Friday, November 28, 2014

Poetry for Zombies

Truthfully, I found this book while I was trying to locate a book by another author but I'm glad I found it because this book is hilarious.

Poetry for Zombies (written by Gary McGrew) comes off as cute, but in a way that isn't annoying. Think of it as being written by zombie Shel Silverstein (and wouldn't that just be interesting on its own?)

The Zombie and the Cheese: a poem about a man with a love of wine and cheese on picnics who becomes a zombie and wants French head cheese

The Role of a Lifetime: a poem about an actress who gets zombified and decides to continue acting until she gets her little gold statue. Zombie actors galore and she winds up in obscurity (this one had me laughing so hard that I had people looking at me funny. the joys of reading in a public place)

Zombie Tsunami: a poem about why you really should check items for curses

Undead Deathbed: a poem that I have to assume is about a person on the verge of zombification because if it was about zombie healthcare, that would be just silly......and awesome......

Breaking Up With the Broken: a poem about breaking up with someone who's now a zombie full of hilarious imagery.

Rhonda's Rotten Exes: a poem about being too damn picky about who you spend your (un)life with

Torso Zombie Boy: a poem that proves zombies are dicks to their own kind

Hand-fed: a poem about the etiquette of the hand that feeds you

Deadweight-er: a poem about tonight's specials and you

Contaminated Meat: a poem about spreading infection (luncheon meat! HA!)

Eternal Darkness of the Thoughtless Mind: a poem about rethinking your zombified loved one 

Alice's Adventures in Zombieland: a poem about Alice and a zombie cat

Upon reaching the end of the book, you're treated to a final silly moment that is giggle worthy.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

State of Horror: New Jersey

I enjoyed State of Horror: Illinois so much that I decided to pick up the other book offered- State of Horror: New Jersey.

Pork Roll, Egg, and Sleaze: Frank J. Elder introduces us to Egg, a Jersey boy who loves horror movies, greasy sandwiches and a chick named Cleo. An afternoon jaunt to get a record winds up with mass murder in Trenton and an ending anyone could see coming (slasher film logic? cannibalism? really? really?!). Bon Jovi is pop, My Chemical Romance is emo and I guess because I'm from the Midwest, I fail to understand why keeping it Jersey is a battle cry.

American Gargoyle: Scott M. Goriscak starts us off with a woman in labor with her 13th child and screaming it must be the devil. She must have had a glimpse of the future, as shortly after her child enters the world, it sheds the mortal skin it was born in for a demonic form. Once in full demon form, the child takes out the midwives and leaves the mother alive. Thus, we have witnessed the birth of the Jersey Devil. The story then takes us through a few encounters of murder, mayhem and friendship. And death. Lots and lots of squishy death.

Dying Days: Charon: Armand Rosamilia catches us back up with Jack (who I've determined is a complete douchenozzle surviving solely on dumb luck and overly nice people), now drifting through life in New Jersey with a new companion, Kendall. After ditching some undead (ha ha, broomstick) Kendall leads Jack to a safe place- the home of people he knew growing up. The man, Big Russ, has become apathetic and no longer wishes to participate in life (or as it's really described- he's in denial about the zombpocalypse). Attempts are made to form a merry bunch of travelers, but soon we lose sight of Kendall, Big Russ comes around on the idea of survival and Jack is somewhere in the woods of New Jersey headed north. And there's a murder house.

Evacuation: C.I. Kemp brings us a story that centers around the evacuation of a small town, presumably due to the weather. Arrival at the facility that's supposed to keep them safe arouses suspicion from some of the town folk and they begin to question what's going on around them. A little boy goes missing and in the end, we learn the answer to his question- yes, there will be no school tomorrow and congratulations, there is life on other planets. Oh and the town drunk will get mistaken for a shooting star.

Doctor Nightshade Comes to Ocean City, NJ: T. Fox Dunham's story is about the Jersey Devil, but not in the squishy murder way that American Gargoyle had been. In this case, the Jersey Devil is a businessman so afraid of failure that he did what he thought was necessary to save a town and his livelihood. The cost? The lives of twenty-one in twenty-five. When you dance with the devil, you have to pay your dues. Have fun running in the streets!

Sweets For My Sweet: Margaret L. Colton introduces us to Aggie, an older woman living near the Boardwalk who loves the ocean, swimming and frolicking like a mermaid. Aggie is a widow, having lost her great love, Charlie, a decade before. Aggie is going about her life when she starts getting haunted by visions of Charlie that just aren't quite right. Memories become twisted versions of themselves and finally, the little mermaid realizes it's time to return to her great love.

Under the Boardwalk: Julianne Snow's story starts off with Josie and Paul enjoying some alone time on the beach. A noise stops their fun and soon they're trapped in their own nightmare. The story picks back up with Josie's sister trying to find out what happened to her. She meets up with a local cop while putting up fliers. They go on a date. They wind up on the beach. They wind up in Josie and Paul's nightmare.

Monster: Christian Jensen's take on the Jersey Devil starts off with the squishy death of a homophobe and continues with two boys off to sneak a smoke. They find the squishy death scene, realize something is horribly wrong and take off to avoid the same fate. The Jersey Devil isn't too keen on losing prey and manages to take out one of the boys just as they thought they had made it safely home. Time passes and soon the boy who survived (no, not Harry Potter. wrong book and shame on you) has trained to take on the devil. The story leaves us just as he attacks fueled by bourbon.

Road Wearier: Tim Baker presents a road story that take place in the Twilight Jersey Turnpike. Mac passes through some fog to find himself alone on the road until he encounters someone broken down on the road, out of gas. It take a little doing, but Mac manages to convince the guy to get into the car to take him to a gas station. What follows is a classic case of deja vu followed by vuja de with a touch of lather, rinse, repeat.

Rudetown Road: Blaze McRob tells a tale of revenge. A creature living in the woods loses his family to a biker gang, so the creature sets out to avenge his wife and child. Unexpectedly, he gets help from a local doctor out to find out what caused the death of one of the bikers. Leave no witnesses doesn't take on the meaning the rest of the biker gang had, but the creature gets his revenge and makes a new friend in the doctor.

A Friend of the Family: Diane Arrelle gives us another take on the Jersey Devil. This time he's the friend of a local witch, Starlynne. Starlynne has the ability to heal others, something she demonstrates when her friend Ronny visits his parent's cabin with a friend from school, Dennis (using the term friend loosely). After spending some time together, Starlynne catches on to the evil that resides in Dennis and soon that evil comes to the surface in several acts of violence. That's when the devil makes his a friend of the family........

Red Eyes: Nathanael Gass presents his take on the Jersey Devil in the form of the Jersey Devil vs Forest Rangers. Doug Willins and his fellow rangers are out and about when they meet up with the devil in a forest. Squishy mayhem ensues and Doug is left holding the bag for arson and the deaths of his fellow rangers.

Memories Of Her Are Dead: Eli Constant gives us an ill fated trip to a zoo. Shawn takes his children to a zoo the family had been to before the loss of his wife, in the hopes of recapturing some happy family memories. While walking around the zoo, they realize things don't look right, which is soon confirmed by the oldest child when she finds articles related to things going horribly wrong at the zoo- sick animals and deaths of zoo patrons when the animals go batshit crazy. Sadly, the animals have another batshit crazy moment and the lone survivor is the tiniest member of the family.

Overall, this is another collection of great short stories that thankfully aren't full of jump scares like so many horror things tend to be right now. It was also nice to get a take on the Jersey culture, which is apparently full of pork and devils (it's a rather simplistic view, but it beats the idiots MTV had on for a while).

And just like my take on State of Horror: Illinois, anything I say is my opinion and I'm not getting anything out of posting this, except maybe getting someone else to download and read a copy of the anthology themselves.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Deadly Night: Jenni and Katie's Untold Story

This was a delightful piece of fan service and bless Rhiannon Frater for it.

Our story opens with some back story from the author, complete with dead laptop (who hasn't been there?)

The actual story begins with Katie getting pissed off at a zombie walking repeatedly into a light pole. It's obvious it's not a fresh zombie since it keeps repeating this action......or it's fresh and was too dumb to function in real life and that's how it wound up as one of the undead.....

Jenni joins Katie on her perch and watches the zombie's activity. Soon Jenni decides to hell with it and the zombie needs to bite it. Katie agrees to keep an eye from her perch and Jenni hits the streets with a crowbar.

After dispatching light pole zombie, Jenni hears the cry of a child. Flashing back on what happened to her own children, Jenni starts moving towards the noise with Katie joining her. It doesn't take long for zombies to find them on their quest to find where the noise is coming from. They're dispatched and they find a truck with a woman and two children hiding.

We find out the woman, Julia, is sick but not soon to be zombified sick. The children with her are sick as well, but Julia confirms they have not been bitten either. Julia refuses to leave the truck because they have met some unsavory people on their travels. She wants to wait for her other traveling companions, who left the truck in order to find medicine for everyone.

It doesn't take long for zombies to find them, so they have to call for back up from the fort while they work to thin out the herd that has been slowly working their way to the source of the noise. It doesn't take long for back up to arrive and they get to work getting rid of what they can, but things take a turn for the worse when some runners appear.

Soon it becomes obvious that in order to get Julia moving, they have to find her companions. The promise is made, Julia gets a move on with the children and the group divides up- Jenni goes in search of the companions and Katie heads back to the fort with everyone else.

The fort group gets back, but only barely outrunning the freshly turned runners. Nerit gives the order to shoot only the runners. The slow ones get their brains scrambled with spears. (They never do reveal what the medium zombies get though, which is a shame. What do you do with a medium speed zombie? Trap them until they get slow and then scramble them?)

Jenni's group sets out on foot to try and locate Julia's companions, but it soon becomes dangerous and they're forced to return to the fort. Jenni refuses to forget her promise to find Julia's companions and instead of scaling the ladder on the wall, she sets off for a truck abandoned outside the fort's wall. Katie realizes what Jenni is doing and sets off to join her. Katie jumps into the truck and they set off.

Before too long, they arrive at the gas station where Julia's companions were headed to in order to find medicine. It's found to be overrun with zombies. Katie says go melee and they spring from the truck to do some damage to the undead.

After dispatching the zombies, they find Julia's companions, but sadly one is dead and the other is dying from a bite. The dying man, Alan, asks the girls to take a letter and some pictures back to Julia. He said he was glad to have Julia as his traveling companion and asks to have his death made quick. Katie obliges, then she and Jenni return to the fort.

Upon their return to the fort, Katie goes to speak with Julia and Jenni responds to a summon from Nerit.

Julia is saddened to learn of the loss of her friends, but is glad for the mementos.

Nerit tells Jenni that while everyone has to live with loss, she shouldn't rush head on into death.

The story closes with the women bonding and telling the undead to fuck off.

All hail Thelma and Louise of the zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

going to take a small break

now that i've finished my take on the As The World Dies trilogy, it's time to take a little break and finish getting ready for halloween!

i've found out via twitter that some people following me are authors too, which is very exciting. i look forward to checking out their work and coming up with takes on them as well!

happy reading and see you in a few days!

As The World Dies: Siege (Book 3)

The final book in the series starts with a forward (bet you didn't see that one coming!), but opens with Jenni dreaming an alternate timeline where her younger children are alive. She wakes up to a zombie licking the window of the vehicle she's in (while I'm left wondering why it was licking the glass. do windows have flavor?)

A search party is returning to the fort with more survivors when they come upon zombies attacking a van. The zombies don't care that a caravan of goodies have arrived, they're more preoccupied with the task at hand (nomnomnomnom). Jenni launches an assault while they're preoccupied, more fighting happens, more zombie appear, some people die and another new person appears.

Back at the fort, Katie is hanging out with Stacy waiting for the search party to return from their outing. They're late, she's worried and while she's hanging out with Stacy (and the now dead floppy zombie. trust me on this one), she gets busted by Travis for not taking it easy while she's pregnant.

Moving right along, bitch queen trophy wife is still being bitch queen trophy wife and spineless rich guy is back (sigh). Lenore and Ken have set up a beauty shop. Otis is running being Otis (flamethrower!). The fort has found it's own form of normal and it's working (except in the case of bitch queen trophy wife).

Speaking of bitch queen trophy wife, she's gotten into her head that it's time to go home and the method she goes with is really quite stupid. Kidnapping Jenni and demanding the return of her Hummer. She's pissed off that spineless rich guy gave up being mayor and allowed their home to be raided for supplies. In the end, she shoots spineless rich guy and Juan (all together now- huge F@#$ mistake!) before Jenni comes to her senses and knocks her ass out.

It becomes clear the fort does not have the medical supplies needed to save Juan and the risky decision is made to raid a hospital nearby, even though it's known certain death is possible for those who risk it.

Meanwhile, bitch queen is accused of being the vigilante, something she laughs off completely. She is eventually released back into the wild (translation: she got drugged and dumped at home), but this is short lived. Her former partner in crime stole everything and Cop #2 only leaves her a can of chili and a gun with a single bullet. When partner in crime returns due to a dead car, she shoots him, then discovers she was left with a single bullet. Her comeuppance arrives and we're all a little happier for it.

The hospital mission goes as expected- death followed by a run in with the military. They want the fort. They're informed the people of Ashley Oaks won't like it, but they don't seem to care (go figure). They said everyone was to go to rescue centers for their own protection, make the safety seem like a bad idea gone good. Worse yet- the rescue center is a mall.

Cutting back to the fort, people are starting to realize something has gone wrong with the other people from the hospital mission and people leave to try and find them (or what remains of them). For some reason they also decide to check on bitch queen trophy wife (demise!).

In a field they discover Nerit's truck with the surgical tools needed to save Juan, but no trace of their friends. Close by there are signs of a helicopter and the conclusion is drawn about the presence of the military and the idea they have their friends (which isn't looked at very highly). The group returns to the fort to share what they've learned and after some weird form of hope spreads from a possibly military presence, the council meets to figure out the next steps.

Juan's surgery is a success and Travis has a dream involving Lydia, who gives him a dose of reality along with some gentle advice. Then we have a scene with Otis on a tractor leading farm animals and dogs to the fort. Otis provides confirmation to the news that had been suspected from the scene at bitch queen trophy wife's house- she's been zombified and is out wandering around.

Otis also reveals he knew about the military, which is why he risked bringing his animals to the fort. He says they have Jenni and Bill and will be on their way soon to the fort from a nearby mall.

Back at the mall, Bill has pretty much told a general to cram it after explaining it's the wild west again and Jenni is just miserable being cooped up. Jenni learns from a survivor how the mall came into existence at the beginning of the zombpocalypse and that was taken over by military brass and a senator no one likes.

Before we know it, the military makes their attempt to take the fort- first through surrender. However, we learn the person who was sent to request surrender, Kevin, doesn't want to take over the fort- he wants to bring people from the mall to the fort to escape the military brass and the senator. He also delivers news to Katie that her father is still alive. Katie makes the decision to back the senator into a corner and returns to the mall to make her case.

The senator starts things off by demanding the fort and getting everyone ready for her plan- military runs things, men work the fields and the women are reduced to barefoot and pregnant. The senator mentions that she will use the military to retrieve her sister (bitch queen trophy wife) and bring her to the fort as well.

Katie launches her rebuttal with the news of bitch queen's zombification, the fort is not theirs and never will be, if people want to come to the fort they can, but everything else is a no go. The senator attempts the argument of "I'm an elected official and know best," but Katie smacks that down. Military brass try to give Kevin a hard time about spilling the beans and is told they make a mockery of their uniform who never should have been given control of the rescue center.

The people at the mall are given a choice and the majority decide the fort is the best option. The senator launches into a PR laden speech about why her ideas are the way to go, but it falls on deaf ears. This doesn't make the senator happy at all, so she blows the gates and lets the zombies in.

Chaos ensues as zombies come in and start eating survivors in the mall. The explosion also starts a fire, adding to the chaos. Soon, all hell is breaking loose and we reach one of the most heart wrenching part of the series (I'm not kidding. I've read the series three times now and each time I break down sobbing at this part).

In the mass confusion, zombies and fire, Katie loses track of Jenni, but Travis doesn't let her go back to look for her. He's made the decision that Lydia told him he would need to make- he chooses the life of his family rather than try to save everyone. Military brass finds himself zombified while the senator escapes with her cronies.

As we zip through multiple scenes, it culminates with Jenni and two soldiers making the decision to make the ultimate sacrifice- distract the zombies while everyone else escapes. Jenni makes her stand at the waterfall located in the mall, but sadly, she is bitten by the zombified version of a friend she met at the mall. Jenni finishes her climb up the waterfall, where she is able to see Katie and raises her fist in a gesture of victory. Katie sees Jenni has been bitten and knows what she must do. With a heavy heart, she ends the life of her best friend. (and this is where I always start crying)

Back at the fort, Juan awakens to see Jenni, unaware of what's happened. They talk and make jokes before Juan realizes what's happening. Soon Jenni disappears and Juan is left alone. (and here's where I need a second tissue)

The survivors of the mall are loaded into vehicles and the helicopter also takes off. They take as many back roads as possible in order to avoid bringing the mall zombies back with them. There is an incident where a bitten survivor attacks everyone in their vehicle, so the convoy pulls off to the side of the road to inspect everyone else. Those who are found infected are offered the choice to have their lives ended or to be left alone to turn, but they will not be seeing the fort. Some run off into a field, unable to end it, while others kill themselves or allow themselves to be killed. Katie's father, a survivor from the mall, is found to be bitten and chooses to end his own life after he wishes Katie and Travis well. (and here's where I need the third or fourth tissue)

Everyone arrives back at the fort and there's a rush to find places for the residents of Ashley Oaks. People are reunited and the news is broken to Jason about Jenni (and at this point I've given up and just keep a box of tissue right next to me). The fort continues to monitor the radio and soon it becomes evident that the new government doesn't want the senator, thus their communication comes to an end. The residents of the fort discuss it and determine to hell with contacting the new government, they'll continue their lives as they have been.

Soon life takes on some form of normal and through it all, they discover a year has gone by since everything went to hell. Juan has survived his surgery and begins working on a memorial garden for the fallen. Children who Jenni died to save begin helping him with the garden and by the time the garden is built, Juan finds himself with a new family, something he feels Jenni had a hand in. (and now I need another tissue)

We catch up with Rune, who is talking with Jenni. Jenni explains she's happy with the way she died because she saved a lot of people she loved and went out on her own terms. The conversation turns dark as Jenni tells Rune a hoard of zombies is making their way to the fort and he needs to get a move on to warn them. Rune sees the zombie hoard as he's packing up his motorcycle and makes haste to get on the road.

We get a brief chapter about things from the zombies perspective. Some of them met their fate at the hands of a tornado, but they continue their onslaught towards the fort. (and here's where I wondered if any of the zombies in the tornado were whisked off to the land of Oz)

Rune makes it to the fort and is able to warn everyone. The best estimate given is the zombie herd would reach the fort at the end of the month, which gives everyone a chance to see where they need to shore up their defenses to make their stand.

The fort residents are gathered and are told the news about the impending zombie hoard. When confusion and fear erupts, Travis asks people to calm the f@#$ down and he's told to watch his language (and the follow up question makes perfect sense- there's a zombie hoard headed your way and you're worried about someone swearing?!)

Sadly, this leads to a religious debate where a zealot opens their damn mouth and causes a problem (and of course when you try to reason with them, they launch into super zealot mode and trying to use logic causes head explody). The zealot and their followers choose to leave immediately, while the rest of the fort starts to work on what they need to do for the coming trouble.

Nerit has a moment with Ralph in her room, who tells her she should have passed already, but she was too stubborn. He tells her she has bone cancer and that's why she has been in pain lately. Nerit begs for more time because she's not ready and collapses.

While Nerit hovers between life and death, Z-Day has arrived. Some of the fort residents have made attempts to get the attention of the zombies to divert them away from the fort.

The first group we see is Monica and Bette. Their diversion doesn't last long as runners force their truck to overturn. They're spotted from the helicopter and rescued.

The second group is Bill and Katarina. They find a zombie in a wheelchair. An unforeseen obstruction ends their distraction run and soon Bill's time with us comes to an end when he's bit. Katarina survives when she too is rescued by helicopter.

The third group is Dale and Ken. They discuss the possibility of other gay men in the fort and Ken pretty much says if that's true, they're so far in the closet they're finding Christmas gifts (thank you Family Guy for that bit of hilarity). Sadly they're overrun from a group of unplanned zombies, but have the chance to end things on their own terms.

The helicopter returns to the fort, news of the distraction runs circulate and a new plan has to be constructed. Heavy supply runs follow with every effort made to ensure the walls do not fall.

Katie receives a visit from Curtis, asking for someone to talk to about recent events. Katie feels sorry for him and agrees. When it's time to go, Travis takes Katie's place so she can rest. Travis meets Curtis, who suddenly goes off the deep end and reveals himself as the Vigilante. He intended to kill Katie so Travis can feel what he felt when he lost Monica to Bette.

At the same time, the veil between the living and the dead has become thin. Lydia talks to Katie. Ralph speaks to Nerit and wakes her from her coma. Jenni appears to Katie and tells her what's happening between Curtis and Travis, she needs to hurry. Katie calls Juan to tell him what happened, but he's left confused and she sets out on her own.

Katie arrives in enough time to see Curtis attacking Travis and he's invited some undead friends. A fight ensues and ends with Curtis and his merry crew of undead put out of commission.

Even though the Vigilante was outed and only those who meant harm were injured, dissension appears in the ranks because some cannot accept the appearance of ghosts. Those who wish to leave are told to leave that same night because the zombie hoard will appear the next morning. Otis provides the proof from a recorded conversation he had with people who had left before.

Soon it's settled and more people depart the fort. Some choose to end it all before the zombie horde hit.

The senator reappears and leaves just as quickly via razor wire.

Before we know it, the war is on and on in full force. The zombies never breach the walls and victory is shouted across the fort. Katie goes into labor and gives birth to a baby girl.

The people in the fort get ready to celebrate a brand new day and our journey with them comes an end.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive (Book 2, part 2)

now that i'm full of bagelly goodness and caffeine, let's continue!

After meeting about the vigilante, the leaders of Ashley Oaks decide to do damage control and keep things quiet for now. Morale of the people are the main concern and there's a party to be had in order to bolster spirits!

Jason discusses zombie eradication techniques with Travis (catapult to combat zombies? zombipult!) and leaves the discussion telling Travis to go after Katie. Travis is caught off guard by this (only because no one outside Jenni and Juan know about happy ending) and lets Jason know his ideas are worth pursuing and he'll think about his suggestion.

Now that they've moved into the hotel, food preparation has become easier. Kitchen conversation centers around Mr. Freak Out's header to the street, with the hint of the vigilante made. Should the vigilante be thanked or put on trial? Who did it? Will Shane mess up Rosie's kitchen? (the answer is no, but not after he makes a few idiot comments because that seems to be his character. what is it with men named Shane in the zombie world?) After enjoying a delicious lunch, Katie goes to take Travis some lunch. Lunch winds up ignored for more happy ending.

We see a girl talk moment between Jenni and Katie get interrupted by Shane before we're introduced to the county's nut job. Otis is the type of nut job that you want to get on the evening news for the best sound bites.

But soon it's party time and everyone parties hearty. The adults in the ballroom dancing, the kids on the balcony with weed and a good time is being had by all. That eventually gets shattered when Shane, likely drunk off his ass, decides he needs to "fix" Katie (the town could have told him not to bother after witnessing the public display of affection on the dance floor). The night goes to hell, Shane and his cohort are taken to jail and we're left with wondering what the aftermath will be.

The decision is made to take statements from all involved and post them for the fort folk to read to (and spread gossip) to determine what should be done, if anything. In the end, Shane and his cohort are cast out of town with some supplies and given the "don't let the door hit you on the way out" spiel.

This doesn't last long as the vigilante strikes again. Cohort returns, but the vigilante is on guard duty and sees fit to injure Shane's cohort so the zombies will finish him off. The vigilante's actions are discovered when Zombiehort is found, finished off and their corpse examined. Afterwards, the decision is made to try and find Shane to see if he was the cause of Zombiehort's return to Ashley Oaks.

Instead of finding Shane, they find the deserted car they were sent out in. Evidence collected finalies the realization the vigilante had a hand in this, but they cannot find a trace of Shane and assume he has become zombified. That's when zombies decide to make an appearance and give Jenni a panic attack. Further discussion determines the freak out should be kept secret, lest the vigilante catches wind of it and does to Jenni what they've been doing to other people they determine are a detriment to the fort community.

In light of what happened, the decision is made to let the town know about the vigilante. As expected, there are mixed reactions, but the bigger picture is put on hold when the fort's mayor has an episode from a previously undisclosed heart condition. After swearing about his stupidity, they look for medicine and it becomes clear a new leader is needed. Naturally, bitch queen trophy wife nominates spineless rich man to run things and Travis is nominated by Juan. Travis isn't so sure this is a good idea, even though people have been deferring to him as de facto leader for a while. Well except when it comes to shooting stuff. That's all Nerit.

Jenni breaks down again, blows off Juan and goes to talk to Katie about it all. After venting, Jenni gets her head back on crooked (we're in the zompocalypse, head on straight just sounds out of place), they go to sleep. Sadly, this will not last long because a fellow compound of survivors comes under attack from bandits armed with zombies (well one led to the other)

A team is formed and dispatched to see what is left of the compound, which doesn't amount to much. After dispatching the zombies, a search is on for survivors. The only ones found left alive inside are a mother and son. An overturned truck is found with two more survivors- two girls who had been taken from the compound by a bandit. The bandit is found on the road and left behind untouched because taking action could have unwelcome results.

Back in Ashley Oaks, the search and rescue team relay what happened- the bandits pretended to be people from Ashley Oaks and when their leader went to confirm this, they were shot in cold blood, the compound was raided and the gates were opened to allow the zombie feast. The bandits are labeled a threat and preparations begin.

A lull in the action takes place, allowing fortification, supply searches, expanding to allow more residents and speculation about the mayor race. The lull is broken when it's discovered the bandits are watching. The break is made worse when Katarina and Bill run into bandits on their way back to Ashley Oaks with a fresh set of survivors. Katarina is forced to shoot at a bandit vehicle and in the process kills an innocent (but likely saved them from the life the bandits had them living).

Later, Katarina and Bill explain what happened and Nerit believes the plan the bandits had went south when the tire was shot out. This theory is verified after a few days of silence. The scene of the wreck reveals a couple of dead bandits and based on the shape in which they were found, causes more unease among the Ashley Oaks residents. Nerit announces they are at a stalemate with the bandits, but must remain vigilant. The only light moment from all of this is a zombie fisherman found and the question if zombie fish exist (does that mean there will be zomfish fries for Lent?)

A few days later, a zombie herd hits the fort and Nerit refers to it as target practice (I laughed my ass off). The question is raised if zombies migrate (more laughing at this thought), but the likely conclusion is the bandits are starting to make their move.

Some good news arrives when Ed not only reports fresh peaches are headed their way, but his sons were found at the family farm alive and well. Nerit decides it's time to get the last of her weapons stash from the store for the coming problem (the bandits. the zombies are a constant source of problems).

A scavinging mission returns with bad news- one of the teenagers was killed on a supply run. Jenni blames Cop #2 for sending the teenager into a storeroom and his death. Then Jenni accuses him of being the vigilante because the teenager had been one of the people enjoying pot during the ballroom party. Cop #2 is sent to his room, but before the situation can be discussed further, Otis pops up with his randomness. Before he can be shooed away, Nerit said they need his help. Otis asks why he should bother and Nerit tells him it will help defeat his enemies. The trap is ready.

Groups head out to collect more survivors and the stash from Nerit's with the promise not to disturb Ralph's body (which obviously the bandits have disregarded). The safe is still intact, so Travis gets to work on opening it while the others survey the damage that had been caused (long story short- they made it a meth lab). The contents of the vault are loaded up and the group know they're being watched.

The group handling the rescue mission feel that something is off, but they are able to rescue a couple of children, who fill them in about what the bandits did with the other part of their family. The conclusion is reached that the shit is about to hit the fan with the bandits and it's time to head home.

Back at the fort, people are getting ready for the oncoming onslaught and it becomes evident what Otis had been doing- rigging up a hands free system so everyone could communicate. Nerit is coordinating everything back in the fort while the others are doing what they can to shake the bandits. In the end, the groups make it back to the fort and the bandits decide to force their hands. First their leader presents an innocent, who is likely being mistreated by the bandits. Nerit has Katarina pick off the innocent to show the bandits they don't care. Changing tactics, the bandit leader presents Shane and Katarina puts him down too. This throws off the bandit leader, but not as much as the teenagers presenting a barrage of Molotov cocktails. The smoke from the cocktails allows Jenni's group to come barreling through and bring some friends along. The bandits scatter, the fort residents recognize they had to go somewhere dark in order to win, but they might finally have some peace.

After everything settles down from the bandit incident, the time comes to have the election for mayor. There is supposed to be a debate and then everyone eligible will vote. Spineless rich man wins the coin toss, gets in front of the crowd and announces that Travis is the right man for the job and renounces his candidacy. While bitch queen trophy wife flips her lid at this development, Stephen (hey, spineless rich man redeemed himself) tells her to cram it and lets her know she had been getting it on with Shane.

Jenni has another nightmare, but finds the strength to drive back the demons on her own. Katie discovers she's pregnant (something Nerit hinted at before the bandit incident). The vigilante appears to be quiet for now. Seasons change, somehow Thanksgiving and Christmas happen and there's a general sense of peace for a change.

And then the military shows up..........

As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive (Book Two, part 1)

Part 2 of As The World Dies opens with Jenni's nightmare that she was the zombie that destroyed her family. She wakes up to find she's still in Ashley Oaks, she's in her tent with Juan and they have cots connected with bungee cord. We learn that Juan doesn't have much insight into her nightmares because she's mourning in her own way (but considering her nightmares, he's better off).

Jenni is able to drift off back to sleep and we shift over to Katie on sentry duty. Katie is reflecting on her situation while enjoying a cigarette, something she had given up when she met Lydia. After reflecting on the past, she starts to move towards her disbelief in the here and now- hell is full and the dead are walking (shamelessly ripped from Dawn of the Dead, but in all fairness, Katie does mention how she can't believe she's living in the equivalent of a Romero movie).

She thinks about how things have changed and new families have formed within the survivors and then she lands on Travis. She knows she has a connection to him, but she just can't quite get over how loving someone else would be when she's still haunted by a wife who took out the mailman in a way the mailman fears a dog will.

Travis arrives on the scene and after some talking with Bill, the cop from Ralph's store, who was on the roof with Katie, we come to learn about what will be the main threat in this book besides the zombies- living and breathing braindead redneck assholes. That's right- the men Nerit took out at place she shared with Ralph were not the only one, there's a whole colony of them out there somewhere.

Travis takes over sentry duty, so Bill takes off. Katie realizes she can't stay there, so she leaves too. She stops to cry over the guilt of her feelings and Travis remains on the roof due to the seriousness of the duties at hand. Travis begins to think about the task of taking the hotel, but before he can really get too serious in thought, a lone zombie appears and he ends them.

The next morning, we find Juan in preparation for the group to take over a Dollar Tree. Not only will this provide them with supplies, but it will serve as a holding spot while the hotel is retaken. While blockades are being put into place, we have a brief interlude with Jenni and Katie disussing the taking of the Dollar Tree and the eventual taking of the hotel. Jenni also talks about whipping out and breaking her new toy- a fire ax. Dork status is established, final preparations are made, Jenni indirectly kisses Juan's ass and we're off!

Bill shows off his mad lock picking skills that some cops apparently learn during their time on the force and the group starts to enter the store. A quick "HEY!" is given (and thank gods it's not given by some irritating fairy....oops, wrong story) and the zombies respond, as if the smell alone wouldn't alert you that something might be various stages of dead or undead.

A zombie is located in a rather uncomfortable place (not unlike the back of a Volkswagen) and they have to determine how to get it out in order to kill it. A small stepladder is found and through the power of teamwork, the uncomfortable zombie is put out its misery. Jenni's mention of job well done brings out some moaning from the back of the store. Cautious movements through the store slip us to the back where we find a zombie with comedic timing! Zombie with comedic timing comes complete with foot in trashcan to hinder movement and fire ax to the head. Two sweeps of the store later, the group returns to the street, breaths in the clean air and signals for legal looting to commence.

Some bad news comes along in the form of spineless rich man and bitch queen trophy wife. Wife wants to continue being vain and believes the hotel is necessary for this, so she needles husband into needling the mayor into needling everyone else to take the hotel back. Thankfully the mayor has grown a pair and tells them to knock it off. Then we're treated to even worse news in the form of Mother Nature- she sent a tornado to wipe out a settlement. Even though the storm that drove it isn't going to be near them, the possibility of it springs "Operation Take Back the Hotel" into action.

Another interlude in town brings us the next chapter of "Travis and Katie-will they or won't they," Jenni and Juan having a moment while enjoying Doritos and Katie coming clean to Jenni (who immediately tells her friend to go jump Travis).

Morning finds preparations under way for the popular "Operation Take Back the Hotel," which will be followed by the less popular "Oh Shit, We Have to Clean The Hotel." Those going into the hotel are attempting to zombie proof themselves and those not going pile up in the Dollar Tree (complete with bitch queen trophy wife telling spineless rich man to do something about the bleach smell).

Clearing the hotel starts with a chapter appropriately named "Check-in Time." Those going after the zombies are told to stay to their routes, the work crews who will wall off the main floor begin their preparations and we begin.

Moving through the hotel is quiet at first, until they reach the hotel's dining room. Small batches are quickly dealt with, but soon they find themselves dealing with a large group of the undead and find another use for banquet tables (pressed zombie!).

In the lobby area, the group assesses their next move- clearing the floors of the hotel. Sadly, they lose more people when someone who got infected during the earlier melee bites them after the famous last words "What else could go wrong?" (see, Zombie Murphy and his law!) Travis finds himself unable to shoot his now zombified friend, leaving Nerit to finish them off and states anyone who fails to do this will be shot.

Everyone now splits into groups and begins their search of the hotel. More lives are lost to zombies behind doors and zombies falling down through stairwells. The groups reform and continue on their way before things take another turn on the sixth floor.

Based on information gathered in the lobby, it was expected the sixth floor might be a hot spot, but what they anticipated were a couple of plumbers, not zombies in the wardrobe. After a knee jerk reaction, Jenni finds herself trapped in a room with a soon to be undead, an undead and an undead with a metal plate in their head.

We cut away from this heart stopping moment to flip back to the Dollar Store once more to find people on edge while they wait to hear how the hotel operation is going. News of the breakfast meeting increasing the number of undead leads to an increased sense in panic since they know there has been some more death. We also learn that it has began raining while the hotel operation is under way, which has to add an extra level of creepy to everything.

Cutting back to Jenni, who's having a moment with the ghost of her late husband, she begins to figure out what her options are. A tiny freak out moment leaves her gun out of reach, so Jenni escapes to the balcony of the room to buy herself some time. Time runs out quickly when metal plate zombie crashes the patio door, so Jenni takes action and leaps to the next balcony. Metal plate zombie takes the same action, with the same results as Jenni, but since she made it first, she proceeds to attack metal plate zombie to make them let go of the balcony.

They're soon joined by newly undead, who attempts the leap, lands on metal plate zombie and thanks to gravity, both fall to the street below. Newly undead hits the road and attempts to keep going by dragging themselves and metal plate is impaled on a streetlight, but is also making futile attempts at continuing to attack the living. Jenni watches the scene below for a moment before realizing there are undead in the room of the balcony she's currently on. Further contemplation of her situation leads her to her only course of action.

We cut to Katie's group meeting up with the remaining members of Jenni's group- Mr. Freak Out and Cop #2. Everyone gets upset with Mr. Freak Out and open the door to the room to find the remaining undead making their way to a figure on the balcony. Undead is quickly dispatched and while trying to figure out who should end the figure on the balcony, the figure reveals themselves to be Jenni, who has lept back to this balcony in order to get her gun. A quick look outside reveals company has arrived and the work crews are advised to get the main lobby blocked off quickly.

The work crew moves in and begins walling things off while the other group reaches the top of the hotel (after a final zombie scare involving Katie). A few more zombie scares later, everything is declared clear and over five long hours later, the hotel is deemed safe. The dead are announced to everyone at the Dollar Tree, Katie and Travis end the "will they/won't they," and Operation "Oh Shit, We Have to Clean The Hotel" gets underway.

Soon it's time to move in and what happens afterwards is exactly what you'd expect- time to get cleaned up...and then get dirty again (happy ending! HA!)

Nerit teaches Mr. Freak Out a lesson he won't soon forget. Mostly because he's not around much longer to put the advice into action. The group learns they have a vigilante in their midst with more coming on the horizon.

ok, so that's part one. part two will probably be out later today after i have a chance to have some munchies and organize my thoughts into something vaguely coherent. thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Friday, October 24, 2014

As The World Dies:The First Days (Book 1)

In the beginning (ha ha, couldn’t resist), we meet Jenni in shock on her front porch. The shock has been brought on by what her husband has done to their family after receiving a bite “from a bum.”

Just as you think what you’re witnessing is the first “live” victims last moments during the start of the zombie apocalypse (zombpacalypse!), right when you think Jenni is going to bite the big one (pun totally intended), we get introduced to the modern version of the hero on a white horse- a heroine in a white pickup. Somehow in some way, the woman inside the truck gets Jenni moving and we’re off on their adventure.

While Jenni is trying to deal and get over her shock, Katie comes up with a basic plan after speaking to her father via cell phone, but it goes to hell from the one thing that has been true in every zombie story- large crowds + zombies = death. lots and lots of death. and zombie noms.

A brief stop at a convenience store teaches us that people have a lot to learn- introduce the reality of the situation and you will have a non-believer thinking you've gone off the deep end. Sadly, you know the poor delusional idiot will die still in disbelief, even after they witness the carnage at hand (in this case, the poor bastard had a front row seat for his manager treating his co-worker as a light snack).

So after watching delusional idiot #1 run off into a field, the ladies are on the road again trying to figure out where to go. Jenni eventually remembers her stepson, who is in a state park, and then the plan changes into a rescue mission, provided Jason is still alive. A dogdog is also involved, but he's a good dogdog and doesn't create issues. More like a fuzzy traveling companion.

A few more misadventures bring Jenni and Katie into contact with Ralph and Nerit. Their store had been closed for Ralph’s birthday, which probably saved them from the rampant infection that affected the grocery store across the street. Sadly, it has required them to start picking off their neighbors and tourists who have come to the town in an effort to keep zombpocalypse from spreading.  For the first time in a while, Jenni and Katie feel safe. After an awkward night’s rest, the mission to collect Jason is back on.

Ralph took the time to map out the best way for Katie and Jenni to reach the state park where Jason is currently and said so long as they don’t detour from this route, they should be able to make it there and back again (you just know Zombie Murphy is out there still mucking stuff up with his law). Ralph also wants them to take his truck and with Nerit, creates a diversion for the women to make it to his truck parked in the back of his store. While the decoy worked for a while, zombies move in and make an attempt to get some tasty morsels, but they are denied.

On their way, they see an infected man in a tiny town and leave him to his demise when they see he has been bitten. Then they hit Emorton, a slighty larger city. Once home to a lot of people, now there’s just a lot of zombies. Zombies who see meals in wheels. Zombies who get told to eat dust and denied a nom.

Upon reaching the state park, Katie and Jenni find out the zombies have made it there, but that Jason is alive. The group he’s with have someone who is bitten and the bitten makes the decision to send their family with the survivors, but in the zompocalyse, delusional idiots will get you killed, even after the mercy that was asked for is completed. Actually, I think that might be applicable in everyday life, just in a different way.

Skipping right along- more random crazy zombies, including a return of the zombies from Emorton, we reach the place where the rest of the story takes place- Ashley Oaks. This place shows what happens when you have a place where people haven’t gone totally batshit crazy yet- you build walls, reinforce them and try to do whatever is needed to remain safe. They even put people on…..well in my mind it looks like a safety harness and a bungee cord got it on….safety gear and stab zombies to scramble their brains (personally, I like my zombie brains sunny side up. ha ha)

Once safely inside, we’re introduced to Travis and Juan, the people at Ashley Oaks and the small, but humble home they’ve set up. And we also get a cameo appearance from their delusional idiot.

Katie and Jenni, along with Jason and Jack (the fuzzy dogdog they picked up along the way), begin to settle into life at Ashley Oaks. Jenni begins to become a little bolder with killing zombies, going so far to have a late night brain scrambling session while trying to see if Travis might be interested in her. It seems that she’s adopting a kill all zombies outlook on life to deal with the horror her now zombified husband inflicted on the family. Sort of like knowing your happy and you know it, but instead of clapping your hands, you're inflicting a bit of the ultraviolence.

When it becomes evident that they will need to beef up defenses, the decision is made to make a run to Ralph’s store to get guns and supplies. The attempt to get Katie's truck separates Katie and Jenni for the first time since we met Jenni on her front porch. Travis and Katie are left to make the run to Ralph’s while Jenni has to remain behind in Ashley Oaks with Juan. Neither are really happy about this and when the flu virus makes an appearance, Jenni is really not happy with how things went down.

After a near miss with a gun (since we didn’t know it was the flu until Katie interacts with Travis), the gang at Ralph’s store, which now includes a police officer, head over to the grocery story to salvage what they can (we also learn that Travis has an aversion to mentioning feminine products, which will likely provide a giggle to female readers who have been in long term relationships with someone of the XY chromosome pool). 

Another survivor is found, but they are heavily traumatized because they've been watching the zompocalypse on a looped security feed for a while. An attempt to separate them from the carnage of seeing a loved one's last moments are met with a freak out moment, but they manage to convince the person to come with them, possibly in the hopes the person will return to the right frame of mind.

Supplies are loaded up, guns are loaded up, cop is loaded up, survivor is loaded up and we’re off back to the fortress in progress of downtown Ashley Oaks. Upon arrival, the survivor decides to hell with surviving and causes an issue for those who want to remain living while the pallet of supplies is being delivered into the stronghold. Balancing acts and sheer will keep everyone else afloat and friends are reunited.

Moving right along, we get to meet the local dickheads after Katie puts someone down who got a little too close and became a zombie hors d'oeuvres.  A trip into town brings us more survivors courtesy of the local library and a family home. Things were a little bitey in the family home, but the humane thing was completed without the overboard reactions that had occurred before. The local meth culture makes a cameo appearance- one gets their skull crushed from going bitey and the other one goes over the wall against their will.

There is a happy ending though- Juan and Jenni (get it? no? well *thptph*)

Then Nerit appears and it’s not under the best of circumstances. Ralph was tragically killed when he refused to allow people into the story until they proved they were not infected. The people in question had a victim with them who had turned. Nerit explains after Ralph was shot, she let the victim get her revenge before she put her down. Ralph passes quietly into that good night and Nerit learns that at least those who die of natural causes don’t return from the dead. She finds this to be a comfort before she decides to join the rest of the group at Ashley Oaks.

Thus we reach the end of the first book with the understanding that the stronghold must become stronger and a raid party must hit a hotel.

And in case you’re wondering why I didn’t bring up Katie’s dead wife- while Lydia’s death haunts Katie and the guilt she feels which sometimes drives her nightmares…….it doesn’t add anything to Katie’s character. She is who she is throughout the book. Don’t get me wrong, there are changes, but personality wise, Jenni changes far more than Katie does in this book.

As The World Ends Series

ok, so I know I covered this before, but with the release of the 4th book, I wanted to go book by book because I like how the series was written.

so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

State of Horror- Illinois edition

Originally I got this solely because a gamer friend of mine had an entry in it, then I actually sat down and read the whole thing cover to cover (can you really call it cover to cover when you use a Kindle?)

Ok, so here we go:

Out Come The Wolves: Claire C Reily presents us a story where a sociopath joins a group of survivors in a zombie filled land. While I liked the idea of this story, I have to admit the twist seemed a little forced. Not to mention if Artie truly saw Michael for what he was, why did he turn his back on him while armed?

Ritter House: A. Lopez, Jr. presents to us a research project that winds up going horribly wrong. An author goes after an experience for his next novel and winds up in something out of Hitchcock. He takes the advice, he gets out of the house, but the house had some pretty tenacious evil.

Chicago Mike: Della West provides a cliched look into a serial killer hiding in plain sight. Sorry, didn't enjoy this story. I liked the tidbits of history about the area, but that's about it.

The Ghosts of Morse: Julianne Snow gives a modern version on an old fashioned ghost story involving a train. Partying teenagers hear a noise and the "brave" vanish forever while the "cowards" are left to find what remains. I wonder what the trade in value of that field was?

Drowning in the Hazel: Eli Constant gives a story in the tune of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." A woman goes on a diving trip and while her groups thinks she disappeared, what really happened wasn't much better. Was it the earrings? We may never know.

In Chicago, The Dish is So Deep, No One Can Hear You Scream: Frank J. Edler presents a funny little story about what happens to a ghost show host who freely admits he's a con artist. On a recommendation, he travels to a little Italian joint where he has an experience and meets a pizza.

Chicago Blues: Stuart Conover presents one man's perspective of the opening days of the zombie apocalypse. While our hero makes a decision, he also teaches us that when trouble goes down- please raid the modern art wing of a museum for weapons.

My Porcelain Monster: Eric I. Dean shows what happens when your fear might be a little bit more than just in your mind. The story leads us through the main character's life and how this one bathroom changed him. The way he solved his fear was expensive, yet satisfying.

Piasa Remains: Herika R. Raymer reminds us that f*@^ing with ancient beliefs is never a good idea. It's also the quickest way to ruin a vacation......and an RV.........

Vishnu Springs: D.J Tyrer provides a ghost story about a deserted town that has quite a history to it. Follow the lady in the black dress, avoid caves and hope that when you start your car, you don't hear carousel music. Death traps can now be found via GPS. Awesome.

Dying Days: Great Mistakes: Armand Rosamilia shows his version of the opening days of the zombie apocalypse on a naval base. A soldier going AWOL learns that maybe he should have followed the rules and gotten on the bus instead of sticking around and seeing the alternative.

What's Eating the Mob: P. David Puffinburger shows us Gangland Chicago with some intelligent undead thrown into the mix. Buyer beware of the end result of this theft. And revenge. Lots and lots of revenge.

Seek No Longer the Beloved: Jay Seate gives a story about a love that will not die thanks to a lingering legend via family stories. What happens when you try to get to the bottom of a legend? Haunted homes, grave robbing and an ending that leaves you craving more.

All in all a great anthology of stories with plenty of hits and a few misses. As always anything I say is my opinion and I'm not getting anything out of posting this.....except maybe getting a few more people to download a copy.......