Review: Living Dead Girl by Nessie Strange

As promised, here is my first endeavor into posting a review on my blog.

Living Dead Girl is a bit of an enigma. It is at once a romance and an urban fantasy, and simultaneously neither. This paradox gives it an unsettling feel, but in the end I found it a satisfying read.

Even though it is not formally delineated as such, this book feels like a story in two distinct parts. “Part One” reads like a contemporary New Adult romance. It tells the story of Jen falling for Jack in the midst of the challenges inherent to family, career, and relationships often encountered when trying to indentify one’s place in the adult world. The story is sweet, the banter witty, and the growing affection and love between Jen and Jack believable and enjoyable. This first half of the book feels like it’s headed to the happily ever after we all love and expect in a good romance.

But then there’s “Part Two”, and despite the lulling romance of the first half, the reader knows the other shoe is going to drop. The novel’s blurb tells us that Jen is murdered. She comes back as a zombie to avenge her death and clear Jack’s name when he is wrongly accused of her murder. This section reads like a dark, gritty urban fantasy. In parts it turns macabre and violent to a point it ventures into a kind of poetic horror. It also contains the only section that lagged for me: the few chapters where Jen is coming to terms with her death before she figures out how to become a zombie.

These two divergent parts give the novel its unsettling mood. Part of me railed against having my happily ever after pulled out from under me. After all, I am not alone in enjoying a happy, satisfying ending. There’s a reason there was so much public outcry after the infamous “red wedding” episode of Game of Thrones.

Another part of me appreciates how this metaphorical pulling out of the reader’s rug mirrors Jen’s journey as she deals with her own loss of her expected happily ever after with Jack. There is a twist in the end that reopens the door for a more optimistic future in the afterlife, saving the book from a tragic ending ala Hamlet. It also sets up a potential urban fantasy series that would follow a premise I didn’t entirely see coming. If a series is Ms. Strange’s intention, it will be interesting to see if it becomes a more predictable urban fantasy story line or if she keeps finding ways to create the disconcerting feel of this novel. Either outcome could be satisfactory.

This is a challenging book in the sense that it has the potential to disappoint the reader looking for a romance and the reader looking for an urban fantasy/horror/zombie story. In the end, I think it is a challenge worth taking. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Wednesday Words: Tamsin Flowers on Zombies, Delirium and Thanks

Hi,

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’ve been an erotica writer for about two years now—most of my published work is in the form of short stories and I’m happy to have been included in a wide range of erotic anthologies.

So, as a writer, words are the tools I use every day to paint pictures and tell stories and of course, like all writers, I have words I love and words I hate. My favorite words are always changing, thankfully, because otherwise my writing would become dull and repetitive. Luckily, the English language is so vast and extraordinary, there are always new words to be discovered or—to take a bit of liberty—made up.

Here’s my current crop of favorites:

ZombieI love the sound of this one as you say it out loud—it seems to perfectly describe our favorite brain-free walking dead! (Not to mention family members with a tendency to forget things, naming no names…) It’s been on my mind a lot recently as I’ve just published a collection of zombie erotic short stories.

Erotoclypseokay, I have to admit it. I made this one up. It’s part of the title of my short story collection, Zombie Erotoclypse. Instead of an apocalypse, these sex-crazed zombies are part of an erotoclypse!

Superotica—don’t bother to get your dictionary out because I made up this one, too. My blog’s called Tamsin’s Superotica and I hope the name speaks for itself.

Delirious—that moment, that feeling, that losing yourself to world that comes as you topple into an orgasm… One of things I love to write about.

Here it is, in situ, in a short excerpt from the story The Joy of Zombie Sex, one of my five tales in Zombie Erotoclypse.

The Joy of Zombie Sex

When you first become infected with the zombie plague, just pray you have a guide like Berthold to teach you the way of the Zombie…

 “I’m taking you home,” he said.

His voice was a low rasp. He lifted me into his arms as easily as if I had been a child and with my head pressed against his chest I could the roar of his heartbeat. He covered the ground back to the apartment in long easy strides.

The moment the door had closed behind us his hands were on me, tearing at my clothes as he pushed me up hard against the wall. Within seconds my T-shirt lay shredded on the floor and my jeans followed, ripped down while still done up. He kissed my mouth insistently and then burned a trail of kisses down my throat. His hands pushed back the cups of my bra and then his mouth found my breasts. His tongue was rough and his teeth were sharp, pulling at my nipples until they puckered. Sucking them hard, he stoked the fire that was building between my legs.

I moaned in approval. He looked up at me with his strange brown eyes. Then, with his hand underneath my armpits, he lifted me up, carried me through the apartment and quite literally threw me into the bedroom onto the bed. He stripped off his own clothes as roughly as he had torn off mine and, with a snarl, he was on me. He ripped away my bra and panties and his hands were all over me, stroking, feeling, exploring. I writhed underneath him and pulled him down by his shoulders to kiss him. I bit his lower lip hard until I tasted blood in my mouth and he bit back. Our tongues pressed and rubbed together frantically, the friction between them making me delirious.

 And my final word?

Thank you!

A big thank you to Katya for hosting me and thank you to everyone who’s read this post.  I hope you enjoyed my zombie fun! And if you want more, it’s only 99c or 77p for all five stories!

Author bio:

Tamsin Flowers loves to write light-hearted erotica, often with a twist in the tail/tale and a sense of fun.  In the words of one reviewer, ‘Ms Flowers has a way of describing sexual tension that forces itself upon your own body.’ Her stories have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and she is now graduating to novellas with the intention to pen her magnum opus in the very near future.  In the meantime, like most erotica writers, she finds herself working on at least ten stories at once: while she figures out whose leg belongs in which story, you can find out more about her at Tamsin’s Superotica or Tamsin Flowers. Follow her on Twitter @TamsinFlowers or on Facebook Tamsin Flowers.