Review: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted April 9th, 2013 in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 16 comments

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The Harvesting

The Harvesting Series, #1

by Melanie Karsak

Publisher: Self-Published (Sept. 2012)
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Zombie, Post-Apocalyptic, New Adult/Adult
Format: eBook (386 pages)
Source: Blog Tour
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Though Layla reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she could never have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla’s help if they are to survive the zombie apocalypse that’s upon them. But that is not the only problem. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

This review has minor spoilers. I do mention what supernatural creatures are in this world besides the zombies.

At A Glance
Well that was a hell of a thing. Zombies, Vampires, AND Spirits! This is the kind of book that you end up loving for it’s uniqueness.

The Good
The Harvesting blew my mind. I never expected it. It gives off the persona that it’s just another zombie book. But it’s a lie. This isn’t just a zombie book. This book has everything: fantasy, horror, folklore, zombies, vampires, spirits, romance, action, drama, death, and survival. I was drawn in from the beginning when Layla’s grandma foresees the zombie apocalypse and helps Layla prepare for the coming fight. When Layla helps her hometown survive and thrive during the zombies. And when Layla does everything–like walking into a nest of vampires–to protect the people she loves.

The first thing that made this book different from every other zombie book is that there is not much fighting between the humans. Zombie books always seem to portray people going after each other as the world gets consumed. But in The Harvesting, the town works together, very effectively I might add. Sure, there are a few glitches, but it was nice to see a town that can work together in a world that is falling apart.

Layla is an amazing character. She isn’t super woman or anything. She has her moments of fear and insecurity. But she is one tough chick overall. She knows a lot about weaponry, both from her job in ancient weapons and through her grandmother’s teachings. She takes her “crazy” grandmother in stride. She humors her when she makes Layla gather supplies and board up the house, knowing her grandmother may have a good reason for being paranoid. And when the zombies come down on the town, Layla risks her life immediately to save the few people left who are not infected. She is an amazingly thorough leader who knows how to delegate tasks accordingly. I respect people like that. I am all about take-charge attitudes from people who are competent.

I really liked both love interests in this book, but for different reasons. There is Ian, the old boyfriend who left Layla heartbroken. Then Jamie, Ian’s brother, who is like a brother to Layla but might be something more now. I loved to hate Ian. He isn’t a bad guy per se, just a screw-up. His actions are not always appropriate. Jamie is just pure awesomeness. He also has a take-charge attitude, like Layla. The three of them made a pretty great team. But it’s Layla’s feelings for Jamie that was the funniest to watch. Layla’s struggle between the two love interests was completely believable, and it was nice to see her work through her feelings slowly.

The supernatural element–besides the zombies–made this book even better. We get these mystical forest spirits that help Layla with her rough journey. Then there are the creepy vampires who use the zombie apocalypse to their benefit. It’s a pretty good set-up on their part, but what a creepy concept. Zombies wanting to eat you is one thing, but throw in vampires wanting to eat you, DOUBLE WHAMMY.

The action was really great. Melanie does not hold back on the horror and gore of zombie killing. The world-building was amazing. I was sucked into the writing style right away. The story flowed easily; I kept forgetting I was even reading a book. The twists and turns kept my adrenaline going the whole way through. I can’t wait for book two.

The Bad
I think the first half of the book with zombies was the best part, the second part with the vampires lacked a little.

The ending left us with a lot of questions on what’s going to happen next, so it was a bit frustrating.

The last chapter of the book confused me. I am assuming it is a segue to the next book, but it left me scratching my head with why it was included at all.

The Snuggly
This is not a romance heavy book, which is common in zombie books. We have an interesting sort-of-but-not-really love-triangle that works out perfectly. I loved the slow build and past love drama. I great addition to spice up the story. No sex though, but some sexual situations.

Final Thoughts
I was so pleasantly surprised by The Harvesting. It seems like books from blog tours have been really disappointing me lately, but The Harvesting broke the bad book streak. I will be keeping my eye on this author for now on. She knows what she’s doing. Highly recommended.

“Who would have thought that the end of the world would bring me the one thing I thought I wanted most.”


“If you ever need to slice someone’s head off, this is the blade you want.”


“The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone.”


“Now, this is .44 Magnum, like the Dirty Harry movie. It has good stopping power. Lift up the safety and boom,” Grandma said pulling the trigger. The gun barrel let out a resounding noise, shattering Grandma’s old mantle-piece vase. “The man told Grandma this is a kill-shot gun, very powerful.”

Author Bio

Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Melanie is the author of “The Harvesting” series. Visit the author at her blog,, to learn more about upcoming projects, book signings, and other neato things.

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16 Responses to “Review: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. Alicia Batista

    I have been DYING to read this book for a while now, but now reading your review I’m wanting to read it that much more! 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  2. lindalou

    LOL! Loved the pic! I’ve become enamored of end-of-the-world stories and of zombies with the Walking Dead series… Your book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Jaclyn Canada

    Sounds fantastic! I love all the supernatural creatures you mentioned…I bet they make for a great story. The take-charge attitude and weapons knowledge is a huge plus. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m adding this one to my list to read for my zombie month. Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  4. Elisa

    I am soooooo excited to hear this was so good. I am definitely going to check this one out. Great review and love the author pic 🙂

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