Consumed (The Hunger #2) by Jason Brant

18464387

 

A review by:  Terri Kinckner

(I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest, unbiased review)

Wow.  Where do I begin?  This book takes off exactly where Devoured (book 1) ends.  This is not really a stand alone, so I recommend that you read the first in the series before this one.  Actually, the awesomeness of this book doubles when you read Jason’s short story, Lotion, that was in Cynthia Shepp’s Apocalypse Anthology.  Lotion was the story that started this entire series, introduced us to this world, and to a couple of the characters.  This latest installment in this series does not disappoint!

The action was intense and pretty much nonstop throughout the book.  That’s not the only great thing about this story.  This book is well-balanced.  What I mean by this is that the characters are written beautifully and grow through the story, the action is intense, the horror is vividly real, and there is just enough humor and even the occasional “Awww” moment to keep the scary stuff from overwhelming the reader.  This book has it all!

When this book starts off, Lance and Cass, Eifort and Dr. Emmett Brown (haha), are living on the Duchess, a boat, in the middle of the Allegheny River to avoid the victims of the Xavier virus.  These vampire-like once humans have taken over the night and have infected or eaten the majority of the population.  When their boat is destroyed, they have to move on and find another safe place to hide out from the monsters.

To make matters worse, a militia-like group of survivalists headed by a psychopath named Ralph are on a mission to wipe them out, too, thanks to Lance unwittingly angering Ralph in a restaurant in the previous book.  This just adds to the horror, as the group of four can’t seem to avoid one nightmare encounter after another.

There are several moments of hilarity in this book.  The banter between Lance and Cass had me laughing even through the scary moments, the Doc Brown and Back To the Future references and jokes made this geek giggle, and the daily ham radio reports from the Wild Man of Monroeville.  The Wild Man seemed to know exactly what was going on in the Pittsburgh area from his seemingly impenetrable hidden location, and his descriptions of the people and events had me literally laughing out loud.

There are some serious developments in this book that I didn’t see coming, and wow… that’s all I can say about that without giving away spoilers.  The end of the book had the stories coming full circle, with characters from the short story Lotion making their appearance, and the ending really threw me for a loop!  I didn’t want to put this book down, and re-read several sections after I finished because I simply was not ready to be done with these wonderful characters in this frightening but realistic world!

 

I give this book 5 stars out of 5!

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Beer Run of the Dead (Book 1) by D.F. Noble

16092600

 

A review by Terri Kinckner

Book description from Amazon: An epic drunk romp through the wasteland of a zombie apocalypse, Beer Run of the Dead is the first book in a series sure to wet your whistle. Follow Kip, Rock and Steady, as they struggle to survive and stay completely shit faced in the face of certain undead doom. These three unlikely heroes hold the key to humanity’s salvation, but will they succeed being inebriated as they are? Not everyone who saves the world is a rocket scientist, a super hero, or a handsome actor turned politician. Sometimes people who save the world… they’re fucking idiots.

My take:

I first saw this book in a giveaway contest and was intrigued. I didn’t win but I bought it anyway. I’m so glad that I did! This story is an excellent combination!

Kip is an awkward teenager with a cougar mother who believes her drug-using gym addict boy toy can help make him a man. Passed out and stoned for the first time, Kip wakes up to find out that his entire world has changed and that he’s alone. A satellite has crashed and brought with it a virus that is turning everyone into zombies. Kip finds out later why he was spared when he finds Rock and Steady.

Rock and Steady have lived their lives in an eternal party state. They never grew up, just drink, smoke and go to concerts. This is usually not the best lifestyle choice for adults to keep, but it is the best possible way to stay alive in this apocalypse! They are holed up on the roof of a sporting goods store when Kip stumbles upon them. With Kip as the brains of the operation, they not only survive, but manage to rescue others. They even find the “cure” for the virus, all while still managing to have a great time.

Hilarity is a word I would use to describe this book. I know people like Rock and Steady. In fact, I used to BE Rock and Steady! I genuinely liked the characters, and loved watching Kip make progress in his journey to manhood. The banter between the characters had me laughing out loud constantly. I must say that I read this book in one sitting and eleven beers, and enjoyed every minute of it! There was one point in this book when they were in a boat and I was about to take some man cards away, but they redeemed themselves quite quickly, and had me laughing again (before those tears that had started welling in my eyes could fall). The rescued characters were an absolutely wonderful addition to the cast of main characters. So many different kinds of personalities combined to make this rag tag group of friends work. The girls had me laughing. I’d be a mess if I was stuck in a zombie apocalypse without razors and makeup, too!

I absolutely loved the way the zombies were killed. There were so many creative “games” that they came up with; both to keep their base safe, and to stave off the boredom. Some of those games had me laughing and wishing that I could have been there to give it a try! Their creative use of “bait” also had me laughing (an evil laugh this time). The apocalyptic world they were thrown into was made very real to me. The sounds, smells, sights, were all related so perfectly. I read this book weeks ago, and I still think about it. The ending of this book was epic! Seriously! I will not ruin the surprise by mentioning any details, but D.F. Noble, I bow my head to you… I am not worthy!

If you’re looking for a fun book that is so good it reads like a novella, this is it!

 

Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers

A review by Terri Kinckner

Before I begin this review, I will explain how this anthology even came to be.  It started out as a Facebook contest created by Cynthia Shepp for her page.  She had a few requirements and left the rest to the readers and authors that enjoy her page every day.  I read them as they were posted, some were too long to post on Facebook, but Cynthia loved them and wanted to share them with everyone.  Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers, was born.

Here were the rules:

I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.

The results were STUNNING!  From seasoned author to writing novice, each tale was spun beautifully.

Fade to black,  by Jase Brantson, had witty dialogue, humor, horror and a surprise ending I never saw coming.  I loved how fast and fluid the story was, since it was mostly dialogue.

Artificial Life: The End Of Humanity, by Kate Charles, was amazing.  The main character was the cause of the apocalypse, although she didn’t really have a conscience about it.  The concept of causing the world to stop spinning for an instant, thereby causing it’s destruction, was a great idea.

I loved Shelf life, by S.L. Dearing, which also had a bit of a surprise ending.  The characters were realistic, and I thought her choice of weaponry was quite  brilliant! This was a love story at the end of the world… loved it!

Welcome to the End of the World (Population: Unknown), by R.M. Gilmore, is psychological horror at its finest!  I was trapped inside that basement, losing my mind right alongside the main character.  I rooted for her until the very end as her story unfolded.

Lotion, by Grayce Jantson (Jason Brant), was hilarious.  The dialogue had me laughing out loud, The second character, Greg, is probably the worst person to survive an apocalypse with, but added a whole level of humor and frustration to the story.  I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it’s nice when things aren’t always “happily ever after”

Until the End, by Brittany Heister, was written by a young lady my son’s age.  I was very impressed with her vision of the end of the world, and she had very amusing characters in her story.  An egg roll selling zombie is quite unique and made it interesting.  I really enjoyed this story!

I know my first name is Clossiana, by K.T. Hennessy, is brilliant.  It was such a wonderfully different take on the apocalypse.  I don’t want to really reveal why it’s different, because I don’t post spoilers.  This story made me rethink how humankind would react to a failing world.

Save Me, by Heather Kirchoff, was written by a high school student.  Her story was vividly described, emotionally heart-wrenching, yet a feeling of hope was still kept throughout.  Hers is a story of family betrayal, surviving under extraordinary circumstances, and new love.  It was a wonderful story!

Canyon Bound, by Jon Messenger, was one of my favorite stories in this anthology.  He made everything so real that I felt I could see, smell, hear, the end of the world, his struggle to find others that were alive, his survival in the face of illness, and the inspiring “best friend” that helped him on his journey.

What If, by Jocelyn Sanchez, was short but action-packed.  It also had an ending that I didn’t see coming!  The paranormal cause of her apocalypse was different than the other stories and quite an interesting idea!

Cheyenne Mountain, by Nicki Scalise,  was an amazing story.  The ultimate betrayal a person can face.  I really liked the idea of Anathema.  This story had my rapt attention through to the end.

The editor, Cynthia Shepp came up with this idea and brought it to life.  I watched this collection of stories go from an idea, a Facebook contest, to a wonderful anthology.  This was a labor of love by Cynthia, and she deserves her own little blurb.  She put her heart and soul into this project and without it, some of these fine young authors wouldn’t be in print right now.  Incredible job, Cynthia! ❤

I give this anthology 5 out of 5 stars!