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on July 5, 2011
You know your a Redneck Junkie when: You need to become a member of the undead to kick your habit.

Angel Crawford was practically born emblazoned with an L for loser in the middle of her forehead. She didn't have much choice in changing her hard knock status with a mentally ill mother, a drunk for a father, and being a high school drop out. Angel seems to be hurtling herself into all the pitfalls of her white trash standing, including a felony, a deadbeat boyfriend, drug and alcohol addiction, and a steadily growing resume of former dead end jobs.

And then she dies. Or at least she thinks she did. Angel has some flashes of an accident. But the details of her condition and the events leading up to them are a bit fuzzy. Angel wakes in the hospital without a scratch on her. She then starts to receive cryptic messages and a seemingly too good to be true job. What Angel doesn't know is that she has been changed into a zombie. She looks fine, feels fine, but Angel is going to have to learn quickly that all that can change in an instant if she doesn't get the nourishment she needs. Without the self-induced intoxicated drug haze, it turns out Angel is a pretty clever cookie. And since they've been hauling in numerous headless dead bodies to the morgue, Angels going to have to use all the brains she's got to solve the murders, and keep her strength up.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie was an interesting take on a second chance. Diana Rowland really showed how one incident can change someone's life for good or bad. With Angel's addictions stripped away and a good opportunity to support herself she found her self worth. This is made even more interesting with the vehicle Rowland uses to employ change, zombie-ism.

I was skeptical about this premise. The title was provocative, but the cover art sold me on giving this one a chance. I'm glad I did. This book is filled with rich characters and decent story lines. Reading about Angel's prior decline and present rise, while stumbling through her revelations on becoming a zombie where very entertaining. Rowland created a nice mix of background information, zombie high jinx, and mystery. I loved the supporting cast as well, and the little love story at the end. I think there where parts of the story that were a bit slow but overall a good read with great potential for a sequel.
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on July 7, 2011
I heard about this book last year during during the Romantic Times convention. Diana was talking about the newest book she was working on about a white trash zombie who gets a job as a morgue tech for easy access to brains. I know it's shocking, but the an unpolitically correct story about a zombie is totally up my alley. Also, being a huge fan of the Kara Gillian series by Rowland I have been waiting impatiently for this book to release.

The book opens with Angel waking up in the hospital. She was brought in as a suspected overdose victim. Her scattered memories and the mysterious package left for her at the hospital hint at something entirely different. Now don't accuse me of spoiling the book for you, but she has been turned into a zombie. Of course the reason why she has been turned into a zombie and who her mysterious mentor is keeps you hanging through the ending of the book. In fact the majority of the book is about how being turned into a zombie is one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

Also a good deal of the buildup is world-building. Namely, introducing you to what it means to be a zombie in this book series. It also lays the groundwork for how the zombies abilities and weaknesses work. The author takes the difficult situation of having to make a zombie likable and excels at it. By the end of the story I was really rooting for her.

This brings me to the end of the story. As I insinuated in an above comment, I will not spoil the story. George R.R. Martin may threaten to put a spoilers head on a pike, but the author in question on this series has certifications maintaining her aim and ability with deadly weapons. (According to her own bio she has worked in the police force among other jobs.) That being said, I will say that her ending took me by surprise. My expectation is for an ending (even one with a twist) to be along the lines of the direction I thought the story was going. Rowland caught me on this one, marking it as one of my favorite reads so far this season.

I will over the caveat that this is a story about zombies. Those with a weak constitution should be forewarned. Even if you are a little skittish at the thought of brain-eating zombies, I would urge you to read this as you might very well be surprised at the extent to which you enjoy the novel. Mrs. Zombie (who is ironically not a fan of the gore) is chomping at the bit to read my copy of it.

Easily I will give this one a full 5 dancing zombies out of 5. If you want to go the Slayer route on it, Faith calls this one 5-by-5. No matter what pop culture reference you use, it is easily worth the money. To prove that fact, even with my library budget tight I am going to stop tonight and purchase a retail copy. Normally I would consider this one for a Nook purchase, but that cover art is just to damn good to pass up!
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on April 27, 2013
Not really. At least, not *this* Angel.

Zero aspirations in life, avoiding getting beat up by her alcoholic father and pretty much just floating by in a drug haze was Angel Crawford's 'normal' day to day existence before an accident, sketchy memories and some weird cravings turned her old life into something to actually live for. Thing is, she and everything else, is far from normal but that's okay. After she gets over freaking out in horror at loving brains like candy, Angel's learning that in death, life is so much sweeter all around. For one, she's trying to clean herself up and just Get Better. Strangely enough, she's succeeding and her new job at the ME's Office and her fellow co-workers, is helping. Not to mention--free brains! But as decapitated heads start turning up, and Angel starts learning about the ins and outs of being a zombie, she soon discovers that she's far from unique or alone. Is that good, or bad, because it seems that zombies are on the menu for someone, and Angel's worried she might be next. And more importantly, who is her mysterious benefactor, and did he or she or they turn her into one of the walking dead?

I have passed by on this series often, despite liking the concept but I got soooo burnt out from reading slapped together or trying-too-hard UF that never hit the mark for me, and yet, manage to get stellar reviews that make no sense to me. Also, I didn't take to her other series and too often, series from the same author tend to have the same voice in a different, lackluster setting. However, I was pleasantly surprised by reading this book, which had a fine balance of UF and very firmly grounded in the present, here and now. It's more character driven than I expected but I liked Angel a lot. She's gruff, she's young, punkish and a self-proclaimed 'loser' but she's also introspective, hopeful and funny. The secondary characters paled in comparison to Angel, who was just really fleshed out and cohesive; she dominated every page with force that couldn't be matched by any other character, including a possible love interest.

Rowland is a good writer as much as a solid story teller; she can show and tell seamlessly and logically. I didn't feel like I had too many unanswered questions but the ending was here and there, then over and left a bit unfinished. She did her research and shows it well, the forensics elements especially, though I have a hard time believing her probation officer not being notified after her accident and being questioned by the police, or believing an off-the-street criminal that is Angel would have landed a job as a morgue tech, which would be a local, government job and convicted felons aren't eligible for employment, no matter how minor the felony was, as well as it being a specialist position. It's fantasy, I get it but it's also half rooted in reality so I expect realistic consequences, responses and reactions. Also, Rowland spent the first four chapters telling us, ad nauseum, how much of a loser, red-neck, trailer park white trash our heorine is. I don't need to read it every third page. I get that she's at rock bottom and what's to come will be better, show growth and give us a more rounded picture of Angel, the girl, as much as Angel, the zombie.

This series has a lot of potential. It relies less on gore and is slower paced, focusing on the everyday things that make Angel seem real and likable, though it might bore readers who are used to heavy fantasy and lots of cutthroat action. That said, while I wasn't bored I also didn't have this immediate urge to read it in one sitting. I just hope it doesn't grow too big for its britches...something that most UF series fall into. In any case, I really enjoyed reading the book, and can't wait to sink my teeth into the next one!
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on July 7, 2013
I love hanging out with Angel Crawford and although this book isn't as emotional or gripping as the last two novels were, I still had a great time. A zombie movie is being filmed in town and when Angel shows up on set, her psycho zombie baby Philip pops up. Shadowy evil organisation Saberton is also back doing evil things in the shadows.

Angel continues to reinvent herself and display more and more maturity. I think she has pretty much shaken the `white trash' moniker given her work ethic, attitude towards life and the fact she is now in a position to care for others. Yes she fails at times but she picks herself up and keeps trying. Marcus is still kinda bleh but at least Angel has the confidence to call him on it. He is more of a security blanket than a love interest as he underestimates her and would happily organise her life if she'd let him. Angel's relationship with her father improves and it is fantastic to see him trying to reinvent himself too - even though he still needs to work on wearing pants around the house. We have a raft of new secondary characters that are really interesting and I hope we get to spend a bit more time with them in the future.

The storyline was a bit messy as there are multiple story threads to keep track of. It didn't have the same punch as the other two stories because there was no real climax, just a series of fights and scary encounters before the extended denouement. We have real zombies in a zombie movie, an evil corporation that is experimenting on zombies and Dr Charish is back. I think this could have been simplified as the strength of this series is Angel's relationships with others. There is lots of fighting and as long as Angel has her brain smoothies or chips, she can keep up with the best of them.

"White Trash Zombie Apocalypse" is just plain fun so even though the plot meandered a bit, I couldn't put it down.
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on January 5, 2013
My friend said she couldn't get into this book so I decided to give it a try. I finished this book in 3 days and was sad it was over. I have never been a huge fan of zombies, they are slow and they eat your brain big whoop. This book gave me a different way of looking at the brain-eating-undead. I have heard so many people say there wasn't any romance in this book even though it is classified as Paranormal Romance. Yeah it isn't one of those books chalked full of sex and revolves around the couple but I don't really go for those books anyways. It reminded me more of how a couple originally get together, minus the whole zombie thing, they meet, see if there are shared interest and take it from there. I did foresee the love story that unfolded at the end but I do appreciate that there wasn't time for it because when there are gruesome killings who has time for that. If you want a fun read that more revolves around murder than a love story then this is a great book for you.
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VINE VOICEon August 24, 2013
Diana Rowland writes two of the strongest urban fantasy series on the market-"White Trash Zombies", and Kara Gillian Demon series. I enjoyed this third installment of the zombie series "White Trash Zombie Apocalypse" but maybe not as strongly as I enjoyed the first two. The world is just amazing and the zombies are unlike absolutely anything else that I have read to date. Angel is the perfect heroine in that she is so real and flawed and good. She is no perfect Mary Sue character, but someone the average reader can really relate to and cheer for. Her personality continues to shine in this novel. I just didn't think the plot was as strong in this one and her relationship with her boyfriend Marcus is just not much fun. I don't buy him as the one for her. On the flipside, the very best thing about this novel was the relationship between Angel and her father. About midway through the story a shocking event happens to Angel and her dad. The event in itself was portrayed so that I was very anxious as I was reading. I love when authors take chances, and I think this author does with the father/daughter relationship in this novel. (Trying to word things so that I give nothing away!).

I did like this book but I feel like maybe the 'long' plot that threads through all the books is getting too complicated. The strength of these books is Angel, her job, how she lives day to day with her 'condition'. The intrigue needs to be focused more tightly on those fronts. I also hate that so many of the times in this novel we never knew really who was good and who wasn't. The author missed an opportunity with the movie being filmed in town. That alone could have been the whole plot and wasn't. The last couple chapters were very well done. I am definitely hooked enough that I will be pre-ordering future books but this wasn't the strongest of the bunch so far.
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on September 11, 2013
She's ba-a-a-ack. Our favorite li'l punk zombie, Angel Crawford is back in her third novel as she is still trying to figure out her new unlife. Who would have thought being dead would be so complicated?

Angel, along with her partner Derrel Cusimano, is a coroner's assistant for St. Edwards Parish in Louisiana, and her unlife continues its complications as there is a movie being shot in the town. Ironically, it a zombie movie, and it is called "High School Zombie Apocalypse!!", yes, two exclamation points. As the movie is being shot and staged, Angel is called out to pick up a corpse, it seems that somebody has had their brains spilled from an accident. Too bad, so sad, brains spilled means brains wasted. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. While there, Philip, a zombie that Angel created in the last novel turns up and saves Angel from an attempted murder. If this doesn't raise suspicions of bad deeds being done in St. Edwards again, then after Angel is invited to a swanky hoity-toity dinner by Uncle Pietro, head of the local zombie mafia, that will be invaded by a real zombie, not a movie one, and she is attacked this time by Philip, certainly will.

Along with this, there are the mundane occurrences that keep Angel busy, she's studying for her GED, tutored by, big surprise, her nemesis. Her relationship with Marcus, her zombie cop boyfriend, the zombie who turned/saved her back in novel one of this series, is moving into the way serious mode, and, oh yes, she's having to deal with the mysterious coming and goings of her recovering, and sometimes relapsing, alcoholic father Jim Crawford.

As the novel progresses, she finds that there are a surprising amount of real zombies working at the zombie movie, and they have a special, and a not necessarily healthy, interest in Angel, and why do people involved in the zombie production keep dying? You're not paranoid if people, or zombies, keep trying to hurt you, as Angel is attacked several times, once rescuing Heather, a daughter and sister of Angel and Pietro's sworn enemy.

Even the elements seem to be trying to get on her bad side, as she gets caught in a local apocalyptic event. As the novel progresses Angel feels put upon and lonely; she can't talk to the mundane humans in her life about her problems, and she can't talk to her boyfriend as he is upset over her relations with Uncle Pietro. Then she turns out to have developed a power only zombies five-hundred years old should have.

As the novel progresses we learn more about Pietro's operations, we are introduced to Pietro's zombie operatives, find out who the real enemies of Angel are, we find out who this "Heather" is and why she is important to Pietro and Angel, and her "health" status starts becoming one of the worst kept secrets in St. Edwards.

Rowland has managed to create a character in Angel Crawford that is as entertaining and as original as Mercy Thompson, and let's face it, Angel's universe is only getting more and more interesting, and with the introduction of the five hundred plus year-old Pietro, Rowland has created a universe that she can now explore in both the present and the past. Heck, we don't even know how old Marcus is. Of course, it wouldn't really be a good idea to start reading about Angel with this novel, start with the first novel for a full appreciation of Angel's character. In the first novel, she goes from being a first-rate pill-popping, alcoholic, loser, to her continuing redemption as a, not-quite, respectable and upstanding, albeit dead, citizen. Throughout these three, so far, novels we see how, with help, how she reforms herself, and through that, the redemption of several other others around her. Her father for instance owes her more than he would probably ever acknowledge, and this is the novel that Angel and her father start to heal their relationship.

And let's not forget Daniel Dos Santos cover. Oh my, I'd like to know the model's name and what else that she's modeled for. Sexy and humorous at the same time, Santos shows Angel having been abused, and having given the attempt to kill her again all that they could, and failing, it's now Angel's turn, `cuz baby's got a bat and that's the least of it. Let's face it, I just don't think that the bad guys are going to be able to run fast enough. Of course, it really doesn't illustrate anything, and it's exploitive, I wouldn't be caught reading a book with a cover like this in church, but what the heck, I'm going to give Santos a free pass.

"White Trash Zombie Apocalypse" as a novel really doesn't stand on its own, but it is a great episode of a great series. I enjoyed it. Let's hope somebody decides to turn this into a tv series. Great zombie, brain-eating fun for the whole family.

For this site I have also reviewed the following urban fantasy books.

Allie Beckstrom #1: Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, Book 1) by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #2: Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #3: Magic In The Shadows by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #4: Magic On The Storm by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #5: Magic At The Gate by Devon Monk.
Angel Crawford #1: My Life as A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland.
Angel Crawford #2: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland.
Edie Spence #1: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander.
Edie Spence #2: Moonshifted (Edie Spence) by Cassie Alexander.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #1: Spiral Hunt (Evie Scelan) by Margaret Ronald.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #2: Wild Hunt by Margaret Ronald.
Mercy Hollings #1: Beg for Mercy (Mercy Hollings, Book 1) by Toni Andrews.
Mercy Hollings #2: Angel of Mercy (Mercy Hollings, Book 2) by Toni Andrews.
Mercy Hollings #3: Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews.

And these anthologies which contain some urban fantasies:

A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters edited by Kerrie Hughes & Martin Harry Greenberg.
Crime Spells edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Loren L. Coleman. Which contains the first Allie Beckstrom story.
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on August 29, 2013
Read/Listened for Fun (Audible/Paperback)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 4.00
Character Rating: 4.50

Audio Rating: 4.50 (Not part of my overall rating)

First Thought When Finished: Not my favorite in the series but still SO DARN GOOD!

Story Thoughts: Movies with zombies have got to be silly to actual zombies and I think make the perfect setting for some fun! Diana Rowland has one of the most wicked senses of humor on the planet and it shines in her writing (she was super fun in person too)! I love this series and I count down to it coming out EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! White Trash Zombie Apocalypse was just downright fun and full of action. Also, I love that Angel is continuing with bettering herself. We need more women like her in fiction!

Character Thoughts: Angel freaking rocks! She is one of those characters that almost everyone can identify with on some level. She has made mistakes, she has done things that require her to work harder and be better, and she is a mess at times. At some point in life we all have hit the place that make us want to do better and that is where I think we can all identify with her. I am not a big fan of her romance with Marcus but I just keep hoping she finds someone else (or he wins me over). I am however loving everyone at the Morgue and Angel's zombie son!

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Allison McLemore / Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins

I LOVE Allison's narration of this series. It is one of the best in the market and she NAILS Angel! The pacing, emotion, and nuances are perfect. Needless to say I highly recommend this one on audio. Please always listen to a sample of an audiobook before buying. Not everyone has the same taste in narrators.

Final Thoughts: I need the next one now!
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"You're a zombie." he said, tone flat and curt. " You eat brains. What more do you need to know?" (from book)

I loved this book, I thought the different take on zombies was really cool.

Angel Crawford has the unfortunate opportunity to find out what it's like to be a zombie trying to exist in the real world. She wakes up in the hospital not knowing what happened to her. They say she overdosed on pills, but when I found out what happened at the end I wanted to put the beat down on someone! Lets just say she was in the wrong place with the wrong person at the wrong time.

Anyhoo, so she's left a lunchbox with some funky looking stuff blended up in jars saying that she needs to drink one a day. Needless to say she doesn't know what is going on and it's nasty as all get out. Uggg... I don't think you will find a brain smoothie at Dairy Queen. Gag a maggot! Now that that is out of my system, Angel is so confused as you would be. She can't even remember what happened to her until later.

She also has to take a job at the morgue for the drug charge. Now Angel has a very weak stomach and can't understand why the site of the autopsies are not making her sick and holy crow what is that delicious aroma. Who knew a brain could smell so good!

After awhile she finds out she's a zombie and can luckily get brains from the morgue. She has to deal with other zombies wanting brains, other zombies being brain lords dealing in selling brains. Really? And she's also learning a lot from this hot cop that she keeps running into. She is learning in a sense to become a zombie detective, which helps out when she has to find out who is now killing zombies!

I think this was a really cool mystery/zombie book. I look forward to reading the other books!

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on February 7, 2016
I first saw this title whilst browsing in a local bookshop. It seemed to be an ideal candidate for a Kindle purchase as I was intrigued by the title but not sure if I wanted to devote bookshelf space to it. I've now read the book and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. With a title like "My life as a white trash zombie" and the cover image expectations were low. This is a story of redemption via an unusual route: undeath/zombiehood. The principal character is Angel a young woman who dies in a car crash, is turned into a zombie and then set free to prosper as she may. Angel has to figure out what she has become, get up on time to attend a regular job (in a mortuary) and deal with an alcoholic and abusive father. This odd mix is entertaining and touching in equal measure. We all wonder who and what we are and for most of us the answer isn't "I'm a zombie". Diana Rowland is to be congratulated in rescuing a tabloid book-title with humour and pathos. Highly recommended.
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