Tag Archives: bookreview

Read, Read, DEAD

Couple of weeks ago I have the pleasure of having, internationally renowned author – Mr T W Brown talk to the radio show. It was a bit of a big deal for me as I love his work. I first came accross TW Brown’s work as part of an anthology. I am a voracious reader, and after all the Publishers Clearing shops closed locally, I was  really finding it a very expensive hobby to keep up with. But I received a Kindle as a gift – there were initial reservations over owning one. I like, I love books. I love the gorgeous books with illustrations and pretty finishes. I love notes inside the cover. I adore picking up a book and having all the memories attached flood back.

Not a picture of me but pretty close :

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A kindle is like a tabloid paper, disposable, quick, easy, requiring minimal effort, and I honestly was concerned that authors would be missing out on earnings. So what I am about to say is probably shocking. There are a great deal of anthologies available on the Kindle for either nothing, or around 99pence. The idea of these anthologies, I gather, is that you discover an author and the first in a series of books that he has written. Once you do this, your end of the bargain (for say getting 10 books for 10 pence each) is that you follow up this relationship and buy the rest of the books in the series at full price.

Which seems like a fair exchange when you think about it – and it worked out well for me in this case. I won’t lie, there are a lot of books you will wish you never had the misfortune of reading. But there are going to be gems. 

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TW Brown has a few different series, all in the ‘horror’ genre for want of a better word. The first series that I read was the ‘Zomblog’ chronicles which are exactly what they sound like – they are a series of books written in a diary style depicting the end of the world as we know it. Once I came to the end of the series, I desperately started looking around for something to fill the void. What what do I find? Well the lovely TW Brown has obliged his legion of fans with another zombie filled, post apocalyptic work in which to dive into. The DEAD series is again, captivating. You get sucked in, and every chapter focuses on another individual (and by extension group) and how they are managing to survive and yes, if you are thinking George RR Martin, you are correct. Once I (thought) I had got to the end of that series – I am exhausted just recounting this – he has a further series which is a somewhat different change of pace. This series – That Ghoul Ava which is more, Tom Holt in its consideration. It is a perfectly normal and relatable world – it just also includes the Supernatural fraternity. It is very enjoyable, seeing creatures that you have always suspected exist coming to life. 

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Now as you may recall, I recently did  review on Simon Bestwick and one of his zombie lit books in  A fresh Undead. I wanted to clear something up before I go any further. Simon is a clear voice amongst the dredge in the zombie lit genre. As is TW Brown. They have very different writing styles and it works well. There really is no comparison between the authors. Simon for example, if one of the few British authors that I enjoy. I am not sure what it is about British authors, writing about a place that I know. Maybe that is the problem, I know it too well and I don’t know what I see, or maybe it isn’t what I expected. When I read a book based in a foreign country (planet etc) then it adds a layer of escapism? I don’t know what it is, and really.. does it matter ? Go pick up a book and find out how you find it! 

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Now, TW Brown chatted to us about his work for our halloween show, if you want to see me fangirling over it there is a video on the show FB page (link at bottom), and we got to know  him a little better and his process. Simon chatted to us about reviews and how important they are. I am currently reading DEAD:Onset so I will do a review on this book in the hope that you have picked up one of his books before I finish.

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What I hope you take away from this blog is that – authors are people as well, they can be awesome people. In fact they often are. But like us all, they have an ego and need to be reassured that they are doing a good job. So for that reason, once you have read on of their books (both TW Brown and S Bestwick have a great back catalogue), I know they would appreciate you leaving a review so that others are able to see how much you enjoyed the books but that the authors themselves are able to gauge how good a job they are doing entertaining us. 

I do have something special for those of you that prefer to listen to audio books – if you would like some more information please do not hesitate to drop me a message 🙂 

Here are some important likes for you all :

LifeStyle:MK Halloween special ft TW Brown

LifeStyle:MK Reviewing the Situation ft Simon Bestwick

TW Brown Amazon profile

Simon Bestwick’s Amazon profile

LifeStyle:MK facebook page

A fresh Undead

Oh … right… that doesn’t sound right does it ? Well, I make no secret one most of my social media platforms that I have a deep love for zombies. They are fantastic. Kinda like, Vampires but without the snobbery. And glitter. I love glitter but the genre is far to … ‘glittery’ now. So of course, pretty much everyone has seen The Walking Dead. It is back in October. I am surprised by the timing as if they had left it another week it would be out for Halloween. But then I guess we are working with American Autumn schedules which are a little quirky.

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But believe it or not, this is not about TWD as much as I could talk your ear off about the show. And the show has been very influential. For a still relatively new show, it has spawned a great deal of interest in the genre, with new films, games, tv shows all cropping up. Hey I am not complaining!

The only thing that get to me, is I adore reading, and of course, zombies are a great subject. But TWD have infected (see what I did there) the genre to the extent that I would suggest that whole sections of dialogue were written while the author was watching the show. It isn’t always a bad thing. Some authors has used a degree of imagination in pushing through what the writers of TWD may have ignored, or glossed over. Going into more details of the hows, and whys. There are of course we have a variety of different types of zombies, some fast, some slow. Some remember, some are selective in their dinner – and there was one book that used cats in a really disturbing way.

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I would also hesitantly suggest that it is cultural, most of these authors are American. There is a sense of wanting to look at society, the breakdown thereof, what people must or chose to do to survive. British authors tend to be a little bleaker in this respect and not as hesitant to just kill people off, and do it in rather inventive ways. But there has always been something missing, I don’t always quite grasp the motivation of the character, or care. So, what I am trying to say, is that the Zombie genre is muddy at best as everyone fights to get a piece of TWD action.

So, when a friend suggested I read Tide of Souls by Simon Bestwick, I really was not sure what to expect. You see, zombie novels are comforting to me. I know what to expect, there is almost a formula to the story, drag it out over as many books as you like. I have to be honest, I didn’t read the synopsis, I just dove directly into the book. I figured it would be a tale as old as time, with a new finish.

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And boy was I wrong. I am at the edge of my seat reading this book. I won’t spoil it, I am not finished yet. But it is a rare thing for me to be so effected by a book. The language used is refreshing. It feels, real, there are colloquial terms thrown in and you feel as if you are transported. And don’t get me started on the descriptive narrative. I can still hear the flesh tearing from bone, much like our protagonist still does. The book just won’t let you relax. Often, when reading, I find myself skipping through pages as there seems to be filler. Unnecessary paragraphs thrown in, to help us better understand characters. Or as I cynically assume, to help with the word count. It does little or nothing for the word count, and in a book that falls somewhere between action and horror, you really shouldn’t need filler.

Tide of Souls doesn’t give you this option, there isn’t a simple or easy place to put the book down, stop reading … or … dare I say it… turn off the lights. Although I do suggest taking regular breaks because you may do yourself an injury! Somehow, the characters, as small as their part might seem, are so … real? So well written, that you get a feel for them. You can understand them. Maybe you see reflections of people you know, or can empathise with them. Simon shows a confidence in his writing, that he doesn’t need to spend a page or 5 describing a character’s background, upbringing or failed relationship. He is confident enough that he has used fairly recognisable archetypes in his book, while still maintaining their individual uniqueness. And as much as I want to shout from the roof tops (read the book, you will HATE me) he has also managed to tap into several fears, both real and imagined and weave them into a genre that, honestly I thought was over saturated. It isn’t since I read Girl with all the Gifts (seriously if you haven’t read this, do it … like after Tide of Souls, but do it) have I been so impressed with a genre book.

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Edit: since writing  this blog have finished the book, the pace does not let up, in the third part when you think thinks might settle down, be a little more subdued? Not at all, you are just waiting, you know something is going to happen. There is no breathing room. The idea behind it is pretty stark, it is bleak and sad. It is a very, very sad book. There is really little in the way of bright moments, there isn’t what I would call a happy ending .. this is all so very difficult to write without spoiling the book for you and I really do not want to do that. This book keeps you guessing, wondering, it keeps your adrenaline going. It is bleak, but in a way that takes away any distractions from the story, and the story telling. Please, please – go buy this book!

I thoroughly recommend this book, and author and hope you buy and enjoy his book(s) – please let me know if you have already read his books, or if you go on to read this book – let me know what you thought!

CLICK HERE for handy Amazon link to the book 😉