Monday, July 18, 2016

Welcome to Deadland - Zachary Tyler Linville

Summary: In a thrilling debut from Nerdist, a ragtag group of survivors struggles to hold on to hope.

A widespread disease has ravaged humanity—symptoms include: animalistic rage, violent outbursts, and a ravenous hunger for human flesh. Among the few people left are Asher, Wendy, and Rico, thrust together to fight for their lives and find sanctuary, before the world becomes overrun by the infected. Although fear of the infected is ever present, the group finds themselves facing some very human concerns, as well as new adversaries.

Asher is Wendy’s only friend, and she fears that she’ll lose him if he ever discovers the dark secret she’s been harboring. Reeling from heartbreak, Asher clings to Wendy as he struggles to heal. Rico is a teenaged delinquent used to ditching school and partying all night—but can he outgrow his debauched behavior in order to protect a six-year-old boy who has suddenly fallen under his care? These three will have to overcome their own demons in order to save not only themselves, but the last vestiges of humanity. (Summary and image from  I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

Review: Asher and Wendy weren’t close until they had to be.  Now, they’re all the other has.  Rico truly cared about nothing but his kid brother, now he’d give anything to keep the boy safe.  Everything in their worlds have changed, including the World.  No one knows how the world’s end started, but as sure as zombies will get you if you’re not on your toes, they’re smack dab in the middle of it.

Every time I think I’ve read my last ZombieLit book, another one comes along that reels me  in.  I had the opportunity to review this before its publication, and it grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go.  Not only was this the cleanest ZombieLit book I’ve ever read, it was possibly one of my favorites.  I loved how Linville’s characters were still fleshed out enough to undergo personal development while dealing with an apocalypse, how even minor characters were so well-written I wanted to know their back stories, and how this was by far the most realistic ZombieLit book I’ve read.  As a matter of fact, it ended on such a cliffhanger that I emailed my contact at Nerdist and demanded either answers to my biggest questions or a sequel.  The choice was hers.  You may have heard me cheer when I found out that a sequel is definitely on the way!

I was stunned to find out that this is Linville’s first book. You know me well enough by now to know how picky I am with A) Time jumps and B) Present Tense writing.  This book has both, and it is so well done. The pre-apocalyptic flashbacks are all written in past tense (as well they should be, thank you!), and the present tense goings-on are all written in Present Tense - conveying the appropriate sense of urgency and doubt to the reader.  I loved it.  I loved that Linville didn’t shy away from stories difficult to tell, that even the knights in shining armor were humans with human flaws.  I loved the interactions of all the characters, even the ones that had me on edge.  And dagnabit, if a book makes me email the publisher within minutes of finishing to demand answers, it’s a book worth reading!

Rating: Four and a half stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  There are a few sex scenes, but nothing too shocking.  There are a few big swear words yelled by a drug dealer.  Teenage drug dealing/use.  Hints of an affair between the main (flashback) couple. One of the main characters deals with his sexuality during the flashbacks and I found it very tastefully done. Also, it's a ZombieLit book.  There's some gore.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook - Kate White

Summary: Hard-boiled breakfasts, thrilling entrees, cozy desserts, and more--this illustrated cookbook features more than 100 recipes from legendary mystery authors. Whether you're planning a sinister dinner party or whipping up some comfort food perfect for a day of writing, you'll find plenty to savor in this cunning collection. Full-color photography is featured throughout, along with mischievous sidebars revealing the links between food and foul play. Contributors include Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Nelson DeMille, Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Louise Penny, Scott Turow, and many more. (Summary and image from  I was provided a book in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:  How delightful! If you have ever wondered what your favorite authors would serve at a dinner party, and why, this is the kind of cookbook you’ll want to dive into.  Enclosed within are tidbits of why and how these recipes were chosen, how they have either impacted the authors’ lives or the lives of their characters.  I have enough of a snoop in me that reading tidbits like that just delight me.

Many of these recipes aren’t ones I will be able to enjoy, either because of the inclusion of alcohol (religious reasons) or sugar to the extent I couldn’t modify it out (allergies.  Yes, I’m allergic to sugar.), but I love reading good recipes.  Many of these are ones I can’t wait to make — in fact, there’s one I’ve been craving since I read it. I have all the ingredients in my kitchen, I just haven’t had the time to make it yet.  But I can’t wait!

The pictures and illustrations included in the book are so much fun.  They quietly reinforce you’re reading about mystery writers, whether it’s by the butt of a revolver included next to a plate of pasta, or a skull and crossbones thumbnail introducing the next section of recipes.  At the risk of sounding repetitive, all of these little details came together to make reading this cookbook an absolutely delightful experience.  

Rating: Four stars


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