TEOTWAKI / Zombie Fic / Post Apoc. / Prepper

On most issues, particularly social issues, I’m quite progressive. But I’m also a lover of TEOTWAKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) fiction. I read a lot of it and I reread my favorites over and over. The thing is a lot of these books are very much, well I guess you would say Republican. It’s a bunch of American Patriots getting a bunch of guns and building themselves a bunker to save themselves from the Democrat hordes. I’m being glib but you get the idea.

But there are also writers who are not that crazy-town and honestly they are amongst my favorite authors. So if you want to get in touch with your inner prepper these are 6 books that I think are quite interesting without being (too) political.

  1. A Merciful Death (by Kendra Elliot) –– set in rural Oregon, Mercy Kilpatrick is an FBI Agent who comes from a family of preppers and she’s one too.
  2. Mordacious (by Sarah Lyons Fleming) –– after the zombie apocalypse a group of survivors trapped in New York city do their best to deal with the undead and bandits.
  3. Love in an Undead Age (by A.M. Geever) –– set many years after the zombie apocalypse, the city council controls the vaccine while the Jesuits control the food. The Jesuits want to make the vaccine free for all.
  4. End of Summer (by S.M. Anderson) –– the only male author in this list and also the most conservative book, but it’s just so well written. A virus wipes out 96% of the world’s population. A rag tag group of soldiers, marines and civilians band together to rebuild the world.
  5. The Lucky Prepper (by Emma Zeth) –– set in England so no guns. This book owes a lot to The Day of the Triffids, the original TEOTWAKI book. There are bad guys and good guys but it’s not violent at all.
  6. The Last Hours (by Minette Walters) –– so technically this is historical fiction, it’s set in England during the plague (14th Century), but it has everything you would find in zombie fiction so I’m including it here.

I rate all of these books quite highly. I’ll just automatically buy Sarah Lyons Fleming and A.M. Geever and the audiobook comes out I’ll buy those too.

Undead Menagerie (by A.M. Geever)

Imogen is a zookeeper working on a conservation program for the Iberian Lynx and doing her best to avoid the politics of the zoo when the zombie apocalypse hits. On the first day she is racing to the zoo to help out as best she can when the infected start attacking. She is rescued by Mike and they make their way to the zoo. 

Mike has his own problems, as the days pass by he gets more and more desperate to check on his family but finds himself trapped inside the zoo with tensions that began before first day and have only worsened with zombies pressing in from all directions. 

Zombie fiction can be any of a number of different genres. It can be science fiction, dystopian, horror, fantasy and even, on occasion, romance. Undead Menagerie very much leans into the horror genre with just a touch of science fiction and fantasy. It is also in a small way a love letter to the city of Pittsburgh. The author plainly loves the city, loves the people and loves the unique version of English spoken in the city. As someone who is always looking at language I particularly loved this aspect of the book.

There are parts of the book that are difficult, it’s brutal, like a punch in the gut. It’s a runaway train and occasionally heartbreaking. You desperately want the good guys to win, you want them all to survive, you want happily ever after. But you can’t always get what you want. But it is so good. A book I will read and reread.

5 (occasionally heartbreaking) stars.

Trigger Warning: Animal Death

Folk Around and Find Out (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

Hank is the owner of the Pink Pony, Green Valley’s #1 strip club. He provides a safe work place for the women who work for him but isn’t popular among the good town folk. Even more so after one of his strippers ran off with Charlotte’s husband and left her as the single mother of 4 kids. 

So when she walks into his club looking for a job he wants her out of there….quick. 

Penny Reid is a bit of an odd duck. Every genre has rules. Good authors know the rules, the best authors know the rules they can get away with breaking. And Penny Reid is one of those authors. She has been doing it since 2011 and her books still feel fresh. 

I loved this book. I loved the characters, I especially loved Charlotte’s kids. Folk Around and Find Out is really just good fun. Start to finish.

In the Pines (by Kendra Elliot)

Romantic Suspense

An eccentric millionaire leaves a cryptic clue that alludes to a fortune hidden somewhere in Eagle’s Nest and treasure hunters have flocked to the area. Greed and desperation quickly turn to violence and murder. And adding to the town’s troubles, a woman and her young child have disappeared.

FBI Special Agent Mercy Kilpatrick and Sheriff Evan Bolton investigate the missing woman and her child while Mercy’s husband Police Chief Truman Daley tries to keep a lid on the craziness flooding his town.

Some books feel like home and there are characters that feel like family.

Harry Potter, Amber Farrell, Mercy Thompson, and anything written by Sarah Lyons Fleming are that for me.

And Mercy Kilpatrick.

It’s hard to be objective when you love a series as much as I love this one. 5 Stars.

The Quarter Storm (by Veronica Henry)

Mystery / Magical Realism

A young woman enlists Reina, a Vodou priestess, to make a love charm for her. When the man who was the target of the charm is murdered and a fellow vodou priestess is charged with his murder, Reina begins to investigate. 

Corruption is rife in the New Orleans police department and her fellow practitioners don’t like the attention Reina is bringing to them as she investigates. But as she delves into the underbelly of New Orleans she learns that everyone involved has secrets and some of them would kill to keep them. 

This is such a great book. Deeply flawed characters who you somehow love anyway carry what is close to a hard-boiled detective story but with a strong vein of magical realism running through it, it’s everything I want. 

There are aspects of the book I didn’t much like, but the good completely blows all of that out of the water. A new name to add to my favorite authors list. 5 Stars.

World Between (by Sarah Lyons Fleming)

Dystopian / Zombies

Rose, Tom, Clara, Holly, Mitch, Jesse and Craig return for book two of the Cascadia series.

They have settled into the fairgrounds in Eugene, OR and they are making the most of it. But Rose’s relationship with her ex-husband is hostile and the soldiers who control the safe zone are little more than feudal overlords. And with hundreds of people all crammed together and living on top of each other the zombies are the least of their problems.

One crisis follows another and before the end they will once again be fighting for their lives.

World Between continues what will eventually be a four book series. Sarah Lyons Fleming is a master of this particular sub-genre and her books are all entertaining page-turners that flip between urban fantasy, science fiction, horror and perhaps just a little romance. She somehow manages to make it work.

5 Stars.

Forrest for the Trees (by Kilby Blades)

Contemporary Romance

Sierra is a junior ranger working her butt off at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and hoping for a promotion. But as an African American woman she finds herself running into a wall of good ol’ boys and frustrated at every turn. 

On the surface Forrest, a Federal Fire Marshal, is one of those good ol’ boys and Sierra has put him neatly into the box with all the other white men who are holding her back. But she may have miscalculated. 

With a series of fires being set within the national park, Forrest and Sierra team up to catch the arsonist before someone gets killed. 

Forrest for the Trees is a charming and entertaining page turner. It is everything I look for in Contemporary Romance, well developed characters, a good story, well written. Kilby Blades gets the balance right. It’s perfect.

Vanishing Edge (by Claire Kells)


Special Agent Harland works for the Investigative Services Branch of the National Parks Service. When criminal activity occurs within a national park it is her job to investigate.

After a rookie ranger finds an abandoned campsite in a remote part of Sequoia National Park, SA Harland is sent in to find out what happened.

She quickly realises it is anything but innocent and together with the ranger they set out to solve the mystery.

Vanishing Edge is a classic police procedural. The investigation is what drives this story forward and honestly it’s what makes this story great. The characters and the backdrop of Sequoia National Park don’t hurt it either. Everything about this book is kind of perfect. I wish every book I picked up was this good.

Many thanks to Crooked Line Books and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Reckoning in an Undead Age (by A.M. Geever)

Horror / Speculative Fiction

Every genre / sub-genre has rules and tropes. Coded language that readers of the genre intuitively understand. One example would be the covers of the books in this series, they speak to readers of dystopian fiction right down to the colours chosen. There are things you expect, shortcuts in telling the story that rely on the readers understanding of the genre.

Any good author will know the rules, but a great author will know how to get away with breaking them.

And that brings us to the Undead Age series. I’ve read a lot of books in this genre, but I haven’t read any books that have broken this many rules.

And somehow A.M. Geever gets away with it. I’m the first to admit that it took me a while to figure out what the hell was going on in book one, but once I figured it out, it blew my mind.

Reckoning in an Undead Age is the last book in the series. The events of book two destroyed lives and ruined those who were left behind. Miranda and Mario are grieving, trudging through depression and both are coping in different ways. Miranda has pushed those she loves away while Mario has stepped onto the path of revenge.

And that is what this book is about. Grief, depression and ultimately redemption. But more lives will be lost a long the way.

Many thanks to the author who provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Seven Perfect Things (by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Women’s Fiction

Abby and her mother, Mary have a difficult home-life. Her father is controlling and abusive. They are constantly walking on eggshells to avoid setting him off. 

When Abby sees someone toss a sack into the river she dives in without thinking. What she discovers is seven puppies. And when she takes them to the animal shelter she learns they will be euthanised. Unable to bear it she leaves with the puppies. But she can’t take them home. 

Recently widowed, Elliot has returned to his hunting cabin for the first time in many years. But when he opens the shed, seven puppies spill out. 

I loved Seven Perfect Things. Honestly, there is something a little magical about it. It’s such a positive, uplifting story. It really is good for the heart. It’s the story of three people facing different life challenges, brought together by seven puppies. In each other they find their second chances.