The Omega Protocol- Courtney McPhail

In 2017, the course of human history was forever altered. A cataclysmic event, which would come to be known simply as The Infection, swept across the globe. The world population was decimated and civilization as it was known came to an end.
All Malcolm Evans wants is to find his sister and her kids and get them some place safe. As an ex-CIA agent, he finds himself in the role of leader of a ragtag group of survivors heading to a promised sanctuary in the Great Lakes.
Veronica Alpert spent her childhood preparing for the end of the world, thanks to her paranoid survivalist father. Little did she know that decades later, her father’s eccentricities would prepare her and her siblings to survive in this new world…especially when tragic circumstances tear the family apart.
Jackson Webber had always been seen as no good white trash. Good people crossed the road when they saw him coming. So, how he ended up saddled with the care of two orphaned girls, he had no damn clue. Last things these little girls need is a screw-up like him looking out for them. Course, at the end of the world, it ain’t like they got many other choices. (taken from Amazon)

A group of unlikely heroes find themselves thrown together and fighting to survive. They have a place to go, a sanctuary set up by the CIA on an island in the Great Lakes. It’s a long way through dangerous territory where rabid freaks aren’t the only thing they have to worry about. If they make it there is no guarantee that the sanctuary will even be there and if it is, there is no guarantee that they will be welcome but its all they have and for the sake of human survival they have to try because the alternative is death and they have seen that and its not a choice they are willing to take.

A very diverse cast of characters that become an unexpected family, they fight for each other and protect one an other and struggle to hold on to what is good and right, while on a journey from your worst nightmares. If you think your summer road trips are bad, try throwing in the apocalypse, killer soldiers, crazed freaks that want to eat you and general bad guys who want to rob, rape and kill you.

These are just good people trying to survive and if Malcom Evans has anything to do with it, that’s exactly what they will do.

The first two books in what looks to be an enthralling series, I was sick over the weekend and managed to polish off both books in two days, looks like I will be having to wait again now for the rest of the series to be released but in the mean time the author has a vampire series that I have added to my TBR and looks really good. Its been awhile since I sunk my teeth into a good vampire series.

8/10

About the Author

Growing up in a tiny Canadian town, Courtney McPhail learned from an early age that her imagination was the best, and sometimes only, source of entertainment. Eventually her active imagination led to her writing down the adventures she created in her mind, leading to a copious amount of dog-eared spiral notebooks that are still in a box in her parent’s basement. She left that tiny town behind to pursue a degree in Literature and History at the University of Toronto. There she developed a love for the classics while supplementing with romance and fantasy novels between classes.
Writing had always been something she had done for her own personal enjoyment. It wasn’t until she hit the big 3-0 and went through an existential crisis that she realized writing could be a career. She began a series of paranormal romance novels that follow the lives and loves of a clan of supernatural beings living in Toronto, and a series of post-apocalyptic romance novels about a group of survivors searching for sanctuary when a plague sweeps across the world.
She currently resides in Toronto, enjoying the big city life while still maintaining her small town girl charm. When she isn’t working on her latest novel, she can be found enjoying a hike through the Don Valley Hills near her home. More recently, since discovering Netflix, she can usually be found on her couch, binge watching various television shows. (taken from Amazon)

serenity house Series–A W Exley

From the very first chapter you know that you have stumbled across something special, Serenity House is Downton Abbey meets Jane Austen and George Romero’s lovechild with a bit of Stephen King thrown in just to scare the pants right off you.

Set in Somerset, England shortly after world war one, the Spanish flu has taken its toll on a small English village but they have come out the other side and are trying to rebuild. What nobody knows is that there is another war brewing and this will be more devastating than anything they had been through before.

During the flu epidemic mass graves were needed to bury the dead but something got out of one of those graves, something that was not alive but walking all the same and when it came across two servant girls it attacked. It was 18 year old Ella, daughter of a minor lord, who swung her fathers sword and took the head of the beasts.

When more of the dead begin to rise the village turn to Ella to send them back to their maker, she doesn’t relish the job but someone has to do it and the locals didn’t want to risk their own immortal souls by killing the undead so it fell to her to do what they could not

While out doing her duty she stumbles across Seth deMage, Duke of Leithfield and owner of Serenity House, the biggest estate in the region. There is an instant attraction and before long the two are working together to bring an end to the vermin once and for all.

Part horror story, part love story, I fell in love with this series right from the start. The setting is beautiful, the action constant and the characters are interesting. The story arc is unpredictable and exciting. Usually I don’t like too much of the mushy stuff in zombie books but the way the writer has written it, the mush stuff (I know, I’m such a romantic lol) fits in seamlessly and doesn’t distract from the base of the story, the zombies. These aren’t any ordinary zombies either, there is a bigger supernatural thread running through the storyline that isn’t obvious straight away, but I don’t want to give out any spoilers so if you want to know more, get over to Amazon and read the series for yourself.

About the Author

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita’s life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes fantasy historical novels with heart from her home in rural New Zealand.
You can find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AWExley
or Twitter @AWExley
Be the first to hear about new releases, specials and giveaways. Sign up at: http://www.awexley.com/newsletter

I love that she is a Kiwi writer, we have so few good writers in this genre. I look forward to reading more of her books.

9/10

Zed’s World–Rich Baker **Updated**

Audio Books provided by Author.

With terrorist attacks becoming more and more frequent worldwide there is a growing fear that a biological attack could be imminent. What if one of these terror groups did just that, developed a weaponized virus that had the capability of turning the human race into ravenous zombies? That thought keeps me up at night and Zed’s World taps straight into my worst nightmare.

Told from multiple points of view, Zed’s World follows the events before and after a biological attack by Jihadist fundamentalists, who have found a new way of spreading their message of death and violence. They have created a new army, an undead army. In terror cells across the globe, they are getting their soldiers ready to march, ready to spread their deadly disease to all that don’t believe.

Set in Colorado, the story follows a suburban father, two college boys, a former soldier and a sleeper agent who has grown to love his adopted country. Using the cover of a chaotic college town during graduation, the terrorists release their soldiers at various points around the town, anywhere people have gathered, including a graduation party where two of our heroes are celebrating the end of the college year.

Caught up in the gathering madness, childhood friends Ben Pucket and Keith Wallace take their friends and head to the one place they think they will be safe, their home town with their families. They could never have known how hard that journey would be, a normally short drive, it takes them to places they never thought they would go.

Meanwhile, their parents remain oblivious to the growing danger until it crashes into their safe suburban life and the need to survive suddenly becomes all important. A survivalist neighbour helps the group, giving them a safe haven to escape to.

In Denver Jason ‘D-day ’ Bowling finds himself in charge of the residents of his apartment building. With his background as a soldie, he is the only one with the knowledge that can keep the city dwellers alive, even when they complain about his rough riding over them, making them contribute food and labour to make the apartment building safe.

All though the Growing Hoards and Roads Less Traveled are short books they pack in a big story into the 6.29 hours of listening. At first, the narrator annoyed me, his voice is flat with little in the way of connotation but as the storyline takes over I found myself not listening to the voice but the story itself.

This is the sort of novel that nightmares come from, the threat is so real that I am really hoping the Jihad never get their hands on these books, they don’t need ideas on new ways to kill, they are doing more than enough of that as it is.

It is something I have thought a lot about, in fact, my own novel is based on something very similar (I got the idea long before I heard these books.) With the constant advances in science and terrorists always looking for more ways to kill, it is only a matter of time before someone decides a killer disease is the way to go. Forget nuclear war, the next big war will be fought in the secret labs across the world, not in government nuclear installations.

I would recommend this series to anyone, though I think I will be buying the books. I tend to take information in better if I read it and the narrator really could have been better, though his female voice is not too bad.Smile  The story is complex without being over the top, it is very realistic. Every thing that the characters go through is easy to picture happening. Normally having so many POVs can be confusing but because the books are short and each character or group get their own chapters you don’t have time to forget what each character is up to. The characters themselves are relatable, their pain, fear and frustration are very real and they have a very solid arc.

I would like to take this time to thank Rich Baker for sending me the audio books, I appreciate any author that is willing to let me read (or listen to) their hard work, I know how hard it is to share your baby with someone else and I admire anyone that is willing to send me a book to be reviewed.

I give this book 7/10, not because the story is bad but because the narrator was not as good as he could have been, though I imagine it’s not easy to find a good narrator.

Go to Amazon and get the books or audio books. The books are available on Unlimited if you subscribe and are well worth reading. I have just downloaded the final book No Way Out which I will review when I am finished.

I hope everyone north of the equator is enjoying their summer and those of us that are south aren’t too cold. Looks like rain here in Tasman, a great excuse to curl up by the fire with my kindle and a hot cuppa. Take care one and all and thanks for stopping by Smile

Update

Book Three – No Way Out

**Spoiler Warning!**

Our wee group continues to grow when the Pucketts are joined by D-day and Carmen after they are forced to run from the apartment block when one of the residents lets the infected in. The team faces loses that nearly break them, and one person imparticular will have a major impact and cause more damage to the group than any that has come before. She will bring enemies to the door and what follows will be a devasting blow and cause more backlash than she realises.

I have just one complaint about this book, the next one isn’t out yet. Nothing I hate more than getting invested in a series and having to wait for the next book. I am way too impatient for that sort of thing lol.

I am really enjoying this series and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

The Blood Lies & The Blood Flows–Lee Isserow

 

Back in May I reviewed the first book of the In The Blood series by Lee Isserow, The Blood Lives. Well the author contacted me and asked if I would like to review the second and third books which he sent me as ebooks. I was really happy to carry on with the series as the first book was great, gory and terrifying and action packed all at the same time Smile

***SPOILER WARNING***

If you haven’t read book one yet then stop here, this post will contain spoilers and I would hate to ruin the series for you. So stop reading this and go read the book ***grinz***

***END OF WARNING***

The Blood Lies

The story continues with Ben at the mercy of the blood driven, the very people he has been hunting with the blood squad in an attempt to stop them infecting others with the monsters that flow through their veins.
The only hope he has is to gain their confidence, their trust, until he can contact the blood squad and arrange a rescue.
But there’s something about the blood-driven that doesn’t sit right with him, and the more he gets to know them, the more he trouble he has believing everything  the leaders of the blood squad  has told him. Instead of evil personified he was told they were, he finds a group of infected people that are just trying to survive…but has he discovered the truth to late?

like the first book, this one is terrifying, gory and full of intrigue. If anything I enjoyed this one even more than the first one. The pace was constant and the storyline believable, in a fantastic sort of way. The character growth is in keeping with the storyline allowing for the characters to change in a realistic way. There is a good story arc and a brilliant cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more which is exactly the way you want a series to go.

***Spoiler Warning #2***

The following will contain spoilers for book 3 The Blood Flows. Stop now if you have yet to read it.

***End of Warning***

Ben is on the run with the remaining members of the blood driven group. Having escaped the blood squad they are now running for their lives. The only way to beat the blood squad and their nefarious leader is for Ben to learn to trust the monster that is his blood and work with it to overcome their enemy. He needs to learn to control the blood and the only one left to teach him how to do that is a 5 year old boy, the only one knowing to have been born infected and is one of the two remaining members of the blood driven.

There is only one person that can explain how they became infected in the first place, and that is the person that developed the virus that has caused the blood to become sentient, Ben’s estranged father.

Now not only do they have to keep running to avoid being recaptured  by the blood squad but they also needed to track down Ben’s father and find a way to rid themselves of the monster that controls them all.

I have to say I am loving this series, it is not predictable or stale in the way a lot of series become by book three,The pace has stayed constant throughout all three books, never a let up, the action runs at top gear and is terrifyingly detailed. The imagery is so clear that, at times, I wished it wasn’t. I don’t scare easily when it comes to fiction (books or movies) but these books managed to scare me silly, in the best possible way. 

The idea of living blood still sends a shiver down my back, it also makes me wonder what sort of mind would comes up with an idea like sentient blood. It takes a great imagination to write a series like this. a great imagination and more than a touch of the macabre.  Of course it also takes someone who appreciates such talents to enjoy a series such as this one Smile and lucky for me I am such a person lol.

It takes a very clever mind to come up with something so disturbing and write about it in such a way as to make it seem completely possible.  It will be a long time before I can rid myself of the images of blood goblins which the author described in such detail that the picture of them invades your mind. Gory dripping monsters that will haunt your dreams. There were times when I just wanted to throw the books down in fear of the next sentence, luckily I wouldn’t do that to my beloved kindle, there are scenes I just didn’t want to picture incase they infected my mind and I wouldn’t be able to sleep for weeks. Even the best of Stephen Kings books didn’t make me that scared, not even It and I am terrified of clowns.

With that said this has got to be one of the best series I have read this year. If you have a love for supernatural horror then go and get these books. At the moment they are on sale at Amazon at the moment for less than $1 usd. Money well spent. The Blood Lives may make you want run to the nearest medical center and get your blood tested, just in case, but it will also give you hours of fantastic reading pleasure.

9/10

A big thank you to Lee Isserow for sending me these books and scaring me senseless in the best possible way.

Lee Isserow is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, with over fifteen years spent trawling the back streets and dark alleys of the ‘entertainment’ industry.
He’s pretty sure he has some traits of autism, because he’s been constantly working and obscenely prolific for the entire duration, writing over a hundred screenplays, many of which he’s adapting into forthcoming books, because nobody is willing to turn them into movies. Yet.
He lives in Liverpool, England because he accidentally bought a house there. He’s not quite sure how that happened – but assumes part of that is because he used to drink a lot.
  (taken for Amazon)

Happy reading one and all


dEaDINBURGH-Mark Wilson

Edinburgh, 1645:
The bubonic plague rages. In a desperate attempt to quarantine the infected, the city leaders seal the residents of Mary King’s Close in their underground homes.

2015:
Mary King’s Close is reopened, unleashing a mutated plague upon the city residents.
The UK government seals the entire city. Declaring it a dead zone they seal the survivors inside alongside the infected. dEaDINBURGH is declared a no man’s land, its residents left for dead and to the dead.
2050:
Joseph MacLeod, born onto the cobbles of the Royal Mile and stolen from the clutches of the infected is determined to escape the quarantined city. Under the guidance of former marine Padre Jock, he leaves the confines of the city centre and hones his archery and free-running skills.
Alys Shephard, born into an all-women farming community believes a cure lies in the south of the quarantined zone. The finest combatant in the dead city, Alys burns with anger. The anger of an abandoned child.
Something much worse than the infected waits for them in the south, in the form of a religious cult led by a madman named Somna who collects gruesome trophies and worships the dead body of a former celebrity. Added to this the enigmatic Bracha, a supreme survivalist and sadistic former Royal with his own agenda, stalks the teenagers.
A self-contained story, dEaDINBURGH is a character-driven Young Adult/Horror/Dystopian novel exploring the human capacity for good, evil and for survival (taken from Goodreads)

Imagine growing up in an isolated community, spending your entire life fighting the dead and simply trying to stay alive. For Joey and Alys that is all they have ever known. Joey grew up amongst the monks who live underground and worship the undead until Padre Jock takes him under his wing and teaches him to be a warrior.

Alys grows up in a woman only community with a mother who’s idea of love is to make Alys become the best fighter she possibly can be. Her mother expects her to be the very best but Alys very best is never enough.

when the two unite they become an unstoppable team but life within the fences of Edinburgh is not all it seems and when the pair find out the truth it becomes even more dangerous than before.

A tale with so many levels, just when you think you know what’s going to happen next, a new subplot jumps up at you. from silent monks who believe the dead are a gift from god to a sociopath who stalks the young fighters and is intent on killing them, on to a complete nutter and his cult, who believe the dead body of a former celebrity talks through him, though not all of his followers are as loyal as they seem.

There are a great deal of mysteries and unexpected turn of events within these pages. A very enjoyable read that runs at a high pace throughout. I look forward to reading more from this author. Although this is a self-contained novel there is a second book in the series and once I have read it I will let you know my thoughts on it.

8/10

Happy reading everyone and I hope all those south of the equator are staying warm now that winter has well and truly kicked in. Its freezing here in New Zealand tonight with snow all around the place, expect in my wee corner of the coastline, it always passes us by which is a shame, I love a good snow fall.

Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed reading this post. Take care one and all.

End Times–Shane Carrow

         

New Year’s Day: midsummer in Australia. In Perth, twin brothers Aaron and Matt have graduated high school and are enjoying their last few months of summer holidays before adulthood – while on the other side of the country, something has fallen from the sky, heralding the dawn of a new age.
As a terrifying plague spreads across Australia and the world, Aaron and Matt find themselves scrambling to survive, fleeing the city, refugees in their own country. Tormented by strange dreams and beset by violence, they must struggle to find the remnants of their family and survive the Rise of the Undead. (taken from Amazon.com.au)

Zombies come to Australia and no-one is safe. Aaron and Matt are enjoying their last summer of freedom, trying their best to keep adulthood at bay for a few more months, but when something falls from the sky on the other side of the red continent, bringing with it a mysterious virus that quickly spreads to all corners of the country, the boys are forced to grow up and find a way to survive and escape suburban Perth and find their father who was caring for their dying grandmother when the virus hits.

The first two books follow the boys as they go from disaster to tragedy to near death experiences. They meet some good people and some very bad people on their journey as they struggle through a rapidly declining civilization. They fight through hoards of undead, escape death by the skin of their teeth more than most people would be able to, all the while managing to stay together and keep each other sane.

The third book starts toward a path that is more supernatural than zompoc, though the undead do feature they are not the only stars of the show. Aaron and Matt have been having the same dream for awhile now, and while Aaron believes they need to follow where the dreams lead them, Matt wants nothing to do with them and tries to pretend its all in Aaron’s head. But before long fate puts them on the path they can’t avoid, the path to the Snowy Mountains and something hidden in the deep snow filled valleys. Something needs the two young men…

And unfortunately that is where I ran out of book, I hate that, don’t you? You get so engrossed in this bizarre twist and hello…end of book and the next in the series has not been released yet. The third book Blood and Salt was released just last week, so looks like it is going to be a bit of a wait to read the next one in this six part series. I am so not good at waiting!

Blood and Salt left a big cliff hanger as to what is going to happen to our wayward Ozzie brothers but I have a few ideas that I will keep under my Aukbra for now. Oh and lucky for us, there is a dictionary in the back of the books to translate Aussie into English, though I did get most of the obscure words, after a few trips over the ditch to visit my big brother and his band of Mossies (Maori Aussies, Maori kids that have grown up in Australia) After more than a decade living in New South Wales my nieces and nephews are more Australian than they are Kiwi now and they have taught me the language quite well. I still can’t stand the beer though lol.

Great summer reading if your living in the Northern Hemisphere and are hitting the beach or for curling up by the fire if your a southerner like me.

8/10

Happy Reading where ever in the world you maybe.

Man Crush Monday

I thought I might try something new this week, I’ve picked a male protagonist out of one of the books I have read lately and I’m going to do a little write up about him. Something different for this cold Monday morning.

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!

The man I picked for this inaugural MCM is from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. Rather than pick the obvious, the main protag William Herondale I have instead chosen to do a profile on James Carstairs, more commonly known as Jem.

Born in Shanghai to a British father and Chinese mother, Jem was orphaned at the age of 12 when a greater demon killed his parents and tortured Jem by poisoning him with a drug called Yen Fen, a demon drug which is highly addictive and once addicted,it is impossible to be cured and slowly kills the user.

Jem is sent to live at the London Institute, where he meets William Herondale and Jessamine Lovelace, who are also wards of the Institute. Jem and Will become fast friends and train together whenever the illness caused by his dependency does not cause Jem to become incapacitated.

Eventually the two young boys become Parabati, a ceremony where they pledge to fight together and be there for each other for the rest of their lives. Whereas Will is reckless and often in trouble, Jem is a more thoughtful and careful character. He has a gentle disposition and a very caring nature. Because of his illness and careful nature, he tends to be more introspect than his Parabati, thinking things through before he acts.

The series start when Jem and Will are 17. Shortly after Will rescues Tessa Gray from the Dark Sisters. Tessa is a warlock though at the time she didn’t know that. Jem meets her for the first time when she hears him playing the violin late at night and follows the music into his bedroom where he has been overcoming the latest attack of illness caused by the Yen Fen. Straight away Jem finds himself drawn to her. Eventually, after a number of adventures, they become engaged.

But the drug he is addicted to is now making him sicker and sicker. Will desperately searches for a cure, scared of losing his best friend but Jem begs him to stop looking. He accepts the fact that he is dying and will never get to marry his true love but fate has another plan instore for him.

While Will and everyone thinks he has died, in truth he becomes a Silent Brother and is given the name Brother Zachariah, his mortal life is now a thing of the past but he still meets Tessa once a year, at the bridge that had become their special place.

Meanwhile Tessa marries Will and together they run the London Institute until Wills death. Because Tessa is a warlock she is immortal and for 129 years the two meet at the bridge but have no hope of a future together until the Yen Fen is burned from his system by Jace Herondale, a descendant of Will Herondale’s, using heavenly fire.

Now cured, he is released from his service to the Silent Brotherhood and the next time he meets Tessa on Blackfriars Bridge he tells her that he never stopped loving her and the two live happily ever after. They marry and move to Los Angeles where the only descendant he can find, Emma Carstairs, lives with the Blackthorns at the Los Angeles institute.

Jem is one of the best characters written by Cassandra Clare, he is intelligent, gently yet fierce when he needs to be and has an exceptionally caring nature. Even when he becomes Brother Zachariah, that sweet nature shines through. Plus he is a cat person, he rescues Church who goes on to become the London Institute cat and lives a long long life. Jem is reunited with Church when he leaves the Silent Brotherhood.

I would love to see a book written about Jem’s full story, from childhood in Shanghai to his time in the Brotherhood to being reunited with Tessa and what happens from there. I imagine it would be a lovely story and a great addition to the Infernal Devices/ Mortal Instruments series.

I hope you enjoyed this first Man Crush Monday. Let me know in the comments your thoughts and any recommendations for future profiles.

thanks for visiting. Happy reading.