by Lisa Acerbo
Genre: Horror, paranormal romance, Urban fiction
Publisher: Eternal Press
Print Length: 206 pages
Word Count: 67,444
Cover Artist: Dawne Dominique
Jenna should be having the time of her life at college. Instead, her only desire is survival. She lives in a world gone insane after a virus kills most of the population. Being alive after the apocalypse is bad, but when the undead return, hungry for humans, times turn darker. For Jenna and a small group of survivors, the goal is to reach the High Point Inn. At the inn, Jenna develops feelings for Caleb, who, while exotic and intoxicating, is not quite human. Will this new utopia last?
“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes…” ran through Jenna’s mind, another remnant of her former life. Now the graveyard was the safest place. Evil openly roamed the streets and it was coming for her.
Jenna blinked the sweat out of her eyes and took a deep breath. She swayed with exhaustion. Angels, symbols of all things God and good, adornments of the dead, swam in and out of Jenna’s clouded vision. She placed a scarred hand on the peaceful, cold stone markers, embellished with the names of forgotten loved ones. Nowadays, loved ones wanted to come back from the grave and claw your face off, devour your insides.
Jenna wanted to lie down and give up. She was tired and had lost everyone she knew. Hair lank and greasy, mud splattered clothing, old and mismatched. Instead of admitting defeat, she forced herself to stay alert, pushing matted, raven hair out of her eyes with a dirty hand. Jenna could not remember a time in her recent history where she felt clean or had a moment in which she was not fighting to stay alive. Looking around the darkened landscape, she wanted to live. She shoved to her feet once again.
Gingerly, with a limp, she started walking deeper into the cemetery. She had twisted her ankle during the jump from the gate. The last sprint had been hell. Her stomach ached where the scar stretched from side to side, but her ankle worried her most. If she could not run, Jenna would be food for the dead. Hopefully, she’d find shelter soon.
A noise echoed through what should have been deserted gravestones. Jenna froze for a second, panicked, but then instinct kicked in. She pivoted on her good foot, grabbing for the knife in her pocket. It was all she had left, after losing the gun during her escape yesterday.
Jenna ran back into the oldest part of the graveyard, until she came up to a small mausoleum. It looked more like a shack, a collage of tumbling stone and wood. She pulled on the door, but it stuck, even as everything around it decayed. She felt her way around the side. Her hand slithered across the remains of what once was a delicate, stained glass window. Shards of color caught her coat. Using her elbow, shielded by her jacket, she knocked out the remaining pieces and then painfully pulled herself inside.
Crouched on the ground, she was tempted to give herself over to tears, but instead searched for anything useful. A sturdy casket dominated the tiny interior of the room. The dilapidated mausoleum housed little of use, but someone must have been there before her. Rusty tools, wrenches, hoes, and a beat up shovel lay scattered across the floor, abandoned. They might make good weapons, but were heavy to haul. The handle to the shovel would be usable if she could dislodge it from the base.
She’d try. In addition to the mostly useless tools, Jenna found a box of matches near the charred remains of a former fire which littered the corner. Maybe, if she ever felt safe, she could light a fire and feel warm. For once. Jenna hunkered down, shovel in hand, and began to ply the handle apart from the base. She had to hurry. They would soon be upon her.
This was a very interesting and entertaining post apocalyptic story. I was immediately drawn into Jenna's story and had a very hard time putting this book down. Jenna is a human survivor who is found by a group of survivors looking for a safe place to live. Some of the survivors in this group are not fully human anymore, they are called "other" due to being altered by the virus. I really enjoyed this take on what a virus outbreak could do to the world. Jenna is such a strong young woman but she doesn't see herself that way. She has feelings for Caleb, who is "other", and she doesn't know how to handle it. Caleb is a mystery but he does show that he cares a lot for Jenna and everyone but her sees that. Even with the world destroyed, there is still prejudice against anyone who is different. I found myself engrossed in the survival of this strange group and was very disappointed when the book ended.
This book has zombies, suspense and romance...everything I love in a post apocalyptic tale. I felt it was very well written and I really hope another book is in the making.
About the Author:
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and two horses. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and tries to pursue some type of further education--she's working towards an EdD.