I recently read two books from Sirens Call Publications. The first book I want to talk about is Days With The Undead by Julianne Snow. This is a story of what happens when the dead rises and take over the planet, but its more then that. Days With The Undead is a survival manual that hopefully will save your life during the zombie apocalypse. The main character is a pathologist named Julie and her tale is told through a series of blog posts which started three days after Brooks VanReit rose from the dead.
Julie and her four companions are trying to escape ground zero and find a place where the dead have not taken over. They have a lot of challanges ahead of them including dealing with zombie chipmunks.
I really enjoyed how the story was told. The description of the dead coming to life in the hospital was great. I loved the way the people in the hospital reacted and the cover up that went on because the authorities didn’t know what they were dealing with. Another good scene was when the main characters we’re fighting the undead in a park and they have to decide if there survival is more important then rescuing two kids surrounded by the undead. At this point the survivalists had made it clear that surviving went above everything else. I didn’t know how the situation was going to go and to me that made it the best part of the book.
I also liked all of the different people that the five survivors meet on the journey. Not everyone reacts the same to the plague sweeping across the U.S. and Canada. Some people have lost all hope, Some people want to steal what ever they can get their hands on and some people just want to pretend its not happening. There is one funny scene in particular where a group of people are protesting the undead’s march across America.
What makes Days With The Undead different from other zombie novels that I’ve read is that its all told in first person. You get to hear Julie and her companion’s back stories as told by Julie. You also get Julie’s perspective on how society is falling apart and their plan on how they are going to survive. As the story moves along, you get to see her attitude change from being positive to loosing hope, to regaining hope as it looks like they may find an answer to their problems. If you like a good bloody zombie tale then you will love this one.
The next book I want to talk about is an anthology called Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed. Its not often that I come across an anthology where I like all the stories in it, but I did with this one and it was impossible to pick a favorite. After reading each story I found myself looking up information on all of the authors because I had to find out what other works they had out there.
The anthology starts off with Forgotten by Jack Wallen which is a beautifully told, creepy ghost story, about a six year old child who gets visited late at night by a ghost of a girl with a big secret. I loved the conversations between the boy and the ghost in this one. Next up is Baby Teeth by Kim Kordel which is about a young boy named Brian who has been told some scary things about the tooth fairy. What made this story fun was hearing about all the things that Brian does to avoid having the tooth fairy come to his house. I also liked how scared he gets when he realizes that he is going to get a visit whether he likes it or not.
Julianne Snow also has a story in this anthology about a girl having night terrors. Help comes in the form of a doll named Madeleine. The ending of this one was shocking and funny at the same time. There is also a great story by Nina d’ Archangela called Bent Metal that centers on a girl who is having recurring nightmares of her brother dying. The description of the girl’s emotional state in her dreams is excellent, this story alone makes this a great anthology. Nina did a superb job of making me feel sorry for the main character, it was impossible not to feel her pain.
Another great one here was Seeing Is Believing by Amber Keller. There is a monster living in Timothy’s room and it wants his flesh. No one believes him so he decides to take a picture, but every night he has to fight for his life and the creature is determined not to be seen. The suspense in this one was gut wrenching.
Kate Monroe, the editor of this anthology also has a terrifying tale in the book called Show and Tell. This one is about a boy named Thomas that finds he has a monster under his bed, but its not really a bad thing, at least not for Thomas. Now he has a pet monster and all the people that picked on him are going to pay. This story was one of the most frightening and bloody stories in the anthology and I still felt sorry for Thomas.
Some of the other things you will read about in Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed is a ghost who makes a teddy bear come to life, a little girl who has to battle a demon to the death and a kid who has to pay the consequences when he tells tall tales. You also get stories about a cursed suitcase, a tale about a murderer called The Shade and a monster that lives in a sock drawer. If this anthology is any indication of the quality of stories that Sirens Calls has to offer, then I’m really looking forward to future anthologies from Sirens Call Publications.