I Fell in Love with a Zombie has a setting that is very reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Stand where the majority of the population is dead from a sudden flu outbreak. Here though there’s the added bonus that some of the dead come back to life so now you throw a bit of 28 Days Later into the mix and things really begin to get interesting. Though referred to as zombies, the main motivation of the reanimated dead here is not to eat brains, it’s simply to eat and expend pent up energy due to overly enhanced strength. These are not your typical “movie zombies,” that’s for sure.
Jay is struggling with being all alone in the city, unsure if there are any other survivors at all. After confronting a particularly argumentative zombie, he decides it is time to move on, away from the memories of his life with partner Mike who succumbed to the virus. On his travels, Jay encounters a less-than-inviting survivor and eventually stumbles upon Dave, an ex who was the one Jay let get away. Dave has been infected, but he has some distinct differences from his fellow zombies that come as quite a surprise to Jay. From the very beginning, this story pulls you in with the detailed and quite realistic descriptions of Jay’s existence within a city where the only other occupants aren’t exactly willing to strike up a conversation. It’s desolate and dangerous and depressing, all feelings which are vividly projected through Jay’s thoughts and actions.
A story like this could easily become quite morbid and heavy, however Kennedy deftly handles the story with ease and is able to intertwine a healthy amount of his signature sense of humor that keeps the story light and fast paced. Jay’s character is exceptional and through both his internal dialogue and conversations he has with the few survivors he encounters, there is a constant addition of humor to the very sobering setting. In such a situation, humor is quite essential in order to keep from giving in to the overwhelming isolation and this detail makes the story that much more realistic. It’s quite unexpected to be smiling and chuckling while reading a story featuring zombies, but there are so many moments here where you just can’t help but laugh out loud, such as when Jay has a conversation with Dave.
Dave nodded at me. He was standing near the kitchen window, a saucepan in his hand. “You eat?” I asked stupidly, before I could stop myself. He looked as if he wanted to brain me with the pot. “Sorry.” With trembling hands, he placed the pot upon the woodstove. “What’s for breakfast?” I asked. “Boiled brains?” Dave’s head shot up, and he glared at me. I burst out laughing. “Sorry, sorry! Have you lost your sense of humor?” Dave grunted an affirmation that he must have.
Though not constantly focused on the blood and gore side of zombies, this story is definitely not for the faint of heart. At times there is quite a bit of violence, and a solid level of description to go along with it, but when considering a post-apocalyptic setting like this with enemies who no longer need a gym membership, avoiding any violence would make the story feel fake. Kennedy has combined just the right amount of violence and darker details to draw the reader into the story, but never passes the point where it’s overdone. Jay’s humor mixes together with these moments to make them easy for even readers who are tentative about horror elements within their stories.
The zombie was one of the grosser specimens I had seen. Dried blood crusted along the bottom of its mouth, and its skin… well, let’s just say Kermit would have had a partner to duet “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” with. I knew the flesh wasn’t decaying, so fuck knows what it had been crawling through.
I am decidedly a huge fan of Kennedy’s writing, but this story quickly moved to the very top of my list of favorites. Its combination of humor, zombies, serious yet touching moments, and exceptional writing make it a treat to read. The only thing wrong with it is that it had to come to an end. I’ve already read the story several times and I expect it will always be a story I go back to and enjoy when I need a bit of a zombie fix. If you’re not familiar with Kennedy’s works, this is definitely a great place to start as long as you aren’t deterred by a bit of zombie goriness. If you’re already a fan like me, you absolutely need to read this story and enjoy every tender morsel....more
It’s quite common for an author to specialize in a specific genre, and it can be daunting to break outside of the typical mold that has proven to be successful in the past. Here author Radclyffe, writing as L.L. Raand, moves away from the typical contemporary romance stories that readers have come to expect from her and enjoy so much. This book throws the reader into a well-developed and established new world quite different from our own. It is a story of werewolves and vampires, mates and destiny, and is an introduction to a new series of stories about a world where the supernatural is integrated into daily life, or at least is a reality that cannot be ignored.
Sylvan Mir is Alpha of the Adirondack Timberwolf Pack and a necessary part of her job is to participate in the political ministrations of the Praetern species that have unveiled themselves and are looking to obtain equal rights to those that humans possess. As a member of the Praetern Coalition, she represents the interests of Weres, and is joined by representatives of the other species: Vampires, Mages, Fae, and Psi. Sylvan is not a fan of playing the political game and would prefer to be on the compound surrounded by her pack, but instead she is forced to deal with what appears to be Were fever that is manifesting in human females. When one of Sylvan’s young pack members is attacked and ends up in the emergency room, human medic Drake McKennan tries to help despite an admitted lack of knowledge about Were physiology. Able to stand up to Sylvan’s warnings, Drake is determined to help and get answers and is not deterred by the growls of the Alpha wolf. When yet another young girl is brought into the ER, Drake unexpectedly gets wrapped up in Sylvan’s world and her very life depends on both the pack and Sylvan.
Any reader familiar with Radclyffe’s writing will recognize the author’s style within The Midnight Hunt, yet at the same time it is most definitely a new direction. The author delivers an excellent story here, one that is engrossing from the very beginning. Raand has pieced together an intricate world, and provided just enough details for the reader to become enmeshed in the new world. The action moves quickly throughout the book and it’s hard to put down. As this is the first in what will become a series, the ending ties up some story arcs and leaves others open, and I can only expect that those will be the basis of upcoming stories. While this story focuses on the world and mythology of the Weres, there is much alluded to and left open to explore with the Praetern species.
Both Sylvan and Drake are written as strong characters, yet at the same time most of the focus is on Sylvan and her struggles as Alpha. Through Drake, readers learn more about this new species and the associated physiology as Drake goes through her own transformation. There were several secondary characters that were just as strong, and it will be very interesting to see where Raand takes these characters. Particular favorites of mine were Vampire Jody Gates and investigative reporter Becca Land. They provide a small glimpse of the lore surrounding Vampires within Raand’s world and it’s definitely intriguing. Niki Kroff, Sylvan’s second and head of security, is entrusted with keeping Sylvan safe, but at times she comes off much too strong and becomes slightly annoying. Because the story is not her focus this is understandable, and she became much more likeable as medic and Were Sophia Revnik enters the picture.
I greatly enjoyed this story though there were a few aspects that didn’t work as well for me. In describing the Were characters and their transformation, Raand constantly refers to the flash of fur that would appear on the abdomen of a Were as emotions ran high, a warning or signal meant for others. Though this detail is quite useful at the beginning of the story, it was greatly overused and is constantly referenced throughout the book. For the Weres, mating is extremely important, a vital aspect in order to maintain a species whose numbers have dwindled. In this world, two female Weres can both mate and breed, thanks in large part to physical aspects of the sexual organs. Without going into too much detail, penetration is possible with two women. This is quite intriguing and most definitely a unique aspect, however the first time it is introduced it was a bit confusing, and took me a few readings to fully decipher.
Despite these few minor issues, I greatly enjoyed this story and found myself engrossed from the very beginning. I’m most definitely a fan of Radclyffe’s writing and I’m happy to say that her Raand alter ego is just as successful at delivering an entertaining and extremely satisfying read. This book is a chance to dive into a detailed mythology of a supernatural world and an erotic tale that features love and lust on an animalistic level. Fans of paranormal stories will most definitely enjoy this tale, and Radclyffe fans should take a chance on this new series....more
The eleventh in this wonderful series of the Lesbian Adventure Club takes the women in an unexpected direction, complete with maps included! As always, they never know quite what to expect when it’s an LAC weekend, but it’s always a wildly fun ride and a chance for the women to reconnect both with their respective partners and with each other as a group. The basics of the LAC are pretty simple. Five couples get together once a month with a rotating schedule of one couple hosting and in charge of the plans for the weekend. The others are subjected to whatever madness their hosts can concoct, leading to an adventurous weekend filled with friends and fun.
As is always the case when Ginny and Kris are in charge of the weekend festivities, there is a very literary tie to this gathering of the Lesbian Adventure Club, but it takes a bit of time before that becomes apparent to the participants. The women find themselves in the middle of downtown Granton early on a Saturday morning, completely unsure of what to expect from their hosts. With a bit of help, it is finally revealed that their town has been turned into the equivalent of a chessboard and the rules of the game most definitely apply. Their goal is to become queens in the final square, and to get there they have Alice as a guide. But not the Alice you might expect. In this case, it is Lewis Carroll’s Alice of Through the Looking-Glass infamy. Of course, what that means for our favorite ladies is that much of their day will be nonsensical in the best possible way. “’No. The joy of it is the nonsense. If you make sense of nonsense, it isn’t nonsense anymore, is it?’”
Stalemates is another excellent addition to a series that has become a personal favorite. I always look forward to the next installment and never know what to expect, but I always know that there will be quite a bit of humor involved as well as consistently strong writing. Thanks to the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, hopefully most readers will be familiar with the basics of Through the Looking-Glass. It’s most definitely not necessary to have read the original tale, but the more you know about that story, the greater your enjoyment will be. Familiarity with the original story will increase your ability to pick out the little details that Wraight so adeptly incorporates into her story. There were many times throughout Stalemates that I found myself chuckling at the parallels between the tales, and I wanted to pick up a copy of Carroll’s book and read the two side by side. One of my favorite parts involves the appearance of a particular writer, something that fans of Carroll will not be shocked by in the slightest.
The Writer White Knight shrugged. “Maybe it’s just the difference between a quest and an adventure,” she said. “It sounds as though they’ve sent you on quests in the past, challenges that have more to do with you as people. They push you to grow. Maybe this one is simply an adventure, nothing more than a journey from one place to another. Or in this case, one end of a chessboard to the other.”
Wraight’s books always feature the emotional bond that exists between the women in each couple, how strong their love is, and that is most definitely present in this story as well. One of the most moving parts of this story for me is the reaction the women have to being out and about downtown, an area where they can’t openly be themselves. Such a large part of the LAC weekends involves quality time with partners, with open displays of affection, and in the city environment that is stifled. It’s something that the characters run up against, and is something that many readers will identify with from situations within their own lives. The realism within these scenes is palpable, and the reaction of the women when they have a stop at a gay bar is touching.
The very instant we noticed two guys dancing and two women embracing by a pool table, partner grabbed partner. A whole lot of kissing and holding ensued as we replenished what our bigoted world had depleted. For the moment, we could be ourselves fully and not give a damn what other people thought.
I’m a huge fan of this series, and have enjoyed every installment, reading some more than once. My only concern with this latest addition is that readers are dropped into the story without much lead in. For readers that are familiar with the structure of the series and the characters this is not a problem at all, but for those who are new to the series, it could make the beginning quite confusing. For that reason, I don’t recommend starting with this book as an introduction to the series. From the standpoint of being nonsensical and aligning with the literature that inspires the tale, it is quite appropriate, yet it could be confusing and even off-putting to newcomers.
As this story is a part of a longer series that is immensely enjoyable to read, it’s easy to overcome this obstacle by starting with some of the earlier stories. These include, in order and linked to the reviews, Scavengers, Ledge Walkers, Savages, Loose Sleuths, Sisters, Leakers Ignited, Scraps, L-Word C-Word, Spiders, and Likely Suspects. All of them are wonderful stories, and the character development throughout the series is quite elaborate. For our narrator Kate, in particular, there have been many ups and downs, and following along with her journey is an absolute pleasure. I highly recommend this series for fans of fiction featuring exceptional lesbian characters that are lovers and friends....more
Normally when you think of zombie stories, your mind immediately goes to mindless beings driven by an overwhelming need to feast on human flesh. This story is a much tamer approach, which focuses on the undead side of being a zombie and eliminates the appetite for fleshy meals. Despite the lack of gory meals, it is a satisfying tale of best friends who take their relationship in a new direction and have to deal with intolerance from those around them. Readers familiar with Kiernan Kelly’s stories will recognize common themes and style and she gently infuses a zombie theme into the story, making this a tale that people a bit hesitant when it comes to blood and gore can enjoy.
Tyler Grayle’s life took a dreadful turn after he was bitten by a mosquito and infected with a form of encephalitis. He died. However thanks to the Dante Comet that passed near the Earth and reanimated many of the dead, his death only lasted a few hours. He’s not technically alive due to a distinct lack of a heartbeat or functioning organs, yet he exists just like his human counterparts, working in a cubicle and answering to a boss he doesn’t particularly like to make ends meet. Tyler’s saving grace is his best friend Daniel, who stands by him no matter what and has accepted his reanimated state with ease.
As Serious as the Grave is an engaging and witty tale of best friends who finally admit to much deeper feelings. I enjoyed both of the main characters immensely, especially Tyler who has a witty and dry sense of humor about his condition, something that is surely necessary to get through the days. The characters pull you in from the very beginning and you become invested in their story quite quickly. As the friends become closer, there is a deeply erotic thread as Tyler helps Daniel explore needs feelings and needs.
Where this story becomes the most interesting and thought provoking is the parallel between the rights and treatment of the reanimated to the struggle for homosexual rights throughout recent years. Tyler experiences extreme prejudice and outright disgust from many others, to the point that his life is threatened. Kelly has woven these details throughout the story and adds a serious note to what could otherwise simply have been a contemporary romance, with a twist.
Being a zombie fan myself, I don’t mind blood and gore in my stories but I still enjoyed this story quite a bit. It’s definitely on the tame side, but the incorporation of the reanimation details and romance between best friends make this quite enjoyable. Readers who are fans of Kelly’s writing will definitely like this story and those looking for a less bloody and meaty zombie tale should try this story....more
Niall’s visit to local club Pit is anything but typical when a young kid named Jamie follows him when he’s leaving. What Jamie doesn’t know is that Niall isn’t a vampire, he’s a ghoul who is simply looking to exist while curbing his appetite for human flesh with more humane alternatives. Jamie alters the course of Niall’s evening with the help of a wooden stake, and when the two are reunited it turns into a unique partnership of sorts.
A Ghoul Like You is a fresh and new take on zombie themed stories, and engaging writing makes the story truly a pleasure to read. The story starts out with a unique approach as it is written in first-person, a style that can be difficult to execute and is done very well here. You can’t help but be pulled right into the story and experience the tale along with the character of Niall.
A ghoul is a type of being I wouldn’t have expected when reading a zombie short story, but as close relatives with a shared taste for human flesh, it is most definitely a solid choice. This story could easily spawn a much longer tale, and with how much I enjoyed this short story I would read another tale with these characters and setting in a second.
This is not the first JL Merrow story I’ve read and I’ve consistently enjoyed each one. The author’s writing is solid and sense of humor most definitely comes through in each story, especially here with a very tongue-in-cheek approach to what could be a morbid and stomach-turning idea. Instead the author provides just enough detail to make this a delightfully fun tale of fleshy meals, vampire slaying, and naughty fun. This was published as a Halloween offering but can be read and enjoyed at any time. If you don’t mind a slight turn into gory details in your tales, definitely pick up this story for a quick bite…er, read....more
Beau Cross makes an entrance when she shows up late for the training session being led by Dr. Ali Torveau. Ali dismisses Beau as a woman unable to take anything seriously, but Beau’s persistence begins to show Ali that you can’t always trust first impressions. Beau has kept her heart closed, sure that she doesn’t deserve happiness, or a woman like Ali, but quickly finds that Ali makes her think about the future in a way she never has before. Both women find their lives turned upside down and must trust both the connection developing between them and their inner strength if they are going to be willing to pursue anything together.
Radclyffe is a well-known and established author of lesbian fiction, and Trauma Alert features strong characters and a story that pulls you in from the beginning and holds your attention throughout. This is the first in the new First Responders series, yet readers familiar with Radclyffe’s other books will recognize some characters from previous books. Those that haven’t read the other stories will not be lost at all, but after reading this book you will definitely want to read more about the other characters and what they’ve gone through.
There is a realism to the story that is undoubtedly due to the author’s real life experiences as a surgeon which feeds the story content. Both Ali and Beau have high stress jobs that define a large part of their lives, and fitting one another into that framework is not easy. The secondary characters of the story help to flesh out the world and inform the story without ever taking over. Beau’s sister Jude and Ali’s best friend Wynter are particular favorites of mine and they help their friends when they are unsure or scared of the direction life is taking.
Trauma Alert is a great place to start for anyone that has not been exposed to a Radclyffe novel before. The strong characterizations and quick paced text make this a very enjoyable read and I am definitely looking forward to the next addition to this series....more
“I kissed her on Tuesday, and she giggled.” Short stories so often hinge on that first line, the hook to pull you into a story that you know will more than likely be finished in one sitting. In Gigglepuss, author Giselle Renarde has crafted a particularly enticing beginning that leads into a quick and enjoyable story about Lorna and a girl who giggles.
Lorna is known for her ability to bring women to their knees, to pull them in with a simple look. She’s quite proud of this skill, and has never had any doubts in herself until an encounter with alluring co-worker Mitsuki leaves her shaken. Normally women moan and swoon at the touch of Lorna’s lips, but Mitsuki is different. She giggles. After a few nights of eliciting this reaction, Lorna is determined to end the giggles coming from Mitsuki if it’s the last thing she does.
This saucy and erotic short story is a fun read, with a typical “cocky dyke” character being unsettled by a decidedly atypical character. The intensity between the two women grows stealthily until it explodes at the end while Lorna pushes to get to the bottom of the endless giggles. What she uncovers isn’t expected and ends up pushing her own boundaries, but the result is fun and exciting.
The writing is solid and there is quite a bit of humor in the tale as well, particularly when Agatha Christie’s famous character Hercule Poirot is tied into the tale at a few points. The humor is light and ties in with the sexual thread easily. This is not the first short story I’ve read from Renarde and I’ve come to expect alluringly sexual tales of women who love women which are hot and titillating reads. This story is no different and has ensured that I will be on the lookout for more from this author....more