Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review of Half Past Dead by Zoe Archer and Bianca D'Arc and a few zombie confessions!

Since I feel a little bit like a zombie after going to BEA this week I thought it would be appropriate that my first review when I got back would be zombie oriented since I was a bit like a book zombie at BEA. I shuffled around mumbling "books..books.." I probably had some otherworldly moaning and grumbling going on due to the pain of carrying all those books, and I definitely felt like I was dragging my body and lurching around everywhere trying to get books. There were alot of us book zombies there picking up review copies and mumbling to ourselves while we took out innocent civilians with our totes as we tried to shuffle by. Stay tuned for more of my book zombie con/BEA wrap-up later!

Title: Half Past Dead (Includes: The Blades of the Rose, Prequel -Undying Heart; Guardians of the Dark, #1-Simon Says)
Authors: Zoe Archer & Bianca D'Arc
Pages: 150 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Standalone/Series: Series (Both start new series)
Release:  Already Out
Publisher: Brava
Downloaded for free from Sony Reader Store
Author info: Zoe Archer & Bianca D'Arc's websites
Spoiler Alert: Small plot spoilers
GoodReads Blurb: The Undying Heart by Zoe Archer - Samuel Reed had no idea magic existed, until it almost destroyed him. Thirsting for vengeance against the enemy who made him something less than human, Sam returns to England and crosses paths with Cassandra Fielding. His best friend's little sister has become a fearless woman on a dangerous mission of her own. And against all odds, she sees past what he's become, and stirs a desire he thought he'd lost forever.

Sam, once an officer in the British Army, has returned to England to track down the man who has destroyed his existence - Colonel Broadwell. Little does Sam know that someone else is also hunting Broadwell, Cassandra, his best friend's younger sister. But Cassandra is no longer a little girl and has been charged with tracking Broadwell for the Blades of the Rose - an organization focused on keeping powerful magic or Sources, out of the hands of evil men like Broadwell. Though Cassandra has grown into a fearless woman, Sam is no longer the man he once was, his being warped by the magic Broadwell possesses to make him into the living dead. The hunt for Broadwell pushes these two together but they find they might need each other for more than just for tracking down the evil they face.

I have a bit of a confession to make, I'm afraid of zombies. You would think that with all the dark urban fantasy I read that other paranormal creatures would prove to be a more frightening but zombies have always been a one-way ticket to nightmare-ville for me. I think it's the relentless push to destroy the living that gets a telemarketer trying to sell you something you don't want and who doesn't believe in the word no (telemarketers and door-to-door sales people also freak me out). Or maybe it's the whole biting and tearing of flesh thing, I'm not a big fan of that either. Thankfully in the Undying Heart, the main zombie character (or "living dead" as he prefers to be called) Sam is sexy and has wrestled control of his mind back from his creator so he is no longer a mumbling shuffling flesh eater and his flesh re-generates so he doesn't look as horrific as most zombies are portrayed. Since becoming a living undead, Sam has only thought of vengeance on his creator, but when he meets Cassie again new thoughts begin to interrupt his plans. He is shocked when Cassie doesn't run from him in fear when she finds out what he now is and she is actually attracted to him. Cassie slowly dismantles the walls Sam has built around his heart and makes Sam more human again. Cassie also shows Sam the he is still a worthy male that she desires. I loved Cassie's independence as well as her forwardness towards Sam. Even though this book is set in the 1800s in England, Cassie definitely doesn't act like a typical lady - she has a naughty streak and we get to read all about it. She gets turned on a bit by facing life threatening situations and so her and Sam are getting busy alot through the book since Cassie's life and Sam's existence are constantly in danger. For a novella length story there was alot of both kinds of action and the battle to destroy Sam's creator as well as the developing relationship between Sam and Cassie were well-crafted and satisfying for me.

4 out of 5 stars - Loved Sam the sexy zombie-kicking ass and getting busy with Cassie!

Simon Says by Bianca D'Arc - Special Forces soldier Simon Blackwell ended his affair with Mariana Daniels three years ago, but he hasn't stopped protecting her. Mariana has no knowledge of the dark, deadly creatures that lurk in the forest surrounding her clinic, or of the mysterious powers that make Simon the only one who can defeat them. But soon he'll have no choice but to reveal the truth, and urge her to trust in an explosive passion that never faded. 

Simon, or Si as his friends call him, is forever changed by his last mission that took him away from his lover, Mariana. Now Si is back and hunting the creatures that changed him though he refuses to go back to Mari because he is afraid of what he has become and doesn't want anything to harm her. Si watches Mari from afar as he defends the area around her house and the military base she works at from the creatures the military scientists created, zombies. Unfortunately these zombies aren't the sexy kind but the I want to eat your brains, mumble mumble, shuffle shuffle, kind. When Simon was first ordered to take them out he got bit but rather than becoming one his body is immune to the zombie contagion and now he hunts them. 

Simon re-enters Mari's life after he suffers some severe injuries while out zombie hunting. Si ends up showing up at Mari's clinic for help and from there the two of their lives get more entangled although neither of them intended for that to happen. As the two spend more time together, old passions begin to re-ignite and since the zombies sleep during the day they really have to find something to do with their free time - right? The battle with the zombies really does take second stage to the relationship between Simon and Mari, but for someone like me who has severe zombie fear (almost as bad as my fear of spiders) I think it was the right amount of scary zombies for me.

3.5 out of 5 stars - Between defending his lover's life and playing a sexy game of "Simon Says", Simon is one hot ex-marine zombie hunter!

The next read of Zoe Archer's Blades of the Rose, Warrior,  will be out this September with a new book in the series released October, November, and December.

Bianca D'Arc's next book in her Guardian's of the Dark series, Once Bitten, Twice Dead is already out -


SusiSunshine said...

I really can't wait to get my greedy little hands on the Zoe Archer books. Will download this ASAP. Sounds wonderful.
And lol Zombies really are like telemarketer- see that every time at work. LOL

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

@Susi - I love the covers for Zoe Archer's new books and I love the short wait time between each new release!

SusiSunshine said...

I so agree. The covers are awesome. And yes short waiting time is good for my impatient heart LOL

Dani said...

Sexy Zombie??? Really? I'm not convinced. Sexy and zombie are too things that don't mix for me... What's next? Sexy Frankstein? =D

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

@Dani - thankfully it wasn't the typical flesh rotted zombie - that would be so not sexy! :D

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