Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book 12 of 2010: My Zombie Valentine by Various Authors

My Zombie Valentine is an anthology consisting of four paranormal romance novellas by four different authors. Each story has some kind of zombie element to it, although it may or may not be the main theme of the story. The book's title may lead some readers to believe it's actually framed around Valentine's Day, but there was only one reference in the whole book to the holiday that I can recall.

The first story, "Bring Out Your Dead", by Katie MacAlister, was previously published in another anthology, Just One Sip, that was themed all around vampires. So as you can guess, the novella combines both vampires and zombies. The main character of this story, Ysabelle, helps counsel newly formed zombies to get them adjusted to their "new life". Supporting characters include Sebastian, a vampire who claims that Ysabelle is his beloved, and Sally, Ysabelle's spirit guide who has an annoying habit of talking in Franglais, which is some horrid mix of English and French. As a fan of MacAlister's Dark Ones series I was looking forward to this short story, but unfortunately, it fell short compared to her full-length novels. It did have humorous moments and there was quite a bit of action, but it just didn't live up to my expectations of MacAlister's writing. Also, the character of Sally was rather frustrating, and I'm sure it's even worse for those that know even less of the French language than myself. Readers who aren't familiar with at least a little French will miss out on complete sections of conversation with no explanation of what was just said. I know that the character was tossed in to be funny, but if the readers don't understand what is going on, there really is no point in adding such a character.

My favorite novella in the anthology was "Gentleman Prefer Voodoo" by Angie Fox. In this story Amie, who runs a voodoo shop, is talked into going after love one more time. Instead of trying to search out Mr. Right the old-fashioned way, however, Amie decides to try her hand at a love spell. Unfortunately, the spell works a little too well. Mr. Right comes knocking at her door later that night all naked and covered in dirt after having been buried in the grave for hundreds of years. Amie is immediately attracted to the zombie, but yet, she is having a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that her soulmate is actually a zombie and she makes every attempt to reverse her spell to send him back to the grave. This story is absolutely hysterical! I loved Fox's dialogue between Amie and the zombie, especially in the scenes where she was trying to kill him. Another favorite scene was after Amie had sent him to get clothes and when he came back his clothes were so skin tight that she was still having trouble looking at him without getting so hot and bothered. I just thought Fox's style was very quirky! I had only had the pleasure of reading one other novel by Fox prior to this, and wasn't expecting to enjoy this story nearly as much as I did, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Fox after this.

"Zombiewood Confidential" by Marianne Mancusi was the third story in this anthology. This is the story of Scarlett Patterson, who takes the job of being a makeup artist for a B-horror movie being produced by Romeo George (nice little tribute to George Romero there). While on the set, strange things start to happen and the zombie "extras" start getting a bit more into their character than is expected... even when the film isn't rolling. One even attempts to attack the lead of the movie, Mason Marks, who happens to be Scarlett's celebrity crush since she was a teenager. On top of that, lots of people have started disappearing from the set. What could possibly be causing all this chaos? I always enjoy Mancusi's works and this was no exception. She always tosses in little pop culture references, like the Romero thing mentioned above, which makes the story more personal to me when I catch them. Also, the romance that built between the makeup artist and the movie star in this particular story was so unlikely from the start that it was kind of like a fairy tale romance and I always enjoy those. They are sweet, yet while being chased by zombies... not as sweet as one would hope... damn those interruptions! The climax of the story and how the zombies ended up being destroyed in the end was absolutely brilliant! The thought process behind that was very creative... kudos to Mancusi for that idea. I will definitely continue reading books by her as they are released.

Last, but not least in this collection, was "Every Part of You" by Lisa Cach. This story started off with our two main characters, Angelica and Tom, meeting in a plastic surgeon's office. Angelica was having some minor surgery performed and while having it done the doctor offered to remove her worry lines for her free of charge by injecting Phi-Tox into her skin. Shortly thereafter there began being reports on the news of outbreaks of women majorly craving sugar, stores running out of ice cream, and pretty soon candy stores being broken into. Angelica, and new boyfriend Tom, end up investigating and determine that this "sugar-craving zombies" appear to be relating back somehow to the Phi-Tox injections and Angelica herself is in danger. When I first started reading this story I honestly wasn't sure where it was going. It seemed to just be going on about plastic surgery and how Angelica and Tom were getting together. Don't get me wrong, the story was cute, but it seemed like just a sweet little contemporary romance. I had no idea where the story was going! Then... the story took a crazy turn when Angelica and Tom had to go to the hospital and the women there were begging for their husband to get more "skiiiiittles" out of the vending machines and another's breast implant just plopped out right there on the floor! It went from sweet and funny to pure insanity! I hadn't ever read anything from Lisa Cach before, but if any of her other paranormal stories are as funny as this I will definitely need to check them out.

Overall I truly enjoyed this collection of four stories. I think all fans of the paranormal romance genre will. Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex

Review also posted at

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