The Harvesting

The Harvesting

by Melanie Karsak


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479327249
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/18/2012
Pages: 322
Sales rank: 1,027,093
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

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

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The Harvesting 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Small towns, everyone knows everybody else, people get labels they cannot shake and for Layla, leaving sleepy Hamletville and its painful memories behind for the lights of the big city was exactly what she needed. Now. Her grandmother needs her and she knows it is urgent. What she didn’t know was that going back to Hamletville would be a journey through nightmares, blood, death and a hardscrabble quest for her own survival. The country is under siege by a mysterious outbreak that leaves its victims undead, mindless zombies whose biggest concern is their next blood-lusting meal. Now, the weird girl, the granddaughter of the town’s medium with a fascination for swords must become a leader, a savior, the word of strength and reason for Hamletville’s survivors. Cut off from the rest of the world, Layla and her band of survivors will face a decision, to stay or move on, to trust in the unknown or trust in her visions and her gut instinct. What lay ahead will make zombies look like fluffy bunnies and it is up to Layla to save her people. Filled with action, turmoil, romantic entanglements, raw fear and true grit, THE HARVESTING by Melanie Karsak is more than just another zombie apocalypse, it is one strong woman’s quest for survival, while being the guiding light for the town who once looked down on her. Great scenes, a good sense of time flowing forward, a little help from beyond and a collection of secondary characters that never overshadow the heroine. At times these other characters almost seem to be drawn in faded colors as opposed to Layla’s vivid hues. Told in her words, it does make sense, but there were times when it seems that Layla was so busy “telling” what was happening that the doing got lost. I love a good apocalyptic tale and Ms. Karsak does deliver, starring a very strong heroine with a keen sense of herself and some nasty surprises beyond zombies!
Melhay More than 1 year ago
I had the great opportunity to listen to the audio book version. Kristin's work is outstanding. The emotion she shows through her voice is easy to grasp at and understand. She brings the intricately written Layla to life. She hits the rushed, horror filled moments making them pop with the suspense they are to feel and with shaking that fit's with Layla. It's like listening to a movie with the height of all emotions bubbling to the surface in her voice. She even does a Russian accent for Grandmother. I really enjoyed Kristin's work in this story! She really brought the story to life. Between Melanie's writing and Kristin's reading, I even teared up at the thought of why Grandmother did all she did. And even a few other times through the book I felt caught up in the world with the characters, hurting for what they had to do. Starting the book I knew from the description and others that there is a battle coming. Listening to the stocking Grandma is doing, the weapons she's collecting, and getting to know Layla and her Grandma has caught my attention right off. I want to know all! Grandma is scaring Layla, and making anxious as well. Then the moment comes. It's rough seeing the place Layla grew up go through all they have to bare. The people of this town have to come to grips with killing those they loved in life when they die. It's heart wrenching listening to how these people remember everyone and have to put them to their final resting place. This book is full of all emotions. Love of loss, love blooming, and scary and rushed adrenaline moments. All blends together with action and emotions wonderfully in this world. Well done Melanie! I love the subtle blends that Melanie has brought to the story. There feels to have nature and American Indian influences in the spirits around the Hamletville. The wood spirits around the area, and everywhere, is a helping hand for Layla. The world has changed, and they are able to suggest things in small ways. Just when I thought I was settling in, the story has a turn that brings us to something new! Oh this was wonderful! This story has so much more than I was ever expecting to read. We struggle through in Hamletville with Layla and those that survive, but then to come upon another obstacle in their lives and choices they made. Oh a new foe appears and is exciting to see! There is a bit of love in the book as well. Layla returns home, where her ex-boyfriend and the love of her youth still lives. But there is a potential other interest. It's not a three way that we all see all the time. Actually, Layla has her mind made up early on, it's that one of them has to get it through their skull that there's not a chance with her. And, I'm thrilled with the one she picks. He's TOTALLY the right choice. Layla is a wonderful lead character. She's the strong woman that I would love to be in this situation. She is knowledgeable from her history studying and profession. She's also kick arse with a sword and guns, yet she's not one with a large head that takes charge. She's respected by all that know her and knew her grandmother, and she's looked to for help and advice. She's amazing. If you haven't read or listened to this one, you SHOULD! I listened to that audio and man... this is an AMAZING combo of writing by Melanie and voice by Kristin. If you are a UF fan, you'll will enjoy this.
Berls More than 1 year ago
A bit too easy... 3.5 stars I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. To be fair to The Harvesting, I read the majority of it when I was in an extreme reading funk - and it was the first audio book in a string of audio books that I didn't quit. So maybe that alone should earn it more than 3.5 stars - but it still didn't have that special something that made me love it. I think that my problem - the thing that kept it from being great - was that everything came a bit too easy or was a bit too convenient. It's the Zombie Apocalypse and this town is dealing with it way too well in my opinion. I mean they did lose a lot of people, but it never felt truly catastrophic. And the main character just so happens to be a medieval warfare and sword fighting expert who speaks Russian dialects fluently. How handy! I think I just like to see things not be so simple. Despite those negative points, the story is a good one. I liked the way zombies worked in this world and the way the author blended multiple mythologies. Definitely some good world building that kept me curious and - because of how it ended - left me with questions for book 2. The narration was pretty good as well - I ended up listening at 1.5x-2x speed, which isn't great for most narrators performance. But Kristin James held up under the high speed pressure. I still heard good accents and, for the most part, good variation in voices. There were a few points where characters lost their distinctive voices and blended into each other, but not enough to bother me. I would continue listening if/when I read book 2 in the series.
SherryF More than 1 year ago
An awesome zombie apocalytic horror novel The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak is an apocalyptic, dystopian, paranormal novel that will have you dodging the undead while trying to survive. The characters will have to avoid the zombies as they search for life’s necessities, such as food and clothing. I love it when a book hooks me from the very beginning and The Harvesting did just that. I read the novel from cover to cover in less than five hours and hated to see it end. Layla works at the Smithsonian. She received a grant and is able to share her love of fencing, along with teaching about ancient weapons and how to use them. She is a warrior and will need all her skills to survive. I liked Melanie’s description of her – a cross between Mad Max and an Eskimo. I fell in love with her psychic grandma. A tough old bird that knows bad times are coming. I am sad, yet I smile right along with grandma. Grandma calls Layla home. Layla knew it had to be bad, so she dropped everything and raced to Hamletville. The name alone gives me a spooky and unpleasant feeling. “Harvesting Grandma?” “Oh yes, it is definitely harvesting season.” Layla and her grandma stocked up on food, weapons and other emergency supplies, as if to hunker down for a war. I can see Gram with a Colt 9mm submachine gun blasting away at anything that threatened her or hers. Oh man, I knew it was gonna be bad, but when grandma disappeared my heart fell. Melanie where did you come up with that awful gruesome idea? Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Yeah right. You would need to kick ass and take names, if you wanted to be around tomorrow. It is the Wild West and the enemy is you and yours. Imagine having to kill your undead husband, wife, child, friend…… The zombies are just what you think they would be and the fight is a gruesome and savage slaughter. The walking dead will not stop, until you stop them. Whether you tear their heads off or rip them apart limb by limb, you must make sure they cannot get up again. Blood, guts and body parts fly. The Harvesting has everything you could want in a zombie apocalypse novel. Melanie includes a surprise or two that made me cringe and my mouth drop open. What? I wonder how she came up with that? I fear for Layla and what may befall her. The combination of zombies, the apocalypse and the paranormal creates a story that left me wanting more. It is after the apocalypse, now what?
wizard_wannabe More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. It grabbed me from the first page and never let go. There are zombies but there is so much more involved in the telling of this story - its not just about the zombie apocalypse. Its about people and how they react to danger; how they change in the face of adversity. I loved the main characters and how they developed. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series (and the 3rd..5th..etc.) While I'm waiting for book 2, I am going to go get her first book in The Airship Racing Chronicles series.
indiebrag More than 1 year ago
We are proud to announce that THE HARVESTING by Melanie Karsak is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
Psychman More than 1 year ago
I have had Melanie Karsak’s THE HARVESTING on my to be read list for some time now. After reading this wonderful book, the first of a trilogy, I realized I should have put this at the top of my list a long time ago. Melanie first book of the three has enough action for two or three books on its own. She has written a story of Slavic mythology, the walking dead and a surprise that pops up about midway through the story. I could tell you but it would take away all the mystery and want you to garner that on your own. It caught me by surprise. I love that in a book. THE HARVESTING introduces us to Layla Petrovich, who is called back to the home of her grandmother who has a sort of sixth sense. Layla rocks with swords, sabres but prefers the feel of a Russian Shashka and is a strong female character. Her grandmother gives her a list, imparts her psychic ability to her granddaughter and then…all Hell breaks loose. Melanie’s writing is articulate and clean and her pacing is crisp. She immediately takes us into the apocalypse and places her characters through all kind of events serving to wipe out half of the town. They face supply issues, illness and of course… Biters. Then all of a sudden a group of people show up and offer them paradise and safe haven and this is where the story gets real interesting. Melanie’s characters and her ability to write about human characters is done so eloquently, you begin to feel what they feel, fear what they fear and love whom they love. I cannot begin to recommend this book highly enough. Melanie is so very talented that I finished the book and wished I had Part two in front of me to start reading. She takes the last few pages to set up the second part of the trilogy with another strong female character! If you read only one book for the rest of the year (I know this is not realistic…so many great books keep arising) but this book, THE HARVESTING needs to be the top of that list!
GinsBookNotes More than 1 year ago
Let’s get the obvious out of the way…I don’t read horror and I definitely don’t read horror zombie books. Well, this book is labeled as both, and not only did I read it but I LOVED it! It is so much more than horror and the undead; it is heartache, sacrifices, love, strength, and a kick ass heroine that I absolutely adored.  I will let you read the synopsis for all the details but just know that there is an awesome blending of genres. You get post-apocalyptic, paranormal, fantasy, and romance built into an amazing world, that despite all the dead people you don’t want to leave. The characters, the world, the twists and turns…all fantastic! I am beyond excited to read the next book in this series and will be a loyal follower of Melanie’s future books! Has it totally changed my stance on horror and zombies? Let’s just say that I now am a little more open minded to the genres and will cautiously try to expand my reading repertoire.
srfeike More than 1 year ago
I admit it…I have a weakness for zombies, but I have never really read a good zombie apocalypse book. So when I saw this one being advertised, I jumped on it, fervently hoping it would live up to my zombie expectations. Layla is your typical left-the-small-town-and-never-want-to-go-back kind of girl. I mean, really, who could blame her? Rural small town has nothing on the big city life. But when her grandmother called her frantically wanting her to come home, Layla dropped everything and went. What she discovered there was mystery, lost love, death, and…yes…zombies. Layla is so my type of girl – strong, independent, and kick-ass with a sword. She has a sense of responsibility and often acts on that without thinking, which eventually puts her in charge of the apocalypse survivors, albeit reluctantly. This book jumped right into the action, and was action packed all the way through. The author did a great job integrating the romance into the story, though I would have loved to see more Layla and Jamie! The author was able to build up the story and bring it to life (haha, to life…since they are zombies? Never mind) through her descriptions and world building, and I was definitely not disappointed with the zombies. The ending was different in an interesting sort of way, and I am definitely going to be looking for the next book to see what happens! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Fictional_Candy More than 1 year ago
The Harvesting was definitely a book that I didn’t expect. Everyone who knows me, knows I have a minor zombie obsession. I love them, and I absolutely love reading about them. Melanie Karsak’s zombies were beyond awesome. But let me start at the beginning.  Layla is a teacher, and she has a keen specialty in weapons. This will prove to be very handy later, when she is zombie slicing like a boss. But one day while she is at work she gets an urgent call from her grandmother to come home immediately. And so Layla wastes no time. And when she gets home, she is finding her grandmother acting peculiar. In a matter of days she discovers why.  Zombies.  Right away, I’m intrigued. I love that her psychic grandmother was able to get Layla prepared with preps and reinforcing. It kept her safe. And when Layla ventures back into town, she tears it up, clearing out tons o’ the undead. So yeah, I loved Layla. She was high energy and intelligent, and I love that in a heroine. And she had weapons, that’s some awesome extra credit, in my books.  The rest of the characters are pretty interesting. You have Ian, who I just wrote off as a complete jerk. I didn’t like him at any point. But then there was his brother, Jamie, who I thought was just awesome. He was a real man with a real heart, and I really admired him throughout the book for keeping a cool head. And then there are people like Jeff, who you just know won’t survive because they don’t have the good sense they should have been born with.  The first half of this book really rocked. It was a great zombie story, with blood and guts and decapitations. Unfortunately, after that, it kind of lost interest for me. There were several paranormal aspects brought in, and they kind of took away from the story for me. However, I know this is something some people will just love. It was a fresh take on the whole apocalypse outline, it just wasn’t for me. I don't want to spoil the surprise for you, so I won't delve into it too much.  I definitely think its worth giving a try! Melanie Karsak does a great job of building this world this post-apocalyptic world. I felt like I was right there with them, fighting for my life. Her characters are very interesting and believable. I think if you want to read a post-apocalyptic book dealing with the undead, that also incorporates some of the other thinks in the paranormal culture you should definitely give The Harvesting a shot. It is a unique take on the tale, and it is definitely written well.
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. Layla Petrovich gets a surprise call from her grandmother to return home right away. Layla, never hearing her grandma this frantic before, drops everything to help her grandmother. Little did she know, her grandmotherly had seen the future and needed her prepared to save the world. This was a great novel. To label it a Zombie Novel would be underrating this exciting action filled novel. There are spirits, zombies, humans and celestial creatures. Layla is a strong main female character that really knows how to use any weapon. There’s even a budding romance in the midst of the chaos. The flow of this novel was so amazing; it was hard to put down. Imagine my dismay at the cliffhanger ending! This was a unique twist on a zombie novel that I enjoyed very much!
Toni-MyBookAddiction More than 1 year ago
This novel is a true MASTERPIECE! I finished reading this book about an hour ago. My jaw is still on the ground. My mind has not stopped reeling. I may actually have to wait until tomorrow to start reading another book, just so I can savor this masterpiece a little longer. I strolled into the world created by Melanie Karsak expecting to find a whole lot of zombies and maybe a few badass people, blood and gore, heads flying, and perhaps a little post-apocalyptic romance. Boy was I completely wrong! It started as a leisurely stroll, quickly turned into a jog, and by the end I was running faster than I thought possible. The Harvesting is PACKED! Packed with action. Packed with blood and gore and flying heads. Packed with twists and turns that are impossible to predict. Packed with tears and laughter. Packed with fantasy and the supernatural. I don't feel that I can adequately discuss this book without giving too much away. I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone by revealing more than I should. The Harvesting starts before the crap hits the fan. Layla is an ancient weapons instructor living in D.C. when she receives a call from her psychic grandmother who is adamant that she return home. Though Layla is hesitant, she makes the 500-mile trek back to her rural roots because she loves her grandmother -- the one person that has always been there for her -- and is worried about her. Once she arrives in Hamletville, Grandma Petrovich sends Layla into town to purchase an ungodly amount of strange supplies, though she doesn't reveal why. Layla soon finds out.. and the thrilling, white-knuckle ride begins. From the moment I started reading I felt like I was under a spell. This world created by Karsak is revolting and beautiful all at the same time. The characters: at first I felt there were too many to keep straight in my head, but the story is so intelligent and masterful that everything flows together perfectly. If I had to pick one person to be stuck in the zombie apocalypse with, it would be Layla... hands down. I highly recommend The Harvesting to anyone that enjoys zombies, fantasy, supernatural, and even a bit of romance.
saulfan More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Can't wait for the next one.
Hermyoni More than 1 year ago
Review: I knew within the first few pages that The Harvesting would be a good book. Strong protagonist check, zombies check, not just one but two hot guys surviving the end of the world check x2, however, I wasn't prepared for how mind blowing this book would actually become. Over the course of just under 400 pages this book twisted and transformed from standard hack and slash zombie fare (which I love and would be fine with) to something that transcended genres creating not only a book with heart but also guts (no pun intended). The Harvesting starts before all hell breaks loose. Layla our kick butt heroine is a Medieval weapons instructor and is teaching a class when she receives a call from her grandmother cryptically demanding she return home. Layla agrees reluctantly and prepares to make the 500 mile drive home. You can sense the entire time that all Layla' s decisions are taken with a certain finality even the character doesn't understand. Once back her grandmother sends her to town gathering supplies though not revealing why. Two days later Layla will wish she had asked. This book was creepy with a capital C. I loved the ominous beginning and the suspense just waiting for things to start was perfect. I kept turning the pages thinking oh next scene. When the events actually started and the first Zombies showed up I was taken by surprise due to all the false starts. Was very well done.  One thing I absolutely loved was Layla's Russian heritage. I have a little Russian in me and I can appreciate the details put into not only her character but her grandmothers as well. Plus Layla wields one of my favorite weapons (yes,I have favorites) the Russian Shashka.  Now, I want to talk about the ending which was all sorts of kick-ass but if I did it would give away the twist and trust me, it's worth finding it out for yourself. I will however say that the Zombie blood being a curse to some might be a blessing in disguise for others.... Overall, I highly recommend The Harvesting, with a combination of fantastic world building, strong character development, and perfect pacing this book is a must read if you consider yourself a fan of the genre. I highly recommend picking The Harvesting up and giving it a go. I'll definitely be picking up the next in the series when it's released. I will be rating The Harvesting ¿¿¿¿¿.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
I love apocalyptic and dystopian reads.  Throw in some zombies and you have got my full on attention.  The best combination if you ask me.  But if you throw in yet another curve ball into this mix and you have The Harvesting (Volume 1) by Melanie Karsak.  Reading The Harvesting had was reminiscent of a mixture of The Walking Dead (woot!) and the movie 30 Days and 30 Nights, with a writing style that reminded me of one Rhiannon Frater, zombie apocalypse writer extraordinaire! After not having gone back home for about a year, main protagonist Layla, has received a phone call from her Grandmother to come home immediately.  What Layla finds upon her return is something that she never dreamed would happen.  It seems Grams is getting ready for the end of days.  Not only does Layla have to deal with her grandmothers cryptic messages, but she must also face a past that she had, long ago, left behind. An outbreak takes over the world and turns the living into the walking dead.  It is now up to Layla and her old neighbours to battle the oncoming onslaught of the horde and survive their new, unexpected lives together.  But fighting the dead bodies of her old neighbours isn’t the only thing that Layla and her crew must face.  It seems that there has always been “something” living amongst the, and the end of days has brought their existence to the surface. Now Layla and her friends must now decide what is “safe” and who they can trust.  Loyalties will be tested, survival is more urgent than back in their little town of Hamletville, and a new beginning is a faint spark in this new world where the undead rule and come out to play. I was a little leery in starting The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak.  After having read many books with the subject of a zombie apocalypse, I had it firm in my mind that this would be the same as the rest.  As well, after having read a series about this very same subject, which was epic beyond all else, I was pleasantly surprised that The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak was an thoroughly enjoyable read! I was instantly gripped by the oncoming storyline.  The writing style presented by the author was one where I found easy to follow and very entertaining.  I felt as though the characters and their surroundings were easily visible in my mind, and there were times where I felt like I was right in the moment with these characters.  The characters all had their own personalities where readers everywhere will find one that they will be able to relate to. I loved the spiritual aspect that was thrown in to the story.  Layla finds herself able to communicate with spirits in the forest as her Russian born grandmother was able to.  It brought a whole new element to the whole end of days storyline.  And with a past that Layla had runaway from, it was interesting to see how, when having to face her past, how Layla was able to confront it and move past it.  Layla is a strong, independent, female lead who can really kick some undead ass.  I love female characters who can kick ass, and have the male populace stare wide eyed and open mouthed. Add in the dark twist found within these pages, and readers everywhere will be in for an unforgettable thrill ride.  Once you think that things just couldn’t possibly get worse for these survivors, author Melanie Karsak throws in a curveball.  The different twists and turns found in The Harvesting will have readers on the edge of their seats, and its these elements that will make this book unputdownable. Fans of apocalyptic reads and zombie lovers everywhere will find a new book to devour in The Harvesting, and will also find an author that will quickly rise high on the list of unforgettable horror writers.  Pick up a copy and discover this awesome read for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.
twimom101 More than 1 year ago
"Layla, Grandma needs you to come home." Those words would change Layla's world forever. If she had been the type of grandchild to never listen, then most likely she would be dead instead of fighting the undead. Back in her hometown of Hamletville, Layla is hit with the memories of her past love and a home in disarray. Why is her grandmother hoarding food, guns, and medicines? And why is everyone suddenly getting sick with this nasty flu strain? When I was approached to do a review on The Harvesting I jumped at the chance. I saw the word zombies and knew for certain I had to review this book. And goodness I was so glad I did. We get a little bit of romance, a lot of zombies, a smidge of vampires, and a dash or spirits. Crazy right? Absolutely. All pulled together to make one great read. This book kept me up late reading...then up early the next day to finish it. So much goodness packed into one book. I was floored at how much I loved the idea of vamps, zombs, and even a shift coming together. Yeah, I know we see them all together in books and movies and shows...but guys. I don't know what to say. It was just a really good read. I am hoping that with that ending (and the book that is up on goodreads without a blurb) is going to be the next book. I need to know what the deal was with that ending. My interest is most definitely peaked and I will be reading it for sure! Although the book starts out rather clean and YA’ish, towards the end it leans toward New Adult/Adult. There are a few scenes that were a little raunchy and I could have done without the visual. But all in all, I was happy where the author took everything and the ending. The book, although intense at times, was also funny and light. I was also pleased with all the characters. Let me just say that the author has no problem offing someone if need be. No one is safe. Oh I mentioned earlier that Layla has to face her past love, right? Well I was pleased with how that all went down. I won’t say who the romance is with…but it was sweet none the less. It was all very well done and the readers, I think, will enjoy it. It was the right amount for the circumstances at hand to make this whole thing believable. So, that was a great bonus to the story for me…cause I love romance. Zombies + romance= me happy!
StephWard More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars 'The Harvesting' is a thrilling horror novel that focuses on the main character of Layla, who returns to her small hometown to discover that the zombie apocalypse that her grandmother has seen in a psychic vision is actually happening - and the residents need her help to survive. On top of the zombies, it becomes painfully clear that humankind has never actually been alone in the world and the beings that have been waiting on the edges of the world are about to claim their stake. Layla has to find a way to stop them and save the world or else all will be lost. This novel was an action packed thrillride with tons of intriguing ideas along with lots of twists and turns. It definitely keeps the reader on their toes and eagerly turning the pages. The writing is very well done and the story flows naturally and at a really fast pace. The main character, Layla, is realistic and easy to like. I found myself identifying with her right from the beginning and rooting her on throughout the book. There's a mix of genres in the book - horror, action, mystery, adventure, thriller - it definitely shouldn't be labelled as just one genre. The descriptions and details of the setting, plot, and happenings in the book are incredibly well done - which I think adds a new layer of depth to the novel that the typical "zombie book" doesn't normally have. This is definitely something fresh and exciting for fans of multiple genres - I highly recommend it to readers who want to try something unique and different from most novels out there right now. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.