May 30, 2012

Review: Deadline

Deadline
Mira Grant
Newsflesh Trilogy #2
Genre: Science fiction, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombie
Rating: 5

At this moment, after just finishing Deadline, I believe I'm in shock. I don't really know how I will write a review for this book without giving away spoilers for itself and for its predecessor Feed, but I will give it a try. Was this the best book ever? Certainly not. Were there flaws? Quite a few actually. Do either of those factors compare to the grip this series has a hold of me? Do they effect the love I have for the characters that Grant has created? Do they lessen at all the emotional reverberations I feel long after I have put the book back on its shelf? The answer is a loud and resounding NO. The people we love without a doubt have flaws, but the sheer magnitude of the impact they have on our own personal human experience makes these flaws pale in comparison. 

This is Deadline to me.

This is the Newsflesh Trilogy to me.

The After the End Times team is back and hot on the trail of the conspiracy that rocked their world in the last book. If you think I'm being incredibly vague here, I am because there is honestly very little I can talk about this book plot wise without giving everything away. Let's just say I was very impressed with how quickly the action got going compared to Feed. Instead of a huge info dump that gets us acquainted with the characters and the world they inhabit, we take a quick moment to catch up with the team, and then are thrown directly into the action. And thank god for the action! Where Feed spent much of its length exploring politics, blogging, and evil plotting, Deadline spends it running, jumping, climbing trees. (Sorry couldn't resist the Eddie Izzard reference ^_^)  There is still plenty of evil plotting going on here for those of us who loved that in the previous book, but this time we get to enjoy a faster paced story.

What Deadline has made up for in pace and excitement, it seems to have lack key character development in Shaun. I felt Grant had an almost unlimited amount of potential for Shaun's character here, but she held back for some reason. This was really disappointing for me as I love a good crazy anti-hero, but after being blown away by the ending, I trust that Grant knows what she is doing here. You see, after finishing Deadline I got the distinct feeling that everything that felt like a flaw throughout the course of the novel was absolutely intentional. Every emotion I felt during my read of this book seems to have been directed by Grant's storytelling in an almost subliminal way. To me this proves that Grant understands her core audience and knows just how to play us.

Which leads me to my final thoughts... What exactly does she have planned for us in Blackout? The ending of Deadline completely threw me as did the ending of Feed. So, if Grant is topping herself with each book... what epicness can we expect from the final book in the Newsflesh trilogy? I'm absolutely tingling with anticipation.

The Final Verdict

I think fans of the first book will love the ride and be left dying to find out what happens next.

Rise up while you can zombie fans.

May 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #18

A big thank you to my favorite model Robyn Watson for not only taking this gorgeous picture, but also for allowing me to use it here on my blog! You are amazing girl!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading where we book bloggers give you lovely readers a tantalizing taste of whatever it is we are reading right now. To play along:
  
•  Grab your current read
•  Open to a random page
•  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•  BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is:
The Goddess Test
Aimee Carter
Goddess Test #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
 "I don't know how long it took me, sprinting through the woods. My feet were bleeding and bruised, and more than once I stumbled, hurting my ankles and elbows and knees, but still I pushed on."
pg. 147

This is a very fun, quick read, but so far I'm finding Carter's interpretation of the Greek gods a bit strange. I'll give it until the end of the book to see if it rubs off on me. :-) 

 What's your teaser this week?   

May 27, 2012

Guest Blog with Adrienne deWolfe: How to Write Wildy Popular Romances

Writing Novels That Sell
I know it's been all about the book tours lately here ate Wickedly Bookish, but today I have a very special treat for all of you aspiring authors out there! Adrienne deWolfe is guest blogging today to share her tips and success as an award winning romance author! So without further ado, please  give her a warm welcome!

How to Write Wildly Popular Romances
By Adrienne deWolfe

If you’re an aspiring author who wants to break into the commercial fiction market, genre Romance is a good place to start, thanks to the sheer volume of books that are published each year.

Romance is a $1.36 billion industry, dominating mass market, paperback sales in North America, Europe, and Australia.  For more than 30 years, Romance has been considered the hottest selling category of adult paperback fiction in the world.  The publisher, Harlequin Romance sells 4 books per second!  Every year, 78 million people around the globe read at least one English-translation Romance novel.     

Those statistics aren’t too shabby for an industry run largely by women, written mostly by women, and read almost exclusively by women.

When I set out to write How to Write Wildly Popular Romances, the first book in my e-series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published, I wanted to help writers understand the unique requirements that Romance editors search for in book-length manuscripts.

For instance, in a Romance novel, relationship equals plot.  Or to put it another way, your plot is dependent upon the course of the love story.  If you stray too far from the love story with spooky supernatural subplots, chase scenes, murder investigations, or historical research, you will lose the interest of your reader, and therefore, the editor who you’re hoping will buy your manuscript.

Here’s another tip: A hero needs more than bedroom talent to satisfy your reading audience.  While it’s true that many women read Romance to enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love, readers want to be moved emotionally by a man who treasures the heroine as a woman. 

In polls conducted by Romance Writers of America, readers often rank intelligence and humor as the top two traits that they prefer in their Romance heroes.  On a scale of 1 to 10, “physical attractiveness” often ranks dead last!        

In my ebook series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published, I help writers master the techniques that will help them get their novels published.  The first book in the series, How to Write Wildly Popular Romances, is designed to be an introduction to the genre.   It features (among other things) the 14 bestselling story archetypes in commercial Romance as well as 8 story taboos that are prohibited in most Romance novels.


Look for How to Write Wildly Popular Romances on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  (Or purchase the pdf from my website, WritingNovelsThatSell.com.) 

By the way, while you’re visiting my website, be sure to enter my raffles to celebrate my summer-long book tour for The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published.

In the meantime, keep the faith, and keep writing!

About Adrienne deWolfe

Originally published by Bantam and Avon Books, Adrienne deWolfe’s five novels have won 9 awards, including the Best Historical Romance of the Year. She is currently writing her 6th Romance, An Imperfect Angel (Book III in her Naughty or Nice Series,) which will be available for e-readers this Autumn. To learn about Adrienne’s other historical Romances (scheduled for release this year), visit her virtual home, WritingNovelsThatSell.com, or subscribe to her newsletter. You can also follow Adrienne on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
 
Thank so much Adrienne for stopping by Wickedly Bookish and sharing your amazing tips!  Hey readers, are you working on your own novel? Would you like to get some helpful tips and input on your own unpublished manuscript? For the month of May, Adrienne is offering a free critique of the first chapter of your manuscript to one lucky giveaway winner! You can enter to win here.

Don't miss out on her other great upcoming giveaways:

June: Win an autographed set of her Wild Texas Nights series.
July: Win an autographed set of her Jones seires

May 26, 2012

Review: Pure

Pure
Julianna Baggott
 Pure #1
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: 4.5

'Burn a Pure and breathe the ash.
Take his guts and make a sash.
Twist his hair and make a rope.
Use his bones to make Pure soap.'


When I first picked up Pure I was relieved. My review queue was a mile high and I was looking forward to a fast-paced YA read. With all the great press this book has gotten, I figured it was going to be highly addicting and a nice diversion from all the so-so books I had been slogging through recently. Quick and dirty. Easy Breezy. In retrospect, I don't know if anything could have prepared me for Pure.

My initial reaction to Pure was frustration, confusion, and morbid fascination. I hated the narrative perspective. The third-person present tense completely threw me off and made the experience that much more grating. ie. "Pressia is waiting..." I kept thinking, "Who writes like that?" and "Why write like that?" I even considered updating my Goodreads status to make a point as, "Jess is thinking she does not like this book..." I wondered if this was some strange attempt at making "stream of consciousness" the new literary fad, but no, Pure was still understandable, just frustrating. The strange world I had been tossed into without warning had me struggling to acclimate and I spent the first quarter of the book in aggravated confusion. 

Then something strange happened. I couldn't even tell you exactly when, but I began to become attached to the characters and the story was slowly drawing me in by taunting me with little peeks at the big picture. Once the main male character Partridge leaves the Dome and begins to experience the outside world, I had a truly awesome lightbulb moment. What I realized was, Baggott meant for her readers to be confused at first. The strange and disturbing elements of the alien world created by the detonations is shocking and the true gravity of the consequences of nuclear warfare could not be better related to readers than to force them to feel it for themselves. 

While this book is classified as young adult fiction because it follows teenaged characters, it carries a much more graphic and intense nature than most book in the genre. I have seen reviewers classify this book as "icky" or "just gross", but let's be honest here. What did you expect? This book chronicles the struggles and survival of individuals who have been deeply scarred, mutated, and even fused to the world around them.  The weight of the message this story carries was meant to challenge your way of thinking and immerse you in a world where teenagers must be brave, strong, and decisive as opposed to the often more fickle nature of YA characters. Do I recommend this book for everyone. Absolutely not. There are scenes that made me cringe from their graphicness and scenes that I never saw coming from a young adult title. I'm not talking about sexual content. The novel is very mild in that aspect with mostly a chaste kiss that is few and far between. I'm talking about gore and death. There is a particular twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) that completely shocked me with it's disturbing abruptness. That being said, it felt completely right within the context of the story. As an adult, I was elated that Baggott was not afraid to truly express the gritty, dark nature of her world.

The Final Verdict
Pure is a hauntingly brilliant story that combines the impact of more literary dystopia with the sneaky addictiveness of modern day young adult fiction. This is a story I will not soon forget and I look forward to future volumes in this series with hungry anticipation. I would recommend this book to adult fans of YA and dystopia and more mature teens.

May 25, 2012

Pavlov's Dogs Virtual Book Tour

Welcome to Wickedly Bookish's stop on the Pavlov's Dogs Virtual Book Tour brought to you by Innovative Online Tours. It has truly been May Monster Madness here at Wickedly Bookish this month! I'm excited to bring you guys another monsterlicious novel. My last tour had zombies and vampires. Now, I present you with zombies and werewolves in this exciting 2012 release that tests which monster would come out on top. You all know I love my zombies, but I'm not sure where to place my own bet. Genetically enhanced spec ops werewolves sound pretty hardcore. I guess my question is... are they hot? ^_^ 

Synopsis
WEREWOLVES
Dr. Crispin has engineered the saviors of mankind: Pavlov’s Dogs, a team of soldiers capable of transforming into fearsome beasts. But when Crispin and his team welcome a new talented neurotechnician to the island, Dr. Crispin quickly realizes his masterwork has fallen into the hands of a man he does not trust.

ZOMBIES
Back on the mainland, Ken Bishop and his best friend Jorge get caught in a traffic jam on their way home from work. There’s a wreck up ahead. And something worse. The first sign of a major outbreak—and Ken and Jorge are stuck in the gridlock. They quickly realize they not only need to escape, but they also need to save as many people as possible on the way.

ARMAGEDDON
Now Dr. Crispin and his team must make a terrible decision. Should they send the Dogs out into the zombie apocalypse to rescue survivors? Or should they listen to the new neurotechnician, who would have them hoard their resources and post the Dogs as island guards?

Excerpt
THE SMELL OF SCORCHED OIL and metal came as a relief, considering the whole world was rotting under Paulo’s nose. He and Marie hid behind the remains of an overturned Blazer, its trailer twisted around the hitch.

“I can no hear them,” Marie said.


Normally at this point Paulo would have poked fun, lovingly, at her poor English. Normally.


He took in the dark, wavy hair framing her face, took in the strands of it stuck in her tears. Paulo decided to never make fun of her again, for as long as they lived.


Leaning down, he kissed Marie’s forehead. “
Amorcita, if we can’t hear them, maybe they can’t hear us.” He took her hand and put it to his lips.

Marie smiled, knowing they were in bad trouble and he was going out of his way to comfort her, and loving him for it.


They moved together, stepping around the overturned Blazer.


Each of them had seen so much death in the past month.
In the past hour. A whole world full of death and pain. So neither of them had paid any heed to the body pinned underneath the trailer, mainly because the corpse hadn’t been of the variety that moved. But now it was.

The crushed woman looked at them without any eyes and moaned. It didn’t take long for others to join in. They came out of nowhere and everywhere all at once: alleyways, shattered store-fronts; one even jumped off a roof. Its legs shattered on impact, but even that was not enough to stop it.


At the sight and smell of the couple, arms shot up, jaws sprang open. Rheumy eyes zeroed in.


And the moaning.


The endless moaning.


Insistent. Tortured.


Like people dying at a hospital, groaning for help.


Paulo ran with short steps, giving himself shin splints so Marie could keep up. She could only run so fast. Not nearly fast enough.


He looked back, cursing their pursuers. Even the best horn players had to take breaths, yet these
things could go on and on. Tireless. Ceaseless. Rolling out their monotonous one-note dirge.

Paulo steered them down an alleyway.


Suddenly Marie was falling down, dragging Paulo with her and crying out. She had rolled her ankle in a pothole.


No world, no public services. No DOT.


Marie sobbed as Paulo helped her up. He cringed and glanced down the alleyway. If any hungry corpses lurked ahead, they had just been called to dinner, certainly no thanks to the walking horn section behind them.


No puedo, Paulo. I can’t go on.”

“No.” Paulo hunched and pulled her arm over his shoulders. “We keep on moving, and we do it together.”


Somewhere ahead, the forever moan was answered. By a single woman, from the sound of it. Otherwise, the alley seemed clear.


Paulo looked back, gauging the speed of the graveyard dragging itself along behind them.


Dead men ahead.


Dead women and children behind.


Paulo realized they didn’t have much of a choice.


He and Marie hobbled forward together, and Paulo’s eyes darted about, looking for
anything they could call a shelter.

As if by some answered prayer, he saw a door ahead of them, slightly ajar. Paulo laughed once, and Marie lifted her head.


“What?”


He pointed out the door, and they altered their trajectory toward it.


Just ahead, a few dead men came around the corner. They instantly locked onto the couple.


Van a caer,” Marie said as Paulo moved faster, dragging her along. “If we fall...”

“Then we won’t fall,” Paulo said.


He and Marie moved almost as fast as the men. Judging by distance and speed, he worried they would reach the door at the same exact time.


Then what?


Die in the street?


As they drew in, the dead men lunged, snapped, then ran into the metal door just as Paulo slammed it shut behind him.


“I didn’t hear it click.” He bent down to study the moving parts. “Baby, there’s no
latch.”

With a wave, Marie directed his attention to the room in which they now found themselves. She leaned against one wall, and the other three walls weren’t far away. It was a small space, bare, completely empty: hall, tiled floor, a bit of debris that must have blown in with the wind.


“¡
Nada!” she said. “No block, no nothing.”

“We should go farther—”


Thump
.

The door jumped against Paulo’s shoulder. He jammed his foot against the base of it, into the crack, and pressed harder with his upper body. It felt as if he were holding back the pounding, swelling of the sea.


His cowboy boots slid. Not by a lot, but they slid.


“Marie,
por favor...”

He didn’t have to say the rest. They had been together so long—on the run for so long—some things could be left unspoken.


Marie nodded, then limped from one wall to the next. It had looked like such a small space, but crossing it felt like three hundred feet. She practically fell into the far wall.


Sweating, whimpering, favoring her one foot, Marie shuffled over to the hallway.


“Here!” she said. “¡
Una puerta!”

The door stood at the end of the short hall, leading into an adjacent room.


“Keep going!” Paulo called, shouting over the constant drumming of bones and dead skin on hollow metal. “Find us something, Marie,
por favor!”

She reached for the knob, but hesitated. How many times had they gone through one door only to turn back, chased by the dead?


It didn’t matter though.


There was only one choice left.


Marie turned the knob.


Beyond, she saw another empty room, but the outer wall had crumbled to a pile of mortar and brick. She could see out into the alleyway, which was completely packed with the living dead, all trampling and climbing over each other like frenzied ants.


Marie put her hand over her mouth. So this was the force Paulo was holding back with a single metal door and a cowboy boot. And she knew the slightest sound would attract their wrath. Like red ants attacking a bug.


Luckily the dead didn’t notice her as Marie quietly closed the wooden door. She noticed that the knob
could be locked, if only they had the key.

Marie hobbled over to Paulo, who met her eyes briefly as she leaned back against his metal shield. He blinked and shook his head.


When would it ever end?


Even though they knew the answer to that, they sometimes wished to just get it over with. But then their common sense got the better of them because sometimes even death was not the end.


Paulo started to ask what Marie had found, but stopped. The fresh tears on her face answered his question.


She took a shuddering breath. “This is it,
mi vida.” She reached out and caressed the pocket of Paulo’s jeans. “Do you still have them?”

He lowered his head and pushed harder on the door. A dark look had come over his face. “I wish we still had the gun.”


Caressing his cheek, Marie smiled. “Do you still?”


“Yes,” he said, “I have them.”


Staring into his eyes, she dug into Paulo’s pocket and pulled out the small cardboard sheath.


“I lost the other one,” he said.


“But one is enough, no?”


He couldn’t wipe the grave expression off his face. A gun would have been much quicker. Just two bullets and it would all be done. But a single razor blade? He imagined having to cut her, watching the light go out of her eyes as her life leaked onto the floor of this filthy little room.


Paulo blinked hard and swallowed. He thought about cutting himself after, but while he was still dying, and too weak to move, the dead would finally get to them.


Paulo caught Marie’s hand and kissed her fingertips, tasting a bit of salt and grit.


“It is,” he said. “It’s enough.”


They leaned in to share one last kiss, and as their lips parted, they heard it. Something
new.

“Is that a... wolf?” Paulo said.


The hairs on the back of Marie’s neck shivered on end. “
No se, Paulo. It sounds like.”

The single howl rose into a chorus, and the beating on the door ceased. They heard dead meat slump against the metal and slide down. The relentless weight was lifted from the door, as if the deadly invaders had simply ceased to exist.


Paulo reached to open it.


Marie slapped at his hand.


“Eh, stupid.”


“I have to
see.”

She fidgeted, glanced back toward the hallway that led to no-where. “Just a crack,” she told him.


Paulo agreed.


He opened the door, just a crack, just enough to let in the light of some brand new nightmare.


Dark-skinned, hulking figures moved among the shambling dead, scything a path with their talons. Heads went flying, arms went flying. Corpses were launched into the air.


A large hairy beast, with fur like a golden retriever, leapt from car to car, homing in on the couple. Paulo’s eyes widened as the figure lunged.


He slammed the door.


The day he first had seen a dead man get up and walk, Paulo had thought he had gone insane. Then after a while, the undead had become commonplace.


Now Paulo was
sure he had gone insane.

He told Marie to run—hide!


There was no place but the hall.


She hid there, hoping it was deep enough, hoping Paulo would join her.


She heard the hollow boom of the metal door being pounded open, could hear Paulo cry out.


And then Paulo was
screaming, his voice moving away, growing distant.

Marie whimpered.


Resisted the urge to peek.


Paulo
.

He wouldn’t stop screaming, somewhere out there. They had always hoped their deaths would be quick.


Marie couldn’t help herself; she stuck her head around the corner, into the room.


One of the
wolves was just stalking past the door, but then it stopped. Marie almost sobbed as she ducked back into the hall. She could hear it, sniffing.

She couldn’t stand it anymore—she opened the door and stumbled into the adjacent room, toward the broken wall.


In the alley beyond, the dead lay in a common grave, twitching here and there, but overall silent and still.


Marie scrambled over the heap of brick, then tripped and fell face-first into the pile of corpses.


The wolf at the door whipped around, homed in again, and chased after her. It was a short chase.


Marie squealed as the beast tossed her over its shoulder. She clawed and kicked and screeched. It didn’t seem to faze the monster in the least.


It carried her over the heaps of severed heads, jerking limbs, and slippery guts. They emerged into the street, and she saw a tractor clearing cars, and a bus behind it.


“Marie!” Paulo called.


The wolf with the golden coat was carrying him toward the bus—was loading him onto it.


From one of the bus’s makeshift gun ports, he shouted again.


“Marie!”


And then he said something she didn’t understand. “There’s an island! They said there’s an—!” 



About the Authors
THOM BRANNAN (est. 1976) has been a submariner, a nuclear operator, an electrician and now works on an offshore drilling platform. He lives in or around Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, Kitty, a boy, a girl, a cat and a dog. 
D.L. SNELL is an acclaimed novelist from the Pacific Northwest. Anthologies include Pocket Books’ Blood Lite series, edited by best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson. Snell’s first novel, Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines, also attained critical acclaim from popular novelists such as New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry. Visit his website at dlsnell.com.

Twitter  @dlsnell 

 Don't miss out on more great Pavlov's Dogs content! Check out what each stop on the tour has to offer!
 
5/20 Bibliophilia, Please /Guest Blog
5/21 Journey With Words /Bio/Synopsis/Excerpt
5/22 Ramblings of an Amateur Writer /Guest Blog, Giveaway
5/23 Wonderland Reviews /Review, Giveaway
5/24 The Jeep Diva /Guest Blog
5/25 Wickedly Bookish /Bio/Synopsis/Excerpt
5/26 My Cozie Corner /Review / Giveaway
5/29 Rea's Reading and Reviews /Review
 

May 23, 2012

Rotter World Virtual Book Tour: Review

Welcome to Wickedly Bookish's second stop on the Rotter World Virtual Book Tour brought to you by Innovative Online Tours. I mentioned in on my first stop that I was planning on reviewing Rotter World and was asked by IO Tours if I would post it as part of the extended tour. I readily agreed and here it is! Enjoy!

Review
Rotter World
Scott M. Baker
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Rating: 4

Eight months after the zombie apocalypse took Earth, a group of brave survivors gets a chance to make their world safe again. Dr. Compton has found a cure for the virus he inadvertently created. The catch? It's back at his lab facility hundreds of miles away through the rotter infested ruins of the American East Coast. Will Mike Robson and his crew of tenacious survivors be able to bring back the cure and take back their world, or will they die trying?

Rotter World is a stomach churning, heart-pumping, zombie killing extravaganza. A true feast for the... zombie in you. I learned the hard way that it it not a wise idea to eat while you read this book. I often multi-task while reading and thought, "Hey, I might as well finish this book up while I have some teriyaki beef and broccoli for lunch." Bad idea, only a few pages later I encountered a particularly detailed death scene in which one of the characters gets eaten alive. While the scene was well written and emotionally evocative, I would have preferred to keep my lunch out of it.  You see, Rotter World is very much a book that spares no detail when it comes to graphic gore. While this adds to the desperate and often times disturbing tone of the book nicely, it may not be for everyone. So...you have been warned.

Moving onward, Rotter World offers the reader a unique and intriguing alternate view of the zombie apocalypse in which the virus is spread by vampires in an attempt to distract humans from hunting them down. This of course backfires spectacularly on them and the vampires find themselves facing an increasingly desperate situation; the complete extinction of their kind. When the book begins, humans and what is left of the vampires have teamed up to better their chances of surviving in a hostile alliance that threatens to boil over at any moment. The tension is incredible as it offsets the already overwhelming threat of the zombie horde. Not all of the human survivors hate the vampires which also leads to another layer of hostilities among the group. I loved this, but wished that the loyalties of the characters hadn't been so obvious. I would have loved to have read a scene in which a human you thought neutral or for the vampires turned on one of them during a zombie onslaught. I love that kind of NO WAY! moment. Regardless there are plenty of action sequences and you get to see how prejudices effect the decisions of the group in life threatening situations. I won't say who, but I was very upset to see my favorite vamp go. I was like, "Scott, oh no you didn't!" Kill off my favorite character why don't you? Who are you, George R.R. Martin?  I was sad, but it did do the trick of keeping me emotionally invested in the story. 

The only thing that I can really critique here is consistency. With all the action and character interaction Baker throws at us that gets our hearts pumping, some in-between scenes come across a bit dry. I know it's hard to make colorful transition scenes when you've just allowed your characters to barely escape from a hauntingly bloody battle, but there were a few times when I felt Baker's writing was becoming more technical in order to explain rather than making readers see it through the already well established interactions between characters. I stress this is only occasionally, but these parts were just so stark in comparison to the rest of the story that they really killed the mood. 

Speaking of "The Mood" Baker waxes erotic a couple of times throughout the novel showing readers both the wonderful and destructive sides of the human need for closeness. I was glad to have this part of human nature addressed within a zombie novel as the genre normally stays away from sensuality. What better motivation is there to incite DEFCON levels of the horizontal mambo than the almost definite possibility that you will be cannibalized by mindless, rotting husks of your peers in the near future? I honestly can't think of any. I know I'm outing myself as a perv here, but I genuinely wish there had been more sexy scenes, especially with the vamps, *wink wink* but I digress...

I know this is becoming one mother trucker of a review, but I do have one last thing I'd like to tell you all about. I absolutely hate reading books or watching movies where the women spend more time screaming and crying than kicking-ass and taking names. Thank God for Baker's badass squad of zombie killing femme fatales. The Angels of Death are leather clad ladies with some seriously messed up pasts they have overcome by blowing away many a zombie. If there were some AOD merch like a shirt or a mug, I would be first in line to get me some. I loved these ladies who prove you best not underestimate a woman with serious baggage.

The Final Verdict
You're invited to a deadman's party. Make sure you gird your loins and bring a hardy constitution, maybe even a turtleneck. That is unless you plan on fraternizing with some vamps then by all means...  Enjoy the ride. ^_^

FTC Disclosure
I was provided a copy of this book by the author and IO tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own. 
  About the Author
Born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), Scott M. Baker has spent the last twenty-two years living in northern Virginia.  He has authored several short stories, including the e-chapbook “Dead Water” by D’Ink Well Publications; “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” which appeared in the autumn 2008 edition of the e-zine Necrotic Tissue; “Cruise of the Living Dead,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ Dead Worlds: Volume 3 anthology (August 2009); “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” which appeared in Living Dead Press‘ Christmas Is Dead anthology (October 2009); and “Denizens,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ The Book of Horror anthology (March 2010). 

Scott’s first zombie novel, Rotter World, which details the struggle between humans and vampires during a zombie apocalypse, was released by Permuted Press in April 2012.  He has also authored The Vampire Hunters trilogy, which has been published by Pill Hill Press and received excellent reviews from Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, among others. Scott has finished his fifth novel, Yeitso, a homage to the monster movies of the 1950s set in northern New Mexico, which is currently with a publisher, and has begun his next novel, Hell Gates, the first in a series of young adult novels set in a world in which the realms of Hell and earth have merged. 

When he is not busy writing, Scott can either be found relaxing on his back deck with a good cigar and a cup of iced coffee, or doting on the four house rabbits that live with him.

Twitter   vampire_hunters




May 22, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #17

A big thank you to my favorite model Robyn Watson for not only taking this gorgeous picture, but also for allowing me to use it here on my blog! You are amazing girl!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading where we book bloggers give you lovely readers a tantalizing taste of whatever it is we are reading right now. To play along:
  
•  Grab your current read
•  Open to a random page
•  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•  BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



This week's teaser is:
God's War
Bel Dame Apocrypha #1
Kameron Hurley
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
"Some days, Nyx was a bel dame - an honored, respected, and deadly government-funded assassin. Other days, she was just a butcher, a hunter - a woman with nothing to lose. And the butcher had a bounty to bring in."
pg. 8

I have a feeling this is going to be a very dark and intense dystopia. I'm looking forward to it!
 

 What's your teaser this week?   

May 20, 2012

Review: Tomorrow Land

Tomorrow Land
Mari Mancusi
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Rating:3.5

Four years after the zombie apocalypse, Paige is released from her family's locked down bomb shelter into the dessicated remains of her hometown. Her mission: meet up with her father and his fellow scientists at Disney World to help rebuild society. Outfitted with razors that extend from her fingertips and some ocular implants that do so much more than night vision, Paige should have no problem getting passed the undead. That is, until she has a chance meeting with her first love, Chris Parker, now known as Chase. Chase still hasn't quite gotten over her ditching him during the outbreak. Paige hasn't gotten over putting duty before love. Will they find love again post-apocalypse?

First, I'm going to touch on the split chapter element as it seems to be dividing reviewers. The book is set up with chapters alternating between past and present; before the apocalypse and after. Some have found this bothersome, awkward, and confusing, but  I thought this was a brilliant way to tell the story and loved how the juxtaposition of the two timelines allowed Chase and Paige's back story to unfold within the action. This kept the book fast paced and made for a truly enjoyable read. 

I loved the combination of strong love story and zombie action. Mancusi doesn't shy away from the darker elements of this genre, but still manages to keep the tone intrinsically young adult. These two are still teenagers trying to figure out who they are while they fight to survive. You even get the fairly annoying relationship tug-of-war aspect so common in YA fiction. A bit of this is necessary to keep the story moving, but it got to be too drawn out for my taste. The character development was so-so for Paige, but quite a bit better for Chase. 

In the chapters concerning past events, Chase is the scraggly, soft hearted nerd who just wants a shot at the pretty popular girl. In the chapters concerning present events, he has been shaped by the apocalypse into a harder, more world weary version of himself. Obviously this works for a number of reasons, not only has he grown out of his scrawny body, but also his naive view of the world. I even enjoyed the fact that Marcusi was brave enough to tackle teenage drug addiction. She blended it well into the plot and made it one of Chase's eventually redeemable flaws. Overall, the development of his character was very satisfying. However the one thing that really bugged me was I felt like some of his sentimentality wasn't realistic for a nineteen year old boy.  All three of my brothers are around this age and let me tell you, when daydreaming they would not be imagining their girlfriend/love interest as a Disney Princess. The imagery I got out of the last third of the book from Chase concerning Paige felt very out of character for a guy his age and broke me out of the rhythm the book had going. It felt much too feminine and not in sync with the more realistic tone of his thoughts from earlier on in the story. To me, this just felt like a rushed effort to tie together the whole Disney themed undertone of the novel, which while kinda fun at first felt a bit out of place in a story that had started out so gritty. 

What I loved about this book was the technology aspect. Paige's razors and ocular implants made her a unique and kick-ass heroine. The zombie origin wasn't exactly unique. The zombie virus is spread by a vaccine that should have been a cure for a disease that has been plaguing mankind, in this case HIV/AIDS, but instead backfires turning everyone to mindless, flesh eating monsters. Cure gone wrong has been done quite a bit, but the implementation of it all was done very well. 

The Final Verdict: 
A very sweet post-apocalyptic love story, awesome tech, and fast-paced story make this a quick and enjoyable read, but the occasional lightness in tone was more awkward than complimentary. Tomorrow Land will please fans of fluffy YA fiction, but may not appeal to more hard-core fans of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres.

May 17, 2012

Rotter World Virtual Book Tour: Interview and Giveaway (INT) with Scott M. Baker

Welcome to Wickedly Bookish's stop of the Rotter World Virtual Book Tour brought to you by Innovative Online Tours! I'm pretty stoked to be introducing you all to this crazy awesome author and his captivatingly gritty zombie novel, Rotter World. On This stop Scott sits down and talks zombies, vampires, and answers the ever present question; do you like your vampires sexy or purely monstrous? You can also win  a copy of Rotter World not matter where you are in the world! Finally, I do not have a review this stop as I only singed up for an interview, but I loved this book so much that I will be posting a review within the next couple of weeks once things settle down a bit. So... get comfortable and without further ado...

Wicked Interview with Scott M. Baker
First off I wanted to thank you for stopping by Wickedly Bookish on your tour of Rotter World, Scott!

Thank you for hosting me.   

Zombie origin lore is so diverse and the readers seem to always be looking for something new and exciting. Would you say you knew right away where your zombies came from or did the origin evolve throughout the writing process?

Once I started developing the initial concept that became Rotter World, I knew right away that the catalyst for the outbreak would be the release of the Revenant Virus, or Zombie Virus.  However, I didn’t want to do the typical “U.S. military/big corporate bio-weapon project runs amok” theme because that has been clich├ęd to death (pun intended).  So I created a back story in which the Pentagon is trying to develop a medicine that will regenerate scar tissue to help the recovery of our troops severely burned in IED attacks, with the unfortunate side effect that the formula not only regenerates dead tissue but also kills off the living tissue and reanimates it.  The military stops the program, but vampires become aware of the virus, steal it, and release it in the hopes that if humans are busy fighting off the living dead, they won’t be hunting the undead.  The plan backfires and the zombies prey on both species.  That concept also had the advantage of serving three plot purposes: it makes the character of Dr. Compton, the creator of the virus, more sympathetic; it gives the humans a good reason to distrust and hate the vampires who fight alongside them; and the journey to retrieve the vaccine drives the last two-thirds of the novel.

I really enjoyed the dueling tensions involved in this story. You haven't limited the storyline to the basic humanity vs. zombie, but also included a more internal tension of humans and vampires trying to coexist post-apocalypse. What brought that bit of genius on? Are these the same kind of vampire you write about in your Vampire Hunter Trilogy?

Thanks, but I can’t take credit for the stroke of genius.  A literary agent once said to me that she would love to see a novel that contained zombies, vampires, and bio-weapons.  Out of the seed of that idea grew Rotter World.  Once I decide to include vampires, setting up the tension between them and humans was easy.  It’s pretty much the same religious, political or ethnic bigotries that have plagued mankind for millennium, only this time it between species.  Distrust is the major theme of the novel.

The only similarities between the vampires in Rotter World and those in The Vampire Hunters trilogy is that they look like humans until they morph into their vampiric form.  For Rotter World, I had to give my vampires a sense of humanity in order for them to interact with the other characters.  One reviewer pointed out that they liked how the vampires in Rotter World are now the minority species and act that way.

On the other hand, the vampires in The Vampire Hunters trilogy are pure evil.  They have a certain code of honor amongst themselves, but regard humans as little more than a source of food and sexual deviancy.  Where mine differ from other bad-ass vampires is that I make them three dimensional by giving them back stories, personalities, and motivations.  I don’t want my readers to like them, but I do want them to have an emotional involvement.  It makes the conflict between the two sides that much more poignant. 

Monster fans seem to be divided on how they like their vampires. What is your take on the, "vampires are monsters not sex symbols" debate? I felt your vampires appeared more human in this aspect while still retaining their fear factor.

I see vampires as representing not our fear of death but rather our fear of giving in to our inner passion for lust and violence.  Although I’m not a fan of vampires as romantic heroes, there’s a general theme of unbridled passion in all the subgenres.  Edward, Lestat, and Angel are trying to make amends for their past.  The vampires of True Blood and Charlaine Harris’ world are trying to keep their passions in check in order to fit into society.  Then there’s the opposite extreme of the traditional vampires as monsters who don’t care and allow themselves to run wild.  There is a sexiness to vampirism, no matter how perverse it may be.

I think one of the fascinations with vampires (and, to an extent, werewolves) is that dichotomy between good and evil, between human and monster.  They’re like serial killers who seem charming on the surface until you take one home with you.  I’m a history major by training, and I’ve always been intrigued by the SS concentration camp guards who were mass murderers by day but went home at night and were loving fathers and husbands, and could rationalize those two parts of their nature.  When you study that twisted aspect of history like I have, writing about vampires is easy. 

You've created quite the extensive cast of characters! The unique names really helped me tell everyone apart initially in the story when I didn't know much about them. Was this intentional?

Yes, it was intentional.  I had a very large cast of characters in Rotter World, all of whom have an important part to play in the story.  I didn’t want them all to become a bunch of red shirts whose only role was to die anonymously.  It was very important to me that the readers had an emotional stake in each of the characters otherwise the battle scenes would lose a lot of their tension.  That especially holds true for the Angels.  Their final confrontation with the living dead would have fallen flat if the reader didn’t care about each of them.
 
I have to say I'm a big fan of "The Angels of Death." You've managed to create a gang of women who worked hard to overcome their dark pasts, and well... kick some serious ass! Did anything in particular inspire you to create this rag-tag band of women?

Thanks.  I loved writing about the Angels.  I’m a huge fan of women as heroes, with my two favorite characters being Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the Aliens saga and Milla Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil.  Because there are a lot of men in Rotter World, I wanted to balance that out with an equal number of strong women, and creating an all-female band of zombie killers was the perfect way to do so.  The Angels are loosely based on several strong, independent women I’ve worked with over the years.  Dressing them all in leather was just me giving in to my fantasies. 

Nerdy Confessions!
On Wickedly Bookish we have a little interview segment where we ask our guest to divulge a bit about their nerdy side as we believe everyone has one.

My nerdy confession this time around is that I've wanted to marry Luke Skywalker since I was 4 years old. My dad says I was pretty adamant about it at the time.

So Scott, all zombies and vampires aside, what other nerdy tendencies do you have?

I’m a complete nerd/geek.  I love Godzilla, giant monsters, big bugs, steampunk, Dr. Who, Star Trek (all variations except Voyager), The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, and Fringe.  My study is filled with autographed photos of horror celebrities/authors and action figures.  Once a month I get together with close friends to play zombie board games.  My idols are the guys from Comic Book Men.  And my brother-in-law and I are kicking around the idea of opening up a zombie laser tag range in New England someday.  One of my favorite TV shows is The Big Bang Theory because those guys made geek chic (and yes, I get most if the jokes on that show, which validates my geek credentials). 

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to interview with me, I enjoyed your book immensely!

Thank you for having me.  I look forward to coming back someday.

You are welcome back anytime! Keep up the great work!

Synopsis 
Eight months have passed since vampires released the Revenant Virus on mankind, nearly wiping out both species. For Mike Robson, the situation could be far worse. He has joined up with a small band of humans and the last coven of vampires who are riding out the zombie apocalypse in an old fort along the coast of southern Maine. But the uneasy alliance between humans and vampires is strained with the arrival of the creator of the Revenant Virus. He claims to have a vaccine that will make them immune and allow mankind to take civilization back from the living dead. However, the vaccine is located in a secure underground facility five hundred miles away.
To retrieve it, Robson leads a raiding party of humans and vampires down the East Coast, which has been devastated by the outbreak and overrun by zombies and rape gangs. Yet none of the horrors he deals with on the road can prepare him for what he will find in the underground facility.  Robson will encounter the greatest threat his group has faced to date, not only from zombies but from betrayal within his own ranks. 

About the Author:
Born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), Scott M. Baker has spent the last twenty-two years living in northern Virginia.  He has authored several short stories, including the e-chapbook “Dead Water” by D’Ink Well Publications; “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” which appeared in the autumn 2008 edition of the e-zine Necrotic Tissue; “Cruise of the Living Dead,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ Dead Worlds: Volume 3 anthology (August 2009); “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” which appeared in Living Dead Press‘ Christmas Is Dead anthology (October 2009); and “Denizens,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ The Book of Horror anthology (March 2010). 

Scott’s first zombie novel, Rotter World, which details the struggle between humans and vampires during a zombie apocalypse, was released by Permuted Press in April 2012.  He has also authored The Vampire Hunters trilogy, which has been published by Pill Hill Press and received excellent reviews from Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, among others. Scott has finished his fifth novel, Yeitso, a homage to the monster movies of the 1950s set in northern New Mexico, which is currently with a publisher, and has begun his next novel, Hell Gates, the first in a series of young adult novels set in a world in which the realms of Hell and earth have merged. 

When he is not busy writing, Scott can either be found relaxing on his back deck with a good cigar and a cup of iced coffee, or doting on the four house rabbits that live with him.

Twitter   vampire_hunters
Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3505916.Scott_M_Baker

Don't miss out on all the stops!

05/13 All Things Writing Review
05/14 Wonderland Reviews  Interview
05/15 Ramblings of an Amateur Author Bio/Excerpt/Synopsis
05/16 Rea's Reading and Reviews  Guest Blog
0/5/17 Wickedly Bookish   Interview
05/18 Good Choice Reading Review
05/19 I just wanna Sit Here and Read! Bio/Excerpt/Synopsis

Giveaway details
This giveaway is open to all readers of Wickedly Bookish. One lucky (US/CA) reader will win a signed copy of Rotter World by Scott M. Baker and one lucky (INT) reader will win an ebook copy of Rotter World courtesy of the author himself and IO Tours. Participants may enter May 17th - 20th up until the virtual book tour's end.

Entries can be gained in a variety of ways as stated in the Rafflecopter. In order to be fair to everyone, all entries will be checked so please be honest! If I find an invalid entry, it will be removed from the giveaway. As following Wickedly Bookish is a mandatory entry, if I do not find your name in my list of followers, all your entries will be removed from the giveaway. I would much rather skip over this stuff and just get to the fun, but it has happened before, so I need to state it all before the entries are collected.
 
 Winners will be chosen within 24 hours of giveaway's end and will be notified by email. If you are a winner, you will be expected to claim your prize within 48 hours of receipt of email or another winner will be chosen.
 
To Enter:
  1. Be a follower of Wickedly Bookish
2. Provide a valid email address
3. Be 18 years old or older
4. Fill out the Rafflecopter below

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