Undead Menagerie (by A.M. Geever)

Imogen is a zookeeper working on a conservation program for the Iberian Lynx and doing her best to avoid the politics of the zoo when the zombie apocalypse hits. On the first day she is racing to the zoo to help out as best she can when the infected start attacking. She is rescued by Mike and they make their way to the zoo. 

Mike has his own problems, as the days pass by he gets more and more desperate to check on his family but finds himself trapped inside the zoo with tensions that began before first day and have only worsened with zombies pressing in from all directions. 

Zombie fiction can be any of a number of different genres. It can be science fiction, dystopian, horror, fantasy and even, on occasion, romance. Undead Menagerie very much leans into the horror genre with just a touch of science fiction and fantasy. It is also in a small way a love letter to the city of Pittsburgh. The author plainly loves the city, loves the people and loves the unique version of English spoken in the city. As someone who is always looking at language I particularly loved this aspect of the book.

There are parts of the book that are difficult, it’s brutal, like a punch in the gut. It’s a runaway train and occasionally heartbreaking. You desperately want the good guys to win, you want them all to survive, you want happily ever after. But you can’t always get what you want. But it is so good. A book I will read and reread.

5 (occasionally heartbreaking) stars.

Trigger Warning: Animal Death

Folk Around and Find Out (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

Hank is the owner of the Pink Pony, Green Valley’s #1 strip club. He provides a safe work place for the women who work for him but isn’t popular among the good town folk. Even more so after one of his strippers ran off with Charlotte’s husband and left her as the single mother of 4 kids. 

So when she walks into his club looking for a job he wants her out of there….quick. 

Penny Reid is a bit of an odd duck. Every genre has rules. Good authors know the rules, the best authors know the rules they can get away with breaking. And Penny Reid is one of those authors. She has been doing it since 2011 and her books still feel fresh. 

I loved this book. I loved the characters, I especially loved Charlotte’s kids. Folk Around and Find Out is really just good fun. Start to finish.