Tag: apocalypse

Aug 08

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Plague, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 12

Hidey Ho Bookworms!

Have you ever thought to yourself, “there really should be more books centered on spontaneous human combustion”? I’m assuming you answered with a resounding “OBVIOUSLY” because why wouldn’t you? Well, you, me, and Joe Hill are totally on the same wavelength. If it weren’t for peer pressure, I probably never would have read The Fireman. Many thanks to Care for organizing the #FiremanAlong AND for sending out fun snail mail along the way. It’s always more fun to read a book with a Twitter squad, you know? And then to get mail that’s not a bill? That Care, I tell you what.

You're MY favorite person, Care!

You’re MY favorite person, Care!

As I mentioned, The Fireman is about a plague wherein those who fall ill also eventually burst into raging infernos with little to no warning. Colloquially known as “Dragonscale” the spore to blame for this ailment is mysterious and super deadly. It’s troubling, to say the least, what with people dying left and right and taking out large swathes of town and country with them. Our protagonist, Harper, is a nurse with a bit of a Mary Poppins obsession. (And believe you me, I understand where Harper is coming from. I’m really excited that discussing this book is giving me an excuse to use Mary Poppins gifs.) After the outbreak, Harper volunteers in a hospital among the infected… Until it burns down. Because SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION.


As you might expect, it’s not too long before our do-gooding nurse notices tell-tale signs of Dragonscale on her own skin, shortly after discovering she’s pregnant. Soooo. That makes things a bit complicated. PLUS, her husband goes off the deep end in a BIG WAY and their little New England town devolves into a terror filled hellscape. Your typical plague apocalypse nightmare scenario. Plus fire. The book reaffirmed my general fear of mob mentality. People in groups just get so DUMB sometimes. Quoting “Sister Suffragette” is perfect in such cases, seeing as people are typically lovely on an individual level, but when they congregate in large groups? Watch out.


This miiiight be my favorite song ever.

If you’re thinking this book sounds a lot like The Stand (review), you’d be right. As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Joe Hill is totally Stephen King’s son. BUT! Hill tempered his horror with a good dose of humor and the most delicious pop culture references. For a brick of a book, The Fireman is a quick read. If you’re in the mood for something plague-y and frightening but ALSO happen to love Mary Poppins? THIS IS YOUR BOOK!

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your favorite plague-apocalypse scenario? My plague book list is looking a little light these days. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



Jul 20

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Coming of Age, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 12

Happy Monday Bookworms!

I know Mondays are a total bummer, but they’re only 24 hours. Every day is, in fact, a gloriously predictable 24 hours. Unless, of course, you live in the world of my latest read, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Ever wished there were more hours in a day? Better be careful what you wish for, Bookworms, because in this book, the Earth, for reasons unknown, decides to slow down. An extra hour in the day, then more and more until the days stretch out so long that everyone’s sleep schedule is completely wacky, animals start going extinct, and food ceases to grow reliably. If you ever run across a Monkey’s Paw, you now know exactly what will happen if you wish for more hours in the day. DON’T DO IT!

theageofmiraclesJulia is eleven years old when the Earth’s rotation begins to slow. She tells the story of worldwide catastrophe through the eyes of a middle school girl. Because sixth grade isn’t hard enough, let’s throw an apocalypse in there, right?! I really dug this book, you guys. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve come across while scoping out this book is the fact that despite global calamity, Julia spent lot of time and energy worrying about middle school drama. To the critics, I say, FIE! (I’ve always wanted to say “fie.” I’m going to do it again. FIE!)

Julia is ELEVEN. And her middle school experience, though in the midst of extraordinary circumstances, is spot on. It hit me in the feels, you guys. The friendships and cliques and crushes and pressures and awkwardness took me back in a big way. Sure, I didn’t spend my sixth grade year watching the world slowly deconstruct, but kids are kids. Eleven is awfully young to grasp the hugeness of a worldwide event. How can you concentrate on the end of the world when that cute boy on the skateboard wants to hold your hand? Your eleven year old self knows it’s true.

Other than the fact that I now have an irrational fear of the Earth spontaneously slowing its rotation, The Age of Miracles was full of win for me. If apocalypse novels are your jam and you’ve ever been through middle school, this book is for you.

Let’s chat, Bookworms. I’m kind of fixated on this Monkey’s Paw thing now, which if you’re not familiar with it, is a short story involving wish granting that always turns out hideously. Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day? Do you now feel like you’re tempting fate because of it? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Apr 29

If you like The Walking Dead, Read This! (Top Ten Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday, Zombies 27

Howdy Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday again, which is mind boggling, because seriously, where does the time go? This week the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to make a list “for fans of.” IE, if you like a certain TV show, here’s a bunch of books you might dig… So OF COURSE I went with one of my favorite shows EVER, The Walking Dead. Because ZOMBIES!


1. The Walking Dead Comics by Robert Kirkman: It is 100 percent hypocritical of me to list this as I’ve not read them myself. BUT. I want to. And I hope to. And you should join me.

2. The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant:  I loved these sooooo much! Feed (review), Blackout (review), and Deadline (review) presented such a creative take on the whole zombie genre that I was hooked from the very beginning. Plus, all the internet and bloggy goodness made it extra super appealing. And science. SCIENCE. Just read them, okay?

3. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: I may have spoken too soon when I talked about a unique take on zombie lore, because Warm Bodies (review) is definitely off the zombie shuffled path. It’s a light-hearted, quirky little romance starring a dead guy. Seriously so much fun. Check it out!


4. World War Z by Max Brooks: I read this when I was going through my first round of withdrawal while  The Walking Dead was on hiatus, and it did not disappoint. I had a lot of nightmares while reading this, but it was totally worth it. I make nightmare exceptions when it comes to zombies. (review)

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: There are no zombies to be had in this book, but the humans are bad enough to make up for the lack of supernatural monsters. The bleakest post-apocalyptic view of the world I’ve ever read. If this doesn’t creep you out, I don’t know what will. It’s pretty fantastic. (review)

6. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank: Aside from the gore and special effects elements on The Walking Deadwhat’s always really pulled me in is the way it looks at humanity once the thin veneer of civility is rubbed away. Any disaster scenario would suffice for that sort of insight, and nuclear war is certainly one way to destroy civilization. I really enjoyed Pat Frank’s vision of nuclear war’s aftermath in Alas, Babylon. (review)


7. The Stand by Stephen King: Again, no zombies here, but there’s contagion for sure! Captain Tripps the super flu has successfully killed off most of the world’s population leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. No modern conveniences and a mysterious supernatural undertone makes this book something amazing. (review)

8. The Passage by Justin Cronin: This book created a whole new breed of monster. Sort of vamire-ish, sort of zombie-ish, this government experiment gone wrong successfully brought about an apocalypse. Watching the survivors fight to maintain something approaching a “normal” way of life is haunting and awesome. (review)

9. I Am Legend  by Richard Matheson: Similar to The Passagethough much older, I Am Legend  twists zombie and vampire lore into a new breed of terror. The last man on earth tries to take a stand against the encroaching new race of vampires- it’s epic. (review)

10. The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonasinga: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the creators of The Walking Dead  comics have written some novels that dovetail with the comics (for those of us who don’t typically go in for comic books, presumably.) I read the first in this trilogy and found it to be a great companion read for anyone in the fandom. (review)


There you have it. ZOMBIES a la Katie. Do any of you Bookworms like The Walking Deadand how much do you hate the long hiatus?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will make a small commission.*


Jan 28

I Don’t Even Want to Go There! (Top Ten Tuesday)

Dystopian, Top Ten Tuesday, Zombies 39

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s Tuesday and the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have a fabulous topic for us today. They’ve asked us to list out societies we’d never want to live in and/or characters we’d never want to trade places with. Dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels are some of my favorite books, so I’m really excited! Let’s get to listing, shall we?

TTT Don't Go There

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (my review): Hmmmm, let’s think. Why wouldn’t I want to live in a world where women are enslaved and used strictly to breed children? Maybe I picked the husband I wanted and have no desire to be reassigned by a terrifying religious government. Maybe it’s because if I’m going to grow a kid, I’d like to keep it. Maybe it’s because they no longer allow women to read?! Plus, that whole winged hat thing is a bad look for me.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Children fighting to the death. For sport. Even if you don’t get chosen yourself, your kid someday might. Let’s talk about the worst thing ever. I think this is pretty much it.

Try not to cry. I dare you. (Source)

Try not to cry. I dare you. (Source)

3. The Passage by Justin Cronin (my review): I had some serious anxiety reading about the people living in the compound. Nearly 100 years since the vampire apocalypse, this fledgling society lives on a wing and a prayer… And the rapidly deteriorating battery powered lights that keep them from being eaten every night. 

4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (my review): We never find out exactly what happened to the world, but nothing grows, everything is coated in ash, and there are bands of cannibals roaming the countryside. It’s so freaking BLEAK, and I don’t want to go there ever, ever, ever!

5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: How would you like to grow up knowing that you were a clone being used for spare parts? Don’t get too attached to those kidneys now, kids.

6. World War Z by Max Brooks (my review): I had SO MANY NIGHTMARES reading this book. It’s a fantastic look at what would happen to the world during a zombie apocalypse.

7. The Stand by Stephen King (my review): As if surviving the deadliest strain of the flu EVER and trying to find other survivors weren’t enough of a challenge, the friggin devil incarnate is out there causing trouble? Yep, I could live my life without going through THAT madness.

8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (my review): Oh, I won’t lie. There are days when a dose of Soma sounds like a grand idea… But I’m not big on societally mandated orgies. Sorry y’all.

9. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (my review): Nuclear War is THE WORST. I don’t want to live through that.

10. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: I don’t know what’s the worst thing about living in this world. The brutal “justice” meted out by wicked royals? There’s no telling when winter will end? The friggin zombie things living behind the ice wall? Heck, Martin is so fond of killing off characters I’d probably already be dead. Westeros, I shan’t be visiting!

Alright Bookworms, it’s your turn! What books would you NOT want to be sucked into??? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Your support is appreciated!*


Oct 18

Feed Me, Seymour! (Feed by Mira Grant)

Friendship, Zombies 43

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

feedI’ve been having an absolute blast reading all these scary books lately. I kept hearing great things about the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant- I simply couldn’t stop myself from picking up a copy of Feed.  The Zombie Apocalypse? Been there, done that. This book takes place 30 years post outbreak. Apparently the virus that causes people to rise from the dead was caused by an interaction between two genetically engineered viruses: one that cured cancer, and one that cured the common cold. Everybody has the virus in their system, but it only goes into amplification (read: zombification) when you’re bitten by a zombie… Or die of something else.

Georgia and her brother Shaun run a news blogging site. They spend their days chasing stories, exposing the truth, and poking dead things with sticks. Georgia and Shaun, along with their tech guru Buffy, manage to land a spot on the presidential campaign of a popular Wisconsin senator and are thus rocketed into the big leagues of media. Politics and conspiracies and ZOMBIES, oh my! There was SO MUCH I loved about this book that I’m going to have to get my list on…

1. The Pop Culture References: George is the new Jennifer. I was positively tickled when it was revealed that an entire generation of children were named in honor of George Romero, undisputed king of the zombie film. Apparently Night of the Living Dead became an incredibly useful field guide. I can only assume the spelling of “Shaun” was in reference to Simon Pegg’s hilarious zombie masterpiece, Shaun of the DeadAnd Buffy? She downright OWNS that her nickname is after the iconic and only Vampire Slayer. Also, the thrill seeking dangerous reporter types are referred to as “Irwins.” I can only assume this is a nod at the late great Crocodile Hunter.

Halloween Katoo

What? Le Kattoo likes Halloween as much as the next penguin.

2. Science: I loved the explanation of how the zombie virus came into being, The cures for two of humanity’s main nemeses combine to create the great its great downfall? Ah hubris. I don’t know just how accurate the virology stuff in the book was, but it sounded pretty plausible to this uneducated plebeian. The way it could lie dormant in the bloodstream, the desire to spread, the infection of other mammals… (As I was watching The Walking Dead on Sunday night, I thought for sure the ailing pig was turning zombie. My current theory on that is good old swine flu, but I digress.)

3. Realism: I happen to think that any mass contagion (influenza, smallpox, zombie-virus) would certainly pose a big problem to humanity. HOWEVER. I find it harder to believe that in an age of kevlar, body armor, and advanced weaponry, that the entire world’s infrastructure would crumble. I think the isolation, extensive blood testing, and attempts to prevent the spread of contagion are a more likely scenario… Though perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. In this world I could just stay in my house, order in groceries and mood stabilizers, and avoid anything that might eat me.

I’ve already started the second book in this series- I cannot get enough. I highly recommend this book, and I want to give a shout out to everyone who recommended this to me (including, but not limited to, Charleen from Cheap Thrills. She also wrote a companion post on The Passage for The Fellowship of the Worms this month, and you should go read it.)

Let’s talk about GERMS! Anybody out there gotten their flu shot yet? Anybody already been sick this season? Anybody want to give out their recipe for the world’s best hot toddie so we can all be prepared when the inevitable sniffles hit this winter? Talk to me, Worms!


Aug 29

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Classics, Dystopian, Frightening 30

Howdy Bookworms,

There’s a good chance I’ve been watching too much Doomsday Preppersbut you know I love a good post apocalyptic novel. It had been a while since I’d read one, so when Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank came up as a sale item on Amazon this month I jumped on it. Alas, Babylon was published in 1959, which for all of you scholars out there was at the height of the Cold War. The threat of the US and the USSR blowing each other to smithereens with nuclear bombs was palpable.

Alas, BabylonAlas, Babylon takes the leap into the “what if.” What if the USSR had nuked many of the major cities in the US? What if a small pocket of Florida remained untouched while the rest of the state was saturated in radiation? What if the power went out… Forever? I love a good apocalypse story, and this is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s funny that something written 54 years ago could still be so relevant, but it absolutely is. Those of us living today in the digital age would be facing the exact same predicament as the folks in the 50s… Except a little worse, because OMG what would we do without the INTERNET?!

One of my favorite shows in the last ten years was JerichoIt was a tragically short lived drama (2006-2008, RIP) about a small town in Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear devastation in the US. The hit sites were very similar to those in Alas, Babylon, but instead of Russia being behind the bombs, it was a mysterious conspiracy. Obviously, since this book came out decades before that show, it’s almost impossible that the creators of the show were not influenced by this book. I LOVE THEM BOTH!

It had everything! People’s reactions to disasters always fascinate me. First there’s the disbelief that anything of this magnitude could happen. The shock. The panic. The looting of the stores. The lawlessness that inevitably arises when food and supplies run low. You’ve got the ingenuity of people re-learning how to do things the “old fashioned” way and the rise of the highwaymen. I picked up this book and I could not put it down. It was that awesome. Of course, I’m now slightly paranoid about nuclear war and kind of want to get a Geiger counter to keep in my basement, but what else is new? I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. This is why I don’t watch infomercials, because HOT DAMN that Forever Lazy looks like a good idea.

What about you, bookworms? Do you like post apocalyptic novels? A good dystopia? Do they make you want to stockpile things and build a bunker? No? That’s just me? I should probably stop watching Doomsday Preppers, shouldn’t I?


Dec 21

Don't They Know It's The End of the World?

Dystopian, Fantasy, Humor, Personal 21

Hi Bookworms! Today is “Doomsday.” People who have misinterpreted the Mayan calendar have decided that the world is supposed to end today. I’d really prefer the world not end. I have things planned for next week. Beyond that though, I’d do very very poorly in a post-apocalyptic world. I looooove dystopian novels, so I figured I’d explore how I’d perish early on in some of my favorites. Ready?

1. The Stand by Stephen King. It’s easy to assume that I’d die in the plague that kills 99% of the population, but I have a really impressive immune system. I may be jinxing myself here, but I haven’t needed an antibiotic since I was 16 and had my wisdom teeth removed. I get sick very infrequently. So. I think I’d survive Captain Tripps. One of my favorite parts of The Stand though was that King discussed the casualties that occurred AFTER the flu had run its course. I’d probably survive the flu only to succumb to something really stupid… Like getting a paper cut from a book and contracting a flesh eating bacteria. It would be my cosmic punishment for bragging about my immune system and how I don’t need antibiotics. I’d survive the virus to be taken out by a self important bacterium.

Good vs. Evil. Super Flu. Apocalypse.

Katie’s battle with the paper cut didn’t make the final draft.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If I were in Katniss’s shoes, I wouldn’t make it very far. I lack aim, archery skills, and knowledge of edible forest plants. The good news is, I probably wouldn’t need those skills. You know how at the very beginning of The Hunger Games the contestants stand on pedestals until the countdown is over and the games begin? If anyone has a “false start” their pedestal explodes. That would be me. Considering the alternatives in the arena, that’s probably not a bad way to go.



3. World War Z by Max Brooks. I shy away from physical violence, and I’m not especially strong. To be frank? I’m a weenie. I can’t even arm wrestle effectively. I’d be bitten very early on. But then? Then I’d be a zombie! Only, I’d make a terrible zombie! I’d be really really slow and unobservant. I’d be the zombie that they use in demonstrations to teach small children how to defend themselves. At least I’d be useful to humanity in some capacity. As the loser-iest zombie.

Zombie Katie!

Katie: The Loser-iest Zombie

4. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Yes, I know this isn’t an “end of the world” scenario, but I being in the middle of a war zone is definitely an “end of the world as we know it” scenario. Scarlett was really annoying during peace time, but she kind of kicked butt during an emergency. She delivered babies and farmed cotton and still managed to keep up her unhealthy fixation on Ashley. If I were a character in Gone With The Wind, I would not be Scarlett. I’d be like her first husband, Charles Hamilton. He got sick and died before he even saw combat. That’d be me. I was always the one dying of dysentery in Oregon Trail. I know I have a great immune system, but I’ve never had to contend with dysentery, okay?

That's me.

That’s me.

5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Technically, the villains in this book were vampires, not zombies. Why wouldn’t I make it? I am DELICIOUS. No, seriously. Blood sucking insects seek me out. If there is a mosquito within a mile radius, it will find me and feast. Once, I lived in an apartment and my upstairs neighbor managed to infest my apartment with fleas. Do you know what fleas like to eat when there aren’t animals readily available? KATIES! It was beyond miserable. This contributes to my pervasive and borderline obsessive fear of bed bugs. In case you were ever curious about the existence of vampires in the real world, the fact that I’ve yet to be eaten is definitive proof that they do not exist. I’d be vampire catnip. For reals.


It’s a good thing vamps aren’t real. They’d be seriously offended by this clip art.

There we have it. Five very specific reasons I would not survive any number of apocalypse scenarios. Like I said, it’s a good thing the world isn’t ending. I am going to celebrate by enjoying some of my favorite things: pizza, electricity, the internet, and my husband. Who will continue to have zero chance with Taylor Swift. Happy days, Bookworms. Happy days.