The Train to Busan

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I don’t tend to write reviews on zombie movies, mostly because I don’t really watch a lot of them and the few I do watch haven’t been worth the effort, that is until now.

The Train to Busan, released in 2016, is a Japanese zombie movie that is playing on Netflix at the moment. Usually I can’t be bothered watching sub-titled movies but this one was recommend to me by Rhiannon Frater and it looked to good to pass up, so I put my reading glasses on and it was really worth it.

This is edge of the seat zombie thrill at its best, language was not a barrier to enjoying this movie. It really does take you on the train ride from hell. It is a stellar script with a cast to back it up. I dare you to watch this movie and not fall in love with the sweet little girl who plays Soo-an, not only is she adorable but she is one of the best child actors I have seen in a long time.

The critic’s loved this movie and its clear to see why. It had none of the American style over the top acting drowned in special affects, more like a realistic British style of telling the story, full of emotion and fear and grief. The special affects, though great, are few and don’t distraction from the story, but rather take it up to a new level. There was nothing expected about this movie, you can feel the fear spilling from the characters as they race from disaster to disaster. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from the start.

It all begins innocently enough,a divorced father who works to hard and a little girl who just wants to spend her birthday with her mother, who lives in Busan. The father agrees to take her to Busan and from there it escalates into the most terrifying and twisted train ride in the history of trains. With carriages full of the undead, lots of gore and blood and lots of unexpected deaths, just when you think they are safe, they aren’t and they have to get moving again. It is a full on, fast pace, race to a safety than seems unattainable.

I enjoyed every moment of it, even the moments that made me jump. And the ending, well that will bring a tear to your eye.

So, take some time off this weekend and give your eyeballs a treat. And then come back and let me know what you think of The Train to Busan

9/10

Happy viewing.

Divided–R L Blalock

Back in February I reviewed the first book in the first book in the Death and Decay series Devoured as well as the prequel The Darkest Days. Divided, the second book in the series by the very talented writer R L Blalock will be released tomorrow and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy last week and I can tell you now, this is not a book you want to miss.

Divided is written from Olivia’s husband, Colin’s viewpoint and tells of his desperate bid to find his wife and child as the world falls apart and the undead rise. When he receives a terrified phone call from Olivia as she is fleeing from the bridge at the beginning of book one, Colin isn’t sure if he should believe her or not. That is until he steps outside the shop where he works and witnesses the chaos firsthand.

He flees with his workmates and a woman they rescue from her undead boyfriend and tries to get to Olivia. But there is a river between them and all the bridges are blocked by abandoned cars and zombies. They decide the best course of action is to get out of the city, they meet up with Colin’s  cousin, Samuel, and they all escape together to look for a place where they can get across the river and find Olivia and baby Elli.

Along their journey they meet other survivors, some friendly and so decidedly unfriendly. They find a safe haven but Colin still burns to find his family, he stays as long as he can to help the survivors but when he goes to leave he is confronted by members of the group who don’t think he should leave and that he and the small team he is taking with him, are far to important to be allowed to just go their own way. And that is when the serious division happens.

I won’t say any more, just be prepared for a zombie novel like no other. There is the normal fight for survival but there is so much more to this story, a lot of unexpected twist and turns and some very real scenes, the author does not gloss over the consequences of actions that the survivors take and as Colin slips further and further from the person he once was, as he does things he never dreamed he would, he starts to loses himself, the only direction he can take is the one that takes him back to his family and as close to normal as this terrible new world will allow.

And to top it all off a new big bad arises that will need to be dealt with in book 3, which I can’t wait to read. I have said it before but I will say it again, Don’t miss this series, its original and exciting and terrifying all at once. With each book it just gets better and better. So head to Amazon tomorrow, the 15th May (which is today here in NZ, very confusing lol) and pick up a copy of Divided by R L Blalock, devour the book and don’t forget to leave a review. Good authors deserve good reviews and R L Blalock is awesome!

9/10

Happy Reading

The Noru Series–Lola StVil

From the author of the Guardians series, Lola StVil now tells the story of the children of the Guardians, The Noru. So far I have read 5 of the 7 novels, all of which have their own merits.

The story follows Pryor, the daughter of Death and Guardian angel Marcus and at 14 years old, is the leader of the Noru team, a team which she deserted a year ago on the day they where suppose to be announced to the angel world as the new guardian team. She leaves the angel world to go to a human high school and makes friends with Randy, a geeky human boy. When she turned her back on the angel world she also turned her back on the boy she is in love with, Aaden, son of demon Rage and the teams second in command.

The team come back together when a new evil emerges and wrecks havoc on the angel world. But a year is a long time and the members of Pryor’s team have been through more than she knows. And the new evil turns out to be someone well known to her father, leading to betrayal and pain for Pryor.

The six members of the Noru team, Pryor, Aaden, twins Key and Swoop ,Bex, future Kon (king) of the paras and Easton, a Quo, are joined by Randy to protect the human world from the new evil.

The first five books are a rollercoaster ride of fear, fighting, love and heartbreak, Pryor must leave her youth behind and step up to be the leader she was born to be. She will have to reunite her team and build them back up to the demon fighting unit they once were, while dealing with the lose of a family member and being torn away from her parents.

There are things about this series that are not popular amongst readers, there are a number of rather graphic sex scenes that aren’t really suitable for the YA genre. To put it in a mothers point of view, my 11 year old daughter won’t be reading these books for a few years. I don’t think the scenes are necessary but they do add a depth to the books. Most of the reviews I have read on this series are not happy about a 14 year old losing her virginity which I can completely understand, if it was my daughter I would freak, but Pryor is no normal 14 year old, she has been killing demons since she was a toddler, I would imagine that would make one grow up quickly.

There is a bit of predictability about these novels, the very Twilight style love triangle and on again off again love affair, and the expected teenage drama, but there is enough solid storyline and realistic stupidity, like getting drunk and getting into trouble, that make them worth reading. The storylines are not just fight, fight, win and next please, the characters deal with some very realistic problems, such as drug addiction and teen pregnancy amongst others.

In the very basic sense its normal teenagers that are very mature and have super powers and have to save the world while trying to keep up with their homework and life’s everyday challenges . Except these teens are a brand new species of angel and no-one in their world knows what to expect from them, if they are good or evil or somewhere between.

If you are looking for something a bit different, something that has that little bit of predictability thrown amongst the completely blindsiding then this is the series for you. If your looking for boring teen romance, yeah this is not going to be your thing, move along. The books are well written with a lot of thought and imagination put into them and personally I am looking forward to reading the next two books.

7/10

Happy Reading, until next time.

The Blood Lives–Lee Isserow

Ben Graham dreams of monsters.
He has done ever since he witnessed his mother’s murder as a child.
All too soon, Ben will become such a monster, as he plots to kill the man who took her life.
But Ben will discover that not only are there real monsters out there…
He will learn that he is uniquely qualified to destroy them.
Because Ben’s blood is not like everyone else’s.
It’s alive.
And it has a ravenous hunger that can’t be sated. (taken from Goodreads.)

If you like books that send a chill down your spine,  you’re in the right place. I can honestly say that there are not many books that manage to really scare me but The Blood Lives left me shivering, the mere thought of someone’s blood coming alive and going on a rampage is the stuff of nightmares.

When the man who is believed to have brutally murdered his mother is released from prison, Primary school teacher Ben Graham stalks the monster with the intent of ending his life, only to discover that the real monster is his own blood, it is alive and can drain out of his body and attack. He is recruited by a secret government agency and they teach him how to control the beast within. He also learns he is not alone, there are others that share his infliction and not all of them are on the right side of the law.

Film-maker and scriptwriter Lee Isserow takes a break from the cameras to give us a brilliant new series, In The Blood, of which The Blood Lives is the first book. Released in February of this year, its an instant page turner. In the true spirit of Stephen King and Richard Matheson, Mr. Isserow has gone to the darkest of places and came back with an amazing storyline full of imagination and completely unique. If the rest of the series is half as good as this first book, it is going to be amazing.

I won’t ruin the plot with too many spoilers, nothing is worse than someone telling you the ending right? But I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Blood Lives, it’s wonderfully scary and has a very original plotline, but be warned, you will never look at blood the same way ever again.

9/10

I look forward to reading the rest of the series and I will update this post to let you know my thoughts on it.

Happy reading one and all

Animal Kingdom–Iain Rob Wright

WELCOME TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FOOD CHAIN!
Aside from being freakishly tall, Joe is just an ordinary divorcee taking his son, Danny, to the zoo for his weekend of custody. Everything is going great until a bizarre snake attack sends everybody in the zoo running for cover. It isn’t long before Joe realizes that there is a lot more going on than a simple snake attack. And if the hungry lions, roaring gorillas and charging elephants now free from their cages have anything to say about it, there is more bloodshed to come. All of the world’s animals are attacking, and no one knows why. What they do know is that man is now on the bottom of the food chain. (from Goodreads )

A similar theme to James Patterson’s Zoo, though it predates that novel by about a year. The new apocalypse comes not with zombies or killer viruses, but with animals. There seems to be no clear reason why the sudden change in animal natures but sociopathic Apes and killer spiders are not my idea of fun. Come to think of it, the spiders are the most terrifying part, hey, I’m a girl, if there is one thing I hate its bloody spiders, creepy ,crawly, scream inducing creatures.

There is a great variant of  characters, all with their own backstories and motivations. Apart from divorcee father Joe, who’s main motivation is obviously keeping his son alive, Young Danny, who has a passion for 1980’s wrestlers. Then there is a business man with a serious case of small mans syndrome, A big Scot with psychopathic tendencies, a zoologist who is more comfortable with animals than people, an over-the-top religious nut and a young woman with serious anxiety issues. Combine the cast of characters with an army of very angry animals of all kinds and you have a riveting and nail-biting novel.

It’s not a long novel, only took a few hours to read, but it has a great theme and a believable plotline. This is the second Iain Rob Wright novel I have read and both had twisted and unexpected plotlines with a very different take on the apocalypse genre, Well worth putting on your TBR list.

8/10

I am slowly working my way through my back list and willowing out the ones worth reviewing. I don’t tend to review books I don’t like, I will review them on Amazon or Goodreads, because I believe every book deserves a review, good or bad, for the simple reason that the author has been brave enough to put their hard work out there for us to read and deserves applause for that. How many of us have novels sitting on our hard drives that we are not brave enough to share with others? Every day I add a few more words to mine and wonder if anyone would want to read it and if I will ever be brave enough to share it. Many years ago I started writing a very different novel to what I am working on now and shared it with a couple of people I trusted but never did more than that, even though it was well received by my friends, I wasn’t brave enough. It takes a lot of courage to take that leap and I commend those who have done it. Just because I might not enjoy a novel doesn’t mean that others don’t have a different opinion.

Well that said, I hope everyone has a fab Easter weekend, I may not be around the next few weeks, its time for school holidays here so I don’t have much time to blog. 

Happy Reading

Journey Across Zombie Texas–Rhiannon Frater

A few months ago I reviewed the second book of the Living Dead Boy series by Rhiannon Frater, author of the fabulous As the World Dies series, well I am happy to tell you that the third and final book Journey Across Zombie Texas was released last week and it’s the conclusion you don’t want to miss.

So many author run out of steam by the time they come to finish a trilogy but this series keeps up the excitement and action to the very last word and leaves you with just enough mystery to want to know what happens next. And who knows, we may just see young Josh all grown up and killing his way across Texas once more.

Josh and the Zombie Hunters have to once again fend off Chad before finally being reunited with Sam’s sheriff father and taken to safety in a walled town with him and his girlfriend. Once again adults are making decisions for them but Josh desperately wants to be reunited with his father and baby brother at the FEMA camp in San Angelo.

The Zombie Hunters have to escape the town and the sheriff and his police officer girlfriend, as well as evade Chad and find a way to get across Texas so Josh can find his family, oh and avoid or kill any zombies that get in their way. A big ask for a group of adults so should be impossible for a bunch of kids, but these are the Zombie Hunters and if Josh knows anything, he knows how to deal with zombies.

But their numbers start to drop even before they manage to escape the walled town which is under siege from a zombie horde. With Corina badly injured, Sam gallantly offers to return to the town with her while the other four carry on to San Angelo. Not knowing when he will see the girl he loves again, Josh has to make the decision whether to stay with her or find his family. The pull of family is to strong, so with Troy, Danny and Dulcie (who’s mother is in the same camp.) He fights his way through zombies, idiots and adults to reach his destination.

As with all her books, Rhiannon never lets us down. She always has a great story arc and strong, believable characters. It can’t have been easy to get into the mind of a 12 year old boy and make the storyline as strong as she has but she has done an amazing job. A fantastic end to a really good series and I was sad to see it finished. Although it is a YA series and written from the view point of  a young protagonist, don’t be put off, it is a story that suits all ages. The way it is written makes the children in it sound and act as kids but at the same time maturing very quickly as any kid would have to do in such a situation. With the strong knowledge base Josh had built up pre ZA and the capability of kids to adapt quickly and think outside the box, it is easy to see why his friends follow him and also why some adults would be willing to listen to him. A lot of kids that are written as a protagonist come across as annoying little know it all’s but Josh and his friends know what they need to do and just go ahead and get it done.

9/10

A series well worth adding to you TBR list. Rhiannon Frater should always be on your list of authors, she has such a large array of books from Vampire to Zombie and beyond. Two series I would recommend is As the World Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride. Both great series, not to be missed.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading

Scouts of the Apocalypse–Michell Plested

 

Being a Scout is more than just helping old ladies cross the road. Scouts have a responsibility to their communities and the greater world around them. Part of that responsibility is training and being prepared for disasters. When a Scout troop comes home from a weekend of survival training in the deep woods, they find that nothing about the world they left is the same. Shambling hordes of undead wander the countryside killing anything that lives. Can the Scouts survive the trip home and is there even a home to return to? It will take all of their training and smarts to overcome this disaster. (taken from Goodreads)

I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy this book, I mean really Scouts against the walking dead, it seemed a bit silly, and then I started reading it. I am glad I did, the storyline is believable (if, like me, you believe the zompoc could happen.), the characters are well written with solid growth arcs and the author has obviously drawn on his vast knowledge of scouting to write such a precise novel. There is so much more to the modern scout than I ever knew, when the shtf I definitely want a scout by my side, well a scout and Daryl Dixon lol

The scouts show solid leadership and survival skills but where no means perfect. I particularly liked how he didn’t make Scouter Mike to be all knowing and unflappable, so many novels fall down with their main characters being too good to be true, making them unrealistic, everyone has a breaking point and the author wasn’t afraid to show that, also the teens in his care where just that, teens, scared, confused, worried about their loved ones, while at the same time attempting to be brave and to live up to the code of the Scouts.

Unlike many books where the adults are idiots or the kids need to be protected, the players in this tale work together to survive and to save others. which was a refreshing change. Though the boys looked to the adults for guidance, they were more than capable of thinking for themselves and watch each others backs.

I am very impressed with Michell Plested, taking the stories he told his scout troop around the fireside and turning them into a very well crafted novel can’t have been easy but he has come out with an amazing and original story of survival in the zombie apocalypse.

I nearly didn’t read this book, I didn’t have high expectations of a novel called Scouts of the Apocalypse, to be truthful I expected another stupid spoof novel which I hate, but after reading a few reviews I decided to take a look and I am glad I did.

7/10

Just a note, I have so many books waiting for review at the moment (18 at last count, and their just the ones on my read list, I don’t even want to know how many on my TBR list.) if you have sent me a book and are waiting for me to review, I am sorry for the delay.  I try to keep up but because of my health issues I can’t always get to the computer and write up reviews as quickly as I would like. I am desperately saving for a laptop so even when I am forced to spend days in bed I can still keep up with both my own writing and review requests as well. I love to receive new books to review but please be patient with me. I try to get reviews on to Amazon as quickly as possible but its harder to type up a full review on my tiny wee tablet lol.