Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Rating: 4 of 5

On my list of Best Zombies in YA, Shallow Graves ranks high, right after The Reapers Are the Angels and Raising Stony Mayhall.

I enjoy the playgrounds located in gray zones, especially when there’s a killer who only murders other killers. (Think: Dexter Morgan or John Wayne Cleaver as popular examples.) Are they good for ridding the world of evil-doers? Is what they’re doing righteous in some twisted way? Is murder ever justified, morally or ethically?

In Shallow Graves, the monster with a conscience is a 17-year-old girl who just so happens to be sorta, kinda, but not all the way dead. Her name is Breezy, she’s half-Chinese, half-Irish, bisexual, and she wants to be an astronaut on the first manned mission to Mars. Or, at least, she was all those things when she was alive, back when she was human, before she was a zombie who craves killers, not brains.

Recommended to readers who want a dark fantasy with horrorish elements, who don’t mind an occasional non-linear timeline, who want to read something with little to no romance, and/or just plain want something different than the usual mainstream young adult literature.

Whatever Wallace writes next, I’m excited to read it.

P.S. I don’t think this book needs a sequel but I would love to read a companion novel (or three). The worldbuilding is solid; the characters are there, waiting. Breezy, Zeke, Jake, Violet, Esme, Lyle, Mother, even Rain — potentially endless storylines to explore.

Author’s website | Read an excerpt | Add on LibraryThing | Add on Goodreads

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

We’re All Infected by Dawn Keetley

Rating: 4 of 5

9780786476282Don’t let the length of these 13 essays fool you. “We’re All Infected” is dense, academic reading. I tackled about two essays a week over the last eight weeks, and I still bookmarked numerous pages and highlighted dozens of passages for future study. There was a lot to digest in each one.

“‘Talking Bodies’ in a Zombie Apocalypse” by Gary Farnell was the only essay with an angle completely new to me. All the others presented the usual zombie themes, metaphors and allegories.

Recommended only to readers looking for a scholarly discussion and dissection of the zombies in AMC’s The Walking Dead. (Students and researchers will eat this up.) For the average zombie enthusiast, though, the introduction and afterword would likely be the most accessible and enjoyable selections.

Check out the table of contents and read excerpts on the publisher’s website.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Received paperback from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Rating: 3.5 of 5

The Girl with All the GiftsI requested The Girl with All the Gifts based on the blurb, which told me pretty much nothing about the actual story, but teased with its potential. I expected something in the realm of science fiction. What it delivered was [spoiler]a post-apocalyptic world with hungries, junkers, and troubled humans. The cause of the apocalypse was, based on a real parasitic fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, extra terrifying[/spoiler]. For its target audience, that well-written, moderately emotional, plot-driven story will be adored and proclaimed a must-read for 2014.

Yet I found it rather standard fare for its genre. The truly interesting and downright captivating portion of the book – the first 100 pages, with the “children,” their relationships, and their place in the world – was all but abandoned for the expected survival plot. Had the author stayed with the “children,” life on the block, the experiments, and really examined the “what it means to be human” question, he could have achieved so much more: a story that would have appealed equally to readers within and outside the genre.

I don’t fault Carey for taking the frequently traveled road and, as I’ve already mentioned, [spoiler]zombie[/spoiler] fans will most certainly eat this up. I’m sure there’s probably even a screen adaptation on the horizon. I had just hoped for more…

Read an excerpt on the book’s official website.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Received hardcover from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 More Must-See Indie Horror Movies

Image girl screaming with hands upA sequel to 7 Must-See Indie Horror Movies, one of my most visited posts, presents five more must-see independent horror movies for all the movie junkies out there.

Okay, technically, a couple of these may not be classified as horror but rather thrillers; they’re worth sharing whatever the genre. Zombies, mind-benders, slashers and the paranormal are all featured below.

Please note: I haven’t watched these movies in their entirety yet, only the trailers.

Continue reading 5 More Must-See Indie Horror Movies

The Signal (2007) – Movie Review

Poster The Signal (2007)Alrighty, as promised in my review of The Other Side, this post discusses the film The Signal (2007), written and directed by David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush, which will most certainly be a love it or hate it experience for many. Personally, I find something new to love every time I watch it.

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4 stars out of 5

Watching THE SIGNAL I experienced every emotion known to man except disappointment. There were some really bloody, violent scenes that made me cringe. Then there was a good 20 minutes or so where I thought I’d pee myself from laughing so hard — the scene with Clark and Lewis, “not Jim Parsons…” was friggin’ hilarious whilst being an excellent way for the writers to show us just how deranged some people might be in that situation.

I didn’t realize THE SIGNAL was directed by three different people until after I’d already watched it; however, that totally explains the three sequences and their almost bipolar variances in dialogue, tone and atmosphere. I enjoyed the basic plot of the film: a signal broadcast over the TV and radio causes people to go homicidal (“Do you have the crazy?“) but not in the traditional zombie sort of way.

The love story / love triangle, which had me pulling for Mya and Ben until the very end, was vital to the film’s success. Had the writers not given me someone to care about before the darkness set in I might not have connected with the story. And hands down, without Anessa Ramsey, Justin Welborn and AJ Bowen, I would not have enjoyed Mya, Ben and Lewis quite as much.

Despite repeated views, I’m not quite sure I get the movie or its ending, but I was definitely entertained. Like I wrote earlier: a love it or hate it flick, for sure. Oh yeah, the brief nudity mentioned in the rating is a quick shot of Justin Welborn’s butt at the beginning of the film.

Very weird movie; check it out for yourself.

Do you ever question the effects of all the signals zooming around us every day? Or what would happen if someone manipulated those signals?

WEB RESOURCES

The Signal official site | on IMDb | on Netflix | Purchase from Amazon

(Watched Instantly on 6/14/08)

Boy Eats Girl (2005) – Horror Movie Review

DVD cover Boy Eats Girl (2005)A zomedy that delivered on its promises, Boy Eats Girl (2005), written by Derek Landy and directed by Stephen Bradley, won’t win any awards, but it entertained my zombie lovin’ self for 80 minutes.

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3 1/2 stars out of 5

Okay, if I’m being completely honest, a few of those 80 minutes I wasn’t entertained; hence, only 3 1/2 stars. But when the writing dulled or the plot holes threatened to swallow me whole, either the great soundtrack or the chunks of gore saved the day. Or, Nathan’s best friends, Henry and Diggs, dropped some comic relief, which caused me to laugh and overlook the not-so-stellar moments.
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Upcoming Releases: The 4th Reich (2010) – Horror Movie

Image The 4th Reich movieI recently discovered the Nazi zombie subgenre and consequently went on the hunt for more. That’s when I found a link to The 4th Reich (2010) on IMDb. It’s still classified as in pre-production with production set for spring 2010 but I had to get it posted here so I wouldn’t lose it in the shuffle of the hundreds of movies I want to see. Yes, you read correctly, hundreds.
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Dead Snow (Død snø, 2009) – Horror Movie Review

Poster Dead Snow Død snøYou had me at In the Hall of the Mountain King (Peer Gynt) by Edvard Grieg as the score in the opening scene while a young woman runs for her life from a mob of…what? I could not tell. Dead Snow (Død snø, 2009), directed by Tommy Wirkola, only gets better from there.

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4 1/2 stars out of 5

The plot is nothing new: a group of college students trek to a secluded cabin in the snow-covered mountains of Norway only to discover the area’s sordid history which includes torture, murder, and zombies. But not just any zombie. Nope. These are Nazi zombies!
…Continue reading

Automaton Transfusion (2006) – Horror Movie Review

After a little research, which consisted of reading about 10 random blogs, 10 comments on Amazon, and one thread on IMDb, I’m convinced I have to add my two cents on Automaton Transfusion (2006), written and directed by Steven C. Miller.

3 stars out of 5

While there are a few redeeming qualities to Automaton Transfusion – the title not being one of them – it does not earn Bloody-Disgusting’s “Best Zombie Film in Decades” endorsement on the DVD cover art. It’s too choppy and immature for that distinction. …continue reading

Note to Self: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks was . . . interesting.

WORLD WAR Z is Max Brooks’s life work. Logging countless hours of travel to capture and preserve first-hand experiences from the Dark Years, Brooks records in great detail the one aspect that has been neglected in all previous retellings of this war: the extraordinary job we did in coming together to thwart our extinction and reign triumphant.

Brooks’ imagination and dedication to zombies is undeniable. The amount of research and planning that he had to do in preparation for writing World War Z is admirable. The book’s format – personal interviews with survivors of the zombie apocalypse – is unique enough to keep most zombie addicts turning the page. Plus, it’s written, quite convincingly, as non-fiction.

However, the 352-page book has its flaws. And those flaws could prove too numerous for picky readers, who might choose to close the book and never pick it up again. …continue reading