Z is for (Books About) Zombies #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for¬†the A to Z challenge.

Some people are over zombies because they were in every movie and TV show for a little while. I can never get enough. Everything is better with zombies!

Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black (YA horror… sort of): It’s an anthology of short stories by great YA authors, meant to solve the question as to whether zombies or unicorns are better. Half the stories are about zombies, the other half about unicorns. These aren’t the stories you might be expecting, and there’s nothing typical about them. Though I loved the unicorn stories, Team Zombie!

The Girl With All the Gifts, by MR Carey (horror): I read this on a recommendation from a friend, and had no idea what I was getting into. Melanie lives in a prison with other children. It quickly becomes clear that Melanie and the others are zombie children who retain their ability to think. Adult zombies are mindless, but the children are different, and experimenters want to figure out why, and if they have a cure. When the compound is overrun by zombies, Melanie goes along with the adults to help protect them from the others. This is a unique, fascinating, lovely, frightening book.

The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (graphic novel): Maybe I talk about The Walking Dead too much (is that even possible?), but I love it because it’s a story about the people during a zombie apocalypse and the various ways they cope. Yes, there’s the whole killing zombies thing, which is also cool, but I love the human element. The graphic novels do a great job of developing the characters. And as a bonus, Carl is still alive.

What are your favorite books about zombies?

Is it Fair to Review A Book I Abandoned?

I recently started a book I couldn’t finish because it was so over the top disgusting and ended up having “on-screen” violence toward a cat. Now, to be fair, I knew it was going to be gruesome. Even without reading the back cover, it’s clearly going to have zombies or cannibalism or something, all of which I’m fine with. I’m even fine with blood and gore. But when it’s grossness just to be gross, it doesn’t seem like horror to me. It almost seems like a little kid saying naughty words for shock factor. That being said, I’d actually started to like this book before the thing with the cat, and had high hopes for it as a YA horror.


But violence toward animals is an automatic pass for me. Even though I was over 50 pages in, I put it down with no regrets.

It’s rare for me to give a book 1 star on Goodreads. According to their rating system, 1 star means “did not like it.” And why would I finish a book I don’t like? In general, I’ll put a book down as soon as I realize I’m not into it. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. Lots of people loved The Goldfinch, and I was bored out of my mind.

There are plenty of books that I haven’t loved, but kept pushing through and was glad I did. Outlander comes to mind. The first 100 pages are slow and pretty boring. But once I was past that, it flew by (if an 850 page book can be said to “fly”).

John Irving’s books tend to feel slow, but when I get to the end and it all comes together, I’m so glad I read them, because wow.

In both cases, with John Irving’s books and with Outlander, I pushed through the boredom because I had recommendations from people I trusted. Plus, there was no animal cruelty, which is pretty much non-negotiable for me.

So, to sum up, I hated this book, would actively tell people not to read it, for the reasons I mentioned. I took a look at the reviews of this book on Goodreads, and it ends up with a 3.55 rating. It has plenty of 5 star reviews, and an almost equal measure of 1 star reviews. There are 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s as well, but it seems that most people either loved it or hated it.

If I’d finished it, is there a possibility I would have enjoyed it more? I never want to be like those people who trash a book they haven’t even read, based on what they heard about it. If I’m going to offer an opinion, it’s on what I actually did or did not experience.

For that reason, my inclination is not to review it on Goodreads. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Maybe Goodreads needs a “DNF” button so that people can see, in addition to the average rating, how many people abandoned the book. It seems like that would say a lot.

What are your thoughts on this?

R is for Rick Grimes

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.


Isn’t the artwork lovely? I had a lot of trouble finding a page with no gory stuff and no swearing.

This is not my first time talking about The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, on this blog. I love both the TV show and the graphic novel, even though they’re quite different. Many of the characters are similar, like Rick and Glenn ūüė¶ , and some are completely different, like Carol and Daryl (who doesn’t even exist in the comic, if you can believe it!)

But I don’t think I’ve ever specifically talked about Rick.

I love Rick as a hero and the leader of the group. Before the apocalypse, he was a cop. He’s all about law and order and doing the right thing. At first, he has a strict moral code that’s a leftover from the world before. But when he realizes that’s not going to work anymore, he adapts.

His moral code changes throughout the books and the TV show. Sometimes he tries to be the man he was before the apocalypse, and sometimes he realizes that’s impossible. But what I like about him is that his moral base is always on his mind, and he’s always the guy trying to keep his family alive.

At first, family means his wife, child, and best friend/ partner. Later, it comes to mean the group he’s in charge of.

Rick has moments where he loses his mind a little, which I think is understandable. Having to come to terms with a world where zombies… excuse me… walkers are real, would be too much for most of us to handle.

I’ve seen people online complain about how Rick (on the TV show) changes his mind on things. For instance, helping strangers vs. not helping them. He goes back and forth on this issue a few times. They say it’s inconsistent or wishy washy.

I think it’s human.

I think that changing our minds based on new information we get is what people do. Sometimes we go back and forth on issues a few times, depending on many factors. If we don’t adapt and grow, assimilate new information, we stagnate and die. His underlying moral code doesn’t change, so it’s not accurate to call him inconsistent. He always puts family first. It’s just the other decisions¬†that change based on his thinking at the time and recent experiences.

What do you think about characters who change their mind? Are you a fan of The Walking Dead, show or graphic novels?

Do Stories Need To Be Realistic?

img_6887The Walking Dead is my favorite show, and the day after an episode shows, there are a million articles about what happened, analyzing it endlessly.

People are still talking about last season, calling¬†out The Walking Dead for some unrealistic moments, and how they “cheat” sometimes, so that the audience “can’t trust them.” ¬†(Excuse me while we take a moment of silence for the “unrealistic moments” in a show about zombies).

But it’s not the real world, is it? ¬†I mean,¬†I read stories for a break from the real world. ¬†In the case of TV shows, why would¬†I necessarily want to see realism? ¬†It’s nice when my favorite characters get close to death but don’t get eaten. ¬†In the real world, bad things happen to good people. In the fantasy world, it doesn’t always play out that way. Last minute escapes happen.

In The Walking Dead, beloved characters do die; no one is safe. But sometimes they also make amazing, no way out escapes. And that’s why I keep watching. Despite everything bad that happens, it’s a hopeful show. Most of the characters survive, and the ones that do survive thrive.

I know a lot of people don’t see it as a hopeful show, because of all the killing and dying and apocalyptic stuff, but I see it as a show about how nothing can squash the human spirit. People keep doing what they do, falling in love, finding friends, balancing¬†how to¬†to live with what they need to do to survive.

That’s what keeps me watching week after week, and it’s what I love about the graphic novels as well. I don’t care how “realistic” the situations are, as long as the relationships feel real.

What do you think? Do you prefer realism in your TV/ books?


The Santa Clarita Diet, A Breath of Freshly (Decaying) Air

img_7547You know, I don’t get tired of zombie stories. When it’s one I’ve seen before, then of course it’s less interesting. But when it brings something new and fun, I’m all in.

I’ve already binge-watched the entire 10 episodes of the Santa Clarita Diet, on Netflix. We intended to watch a couple episodes, but before we knew it, they were all gone. Like potato chips, I couldn’t have just one.

On the gore-o-meter, I suppose it’s pretty high. It didn’t even give me a twinge (I have a really strong stomach), but my husband got a little queasy after the fact. There is a lot of blood. And vomit. And dead bodies. And body parts. If you’re into horror movies and The Walking Dead, it probably won’t bother you. If not… maybe you don’t want to watch it while eating anything with tomato sauce.

I love anything with Drew Barrymore, and she brings her goofy brand of humor to this family sitcom.¬†Timothy Olyphant pretty great too. In fact, I loved everyone on the show. I really thought that Skyler Gisondo as the geek next door stole the show. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved geeks, and he’s awkward and lovable.

When she first becomes a zombie, Sheila (Drew Barrymore) is completely controlled by her id. Since she was so uptight when she was alive, everyone notices the difference. She went from stereotypical suburban mom to giving out advice on fulfilling your desires. And taking no crap from anyone. Yeah, she needs to eat, but the show doesn’t just focus on her quest for human flesh (though there is that), but also on her trying¬†to navigate the world she lives in with very little impulse control.

The writers don’t tell us how Sheila contracted her zombie-ism. She quips that it might be because of bad clams, but there’s no “real” speculation. I’m hoping that we find out, but for right now, I’m just along for the ride.

It’s too early to tell if there’s going to be a Season 2, but I certainly hope so.

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Walking Dead Weekly Wrap-Up

images-1What was this episode about?  Can someone please tell me?

Spoilers ahead!

This was mostly a Woodbury episode, with lots of interpersonal drama.  Milton knows the Governor is a bad man!  Andrea knows the Governor is a bad man!  News flash!

Um… let’s see, did anything else happen in this episode? ¬†Not that I remember. ¬†I mean, it was interesting how Andrea ran away from the Governor and they ended up inside that place with all the biters. ¬†That was cool.

This was definitely a filler episode, and if all of them were like this, I’d have long since been done with the show. ¬†Of course, all this could be because this was the all-Andrea episode, and I never really liked her. ¬†I do, however, like Milton, and think he would make a great addition to Rick’s family!

I believe we only have two more episodes left, which makes me sad.  My plan is to go back to the beginning and start over.  Between that and the graphic novel, it should get me through the summer, anyway!

Talking Dead

imagesYou know what I liked best about this week’s episode of the Walking Dead? ¬†No Woodbury. ¬†No Andrea. No Governor. ¬†I’m so sick of that storyline and want it to be over.

Spoilers ahead…

No, there wasn’t a lot of killing zombies or action this week, but it was the back to basics drama I enjoyed so much. ¬†As soon as I saw the man on the roof shooting at Rick, Michonne, and Carl, I sorta knew it was Morgan. ¬†Carl keeps racking up the body count. ¬†I know he didn’t kill Morgan, but he just doesn’t hesitate to shoot now. ¬†Something that became a huge contrast later on when Morgan told Rick that his son died because he did hesitate to pull the trigger. ¬†Carl knows what needs to be done and does it. ¬†He’s immature, but he’s not a “kid.”

I liked that Rick was back to being a good guy, and tried to help Morgan, even though he’s now about as crazy as they come. ¬†I also think the group can take some good ideas from him with the booby traps. ¬†Seeing Morgan again made me remember how many people helped Rick stay alive early on. ¬†Without Morgan and Glenn, he would have died. ¬†If Hershel had refused to help Carl, something inside them all would have died. ¬†I know the group has become cautious about strangers, but if anyone had been as cautious as he is now, he would have died. ¬†What are you willing to do to survive? ¬†Is Rick responsible for the hiker’s death? ¬†He refused to help him… twice.

Morgan said to Carl, “Don’t ever be sorry.” ¬†Carl had to pull the trigger. ¬†What’s the right thing to do? ¬†Is it about survival at all costs, or does the price come too high if we give up parts of our humanity? ¬†That’s the best thing about this show… it makes me wonder.

On a high note, I liked how Carl was suspicious of Michonne at first, and then after she helped him get the picture, he just said, “I think she’s one of us.” ¬†I think so too, Carl. ¬†What a sad world where he had to fight to get the last picture of his mother for his little sister, and how like a child to think of it.

The season has had some really great episodes. ¬†Here’s to hoping they can keep it up.

Ugly Americans

by The TV Guy

imagesIn search of Disturbing?

In a quest to find something different, I let my mouse scan Netflix for something new. My attention was drawn to a brightly colored picture of a man and a ‚Äúdevil‚ÄĚ woman. I lay my pointer over the picture, unsure of what lay beyond this icon. The promo talks about the characters in New York with mythical creatures everything from vampires and werewolves to zombies and other demonic beasts. ¬†Social Worker Mark Lilly was responsible for assimilating these creatures into society.

Ugly Americans is likely one of the most disturbing cartoons I’ve seen in a while. It is wrong in an inappropriate and perverse way. But funny.  Really, really funny.  I could give you some hints but I would rather imagine your faces when viewing.

WARNING! No one under 16 or so should view this!!!!


Talking Dead

imagesThe midseason finale of the Walking Dead was this week, and now they won’t be back until February 10. ¬†It’s terrible that I have to wait two months for the next episode!

This week’s episode was another great one. ¬†Here be spoilers!

I’m so glad they got Glenn and Maggie back, but they lost Daryl. ¬†That’s awful! ¬†I’m actually a little surprised, but I guess it makes for good TV. ¬†The Governor needed a tangible scapegoat, and I guess he chose Merle because he knows that Merle cares more about his brother than Woodbury. ¬†I thought I saw a glimmer of something in Andrea’s eyes, so I hope she decides to side with Rick’s group when the $%*& goes down. ¬†And it will go down. ¬†I don’t think that Rick is going to be willing to leave without Daryl, and Michonne will help.

When Andrea walked in to find the Governor’s secret lair, I was a little surprised that she wasn’t more shocked and upset by it. ¬†My husband kept reacting to the fact that the Governor kept his kid as a zombie. ¬†I actually get that. ¬†He just couldn’t let her go, couldn’t kill her. ¬†Don’t get me wrong; the fact that Michonne put her down was a kindness, but I can understand how someone like the Governor could want to keep her around.

I love this new and improved Carl. ¬†At this point, he simply does what needs to be done. ¬†No fear, no second guessing things, “no more kid’s stuff.” ¬†When he rescued those people and then locked them in, they must have been thinking, “WTF?” ¬†And then it’s obvious that Carl is in charge of the people who are left, which seems weird from an outsider’s perspective, but from mine, seems totally normal. ¬†How old is he now? ¬†Twelve? ¬†Thirteen?

Tyreese is the man in charge of the new group, and in the graphic novels, he was Rick’s right hand man after Shane was killed. ¬†Of course, there was no Daryl in the graphic novels, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. ¬†They’ve been taking themes and bits and pieces from the novels, but not taking them literally.

Eight weeks until the next episode… I know my Monday evenings (that’s when we watch) are going to be a little emptier.

Here’s an article I wanted to share, in case you’re interested in a different perspective. ¬†It speculates on what will happen next, and talks about the dynamics between Daryl and Merle.