The first installment of Christopher Cole’s Outbreak: Dark Days series follows Sonny as he finds his preteen world turned upside down at the hands of a mysterious zombie outbreak that has sparked mass, sanctioned evacuations of families and individuals to military-run communes. Little does Sonny know that once his family and friends, neighbors Carrie and Ashley, depart from their New York state homes, their lives are set to change indefinitely as they battle outbreaks and learn tough lessons about growing up.
The flow is fast-paced, while still providing enough visual detail for the reader to follow each event and action. The characters are well-developed, even considering that the main protagonists, Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley, are all middle-school aged. It is easy to empathize with the many internal conflicts they are faced in the midst of difficult decisions, the most extreme being making choices that can lead to life or death. Readers can feel the deep humanity of each child, yet at the same time are gently reminded that all three are children who genuinely do not know everything, nor should be expected to. The bond the children share with each other is just as simple, yet poignant. It is a pleasure to witness the richness of the children’s character development and interpersonal bonds as they traverse through various trials.
The grammatical errors, however, were rampant throughout the book and at times were distracting from the plot and the action. Every couple pages had some kind of punctuation or use error; for instance, “your” when the contraction “you’re” was supposed to be used was a common error. I also saw a few spelling errors, but these were far less interspersed.
I love the plot of Outbreak: Dark Days, the doomsday theme is certainly relevant in 2020, with some elements such as quarantine being very relatable to many at present. In creating a rich range of emotions and thoughts in the trio of children, Cole invites readers to reflect on their sense of humanity and consider their own reactions to the different challenges that Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley encounter throughout the book. I recommend this book for readers of young adult age and up due to the use of adult language.
Pages: 213 | ASIN: B089CHBN2G
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The war the world feared finally came except this was a different kind of war. One fought between the living and the dead. The living lost.
Liam, a former soldier in the war against the dead, had done everything he could to hold back the enemy but in the end he joined the other survivors in the only safe place left— underground.
Now Liam helps keep the last of the living safe in the subway tunnels, scavenging food by day, hiding by night, all the while haunted about how they lost the world above them. He always believed the dead had help but he could never prove it.
He would soon learn he was right all along and that there is no safe place to hide from extinction—underground just might turn out to be everyones tomb after all.
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I had not prepared myself for the thrill that would come in chapter three. I, of course, enjoyed reading about the USS Benjamin Stoddert, Auguste, and Jacques Piccard and all the sea missions. I love being introduced to new jargon and chapters one and two had me learn about different sea vessels and everything that happens at the sea. Chapter three was however different. The reader gets introduced to Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O); a secret global council promulgated in 1904, founded to watch over and defend mankind from powerful and unknown enemies.
The O.T.O being in war with the New World Order (N.W.O) made the story exciting to read. To contain the situation, a meeting had to be set. The exchange between the president of the United States and Colonel Fisher as the latter brought the president up to speed with the history on the modern day battle with the N.W.O and the kidnapping of Henry Boder. I could visualize the two men as they discussed the issues at hand. Larry taking the spot from the president and hurting his ego was thrilling. I enjoyed how the most powerful man was made to listen to what a mere colonel had to say.
Reading Global Dawn was a pleasant experience because the plot gets more interesting with every chapter. I appreciate the effort the author puts in character selection. Each character seemed real and authentic. My favorite character was colonel Larry. The man spoke with authority and knew his facts. I admired the guts he had. Dr. Henry Boder was another important character in the book that helped build a good part of the plot.
The inclusion of Benjamin Rothschild and Hitler and their relation to the New World Order in the book was surprising yet fascinating. Rothschild’s epiphany; that there were too many people on the planet and fewer resources for what he referred to as ‘the worth’ would make for a lively debate. The thinking pattern of the two men were extreme but still logical, and I appreciated how I could follow their different ways of seeing things.
Global Dawn is an amazing book that you don’t want to miss. W. B. Thompson is an excellent writer. Each chapter is succinct and makes the reading fun and easy. Organizational wars, envy, respect for authority, family, warfare, technology, and global influence are among the themes the author covered, and most of the them can be compared to issues in the real world. Global Dawn is an exciting book that I recommend to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction and techno-thriller genres.
Pages: 436 | ASIN: B07QL8GT58
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For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath provides a glimpse of the havoc the Devil can wreak when he comes for the End of Days and in search of a young Office Manager. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this novel?
The very first inspiration was a sort of vision, about 10 years ago. I saw a woman standing in a room surrounded by old wood and stones. She was close to a canopy bed and she was carrying a big, heavy, woolen blanket towards a window. I felt her sorrow, she was sad about somebody, she tremendously missed a person. Ten years after I was sitting in my beautiful sunroom in Northern BC, sipping tea and staring at the dark woods outside, the trees turning red, brown and orange, the crab apples filling the air with their sweet smell. I stared for maybe 5 minutes, after which I felt an extreme urge to write. I took my laptop and hastily started recording the events that would lead to “For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath”. I started writing in September. I had the entire story in my head, but I was busy with my daily activities, so I decided to set up a plan: I had to write at least 3,000 words a day, making up for those days in which I did not have time to write. That year the winter was particularly harsh, I felt I was held captive, and writing was the only escape from the daily -30°C, from the roads covered in ice and snow, from the long hours of darkness. I wrote almost every day, not having to think once about how the story would evolve: the adventures just flew out of me, in a sort of “channeling”. In February my first book was finished, but 6 more were already brewing in my head, including the sequels of this first book. It was only at that point that I decided to walk the next mile, and treat it as a professional work. I contacted the BC Editors Association and was smitten by their reactions to my little story. After contacting the BC Editors Association, I decided to go on a solo trip through British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alberta. Every evening I would check my emails and find those of authorities in the field that loved my work and were looking forward to read the entire story. This incredible experience spurred me to publish the novel.
My upbringing also definitely influenced my story-telling. Both my parents are attached to traditions, religion, legends and magic. My mother made sure that I would not forget about my roots, the Valley, the village “on top of the lake” (Summus Lacus), our religion. My father enhanced everything with magic and mystery.
This book is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, christian, and supernatural as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story was absolutely not planned. I just decided to start writing it without even knowing how it would evolve. I did not prepare an outline, I did not fill my walls with sticky notes, I did not have pages and pages of comments. I do have a little notebook, containing information regarding, for example, how old the characters are, if they are allergic to something, when their birthdays are, when they met each other. Nothing about the story itself. It was as if I was writing events that really happened, and the intention was just to make sure those occurrences could be remembered by future generations. My editor, Janet Southcott from Viridian Earth Contract, called my novel a “New Age fantasy”.
Your book has some fantastical creatures, but what I enjoyed was how your characters worked in harmony with one another. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?
I didn’t necessarily plan to capture any theme related to collaboration and compassion, so it definitely happened naturally. I do like the idea of different beings cooperating and developing these strong emotions and this genuine attachment for one another. In the beginning, the characters happen to come together for a higher cause; they are sort of forced to cooperate. In fact, we sometimes read that Emma doesn’t really appreciate the sternness of Ella, but, like a daughter-mother relationship, she respects the opinions and directions of a more experienced female. If we consider the novel from this point of view, it seems that the characters always approach a new “companion” with reservation, doubts and distrust. Of course, this is also caused by the events happening in the Valley, but don’t we often all react like this during our first meeting with somebody? It’s only after a few shared experiences that we manage to open up to the person in front of us. This is exactly what happens to Emma, Ella, Abela, and all the characters in the book. It is more obvious for Emma, because she is the one recollecting the events, we don’t really know what the other characters think of her, their first impression on her, but we can figure it out by reading about their behaviours and interactions with Emma through her own words. At the same time we can see how the characters evolve within their experiences: their core is the same, but their values change. There are no emotional barriers anymore; there is no time for counterproductive drama. The transition to peasant life also intensifies these values, all of a sudden the reader realizes that without technology and commodities, the characters have to communicate more, they have to cooperate and develop skills they weren’t even aware they had. Also, it is clear that by being the fellowship so diverse, each of the characters bring a different set of assets, which is shared between the members, increasing their knowledge and understanding.
This is book one in a trilogy. Where will book three pick up and when will it be available?
Book #2 and #3 are already in the process of being created, I just need the time to sit down and write them both. Book #2 will start with the main characters leaving the witch’s house and migrating to a more secure place: the gnomes’ kingdom beyond the mountains. The rest of the novel will bring more adventures and many unexpected twists. The common threads will still be the millennial fight between good and evil, love, friendship, occult, strength and hope with the Apocalypse permeating and hanging over everything like Damocles’ sword. Book #3 will incorporate also the final countdown until the last battle between good and evil, the one that will decide on the faith of humanity and Earth.
When the Devil puts his price tag on your head, you know you have to call upon some very special friends to help you stay alive. Welcome to the world of Emma. Thrown from relative obscurity into a time of being hunted, our young protagonist must transition from modern day to peasant life with difficult choices and a need to adapt. Life on the run takes trust and belief in the power of others, on a vastly changing stage. Emma Plant’s first novel throws the reader into a place where reality is no longer three dimensional. Descriptions of fairies, witches, gnomes and demons paint a picture for anyone who may wish a glimpse beyond the veil. Her characters live in the reader’s imagination beyond the final page, with the promise of a sequel, and potential trilogy in the offing. This new-age fantasy story will appeal to young adults through to senior years and is a page-turner from start to finish.
Posted in Interviews
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Finding AJ follows FBI Agent Jules as she searches for a serial killer through a zombie apocalypse. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book 1 and what was a new direction you wanted to take in book 2?
The themes were quite different in Jacob’s Odyssey and Finding AJ. While the main theme in Jacob’s Odyssey was centered around Jake’s internal journey, the main theme in Finding AJ was Jules’ obsessive quest to find the serial killer known as the Calligrapher. However there is a common theme that runs through both novels, and that has to do with the incredible beauty of nature that surrounds us, yet the human race seems bent on self-destruction. At one point in Jacob’s Odyssey, Jake comments on how he’s always thought of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley as being as “eden-like” as any place on earth. There are beautiful descriptions of nature in both novels.
The town of Gideon is one of the last remaining towns in the apocalypse. How did you imagine a town would come together and survive in a time like this?
The only way the people of Gideon, or any other post-apocalyptic setting, could survive is by working together to solve any problems that came up. “Working together” is the key. Gideon had good leaders and the people there were willing to do their part in order to survive.
Jules is a determined FBI agent, but faces some tough decisions. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to her characters development?
The personal obstacles Jules needed to overcome had to do with her tendency toward being a self-reliant lone wolf. She generally doesn’t connect with or open herself up to others. She has difficulty giving her trust. She doesn’t let anyone in. It isn’t easy for her, but eventually she opens herself up and begins to connect with others. And she has to “trust” someone if she’s going to find the serial killer, and toward the end she finally does.
Will there be a book 3 in the Apocalypse Journeys series and where will that take readers?
There may be a 3rd novel. I’m not sure yet. It depends on how well Finding AJ does. Simple as that. If there is a third novel, it will combine characters from the first two novels. They will be at the underground government complex that is mentioned in Jacob’s Odyssey. This is the same complex where the virus was developed, and there are still experiments going on there. The conspiracy will be revealed, and virtually everyone (Jake, Sarah, Becky, Jules, Caleb, and others) will be in danger. Lukas Melzer will, of course, be there, as well as the new president of the United States. And deep in the complex are a host of grays (zombies), including the alpha called Eve. And don’t be terribly surprised if the Swimmer from Jacob’s Odyssey makes a return. He’s the baddest alpha around. Can’t leave him out.
Her search leads her to Gideon, Utah, a small town in the southern part of the state. There, amongst the 116 survivors, a serial killer hides in plain sight. There’s only one clue to his identity. Using a scalpel, he inscribes the letters AJ into the abdominal area of his victims–postmortem–in an ancient Chinese text called Tsao, the lettering precise and artistic.
Jules knows the key to finding the Calligrapher lies in discovering the identity of AJ. If she can find AJ, she can find the Calligrapher. But the Calligrapher knows who Jules is. Jules must survive the infected and find the Calligrapher before she becomes his latest victim.
Posted in Interviews
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We meet the protagonist of Russ Melrose’s Finding A.J.: Apocalypse Journeys 2 as she sits on the side of a gravel road in the Mojave Desert, head in her hands. Jules is not the crying kind, but that’s exactly what she’s doing. The tough FBI agent pulls it together despite the crumbling world around her to work on a case that she can’t let go. A tough case for this tough agent is made tougher by the apocalyptic state the world is now in. The dead, also known as “grays” or the “infected”, walk the streets hunting for their next meal while Jules goes from town to town hunting for a serial killer whose case she hasn’t been able to solve.
Finding A.J. stands alone as a book even though it is part of a series. You do not need to know anything more than this book provides to understand the plot of this book. (But, I’d like to go back and read part 1 now!)
Jules is an independent, no-nonsense kind of girl. She is more than self-sufficient. She seems like she could be a loner and wouldn’t mind keeping it that way. However, she doesn’t stay alone for long. She finds a teenage girl in desperate need of her help and rescues her from her captor. Addy, the girl she rescues, then becomes sort of a foster daughter to Jules despite Jules’s objections. Addy would likely have been a loner too, but with the world falling apart and her recent captivity and abuse she needs to cling to someone. She needs someone to trust. That someone will be Jules.
Jules and Addy make an eventful trek to the town of Gideon. That is where most of the story plays out. Gideon is a town that is still hanging on, even if by a thread. There is still a mayor and policemen, which is more than can be said for many post-apocalyptic towns. A large chunk of the population has been infected and died, but anarchy hasn’t quite reached Gideon yet. The townspeople cling to any semblance of normalcy they can even while they are uprooted. Readers will get to know many of the people in the town. They will also be suspicious of everyone they meet. The townspeople all have jobs and duties to perform for the sake of self-preservation. The dead are walking, there is a killer among them, and all they have is each other.
Parts of the book reminded me of scenes from The Walking Dead. Tasks as simple as grocery shopping become major undertakings with the “grays” wandering around. Supply runs put many characters in danger. Every seemingly menial task becomes exceedingly difficult. You will breathe sighs of relief as plans come together, and hold your breath when they don’t.
The book is very well written. It is not hard to follow, and the plot flows well. Characters are well developed and enough backstory is given to assist with that development. As the events of the story play out, you will question each character. No one can be trusted. You will hang onto the edge of your seat waiting to find out who the serial killer is and if Jules can catch them.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B07CZ4VS2R
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When Mavin Cedarstrom heads to the Svalbard Seed Vault for another day on the job, he can’t possibly imagine the turn his life is about to take. His former life gathering seeds as an assistant to his favorite professor pales in comparison to the life he leads working in the exclusive and formidable vault housing samples of every seed variety in the world. Mavin’s job helping to protect and preserve the future of the planet’s primary food source leads him on a journey like no other when he awakens to find himself in what he soon learns is the future–the distant future.
Right out of the gate, Mark Daniel Seiler introduces readers to an intriguing set of circumstances. He wastes no time in keeping his audience guessing as to both time and place. The opening pages of River’s Child reveal a scene with an amalgamation of characters with varied backgrounds. It isn’t until Mavin reaches the vault itself that the reader is treated to the splendors of technological advancements. Seiler springs this futuristic setting on his readers in a wonderful contrast with the opening bar scene.
Reading River’s Child is akin to reading three different books, but it works well. Mavin’s time working in the vault and the tragedy that befalls him when he reports to work that fateful fall day are a far cry from the way he is found and worlds apart from the scene that greets him when he is pulled from beneath Earth’s surface. Once he and his rescuer/guide, Simone Kita, make the year-long trek to civilization, the story takes on a completely different feel which somehow also makes sense. To say that Mavin has taken a step into the past would not be wrong, nor would it be wrong to say he is almost light years in the future upon being pulled from the remains of the vault. Seiler presents for readers a picture of an Earth recreated after its destruction and, somehow, simultaneously archaic and advanced.
Seiler’s choice to make males subservient and females revered in the new world is both refreshing and entertaining. Simone, a strong woman in many ways, teaches Mavin the proper way to show respect and how to remain demure in his foreign surroundings. The author has pulled from multiple cultures to create the portrait of a lesser sex in this futuristic world which blends ancient customs with the discovery and mastery of unique and highly developed talents. Simone’s amazing ability to control space and time is superhero-like and takes the reader as much by surprise as it does Mavin the first time she tries to discreetly display it.
Seiler offers readers a picture of what is essentially a post-apocalyptic world that is different from any I have read. He takes readers on a journey that begins and ends with the soul survivor of a catastrophic event and allows them to watch as he struggles to find his place among those who now inhabit Earth. Seiler peppers his writing with the perfect amount of suspense and humor as he weaves this unforgettable tale.
Pages: 312 | ISBN: 1947003399
Posted in Book Reviews
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Once Upon a Time Slip, written by Lisa Nicell Treanor, is about a nineteen-year-old woman by the name of China Winter. China must escape the rise of the supernatural and the demands of a potential war by travelling with her grandfather to Liverpool to start a new life. But there are new dangers that lurk within the streets of Liverpool with threats of time slips and repercussions from the government on the forefront of every mind. Time wars develop, throwing China’s plans to find her missing brother out the window as she battles a world where being erased from existence is just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
China is an orphan and was raised by her inventor and toy maker grandfather, Clarence Winter. The story is set in 2258 so prepare for a whirlwind of futuristic scenarios- from mechanical hearts to humanoids to rewiring of the human soul. The future is here, and so is the potential for time travel. However, some problems can cause irreversible results. With real-life inventors like Nikola Tesla being incorporated into the plot line, be prepared for a magnitude of exciting inventions, creations and scientific discoveries.
Even though the story is set in the future, there are still elements of present/past issues. For example, with a war looming there are whispers of conscription with continuous pressure being pushed by the government. Some of the characters have mechanical body parts which still leaves them wondering who they are, how do they fit in, and what is the meaning of their life. I enjoyed the aspects of the past intertwined into the future as it gave the novel a sense of realism and was a reminder that our past mistakes tend to be repeated in society.
Lisa Nicell Treanor paints beautiful word pictures that gives readers an easy glimpse into the fantastical world of China Winter. I really enjoyed the level of detail in this story. There were so many suspenseful and even fun moments that were really brought to life by the vivid imagery. All of this lends to an intriguing and magical plot line that is punctuated with wild and creative inventions.
Abductions, soldiers and poltergeists come together to create an action-packed plot, all creating a sense of urgency and suspense throughout the story. Once upon a Time Slip is a unique time travel story that will open your mind to strange possibilities. If you’re looking for an exciting novel with a strong sense of adventure, then look no further.
Pages: 369 | ASIN: B077BRTDF3
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