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review 2015-03-06 00:00
Lotion: A Horror Short Story in The Hunger Series
Lotion: A Horror Short Story in The Hunger Series - Jason Brant The world has been hit hard by illness, an illness that leaves raving Day Walkers wandering around who eventually devolve into these light intolerant, mutated, super strong, and super aggressive beasts. Adam watched as his beloved city fell apart, and then he smartly found a bank vault he lock himself into. Yet eventually he must wander out for food and sustenance, which is when he meets Greg, a man truly not in touch with the reality of the situation.

Folks, The Hunger is my current favorite series! So I had to check out this short story, which initially appeared in the anthology Apocalypse edited by Cynthia Shepp. Now you can buy the ebook version of this short story as a stand alone. If you haven’t read The Hunger series, this work does stand on it’s own. Here you meet two characters that show up in Book 2, but there aren’t any particular spoilers for Book 2.

Adam is a practical man and a bit clever. He saw the world was going barbaric and primal and he gathered some essential supplies and found a bank vault. A week or so later, he needs to resupply so he heads for his old nearby apartment (as he is like 90% sure he will find what he needs there) and comes across his idiot neighbor Greg. Much danger for Adam ensues….and much humor for the reader. Greg is so oblivious to the danger he is in that he provides plenty of comedic relief to a very serious situation.

The ending veers a little from the version of their introduction to the main series in Book 2, but not so much as to be jarring. The ending lets the reader decide if they made it out or not. This short story is an excellent addition to the series. I really enjoyed it not only for Greg’s antics but also for another person’s views on the nocturnal monsters that now rule the city.
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review 2015-03-05 00:00
Ravaged - Jason Brant Book 3 picks up roughly 1 month after Book 2 ends. Our heroes are still at the compound they wrested away from the maniacal Ralph. Other survivors continue to join them and the camp’s resources are starting to strain. Add to that, the infected monsters seem to be getting smarter and are targeting the camp. Even with the arrival of a new ally, they might not survive.

Our main foursome continue to face the odds. Each one of them has a demon or three to face in this installment of The Hunger series. Lance York, the man who started the apocalypse in nothing but a hospital gown, has gone from being a sad couch potato to a man of action. He’s at that point where he can look at himself and see the changes – both physically and psychologically. The world has gone to crap and he has risen from it, becoming a man he can respect. I have really enjoyed his story arc because he is just such a normal guy. Perhaps we would all benefit from an apocalypse.

Cass continues to grow as a character too. She was use to fending for herself before the infected covered the Earth. However, her time spent with Lance has shown her the benefits to being a little soft around a few select humans. She’s still a bad ass with a war axe and has her own dress code, but now she has opened a bit to Lance and even Emmett and Meghan.

Speaking of Emmett and Meghan, they play more central roles in this book as well. The group as a whole face some difficult decisions, but both Meghan and Emmett, who have trained and served in their own ways to protect and preserve life, must face the decision to take life. They were fine sidekicks in Book 2; in this book, they are integral and I would miss them if they weren’t there.

The plot line keeps us moving along. There’s still plenty of action and savagery from the infected, but those are punctuated with moments of reflection or humor. One of the things I really like about this series is that the dangers change with each book. We have the human dangers – humans like to be jerks to each other and that probably won’t change. Also, the infected – those savage monsters – have started to show more than bestial reactions to stimuli. They are already incredibly deadly, but now imagine them able to reason and problem solve! It makes for a very exciting plot!

With new foes and dangers, I was concerned for more than one of our foursome throughout the book. The ending was very satisfying and I can only hope that the author continues on with these characters. I am not ready to let them go.

Narration: Wayne June once again was THE voice for Lance York. I like his average guy in a crappy situation voice. It really suits Lance’s humor. As usual, Wayne had a good array of male and female voices for all the other characters. He even pulled off a Pittsburgh-specific accent for one side character that I thought was very well done.
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review 2015-03-03 00:00
Consumed - Jason Brant Book 2 picks up about 1 week after Book 1 ended. Our heroes, Lance York and Cass of the War Axe, are on a boat in the Allegheny River outside of Pittsburgh. Dr. Emmett Brown and soldier Meghan Iverson are still with the duo, providing cover fire and medical treatment as needed. The world continues to devolve in to mutated monsters that roam night and day and militant, power-hungry humans. Yet, the river seems the safest….at least until they lose their boat.

If you read my review of Devoured, Book 1, then you know I really enjoyed the start to this series. Book 2 does not disappoint in continuing the tale. In fact, I will say it is even better because Lance worked through a lot of his issues with his e-wife in Book 1 and we don’t have that slowing down the story line of Book 2. Our main characters are a unit, swiftly reacting to each other. Our plot is moving forward at a good clip. The scenery continues to devolve, creating more traps for our heroes. All the elements are present for a great zombie story, which this is. I enjoyed this book all in one day, coming up with additional chores to keep me in the kitchen or folding laundry, just so I would have a bit more listening time.

Cass continues to be my hero. I want to grow up to be her and do shots with her. She’s very practical in how she tackles this new world, taking axe to monsters and human threats as needed. Plus, I like the way she dresses, even if many of the side characters think it strange. I expect as the world continues to circle the toilet, we’ll see more and more folks dressing as they like instead of according to supposed societal norms.

As Lance spends more time with her, he comes to realize that he isn’t nearly as adept at dispatching foes as Cass is, and this bothers him a little bit. I loved that he was aware of his feelings of inadequacy, and how silly that was with the world as we know it ending and all, and yet he struggled with it. It created some humor and made Lance very human.

Brown and Iverson become more prominent in the story and we get some back story to each of them. Of course, the Back to the Future jokes continue with Dr. Brown’s name, but they are sprinkled throughout the tale and don’t become annoying. Also, we learn the source of the Xavier Virus name – which I won’t spoil here. It is a little joke for geeks and nerds. It made me chuckle.

All in all, this was an excellent continuation of the The Hunger series. Book 2 closed off a few smaller story arcs while opening a larger one. I am very much looking forward to Book 3!

Narration: Wayne June is a great voice for Lance, who is a pretty average guy. Wayne brings Lance to life with his emotions and his humor. I can’t imagine another narrator portraying Lance. Wayne also has a variety of voices for the ladies and other men. He does a great gruff old geezer and a crazy radio codger.
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review 2015-01-03 00:00
Devoured - Jason Brant The world is about to go down the drain, and Lance York is barely aware of it. His own life, riddled with failures, seems to be in the toilet already. He bumps into an old coworker, Ron, who calls him ‘buddy’ but seems to be snickering at him half the time during their brief conversation. And then an apparently sick woman walks past them on the street and Lance attempts to keep her from walking into traffic, only to be hit by a vehicle himself. His wife Liz, who he is estranged from, meets him at the hospital. That is where all hell breaks out; not only is the sick woman from earlier there, but also other infected and they are getting more violent and hungry by the minute. Even with military reassurances that all will be well within the quarantined hospital, Lance, Liz, & Ron break out and flee. That is when the true adventure begins and Lance finally starts living his life.

This was another take on the current zombie craze, but an entertaining one. The start is admittedly a little slow, with Lance sniffling about his loser life and inwardly raging about his hateful wife. But once they part ways, things get really interesting for Lance and I really started enjoying his character. On the cover art, you see Cassandra (Cas) who actually doesn’t come into the story until about half way through. She is the most interesting character of the book and her arrival kicked the story up a notch. She carries a badass axe for dispatching the ravening infected. She dresses how she likes and has a practical haircut for the end of the world. I want to do shots with her.

So lets talk about the monsters. In this book they are some cross between zombies, vampires, and demons. In essence, they are all infected humans, but the infection has different stages. At first this isn’t apparent, but as the book moves forward you get to see the later stages of the disease and what the humans turn into. Also, our heroes speculate that the infected retain some of their intelligence, which makes them different from the common mindless zombies we see in nearly every zombie flick/book/tv. I really liked this aspect to the story and it added a new dangerous tone to the monsters.

Lance spent quite a bit of time early int eh book thinking angry thoughts about his wife. Justified or not, it started to feel like the author was using this scenario to exorcise some of his personal hate for a failed relationship. It was turning me off to the book because it was repetitive and Liz’s hoity-toity-ness was over played. If it had been toned down a bit, i would have gotten the idea quite well without getting bogged down in it.

The pacing of the story was good once we got past the initial moping by Lance. There were plenty of monsters that needed killing and plenty of humans simply taking advantage of the chaos. Action was interspersed with meaningful conversations or introspection. Over all, I am very glad I gave this book a try. I listened to it in 2 large sittings as I definitely wanted to see how ordinary Lance was going to keep himself alive. After all, he did start off in the chaos wearing nothing more than a hospital gown! Looking forward to book 2.

Narration: Wayne June did a good job with distinct voices as well as feminine voices. He put in plenty of emotion where it was called for. The terror of the monsters and wonder of a new found friend came through clearly.

What I Liked: The cover art; Cas & her axe; Lance is pretty ordinary & it was great to see how he managed everything; the monsters are more than your average zombies; I want to listen to Book 2!

What I Disliked: Liz (Lance’s wife) is a bit over done, like the author was trying to exorcise some personal demon – it became repetitive.
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review 2014-09-30 16:57
The Dark by Jason Brant

Beware of the dark... 


"A dark cloud has fallen over the city of Aberdeen, MD.


The population disappears in an instant. For the handful of survivors, those lucky enough to have a light source not connected to the power grid, it's more than terrifying. They’re left alone, walking through a nightmare, and that is a fate that could be worse than death itself."





"The darkness is alive and it is the reason we fear the night..."











This was fun in all its creepy and suspenseful goodness. In fact, the opening scene creeped me out so much that I was forced to turn all the lights on in my apartment. I mean, really, what could be more shudder inducing than

the idea of being alone in your apartment, having all the lights go out, then hearing someone whisper your name from the next room?

(spoiler show)

Um yeah, there would be a cartoon sized, person shaped hole in my wall as I got the hell outta there.


In addition to the creepiness factor, and it does get dialed down a bit as things progress, there was a lot to like here. The story itself was very enjoyable. It kind of reminded me of the film The Faculty for some reason. I'm not sure why since the plots are not at all similar, but they both have a similar tone to them. They both also contain an ensemble cast. 


The Dark is told from the POV of various characters, all mostly strangers, whose worlds collide once the lights go out. I liked the way this was done, and I liked all of the characters. My only complaint was the character of Annie, who was portrayed as the one dimensional stereotypical big boobed "sleazy" girl. She wasn't a nice person, which was fine, but I'm not sure why that also meant there needed to be those additional ingredients in order to punctuate just how not nice she was.

And of course she dies because, you know, "slut".

(spoiler show)

All I can say to that is: Dear Society, stop portraying women who love their bodies and enjoy sex as "not nice, dirty, sleazy, sluts." Thank you.


Aside from that, the ending left much to be desired. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be the start of a series since it's not indicated anywhere, but there were quite a few loose ends. I'm also not a big fan of

things being resolved by circumstances beyond the control of the characters. I want to see characters either triumph due to their own merits and wits, or die trying. Otherwise, it just makes the ending and all of their initial struggles feel anticlimactic.  

(spoiler show)

But those things were relatively minor. I still thought it was an enjoyable read, and if this does turn into a series, I'll be on board.


Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Source: rachelbookharlot.booklikes.com
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