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on August 19, 2011
Ok, so this story sounded good and the reviews are positive. The story even started out well. The set up went on for a while where we meet 2 families, including one girl who gets stomach cramps when something bad is going to happen (no explanation given at all). That's a little odd, but ok, I can deal with that. Then it just all fell apart.

SPOILERS AHEAD

So, the US is attacked by biological weapons. People start to flee the cities. After getting to know the two families, we then leave the one behind as a mother and her young daughter decide to head away from the attacked area to Texas. Ok, so far so good. But then the crazy begins. While getting her car from where she works, the mother is grabbed from behind by a smelly, drunk, homeless person who scares her. Ok, that makes sense. But then when he asks her to ride with them, she says sure since he seems "harmless."

The 3 of them drive for a while (seeing no one as far as we know -- really???) then pull over to get gas. At the gas station they find a dead woman. They call the police (who actually respond) and find out that the woman's throat has been ripped out. Then a zombie attacks their car. The policeman shoots him dead (again) with some difficulty. Then the dead woman with no throat gets up and starts to attack them. More gunfire. Down she goes. Then the mother goes all nuts about how can we shoot these people since they're just sick. And the policeman procedes to explain to her what's going on. Because she's just so dumb she doesn't understand that if you're dead, have no throat, and attack people, then you aren't just infected with a virus. You aren't just angry (another one of her earlier suggestions). You are, in fact, a zombie. She still doesn't seem to think that means that they should be so mean to them, but at least she shuts up after he's done.

The policeman calls for backup, is told they don't know when it'll arrive. So he quits the force, and asks if he can travel with them. The mother (in a short burst of rationality) says he can. So they fill up with gas (which the mother says they shouldn't do because it's stealing) and then procede to drive a full tank of gas in the WRONG direction. Yes, that's right, we've got 3 adults in the car and no one notices for several hundred miles that they're going the wrong way. I'm about to give up on the story at this point but decide to push on a little further.

They get to a town that has a population of 142. They are trying to hide from the zombies (but that doesn't stop the mother from screaming at someone when she doesn't agree with them - even though they know sound attracts zombies). They find a two survivors. One is the town's police dispatcher. They make a plan for escaping and ask her if she knows her way around town. This is where my brain just implodes. Not only are you asking a town resident in a tiny tiny town if she knows the town, you are asking the police dispatcher in said tiny tiny town if she knows the town????? I just couldn't go any further. I was nearly 50% through the book so I had given it a fair chance.
22 comments17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 2011
I just checked an old email address of mine, and saw that my review of this book had a bunch of comments, most of them calling my opinion a load of bull. I even had a reply from the author accusing me of being in the industry myself, and of having some ulterior motive. (Like what, I wonder?) Anyway, I felt a bit guilty about hurting his feelings, and deleted the post.

Now, five minutes later, that decision has made me feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I still stand by my review, even if the author's friends do not. It's not as if I revoke the failing grades I give my students when they cry (you see, I'm a teacher, not a jealous author,) so why would I revoke some well earned criticism? As I tell my students, it means I care about quality writing.

Here is my old review, in all it's nasty glory. :)

*
As much as I love to support self-publication, books like TDT are what give the industry a stereotype of producing horribly plotted, shoddily developed wastes of time that no real publishing house would touch. Kittrell's work reads like a twelve year old's fanfiction; his characterization is shallow, the plot is boring and pointless, and he seems to think PMS is the natural state of all women, at all times, but not in a funny way. And as if that isn't enough, I haven't even gotten to the actual writing! Here is an excerpt from the novel which speaks for itself:

As they approached, a scene not as apparent as seen from the police station made itself known.

Ohmygawd. Nuff' said.

Only I have a couple more things to say...

1.) Naming two of your main characters 'John' and 'Wayne'? Imagination, dear sir, IMAGINATION!

2.) The characters need not have worried about the zombies, but asphyxiation by diesel fumes. They were all goners, since the author had them spend the night in a garage with the engine running. I would have assumed otherwise if left unmentioned, but the author felt the need to specify that this was not the case.

3.) Kelly said, "When writing dialogue, never sandwich the word 'said'." said Kelly.

Gahh.
*

Best of luck on your journey, my good fellow!
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on January 10, 2011
The storyline is interesting, but the tedious and excessive irrelevant details make it a chore to read. if a random guy is wearing a mechanic uniform, we don't need to be told what he does or the how/why he's dirty, everybody knows already. A whole paragraph about it is just boring, especially when he's just another zombie. Same for the cop signaling to watch, and I'm just not going to list them all. With the book being $2.99 I don't feel ripped off, it was entertaining once I realized a lot of the book should be skimmed over to find the storyline. I'll be buying the second installment, and hope the author focuses on the plot and central characters instead of minutiae. yay for zombie books!
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on February 21, 2011
Love zombie books but this was just a waste of time. The characters were shallow and the plot was as hollow as a thousand year old tree. The mother invites a homeless alcoholic to join her and her daughter escape zombies, a cop that deserts his post and "OOPS" forgets about his parents and fiancée until days later,a police chief who cracks and hides in the ceiling crawlspace BEFORE the zombies even make an appearance. The cop helps save a lady and her child trapped in a house. He accidentally steps on the mutilated headless body of a baby, shoots a 6 year old zombie boy, saves the people, then takes a nap without ever asking if they are alright or check to see if they were biten. Give me a break.
This felt more like it was written for (or by) a 10 year old. I'm not going to spoil the plot, or lack thereof, for anybody but get this only if your desperate for something to read and you can't find any Goosebumps books to read.
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on November 6, 2010
The Dying Times: Nadene's Story

This book is a genuine masterpiece of this type of genre. Actually, it could fit into a number of different categories and styles of writing. I read a couple of chapters and then put the book down. I kept thinking about the story and decided to just read a little more. Well, I wound up reading the whole book. I found out that once you start reading this book you can not stop.

It starts in the year 2013 where we find the eastern portion of the United States is being attacked. Missiles carrying biological agents are falling and killing thousands of people. But then a strange thing happens. Some of the dead come back to life and begin to attack and kill people who were not effected by the bombs.

I found this story to be interesting,and it may hold a whisper of what may happen if some things do not change in our world. Everyone will have their own perceptions of the story and characters. I firmly believe that this book will be enjoyed by all who read it.

I loved the way the characters were developed and how they teamed up to go west, away from the horrific things that were happening to save their own lives.

This book was so good I found it hard to believe it was from a first time author. Do yourself a favor and buy the book. You won't be disappointed.

Rated PG 13 for violence
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on December 29, 2010
[spoilers included] The premise is intriguing and I enjoyed the story's beginning--it's not often such a novel focuses on a teen girl to start with. However, the writing is merely mediocre. The author has no talent for character development and even less for dialogue. Emotions are choppy when they are even present. I found myself not really caring about any of the characters. I also was extremely frustrated by the running in circles. The entire journey was pointless. All in all, it was barely worth the $2.99 I paid for it, and I won't be re-reading it or reading sequels, but if you are a zombie fan, it isn't terrible, and it is (mercifully) short.
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on October 7, 2012
The Dying Times is a YA focused zombie story.

When I first started this story, I felt as if it might be a little too YA for my taste. You have Nadine gossiping and bantering with her best friend. I was almost ready to write this story off, then the action kicked in and I found it hard to put my Kindle down. I HAD to keep reading.

I think when the book really grabbed my attention is when Nadine and her mother met up with Wayne to flee westward. From that point on I was hooked.

One thing that I noticed was when I opened this ebook on my Kindle, the text was tiny. I had to enlarge the text quite a bit (okay--alot). This was just a small thing, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

*I got this e-book through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.
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on September 2, 2011
After reading the review of how this book is a "masterpiece" and I "wouldn't be disappointed purchasing this book", I was expecting to have stumbled upon a new favorite author whose newest book releases I would anticipate with utmost impatience. Absolutely not!

I found myself nauseous and irritable after repeatedly reading sentences containing the phrase "started moving towards" or "began walking towards". I haven't counted how many times these are included in this book, but I would easily bet it's over a hundred. Toward shouldn't have an "s' on the end anyway, when used in a published work, so that was incredibly annoying to me, as well.

Further turning me off from this book was the constant use of the same words over and over, multiple times in the same sentence in many cases. Someone, please buy this guy a thesaurus! Also, when the same character is the subject of a full paragraph or paragraphs, you don't have to use their name in every sentence. We all know that the zombie was attacking John and that John was fighting the zombie and that John pulled out his gun and John shot the zombie and John was shaking afterward (See? No "s" required) and John sat down and John put his head between his hands and John was quiet for a long time and no one looked at John (e.g.)

The story line is extremely lack-lustre, uncreative, and choppy. Thought processes, actions, and reactions were completely irrational. Things happened for no reason other than to add an extra page of reading.

Finally, the characters themselves don't do anything for me. They all seem to have the exact same personality (supposedly sarcastic, as the author informed us again and again and again....). All of them are overly defensive with no sense of humor and completely, unbelievably naive and clueless. I found myself becoming increasingly agitated by how often they expressed thoughts and ideas that were ridiculously common-sense as if they were mind-blowing epiphanies that would actually change the whole course of the future of human survival. And, seriousy, who names their kids Nadene (who, by the way, is an over-sheltered girl with no personality and a gift/ condition that doesn't make any sense with the rest of the story and just adds one more element to the idiocy of this book) or Sally anymore?

Upon reading this book, I'm now feeling depressed and annoyed. I'm with J. Persinger. Even Twilight's better this.
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on September 28, 2011
First.. despite the little blurb from the 'editor' at the beginning of the book asking us not judge all independent books based on the horrible editing and proofreading of some, this book has horrible editing and proof reading. One wonders how they could have possibly missed little gems like:

"We're on I-10 now, and there are a few of the casinos back up, but the area is still has some damaged from Hurricane Katrina, even this long after."

Moving right along... SPOILERS:

Several plot devices of this book are taken directly from the J L Bourne book Day by Day Armageddon. Four that stand out:
1- Using a vehicle w/noise to draw groups of zombies away from an area
2- Airdropped beacons emitting loud noise to draw zombies into a specific area
3- Nuking that area
4- Radiation making the zombies stronger/smarter.

At best this book reads as a rough draft. Some areas are well fleshed out but others border on a simple outline the author wanted to skip through. With a bit of work (and a bit more originality) it could have potential. Possibly.
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on August 19, 2011
Allow me to start by saying that I am reviewing the story itself, not the author as a person. I know it doesn't make it easier to swallow criticism, but such is the way of things. That being said, there are no spoilers here but I'll recommend that you don't read the book to find out what you missed.

I waded through the book simply because it was short and I refused to be defeated. It was a trial the whole way.

The plot has nothing original, despite what some others have said. The characters have some of the most stilted, mechanical and unrealistic dialog that has ever hit a written page. Their reactions to situations are often extremely childlike and unrealistic even for a child. The development of said characters in no way makes them "people", so you're left not really caring if they live or die.

To say that this book was targeted for youthful readers does not excuse how poorly it is written and edited. Even the young deserve a chance to read a decent story.

I think our society has a tendency to try to encourage others. We try to find something nice to say so as to avoid hurting another person's feelings. That's the reason I believe this book has most of the ratings that gave it more than two stars. Well, maybe it was because some of those people were young and hadn't experienced enough to be able to determine the difference between good writing and bad writing. This is the second one, kids.

I'm not cutting the author any slack because he attempts to make placating comments on the poor reviews of his book. Seeming "nice" on the board does nothing to improve the quality of this story.
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