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Showing posts from 2011

A New Face, A New Terror...

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Prepare for the arival of Suzanne Robb, who brings us a new vision of zombie mayhem with her debut novel, "Z-Boat".  It doesn't matter whether your buy the  book in Kindle format or traditional paperback, this is a must-read book.  Especially if you're tired of the tried-and-true formula that the zombie genre has stuck to for so long.  Robb delivers a fast-paced novel full of government and interpersonal intrigue, a submarine too decrepit for it's deep sea rescue mission, and a host of strange characters that is sure to delight.

It's difficult to give a basic summary of such an intricate book, but here goes!  The Betty Loo and her crew have been commissioned to go on a rescue mission deeper than they've ever gone before.  Along with the usual captain and crew, a few new people are assigned.  A quick check of the pers…

Down, but not quite dead!

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[caption id="attachment_1329" align="alignright" width="180" caption="This is the car, moments after the crash."][/caption]

Sorry for the lengthy wait before the new post.  I'm finishing a semester in grad school currently, which I can't wait to end!  I'm only taking two courses, but one of them is considered to be the hardest class in the program.  I will be super glad when that class has come to an end.

This past Wednesday, I got into a car accident.  I rearranged the front end of my car on the back of a truck.  On it's tow bar, to be exact.  The car in front of the truck did a sudden stop, and I'd have had time to stop if it weren't for the slick road.  It had been raining for a few days, and that morning it was cold.  In any event, I have a concussion.  Last night was the first night that I was able to bear staring at the computer screen for any length of time.

Today, I figured I'd toss a post up real quick to let an…

Since it's going to be a movie soon anyway...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="219" caption="Pretty steady reading."][/caption]

I figured now would be a great time to stop whining, suck it up, and read "World War Z" by Max Brooks.  It's slated for theaters sometime in December, and I despise watching a movie before reading the book.  I'd stayed away from reading WWZ because, quite frankly, Max Brooks' zombie visions scare me witless.

Oftentimes while reading WWZ, I tortured myself mentally for passing up the chance to see Brooks live in Buffalo in October.  What the hell was I thinking?!  In any event, that won't happen again, if I can help it.

Back to the book though.  I read through it slowly, mostly because I wanted to really have time to think about what was going on, whether it could actually happen, and what it was saying about the human race.

In general, the book was pretty steady reading.  It wasn't overly crazy, nor was it boring.  It kept a decent…

The End of a Heartbreaking Journey

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I finished Kim Paffenroth's "Dying to LiveLast Rites" a little while ago, but haven't gotten the opportunity to give it the write-up it so badly deserves.

**Pre-Review Warning: You will cry your eyes out so hard when you finish this book that your chest will hurt.  Actually, I lied.  There are a few sections where you will cry your eyes out.  Don't say I didn't warn you!**

It was a thought-provoking tear-jerker that left me thinking about the human race, and also introspectively about myself. It made me consider what I myself might be capable of under the right circumstances.  I'd like to think that I would be a good person, but when I think of what I'd do to save the ones I loved, my certainty wavers.  (So don&…

Buffalo Haunt's Inaugural Year

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[caption id="attachment_1281" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This photo was taken from the facebook page of District of the Dead."][/caption]

This past Friday, my friend Steve and I checked out a new haunt in Buffalo, NY.  It's called "District of the Dead", and it currently resides in the old Don Pablo's building on Elmwood Avenue, by the Regal Cinema.  You can check them out on the web here.  Now, when I review haunts, I take a few factors into account.  It's not fair to judge all haunts by the same standard.  It's important to consider:  How much did the ticket cost?  How many years has the haunt been in business?  What's the purpose of the haunt?  Who works there?  When I was in college, I used to run the Haunted Hallway with Steve and the other members of the Astronomy Club.  I know how hard it is to plan a haunt, purchase all the props, and convince people to come to the haunt.  There's a ton of wor…

The Walking Dead - Season Opener

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It started out so promising, it really did.  The survivors made it out of the CDC alive (most of them), and then they find themselves horrifically besieged on a highway by a bunch of walking dead.  Awesome!  They hide under cars and almost make it out undetected, until little Sophia decides to prematurely come out from her hiding place.  She goes running off persued by walkers.  Still doing pretty well.

Then what the hell happened?!

They survive the horde of zombies.  Fine.  They loose the little girl Sophia, also fine.  Shane talks about (read: whines) losing Lori and how he's going to leave the group.  Fine.  Then they find themselves looking for Sophia in a church, with a few faithful zombies inside.  The first thing I thought when I saw that was, "Oh boy - Danny Boyle anyone?"  That's right people.  It felt like a rip-off of 28…

Just so y'all know I'm not dead (yet)...

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Sorry for the hiatus!  My sociolinguistics class is going to kill me.  I've been walking around like a zombie.  Mrgh.

In any event - I wanted to review a haunt that I went to last weekend.  My friend Steve and I have a tradition that we've kept up for the last five or more years.  We both love Halloween and we both love going to haunted houses.  Every year, we go camping with the Astronomy Club (we're in the alumni chapter at the college we both went to) in the fall and in the summer.  Well, this fall we happened to be at camp during Columbus Day Weekend - which just happened to be the biggest weekend at Nightmare Hayrides.  Neither of us had ever been to this particular haunt before, but that made even more exciting.

Nightmare Hayrides boasts a haunted hayride, haunted barn and a corn maze.  When we got there, it was packed!  If you buy y…

A spot of news...

For those of you who may not know, my life changed rather drastically last week.  On Monday, I began Graduate School (I'm again studying Foreign Language Education).  On Tuesday at 11:30 am, I received a call from a school that had interviewed me for a Spanish position.  As it turns out, the position became part time and the other teacher quit.  I accepted the position.  So far so good.

Wednesday morning, I went to school to have a meeting with the other teachers.  I was wondering why we would be meeting again that night for "orientation".  Silly me, it was actually parent orientation, or "Open House" as we said years ago when I was little.  Oops.  Luckily my room is off in a corner and nobody could find it, so I spent the night hanging up paper on my bulletin boards and worrying about how to arrange the desks.



All of this good news for me means that I will be swamped with work and unable to write posts with quite the frequency I was.  Don't worry - I'm n…

Not Your Average Joe

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia --> Author Joe Hill at a book signing."][/caption]


I have now written this review three separate times.  I started with an anecdote about how I came to possess 20th Century Ghosts and Heart-Shaped Box, but I think that what I really want to tell you about is the author himself.  To be brief, I kept running into references about Joe Hill and what a master storyteller he was, but had neglected to add anything of his to my collection.  While in Maine, Chris picked me up 20th Century Ghosts, and afterwards a copy of Heart-Shaped Box arrived in my mailbox.

20th Century Ghosts is like no other book I've ever read in my entire life.  Reading it can be likened to an out of body experience.  From the very first page I got the strangest sensation.  I kept imagining myself sitting in a dark theater, just Hill and I, only he isn't there at first.  He miraculously shows up ju…

I'm a traitor.

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I vehemently refused to go to another bookstore after Borders started it's closing.  I wouldn't go - none of them appealed to me.  I complained to everyone I knew about the "loss of my favorite place on Earth"...and where was I yesterday?  Barnes and Noble.  Looking for a specific book (incidentally, they don't have it and I very well may be returning to another location of the same store in a few hours).

I fell from grace over a discussion of  a Patrick Wilson film.  Apparently, he survives an accident and upon waking, discovers he has a connection to the world of the dead.  My dad started talking about Stephen King's "The Dead Zone" which had a similar plot.  I was surprised that my father was going on about what a great book it was, because he isn't as much of a reader as my mom or myself.

So now begins my feverish hu…

Gadzooks !

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia --> Yarn !  OMG !"][/caption]


Ha ha !  Chris and I just came back from a stroll among the shops and I saw my first yarn bomb!  For those of you who don't know what a "yarn bomb" is, it's a random piece of knit or crochet that covers something.  This particular yarn bomb was a bit of crochet around a pole.  The pole was part of a gate, and the yarn bomb covered the bottom.  It made the pole look like it had a claw foot.  So cool!  If you're unfamiliar with the results of yarn bombing, then check out this link to my google.com search: yarn bomb.

We tried Moxie - the much maligned soda of Maine.  It was touted by our Duck Boat tour guide as a mix of "dirt and cough syrup".  Apparently us Buffalonians are more resillient - it tasted like thin root beer with a hint of anise.  Not bad.

I thought I would throw that out there - just saying.

P.S.  He…

Brian Keene - part 2!

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="186" caption="Cover of City Of The Dead --> This is the cover of my book as well :)"][/caption]


I finished "City of the Dead" on the car ride to Maine the other day, and I figured I should write about it now.  In another week or two things will get very hectic.  I will hopefully be returning to school to get my master's, and I will have other things taking up my limited time.  Therefore, while it's still fresh in my mind, I'm going to write as many reviews as I can remember (I'm fairly behind in my reviews).

"City of the Dead" is the thrilling conclusion to "The Rising", both of which are written by Brian Keene.  I'm not going to go into detail, since the last book ended so abruptly, and this book starts right away with the story.  What I will say is that we lose some good characters, and we gain a few along the way.  Character growth for those still (un)…

Since I'm on a roll...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="293" caption="Image via Wikipedia --> This is the cover of my book.  :)"][/caption]


...I figured I'd write a review.  Before leaving for Maine, I decided to start Brian Keene's "The Rising".  It was recommended to me by a patron of the gym where I used to work.  Unfortunately it's taken me some time to not only find decent copies of the books, but to read them.  The person that recommended them to me said that they weren't a typical zombie story, and that I should have an open mind.  That was certainly the understatement of the year!

"The Rising" is the story of a man named Jim who sets out to save his son from sentient zombies.  The zombies are just human bodies inhabited by the Siqqusim, a  special type of demon with a vendetta towards God.  Apparently they were upset about being thrown out of Heaven and wanted to make God pay by wiping out all of creation.  At the o…

Hello from King-land!

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia --> Freeport, Maine"][/caption]


I'm writing this post from Freeport, Maine.  The Harraseeket Inn, to be exact.  I'm on a few day vacation with my boyfriend Chris and his parents.  I figured it would be blasphemous not to write a post from the state that spawned the great Stephen King.  In a totally personal side note, I have wanted to visit Maine my entire life.  When I was a kid, I dreamed that I would move to Maine, live in a house by the sea, and write.  I would also speak loads of Spanish and wear cable knit sweaters year 'round since it's always winter in Maine.  (Ha ha - it's about 78 degrees out today, and I keep hearing French - proximity to Canada has that effect.)

The first stop of the trip was Portland, Maine.  According to my internet research, Portland is the city in which King was born.  During the amphibious Duck Boat tour, they pointed…

Jewelry people, I did not forget you...

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In continuing with my creepy crafting series of posts, I would now like to offer up one for the jewelry makers.  Again, if you know of any other books, please feel free to post on the comments or message me directly !

"Gothic Jewelry" --> My mom has this book, and it's pretty cool.  If you have some basic know-how, or if you are willing to learn, you will find many rewarding projects within the pages.  (http://www.amazon.com/Gothic-Jewelry-Unique-Projects-Harriet/dp/1907563822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312390992&sr=1-1)

Again, I will post more on here as I see them.  It may also be of interest to check out general crafting books, as they will no doubt offer some jewelry patterns as well.

Zombie 5K ?!

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As none of you are probably aware, I am on a kick trying to lose some weight.  I find it hard because there really isn't a goal other than "stop being unhealthy and big".  Pretty nebulous, isn't it?  Today my boyfriend showed me a website that has me thinking in terms of a reachable goal: survive a 5k populated with zombies, that also happens to be attached to an obstacle course.

If you're like me, those last few words most likely dropped your heart into your stomach, and your stomach somewhere in the vacinity of through the floor and out the other side of the world.  The website with all of the information is http://runforyourlives.com/.  It posts information on when the run is, and where it will be.  This year's run is October 22 in Baltimore, Maryland.  I live in New York State, so I won't be present.  However, don't give up …

Those bewitched...

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Those of you with a flair for the witchy will find the following books intriguing.  As with all of the other craft posts, feel free to drop me a message or add another book via the comments section.  Links are added for amazon.com so that you can peruse them, although that isn't the only place to find them.

"Charmed Knits"  -->  You KNOW you're dying to knit something from the Harry Potter world.  Now you can - including socks, Christmas ornaments, and more.  (http://www.amazon.com/Charmed-Knits-Projects-Harry-Potter/dp/0470067314/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312252830&sr=8-2)
"Witch Craft"  --> No, not literally a practicing book.  These are crafts including pointy shoes and bats.  Really cute and whimsical items.  (http://www.amazon.com/Witch-Craft-Accessories-Creepy-Cute-Magical/dp/1594744866/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312253047&sr=1-1)

For the knitter...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia - Knitting needles, aka things I don't know how to use yet."][/caption]


Here are the creepy knit pattern books that I have come across.  Links to amazon.com provided so you can peruse the books.  If you know of any others, please let me know!

"DomiKNITrix"  --> This book is hysterical!  It has all kinds of wild patterns such as mohawks, corsets, and more.  It looks fairly complicated, but I haven't yet gotten a chance to learn to knit.  (http://www.amazon.com/DomiKNITrix-Whip-Your-Knitting-Shape/dp/1581808534/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312251825&sr=8-1)
"Vampire Knits"  --> From the romantic to the frightening, these knits will really "vamp" up your wardrobe.  Some of the patterns may not be good to go out of the house in (cape, for example, whereas some of them are alright for everyday wear.  You decide! (http://www.amazon.co…

Scary crochet patterns...

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This post does not include the many patterns you can find for free online.  I don't want to post those just yet, because I want to make sure that I give proper credit to those brave men and women who came up with them.  Again, links to amazon.com are provided.

"Creepy Cute Crochet"  -->  I have already posted on this one, but it bears repeating.  I have it, but haven't learned to crochet in the round, so I can't tell you how easy it is to use.  (http://www.amazon.com/Creepy-Cute-Crochet-Christen-Haden/dp/1594742324/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312251560&sr=8-1)
"Scary Cute"  --> This book features 25 little amigurumi monsters.  (http://www.amazon.com/Scary-Cute-Amigurumi-Monsters-Obaachan/dp/1845434048/ref=pd_ybh_12?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_…

For the cook...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="261" caption="Cover via Amazon"][/caption]


Here is a list of cook books that cater to the macabre.  If you know of any others, please feel free to message me or use the comment option to share with everyone.

I added links to the pages on amazon.com, but as always you can find them at other stores and retailers.











"A Zombie Ate My Cupcake!" -->  I have this one, it's a riot.  Even if you aren't a professional cake decorator, get this just for the fun of it. (http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Ate-My-Cupcake-Deliciously/dp/1907030514/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312250436&sr=8-1)
"Ghoulish Goodies" --> I will be purchasing this one soon.  The monster on the cover looks like a blast to create.  (http://www.amazon.com/Ghoulish-Goodies-Creature-Cupcakes-Frightful/dp/1603421467/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312250436&sr=8-2)
"Zombie Cupcakes" --> An interesting factoid on …

For the Frankenstein in all of us...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia -   Aaah, the Cthulhu crochet pattern.  <3"][/caption]


Today I'm going to do a series of posts that cater to the crafting crowd.  I have noticed that the subject of the macabre has come up in various art forms and is now readily available for the artsy person to create.  This should help you with any parties you are throwing this coming October.  (Or if you're just creepy year-round like I am, you could do these crafts just for giggles).  If you know of any other books, please share them with me!

All of the following posts will be categorized by type of craft, and filed away under the "Arts and Crafts" section of this blog.  Enjoy !

Another Moody series...

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Almost immediately on the heels of reading "Hater" I started the other series I own by David Moody, "Autumn".  I had read about it in the back of one of my other books and had been anticipating it for some time.  I was anxious about reading it because I wasn't a fan of "Hater".

At first, "Autumn" really delivered.  At first.  There was gore, screaming, people dropping dead for no apparent reason.  There was absolutely no logic to the survival of the characters - and I loved it.  Then something else happened.  Moody tends to get his characters together and spend time building them up, which is good except that nothing happens while the characters are chatting.  The zombie bodies stayed prone while the characters squabbled, when the zombies rose they didn't do much (not unlike the living characters), and fina…

"The Walking Dead" - TV Series

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by gluetree via Flickr - From left to right Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Jon Bernthal from Comic-con's The Walking Dead panel.  The season 2 trailer debuted this year at Comic-con."][/caption]


AMC debuted it's highly anticipated zombie series last year on Halloween.  My family and I huddled together in the darkness of our living room, staring in rapt attention at the TV as zombie after zombie shuffled across the screen.  It was sheer brilliance.  The zombies were so real you could almost smell their foul putrescence, each one more gruesome than the last.

I had high hopes for the season, but it didn't pan out.  In retrospect, I think it was my fault.  I had hoped that the show would follow the books.  They were such a wealth of ideas it would be crazy not to use the material.  Instead, the show saw survivor Rick Grimes dragging his wife, son, and other survivors to…

"The Walking Dead" - Graphic Novel

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Walt Jabsco via Flickr - The sword-wielding woman would be Michonne.  She's a wild one who makes some questionable decisions in the series, but remains an interesting character altogether."][/caption]


Almost a year ago I read "The Walking Dead: Compendium 1" which was books 1-48).  I read it in anticipation of the beginning of the AMC show of the same name.  Incidentally, "The Walking Dead" was also the first graphic novel series I had read, so it was a new experience for me all the way around.  As with almost everything that becomes a TV show or movie, I wanted to experience it first in print.  I didn't want to be

I immediately fell in love with the story of "The Walking Dead".  The people were realistic, you could almost expect them to walk right off the page and into your life.  There were characters that fit specific stereotypes, but not so mu…

Bird brained over Twitter

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I am sorry in advance.  This post has absolutely nothing to do with horror cinema, literature, art, food, or culture.  It's just something I was ruminating on while laying in bed last night.  I had the urge to say it somewhere, if only just to get it out.  Bear with me.

I withheld the urge to join Twitter for awhile.  Really, I did.  When I joined, it was at the behest of a communications guru at one of my jobs.  She said it would improve visitor numbers at my blog.  Needless to say - I joined toute de suite and here I am on Twitter.  I did my thing - found a bunch of celebrities and other people to follow, and I write my own messages.

Last night I had the craziest epiphany.  I know nothing about Twitter and the Digital Age, despite having lived through the inception of the internet and the rise of the home computer.  Or should I say, the rise of the ubiquit…

Eh...the jury is out.

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia - A pub - pictured since the family witnesses a fatal stabbing in a pub one night."][/caption]


I resisted the urge to buy David Moody's "Hater" for awhile.  Truth be told?  It just didn't seem that interesting.  The description on the back of the book about violent people didn't really make me want to pick it up - which was a terrible shame because the cover of the book rocks.

However, I finally caved in, purchased the book (and its sequel), and read "Hater".  "Hater" begins with a series of vignettes about different people suddenly becoming afraid of those around them, and in self defense, they kill whoever happens to be the momentary source of the paranoia.  Interesting and engaging beginning.  But then something happens - you meet the guy who will become the main character, and the book seems downhill from there.  He's a henp…

Moving...

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Just a head's up to everyone...my family and I just moved into a new house yesterday and we're still unpacking and such.  The internet is not up yet - I'm using internet pirated from my boyfriend.  Hopefully within a week or two I will be up and running again.  I can still get e-mail via my phone if anyone needs me.  Ciao!



P.S.  The 17 houseplants moved without incident as well.

Before "The Walking Dead"...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia - not quite "DEADWORLD" but better than I can draw !"][/caption]


...there was "DEADWORLD" (or so they tell me).  I bought the DEADWORLD OMNIBUS a few months ago based on the strength of the cover - it looked awesome.  There are a horde of water color zombies whose features are just barely recognizable.

Immediately "DEADWORLD" distinguishes itself from the typical zombie story.  King Zombie is free from Hell and looking for a specific man and a specific book that can help him to open wide the gates of Hell.  When that task is complete, all the horrors of Hell will walk the Earth and they will kill everything in their path.  Each book in the series adds new characters and new plot twists that keep the story engaging, and the reader guessing.

"DEADWORLD" really shines in its different artists.  Each book has been inked and created by a di…

Severe story withdrawal...

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia - Throughout the book series I kept reading about a "balaclava" but had no idea what it was.  Apparently the versatile piece of headgear in these silly pictures is a "balaclava".  "][/caption]


I don't know which is worse - waiting for a new book to come out in a series, or having a great book end and wishing for more.  I guess it all depends on how close you are to the release of the next book, doesn't it?  I was lucky enough to find Joseph Talluto's "White Flag of the Dead" series early enough to not be too far behind, but late enough to get in two volumes before the third came out.  (Another caution:  If you bought the self published version - you're waiting for the second book.  If you're like me and you own the Severed Press editions, you are going to read "White Flag of the Dead", then progress to "Takin…

Abounding Disappointment

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I have been looking forward to "The Rite" since I saw the first commercial.  Anthony Hopkins doesn't make bad movies...nor does Alice Braga (loved her in "Predators" and "I Am Legend").  This will be the first time I completely give away everything about a movie.

Based on the previews I thought it was going to be amazing.  Terror, possession, deep soul rending spirituality...the actual movie?  Not so much.  It took absolutely forever for the movie to get rolling.  I never thought it would end.  At first, I thought it was the kind of movie that you put on while cooking or doing homework, then I decided there wasn't enough plot to actually do that.

Here's the plot - kid with baggage grows up in his father's house which is attached to a funeral home (the family business).  His mother died when he was young, and he decide…

Zombie Pulp (fiction - not puree)

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It seems to me that while teachers may not garner the respect they deserve in every arena in life, they are standouts in the zombie genre. Bowie Ibarra gives us yet another tale of an educator surviving the apocalypse long enough to be the main character of a book.

I had heard about Bowie Ibarra's "Down the Road" awhile ago, and it had been on my list to read.  It kept getting pushed back (I'm not sure why) until one day when I was looking at my e-mail.  Low and behold !  There is a second book.  My first thought was:  Damn.  I'm behind on yet another series.  Then I figured it didn't matter and purchased it - and I'm super glad I did !

The story follows the trials, tribulations, and heartbreak of George - a teacher desperately trying to reach his family.  The fact that he's stuck in a zombie apocalypse in the first place is at once…

Death falls

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Cover of Empire: A Zombie Novel"][/caption]


I finished reading David Dunwoody's "Empire's End" a few weeks ago but haven't been able to post anything because I've been so doggone busy writing exams.  I feel rather bad about this because it really is a great book.

The first book, "Empire" was an impulse purchase at a local bookstore.  When I saw online that the second book had come out, my eyes bugged out and I immediately bought it.  It arrived in the mail pretty soon and I was able to start it tout suite.

I was surprised at how easily I was able to pick up on the story again, after having read the first story so long ago.  In many ways, "Empire's End" feels more like a prequel than a sequel.  There is more background on Eviscerato, the circus ringleader who becomes infected, as well as on the plague itself.  My edition of the book also included…