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Showing posts from 2010

The Burrowers

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The first time I was aware of "The Burrowers" came from watching a movie trailer.  It looked really good - American settlers being terrorized on the open countryside by burrowing monsters that attacked from underground.  My kind of movie !

Last night my boyfriend and I found it on Netflix and decided to watch  it.  It was an awful movie.  Before I tear the movie to shreds, I want to state its good qualities.  First and foremost, the acting was good.  Not award winning, but good enough to make me believe in the characters.  The costumes were authentic looking for the time period as well.  Nothing too flashy, nothing too drab.  Even the costumes of the American Indians didn't look over dramatized.  The music worked really well for the film.  It was dramatic when it had to be, but otherwise helped keep the period feel of the movie.  The locale was con…

The Serpent and the Rainbow

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="209" caption="Cover of The Serpent and the Rainbow"][/caption]


The Serpent and the Rainbow will always be one of my favorite movies.  The movie itself is loosely based on a book by the same name, by a gentleman of the name of Wade Davis.  (I have read the book and will be posting a review on it later, fear not!)  On the drive to my family's house in another town on Christmas, I started to wonder what my first encounter with zombies was - a movie, book, song, or something else.  I'm not entirely sure, but I believe The Serpent and the Rainbow was my first encounter.

There is one scene in the movie that I truly believe I will take to my grave.  Wade Davis (as portrayed by Bill Pullman) is asleep at a vodoun holy site.  He awakes to find a corpse in a wedding dress staggering towards him.  Everyone around him is fast asleep, impervious to its high pitched screeching.  It keeps reaching out towards him …

Recht, Z. A. "Thunder and Ashes"

I posted my R.I.P. for Z.A. Recht on December 21st.  Technically it's December 26th, and yesterday I finished "Thunder and Ashes", the second book in the Morningstar Strain.  The marathon reading session was brought on by the amazing content of the book.  I still can't believe that the author passed away and his literary voice has been silenced.  His books are without a doubt my favorite zombie books out of all that I have read in my lifetime.  During his short writing career, he wrote two amazingly powerful books.

I have no idea where to explain how amazing the second book was.  "Thunder and Ashes" picked up the storyline seamlessly from where "Plague of the Dead" left off.  The transition was so smooth that it felt like one whole book instead of two.  Recht showed his writing prowess in that he didn't waste space in the book giving too much background information on the established characters, but rather moving the book forward.  That's o…

Spradlin, Michael P. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies!"

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Since this is Christmas Eve I figured I'd thrown in a similarly-themed post.  I was re-arranging my books on my shelf tonight removing the ones I'd read to put into a box until I can get more shelves, and I came across this one.  I read "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies!" at the start of December but hadn't thought to place it in my blog yet.

This book is a true gut-buster.  Some of the carols are somewhat of a stretch, such as "We Three Spleens", but otherwise a great book.  Other carols such as "Snacking Around the Christmas Tree" are quite singable.

I absolutely love the illustrations !  Their most chilling quality is their first-glance resemblance to normal holiday art.  Generic holiday scenes are replaced with melting faces and gaping maws.  There is one illustration in particular that I have to pass by bec…

Adams, John Joseph "The Living Dead 2"

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I usually don't buy a book solely because it received good reviews.  However, based on how much I loved the previous book (The Living Dead), combined with Simon Pegg's rave review, I bought the book without a second thought.  Add to this the fact that the cover of "The Living Dead 2" is seriously scary with its horde of zombies.

All of the stories in the book were thought-provoking, once again proving that the zombie story can aspire to be more than just a flesh fest.  (Though I'd be lying if I said I was above that kind of story as well...)  In any event, The Living Dead 2 is a perfect follow-up to the first book.

The stories range from really sad to really humorous.

Author Brian Keene delivers a wild mash-up in "Lost Canyon of the Dead".  I know I promised I wouldn't give away any spoilers but this is too good to pass by !  A …

R.I.P. Z. A. Recht

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Yesterday I finished an amazing book, Z. A. Recht's Plague of the Dead.  It was phenomenal, to say the least.  I started straightaway on Thunder and Ashes, which is unusual because I usually prefer to space sequels, especially when the next book hasn't been announced yet.

Later last night I decided to look up how soon I would be able to purchase the third installment of the Morningstar Saga.  What I found on many websites severely saddened me.  Apparently, author Z. A. Recht passed away a year ago.  I haven't been able to find the cause of death.

What I do know is that his death at age 26 is tragic.  I feel we have lost a writer of surprising and early talent, who may have gone on to author many more superb books.  Even though his notes have been given to Permuted Press and a third book will be issued, it will still lack the special way he had with words…

Z. A. Recht, "Plague of the Dead"

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What a book !  I just finished Plague of the Dead today - and it was one of the best books I've ever read in the zombie genre.  Recht's book is fantastic !

The characters in the book are very believable.  None of them stand around and whine about their situation, or give superfluous background information that isn't necessary.  I think its' better not to know too much about the characters.  When something like a zombie apocalypse occurs, things tend to change.  For that matter, people tend to change.  When the only motive is staying alive for another minute, people show more of who they are, whether its in caring for other people or putting themselves first at all costs.

The characters are not stereotypical by any means.  In fact, they are quite the opposite.  Heading the survivor camp is General Francis Sherman, a man who likes the civilians he prot…

Strange and Fulfilling Story

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I bought this book from a discount rack at a local bookstore solely because it was a graphic novel with zombies.  I was standing in line to purchase an armful of other zombie

books when the yellow-orange cover caught my eye.  I have mixed feelings about this book, and will probably read it again very soon.  In fact, to be honest I absolutely hated it the first few times I read it.

I liked the general idea of the story, but even then I couldn't be sure because of the erratic drawing style.  I wasn't sure if I understood everything I was meant to because I couldn't follow the drawings.  Even after reading it a few times, while I think I understand most of it I still have a nagging feeling that something is missing.  I kept the book because I'm a zombie fan and I don't like to give up on something zombie-themed.

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Spears, Rick (Rob G) "Dead West"

I bought this book from a discount rack at a local bookstore solely because it was a graphic novel with zombies.  I was standing in line to purchase an armful of other zombie books when the yellow-orange cover caught my eye.  I have mixed feelings about this book, and will probably read it again very soon.  In fact, to be honest I absolutely hated it the first few times I read it.

I liked the general idea of the story, but even then I couldn't be sure because of the erratic drawing style.  I wasn't sure if I understood everything I was meant to because I couldn't follow the drawings.  Even after reading it a few times, while I think I understand most of it I still have a nagging feeling that something is missing.  I kept the book because I'm a zombie fan and I don't like to give up on something zombie-themed.

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Golden, Christoher "The New Dead"

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="204" caption="Cover of The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology"][/caption]


This book is one of many that I read over the summer.  I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.

This book was pretty entertaining.  My favorite story was "Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" by Joe Hill.  I think it's my favorite because I started out hating it.  I don't have a Twitter account because I honestly don't think I do that much in a day that I can honestly put on the web and have people want to know about.  I was glad that this story was at the end of the book, because I was contemplating not even reading it.  When I did, it blew me away.  The main character is the girl who is tweeting (tweeting?  is that the right word ?) throughout a family vacation.  They stop at a circus claiming to have live zombies, and everything goes to hell.  Great story.

Brian Keene's story "The Wind Cries …

A super strange and exciting anthology...

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I bought "The Best of All Flesh" at a local bookstore because I wasn't ready to start another book series, but I was running out of zombie material on my bookshelf.  I like to alternate book series with anthologies so that I don't get bored with either book style.  Anyways, this book sounded interesting because it was selected material from all three of the Books of Flesh Anthology Series.  I still want to get the other three books, but I figured it would be a nice way of finding out if the books were worth getting immediately, or worth holding off on buying.  After reading the composite anthology, I really do want to track the other books down !

The book was astounding !  I loved almost every single story in this book, and I found that the ideas were all fresh and new.  The zombie types ranged from voodoo to modern and everything in between.

One of the stories by Myke Cole, "Shouting Down the Moon", was really sad.  It's about two lovers who are separate…

Lowder, James "The Best of All Flesh"

I bought "The Best of All Flesh" at a local bookstore because I wasn't ready to start another book series, but I was running out of zombie material on my bookshelf.  I like to alternate book series with anthologies so that I don't get bored with either book style.  Anyways, this book sounded interesting because it was selected material from all three of the Books of Flesh Anthology Series.  I still want to get the other three books, but I figured it would be a nice way of finding out if the books were worth getting immediately, or worth holding off on buying.  After reading the composite anthology, I really do want to track the other books down !

The book was astounding !  I loved almost every single story in this book, and I found that the ideas were all fresh and new.  The zombie types ranged from voodoo to modern and everything in between.

One of the stories by Myke Cole, "Shouting Down the Moon", was really sad.  It's about two lovers who are separate…

Smashing Anthology!

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If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a big fan of Kim Paffenroth’s writing style.  My next step was to see what stories he would pick if left to his own devices.  My prayers were answered with his anthology "The World is Dead".  Paffenroth chose to divide his book into four categories : Work, Family, Love, and Life.  There are four stories in each category, excepting the last which has six stories.

I read this book in a weekend, while I was on vacation with my boyfriend.  I was up all night long with a ferocious cold and had brought "The World is Dead" in anticipation of having time to read.

All the stories were really good, and at the end I wound up feeling more sad about the end of the world than terrified.  The stories dealt with life after the dead had risen, and how we as a society would adapt to the new living conditions.  Some stories described people who went insane and became murderers, others lived their lives as though nothing happened.  More than a few peop…

Paffenroth, Kim “The World is Dead”

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia.  I guess I'd take shelter in a WalMart.  I'm there enough with my friends buying video games and office supplies.  But it would have to be a Super WalMart.  What good are tools if you have nothing to eat ?"][/caption]


If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a big fan of Kim Paffenroth’s writing style.  My next step was to see what stories he would pick if left to his own devices.  My prayers were answered with his anthology "The World is Dead".  Paffenroth chose to divide his book into four categories : Work, Family, Love, and Life.  There are four stories in each category, excepting the last which has six stories.

I read this book in a weekend, while I was on vacation with my boyfriend.  I was up all night long with a ferocious cold and had brought "The World is Dead" in anticipation of having time to read.

All the stories were really good, and at th…

Lindqvist, John Ajvide "Let the Right One In"

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I read this book in preparation for the two movies.  My friends gave rave reviews to the movies ad I truly want to see them, but I believe that stories that come in multiple forms should be experienced in that order.  In this instance, read the book is followed by see the Swedish film, and ended with a viewing of the American film.  There are a few different reasons I follow this method.  One is that I’m already losing some richness of meaning and story by not being able to read it in the original language, and then secondly that I want to know what the author had in mind before I see other interpretations.  I don’t like reading a book and already having someone else’s ideas of how it should look in my mind.  I found that when I saw Vanilla Sky it made no sense whatsoever.  Then I found the original Spanish version, Abre los Ojos, which made …

Matheson, Richard "Hell House"

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Recently I started getting interested in haunted house stories, which represents a break in my usual zombie-filled reading list.  I read “I Am Legend” and absolutely loved it, and I wanted to see what Matheson could do given a haunted house theme.  I was in no way disappointed !

A scientist, his flaky wife, and two mediums are charged by a dying millionaire to investigate the phenomena of Belasco House.  Over the years, Belasco house has earned the reputation for being fiercely haunted, and is therefore also referred to as Hell House.  The four people are supposed to survive a week in Hell House, recording data and coming to a solid conclusion of whether or not the soul persists after death, and whether or not the house is actually haunted.

At times it was hard to remember that the book was set in the 1970s, because the language was modern.  Or, I suppose it coul…

Stephens, John Richard "The Book of the Living Dead"

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I bought this book on impulse while browsing a local bookstore.  The subtitle, “Explore the other side of mortality with the world’s greatest authors” caught my eye.  I realized that I had read new stories from authors like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, but I hadn’t read anything before that.  The book contains stories from Washington Irving, H.P. Lovecraft, Mark Twain, and Jack London.  It never occurred to me before that some of those writers had delved into the dark side of literature.

The book opens with W. W. Jacobs’ offering “The Monkey’s Paw”.  This story has always been one of my favorites because of its simplicity.  It is a terrifying story and is told in a way that causes the imagination to run wild.

Theophile Gautier’s story “The Amorous Corpse” tells the story of the courtesan Clarimonde wh…

Brooks, Max "The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks"

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia.  This author Max Brooks - creator of one of the most believable zombie series ever."][/caption]


This book is very thin but very well written and illustrated.  The book examines 12 noteworthy incidents in zombie history and brings them to you in gory black and white.  One of my favorites is the explanation for the mummification method in ancient Egypt as a means to prevent the undead from rising.

The real strength of the book lies in its believability.  Every story in the book is believable.  For example, Brooks examines the plight of an African slave ship.  He explains that the slaves trapped in the hold were taken, one by one, by the zombie virus as one chained person leaned over and bit the other person.  Knowing about the conditions on the ships at that time from history class, I can easily imagine that a zombie virus would spread in a similar manner.  The drawings in t…

Protter, Eric "Monster Festival"

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Before introducing "Monster Festival", I’d like to mention that I have always been fond of it.  I first encountered it at my school library in elementary school, and read it in middle and high school several times after.  At one time, I could tell you every story (in order it appears in the book).  It also introduced me to my favorite illustrator, Edward Gorey.

The opening story, “What Was It?” by Fritz James O’Brien, is absolutely amazing.  The inhabitants of a boarding house are plagued by the arrival of an unseen assailant.  By unseen, I mean totally invisible.

“Revelations in Black” by Carl Jacobi, is an unusual vampire story.  It’s also very hard to find.  Most of his work (from what I can tell) is out of print.  In short, a man meets a woman vampire who lures him away.

When I was a kid in high …

More stories by an amazing author...

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If you are easily offended, it’s best not to read Lansdale’s “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” story as your introduction to his work.  The first Lansdale story I read was “The Long Dead Day” [discussed in The Dead That Walk].  I loved the story, but forgot who the author was soon after.  [I spent my whole summer reading zombie anthologies one after the other and sometimes its hard to keep track of authors.]  Later I came across a story involving his fictional character, Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, called “Dead Man’s Road”.  That story was likewise phenomenal, and unfortunately the book in which it was originally published has since been out of print.  The third story I came across was “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” [found in Zombies : Encounters with the Hungry Dead and discussed in this blog].  I was offended at first, and it took me awhile to wade through those feelings and begin to appreciate the story.  When I did, I realized wha…

Lansdale, Joe R. "Bumper Crop"

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If you are easily offended, it’s best not to read Lansdale’s “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” story as your introduction to his work.  The first Lansdale story I read was “The Long Dead Day” [discussed in The Dead That Walk].  I loved the story, but forgot who the author was soon after.  [I spent my whole summer reading zombie anthologies one after the other and sometimes its hard to keep track of authors.]  Later I came across a story involving his fictional character, Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, called “Dead Man’s Road”.  That story was likewise phenomenal, and unfortunately the book in which it was originally published has since been out of print.  The third story I came across was “On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” [found in Zombies : Encounters with the Hungry Dead and discussed in this blog].  I was of…

Another super creepy anthology...

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I really enjoyed The Dead That Walk because the stories felt very fresh and new.  I was accustomed to reading zombie literature and feeling terror and revulsion, but not really any sorrow or sympathy before.  The stories were also very unpredictable – which can be difficult to achieve in and of itself.

Each story is preceded by an author biography, which is one characteristic that I look for in anthologies of any kind.  I like to read about the author’s life and the circumstances that influenced their work.

Some standout stories -

“For the Good of All” by Yvonne Navarro.  This story was a thriller from beginning to end.  While I was reading it, I thought I understood what was going on, and I couldn’t figure out why the author had chosen to be so mysterious.  By the time I finished the last word I realized that I had no idea what was going on, and the ending absolutely floored me.  I read it again, in fact, to make sure that I hadn’t left out any details.
“The Crossing of Aldo Ray” by West…

Jones, Stephen. "The Dead That Walk"

I really enjoyed The Dead That Walk because the stories felt very fresh and new.  I was accustomed to reading zombie literature and feeling terror and revulsion, but not really any sorrow or sympathy before.  The stories were also very unpredictable – which can be difficult to achieve in and of itself.

Each story is preceded by an author biography, which is one characteristic that I look for in anthologies of any kind.  I like to read about the author’s life and the circumstances that influenced their work.

Some standout stories -

“For the Good of All” by Yvonne Navarro.  This story was a thriller from beginning to end.  While I was reading it, I thought I understood what was going on, and I couldn’t figure out why the author had chosen to be so mysterious.  By the time I finished the last word I realized that I had no idea what was going on, and the ending absolutely floored me.  I read it again, in fact, to make sure that I hadn’t left out any details.
“The Crossing of Aldo Ray” by West…

An odd assemblage of zombie stories

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This is a collection of stories edited and selected by author John Skipp.  Overall it was an enjoyable read.  None of the stories were boring, but more than a few made me squeamish.  Most of the stories are non-traditional and feature literary giants Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen King, Robert Bloch, and Neil Gaiman.

One of my favorite stories, "Sparks Fly Upwards", was first encountered in this volume.  It was written by Lisa Morton and features a controversial mix of zombies and abortion.  It details the issues of population control within a survivor community.  The survivors must make choices as to who is allowed to conceive and carry a child to term, and they must deal with the ramifications of pregnancy that can't be carried to term.  An absolute stand-out tale.

I barely made it through "On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" by Joe R. Lansdale.  It was a great, avant garde story, but like I said earlier I'm squeamish.  Lansdale is very inno…

Skipp, John "Zombies Encounters with the Hungry Dead"

This is a collection of stories edited and selected by author John Skipp.  Overall it was an enjoyable read.  None of the stories were boring, but more than a few made me squeamish.  Most of the stories are non-traditional and feature literary giants Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen King, Robert Bloch, and Neil Gaiman.

One of my favorite stories, "Sparks Fly Upwards", was first encountered in this volume.  It was written by Lisa Morton and features a controversial mix of zombies and abortion.  It details the issues of population control within a survivor community.  The survivors must make choices as to who is allowed to conceive and carry a child to term, and they must deal with the ramifications of pregnancy that can't be carried to term.  An absolute stand-out tale.

I barely made it through "On the Other Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" by Joe R. Lansdale.  It was a great, avant garde story, but like I said earlier I'm squeamish.  Lansdale is very inno…

28 Days Later

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This is one of the most terrifying zombie films I have ever seen.  Period.  I'm even going to admit that it gave me nightmares.  I will go so far as to admit that it still gives me nightmares.  Especially the scene in the church when Cillian Murphy wakes up and is exploring the ravaged city.  When you see the film you will know exactly which scene to which I'm referring.

The film starts with the origin of the Rage virus and how it is spread.  It sets the framework for the rest of the film and shows the speed with which the infected travel.  The infected are capable of running very fast and even one scratch is sufficient to cause the virus to spread.  An added bonus is that the virus takes over the host within seconds, so when traveling with companions it is important to know exactly what is going on during every battle.  This element alone adds a measure…

Left 4 Dead

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I have played this game on both the XBOX 360 Slim and the Computer.

This game is a first-person shooter that invites players to play as one of four survivors in a variety of modes.  It features hand-held weapons as well as guns and bombs.  There are also special zombies to encounter.  My personal nemesis is the Witch.  She sits and wails, and when you stumble on her she comes at you clawing with everything she's got.  Basically if you startle her, you better be wielding a chainsaw, if not, you're toast.  I'd recommend dodging her, unless you don't mind taking a heap of damage after a botched attempt to kill her.

Other special infected include Boomers - big, fat zombies that spit on you in order to attract more zombies.  If you get …

The saga continues

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This is the sequel to the book "Dying to Live".  It continues with the same characters and introduces new characters.  Again, unfortunately I am not able to say too much about the storyline, as it will give away too many spoilers.

This story places the protagonist from the first novel, Jonah Caine, into the background and brings forth a heroine, Zoey.  Zoey is one of the first generation children born after the apocalypse.  She has never known a world without the living dead.  The story deals with her coming of age, as well as her struggles to understand the world her parents knew.  Zoey is the daughter of one of the characters in the first book.

In addition to Zoey's perspective, there is a second protagonist.  The second protagonist is Truman, a man who wakes up to find he is a zombie.  Truman sets out to figure out his identity, as well as ponder his existence.  He suffers from amnesia and can't remember his name, his family, or what he did when he was alive.  His m…

Paffenroth, Kim. "Dying to Live: Life Sentence"

This is the sequel to the book "Dying to Live".  It continues with the same characters and introduces new characters.  Again, unfortunately I am not able to say too much about the storyline, as it will give away too many spoilers.

This story places the protagonist from the first novel, Jonah Caine, into the background and brings forth a heroine, Zoey.  Zoey is one of the first generation children born after the apocalypse.  She has never known a world without the living dead.  The story deals with her coming of age, as well as her struggles to understand the world her parents knew.  Zoey is the daughter of one of the characters in the first book.

In addition to Zoey's perspective, there is a second protagonist.  The second protagonist is Truman, a man who wakes up to find he is a zombie.  Truman sets out to figure out his identity, as well as ponder his existence.  He suffers from amnesia and can't remember his name, his family, or what he did when he was alive.  His m…

The Origin of it All

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This was the book that started my literary zombie craze, as well as the Permuted Press publishing company.  My boyfriend purchased it for me as a present for Christmas 2009.  Unfortunately I am not able to give much insight into the plot because it is very complex, and any spoilers will ruin the experience for any prospective readers.  Suffice it to say, you NEED to read this book.

The plot is easy to follow and is very indicative of the genre in general.  It can be summed up as : people during the zombie apocalypse trying to survive.  However, this book turns out to be so much more than the usual struggle for survival.  At points in the book, I found myself crying, laughing, and terrified out of my wits.  From the first sentence in the book all the way to the end it was captivating and terrifying.  Dying to Live was so good, in fact, that I stayed up all night and read the entire book.

Characters can make or break a zombie novel - and the characters in Dying to Live leave nothing to be…

Paffenroth, Kim "Dying to Live"

This was the book that started my literary zombie craze, as well as the Permuted Press publishing company.  My boyfriend purchased it for me as a present for Christmas 2009.  Unfortunately I am not able to give much insight into the plot because it is very complex, and any spoilers will ruin the experience for any prospective readers.  Suffice it to say, you NEED to read this book.

The plot is easy to follow and is very indicative of the genre in general.  It can be summed up as : people during the zombie apocalypse trying to survive.  However, this book turns out to be so much more than the usual struggle for survival.  At points in the book, I found myself crying, laughing, and terrified out of my wits.  From the first sentence in the book all the way to the end it was captivating and terrifying.  Dying to Live was so good, in fact, that I stayed up all night and read the entire book.

Characters can make or break a zombie novel - and the characters in Dying to Live leave nothing to be…