Author: Laila Blake & L.C. Spoering
Genre: Adult Supernatural/Zombie Romance 17+
Publisher: Lilt Literary
Publish Date: April 5, 2014
Recipe Variables: Language, Violence, Sex
“Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.”
After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.
The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.
This novel contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature. Reader’s discretion is advised.
There are some great cookies out there, am I right? But we all know that some…say, an oatmeal cookie…go from being a standard sugar fix to a mouth-watering treat with just the right addition of a little somethin’-somethin’. Whether you prefer raisins or chocolate chips in that oatmeal is up to personal taste (by now you should be well aware of where my vote is cast), but without one or the other, it’s just another cookie. That’s where I found myself while reading After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering. It was more than oatmeal, but it didn’t hit the chocolate high I was looking for.
The opening pages of this NA zombie romance immerse the main character, Emily, in a blinding snow storm, trying to find shelter before the elements—and the undead—catch the hapless pair of mother and son. There is no question the two emerging authors of this novel get things off to a gripping start. And once our co-tagonist, Aaron, shows up to lend a hand, the trio continue to find themselves in perilous situations that rival that other tasty storytelling treat on TV, The Walking Dead.
Once the action subsides, however, the authors try a new slant on the genre by adding the recipe variable of sexual situations. If you’re up for that variation, no worries, but it’s the conversations between the co-tagonists that turn things into a bland mix. Aaron and Emily would start a conversation that would turn monosyllabic ending with one or the other walking away in a huff, but…er, why? The dialogue between the two bordered on bland, and I found myself two or three bites into a chapter where I would have to stop and say, “What the hell did I just eat?” There was way too much narrative spent on Emily hung up on a lost love in a world that didn’t leave time for those kind of parameters any more.
Luckily, that’s right around when the zombies would come back into the fray, and all was engaging in the story again. This cookie isn’t for the palettes of those easily offended as the recipe contains considerable variables (see above), but it’s worth sitting down to enjoy with a glass of milk all the same.