My Life as a White Trash Zombie, by Diana Rowland

My Life as a White Trash Zombie, by Diana Rowland, narrated by Allison McLemore

This book was a huge surprise to me. I was told it was fantastic – funny, fun, good plot – but I didn’t really believe. I mean, there are so many zombie books out there, right? But it really was hilarious and fun. I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Angel Crawford is a down-on-her-luck, pill-popping, high school drop-out who can’t hold down a job and is being dragged down by her alcoholic father and deadbeat boyfriend. One day, she wakes up in a hospital – told that she overdosed and was found naked on the side of the road. Humiliated, she is about to return home when she gets a mysterious note telling her to drink a mysterious power-shake each day, and that she now has a job picking up and helping autopsy dead bodies. She’s told she must keep this job for at least a month, or she’s going to prison for parole violation. Angel is terrified of prison, so she begrudgingly starts her new job. 

Strangely, she realizes that she desperately wants to eat the brains of the bodies she’s been autopsying – and she thinks it must be some weird side-effect of the OD…maybe she’s just going crazy. But then hints begin to turn up that she’s been zombified. Proving to be more intelligent than she thought, Angel begins to investigate who zombified her, sent her the mysterious notes, and who, in God’s sake, is the serial murderer who’s beheading all his victims?

Like I said, it was really funny. I loved Angel’s character, and the mystery kept me listening even when I should have been doing other things. Angel really developed during this book – changing from an self-hating loser to an almost self-confident, poised, intelligent woman. (There’s still some room left for “refinement” in the next books, of course.) Much to my surprise and gratification, this was a very character-driven book. I will definitely pick up more from this series. 

This book gets 4.5 stars for humor, characterization, and mystery.

Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake

After listening to the audio version of Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake (and disliking the narrator), I decided to pick up an old-fashioned copy its sequel Girl of Nightmares

Cass Lowood has now become used to life in Thunder Bay. He’s finished a school year in the same school for the first time in years. He has friends: the beautiful and popular Carmel Jones and nerdy voodoo teenage witch Thomas Sabin. The three have tried to move on from the devastating events in Anna Dressed in Blood. They’ve been going to school by day and killing ghosts by night. But when Anna starts haunting Cass, he becomes obsessed with saving her from whatever hell she is suffering. His quest to save her drives a wedge between him and his friends, and leads him across the ocean to follow ominous clues sent by anonymous people.


I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares even more than Anna Dressed in Blood. I began the book with an attachment to all the characters, and was genuinely concerned about Anna’s fate. Cass, Carmel, and Thomas begin to develop more rounded personalities in this book – showing sides of themselves that weren’t obvious in the first book. Girl of Nightmares had a good mixture of action and intrigue, which kept me turning the pages. I’m hoping there will be another book coming up soon. 

4 stars for fluffy YA fun

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake; narrated by August Ross
Anna Dressed in Blood, Book 1

Cas Lowood has always worked alone on his quest to dispatch murderous ghosts and discover the demon who killed his father. Imagine his annoyance when he moves to Thunder Bay to kill the intensely horrific ghost Anna Dressed in Blood and he accidentally picks up a couple of teenaged tag-a-longs. When he attempts to dispatch Anna, he discovers that she’s unlike any ghost he’s ever fought before. She’s frightening and mesmerizing in her power. Cas digs deeper into Anna’s story and begins, for once, to see a ghost as an unwilling victim rather than simply a supernatural murderess.


Initially, I picked up this book because of the fantastic cover art (Yup! I’m one of those people). Turns out Anna Dressed in Blood was a really good choice if you’re a fan of teen horror. I hadn’t read a good ghost story in a long time, and this one was quite refreshing. The characters were easy to like, and the mystery kept the book interesting. This book was fun and quick. 

Unfortunately, I listened to the audiobook rather than reading the book. I don’t recommend this course. Ross annoyed me with his too-clear annunciations, his pauses, and his slow reading. It ruined the rhythm of the narrative, and made the dialog fall flat. There were several times I wanted to give up on the book just because the narration was annoying me. But I couldn’t do it because I was enjoying the story too much.

4 snowflakes for fluffy YA fun

This post is for R. I. P. X @TheEstellaSociety and the 2015 Halloween Reading Challenge @ReadingEverySeason. It is also for #Diversiverse, @BookLust, which is all about reading books by people of a variety of ethnic/racial backgrounds, so I will provide tell you a little about the author, Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake


Kendare Blake was born in Seoul, Korea and was adopted by her American parents when she was very young. She writes dark fantasy including, but not limited to: The Girl of Nightmares series and The Goddess War series (beginning with Antigoddess). 

After enjoying The Girl of Nightmares series so much, I’ll probably be picking up Antigoddess sometime soon. 

Anna Dressed In Blood, by Kendare Blake

 Anna Dressed in Blood

Written by Kendare Blake, Narrated by August Ross

Reason for Reading: I wanted to check off category 12 in Reading Outside the Box

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Horror

Review
Cas Lowood has always worked alone on his quest to dispatch murderous ghosts and discover the demon who killed his father. But when he moves to Thunder Bay everything changes – first, he has an explainable fascination with Anna, the ghost he’s come to kill; second, he accidentally picks up a team of teenagers who insist on tagging along as he rids the world of Anna’s horror. And Cas isn’t quite sure he wants to kill Anna anymore…

I picked this book up because of the fascinating cover art. (Yup! I’m one of those people.) I’m glad the cover was so awesome, because I enjoyed the book. Yes, it was sort of a copy of the TV show Supernatural, but that’s ok. Every story has its origins in another story, right? This book was fun and quick – I enjoyed the mystery and characters. If you like teen ghost stories, this would be a good book to pick up. But I recommend you pick up the physical book and not the audio book. Ross annoyed me with his too-clear annunciations, his pauses, and his slow reading. It ruined the rhythm of the narrative, and made the dialog fall flat. There were several times I wanted to give up on the book just because the narration was annoying me – and I generally am pretty laid back about audio books.  

Some Quiet Place, by Kelsey Sutton

Some Quiet Place, by Kelsey Sutton

Reason for Reading: A free copy of the ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Genre: Teen paranormal romance

Review
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t remember a time when she felt emotions – her whole life has been blocked by a wall of nothingness where her feelings should be. Instead, she is able to see the personifications of Emotions all around her – Anger touches her former friend Sophia. Longing touching Joshua, the boy who has a crush on her. And Fear touches her mother, who claims Elizabeth is not her child – but perhaps a changeling that has taken the place of her daughter after a tragic accident at the age of 4. With the help of Fear, who has formed an obsession with the untouchable Elizabeth, she searches for answers to the questions that haunt her dreams. How did she become this way? Who is she? Is she in danger?

In some ways, this was an amazing book. I really loved the idea. I enjoyed thinking about Emotions as external personifications – powers that influence us by their touch or mere presence. I enjoyed the allegory of hiding your emotions in an abusive relationship – whether that be the result of an abusive parent or cruel bullies at school. I felt that this was a refreshing change from the dystopias, vampires, and werewolves that are popular these days. In this way, Sutton deserves 5 stars, and she has a lot of potential as a writer. 

On the other hand, this book does have the earmark of a debut novelist. Some things could have been done with more subtlety or finesse. The ending felt a bit long and clunky, for instance. And I sat through the entire book feeling that Elizabeth was an incredibly empathetic person considering she didn’t feel emotion. Was that intentional? Maybe. In fact, I’m inclined to give Sutton the benefit of the doubt and say that it was quite intentional. This was a very difficult character to develop, and Sutton did an amazing job of writing a character that had no emotions – but with whom I could relate.

I’m sad to say, this book DID have the dreaded love triangle. *sigh* I DO feel love triangles have a place in literature – my favorite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, features one – but lately (ever since the Twilight series, I think) it seems to be the basic romantic cop-out. Story doesn’t have enough romantic tension? Put in a love triangle! I wish more writers would take the time to think of a different technique to create tension. Isn’t there enough tension created just by the fact that Elizabeth doesn’t acknowledge emotion?

So, yes, I have a few quips about this book…but overall I think it was really creative and unique and I certainly hope Sutton continues writing. I have no doubt her debut-novel style will quickly vanish as she develops her career as a novelist. 🙂

Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

Reason for Reading: Loved the movie and trying to kill reading slump.

Review
R is an above-average-intelligence zombie (he can speak 4-6 syllable sentences!) who is living a doll-drum life in an abandoned airplane – but his un-life gets a sharp slap in the face when he meets Julie, who by all rights he should have eaten. Instead, he takes Julie home and tries to communicate with her. This small act of curiosity on R’s part ignites a chain event of new perceptions. The world must crawl out of it’s stagnant existence and remember what it was to live.

I admit that I watched the movie first. I generally don’t do that, but it just happened that way. I LOVED the movie and had to rush out to get the book. This is one example where I’d say I liked the movie and the book equally. 🙂 Warm Bodies is unquestionably a retelling of Romeo and Juliet (right down to the balcony scene), but it was certainly the most unique retelling I’ve read. Additionally, I interpreted the book as a parody of YA paranormal romance – I took it very tounge-in-cheek. So I got a LOT of laughs while reading it. But what I thought was most interesting was the allegory. The zombies symbolized passionless people who have simply accepted life as directed by the ruling body (Bonies, in this case). And R was a zombie who just couldn’t quite conform. I loved the idea that a renewal of passion (and I don’t just mean romantic passion) could revive R’s potential as an individual. One simple act of individuality could change the course of history. On the other hand, I got a little tired at the end of the book of the cheesy internal dialog (and I DO mean internal dialog and not monologue). I think Marion was laying on his philosophy a little too thick. It would have been much more elegant to leave these philosophical discussions out – anybody who was willing to see Marion’s philosophy would be able to do so without cheesy dialog. But that was my only complaint about this funny, quirky, and delightful story. 🙂

Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot 

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Reason for Reading: Real-life Book Club

Review
Peter Grant is a bumbling, easily distracted constable on the fast-track for a paper-pushing job. His luck unexpectedly turns when a ghost approaches him at a murder scene. Apparently Grant does have a talent – he can see dead people. Suddenly, he is adopted as the sole apprentice of Detective Chief Inspector Nightengale, who heads the supernatural division of the police. Grant is up to his ears in weirdness as he tries to solve the murder while learning the ropes in the unexpectedly supernatural world. I mostly enjoyed Midnight Riot for its interesting world-building and a lot of dry humor. The character of Grant was likable enough – even if he was bumbling – and I suspect I’d grow attached to him after a few books in the series. The plot tended to stray a bit more than I prefer, though. Nothing too bad, mind you, but there were a few moments where I wondered if we were still trying to catch the murderer or just enjoy the scenery. I prefer a little more focus. But these passages were never very long, and the book was, for the most part, quite enjoyable. I’m sure I’ll pick up the next in the series some day.

As for the narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith…I think his cadence, tone, and delivery was done perfectly for our character. He was so dead-pan with the dry humor that I sometimes only caught the humor by delayed reaction. Which made it funnier. 🙂 On the other hand, he was a rather loud (and wet) breather. I figured at first that this was put on for the character effect – but then I realized that such breathing would be difficult to fake unless he narrator was really congested. So…the loud breathing wasn’t enough to put me off, but it might be enough to put SOME people off.