Thursday, October 08, 2009

Day by Day Armageddon or Pardon me while I bite that juicy ankle of yours and turn you into a zombie . . . by J. L. Bourne

Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne
Copyright 2009
Pocket Books - Fiction/Horror/Zombies
199 pages

I fell asleep early and woke up late, so I'm not quite finished with this book (and a storm is coming, which means I need to go ahead and write before I must shut off my electronics).

Day By Day Armageddon tells the story of a man in the American military surviving against growing odds. When a plague hits China, American doctors are sent to help determine the cause and stop the plague. But, it quickly becomes apparent that the disease is spreading too rapidly and even the doctors are not returning. Americans are evacuated from embassies in China and other far-east posts, but it's too late. Someone has brought the disease to the United States.

Called in to his military base, the nameless rogue diarist has already been stockpiling Meals Ready to Eat (MRE's), guns and ammunition, water and other supplies he thinks he may need to wait out the spread of the illness. Then, the truth comes out. The plague causes people to die and then come back. Zombies are roaming the streets and they kill with a single bite.

As the book progresses, our hero finds that he is not alone. He and his neighbor John take jaunts out of their homes to acquire food and supplies, then eventually have to leave San Antonio. As the book continues, they slowly pick up more refugees and they're no longer lonely but now they have to deal with the need for more food, more medical supplies, more drinks. Will they survive or is it too late for the few survivors and the world in general?

I flipped to the end of the book because I'm that kind of girl and it turns out the book is "to be continued". So, even if I'd made it to the end before I sat down to write, I know there's more to come.

Written as diary entries, the story is told entirely from our rogue's viewpoint. Harry wrote a fantastic review at Temple Library Reviews. As he mentioned, the nameless protagonist is a bit like McGyver, jerry-rigging devices to keep the zombies out while they forage for food or sleep for the night, hot-wiring cars, creating diversions. I loved that. The book is suitably creepy and sometimes a little gross, with descriptions of rotting flesh -- which, I suppose, you have to expect from a zombie book that takes itself seriously.

The downfall of this book is terrible English. At one point, the protagonist mentions his typos. I'm assuming his entries are typed on a laptop, although there are fake smudges, circles, underlining, etc., in "handwriting"-type script to give it the appearance of having been printed out and remarked upon or added to. Unfortunately, it's not just typos that get in the way of smooth reading. Poor grammar, misused words, misspellings -- you name it, English teachers would have a field day with their red pens (and an editor should have). I'm assuming the idea was to leave it be and make the entries appear genuine, but not editing made the writing very, very rough and sometimes you have to figure out which word is missing or translate the meaning.

Regardless, Day by Day Armageddon is a fun diversion. My son and I had a great conversation about the book, yesterday. I told him it was basically one man against the world and he said, "That would be like Dawn of the Dead." I said, "Really? That's a movie with a rogue hero?" He said yes, and then started to tell me what kind of supplies you need for a zombie invasion and I informed him of what he was forgetting. If you have a teenage boy nearby, preparation for a zombie invasion is a tremendously fun topic. Day by Day Armageddon is not a well-written book, but I like survival and had fun imagining what I would do if I were in our nameless protagonist's place. He doesn't simply hole up in his house for the duration, so there's plenty of action.

3.5/5 - A fun diversion but errors in grammar, spelling, etc. make it hard for a person with an editor brain to get through.

See the little bend in the left-hand side of Mississippi? Mississippi is the state with Jackson as its capital, in case you're not proficient in geography. We're at that bend in the river. I've borrowed this radar snap from Weather Underground to show you what's coming. Yikes. Batten down the hatches! I've got to make a Walmart run, and I think I'd better hurry.

Kitty is on the mend and I should be able to bring her home, this afternoon! Wahoo!!!! Thanks to Sarah Reidy and Pocket books for letting me join in on this tour. Hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Update: Expensive Kitty is home! She looks terrible and appears to be completely blind in her bad eye, at the moment (she's a bit stumbly), but she's obviously glad to be here and is eating well. We only got a little wet. The blustery wind of this morning seems to have petered out when the rain arrived. I've finished the book and toward the end Harry's comments about the book being entirely plot-driven without much depth to the characters has been reinforced but the book is about constantly moving to escape a growing threat so the characters don't necessarily require a great deal of depth. I love the fact that the cast, which grew as Unnamed Protag picked up a few stray humans, seldom stayed in one place for long because it keeps things moving. Hopefully, the publishers will bother editing the second book. All those errors were really annoying, but I still had fun reading and thought it was worth the time.

I neglected to warn that there's plenty of violence, gruesome description and bad language. It's not constant, though. Mostly, it's a story of survival and an entertaining, escapist read.

Update #2: It just occurred to me that since this book is suspenseful and creepy, it qualifies for the RIP IV. All right! Another challenge book down! I'm finally actually succeeding at a challenge!! Party on, dudes.


  1. Heat, humidity and storms? Yikes! Bunker down.

    Zombies, to be continued, spelling and grammatical errors. I think I'll pass on that one.

    Yay for the kitty coming home!

  2. I had a random thought, not long after watching Zombieland, that I should give myself a goal of reading as many zombie books as I can get my hands on, at least until I get tired of them. I've read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies already, and some zombie graphic nobel I can't remember the title of. I may just add this one to the list, too, and see if I can get through it despite its roughness.

  3. Carrie,

    Yeah, tornado weather. Yuck. It's just arriving. I made it to Walmart and back, no problem. Naturally, it's 20 minutes till I'm supposed to pick up the kiddo so I'll probably end up parking and then find that he's huddling in a hallway.

    Zombies do not seem like your type of book. I think we'll just move right along. I've got The Tudor Rose coming up. There's a Carrie book. Have you read it? It's an older title, reprinted by Sourcebooks and written by Margaret Campbell Barnes. I'm going to start reading it, soon. Probably tomorrow.

    So happy about kitty. Haven't heard from the vet, but he said probably this afternoon. Bounce, bounce.

  4. I hope you get kitty home before the rains rain on her.

  5. This one has a definite I Am Legend sound to it! Since I do enjoy survival books (with or without zombies), I'll look for this one. If the urge to use the red pen doesn't intervene, I think I'll enjoy it!

  6. Oooh, didn't know about the weather...hope it doesn't make it here before I FINALLY get home tonight.

    Love the review! The title made me chuckle right off the bat and it sound like you enjoyed the diversion from more serious books. To me, the storyline reminds me of I AM LEGEND (movie, with Will Smith), or maybe even 28 DAYS. Both zombie-type movies (not usually my genre, but the movies were decent to good) with a rogue male hero trying to get out alive and save anyone else along the way.

  7. Library Girl,

    Well, I wish you luck with that! Zombies aren't my typical read, but I'm always open to new and different things and I thought Day by Day was really fun in a survival action adventure way. It's rough, all right, but worth it for the escape. :)


    Nope, we got wet. :) But, kitty is home and happily curled up beside me. She's stumbly and appears unable to see out of her bad eye but has a great appetite. We'll just have to watch her very carefully, keep her dosed up and try really hard not to step on her. She's easy enough to step on, as is, but now that she's not seeing well, I'm going to insist the guys use lights when they walk down the hallway!!


    I fear you would desire to wield your red pen, but it's still fun reading. I haven't read I Am Legend, although I can tell you this guy comes nowhere close to the skill of Richard Matheson. However, it's a zombie book -- I don't think most people expect brilliant writing. It's entertaining and that counts a lot. :)


    Uh-oh, are you headed home to Florida? I think it's going southeast -- this line of storms was in Oklahoma, last night. Maybe you'll get lucky and it'll just drift right out to the Gulf and pass you by.

    I haven't read I Am Legend (but the movie scared the peawaddin' out of me). It's similar in a way. He gradually picks up stray humans and it's essentially a survival story. I really enjoyed it. It's fun to read something totally different, now and then!

  8. Great review! I'm not sure if this is my type of story, but it sounds rather interesting!

  9. April,

    Thanks! The funny thing is, you could say this is not my kind of story, either. I do like reading things that are "not me", now and then -- not often, but I go through shake-up-the-reading phases. Zombies. Honestly. LOL

  10. I am so sick of rain! I went to the Canton Flea Market and it was 90 degrees and humid. My grandmother gave out on me after a few hours. lol I found a few cute things in that time period though. :)
    It is not storming here yet but we are supposed to get it in the morning. I am still going on my Sams Run! lol

  11. Wait a minute, a zombie story? You?? I thought you didn't like scary stories!

    Zombies, however, are not for me. I find them on the dusgusting side of the scale.

    I'm thrilled by the kitty news! I hope she recovers fully soon.


  12. Brittanie,

    I know! It's getting discouraging, all that rain and heat. Enough with the muggy weather. It's time for fall!!!

    I've only been to the Canton Flea Market once and it was hot but fabulous. I'm glad you at least got to go and found some good things before your grandmother gave out on you!!


    Yeah, zombies! I figured people who really know me would get a kick out of finding out I'd read this one. ;) It's really not all that scary -- more tense, suspenseful and action-packed. I guess, not having read a lot of zombie books, this is probably tame by comparison because the focus is really on survival. There's some yuckiness but that wasn't his emphasis at all.

    I think Miss Spooky has a long road to recovery ahead of her and we may end up with a one-eyed kitty, but we're just so thrilled to have her home. She's a train wreck, poor girl. Because she can't see out of one eye, she has no depth perception. She can't jump up or down without difficulty and she's really not eating much. I'm fine with a one-eyed cat; I just want her to get healthy.

  13. Book sounds interesting. I think I'll pass. At least you're not getting snow. ;)

  14. Krista,

    It's fun, but maybe not your thing. ;)

    SNOW??? I want!!! Send it down here. Never say that. I'll always take snow. I MISS snow.

  15. lol come see me when this baby is born and who knows we might have snow on the ground. :)

    come on, you know you want to. ;)

  16. I'm not partial to "to be continued" and books in need of editing but the zombie and fun diversion angle doesn't sound too bad.

  17. Krista,

    Tempting. But, I think I'll have to wait a year. This is the last year with my baby in the house. Bwaaaah!


    Me, either. The editing, in particular, is really hard for me to cope with (in fact, the only passages I marked were bits where the grammar and usage were so awful my inner editor forced me to stick a post-it on the page). Actually, I think it helped knowing that it was going to be continued, though. I might have had trouble with the ending, otherwise. As it was, I enjoyed the end and was fine with the way it left things hanging but . . . well, No-Name is still alive so we can keep running from zombies when the next book is ready! Wheee!

  18. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad kitty is home. I do hope she continues to mend. You must be so very, very relieved!

    You know, I can see myself really enjoying this book for a nice escape sometime, despite the poor writing. Thanks!

  19. You are braver than I; quite unlikely I'd even venture into this book, given a quick look at the title and the blurb about it on Amazon. Not my cuppa tea, clearly.

  20. Debi,

    Thanks. Kitty is sleeping a lot and she's half-blind, but she's eating and kept her medicine down. Yes, very relieved that she survived the week and sooo happy to have her around. I don't sleep well without a cat in the house.

    Bad writing aside, Day by Day is definitely a great little bit of escapism. :)


    There's a fine line between bravery and foolishness. LOL But, actually, it's not as gory as you might expect -- really more of a survival story. I enjoyed it for the change of pace. :)

  21. As others have already mentioned, this does sound a bit like I Am Legend. Loved the movie. Didn't care much for the short story.

    That's quite an image of your weather map! I need to start looking at Weather Underground. I use Weatherbug, but the radar isn't what it used to be. Guess you have to pay for the fancy stuff now. ;(

    I've been keep up with Miss Spooky on FB. Glad she's improving!!

  22. Les,

    I guess it does bear some resemblance to what I know of the movie I Am Legend, but . . . well, not much, actually. It's got a military pilot and an engineer working together, so they're really inventive, and they keep moving rather than holing up like Will Smith does in the movie. I haven't read the Matheson story, so I can't compare, but I plan to someday. I do like his writing. I've read quite a few of his short stories and a couple of books.

    I've been using Weather Underground ( for years. I used to go to and it actually went downhill, like the one you've been using.

    Thanks. Miss Spooky's bad eye looks really creepy -- totally black. Eww. But, she's getting up and around, a bit. We'll just keep doping her up and watching her. :)

  23. Spooky weather. Hope it passed over by the time I write this and that you fared well.

    That book sounds like a fun one to read and share with a teen son. I only have girls so I'll probably skip it.

  24. Booklogged,

    That storm really petered out nicely. We had stiff, gusty winds before the rain, but then it was just rain . . . nothing stormy at all.

    I enjoyed the book and had a great time talking to my son about it, but he actually doesn't want to read it! Funny. I may pass it on to our car rider. He and my son have had some hilarious chats about how to prepare for the zombie invasion. Boys are fun. :)

  25. I am glad to hear that the cat is on the mend!

  26. Thanks, Kelly! Her bad eye doesn't seem to be improving at all, so we may have a half-blind cat for the rest of her days, but we're so glad she's alive!! :)


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