Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen – Book Review

Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen
Published by Orbit Books, an imprint of Hachette

This is the third book in the Living With the Dead series. My reviews of Married With Zombies and Flip This Zombie.

Sarah and David have survived the zombie apocalypse for longer than really seems possible, particularly since they are traveling and fighting zombies instead of sitting quietly inside a survivor’s community. Now they’re finally approaching the fabled Midwest Wall and possible salvation. Only a few things are slowing them down now: their hitchhikers, a tv tabloid reporter (think TMZ) and a batty aging rocker; David’s odd reaction to the zombie serum he was given in Flip This Zombie; and, of course, the zombies themselves.

The Living With the Dead series exists to entertain, and it does that beautifully. Petersen mixes survival, interpersonal relationships, and government conspiracies adroitly with witty and sarcastic repartee to create a fun  and engaging story that will make you alternately laugh and cringe. Is this the book that is going to make you think deeply about the world and your place in it? No, if that is what you want from your zombie books, check out Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series Feed and Deadline, but Eat Slay Love and the entire Living With the Dead series provides very high entertainment value, and for that, I recommend it.

Buy this book from:
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Source: Publisher, via Netgalley.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen – Book Review

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
Published by Orbit Books, an imprint of Hachette

This is the second book in the Living With the Dead series. My review of Married With Zombies.

Sarah and David are back, and still more or less surviving the zombie apocalypse. With the skills they honed in the early days of the end times, they have actually set up quite a nice little business for themselves, ZombieBusters. There may not be very much cash to be made in the zombie apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing at all to be gained.

“We ended up with quite a haul as pre-payment for the bionic zombie job. Two large first aid kits with actual antibiotics ointment (quite the coup because infection took down as many survivors as zombies did by this point) and a three-pack of Ramen. Doesn’t sound like much to you? Well, sit there in your non-zombie paradise and judge then.” -p. 16 (Nook edition)

Things begin to get a little tense, though, when Sarah and David are called out to the outskirts of town by a mysterious note, their services retained by a man who is clearly a mad scientist. David is convinced that his request for ambulatory zombies is related to the rise of so-called super zombies and proof of evil mad scientist status, but Sarah feels their potential reward is greater than the risk, so off they go, hunting for the living undead.

In the same way that Married with Zombies mimicked the style of relationship books, Flip This Zombie ventured into the motivation/job-related self-help realm, with chapter headings like:

“The seven habits of highly effective zombies. Hint: Most of them involve eating your brain.” -p. 132 (Nook edition) – Chapter 14 heading

This worked very well, although it was not quite as entertaining as the marriage advice chapter headings in Married with Zombies, but overall Flip This Zombie was equally as strong as Married with Zombies. I’m very much looking forward to Eat Slay Love, coming out at the end of June. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
PowellsIndiebound*

Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen – Book Review

Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
Published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette
Series: Living with the Dead, book 1

Sarah is about ready to kill her husband David. There is basically nothing he does anymore that doesn’t completely annoy her and, it seems, the reverse is true for David of Sarah. They are in couples’ counseling, but it doesn’t really seem to be taking and, in all honesty, they are about one bad cd away from divorce. Until their counseling appointment on August 10th, that is. The first thing that seems off is the traffic, or lack thereof. It is 4:30 in the afternoon in Seattle, after all. Even that, though, it not as strange as walking into your marriage counselor’s office and seeing her eating the couple with the appointment before yours.

It isn’t until they’ve had to kill their therapist and a few other people that Sarah and David start to realize what is going on. As Seattle quickly becomes overrun, they decide it is time to strike out for a place that is less infested with the undead – assuming they can make it out alive.

Funniest. Zombie book. Ever.

Petersen, through her character Sarah, has a fantastic acerbic wit, that made want to just keep turning the pages. Really, what fun is the end of the world if you can’t be sarcastic about it? Well, you know, other than the other obvious benefits:

I should have known that having “end of the world” sex wouldn’t solve our problems. Though, it was pretty great and I highly recommend it. It’s one of the big benefits of an apocalypse that no one tells you about. It just makes everything…better, because you know it might be the last time every time. -p. 64

Perhaps the best part of Married with Zombies, is that Petersen was completely went with the fact that her characters needed major help in the relationship department. Each chapter would begin with a piece of advice straight out of a typical relationship self-help book. Well, straight out with a bit of a zombie apocalypse spin:

Find creative ways to have fun together. Looting is really underrated. -p. 142

This was an incredibly fun and well-done book. If you like to laugh out loud at your zombie apocalypses, this is definitely for you. I’m already planning to read the sequel, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series to come out. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
PowellsIndiebound.

Source: personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward – Book Review

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward
Published by G.P. Putnam & Sons, an imprint of Penguin

Lisa Lutz, author of the Spellman comedic crime novels, wants to write her next book with a collaborator. You know, each of them writing alternate chapters so that they figure out ‘who done it’ right along with the the reader. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Except she asks her ex, David Hayward, who is a poet without any experience writing novels – crime or otherwise. He agrees, but things quickly get snarky, to say the least. Still, in the midst of footnotes and terse notes back and forth between chapters, Lisa and David do get their story going. Paul and Lacey are orphaned siblings living in Northern California when a dead, headless body ends up on their property. Except they can’t exactly call the cops, since Paul makes their money by growing marijuana. They try dumping the body, but when it ends up back on their property, Lacey realizes she has to get to the bottom of this, especially when she realizes who the body belonged to.

Heads You Lose is made of pure hilarity and win. Seriously. As far as the actual story goes, Heads You Lose is very compelling. The mystery is set up surprisingly well, given that the authors are supposedly alternating chapters without an outline, with no more guidance than what has already been written. Likewise, the characters are interesting and relatable, even as some of them get caught in the crossfire of warring authors and experience more personality changes or resurrections than one might otherwise think likely. If this story had been the entire story, I would likely have still read and enjoyed Heads You Lose.

Except that wasn’t the entire story. The interplay between Lutz and Hayward is what took Heads You Lose from enjoyable to fantastic. I lived for the footnotes, which served as asides from the author who was reading the chapter for the first time. and the notes back and forth between the two authors at the end of each chapter. Occasionally they worked well together, but at other times things became bitter and snarky and oh so much fun. After being criticized by Lutz for being overly erudite for a mystery novel, one of Hayward’s chapters is written in large, double spaced text with a very Dick and Jane style. Obviously this didn’t particularly advance the mystery, but it was a fantastic chapter to build the tension between the co-authors, which is as much the story as the mystery is. Also from Hayward, is this snarky little message to Lutz, in reference to her assertion in one of the notes that there were plenty of other writers she could have asked to collaborate:

P.S. About your stable of would-be collaborators, I don’t doubt that all of those authors are adept at building and resolving intricate mysteries. But I’d argue that bringing a psycho to justice on the page and cowriting a book with one require different skill sets.

I heard a little rumor that this might be the start of a new series for Lutz and Hayward, and I sincerely hope that this is true, but whether it is or not, Heads You Lose stands very well on its own, no annoying loose threads that are not tied up. In the meantime, while I’m waiting to hear the announcement of another book, I’m just going to go and read all of Lutz’s Spellman books in hopes of reclaiming the awesome.

Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
PowellsIndiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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