Monday, August 30, 2010

Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

This was an Arc that was unavailable when I had made my request. Shortly after I was offered an oppotunity that had expired before I even had a chance to reply. That said, it was clear to me the potential of this new series was going to be way more popular than expected. Thankfully Kate Lied, publicity assistant with Bloomsbury publishing, offered to send me Hearts At Stake (#1) and Blood Feud (#2) in the Drake Chronicles due to the inconvenience.

This was another of my featured novels in August's "Zombies Vs Vampires" theme. Not only was the book so great, but it was extremely fast paced and I didn't want to put it down. Although the story is written based on the Drake family, and this one mostly on Solange Drake, I was more drawn to Lucy & Nicholas's characters. Lucy especially overshadows Solange and it made it feel like the characters should have been flip flopped? Alyxandra Harvey has created such a detailed family lineage with the Drake family vampires that it makes it easy to follow the story without any forms of confusion.

I actually felt that while reading it there was a sense of modern-day poetry with a retro feel. I think with such creativity in the way it is written that it allows the audience of readers to vary in age ranges without being too kitschy and even too kiddy. The ending was of the sort that compels the reader of a hunger to continue such a fun and thrilling journey with the Drake family vampires...and even my girl Lucy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hater by David Moody

assaults on individuals. Christened "Haters" by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path.
As a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands, it soon becomes clear that everyone, irrespective of race, class, or any other difference, has the the potential to become a victim- or a Hater.
People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes, and increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra-violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone, must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, "ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER" becomes the order of the day...only, the answers might be far different than what you expect...
In the tradition of H.G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man's story of his place in a world gone mad- a world infected with fear, violence and HATE.

This was a novel published a few years back. I contacted David in hopes of reviewing the novel. It took many months before I got my hands on it. David tried helping me and I contacted the publisher with no word. Luckily I was resourceful and used my previous contact of Katy Hershberger via Thomas Dunne Books who actually sent me the copies of Hater and Dog Blood. Without her help I wouldn't have been able to make the reviews possible.

The first thing that I want to say about this novel is that Guillermo Del Toro is turning it into a movie. Most people know him from Pan's Labryinth. I really enjoy his work and know that he will give the movie the credit it deserves. Another thing I would like to mention is the fact one of my previous reviews gave Hater a plug- David Wellington, another amazingly talented author.

This novel was an intense page turner from page 1 to page 281. I think of the book as a "Fight Club" on steroids. There's even a small, minute Alfred Hitchcock feel towards the end as well. My favorite sections were the Hater stories. Although they were my favorite stories, I am not sure which Hater side I'm on. Either way, I'm a Hater, as are you and everyone else!  This is a definite must read trilogy with books one and two currently in stores and book three on it's way.

Thanks again to David and Katy both for allowing me the opportunity to experience and review such a phenomenal piece of work. I can't wait to begin Dog Blood tonight.

Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings

In many ways, Natalie O'Reilly is a typical fourteen-year-old girl. An excellent student, she has many good friends and a family who loves her. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a short time.
Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she's told; inwardly she hopes for the miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness. But the miracle does not come, and Natalie untimately must confront every blind person's dilema. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight? Her decision does not come easily.

Still another ARC I had requested and Priscilla had sent me, along with an upcoming interview. This novel is geared to ages 10 and up. It is written in their pov as well, although it has a deeper adult feelining as well. One cool thing the author features in the back of the book is a Braille guide to help decipher some of the captions in the story.

As I read the story I had conflicting emotions. The characters blaise sense of humor to their conditions, with my outsider view- not out of pity, but I felt more of an aggravation that anyone should have to be in the position of being blind.

There were so many scenes that stuck out in this story. One of them that stuck out most with me was the scene with Arnab and Natalie on the bench. It was heartbreaking and the compassion between the two was so intimate in the not so typical way that it made me emotional. This was the scene that began the flow of all of the sad events to come throughout the novel.

I began to look out for, and notice the various Braille signs and plaques in my own community, throughout the time that I was reading this story. When I did encounter it I was highly appreciative for it. Before I was simply indifferent. This novel was an eye-opener for me and has brought about a great enlightenment towards the blind community.

Favorite quotes:
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even touched- they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

"The thing was, if you wanted to survive you had to keep going...Even when it hurt. had to walk around the holes in your life, instead of falling through them."

Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan


Locke, California 1928. Three bedraggled Chinese women appear out of the mist in a small Chinese farming town on the Sacramento River. Two are unknown to its residents, while the third is the long-lost wife of Richard Fong, the handsome manager of the local gambling parlor. Left behind in China many years earlier, her unexpected arrival throws his already complicated life into upheaval. As the lives of the townspeople become inextricably intertwined with the newly arrived women, a premonition foretells a deep unhappiness for all involved. And when a flood threatens the village, the frightening power of these mysterious women is finally revealed.

This was another ARC I had requested. Shawna has allowed me the opportunity to review and interview her work. Originally I thought this was a debut author novel. In actuality it is a re-release under a new title. Previously the book was published in 2007 as Locke 1928. The cover image above is of the original publication, not of the one I was sent.

The lack of quotations during character conversations made this a hard novel to read for me. I was driven to read this because of the Asian culture that I am so intrigued by. The novel doesn't fall short on rich, cultural history. There were so many characters and stories intertwined amongst flash-backs. I think this was another thing that made it a difficult read for me.

There was one particular scene between the characters Alfred & Chloe. As I read it, it was so close to being like the shopping scene with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I don't know if that was an inspiration or simply just a coincidence.

Upon completion of Water Ghosts I am still confused if the women on the boat were ghosts of a mental or physical apparitions? While I am not putting down the novel, I think that if the book was written in a different aspect I could have enjoyed it more to its capacity I am sure it was meant to be. Thanks again to Shawna for allowing me to review this story and interview her as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Feathered Serpent by Junius Podrug

December 21, 2012

The fabeled Feathered Serpent, harbinger of the apocalypse, has begun his relentless ascent out of the bowels of the earth.
Beautiful astrobiologist and archaeologist Caden Montez is on his trail. Caden is in Teotihuacan, the ancient ruin she believes is the best site on earth to find evidence of visitation by aliens in ancient times. While exploring the "City of the Gods"- a place so eerie it terrified even the most ferocious Aztecs-she discovers that the Serpent has broken free of its two-thousand-year entombment.
Ancient Mayan priests prophesied that when the Feathered Serpent returned, he would open the gates to the End Time.
The Mayans's Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse is on the move, and humanity's survival hangs in the balance. Caden must stop the beast and is helped by someone who had once battled it: Tah-Heen, a champion in the gladitorial ball courts where the "game of life and death" was played- and the loser sacrificed- two-thousand-years ago.
A stranger in a strange land when a secret program brings him across the gulf of time, Tah-Heen teams with Caden to battle the diabolical foe that destroyed an entire civilization-and has come back with a vengeance.
History, mystery, cutting-edge science, and suspense unfold as the scientist and the warrior battle a preternatural beast that is intent upon bringing about the 2012 apocalyptic vision.

This was another ARC request that I had asked for. Junius so kindly sent it to me and autographed it as well. As I began to read it, the first chapter made me recall my childhood ambition of becoming an archaeologist "when I grow up." The story makes me think of X-Files meets the History Channel. The chapter/book set up makes it an easy and enjoyable read for anyone.

There was a portion where the author actually noted a reference to his previous novel, which I think was a great idea for any one unfamiliar with any of his novels. It features a whole load of historically educational flashbacks. I liked the fact that Tah-Heen had a background story (which was a good portion of the novel). Tah-Heen's character is written with such a great combination of humor and naive-ity. The combining of Tah-Heen's story with present day meshed quite well without causing the reader any forms of confusion.

Not only was the story educational, but it also was ecologically and conservationally, (If that's even a word), thought provoking. The Feathered Serpent is another novel I would recommend to any historical or historical fiction fans out there. As I read this book everyone kept claiming, "I loved the movie!" I do believe that this is NOT the novel based off the Nicholas Cage movie. Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm just not wanting any of my readers to assume it is, read the novel and be upset for the confusion.


My Ultimate Sister Disaster by Jane Mendle

Franny, 14, thinks her older sister got the better deal. Zooey is a beautiful, statuesque ballerina with a cool name. Franny is not quite five feet tall, has no talent for anything, hair that never cooperates, and, let's face it, a horrible name (the girls' parents discussed J. D. Salinger's work on their first date). Though they were close as children, the sisters now spend little time together and argue when they're in the same room. With their anthropologist mother in Kenya and their father spending long hours working in his clothing store, Franny feels more alone than ever. When Zooey breaks her leg during rehearsals for a career-making role and is homebound for weeks, the sisters get to know one another all over again. It turns out that Zooey's life isn't so perfect. There are many elements to this novel, but ultimately the story is about sisters and misconceptions. Franny is immediately likable and sympathetic, and Zooey's diva-tude is conveyed perfectly, as is her gradual regression to typical teen when she's sidelined from dancing. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti will enjoy this lighter tale of teen drama.

This was another ARC request. I enjoyed the ease and flow of the chapters. It made the book very easy to read. This novel brought to mind my own recollections of sibling rivalry and various pointless arguments with my own parents, among other aspects of my own teenage years.

My Ultimate Sister Disaster is the type of book that tweens and teens alike would select from their school book orders or even book fairs. The story did jump around at certain points from one topic to another. However the age group it is geared for, I think, will be oblivious to this and will not affect their opinion on the novel itself. Overall I enjoyed this quick and relaxing read.

Favorite quote:
"Life sort of gets out of hand when everything and everyone in it has to be special."


The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer

Kate and Michael, twenty-something housemates working at the same Trader Joe's supermarket, are thoroughly screwed when people start turning into zombies at their house party in the Oakland Hills. The zombie plague is a sexually transmitted disease, turning its victims into shambling, horny, voracious killers.

Thrust into extremes by the unfolding tragedy, Kate and Michael are forced to confront the decisions they've made, and their fears of commitment, while trying to stay alive. Michael convince Kate to meet him in the one place in the Bay Area that's likely to be safe and secure from the zombie hordes: Alcatraz. But can they stay human long enough?

This was yet another ARC request. And another of my zombie reviews for Zombies vs Vampires. The Loving Dead without any doubt in my mind puts a new trend on a majorily outdated genre. Amelia weaves many aspects into the story without jeopardizing its entirety: Ikea, lesbian zombies joining the mile high club on a Zeppelin, economic crises, iPhones, Indiana Jones iPhone whip application, Halo, Alcatraz, Jenna Jameson, and so many more tangible things (well...excluding lesbian zombies).

The time frame of the final chapter frustrated me at first. Because I expected further details. In the end, however, I was happy with the results. This is a novel I'd recommend to any of my friends and fellow avid readers.

Favorite quotes:
"Gay guys, they got it easy. Everybody knows they're gay: they're the only guys who style their hair and when they check each other out, you know what they're thinking."

"Fighting the zombie apocalypse with whips & gags seriously. They obey whips. Also the iPhone Indiana Jones app. Worth a dollar."

"Every relationship will fail until one doesn't. So I've heard."

"I'd just about murder someone to be held."


The Vampire And The Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks

Her packing list:

His packing list:
(because even vamps have to stay in shape!)

FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris is looking for a cool ocean breeze, sand between her toes, and a break from her crazy, chaotic, and sometimes all-too dangerous life Robby MacKay is on an enforced vacation, since all he can think about is revenge against the Malcontents who had tortured him. But when Robby meets Olivia, all he can think about is the beauty with the tempting smile...and their nights together and anything but cool...

This was another ARC I had requested. Kerrelyn sent me the book autographed and included a bookcard and a bookmark as well. This is the first of the vampire reviews for the Zombie vs Vampire reviews for August.

The first thing I liked about this novel was the fact of the bat graphics featured at the beginning of each chapter. The budding romance between Olivia and Robby urges the reader to run a red light! The hilarious sexual innuendos are just amazing. The author's sense of creativity with vampire food and beverage items: Bleer, Blisky Chocolood, Bubbly Blood, and Bleer Lite.

I did find it hard at first to decipher Robby's words. After a while tho, I did figure out what he was saying and just basically began reading it as english. I also enjoyed the featuring of Carlos being a were-jaguar and other paranormal characters.

I am unsure if this is the last book in a series, of if it's just the end to a series with unrelated characters . Either way the dilema with Casmir was never resolved. Unless the story evolves into a new one, the Casmir dilema should have been extended to a solution positively or negatively.

This was another book that as the pages came to an end that I was hesitant on the ending. Luckily it wasn't a bad ending. I really enjoyed the story. I can definitely see myself pursuing my book readings from Ms. Sparks.

Favorite quotes:
"Not all lies are bad. It is the intent to decieve that is bad."

"The language of love doesn't have words.

"Death doesna change a person's nature."


Dust by Joan Frances Turner

It started with George Romero, but then it almost always does. Friday night, October sometime in the mid-1990s, and the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead was the only thing on television. I'd never seen it and had no particular interest in zombies, but the only alternative was my contracts law textbook so why not? And from the moment poor doomed Johnny solemnly intoned "They're coming to get you, Bar-buh-rah!", the movie had me, and it kept me, and the ending was a punch in the gut. The grainy black and white, the clumsy acting, the slapdash storyline and foolish self-destructive characters and almost nonexistent special effects weren't deterrents, they were the whole point. It all looked like ancient footage from some amateur documentary, and real people act foolish at the worst possible times. I never saw the remake, or any of the sequels: It wasn't the idea of zombies, themselves, that had me, it was that particular story. I didn't seek out any other.

Flash forward to 2003, and Carnival of Souls. More cheap black and white, shot on a shoestring in the middle of nowhere, and when Mary Henry's hand emerged from the depths of a Kansas lake long after she should have drowned they had me, again. Were those technically zombies, though, or were they ghosts? It had to be the former, for no ghost appears in the flesh as she did, walks among the living almost but not quite one of them, inspires their unwitting yet visceral disgust: They could, so to speak, smell the decay all inside her. That fascinated me, as did the titular carnival at the Saltair Pavilion. Zombies like to dance, it turns out, to eerie, calliope-style music that seems to come from nowhere. Interesting.
What George Romero started Herk Harvey finished, and I couldn't get zombies, themselves, out of my mind. They were ubiquitous, actually, when you started paying attention, but the more I learned about zombies and the popular imagination the duller and less satisfying it all was. Zombies, it turned out, were nothing but a joke. Talk funny. Walk funny. Ugly. Smelly. Filthy. Can't speak English right. Eat disgusting food. Spread disease. Mentally inferior. Lights on, nobody's home. They'll steal and devour everything you hold dear, including yourself. Shoot them. Kill them. Cleanse the earth of their kind. It's a moral imperative.

I was urged at every step, in this particular mythology, to ally myself with The Good Guy, the clean upright English-speaking human alpha male and his ragtag gun-toting buddies who were making the world safe for the One True Species, one bullet-riddled skull at a time. The hell with that. Zombies--actually, Jessie's absolutely right, let's dispense with that misappropriated West African word--the undead are nothing but people who died. Your mother, "Good" Guy, your spouse, your sibling, your child, your friend, your neighbor, you yourself, and what if you only think they're all monsters? What if dead people still have minds of their own, can laugh and fight and form friendships and love each other and grieve--and kill, as you do, for malice and sport as much as from hunger? What if the moans and groans you hear are an actual language? What if the undead have a "life" span, slowly aging and decaying and crumbling into dust just as inert bodies do in the coffin? What if the creature in your crosshairs still remembers you, loves you, can't plead for what you once were to each other before you pull the trigger?

(For that matter, what if your incredibly tedious guns don't even do the job? That's the first determination I made when I sat down to write Dust, that there would be no Deus Ex Firearms whatsoever. Fire itself, that'd work to kill them, but then fire has the disadvantage of spreading like, well, wildfire. As does bio-weaponry, but then we're getting ahead of ourselves.) If Dust could be summed up in one sentence, it would be a lyric from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: "The history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat." It presupposes a world where the living dead are not some new aberration but have existed alongside the humans they once were for thousands of years, an uneasy harmony occasionally broken up by unfortunate incidents such as, say, the famous Pittsburgh Massacre of '68. Other elements came into play: the Greek myth of Erysichthon, which haunted me since I first read it as a child, about a man the gods punish for his hubris with a hunger so insatiable he ultimately devours...himself. Luc Sante's beautiful, unsentimental prose poem "The Unknown Soldier," in which the forgotten dead assert their right to speak for themselves. The eerie photographs and morbid newspaper clippings from Michael Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip. The unsettling banjo music in the end credits of the cult horror film The Last Broadcast, which inspired the notion that the undead express their strongest emotions through telepathic music: "brain radios." That and eerie waltzes in Carnival of Souls inspired the spontaneous psychic dances, the only moments of true peace and harmony the undead ever enjoy.

Eating, in this world, is identity: The living eat dead meat. The dead eat meat so recently living that it's still warm and pulsing with life. The dead find the living's dietary habits as abominable, disgusting, taboo as the reverse. Every human alive, in our world as well as theirs, pins a far greater part of their self-image than they realize on what goes into their mouths. It was a joke then that Jessie, the fervent vegan in life, began a ravenous flesh-hunter in death, and yet it was also entirely to be expected.

Armed with the facts--such as they were--in September 2003 I jotted down a sparse page of disjointed notes: character names, story locales (the Calumet Region of northwest Indiana, besides being my easily accessible home geography, was both underserved in fiction and had enough urban-suburban-rural-industrial variety to make it interesting), a little folkloric rhyme the undead liked to sing amongst themselves but never made it into the book. The slang--"hoo" for humans, "rotter" and "feeder" and "bloater" and " 'maldie" for each other--also came early because it was fun to think up. Jessie simply walked in right at the start and announced herself, an angry, lonely girl abused in life, abandoned in death, yearning for love and acceptance but furious at the world. It was inevitable she'd take instantly to the jarring, aggressive, insatiably hungry culture of the undead, also inevitable that she'd write off her human family entirely only to have them return to be her undoing. Joe started as a parody, one of those "teen angel" hoods-with-a-heart-of-gold from the fifties pop songs who dies in a drag race gone wrong, and then he surprised me by showing himself as lonely and yearning as Jessie, if not more so, under the brutal surface. It was inevitable, again, that they'd both fall in love. Florian, a literal walking skeleton, was always meant to be the paterfamilias of Jessie's surrogate family, but I never expected him to turn out gentle, genuinely wise, the only true parent she ever really had.

Actually they all surprised me, as I worked little by little on draft one, draft two, draft three through 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Renee, the lamb thrown into a pit of snarling wolves, grew up amazingly fast and became not just Jessie's friend, but her ally. Linc--only kindhearted from Jessie's perspective, no human would want to run into him--was supposed to be merely Joe's foil, the "geek" to his "jock," but then quietly, stubbornly, relentlessly worked his way up from the margins of the story to the center. Teresa, the gang leader, was even more selfish and cruel that I'd imagined. (The rival gang the Rat Patrol were exactly as selfish and cruel as I'd imagined, so at least I had some control over the proceedings.) Lisa, Jessie's neurotic mess of a human sister, proved she could be there for Jessie in death as she never was in life. Jim, her brother, began as the most cardboard sort of villain, missing only a mustache to twirl, then I remembered that the truest antagonists are those who genuinely believe they're acting out of kindness and love. Only when Jim tried to "save" Jessie, did it become clear how much he--like all Good Guys--utterly feared and despised what she'd become. Death him/her/itself, the trickster, the demon, the angel, the destroyer, the salvager, was there from the beginning, though he didn't announce himself right away to me any more than to Jessie: Like any trusting parent, he first and foremost wanted to let his undead children try and fend for themselves.

Since the first inspiration for Dust was a pair of B-movies, other midnight drive-in fixtures seemed entirely appropriate: The meteor that causes extraterrestrial chaos upon landing. The semi-secret laboratory with "noble" purpose gone horribly wrong. The pandemic plague--but why just consider what would happen if the living became undead, why not consider what might happen if the undead were brought back to life? Untouchable life, even? What if Death the trickster, in his eagerness to consume the earth, thus ultimately ended up tricking himself?

It's all well and good to talk about Herk Harvey and banjos and falling meteors, but what truly inspired Dust was of course my own fear of death. There's another song, by the musician Exuma, that embodies it: "You won't go to heaven, you won't go to hell/You'll remain in your graves with the stench and the smell." What if the "afterlife" took place right on earth, and you rotted slowly, inexorably, feeling the first bugs nest and hatch on your body? What if you actually had to watch your loved ones grieving you, as Jessie and Renee both did, and be yards away and yet an eternity removed, unable now to be anything to them but a monster? What if pain, fear, longing, grief, the hungers of the body don't stop when life stops? What if Death isn't an angel of mercy, but a real live son of a bitch?

As it turns out, then, for me as for everyone else the undead were an embodiment of fear. But they surprised me, yet again, by becoming embodiments of hope as well. Life doesn't end after death, not really. To become something new, alien, unimagined, is not to lose oneself, one's identity and thoughts and needs and wants, they just express themselves a little differently. Nobody's lost to anyone forever; if there is no afterlife, there is at least the "eternity" of memory. To lose one family is to gain another. Betrayal by loved ones can lead to new, stronger bonds that are about real trust. Nearly everyone's stronger and more capable than they imagine, when put to the test. Flesh is just flesh and if it rots, well, that's only natural.

But that's all very Hallmark Hall of Fame and ultimately it was also about having some fun whistling in the graveyard. Dust was a chance to play with all sorts of notions of life and death: ordinary mortal existence, living consciousness trapped in dead decaying bodies, seemingly "live" flesh rotting and dying from the inside out, invulnerable immortality through the back door. As Jessie says, "How many kinds of living and dead and living dead and dead living had I been in just these few months, these few days, after the stasis of plain old human living and dying? I deserved some kind of existential medal." Tell me about it, it was hard to keep up. It also felt like finding the pulse of something real, and true, about life and death under all the campiness of traditional zombie mythology. Both the B-movie folklore and the insomniac anxieties inspired the book in equal measure, and both deserve their due. It starts with a silly story, some actors shuffling around sideways in worn-out clothes, and ends with real people, real fears, real hopes. But then, it almost always does.
--Joan Frances Turner (taken from

This was an ARC I had requested which turned out to be a traveling ARC. This is also a part of my Zombie vs Vampire month of reviews. I think that Joan has a great twist on zombie fiction. This was told from the zombie pov. The role reversal makes the reader sympathize more with the zombies than the humans. She manages to give the zombies a "life" and personality.

It took me a while to get through the novel. There was parts where it seemed monotanous and never ending but in the end I did appreciate the fact Joan so kindly gave me the opportunity for this review. I think because of my lack of zombie experience my review, IMO, seems biased. Although I would like to say that if you're a die hard undead fan, as many of my friends are, you will appreciate Joan's magical journey into the mind and "life" of these undead characters and the society they manage to make for themselves.

Favorite quotes:
"...but I was tired and my bullshit tank was down to fumes."

"I hate people who can make you feel guilty when they've pissed you off..."


Dead Set Anthology (edited) by: Joe McKinney & Michelle McCrary

The Dead Have Risen!

We were once a race seven billion strong. But today, our world has become a wasteland overrun by the living dead. Rivers of zombies flood the streets. They never rest. They never relent. Their hunger for the living is insatiable. And with every careless mistake we make, their numbers swell.

Scenes from the end of the world...

Michelle McCrary and Joe McKinney have brought together twenty original tales of the end of our world from horror's brightest talents. Within these pages you'll find a madman longing for the good old days of Hometown America, a company that deals in the dead, a radio DJ who holds the living together with her voice, and a soldier haunted by the living and the dead alike. This is the end of the world as you've never seen it before.
Featuring stories from Lisa Mannetti, Lee Thomas, Bev Vincent, Harry Shannon, David Dunwoody, Nate Southard, Boyd E. Harris, and a host of others, Dead Set will take you on a guided tour through the ruins. The zombie story has finally come of age.

This was a first for me. I haven't done an anthology review yet. This is also the start of August's Zombie vs Vampire month.

Resurgam by Lisa Manneti:
I would have liked the story to focus on Auden & Sheri or Cruncher & Sykes or just have the past & present come together more fluidly. Also, you have no clue what happened to Sheri?

Jailbreak by Steven W Booth & Harry Shannon
This was a fun read. It was written iin a John Carpenter style.

Recess by Rob Fox
A new twist on zombies. Occasionally you see zombie children featured in film and novels. But never soley focused on them like this story.

Biting The Hand That Feeds You by Carrie Voorhis
Hilarious. Morbid. Sad.

Judgement by Stephanie Kincaid
Almost seemed lik you weren't going to read anything about any undead. The ending was very abrupt.

Hatfield the Usurper by Matthew Louis
Read like a movie. Favorite quote: "He could almost smell the waft off the pages of a newly opened paperbac, almost see the typeface racked up in wonderful rows and clumped in intoxicating paragraphs..."

Ruminations From Tri-Omega House by David Dunwoody
Good story, I likedthe Richard Matheson reference. But it wasn't explained- did Prof. Rand bite Larry before the story began? When Rand was chasing Larry it didn't seem like he got to him?

Zombies On A Plane by Bev Vincent
Not much to say on this one. I didn't care for it one way or another. Like a story without a plot to it.

Category Five by Richard Jeter
Not a fan of this one either. The zombie interaction was too minimalistic for even a short story.

Survivors by Joe McKinney
Written with some action-packed intensity as Dead City (previous review). Balls to the wall fun!

Piere & Remy Hatch A Plan by Michelle McCrary
Good "ol' fashioned" zombie story y'all!

Recovery by Boyd E Harris
Fun but sad story. Features B rated movie sense of humor. Adopting recovering zombies almost like pets- hilarious!

In the Middle of Poplar Street by Nate Southard
Fun story but I wished the ending would have been more lengthy. Did Ginny kill the zombie? Or did the zombie kill her? Favorite quote: "...scared people get angry because they don't like being afraid, and they think it's somebody else's fault that they were so scared in the first place."

Seminar Z by J.L. Comeau
Interesting story. Unsure whether I liked or disliked it. Another story that the ending was just...

Only Nibble by Bob Nailor
I was hesitant to like this one. The last sentence was my deciding factor, What a great story.

Inside Where It's Warm by Lee Thomas
Generic and typical zombie story, with a possible half zombie/half human. I'm not quite sure but that was my take it.

Survivor Talk by Mitchel Whitington
Another great story. One that didn't have a predictable ending Background story. Zombie action that didn't jeopardize the entirety of the story.

The Zombie Whisperer by Steven E Wedel
Fun, psychological twist. A definite entertaining read.

Good Neighbor Sam by Mark Onspaugh
Originally started out interesting but ...zzzzzzzzzzzz!!! I had to force myself to reread it for the sake of this review to get a more accurate opinion. The second time around it reminded me of House of Wax but with zombies/ It was based in Ohio with the mention of Lancaster, my hometown.

That Which Survives- Morgan Ashe
This was an ok story. A medical twist.

Overall I really enjoyed this anthology. Some of the stories made me wonder why I don't read more zombie fiction, while others confirmed why I do not. Those stories I think should have been omitted for the sake of the novel's entirety and substituted for some more worthy ones.

Thanks again to Joe McKinney for sending me this gift.