Tag Archives: book review


Guest Review – “Elf” and “Unlovable”

My daughter is just learning to read.  It’s a fun time here in our house, and particularly gratifying for me to see her beginning what I hope is a long and rewarding love affair with books.  .


She’s always been artistic (she designed the logo for thewordzombie.com), and now she’s throwing her hat into the writing and reviewing ring.  Not really knowing what blogging is about, she still wanted to “review” a few books for me and have them posted.  As a father – how could I resist? So, without further ado – here are the first two book reviews by my daughter – or, as she told me she would like to be known here – “Little Miss Chocolate Zombie”.



“Elf” is a story about Buddy the Elf.  My favorite part was when he reached the tallest branches on the tallest Christmas tree.  It was really funny when he carried a bunch of candy canes.  I didn’t like it when Buddy left Papa elf for a while. 


I learned the being different from everyone is what makes you, you.  “Elf” is a good Christmas book.   You should read it.




“Unlovable” is about a dog named Alfred.  The cat tells him that he is unlovable. I didn’t like it when the cat taught the parrot to say “unlovable”.


My favorite part was when the new people moved in next door to Alfred. Alfred’s next-door neighbor is a dog like him named Rex.  At first, Alfred told Rex he was a Golden Retriever because he though he was unlovable.  Rex dug a hole under the fence so he could play with Alfred.  I liked it when Alfred and Rex played together.


The story showed me that even when someone says you are unlovable, you CAN be lovable.  I think Alfred is lovable.  He is really cute when he eats and sleeps.  He has a cute curly tail.


You should read this book.  It will teach you a lot of different things.  I learned that you should stay away from people who are mean to you. 



And there you have it.  The first is what could be a long string of hard-hitting reviews from “Little Miss Chocolate Zombie”.  Let me know what you think – I’ll pass the feedback along to her.  I would just caution you to be nice.  She has quite a temper and holds a grudge for a LONG time.  She is, after all, her father’s daughter.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…



Review – “Forbidden” by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

In the year 2005, geneticists discovered the human gene that controlled both innate and learned forms of fear.  It was called Stathmin, or Oncoprotein 18.  Within 15 years, genetic influencers for all primary emotions were similarly identified.


Nearly a decade later, in the wake of catastrophic war that destroyed much of civilization, humanity vowed to forsake all that had conspired to destroy it.  Out of the ashes rose a new world in which both the advanced technologies and the passionate emotions that led to its ruin were eliminated.  A world without hatred, without malice, without sorrow, without anger.


The only emotion genetically allowed to survive was fear.  For 480 years, perfect peace reigned.


Until now.


With those words, Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee open “Forbidden”, the first novel in their new “The Book of Mortals” series (releasing on 9/13/11).  I’ll admit, I’ve never read anything by Dekker or Lee in the past.  Based on “Forbidden”, that’s an oversight I need to correct.  Whether by design, or by happenstance, they have put forth an effort that provides one of the best and most accessible expositions on the dangers of world government I’ve read in a very long time.  It also happens to be an exceptionally good story.


Review – “Samson and Denial” by Robert Ford

“Samson and Denial” is a new novella from Bob Ford.  Part good old-fashioned horror story, part character study on the necessity and danger of denial as a survival mechanism – it’s an engrossing story that hides a surprising depth.  Ford packs a hell of a lot (and a lot of hell) in to these 125 pages.


The story follows Samson, a man of not a few faults and shortcomings:


We’ve never met, you know me.  There’s someone like me in every crowd.


I’m the guy who always has a stain on his shirt or has his fly unzipped.  I’m the guy who leaves the men’s room with a ribbon of toilet paper trailing from the heel of his shoe.  On a Chinese calendar I’m the guy who’s born in the year of the pig or the rabbit or the cock.  Never something cool like the year of the tiger or the dragon.


I’m never the cool guy.


Review – “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

When I go back and watch a Spielberg film from the late 70s or early 80s, it has a certain look and feel to it – a tone that is instantly recognizable.  When I watch a sitcom from the 80s, it has a singular cadence that instantly puts me at ease, and prepares me to have my problems solved in 30 minutes or less.  When I play a video game from the late 70s or early 80s, it makes my fingers itch for a quarter.  And, when I read one of the books I loved when I was a teenager, it brings back the pure joy I would find in losing myself in another time and another place.  I spend so much time thinking about what I read now; it’s becoming more and more rare for me to find that unadulterated escape in a book anymore.  I found it when I read “Ready Player One” – and I loved it.



Review – “The Great American Awakening” by Senator Jim DeMint

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three years since Barack Obama was elected president, and not even a full year since the American public soundly rejected his socialist policies with a stinging election night rebuke in 2010.  The day after that election, Jim DeMint published an article outlining what the incoming Republican senators should expect in Washington.  I linked to that article on Facebook and posted the following thought -


You should read this article from Jim DeMint. I have to say – I wouldn’t mind seeing him challenge Obama in 2012. DeMint/Rubio 2012 anyone?


After reading “The Great American Awakening” by Senator DeMint, I believe it even more strongly that he has the answers to many of the problems we are facing today.


In “The Great American Awakening”, Senator DeMint chronicles the two years between Barak Obama’s election and the landslide Republican Congressional victory in 2010.  Looking back now, it’s easy to see the path from one Tuesday in November to the other.  Those two years, however, were a long march for conservatives.  People were enveloped in a self-congratulatory haze after electing America’s first black president.  Pundits were pronouncing an end to conservatism and the advent of permanent rule by the Democratic Party.  The future looked bleak.



Review – “Deadline” by Mira Grant

When I finish a book, I usually like to let it sit for a few days before I start crafting my review.  I like to let it marinate, as it were, and bounce around unencumbered in the empty bell tower of my subconscious.  Not so with “Deadline”.  I just finished it seven minutes ago and felt compelled to grab the laptop, head out to the back porch, and start writing.  Why the rush?  Quite simply, I was blown away by the story and I have to share it with you.

“Deadline” is the second book in the Newsflesh trilogy from author Mira Grant.  The first book in the series, “Feed”, came out last year and landed the fifth spot on my “Top 11 of 2010” list.  As I said about it at the time –

Mira Grant constructs a world filled with characters and zombies that allow us to see not only what the zombie apocalypse might look like, but also forces us to ask the question – in a world full of danger, loss, and fear; how important is the truth?”

With “Deadline”, Grant dives headlong back into the world of “Feed” and shows us that some truths are more true than others.


5 books, 5 minutes, 500 words or less: Volume 2

Once again, I find myself falling far behind on my book reviews.  I wish it wasn’t so – but 5 months of wishing hasn’t changed anything, so I’ve come to a conclusion.  It’s time for another installment of “5 books, 5 minutes, 500 words or less” (you can read the first installment here).  Let’s review the rules – I’ll review 5 books, with each review clocking in at 100 words or less, that hopefully you can read in 5 minutes or less.  (I guess that’s really kind of self evident, based on the title, huh?)  Think of it as speed dating for bok reviews.  It’s much harder than it sounds, constraining my brilliance and formidable insights to only 100 words per book, but it’s a great exercise in efficiency.  Hope you enjoy!


Review – “Entombed” by Brian Keene

I’m a Brian Keene fan.  No getting around it.  As I remarked in a previous review – “His writing is like an ice-cold beer on a hot day – it goes down smooth and always satisfies.” He’s on my must have list – I’ll pre-order each new release on Amazon, I’ll comb the specialty stores for out of print anthologies, and I’ll shell out the dinero for each small press limited edition. (My only regret is that I missed out on the “lifetime subscriptions” he offered last year.  Oh well, you can’t win them all…).  So, when I heard his latest release “Entombed” would finally be available, but only as a limited edition from Camelot Books, I fired up ye olde Internet and placed my order (you can still snag a copy here).  I’m happy to say copy #151 now has a home on my living room bookshelf.  It was money well spent.  Well spent indeed.


My interview with Lavinia Ludow, author of “alt.punk”

I’ve said before, one of the reasons I enjoy this blog so much is the opportunity it affords me to meet and interact with authors and artists.  One of the people I’ve had the pleasure to chat with is Lavinia Ludlow, author of “alt.punk”.  (If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of “alt.punk” – you can find it here.)  It’s one of the more engaging interviews I’ve done – Lavinia really made herself emotional accessible in her answers.  We talked about the process of editing the novel and getting it published, some of my criticisms of the book, what the future holds for her, and – of course – the impending zombie apocalypse.  Enjoy!


Review – “The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses” by Ty Drago

I’ve read an underground bunker full of zombie books in my day: some of them good – many of them dreadful.  Many of them have blindly followed the path set down by George Romero in “Night of the Living Dead” – slow shambling zombies intent on eating brains – without even attempting to advance the genre.  Many of them have been nothing more than poorly written scenes of blood and gore strung together by tenuous plotlines and cardboard thin characters.  Nary a one of them has been for young adult readers.  I’m happy to say, “The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses” is none of those things.

I challenge you to walk the aisles of your favorite bookstore today without tripping over the mountains of young adult Vampire books that have flooded the market. Good vampires, bad vampires, teenaged vampires, tragically misunderstood vampires – it’s all a bit much.  What has been missing is a serious (and seriously good) young adult zombie novel to even the odds a bit.  Ty Drago has delivered just that with “The Undertakers”.

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