Tag Archives: Zombies

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Overview
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Horror, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult, Zombies
Dates read: 22nd July – 6th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: She tried to steady her breathing, to will herself to calm.

Synopsis

NOTHING STAYS BURIED FOREVER.

Seventeen-year-old Ryn cares about only two things: her family and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meagre existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as bone houses, and legend says that they’re the result of an old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with a new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the deeply buried truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairy tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. But it seems to keep getting shunted to the side. Now that I’ve finally managed to sink my teeth into it… wow. This was brilliant. The kind of journey that is hard to put down and forget about. Even writing this review, the day after finishing the book, I’m getting the happy tingles.

I seem to be enjoying books a lot lately that flick between the points of view. I like how this mostly starts with Ryn and builds up her history really strongly. Then it flickers over to Ellis and starts to give out his history and characterisation in more of a trickle. Not only are you reading the book because you can’t wait to see how it ends, but also because you want to know where Ellis began.

This had a slight historical fiction feel to it. The structure of the society and the use of the fae back stories felt very celtic to me. It had a nice sense of familiarity that I tend to find with this background. Then, you add in the bone houses. They’re seriously creepy and a mystery all on their own. Each and every moment of the journey, I was fully expecting one of them to jump out and that tension kept me turning each and every page.

I absolutely adored this book, it had two strong characters who both had their flaws. A dead goat that showed insane amounts of loyalty. And a feeling of mystery that seized you from the very first moment and swept you along. This was just amazing and I’m so glad that I decided to pick this book up!!!

<- More Emily Lloyd-JonesThe Drowned Woods ->

Image source: Goodreads

Black Train by Jeff Mariotte

Overview
Image result for westward weird book cover

Title: Black Train
Author: Jeff Mariotte
In: Westward Weird (Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western, Wild west, Zombies
Dates read: 10th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Daw Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Believe me, I would love to oblige, sir,” the man said.

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Synopsis

Two men are in love with the same woman, and on a hunting trip. What you think is going to go wrong gets slightly derailed when they stumble across a black train and a plot to destroy.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this mould-driven short story. After all, mould is actually kind of a scary and insidious thing if you really think about it. So using it as a biological weapon and scary object in this short story was brilliant. And made me want to scrub every inch of my house to make sure that there wasn’t any zombie mould anywhere…

I found Evan and Charlie to be a very interesting team. They are so unalike, yet so similar at the same time. A great little juxtaposition that drew me in. Plus, from the beginning it’s obvious that they really don’t like one another. Though the depths of this dislike are only slowly unveiled. Yet another aspect of this story that I quite enjoyed – not everything was spelt out and indicated from the very beginning, but it is slowly revealed.

As with many short stories that I love, this tale ends with a very open-ended feeling. It highlights the dangers of such a weapon. And, just generally left me with a goosebump feeling. And some serious awkwardness.

<- The Clockwork CowboyLone Wolf ->

Image source: Amazon

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Overview
Working Stiff (Revivalist, #1) by Rachel Caine

Title: Working Stiff
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Revivalist #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Zombies
Dates read: 18th September – 23rd October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc fantasy
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Bryn tried the keys Fideli had given her, but they didn’t work.

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Synopsis

RACHEL CAINE, THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE WEATHER WARDEN NOVELS, TAKES THE ZOMBIE GENRE BY STORM IN HER BRAND-NEW REVIVALIST SERIES.

Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn’t the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment – until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele… as part of an extortion racket. Now Bryn faces being terminated (literally) with extreme prejudice.

With the assistance of corporate double agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem – pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She’d better do it fast before she becomes a zombie slave – a real working stiff.

She’d be better off dead…

Thoughts

So I had absolutely no clue what to really expect from this novel. But even if I had expectations… they would have been surpassed. This was completely, totally and utterly unexpected. In the best of ways possible. It was absolutely awesome and a lot, lot, lot of fun. I didn’t want to put this down. I didn’t want to look away. And I most certainly desperately want the final two books in this trilogy!

Bryn is a fantabulous lead. She is a little bit weak in some ways, but also has this great core strength that carries her through all of the insanity that this story entails. I mean, there is a LOT of insanity throughout this story. It is just one crazy moment after another… all careening through the pages in an unstoppable plot that has you on the edge of your seat. It makes it way too easy to feel seriously heart sore at her plight and makes you just hope for the best. I’m not all that optimistic to be honest, but that’s probably why I liked this so much.

This is a seriously unique and individualistic zombie story. Not that I’ve read many zombie stories. But the way in which zombies are created, and the whole plot line is just unfathomably unique and sheer awesomeness. It makes this story even more difficult to put down and put away. Because somehow, these zombies feel a little scarier and more plausible… and then you start dealing with big corporations and corruption… and well, the zombie story is just WOW.

Jo, Pat and Bryn are the absolute dream team in this story. They all work incredibly well together to create this team that is kind of personally interwoven, and there are heaps of secrets… and I just can’t wait to see what happens next to this little trio. Particularly with how Caine finished off their journey in this novel… there are SO MANY more questions left unanswered!

<- More Rachel CaineTwo Weeks’ Notice ->

Image source: Goodreads

Lowstone by Anton Strout

Overview
Image result for westward weird book cover

Title: Lowstone
Author: Anton Strout
In: Westward Weird (Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Cyborgs, Weird westerns, Zombies
Dates read: 28th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Daw Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: The gunslinger looked at Alice.

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Synopsis

This small mining town is about to have a gunslinging visitor. She’s not what they’d normally expect or want in their little town. But she might just be their saviour.

Thoughts

I love that this story is a final stand… Wild West Style. The fact that it involves zombies and cyborgs just makes it so, so, so much better. And more enjoyable. And just all-round amusing.

This short story had both a great, happy ending. And a kind of tragic one. In one part, there were survivors and hope for a future. But, in the other. It was seriously a story of a last stand. One which almost had that comfort and bitter sweetness of death featured. In a way that makes you wonder if death wasn’t actually the worst thing.

One of my favourite things about this short story though, aside from the great writing and the fun storyline… it was the fact that somehow Strout was able to mix cyborgs and zombies in with a story of the wild west. And gunslingers. And just, in general, a great and slightly unexpected journey.

<- The Last Master of Aeronautical WintersThe Flower of Arizona ->

Image source: Amazon

Noble Rot by Holly Black

Overview
naked-city

Title: Noble Rot
Author: Holly Black
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Urban fantasy, Zombies
Dates read: 5th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “Don’t like good-byes,” she says.

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Synopsis

He’s slowly wasting away. But, there is a beautiful delivery girl that seems to keep his life interesting. Little does he know what she’s turning him into…

Thoughts

I’ve been around enough sick people in my life to know that disease and, the treatments, can completely mess up your taste buds. However, the ways in which this story plays with ideas of messed up taste buds is entirely unique. And more than a little bit gross. Although completely fun. as you can probably tell, I got a few somewhat mixed feelings about this.

There was so much backstory to this tale. Which made me dive in completely. I would also love to reread this, because now that I know what the lead female was doing the whole time… I feel like I’d be able to grasp at some of the hints throughout.

I love that this is about a sick man who is given a second chance at a new life. There is something beautiful, and really tragic about this. Which makes it fit perfectly into the theme of the Naked City collection.

 <- And Go Like This ReviewDaddy Longlegs of the Evening Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey

Overview
Image result for an apple for the creature book cover

Title: Iphigenia in Aulis
Author: Mike Carey
In: An Apple for the Creature (Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Urban fantasy, Zombies
Dates read: 11th June 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Ace Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Oh baby, I’m so sorry.

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Synopsis

Melanie doesn’t really understand why she is in this compound. What happened to her parents, and why the teachers aren’t allowed to touch them. Until she finally does understand. And then things start to get a little… hectic.

Thoughts

I really thought that this story was going to have a much, much happier ending. I thought that Melanie would be able to find a new family, a world beyond her restraints. It didn’t end like that. And it didn’t make me think that she had a happily ever after. But I still completely loved this story. In a way, the not-so-happy ending made me love the story even more than I would have if Melanie got her happily-ever-after.

The idea of zombies only slowly filtered through into the story as you turned the pages. It wasn’t something that I immediately picked up on, and really wasn’t until the final few pages that I realised that this short story firmly sits into this shelf. And, with many short stories that surprise me and make me ridiculously happy, I was incredibly disappointed that this story wasn’t part of a bigger series… so I’ll just have to find something else written by Mike Carey to add to my ever-growing collection.

For such a short story, this tale deals with a few issues. For starters, what do you do with the children of zombies? If they share the horrific bloodlust and insanity of their parents, we’re kind of screwed, but you know… they’re children. The issues surrounding abortions are also touched upon (a law is passed banning abortions, which leaves the apocalypse survivors with a SERIOUS issue). And, finally, how do you treat the different? Alright, these different kids have the potential to eat your face off. But, the way that they’re treated really isn’t okay either.

 <- Callie Meet Happy ReviewGolden Delicious Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Endurance by Ann Aguirre

Overview
Image result for endurance ann aguirre book cover

Title: Endurance
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #1.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Science fiction, Zombies
Dates read: 27th – 29th May 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “We didn’t kill them all.”

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Synopsis

When rebellion destroys the underground world in which Thimble and Stone have grown up, they take Stone’s son and try to escape the chaos. Along the way, they must evade the Freaks, beings who feed on human flesh. Leaving behind the roles of Builder and Breeder which they were assigned at birth, they wander the underground tunnels, looking for safety yet afraid to go “topside” where legend has it that the light and water will burn their skin from their bones.

Their journey takes them upward to an unimagined world of tinned food, comfortable furniture, and books. Away from their regimented society for the first time, and still facing imminent danger, Thimble and Stone acknowledge the forbidden attraction which both have denied for years.

Thoughts

This is a little bit cute. It’s easy, simple and just the right amount of activity to make you want to sink your teeth into it. I also love that it shows the Thimble and Stone survive. And have some kind of future ahead of them… I REALLY hope that they show up later in the series…

One of the parts of Enclave that I found a little difficult was the fact that Deuce just left the Enclave. She had no way to know what had happened after she disappeared. And, although her fever dream tells her that everyone was dead, it was a little abstract and that much more difficult to really feel like there was closure. I mean it was a great story telling technique, but I hate lose ends. This short story helped to fix up all of those lose ends and tie everything up in a nice, neat little knot.

There is a bit of a romantic entanglement throughout this story. It kind of hit on one thing that I tend to hate in young adult storylines – they’re so young when they fall stupidly, madly in love. After all, a sixteen-year-old finding her one and only is a bit hard to stomach. But, by creating a dystopian society in which the expected lifespan is less than twenty years… it makes this a little more relatable. Actually, it made the entire relationship between Thimble and Stone a very happy family creation tale. And I really, really hope that I get to see them again later on in the series!

 <- Secret Heart ReviewOutpost Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Foundation by Ann Aguirre

Overview
Image result for foundation ann aguirre book cover

Title: Foundation
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Science fiction, Zombies
Dates read: 28th – 29th April
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor.com
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: And Austin?

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Synopsis

Disease wipes out world’s humans. Family hides in underground. Boy narrator grows up, falls in love with another boy.

Thoughts

I absolutely loved Enclave. And one of the things that I loved the most about it was the world building. Which meant that it was such a pleasure to read this short story. It gave even greater insight into the amazing world that Aguirre had built. And it included a level of hopeful innocence that was in the main novels, but a lot less crushed.

The beginning of the apocalypse is thought to be caused in so many different ways. World war, nuclear attack, plague… there are so many different ways that people think the world could end. It’s hinted in Enclave that the end is caused by a bioweapon or plague of some sort. But the particulars are a little hard to unwind. Foundation provides that insight. In the moments before the world as we know it ends and just what it was like for teenagers at the time.

I also loved the fact that the lead boy in this story was in love with another boy. I’m finding that so many more stories and series I’m coming across include an LGBTQI character of some sort. And I love the normalisation that this provides. There is no big deal made out of their relationship, they’re just two boys in love. And it makes you smile as you turn the last page, even though they have to live the rest of their lives underground…

 <- Vanguard ReviewEnclave Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Overview
Image result for book cover enclave ann aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Science fiction, Zombies
Dates read: 23rd – 24th April 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “We need a place to rest before the last leg of our journey,” I told Fade.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Welcome to the apocalypse.

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed “brat” has trained into one of three groups – Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear – to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been destroyed by Freaks, who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to their warnings and exile Deuce and Fade. As the two are guided out of the dead city by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Thoughts

I was kind of surprised by how much I loved this story. I remember really enjoying Secret Heart an age ago when I read Kisses and Curses, but then this book just kind of sat on my bookshelf, waiting. It also reminded me of how much I love dystopia books. I read this entire thing cover to cover in a day (if you don’t count the three pages I read before bed the night before). Not only was it an amazing story, but it was also filled with fun characters, gritty challenges and a great commentary about the world around us.

I fell in love with Deuce from a fairly early point in the story. Whilst she is incredibly tough and independent, she is also an innocent. Which becomes more and more obvious as the storyline unfolds. The shattering of her world again and again is a little gut wrenching. As is the fact that every time you think she’s triumphed over something, things come crashing down all over again. It made it almost impossible to put the book down, but it also made it quite an intense emotional roller coaster. After all, I think that I’m a tough and independent woman, but I’m pretty sure that if I was tested all of my naivety would come flooding out…

Although this story is full of so many twists and turns, emotional turmoil and a huge level of confusion as to what’s going to happen next, it does have a happy ending, of sorts. It’s rare that I’m not sure where a story is leading, so I thoroughly enjoyed my confusion over this tale. I also loved the ending. It doesn’t finish off the story in any way, shape or form. But it gave a reprieve from the trials that Deuce and Fade are forced to go through. A point in the overarching story line that gives you a chance to stop and pause. But one that makes you want to continue on with the series.

 <- Foundation ReviewSecret Heart Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Christmas Feast by Jonathan Maberry

Overview
A Fantastic Holiday Season

Title: A Christmas Feast
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Series: Rot and Ruin Companion
In: A Fantastic Holiday Season (Kevin J. Anderson & Keith J. Olexa)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: ChristmasZombies
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: World Fire Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Dan couldn’t risk dragging him back out into the cold.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

It’s always important to have your Christmas celebrations – even if it’s the end of the world and the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.

Thoughts

I love the setting of Christmas against a zombie apocalypse (or at least, that’s what the setting seemed to be to me)…

Christmas time is a time of plenty. Joy. Family. Giving. Zombie apocalypses are a time of… well, nothing. Death. Killing family. Taking anything and everything. So having the two in a story that was kind of hopeful, but also quite dark, twisty made my dark and twisty soul happy. What I loved most though is that although there is a great sense of Christmas and maybe a respite from the horrors of the world… there is also this kind of lingering feeling that they’re about to die in the most horrible of ways. Nothing like a horrible death to make you love the festive season.

 <- Midnight Trains ReviewA World Done In by Great Granny’s Grateful Pie Review ->
Image source: Goodreads