Micro Reviews: Zombies, Cowboys, and Rock Stars

Here’s a look at some books that I read recently but never got around to reviewing.   

Donna of the Dead is a fun, tongue-in-cheek YA zombie book.  I didn’t take this too seriously, and I enjoyed it better for that.  There’s a ton of action, a little romance, and room for a sequel, which I will definitely read.  Donna’s adventures begin on a cruise ship, and her vacation goes to hell as the other passengers succumb to the zombie plague.  She and her best buddy, Deke, manage to battle their way to freedom, only to seek sanctuary at their high school with a handful of uninfected classmates.  This reminded me a lot of the Buffy the Vampire movie (not the TV series!). If you like campy humor and groan worthy one-liners, Donna of the Dead should appeal to you.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy head cheerleader, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

Last of the Red-Hot Cowboys is another book that is best enjoyed with a sense of humor.  Some of the characters are so odd that I feared for the small Texas town they resided in.  Ava has traveled to Hell, Texas to train at the Outlaws Training Center, only to learns, much to her dismay, that Trace, the spokesman for the rodeo training instructors, refuses to train women for the dangerous arena.  Ava wants to be a bullfighter, and she knows that she rides well enough to protect bull riders after they get tossed into the dirt, but Trace says no way!  I liked the quirky characters and verbal exchanges, but some of the shenanigans had me rolling my eyes.  And the mayor’s hair could be a character by itself!  This is the perfect read for a day in the sun.  The smexy times are hot, and the oddball cast kept me amused.

Grade:  B = BEACH READ!

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A sexy cowgirl gives a rugged Texas loner the ride of his life in USA Today bestselling author Tina Leonard’s seductive new series.

Ava Buchanan dreams of a career on the rodeo circuit. Winning a spot on a one-of-a-kind team would be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted. Ava won’t let anyone stand in her way—not even a stubborn cowboy whose slow-molasses smile and red-hot swagger set her senses aflame . . . and whose talents as a trainer could make her a star. Rodeo might be a man’s game, but Ava knows the right woman’s touch can tame the wildest heart.

Trace Carter believes his mayor’s plan to raise the town’s profile has disaster written all over it, and he won’t allow the Hell’s Outlaws Training Center to be dragged into the fiasco. Yet watching Ava’s delectable body on horseback proves too much of a temptation, and his fantasies stray to her riding skills outside the arena. Soon Trace is fighting like hell to rein in his unbridled desire for the petite brunette before it becomes a passion hotter than the Texas sun.

May Contain Spoilers

I loved this novella!  Poor Lou, a total control freak, chases away the band she’s managing on the eve of their big break.  Desperate to salvage her chance at the big time, she is forced to confront her extreme stage fright, with the help of Zippy, better known as Crash Burns.  Zipman was the big time, until tragedy derailed his career.  Now he has the opportunity to help Lou get over her anxiety about performing onstage.  The chemistry clicked between the protagonists, there’s a great sense of humor, and Lou’s fear of performing live was completely engrossing.  If you are looking for something quick, sexy, and romantic, give Zipless a go.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Rocking, rolling and romancing in New York City — Scottish style!

Unable to perform due to paralyzing anxiety, singer-songwriter Lou Marzaroli has been managing her brother’s band for years, driving them out of Scotland and into the big time. But days before their American network debut, the band is imploding and Lou is relieving her stress in a no-strings-attached sexual encounter with an aging scenester she’s nicknamed Zippy.

The Zipman is sometimes remembered as Crash Burns, formerly of seminal L.A. glampunk band, Snakebite. It’s been years since he’d trashed the eyeliner and hairspray, and he hasn’t written a song since. Now he’s penning lyrics about the mysterious woman he last saw sprinting barefoot in a miniskirt down West Twenty Third. She’s the muse he’s been longing for, and he’s determined to be more than her one night stand.

When the head honchos learn Lou wrote the band’s material, they agree to give her the TV spot, sending her to be coached by their performance guru, Crash Burns. Now Lou must put herself in Zippy’s hands as he coaxes a life-changing performance from her. And the man who used to perform in nothing but a leather thong must find ways to get her confident on stage— and content in only one bed.

20,390 Words