The Reviews

This anthology includes great stories from the likes of the very prolific veteran gut-busting Jason Brant to the tender debutante Heather Kirchhoff. Don’t miss LOTION (by the former) and SAVE ME (by the latter). Thanks to Cynthia Shepp, editor, and Rene Folsom, cover designer for doing the hard part to present the authors’ wild imaginings to an unsuspecting public! — Jayce Grayson, Author of Xianne: A Comedy of Cultures

Post Apocalyptic Goodness

I have to say that I was skeptical at first when I picked up this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Some of these short stories were amazing and left me wanting the author to turn it into a true novel while others were good as they were; just a short peak into a post apocalyptic world built by some new and promising authors.

There were a few that stood out for me, I enjoyed all the stories, but I truly liked `Shelf Life’ by S.L. Dearing probably because it had a little romance to it.

`Lotion’ by Jason Brant was a snarky, fun and sarcastic read that had me laughing at times.

`I know my first name is Clossiana’ by K.T. Hennessy, this one was a totally different take on the rules of this anthology, so it stood out for me.
And finally `Canyon Bound’ by Jon Messenger, I won’t say much about it, though it was probably the longest of the stories and the ending came as a surprise for me I hadn’t expected it at all.

So bravo to all involved in this anthology it was a fun and different read for me and was thoroughly enjoyable.

All in all this book is worth picking up and giving these short stories a shot. I would love to see Cynthia challenge her readers and author friends again because I would absolutely pick up another one of her anthologies–perhaps she’ll do a romance anthology because I can’t help but always want that little bit of love in everything I read! — Magen McMinimy, Paranormal Author

Where else can you get one book with stories from 11 authors? HERE! It was really interesting to see each one of their perspectives on the end of the world. Some surprised me and some amused me and some had me thinking… Jason Brant didn’t disappoint as I have read all his books. ALL the authors did an amazing job. — ladywolf, Amazon Reviewer

An Excellent labor of love come to life.

Before I begin this review, I will explain how this anthology even came to be. It started out as a Facebook contest created by Cynthia Shepp for her page. She had a few requirements and left the rest to the readers and authors that enjoy her page every day. I read them as they were posted, some were too long to post on Facebook, but Cynthia loved them and wanted to share them with everyone. Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers, was born.

Here were the rules:

I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.

The results were STUNNING! From seasoned author to writing novice, each tale was spun beautifully.

Fade to black, by Jase Brantson, had witty dialogue, humor, horror and a surprise ending I never saw coming. I loved how fast and fluid the story was, since it was mostly dialogue.

Artificial Life: The End Of Humanity, by Kate Charles, was amazing. The main character was the cause of the apocalypse, although she didn’t really have a conscience about it. The concept of causing the world to stop spinning for an instant, thereby causing it’s destruction, was a great idea.

I loved Shelf life, by S.L. Dearing, which also had a bit of a surprise ending. The characters were realistic, and I thought her choice of weaponry was quite brilliant! This was a love story at the end of the world… loved it!

Welcome to the End of the World (Population: Unknown), by R.M. Gilmore, is psychological horror at its finest! I was trapped inside that basement, losing my mind right alongside the main character. I rooted for her until the very end as her story unfolded.

Lotion, by Grayce Jantson (Jason Brant), was hilarious. The dialogue had me laughing out loud, The second character, Greg, is probably the worst person to survive an apocalypse, but added a whole lever of humor and frustration to the story. I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it’s nice when things aren’t always “happily ever after”

Until the End, by Brittany Heister, was written by a young lady my son’s age. I was very impressed with her vision of the end of the world, and she had very amusing characters in her story. An egg roll selling zombie is quite unique and made it interesting. I really enjoyed this story!

I know my first name is Clossiana, by K.T. Hennessy, is brilliant. It was such a wonderfully different take on the apocalypse. I don’t want to really reveal why it’s different, because I don’t post spoilers. This story made me rethink how humankind would react to a failing world.

Save Me, by Heather Kirchoff, was written by a high school student. Her story was vividly described, emotionally heart-wrenching, yet a feeling of hope was still kept throughout. Hers is a story of family betrayal, surviving under extraordinary circumstances, and new love. It was a wonderful story!

Canyon Bound, by Jon Messenger, was one of my favorite stories in this anthology. He made everything so real that I felt I could see, smell, hear, the end of the world, his struggle to find others that were alive, his survival in the face of illness, and the inspiring “best friend” that helped him on his journey.

What If, by Jocelyn Sanchez, was short but action-packed. It also had an ending that I didn’t see coming! The paranormal cause of her apocalypse was different than the other stories and quite an interesting idea!

Cheyenne Mountain, by Nicki Scalise, was an amazing story. The ultimate betrayal a person can face. I really liked the idea of Anathema. This story had my rapt attention through to the end.

The editor, Cynthia Shepp came up with this idea and brought it to life. I watched this collection of stories go from an idea, a Facebook contest, to a wonderful anthology. This was a labor of love by Cynthia, and she deserves her own little blurb. She put her heart and soul into this project and without it, some of these fine young authors wouldn’t be in print right now. Incredible job, Cynthia! <3 — Terri Kinckner, Goodreads Reviewer

Cynthia Shepp Can Definitely Orchestrate an Anthology!

This anthology was done through a contest held on Cynthia Shepp Book Reviews & Editing’s Facebook page. Set with the guidelines of writing about the Apocalypse with only a handful of supplies, the contest took a surprising turn and, thanks to the inginuity of Cynthia Shepp, turned into this anthology!

I will give a short review for each of the eleven short stories in this anthology and then review the anthology as a whole at the end.

Enjoy!

First Story:
Fade To Black by Jase Brantson (Jayce Grayson)
The story to begin this anthology is aptly titled Fade To Black. Set in a unique style of telling a story completely through dialogue, this story is a new idea on the zombie apocalypse and how two characters, Rex and Jack, plan to survive. With a witty dialogue and a clear sense of what’s going on, Fade To Black is definitely the perfect ice-breaker for this anthology.

Second Story:
Artificial Life: The End of Humanity by Kate Charles
This next story is about the world ending through a bio-weapon’s force and the creator of this weapon Kat. The world is progressively dying, and Kat is trying to bring back humanity through science. She’s growing a little mad and loses emotion as time goes on, her goal becoming her obsession. Though it’s a bit jumpy, it’s a great display of how one’s mind can simply go when faced with the apocalypse.

Third Story:
Shelf Life by S. L. Dearing
Shelf Life follows Shannon and her dog Max, who don’t know what happened to the world. Shannon ran into a bunker the second things started to get rough, and when she emerges three weeks later the world is so much different. This story was very well written with the emotions of Shannon very relatable, considering she is only just now realizing the end of the world happened and life will never be the same. When she meets Josh, maybe hope can be found from the ashes of Earth’s destruction.

Fourth Story:
Welcome To The End Of The World by R.M. Gilmore
This story begins explaining how the world ended, with the world coming off tilt and everything just going to ruin. A nameless woman and her husband find shelter in their basement as a lunatic with a scythe comes barreling into their home looking for more than just supplies. Showing the darker side of humanity when pushed to the brink, Welcome To The End Of The World is a delightfully dark tale of survival and the will to live even in a world that has ended.

Fifth Story:
Lotion by Jason Brant
Lotion by Jason Brant is, so far, my favorite story. Mostly due to the fact it’s so funny despite the fact the world has ended in the most gruesome of ways. It begins weeks after a virus has devastated the Earth, claiming millions of lives and leaving so few to stick around. The main character has been lucky to survive this long, but when he picks up his old neighbor things quickly spiral downwards in the most morbidly hilarious way possible.

Sixth Story:
Until The End by Brittany Hiester
This next story felt a little flat, explaining that the end of the world ends because of a tsunami. Brittany and Christian are friends who worked together before the apocalypse, and huddled together to survive the worst of it. Once they come out they face off with an old co-worker who has become a “zombie.” Though a little flat, it does have good light humor and good prospects for survival for the two main characters despite what they face.

Seventh Story:
I Know My First Name is Clossiana by K.T. Hennessy
This story completely threw me off when I started reading it. At first I was thinking it was another End-Of-The-Earth story when it threw a complete curve-ball in my way and made me gasp! I don’t want to spoil it for everyone else who has yet to read the story, but this story is one of the best for its well written dialogue, it’s harrowing emotion, and a twist that caught me totally off guard.

Eighth Story:
Save Me by Heather Kirchhoff
Save Me is the first story of this anthology that begins just as the end of the world is occurring, rather than skipping ahead to show the aftereffects. It starts as a fourteen-year-old girl named Raven tries to save her family from an invasion, only to fail and be forcefully pushed away by her brother who has just escaped the clutches of their invaders. Trying to survive, Raven makes friends with Nathaniel and together they try to piece together hope in a hopeless land.

Ninth Story:
Canyon Bound by Jon Messenger
Set months after the supposed Rapture, Tommy and James are trekking the long distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in search of others. Having found a sign that maybe there are people at the Grand Canyon, Tommy is determined to reach Las Vegas to abate his unending lonliness. Showcasing what a person would do to belong and the obstacles they face, Canyon Bound is one hell of a story!

Tenth Story:
What If by Jocelyn Sanchez
The idea for this story was very unique, suggesting that the world of the supernatural comes to extinguish humanity in order to obtain dominance over the world. Though I felt it was short and lacked an actual point other than to establish the idea, it was definitely a unique story with great potential.

Final Story:
Cheyene Mountain by Nicki Scalise
Bringing an end to the anthology, Cheyene Mountain is about a nameless woman who searches for a refuge from the brutal invasion of an indiginous species similar to demons. Hope is slim in this story, and we find in the end that sometimes hope just isn’t enough.

Overall:
With eleven amazing stories written by established authors and aspiring writers alike, Apocalypse is a unique anthology with a rock-solid premise and powerful views on the idea of the end of the world. Each story is as interesting as the last, each with their own world for you to explore. Cynthia Shepp has put together an intriguing story idea and brought together eleven amazing writers to create this incredible anthology. I hope to see another some time in the future, because what this anthology has shown me is that Cynthia Shepp can definitely orchestrate a great book! — Michael Loring, MichaelLoring.com

I don’t typically read anthologies, but the whole idea behind this one just pulled me in. I was curious to see how everyone took the same basic idea and ran with it.

Let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed as I read through each story. It was amazing to see the differences in people’s thinking.

I would have to say that Lotion by Jason Brant was my favorite. The characters literally had me laughing out loud.

Awesome job authors and also to Cynthia Shepp Editing for putting this together. I truly hope that there are more of these in the future! — Samantha T, momof2bookreviews.com

There are eleven short stories, involving zombies, vampires, aliens and a whole bunch of other undesirables who are trying to destroy the world as we know it. We experience the personal conflict of those involved after their worlds have been devastated and as they try their best to cope with their situation using the tools available.

The stories took me back to a genre of film I had loved so much as a child. ‘The Omega man’, ‘Search for the Body Snatchers’, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and Harry Belafonte in ‘The World, the Flesh and the Devil’ (the first movie I had ever seen that used sound design).

Each story has a different style because they are each written by different authors. But it is the story behind the book that is perhaps the most fascinating. It began as a competition on a blog site (Cynthia shepp) and on Facebook, evolved into a group publishing effort and finished with a cover design competition again on blog and Facebook.

Do yourself a favor and see what the end of the world is like. — Anthony, Goodreads Reviewer

A fantastic read! 11 authors giving one idea and then sent out into their own minds to create a short story for the world to read! Fantastic! I love every story in this book! The main reason is because even though they had the same idea, the same direction to start with each took their own path and made a very unique story! From shorter works to much longer ones, I never found a dull moment! I would recommend this book to anybody who loves stories that deal with the end of the world and the people left behind! — Eve, Amazon Review