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Book Review – Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro

May 12, 2014 1 comment

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro

Book Description:

The dead rise…

A mysterious incident in Russia, a blip buried in the news—it’s the only warning humanity receives that civilization will soon be destroyed by a single, voracious virus that creates monsters of men.

Humanity falls…

A lawyer, still grieving over the death of his young wife, begins to write as a form of therapy. Bur he never expected that his anonymous blog would ultimately record humanity’s last days.

The end of the world has begun…

Governments scramble to stop the zombie virus, people panic, so-called “Safe Havens” are established, the world erupts into chaos; soon it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves. Armed only with makeshift weapons and the will to live, a lone survivor will give mankind one last chance against…

Apocalypse Z

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I was in the mood for another take on the Zombie Apocalypse, so I picked up Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro (a Spanish practicing lawyer & author based in Pontevedra, Spain). With an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon (and 1,083 5 star reviews!), I figured this should be a good buy.

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End unfortunately didn’t quite live up (to me) to the promise of its 4.2 stars, but if you like Zombie stories, it’s still an okay (if redundant) read. My main problem with the book was that it didn’t really offer anything new to the genre – the author was pretty faithful in his characterization of the zombies, and the plot is the usual survival story covered many times before (by better authors). The setting of the story at the author’s native Spain did keep it  bit more interesting for me in the beginning, same with the origin of the Zombie plague beginning somewhere in Dagestan. Book-Putin’s response was also classic – I think Putin’s government would react the same way :)

The main character in the book is a yuppie lawyer who initially starts blogging as a way of dealing with his grief after the death of his wife, and ended up chronicling his harrowing experiences in a personal journal during the Zombie apocalypse. I thought that the blogging style worked well in the beginning, when the lawyer was slowly waking up to the real threat while trying to go about his ordinary life (going to work, shopping, etc). I was still okay when it got switched to writing a journal (the internet dies during the apocalypse, y’all) – after all, the guy was stuck alone in his home surrounded by zombies. Plenty of time to write one’s thoughts down on paper.

But I did have to suspend disbelief that the lawyer supposedly continued writing in the journal so faithfully (reporting EVERYTHING that happened to him almost daily), even after he went on the run (and spoiler alert! got captured). I mean, it’s kind of hard to think of myself taking a break every now and then from the Zombie mayhem to write down all my previous 24-hour experiences. It really got silly around the last third of the book for me – oh, hey, a horde of zombies have killed a bunch of us! I might die next! but hey, I’ll write down first about what happened in detail starting from this morning…

Personally, if the author was really dead set on the journal aspect, I thought the character should’ve just remained stuck in his home, while he fought going cabin-fever crazy while trying to figure out a way to survive the Zombies. Less travelling / adventuring / gathering companions (including a possible love-interest character whose age – 16/17? – gave me the creeps), and more going into the psychology of survival of a lone wolf-type character maybe.

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro, translated by Pamela Carmell (AmazonCrossing) is available on Amazon.

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‘5 Questions’ Interview With A.W. Hartoin! @AWHartoin

March 1, 2014 Leave a comment

5 Questions

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author A.W. Hartoin to the blog as part of the ‘5 Questions’ with authors interview series!

If you are an author who would like to participate in the series, fill out the questionnaire here! And if you are a reader who wants to suggest an author for the series, just send me an email!


It Started with a Whisper by A.W. Hartoin

Describe your novel It Started with a Whisper in ten words or less

It Started with a Whisper is a tale of revenge gone magically wrong.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

My son had a teacher who couldn’t stand him and the story came from his desire to teach that teacher a lesson.

It didn’t happen in real life, but there’s a lot of satisfaction in fiction.

Which of your characters (in this book) is closest to your heart and why?

Puppy MacClarity is my favorite character because he’s a really good kid who finds himself doing some pretty bad things.

If you weren’t a full-time author, what other career would you be in and why?

Writing is my day job these days, but before, I was a Sensor Technician in US Air Force. That experience had a huge influence on my writing. I worked almost exclusively with men. Once they got used to me, I got to be part of the club and hear things women aren’t usually privileged to hear. All the male characters in It Started with a Whisper came out the way they did because of those conversations.

Tell us about another book or project you’re excited about

I’m excited about Book two in the Away From Whipplethorn series, Fierce Creatures. It’s a fairy adventure like no other.

Bonus Question! Fill in the blank: If you like ___, you’ll probably like my book too!


A.W. Hartoin

Thanks again for stopping by, A.W. Hartoin! You can learn more about the author via her official website: awhartoin.com, and connect via Twitter: @AWHartoin and Facebook.

 It Started with a Whisper is available on Amazon (Kindle).

Check out A.W. Hartoin’s Amazon author page for more info!

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FREE eBook: Penelope Crumb Is Mad at the Moon by Shawn Stout @shawnkstout! @PhilomelBooks @penguinusa #Kids (US, Canada)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Penelope Crumb Is Mad at the Moon by Shawn Stout

Penelope Crumb Is Mad at the Moon‘ by Shawn Stout (Philomel/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site. Just click here to preorder! Also on Amazon CAKobo and Google Play.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

7 – 9 2 – 4
Penelope “channels the quirkiness of Ramona Quimby!” –Shelf Awareness

Penelope Crumb is not having a very good week. First she accidentally comes to school dressed as an elephant (dress like an animal day is next week), and then in gym class she’s forced to square dance. With a boy who is known as Lippy Gordon because of how sweaty his lip is. All the time. Penelope is mortified. And then is extra mortified when she discovers that Lippy doesn’t want to dance with her either!

When Grandpa tells Penelope that he sings to the moon when he’s having trouble, Penelope grabs onto this plan. But sometimes you need more than the moon to fix things.

Another sweet and funny Penelope book. Equal parts humor and heart, this is a character not to be missed. Perfect for fans of Ramona Quimby, Judy Moody and Clementine, and for fans who have just outgrown Junie B. Jones and Katie Kazoo.

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FREE eBook: Exquisite Corpse from Southbank Centre! @BlackfriarsBook @HachetteBooks (US, Canada)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Exquisite Corpse: Or, How Not to Kill Your Neighbours from Southbank Centre

Exquisite Corpse: Or, How Not to Kill Your Neighbours‘ from Southbank Centre (Blackfriars/Hachette Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site. Just click here to download! Also on Amazon CA.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

Loughborough Junction, summer 2013. A shopkeeper has gone missing and rumour is rife. What happened to him? Who has the motive and who the means to do him in? Has he been done in? And where will everyone get their fags, booze and lottery tickets without him? Local artist Beth Lamb sets out to investigate. But when you play detective in your own neighbourhood, things are bound to get complicated…

Exquisite Corpse: Or, How Not to Kill Your Neighbours is Southbank Centre’s first ever novel, written on Twitter by members of the public as part of the 2013 Festival of Neighbourhood.

Curated by ten leading novelists – Stella Duffy, Alex Preston, Kamila Shamsie, Stuart Evers, Naomi Alderman, Vanessa Gebbie, Marcel Theroux, G Willow Wilson, Matt Haig and Joe Dunthorne – this unique publication brings together ideas of collaboration, participation and community… and is a thrilling read too!

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FREE eBook: Child, Please by Ylonda Gault Caviness! @TarcherBooks @penguinusa (US, UK, Canada, Australia)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Child, Please: How I Learned That When It Comes to Raising Kids, My Mother Had It Right All Along by Ylonda Gault Caviness

Child, Please: How I Learned That When It Comes to Raising Kids, My Mother Had It Right All Along‘ by Ylonda Gault Caviness (Tarcher/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site for a limited time. Just click here to preorder! Also on, Amazon UK, Amazon CA and Amazon AU.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

In this wise and funny memoir, Ylonda Gault Caviness describes her journey to the realization that all the parenting advice she was obsessively devouring as a new parent (and sharing with the world as a parenting expert on NPR, Today, in The Huffington Post, and elsewhere) didn’t mean scratch compared to her mama’s old school wisdom as a strong black woman and mother.

With child number one, Caviness set her course: to give her children everything she had. Child number two came along and she patiently persisted. But when her third kid arrived, she was finally so exhausted that she decided to listen to what her mother had been saying to her for years: Give them everything they want, and there’ll be nothing left of you. In Child, Please, Caviness describes the road back to embracing a more sane—not to mention loving—way of raising children. Her mother had it right all along.

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FREE eBook: The Wild Diet by Abel James @fatburnman! @AveryBooks @penguinusa (US, UK, Canada, Australia)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The Wild Diet: Get Back to Your Roots, Burn Fat, and Drop Up to 20 Pounds in 40 Days by Abel James

The Wild Diet: Get Back to Your Roots, Burn Fat, and Drop Up to 20 Pounds in 40 Days‘ by Abel James (Avery/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site for a limited time. Just click here to preorder! Also on, Amazon UK, Amazon CA and Amazon AU.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

The creator of The Fat-Burning Man Show shares his revolutionary Paleo-inspired weight-loss program

Every month, half a million visitors download The Fat-Burning Man Show, eager to learn the secret of Abel James’s incredible weight-loss success. Growing up on a defunct farm in the backwoods of New Hampshire, James had easy access to a host of natural foods that a backyard garden could provide: eggs, fresh produce, and real butter. But as he got older, he started eating a “modern diet” of processed foods, and by his early twenties, James found himself with high blood pressure, insomnia, acne, digestive problems, and love handles. Following the typical dieting advice of “eat less, exercise more,” and despite running thirty miles a week and nibbling tasteless, low-fat, low-calorie food, his health only worsened as his waistline expanded.

In an effort to gain control of his health, James dug deep into nutrition research and discovered that everything he’d been told about low-calorie eating was wrong. He realized that our bodies are wired to eat luxuriously—and burn fat—as long as we’re eating real, natural foods that are grown on a farm and not in a factory. Incredibly, after just a few days of eating the most delicious “wild” foods that were rich in fat and fiber, James’s health problems began to disappear. And after forty days—and radically cutting back his exercise routine—he had lost twenty pounds.

The Wild Diet is the book James’s hundreds of thousands of fans have been clamoring for. At a time when our collective health is failing, James sounds a clarion call to announce that good health doesn’t live in a pill, exercise program, or soul-crushing diet. The secret is simply getting back to our wild roots and eating the way we have for centuries.

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FREE eBook: Four Ways to Click by Amy Banks, Leigh Ann Hirschman @lahirschman! @TarcherBooks @penguinusa (US, UK, Canada, Australia)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships by Amy Banks, Leigh Ann Hirschman

Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships‘ by Amy Banks, Leigh Ann Hirschman (Tarcher/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site for a limited time. Just click here to preorder! Also on, Amazon UK, Amazon CA and Amazon AU.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

Research shows that people cannot reach their full potential unless they are in healthy connection with others. Dr. Amy Banks teaches us how to rewire our brains for healthier relationships and happier, more fulfilling lives.

We all experience moments when we feel isolated and alone. A 2006 Purdue University study found that twenty-five percent of Americans cannot name a single person they feel close to. Yet every single one of us is hardwired for close relationships. The key to more satisfying relationships—be it with a significant other, family member, or colleague—is to strengthen the neural pathways in our brains that encourage closeness and connection.

There are four distinct neural pathways that correspond to the four most important ingredients for healthy and satisfying relationships: calmness, acceptance, emotional resonance, and energy. This groundbreaking book gives readers the tools they need to strengthen the parts of their brain that encourage connection and to heal the neural damage that disconnection can cause.

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FREE eBook: Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney @AnnaDewdney! @VikingChildrens @penguinusa #Kids (US, UK, Canada, Australia)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Jingle Bells‘ by Anna Dewdney (Author, Illustrator) (Viking Children’s/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site for a limited time. Just click here to preorder! Also on, Amazon UK, Amazon CA and Amazon AU.

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

It’s almost Christmas!

Time for gift giving, song singing, and cookie decorating.

Llama Llama and Mama celebrate the holidays in this fifth board book by Anna Dewdney.

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FREE eBook: The Eye of the Falcon by Michelle Paver! @penguinusa (US)

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The Eye of the Falcon (Gods and Warriors) by Michelle Paver

The Eye of the Falcon (Gods and Warriors)‘ by Michelle Paver (Dial/Penguin Group) is available for FREE download on the Amazon US Kindle site for a limited time. Just click here to preorder!

*Note that price may revert back to full price at any time

Book Description

10 and up 5 and up
Fans of epic adventure will love the life-or-death stakes in the third Gods and Warriors book

The eruption of the volcano has shrouded the sun in ash, and the harsh winter is never-ending. With no trace of his lost sister to be found, Hylas takes ship for Keftiu, to find Pirra and free her from captivity.

But the Crows are also coming to Keftiu, led by the power-hungry Telamon. And Telamon knows what Hylas doesn’t: that in the chaos of the volcanic eruption, Pirra took the Crows’ prophesized dagger. Aided by Havoc, the lion cub, and Echo, a falcon of the Goddess, Hylas and Pirra will face the Crows once again, in a terrifying epic battle to save the land—or destroy it.

Readers of Rick Riordan, T.A. Barron, and John Flanagan will love this exciting Bronze Age series.

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