Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire

All she ever wanted to do was dance…

Verity Price is a cocktail waitress and aspiring ballroom dancer, hoping to hit the big time in New York City. The only problem is, her other job keeps getting in the way.

Other job? Oh, right. Verity’s a cryptozoologist (from a long line of the same), and her job is to look after the urban cryptid population–help them when they need it, keep an eye out for potential problems, and help them stay off the human radar. But someone else is in New York for the cryptids, too, and he isn’t nearly so helpful.

The Covenant of St. George is a centuries-old organization dedicated to slaughtering anything that wasn’t on the ark with Noah. (Where they got the complete passenger list from is anybody’s guess) It’s been decades since they last purged New York City, and the cryptid population has swelled–so much so that there’s no way Verity could ever protect them all.

What’s more, she can’t let the Covenant find out who she is–her family’s efforts to protect cryptid life has put them on the Covenant’s most wanted list (dead or alive, but most preferably dead).

With cryptid women disappearing from the streets, the Covenant agent haunting the rooftops, and ugly whispers of cults in the sewers, Verity’s got her work cut out for her.

This book, the first in an ongoing series, is loads of fun. (Gunfight in a strip club, people!) Author McGuire takes conventional monster (or “monster”) tropes and spins them into living, breathing, real people who don’t seem too different from you or me–apart from the claws and fur, that is.

(Oh, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning the mice. The hyper-religious, pantheistic mice who turn pretty much everything into sacred writ.)

Can Verity save the day and make it to the tango competition on time? Will the Covenant discover her identity and purge New York? Will the things lurking in the sewers destroy the city in some sort of Discount Armageddon? Read it, and find out.

Favorite Line:

I hate killing people. It’s messy, it’s inconvenient, and while body disposal is surprisingly easy when you know what you’re doing, it’s not a pleasant way to spend an evening.

Don’t read if: you don’t like free running, gingerbread, competitive ballroom dance, or dragons. Or talking mice. Seriously: if you hate talking mice, don’t read this.

FEED, by Mira Grant

No one ever talks about life after the zombies rise. Well, not until now…

Twenty-six years ago, over the course of a single summer, thirty-two percent of the world’s population died. Then they came back. The zombie apocalypse was happening, and the media refused to acknowledge it. Almost overnight, traditional news media lost most of its credibility, and people began to look for the truth elsewhere. They found it in the blogosphere, and a new era of journalism began. Blogging became a respected, legitimate source of information.

Georgia Mason is one such blogger. She, her adopted brother Shaun, and their friend Buffy run a well-respected news blog–it’s so highly regarded, in fact, that they’re asked to cover Senator Ryman’s campaign trail as he runs for President of the United States. The Senator is a genuinely decent stand-up guy who sincerely wants to serve his country. But all is not as it should be, and it seems like someone is sabotaging the campaign from the inside. As the body count rises, Georgia grows ever more convinced that it’s not all zombies-as-usual, no matter what anyone else says. But is letting the world know the truth worth the price she’ll have to pay?

Oh, yes, this is a zombie book. I don’t usually like zombie books, but I love this one. For one thing, the Rising already happened–so there’s none of the “oh, no! Zombies! Whatever shall we do?” nonsense that tends to clutter zombie fiction.

But more than that, it’s about honest reporting (hey! You could say that it actually is about ‘ethics in journalism!’), truth in the media, and the cost of personal integrity. It’s fast and it’s funny and it’s fun. It examines life after a cataclysm; the world keeps turning even when it seems to be ending. When the dust settles, whoever’s left finds new routines, new ways of living. They adjust, they adapt. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Give FEED a shot. You won’t regret it. (But on the off-chance you do, you could always write a blog about it.)

Favorite Line:

I had to admit a certain affection for the Mattel booth advertising Urban Survival Barbie, now with her own machete and blood testing unit.

Don’t read if: you don’t like Coke, conspiracies, people who wear sunglasses, or references to Steve Irwin.