Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story by Rusty Fischer

Zombies Don't Cry: A Living Dead Love Story by Rusty Fischer

Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story by Rusty Fischer


Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story by Rusty Fischer

ISBN-10: 1605423823

ISBN-13: 978-1605423821


Publisher: Medallion Press


Rusty Fischer turns the zombie genre on its head; nothing is of the norm, but it’s all still fun.

A seventeen-year-old girl named Maddy thinks her life is just starting to look up when the newest, hottest guy at her school asks her to a party. She doesn’t tell her best friend, because Hazel always has to be the center of attention and gets pissed off when she’s not.

Maddy sneaks out to go to the party, but it starts to storm while she’s walking there. She gets struck by lightning and goes down – she thinks for a few minutes, but for a couple hours – and turns for home because she’s a muddy mess and the lights are out at the house where the party was.

Once she gets home she realizes she doesn’t have a heartbeat and she’s not breathing. She panics and goes online to do a search for the “norms” of zombies. She’s informed, after taking a brief test, that she is a zombie and unless she wants to die for real, she has to eat brains, and soon!

She sneaks out again, this time to go to the all night grocer to ask for brains (an odd request). While she’s waiting, two odd-balls from her school show up and ask what she’s doing there. She fakes like she needed something else, but when the butcher brings out her brains, she’s busted.

They follow her out to the parking lot and she learns she’s not the only zombie around. As a matter of fact, they have to take her to register with the zombie counsel. They soon become her two new best friends.

Things just keep getting worse as Hazel gets curious as to the changes in Maddy’s life and appearance, Maddy learns there are bad zombies, and all hell breaks loose at their school dance.

Maddy has to choose between her life as she once knew it, and her new life as a zombie. And, on top of that, she’s confused about her feeling for two completely different guys.


I enjoyed this book (I read it in three days). I can see teen girls loving it. It’s a fun zombie story without the gore type horror. The book was extremely well edited – mistakes were few and far between.

I give this book: 3 QUILL


The Red Empire and Other Stories by Joe McKinney

The Red Empire and Other Stories by Joe McKinney

The Red Empire and Other Stories by Joe McKinney


The Red Empire and Other Stories by Joe McKinney

ISBN-10: 0984751904

ISBN-13: 978-0984751907

ASIN: B006S3FB52

Publisher: Redrum Horror


Joe McKinney grabs ahold of his readers and pulls them inside his stories. He makes sure he carries you along in his worlds so that the one around you fades away.

The Red Empire and Other Stories is made up of eight stories. I’ll comment briefly on each:

Story One – The Red Empire: The first story of the collection is the longest. It’s based on a military experiment that gets unleashed on the public. At the same time, a convict escapes. A young woman and her daughter (who just had surgery on her eyes) have to deal with both. Luckily for them, one of their new neighbors cares enough to make sure they’re okay.

Story Two – Blemish: A man is haunted by a choice from his past. He didn’t step in when he knew that one of his old girlfriends was being abused by her new boyfriend. She ended up dead. He sees the dead girl’s ghost…from time to time, and this costs him his sanity and his job. The regret and guilt over knowing he could have done something about it eats up his entire life. He meets back up with his main girlfriend from college who always seems to be taking care of him, but her dad dies, and for once he has to step up and take care of her. They decide in the end, that it’s best if they take care of each other.

Story Three – Cold Case: A man who is joining the police force is awed by the pictures and stories of past servicemen who grace the wall. He becomes fixated on a certain one and vows to himself to find out what happened to him. He searches and searches, only to find out through old records what caused the man’s death, but he was never able to find the man’s grave… Still he searches.

Story Four – The Old Man Under the Sea: A man by the name of Ernest Hemmingway wins a boxing match and saves a rich man’s daughter. He and the daughter stumble upon strange wreckage while strolling on the beach. The father appears and tells Hemmingway to stay away from his daughter, but he doesn’t listen. In the morning, he is ordered by the father to assist them in finding out about the wreck, as it was his nephew’s boat. Reluctant, but curious, Hemmingway goes. What he finds is completely beyond what he could have ever dreamed up.

Story Five – The Millstone: A woman comes home from work to find the police surrounding her house. Her boyfriend has been murdered. Her younger sister, who is beautiful and home all day, tells her that her boyfriend came in jealous and killed him. The woman tries to deal with her loss, but soon finds out that her sister had been having sex with her boyfriend. She ends up killing the neighbor lady when she shows her the murder weapon as proof. She kills her neighbor and her sister, and gets away with it.

Story Six – Empty Room: A man and his friend are outside a party, having drinks. The man starts talking about his failed divorce…and about ghosts. His friend listens and tries to comfort and reason with him. But, the man claims to be haunted and blows his brains out with a gun he has with him.

Story Seven – Burning Finger Man: A cop is assigned the slums, and he has to deal with everything that’s going on, from drug dealers to crazy women with mentally retarded daughters who live in the complex. A rash of sexual assaults happen in the area and they can’t find the man responsible. The cop finds the man’s hiding place and blocks it off, but doesn’t tell anyone. This leads to the people of the slums capturing the man and taking him down to the furnace room while he’s on another call. He gets there in time to see what they do, and even though he pleads for them not to punish the man, he doesn’t stand up to stop them either.

Story Eight – Eyes Open: A police officer and his partner try to help a homeless man. They succeed in getting him to a hospital right before he rips his own eyes out. He warns the officer that he’s now marked and he’ll be seen; soon his eyes will be open. The officer doesn’t know what the homeless man means, but the next day his life begins to change. He ends up following homeless people into a barn…and something tries to attach him. After that, his eyes are open, and he becomes the crazy homeless man on the street that his old partner tries to take care of.


The Red Empire and Other Stories is an eclectic mix of heart felt and twisted stories. Each one has their own draw and pull. Of all of them…Blemish, Burning Finger Man, and Eyes Open are my favorites.

As far as technical errors, there was some missing punctuation and a couple missing words here and there.

I give this book: 2 QUILLS


Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor

Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor

Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor


Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor

ISBN-10: 1496190246

ISBN-13: 978-1496190246


Publisher: Nocturnal Press Publications


Mark Taylor brings a fresh burn of imagination to the reader with his suspense, thriller Shutter Speed.

Shutter Speed starts out with a young boy named Jimmy, who has an abusive father. Jimmy likes to take pictures. Well, more than that… He likes to let places tell stories through his pictures. All of this leads him to being away from home a lot, taking pictures.

When a particular old building under renovations catches his eye and he can’t resist the urge to tell its story, even though he has to sneak in through the window. Everything is old, beautiful, and full of secrets, but it’s definitely not safe.

Two older boys also break into the building, and what they do to Jimmy really burns him up and changes his family life forever.

After what happened…his family had to move, and he had to change his name. The past was just too much for them to carry around for the rest of their lives.

Fast forward YEARS later…

The reader is introduced to a group of young men on the wrong side of the law and you start wondering… “Which one of them is Jimmy?” And just when you think you know, your mind is spun again with an evil laugh from the author while Jimmy strikes again, and again, and again.

In the end…everything comes back to that old building, the one with stories to tell through the lense of Jimmy’s camera. And even though he’s the one taking the pictures, he’s wrong about how the building’s story turns out.


Shutter Speed was a fun story that kept me guessing through most of the book. The characters are interesting, but are many for such a short book. I found it confusing at times, but they all served their purpose to the story in some way.

There were some formatting issues with the book – the words overlapped onto the header in a couple places, but I could still read it. There were extra spaces between paragraphs and breaks here and there, and there were a lot of wrong, missing, or extra words. There were also a few issues with punctuation.

I give this book: 2 QUILLS.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

ISBN-10: 0545663261

ISBN-13: 978-0545663267


Publisher: Scholastic


Suzanne Collins brings us back into the world of District 13 where the rebellion is in full swing, and Katniss is out of control.

Katniss is the Mockingjay – the symbol of the rebellion to all the people of the districts. She has flaunted her contempt of the Capitol twice, and they want her to do it again.

She doesn’t want to. She’s injured…and scared for Peeta, who was captured and taken to Panem. They didn’t get him out of the arena.

She is now dealing with a controlled existence, although it’s not like the Capitol’s control – there is plenty of food, but people have a purpose and schedule. But she suffers through being underground in safety for her family’s sake.

Eventually, through much convincing, she agrees to be their “Mockingjay,” but she has her own terms for her giving the service. President Coin doesn’t like her, she can feel it, but it gets worse after she delivers her terms. But Katniss will do anything to save the lives of the victors from the arena who are now at the mercy of Panem.

Peeta is one of those conditions. But, what they bring back to District 13 is an abomination of Peeta; he’s no longer himself.

With her best and oldest friend, Gale, Katniss learns to be the Mockingjay…her way. She becomes not only the symbol, but the spirit of the rebellion. And, when things get difficult, she goes rogue so she can finally have a chance at ending the war and bringing an end to President Snow once and for all.

This comes at a very high price…one that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Even after she decides which man she really loves and starts a life with him in peace and freedom.


Again, I’m still not fond of Suzanne Collins’ writing style, which I found flat and kind of dull.  And this book, more than the first two, shows off that weakness in writing. Where in the other books Katniss was strong and rose to meet challenges, in this book she was wishy-washy; instead of developing as a character, she regressed. That, on top of Katniss being injured through almost the entire book, made it slower than the previous two. I felt like the author was bored and couldn’t inject any excitement into the story because she wasn’t feeling it. The third book was disappointing for me, so much so, that I have to give it a lower rating. If I hadn’t been vested in the characters from the movies and previous books, I probably wouldn’t have finished reading it. I hope I like the movie more than the book…when it arrives. Otherwise, there were a few minor mistakes in the book with punctuation and extra or missing words here and there.

I give this book: 1 QUILLS.



Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

ISBN-13: 978-0439023535


Publisher: Scholastic


Suzanne Collins gives us more of the world where everything has fallen apart, and the “Capitol” now runs everything and everyone’s lives. But now…the people of the districts have hope. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, gives them that hope and that makes her dangerous to Panem.

Catching Fire starts with the life of Katniss, back at home with her family. They now live in the Victor’s Village – a small cluster of houses for the victors of The Hunger Games in each district – as does Peeta Mellark and their mentor, Haymitch.

Panem is angry with them, Katniss in particular. There was only supposed to be one victor of The Hunger Games, but she forced their hand to make it two – she had to save Peeta, or else! She went to such an extreme to save him that she pretended to be in love with him to save their lives.

They’re about to start their Victory Tour through all the districts, with its end in Panem, where they’ll meet President Snow for a grand party at the Presidential Palace.

Along the way, on the tour, they see how the districts have been taken over by more soldiers – “Peacekeepers.” Some districts are in full rebellion and under stringent control.

Katniss reveals that President Snow paid her a surprise visit before the Victory Tour, and tells Peeta and Haymitch that she’s afraid for her and her family’s lives. She has been tasked with calming the rebellion by the President, to convince them all that the love story was real and that she didn’t act against the Capitol when she saved her and Peeta’s lives in the arena.

But, President Snow has his own ideas…and Katniss and Peeta end up in the arena again. This time, it’s a whole new game.


Again, I loved the movie, so I enjoyed the book because of the added depth, especially with the new characters – the added victors. I’m still not fond of Suzanne Collins’ writing style, which I found flat and kind of dull. There were a few minor mistakes in the book with punctuation and extra or missing words here and there.

I give this book: 3 QUILLS.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

ISBN-10: 0439023483

ISBN-13: 978-0439023481


Publisher: Scholastic


Suzanne Collins introduces us to the world where everything has fallen apart, and the “Capitol” now runs everything and everyone’s lives.

The Hunger Games are supposed to remind the districts and the people of the mercy of the Capitol and the bravery of the warriors who fought during the rebellion. But, they don’t. They remind the people how helpless they are. The Capitol takes a young man and woman – “tributes” – from each of the twelve districts every year and forces them to fight to the death. One victor remains. One tribute survives to live the nightmares of their survival experience over and over again for the rest of their lives; they – and their district – are rewarded with money and food.

The story follows two tributes from District 12 (the poorest, most outlying district) from the POV of the young woman, Katniss Everdeen, as she volunteers as tribute in place of her little sister. She can hunt and she has other survival skills that lead her to do so – she knows her sister is too young, kind, and gentle to survive the slaughter.

Katniss is torn away from her family and the life she knows along with a boy from her district, Peeta Mellark. He, in the past, showed Katniss a kindness, but she doesn’t think he remembers. Regardless, she feels a responsibility to him, to try to help keep him alive. It’s an extra burden that she doesn’t need.

They are whisked away to the Capitol – Panem – to compete for their lives. They’re given a coach – a previous victor from their district – but he doesn’t much care about teaching them anything, as he knows the likeliness of them surviving is slim. It’s not until Katniss starts showing some promise that he takes real interest in his tributes.

But, it’s still up to Katniss and Peeta to survive in the.


Since I loved The Hunger Games movie, I enjoyed the book even more. Even though I’m not overly in love with Suzanne Collins’ writing style, which I found flat and kind of dull, the book gave more depth to the characters and more backstory. This made some things in the movie that weren’t explained make sense. There were a few minor mistakes in the book with punctuation and extra or missing words here and there.

I give this book: 3 QUILLS.