Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Taste by Allison M. Dickson

I'll be honest--I had a hard time deciding which of Allison M. Dickson's works to review. So I'm going to do three of the short stories. I haven't dived into the novels yet, I'm savoring the anticipation. You know, like when you're waiting for a particularly good movie to come out and you keep watching the trailers until you just can't wait for the movie to release? What? I can't be the only one who does that... I interviewed Allison over at The Author Spot. If you'd like to read that first, go ahead, I'll wait. No, not patiently. Duh. Back? Okay, great, moving on. I downloaded a few of Ms. Dickson's short stories a while back while they were free (several of them still are. Start here and download till your heart's content).

I decided to go with Taste because it was the first of her stories I'd read. And can I just say it gobsmacked me? I thought I'd read everything; I was jaded, nothing new to shock me. And yet, it did. The idea was just so blatantly weird and repulsive. But it stuck with me. And I thought, if one short story has this kind of power--what are the others like? I was not let down.

Next, I read A Debacle of Donuts. Why? Because what could be scary about donuts? And let me just say  I was indeed, almost terrified something would be scary about donuts, thus ruining one of my favorite treats. After that first story, I wasn't putting anything past Allison. Luckily, it's not the donuts themselves that are scary in this story. What is scary is how far we'll go to achieve what we want without having to work for it. The idea behind the story was clever, and intriguing. But what really grabbed me, was how Allison got inside my head. Yep, I could totally picture myself in the main character, no problem. And there were some hard truths pointed out. I finished the story a little shell shocked and deep in thought.

And then I read Liar's Tongue. I'm pretty sure it should be passed out to anyone thinking of running for office in the future. We might weed a few out with this one. At least those with enough sense to heed the warning. Again, the story was fresh and interesting and I eagerly turned pages. After three stories, I was hooked. I'm an Allison M. Dickson fan for life.

The good news for me? She's got a new novel coming out soon. Along with the few things of hers I haven't read yet. The good news for some of you? You still have all of her work to discover. Go forth and enjoy. I know I will. And then I'll continue thinking about her stories, long after I'm done reading. That, my friends, is the greatest compliment I can give any writer.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Afterbirth by Belinda Frisch

Having read the first book in The Strandville Zombie series, Cure, I was more than anxious to crack open a copy of the sequel, second book in the series, Afterbirth. So when Belinda offered me a copy as a Beta reader, I was thrilled. And then I was amazed. All too often, a sequel doesn't live up to the original. But that was not the case with Afterbirth.

Afterbirth picks up months after Cure left off, but with no feeling of having missed something. And perhaps that's because the author drops us right into the action. We understand that due to events in the first book, the zombie apocalypse is a reality. And we figure our characters have been too busy trying to survive to have done anything significant. But now, they're getting used to dealing with zombies, and must go back to fighting a more pervasive evil--man, one man in particular--Dr. Nixon. Knowing there is still a good possibility his experiments worked with Miranda, and that her baby could offer a cure for not only the zombie plague, but cancer, he's searching for her. And so is Reid, the number one henchman who fell from Nixon's good graces by letting Miranda get away. (Not that he meant too, mind you.)

Miranda and husband Scott are trying to survive both the apocalypse, Miranda's pregnancy, and the imminent delivery. In desperation, they turn to their ex friend and doctor--Michael Waters. Events take place which gather everyone once more at the Nixon Medical Center and a thrilling climax ensues. And lest you wonder about other characters from the first book, many of them are present in the sequel (some only briefly): Allison, Zach, Foster, Carlene, Penny, John, and Frank.

I don't generally read zombie fiction. I like zombies, don't get me wrong, I love zombie movies, love The Walking Dead, like teasing about the imminent zombie apocalypse, but I'm not necessarily a fan of zombie literature. The reason being it's pretty rare to come across something original in the field. Zombies happen, people fight them, and more of the same. The reason I like this series so much is because the idea behind the zombie plague is different, and the story isn't so much about the zombies; sure, they're in there and they ramp up the danger, but the story is really about the characters. And that's what makes it come alive for me. I care about these people. And I'd care about them in any situation, not just when they're fighting zombies and hiding from crazed scientists.

So, even if zombies aren't your thing, give this series a try. Afterbirth is well written, fast paced, character rich, plot driven, and action packed. Really, what more can you ask for in a book?

You can read my review of the first Strandville Zombie book, Cure, here.

You can purchase the book at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. It's available in all eBook formats and will soon be coming to print.

Visit Belinda's Amazon author page here. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Happy Reading,