah Pinborough-Feeding Ground
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6684490-feeding-ground 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Stacking the Shelves #126


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. I don't allow any company access to my social media accounts and I certainly don't allow them to edit and take over my accounts the way DISQUS does. So if you use DISQUS, I can't leave comments on your page so I can't really follow you back, sorry! And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me so there might not be a message from me some weeks or you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
                       
Here we are with another week and March is getting closer to an end. Still can't believe how time has been flying by. This has been quite a gruesome week for getting stuff done and I'm tired and sore. I usedmy new water jet thing from Aldi to give the window edges and the doors a decent clean, something I kept forgetting to do-but for the last two days my ribs are aching and my arms feel like they have been pulled out the sockets! Still, it's a job done. I had hoped to get our rain collection bin set up but my dad won't let me touch his drill and he's been glued to the horse racing all week, his yelling giving me a 4 day headache! And of course the pasta last night decided to annoy me by taking ages to go soft so my back was pleading for mercy! I plan to do nothing and feel sorry for myself this weekend!

On the computer side of things I also got a ton of things done. As you might have seen on my earlier blog post, I decided this week to tackle all the old reviews I never did back in 2010-2014. I have lost the notes for all of these reviews so knowing I had to do mini reviews from memory, I kept putting it off. This week I got started and hoped to be finished by the weekend but I still have a ton to get through. It is quite depressing but when it's done it will make a huge difference to my Goodreads pages! It will leave me with all the reviews I do have notes for, a handful that I plan to reread and write new notes for, encyclopedias/colouring books which I only have a few lines to say once I take a quick look at them. This will make me feel there is light at the end of the tunnel as far as reviews go and when I catch up during the year, I won't let another backlog occur!

Book wise this was Horror Week at The Book Cave and it got off to a decent enough start but by the middle of the week I was struggling to lift a horror book, having lost the mood for them! So I switched to non fiction disaster related books and fictional books about nuclear war which are a different type of horror. It gets more books looked at. My STS this week includes a few new books I got this week and another pile I was directed to by a friend! Nice! I'm excited by the bought paperback collection including the two sequels to Imperium which I'm looking forward to read soon! I haven't decided on my theme for this week-it will either be Paranormal or Disaster.

DOWNLOADS:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17214333-a-long-lonely-road
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29420140-the-dying-the-dead-1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18044396-sync


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22606977-lights-out-in-america-s-dairyland
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21393576-the-reset
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11490394-the-road-home


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25637448-dawn-of-darkness
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18868016-friends-of-the-family
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22074666-after-the-blast

PAPERBACKS:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29551891-promise
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28233222-shadows
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20708969-special-features


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28683761-wrong-side-of-hell


Friday, 18 March 2016

Book Review: The Kill Crew by Joseph D'Lacey


Barricaded into a city block called The Station, two hundred souls have survived the apocalypse. So far. Was it a bomb? A biological attack? Phase one of an invasion? No one knows. The Long Silence has begun. After dark, thousands of the city's inhabitants - neither living nor dead - prowl the streets snatching survivors. The Station is under constant threat. Each day a lottery decides the seven members of The Kill Crew - a night shift of civilian soldiers. Their mission is simple: Extermination. Sheri Foley, a nobody in the days before the Long Silence, discovers she has the heart of a survivalist. She becomes one of the toughest members of The Kill Crew. But there are enemies inside the Station too. The evils of the old world persist and Sheri Foley must fight them all.

My Review:
All electrical components are destroyed. A strange green glow is in the air. Office workers are turned into strange mute creatures that wander the streets. The survivors have built a fortress like structure in the city to defend themselves from the creatures called The Commuters that patrol the night, crying, waiting to grab the unsuspecting. Each night a Kill Crew are sent out to thin out their numbers and keep the survivors safe, a job not everyone has the stomach for. You can volunteer for the Kill Crew as often as you want though only seven of the volunteers are sent out each night. Once a week, a lottery of all non volunteers is done to keep things fair. If you fail on Kill Crew, you are dragged away by the creatures and somehow turned into one of them.

Sheri was an ordinary person Before, a hairdresser with a normal life. Now she likes to have some  purpose by being part of the Kill Crew with her guns Kane and Abel. On the nights that she isn't crewing, she sometimes spends it with Ike, the boyfriend of convenience that passes her time. As the numbers of zombies grow, it makes it harder to predict their movements and it seems like they might be developing a plan to get to them, making daylight just as risky to move around in. It is a grim life of survival and little hope, and I liked the way the author is able to build this world in such a short story. You can feel the tension and despair, and understand why the survivors are one step away from suicide.

On this shift, Sheri is crewing and the team are surprised to find The Commuters hiding nearby, waiting for them, despite the Kill Crew using different exits each time they leave. It becomes clear that it is an ambush. The closer they get to home, the more dangerous things become. A non volunteer on her second crewing mission is in a state of panic, forgetting everything she has been taught and putting the other six at risk. New tactics occur as the Commuters start running and working in packs. Sheri is torn between saving herself and saving someone else. It was an exciting part of the story where the tension is ramped up and you wonder if they will all survive.

I feel a bit sorry for Ike in the beginning, the way Sheri treats him. She is always thinking that he is a mindless idiot with no personality, someone she wouldn't bother with if things were different. She can't seem to see that he is kind and thoughtful, someone who would be a loyal friend even if they weren't sleeping together. Sheri always treats him as if he is a pain in the ass, there just to annoy her but it is she who is using him when she feels like it, pushing him away in a cruel way when she can't be bothered with him. Thing is, I can get her anger because of the stress she is under, and I like him for being so understanding and not giving up on her.

The book takes an interesting turn next as Sheri evaluates her life and that of her eleven year old friend Trixie. Now it is fellow humans who will be more of a threat than the Commuters. This was an intriguing plot change which I liked, and I certainly wasn't expecting this shocker, which turns the book on its head in more ways than one. Two things happen that I was not expecting and I did not see the hints of it, even when I read this until I read it second time round. It was an excellent piece of storytelling from the author.

I would have liked to see what happens next. This could easily be expanded into a full length novel showing the collapse of society or maybe the story after the novella ends. I found this story enjoyable and would recommend it for those who like apocalypse dystopia.
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png