The Fall: Tales from the ApocalypseEditor:
Matt Sinclair Publisher:
Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, LLCGenre(s):
pagesTHE RUNDOWNTales about the end of civilization as we know it have captivated audiences for generations. It is no wonder that The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse would be just as intriguing. This group of stories all tied to the common theme of man's destruction gives the reader much to think about. Below are the tales and a brief summary of plot. Trust by R.C. Lewis - A family struggles to stay alive after the collapse of government. Hairline Cracks by Ryan Graudin - Zombies tear apart a relationship. "Lumberjack zombie becomes his own Fruit Gusher. Though his flavor is probably more Triple Berry Shock than anything else..."The Last Day of the Fall by Matt Sinclair - A hodge-podge group struggles to make it through the winter. Disconnect by Mindy McGinnis - A humorous meeting between God and Angels two seconds after the
apocalypse. "GOD: How am I supposed to deliver The Judgment without The iPhone?"WWBBCDITZA by A.M. Supinger -
What Would Big Black Cat Do In The Zombie Apocalypse? Solar Flare by Alexandra Tys O'Connor -
A teen, trained by his survivalist mom, faces off against a corrupt coach after the apocalypse.Emanate by Amy Trueblood
- A brother must protect his sister from both the aliens and the people who want to use her life energy. "I would do anything to keep my sister from their grasp, even if it meant being buried alive for ten hours every night."Little League by Cat Woods -
A baseball game between the Devils and the Saints has some very high stakes. Rebirth by A.M. Supinger -
A selkie, half seal half human, finds a way to truly become human, but at great cost. Crumbs by Jean Oram -
A photojournalist uses her camera to keep an eye on a survivor who she fancies. The Last Perfomance of the Neighborhood Summer Theatre Festival by R. S. Mellette -
A man arrives to see a show that has been canceled. Bone Dust by P.S. Carrillo -
A young woman falls in love with a doctor who has found a way to bring back the souls of the dead. Flight Plans by J. Lea Lopez -
A pilot takes one last flight before the end. The Last Sacrifice by Judy Croome -
A tribal leader finds that the ultimate sacrifice is not his own life, but the life of one he loves. THE REVIEW
With such a slew of stories there is bound to be tales that appeal to all readers. Some stories were stronger than others. Some left me hanging, wanting more of a satisfying ending. However, the overall effect of reading this pairing of stories was entertaining and thought-provoking. Some stories made me laugh. Some made me ponder. It was nice to have a mix of topics and emotional content centered around a theme that I find intriguing.
Overall, I think anyone drawn to dystopian literature will enjoy this book. There's something in it for everyone and many of the stories are top-notch and worth the 2.99 price tag.
Four out of Five Stars**I recieved a free review copy in exchange for an honest review. LINKS
Find the book on Amazon
Find Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC.
Bostonian author, husband and suburban farmer, Scott Cramer joins us today to talk about his book, writing and his life. Please welcome, Scott Cramer to the Underground!Katie:
What gave you the idea for Night of the Purple Moon
I wanted to write something that was high concept, something I could describe in a few sentences and people would know what the book was about. I also wanted to put my protagonist in a dangerous situation where the stakes were high. At the same time, I wanted to place my characters in a setting I could describe in some detail (a small island off Maine). Those were some of the things on my mind when I was plotting Night of the Purple Moon
. Finally, I had read a number of very good books where kids set out on their own after the death of their parents. I thought it would raise the stakes significantly if virtually every older teen and adult were to die.Katie:
What research went into the premise for the purple moon and the space dust that decimated the adults in your story?Scott:
I was looking for something that adults had but kids did not. That’s when I discovered the hormones, testosterone and estrogen. The levels of those hormones increase at puberty. The levels decrease in old age. It then became a matter of having a bacteria attack those hormones. The comet’s tail became the way to spread the bacteria everywhere quickly. (Several people wrote to me recently about the close encounter Earth had with an asteroid and the meteorite that crashed in Siberia.) In one scene, an elderly neighbor, Mr. Couture, does not die right away. In a sense, that was plausible because he had lower levels of the hormones.Katie:
When you create your characters, how do you write authentic children?Scott:
I guess I see all characters the same, no matter their age. Everyone has fears and dreams and desires. Everyone has strengths and faults. If you can weave all those elements together, you should have the foundation of a strong character. Then it’s a matter of having them change and grow over time as the result of their struggles.Katie:
What are you currently working on? Scott:
Colony East, Book #2 in The Toucan Trilogy. I have a pretty good handle on it, and I hope to publish it during the summer of 2013. But I also don’t want to rush it.Katie:
What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?Scott:
Write every day. Writing, at least to me, is 1 part joy, 1 part inspiration, and 8 parts hard work, like breaking rocks into pebbles and then turning the pebbles to dust. But if you keep chipping away, through thick and thin, you will eventually create a story.Katie:
How much marketing are you doing? What's your best kept marketing secret? Scott:
Obscurity is the enemy for all authors, and especially indie authors. My favorite part of marketing is when I connect with readers. The 8 parts of drudgery (mentioned above) is all worth it when I get feedback from readers who really liked the book. On a side note, I’d say that most of the readers of Night of the Purple Moon
are over the age of 20. But I got a note from a sixth grader recently. She featured me in her school’s author fair. It doesn’t get much better than that.Katie:
Why the Young Adult genre? Have you considered writing in other genres?Scott:
In the same way I don’t distinguish between the ages of characters, I almost feel the same way about genres. It’s mostly about the story. The characters may be 12 or 15 years old, but it still boils down to story.Katie:
Thank you, Scott. You can find Scott on Facebook
. You can find Night of the Purple Moon here.
I'm very excited to announce that Nessa: A Breeders Story
will release today, Tuesday, February 5th. The genesis of this story began when I polled readers in December and asked which character they'd like to get to know better. Surprisingly, many fans said Nessa Vandewater, Clay's mother. From there, Nessa's story grew and I am pleased with how it turned out. I hope you'll like it too. The novelette is priced at 99 cents, so it will be affordable to die hard fans and new readers alike. To celebrate, I'm also hosting a giveaway of an Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. Enter here.
Here's the pitch to wet your whistle.
Eighteen-year-old Nessa knows what it’s like to be an endangered species. Growing up in a dying world where nine out of ten babies are born male, she survives by trusting no one. When Marlin, the nineteen-year-old gunslinger with the sky-blue eyes, kills the man who has been keeping her enslaved, Nessa decides this handsome stranger might be her meal ticket. What she doesn’t realize is love is still possible, even in their decimated world. When Nessa discovers she’s pregnant with Marlin’s child, her difficult life now teeters on a knife’s edge. Can she bear to bring a child into their shattered world? Better yet, can Marlin keep them safe from those that hunt Nessa?
A companion story to The Breeders
, this prequel novelette (34 pages or 10,000 words) explores the origins of two important characters and gives a deeper look into their background. It contains minor spoilers to the novel and is intended for mature teens and adults. You can follow Katie French on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.
As dystopian literature is my drug of choice lately, Fallen
by Traci Slatton sparked an interest in me. As with all good dystopians, this book is sets in a post-apocalyptic world, France to be specific. Devastating mists are attacking the earth, devouring anything composed of metal, including human beings. The deaths the mists deliver are atrocious. Worse still, the crippled society that remains leaves survivors scrambling to stay alive. The protagonist, Emma, is a tough, spunky and likable mother who takes in a horde of eight displaced children. Emma leads the group through the hellish landscape, searching for food and shelter while avoiding the deadly mists. Then she meets Arthur, the bold leader of a group of men. They strike a bargain: Emma gives herself to Arthur and he, in turn, takes care of her and her children.
Things take an interesting turn when the characters reveal they have psychic powers and abilities. Newt can see the future. Emma can heal. Arthur can control the mists. Emma and Arthur also learn that their no-strings-attached relationship is morphing into something neither one of them can control.
The book is expertly written. It’s clear from page one that Slatton knows what she is doing. Having degrees from Columbia and Yale pay off for this writer. The opening grabs you right from the start and then you wait, breathless, to know what will happen to these characters that you grow more fond of on each page. It almost made my top picks category except for one thing. As soon as we learned Arthur could control the mists, the antagonistic force was neutered and it took a long time for another source of peril to appear on the scene. This left the middle a bit saggy and tensionless.
Overall, it is an excellent read and one that dystopian fans will enjoy. It doesn’t necessarily fit neatly in a YA category as the protagonist is an adult and there is sexual content. However, the sex scenes are tastefully done (think of movies panning into the fire as the characters begin to strip). The content and subject material is appropriate for older teens and adults. It’s a quality read for any dystopian fan, teen and adult alike.
You can find Traci Slatton here.
You can find Fallen here. If you enjoyed this review you can follow Underground Book Reviews on Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow Katie French on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.
When I saw the cover art for The Scourge
at the bottom of my own novel's
“Customers who bought this item also bought...” page, I knew I wanted to read it. The haunting description of Fennel, a sightless girl who must be the water bearer for her people during the time of the scourge drew me in. The scourge are basically zombies-- humans turned flesh-eaters who attack the healthy, turning them sick as well. For some reason the scourge do not attack the sightless, so Fennel is tapped to take an agonizing walk down to the water through the throng of fleshies everyday.
Then enter Peree, a tree-dwelling hunter, who has been given the task of being her keeper. Peree is her eyes while she slips through the masses of sick ones. Fennel's people and Peree's people live in an uneasy alliance. Yet, somehow these two find an instant connection, one that worries both of them. Groundies and Lofties do not mix. Fennel agonizes over the bond that grows between her and Peree.
When the scourge doesn't leave after a few days as expected, Fennel's people get desperate. Fennel volunteers to search for the Hidden Waters supposedly buried deep within the safety of their caves. Peree slips away to guide her. The two embark on a nail-biting journey through pitch-black caves where they are tested to the core of their being.
I was instantly jealous of the premise of this novel. What can be more terrifying than walking into a mob of flesh-eating monsters with no sight? Henley is a master of upping the terror, bringing us in to Fennel's haunting journey to the water hole. And here's the amazing thing, Henley cannot employ any visual imagery. No visual imagery! It's amazing. I was expecting the book to flounder and die in a sightless world, but no. As a reader, I got used to wandering around a world without vision. Somehow Henley uses surrounding sounds, smells and touch to make a world as vivid as any with sight. I was in awe of how easily she accomplished something that even master writers would not attempt.
I went online to look for a publisher for the novel. I was sure because of the quality that it had been picked up by one of the big six. However, I was surprised to learn it is self-published. There are gems out there in the self-published arena and this is one of them. I highly recommend this book to fans of speculative Young Adult fiction. You won't be disappointed.
You can find The Scourge here.
You can find A.G. Henley here. If you enjoyed this review you can follow Underground Book Reviews on Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter.
You can also follow Katie French on Facebook and on her website.
TITLE: Dragon’s Teeth
AUTHOR: Suzanne Van Rooyen
GENRE: Dystopian Cyberpunk
PUBLISHER: Divertir Publishing
What do you get when you combine a dystopian setting with genetically enhanced soldiers, drug-trafficking and a cynical detective? Dragon’s Teeth
. Although the title of Suzanne Van Rooyen’s debut novel may incite images of characters from a fantasy book, there are neither dragons nor elves between the pages. Instead, we are launched into a world of robots and synthetic food, where having imperfect genetics is a crime, plastic surgery is the norm and no one remembers what the sun feels like on their skin. Dragon’s Teeth
is divided into three parts. Part I follows Cyrus, a private detective and occasional drug dealer who yearns for a time when alcohol was made by fermentation and genetics was only a scientific study. While Part II seems completely unrelated to Part I, it instantly caught my imagination. Part II follows two genetically engineered soldiers in a military camp as they come to realize that they are being fed nothing but lies. But it is Part III, which ties the first two together with a dark, twisted plot that truly makes Dragon’s Teeth
Overall, Suzanne’s world was intriguing, but not thoroughly fleshed out. While most debut authors make the mistake of writing too much, I think Suzanne wrote too little. As a stickler for detail, I found myself wanting more scientific explanations and more world-building. There were fantastic sub-plots that I wanted to explore in depth. Part I, II and III had enough substance to flesh out into a full-blown trilogy. And while that is an endorsement, it is also a complaint. Dragon’s Teeth
piqued my interest and kept me entertained, but it did not stand up to its full potential.
Suzanne Van Rooyan has an epic imagination. Pick up Dragon’s Teeth
if you’re hungry for cyberpunk, dystopian scenarios and post-apocalyptic landscapes. You won’t be disappointed, but you may be left wanting more. The material is suitable for both adult and young adult readers, but it is obviously aimed towards an adult audience.
LINKSDragon's Teeth on AmazonSuzanne's websiteSuzanne on TwitterSuzanne on Facebook If you enjoyed this review, you can subscribe to the Underground or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
TITLE: The Colony
AUTHOR: Jillian Weise
PUBLISHER: Soft Skull Press
GENRE: Literary Fiction
THE RUNDOWN The Colony
follows Anne Hatley, a one-legged English teacher who volunteers to live at an institution called the Colony for three months. There, she is told that her genetics will be studied and her leg will be regenerated. The premise is intriguing: a group of people with varying genetic defects are stuck together for three months while scientists perform tests on them and the media prods them. Jillian’s writing is at times beautiful, quirky and funny. The Colony
was touted as a dystopian novel, a look into the morality of genetic research. And yet, with so much promise, the book managed to completely miss its mark.
To begin with, Anne Hatley is one of the most self-centered, needy people I’ve ever read about. She cheats on her boyfriend and is disgusted with him for not saying anything when he finds out. She hates the world for noticing her leg, but doesn’t want to grow it back. I kept reading, entertained, for the same reason I continue to watch Sex and the City: What will this self-absorbed nymphomaniac do next?
Then Darwin appears (yes, the
Charles Darwin) and it’s never explained if he’s a ghost or if he’s a figment of her imagination. Then flowers start sneezing and people start floating in mid-air. It’s not that I’m against fantasy, but when I’m reading about the morality of genetic research in a modern-day setting, I’m a little surprised when a girl who has the ‘obesity gene’ starts floating because of the side-effects of her treatment. The fantastic elements of the story were well beyond explanation. The scientific elements were grossly lacking.
I hoped for redemption at the end of the book, but found none. Neither the main character nor the plot took a surprising turn. I was left with a book that started out trying to be smart, and ended up sounding pretentious and uneducated.
I would not recommend this book to anyone looking for dystopian fiction or deep, conceptual plots. If you’re looking for a humorous voice and a sexy romance novel, you might give it a shot. But I still wouldn’t suggest putting it at the top of your summer reading list.
STILL WANT TO BUY IT? Visit Jillian Weise’s website Buy it on Amazon