My Reviews and Two Giveaways ~ As The World Dies, Untold Tales by Rhiannon Frater ~ Lots of Zombieness

Posted: October 22, 2013 in Adult Fiction, apocalypse, Blog Tour, giveaways, horror, reviews, Zombies
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I love it when the author writes these short back stories. You get to see behind the scenes and find out about secondary characters that stuck with you.

In my case I am meeting these characters for the first time. I began reading the As The World Dies Series after I read these.

I have to hand it to Rhiannon Frater. She got me addicted to her world and I didn’t just want to read more, I had to! These stories are like Lays potato chips. You can’t read just one.

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As the World Dies: Untold Tales by Rhiannon Frater
Genres: Adult, Horror, Zombies
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UT1
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Synopsis Volume 1:

THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country. But theirs is not the only tale to be told. In the first volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.
Deep in the Texas Hill Country, a man and his little dog takes refuge in a bed and breakfast located in the hills above a doomed town where an infested rescue center might unleash the hungry undead…
On a deserted highway slicing through the desolation of West Texas, a woman struggles to survive as she faces the horrifying aftermath of the rise of the zombies…
And finally, discover what happens on the first day to Katie’s beloved wife, Lydia, as the world dies…

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My Review

For those of you who haven’t read the As The World Dies Trilogy or even volume one, The First Days, never fear. These three tales only tell us a small part of what is occurring  in The First Days and mainly focuses on a few characters, spotlighting them and giving them their due.

The Broken Heart (Lydia’s Story)

Lydia, Katie’s wife, is already dead in the beginning of the series, but even in death she steals the hearts of fans. This is her story.

It’s a perfect dawn and Lydia is enjoying her morning tea, letting Katie sleep in. Screams from across the lake interrupt the quiet, giving her the willies. But as they don’t continue she puts it from her mind. She doesn’t know it yet, but this will be the last normal morning they share.

This is in the beginning, before the world dies and zombies are everywhere.

The companionship and closeness of these two really made me smile. I knew the outcome wasn’t going to be rosy, but I enjoyed getting to know Katie and Lydia and was so wrapped up in their story I forgot for a while that this was going to end badly. Such is the excellent writing of Rhiannon Frater. My first taste of it and craving more.

Dangerous Highways (Monica’s Story)

This short story takes place between The First Days and Fighting To Survive.

Monica is alone now. She manages to escape El Paso thanks to her dead boyfriends pistol and trusty monster truck. She keeps an eye on the undead kids in the station wagon as she siphons gas to put in her tank.

She’s leaving the memory of his death behind her, like a dust plume behind the truck. Heading to her home town of Ashley Oaks, Texas and her cousin Juan.

She doesn’t know if the town is overrun or even still standing but that’s her plan. She knows how to kill the zombies thanks to all of the movies she’s watched. But that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a whole other ball game when you come face to face with the unbelievable in real life.

And zombies aren’t the only thing she has to fear. As a woman traveling alone, Monica knows full well the dangers of encountering strangers.

I really like Monica. She’s rough and tough, takes care of business, and makes hard decisions with no hesitation. I could only hope to be half as tough as her.

The Vacation of the Undead (Eric’s Story)

This a quite a bit longer than the first two tales.

Eric is staying at a bed and breakfast with his supermodel girlfriend, Brandy, and his best friend, Pepe, a Jack Russell Terrier.

Eric is wondering if he’s really in love with Brandy, or in love with the idea of her. She’s excellent eye candy on his arm, but she’s not really a nice person. Her true colors come out when the apocalypse begins.

Eric may come across as a bit of a nerd, but he’s smart and has a big heart. He’s also a dog lover and Pepe will steal your heart. Whenever a pet is introduced into a story, it becomes more real to me. It’s strange that we become so upset if harm comes to an animal, and take it in stride sometimes when it’s a human. I guess it’s their innocence and trust that does it.

I would like stories with animals in them to start with a disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the writing of this story. I’m not spoiling it when I say Pepe’s tail is still wagging, as he appears in The First Days and Fighting To Survive.

Rhiannon’s characters are brought to life and fleshed out in these three untold tales and reading these in no way spoiled it for me as I haven’t read the series YET.

I got to know them, like or dislike them, fear for them and cheer for them. Now that I’ve experienced the author’s writing, been sucked into her world, I have to know more. Have to know everything.

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5 STARS

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UT2
Synopsis Volume 2:
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THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country. FIGHTING TO SURVIVE: AS THE WORLD DIES continued their story as the two women joined the members of the makeshift fort in Ashley Oaks in the fight for survival against not only zombies, but the evil designs of bandits.
But theirs is not the only tale to be told.
In the second volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.
In a nearby town Ken and Lenore have started their regular routine at Ken’s Beauty Salon. A terrible accident brings the undead plague to their front door and soon the best friends are scrambling to escape their overrun town…
Katarina is just finishing her shift at a roadside café when a badly injured man stumbles through the front door. She quickly realizes that to survive she must learn to kill…
And finally, a trapped family must face the fearsome truth that sometimes zombies are not the worst monster they have to fear as the world dies…
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My Review
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The characters in these three untold tales are all in Siege, the third book in the As The World Dies Series. These are their stories.
Revelation (Katarina’s Story)
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Katarina has been in this series from the beginning. This is her story about her first day.
Her story isn’t pretty. The only reason she was even conceived was to grow up and take care of her parents. Her father’s dead now and she’s earning money waitressing at a truck stop in Ashley Oaks, Texas to take care of her sick mother. She doesn’t mind the job though. She’s earning her own money and it gets out of the house.
Dealing with that jerk, Randall, and his wandering hands becomes nothing when the bloodied man stumbles into the cafe, changing her life forever.
Even though Katarina let her mother dominate her, she never appeared weak to me. I felt she was just waiting for something, for an opportunity to come her way, and then she’d discover herself and really shine.
She did discover something. She can kill when she has to, and she’s good at it.
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A Terrible Moment (The Unknown Story)
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All of the stories in The Untold Tales have dark moments. This is darker than most and introduces you to peripheral characters. Not all of them make it and are their own worst enemies.
Debbie is a jealous bitter woman, beaten down by it all. She’s certain her husband is having an affair with his secretary and her jealousy consumes her.
It festers as they are all trapped in the warehouse together. She’s so focused on her thoughts of revenge, she doesn’t even care about her children.
This was an uncomfortable story. I can’t imagined being so self involved as to neglect my children, putting them in danger, and not caring. I was mortified at what she did.
Debbie would be the first one to throw out of the boat if adrift in the sea.
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Friendship in the Time of Zombies (Ken and Lenore’s Story)
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Lenore has no way of knowing that today will changer her life forever. She drags herself out of bed and wanders into the kitchen. Her grandmother has cooked breakfast and, as usual, she’s cooked enough to feed an army. Grabbing a quick bite, she heads off to work at Ken’s Diva Beauty Shop.
Ken may be her boss, but they are best friends and thick as thieves.
I just loved these two. Lenore is a moody one but Ken is bubbly, like champagne.
A small Texas town might not seem like the best place to flaunt his gayness, but Ken could charm the devil and I loved how he needed Lenore as much as she needed him. He was the comic relief for me and I could clearly see him cringing and panicking.
Lenore was something else. She not only had to figure out how to get them both out of there alive, she also had to keep bolstering Ken up, pushing him to man up.
I couldn’t get enough of these two and look forward to encountering them again.
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5 STARS
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UT3
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Synopsis Volume 3:
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In the third volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.
Returning to Texas after celebrating his divorce in Vegas, Rune, a biker cursed with the ability to see ghosts, discovers that the world is being taken over by the hungry undead. Soon he realizes he will have to depend on all his abilities to survive not only the ravenous zombies, but the dangerous men lurking on the back roads of Texas.
Senator Paige Brightman abandoned the Madison Mall and its inhabitants to the hungry hordes, but her journey did not end there. Her attempt to reach the president’s safe haven called Central has far reaching ramifications for her and the people she abandoned.
The final in the three stories reveals the aftermath of the great battle in SIEGE as one woman faces the ultimate decision whether to live or die in a world of the undead.
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My Review
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All of the characters in these Untold Tales appear in Siege, the third and final book in the series.
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The Backroads of Zombie Hell (Rune’s Story)
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Now Rune won me over right from the beginning. He brings a spiritual aspect to the story. What happens to the souls of the dead once they become zombies?
He’s a loner until a ghost tells him it’s time to get moving. There’s somewhere he needs to be.
This is where a lot of the characters bump into each other from other Untold Tales.
Rune may look and act like your typical biker. He’s got a mean streak and you don’t want to mess with him.  But he’s also intuitive, guided by spirits, and a really decent guy. It would be good to have him on your side.
The opening scene was deep. The ghost waking him from his drunken stupor is none other than his daughter. I was almost in tears at this sad, gentle moment. I could see how it would be easy to hide away in the hills, isolating oneself from people and drowning your sorrows in booze. Rune lost everyone. But when somethings needs doing, he’s your man.
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The Wickedest Woman in Texas (Paige’s Story)
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It seems there’s always someone who has their own agenda. Someone you just want to b#!ch slap.
In walks Senator Paige Brightman, wicked witch of the apocalypse.
Some people have blinders on and can’t seem to grasp that the world is different, their lives are forever changed, and they try to go about business as usual.
Paige is one of those people. She still thinks her position matters, that what she thinks matters.
Paige needs to get with the program. Her life isn’t any more important than another’s, and her flippant view of collateral damage just may leave her all alone.
I enjoyed having someone to despise, some one to offer up to the zombies. The author does an excellent job of making me feel just that.
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Are the Dead Walking The Earth (Emma’s Story)
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Emma never made it into the As The World Dies series. You’ll only read her story here.
Emma’s story goes beyond the end of the series and shows the aftermath. She shows this to you while telling the story to her two young children.
I think this one hit me the hardest. Rhiannon expertly showed me some disturbing, heart wrenching scenes. I almost wish I could have shut my eyes at times, they were so vivid.
I agree, Emma’s story needed to be told. This may be labeled a zombie apocalypse series, but it’s really a story about people. Everyday people dealing without the end of their worlds, and the beginning of hell on Earth.
I was reduced to tears in the end. It hurt when I cried. I can only imagine how Emma felt.
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5 STARS
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At first I was worried it might not be a good idea to read these untold tales before I read the full novels.
I’m glad I did. Now, when I read the series, which I’m starting now, I’ll recognize these characters, know their back stories, and connect with them instantly.
Reading these first did not spoil anything for me. If anything, it made me want to read this series even more.
If you’re as big a fan of The Walking Dead television series, as I am, you’ll love these Untold Tales.
Thanks to the show ,I immersed myself in this collection. I felt, saw, heard, and, not recommended, smelled everything. It was like each scene played out in my mind. I even had faces for some of the characters.
The author’s choice of titles for each chapter were fun. It gave me an inkling of what I was in for and some of them brought forth an impish grin.
What I enjoyed most about these tales was how each novella had a connection to the others in it. Characters from one tale brush up against each other in other tales, showing different views of the same scenes. I’ve never run into that before and every time a character from one story appeared in another, I was glad to see them.
As I can’t wait to see each new episode of The Walking Dead, I also can’t wait to read more of the As The World Dies Series. I just wish it didn’t have to end!
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As each collection got 5 STARS from me, it would be great if I could give the complete collection 15 STARS. As it doesn’t work that way, I give them an overall rating of 5 STARS. Take a bow Rhiannon. Your Untold Tales rock!
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Purchase Links
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Rhiannon Frater
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Rhiannon
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Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) , as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog),and other horror novels. Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).  She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dying her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.
You can find her online at:
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

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Two giveaways!

International Giveaway

I have the complete Untold Tales Series, #1 thru 3 (ebooks) to give away.

To enter, please leave your email address and answer this question:

“What’s your preferred weapon of choice for killing zombies?”

And

Grand prize giveaway
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Prizes: A bookmark, Untold Tales Volume 1-3 in paperback, and an audiobook of Volume 3
Open to US/Can
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Click on the rafflecopter link below to enter.
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Xpresso Book Tours
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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For all of my giveaways, click on the mean greenie below.

Careful though. He’s been known to bite!

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Comments
  1. Anne Consolacion says:

    I’d use a gun to kill zombies. That way, I can shoot at and kill them from a distance, but I’ve never even fired one yet so more realistically, I’d use any blunt objects lying around. :)
    anne.j2 [at] gmail.com

    • fuonlyknew says:

      A gun would be great for long distance but you will eventually run out of bullets! Any blunt object would work. I think I’d like a baseball bat and a machete.

  2. So happy you loved them the series is amazing you should really read it! I would have recommended you read the series first because of a few – albeit major – spoilers but I doubt it would make the series less awesome either way! :)

    • fuonlyknew says:

      I’ve now read the first book and moved on to the second. I feel these awesome shorts just got me more into the series. Didn’t spoil anything for me and it’s fun to run into characters I’ve read in these and know their back story. I connect more fully and care more about what happens. Thanks for this amazing tour!

  3. Emma says:

    These books are on my list! Covers are epic.

    • fuonlyknew says:

      Aren’t they?! They remind me of the Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy by Barbara Ellen Brink. Just as good too! Can’t wait to read the rest of the As The World Dies Trilogy. Still need to get the third one but book budget is telling me not today!

  4. Taylor Dean says:

    First of all, I love the ‘old school’ vibe of the covers. Second, as for the best weapon to kill a zombie–I would say some sort of fire-shooting gun. Does that exist? I figure if zombies exist, then so can a weapon that shoots flame!

    • fuonlyknew says:

      I can’t resist covers like these. And you know me and zombies and such. I just gotta love em!
      Sherry says she’d use a flame thrower. Will that work?

  5. Oh I love Rhiannon and her books. I have not read these novellas or the novels yet. There were supposed to be on my blog this summer for Apocalypse and Rhiannon couldn’t make it. They will be rescheduled for sure. I can’t wait to check out these novellas. I love the illustrations! Glad to hear you loved them too!

  6. I haven’t read any of her books yet, so thanks for sharing. They all look great as do the covers. I want a flame thrower!!!!!

  7. This series sounds so incredible! Added to my Must-Read list! My weapon of choice for killing zombies would be a shotgun! Thanks for the chance to win, seriously hoping I’m picked for this one!!

    ChaoticKarma23 at gmail dot com

    • fuonlyknew says:

      These stories were incredible. That’s why in my review I say I wish I could have given the set 15 stars! LOL
      A shotgun works good. How about some grenades and a sword to go with it!

  8. OMG I read all of these, there was one book I had issues with because it got to preachy but MAN it was awesome!!!