Zombie Boyz (Anthology), Eric Arvin & Various Authors
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Genre: LGBT Gay (Anthology)
Tags: Anthology, Horror, Humor, Paranormal, Violence (not for the squeamish)
Length: 299 Pages (estimated)
When I saw this was coming out my immediate thought was a big “Uh, no. I don’t do zombies” but then I saw the list of authors who contributed and knew that I would be reading it as soon as I could get my hands on it. Each story is co-written by some of the best M/M authors out there. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started but I knew it would be entertaining. Each story has humor and there is quite a bit of gore thrown in as well. There’s sex, intrigue and well, zombies. So grab a stiff drink, make everyone go away for awhile and get ready for a wild ride. Oh, and you know that TJ Klune is one of the contributors so I highly suggest you grab a box of tissues while you’re at it. This is the first anthology I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few) where each story was an easy 5 stars for me.
Guess Who’s Coming At Dinner by Geoffrey Knight & Ethan Day
“Is that what I think it is?” Grammy Gabby shrieked, her eyes bulging so big that her gigantic, tinted 70s-style specs slipped an inch down the bridge of her nose.
And all my studly zombie boyfriend Zane could do was grin that big, stupid, handsome, kinda-undead smile of his while he pawed and tugged at the raging tentpole erection in his ripped jeans and announced to the whole table in that animalistic tone of his, “Me haaaaaawny.”
The story starts out at the dinner table of nineteen-year-old Chandler Cox. Life as Chandler and everyone else knew it disappeared after the Pandemic Transviral Apocalypse of 2013, “which was quickly shortened to PTA for tweeting purposes.” Chandler has just brought his boyfriend, Zane Addison, home to meet the family for the first time for Grumpy Grampy’s 90th birthday. Of course in the post-apocalyptic zombie world, Zane is not exactly the type of person that good old mom and dad may wish for their son (the fact that their son’s ‘friend’ has a penis may also have something to do with their lack of excitement over said friend). Seated around the dinner table are Grumpy Grampy, Grammy Gabby, Chandler’s sister, Sister Mary Abigail, his mom and dad and his drunken Aunt Tilly (who is also a big ho). Zane’s conversation (and actions) don’t exactly endear him to those sitting around the dinner table (with the exception of Chandler who is right there with him).
The story starts at the dinner table but goes back in time with hilarious flashbacks by Chandler describing how the Pandemic Transviral Apocalypse of 2013 occurred. I’m not one for flashbacks in any type of story but the way these are done are hilarious. It has been a long time since I’ve highlighted on my Kindle as much as I did with this story.
To say the PTA came out of nowhere is an understatement. Apart from Charlie Sheen, everyone else was leading a fairly normal life up until that point in modern history.
Zane, the high school quarterback I had watched out of the corner of my eye between classes and had breathlessly fantasized about while alone–night after blissfully hot masturbating night–over the past three years. You know, the good old days before Grampy moved into my room.
Yep, just my luck to have officially fallen heels over head in love the very same night that a zombie apocalypse kicked off.
Totally f’in rude, right?
“What the F are you talking about, dude?” That was my normal bad mood response when trapped within the hallowed high school walls of Shawnee Hills High, where using your grown-up words was apparently still a no-no. Lesson learned after receiving two weeks of detention when my Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Venable, overheard me telling her to go fuck herself.
.. I felt I owed it to Zane to rescue him from whatever was going on. Even though he was now foaming at the mouth.
God, he even made that look sexy!
I quickly shook away any and all completely inappropriate thoughts about self-lubrication—so not the time, asshole!
I punched the gas pedal and gunned the engine–a macho choice of words, I know, but I was suddenly feeling so butch and brave that I heard myself shout, “Get away from my man, you bitches!”
If I hadn’t been terrified for my life, I’d have totally sprouted some serious wood over my newly discovered masculinity.
He looked so cute, I just wanted to chew him up. In a non-people-sushi-cannibalistic sort of way.
Zane Addison’s cock pulsed and throbbed before me, hard and huge and perfect, its veins thick, its head big and bulbous, its slit shimmering with precum.
Precum that was tinged with the slightest hint of greyish-green, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
I could go on but then there wouldn’t be room on this review for the other two stories. 🙂 The entire story kept me giggling from literally the very first paragraph until the last one. The whole world has either turned into cannibalistic zombies or is boarded up and hiding from them. Chandler finally, finally falls in love and Geez, the entire apocalypse thing had to happen that same night and the new love of his life becomes one of the undead (with a side effect being extreme horniness as the first paragraph suggests). Thankfully, and with a hell of a lot of laughs along the way, Chandler gets his man and they have their HFN ending (they are teenagers so I wasn’t exactly expecting a HEA). The secondary characters are a blast, from Chandler’s crazy family to his bestie and even the undead creatures.
An excellent story. I’ve read each of these authors separately before so I had an idea of what to expect. Any author who can keep me giggling is great in my book and in the case of Guess Who’s Coming At Dinner you get the talent of two. I will be reading everything these two authors have written, alone or collaboratively. That, I have no doubt.
Surviving Sin City by Ethan Stone and Daniel A. Kaine
Cooper is on holiday in Vegas from England. The trip was planned as a try to work things out type of trip with his boyfriend Ewan but that didn’t quite work out the way Cooper planned so he makes the trip alone. Not long after arriving everything goes to hell. The zombie apocalypse that he had predicted and prepared for back home was happening and where did it just happen to be happening? Right dab in the middle of Las Vegas where he just happened to be staying. And yes, Coop really did predict the downfall of civilization by zombies and he completely prepared for it but of course it happens when he’s in the states so all the preparations were for naught.
Kaleb Pierce has to make just one more pizza delivery before he can head home, clean up and go out to a club. His tips had been good that night so he has enough cash to go out and have a little fun. When he pulls up for that delivery, however, everything goes to hell. The person who ordered the pizza is an old friend. The old friend walks out as does his wife… his wife who is obviously very ill. The wife attacks her husband would have also attacked Kaleb had he not hauled ass out of there, dialing 911 on the way. It doesn’t take long before Kaleb discovers that people have been infected by something and this something has gotten to his mother. His brother is nowhere to be found so he sets out to find him. Thankfully he gets word back that he is fine for the time being so Kaleb sets his sights on survival. Along the way he meets an arrogant Brit, Cooper. Cooper makes it clear that he has no interest in having anything to do with the other man even if the other man knows more about the city than he does.
“Bloody Americans,” he muttered. “How can you be so ignorant?”
“Look, no offense, but I don’t care what you want to do, or what you think I should do. Like I said, come morning we’re going our separate ways. You do what you think is best, and I’ll do what I need to do.”
“No offense taken, arrogant prick,” Kaleb mumbled.
Cooper is an arrogant ass. He wants to be in control of everything and has no qualms leaving Kaleb behind. Unfortunately his arrogance puts him in a bad situation later and thankfully Kaleb rides to the rescue just in time.
“You didn’t have to help me,” he said, ” I would have been fine.”
Kaleb glowered at him.
“Yeah? Well, unlike you, I’m not completely heartless. Now, do you want a ride or not?”
A reluctant alliance is formed and they set out together. One, to get Cooper to an airport heading back to England to the jerk he left behind, and two, Kaleb must get to his brother who managed to get a text through to him detailing his own destination for survival. Along the way the two men must battle the undead, some of which actually have a little intelligence. These are the ones who are the hardest to kill but somehow Cooper and Kaleb find a way. And if they should happen to decide to have sex even though they don’t really like each other? It is the end of the world after all. *grin*
I really enjoyed this. Cooper comes across as the above-mentioned ass who must be in control at all times but in reality, he’s been knocked down one too many times by his ex and has zero self-esteem. The banter between him and Kaleb is hilarious. There is a bit more detail and gore in this story than the one before it but never was it to the point where I felt too squeamish, though I do admit to a few “Eww!” moments. There are also a few (hot) sexual situations that I felt were written very well. I love the way everything played out and was very pleased with the ending. I would love to see these guys revisited in a future story. A great read.
Ghoul’s Gym by Eric Arvin and TJ Klune
Uly and Jake have been together for a year. They just had a disagreement but they have a rule to never leave the other without saying goodbye. It’s a good thing too because a few hours later both their worlds fall apart.
Uly is a big muscle guy who works for a gym that’s used predominantly by gay men.
Uly’s a big fucker, muscles piled on top of muscles. Some people might think it’s gross how jacked he is, but not me. There’s something about the way his veins look so pronounced that gets my cock hard. The cut and defined lines of his arms and thighs. The massive chest. Everything about him is big. Every single part of him. Personality, body, mind. Everything.
Except for me.
Jake? Well, he’s tried everything imaginable but just can’t get any bigger. He’s a small guy and he feels inferior to Uly. Uly’s boss at the gym is a real bastard and he wants Uly to himself so he is quick to say that a man like Uly needs a man like him, Stephen Fucking Dorian.
He’s made it no secret how he thinks Uly would be better off sitting on his cock rather than mine. Stephen Fucking Dorian isn’t exactly an expert in subtlety.
“Oh look,” he says every time he sees me. “Here comes Uly’s princess. How is the sweet pea these days?”
So when Uly is asked to go into work two hours earlier than normal (by Stephen Fucking Dorian) Jake makes a decision. He will do whatever it takes to get the body that he feels he should have to be able to stand next to a man like Uly. He will make his man proud. But first, he has to call Dusty, the resident drug dealer.
It only rings once. He’s reliable, but then drug dealers usually are.
I don’t know what I expected the home of a drug dealer to look like, but I’m pretty sure I saw a tea set complete with a crocheted tea cozy sitting on the table in the kitchen we passed. Somehow, a big man like Dusty doesn’t scream tea cozy.
A visit to Dusty is made and as a result, things begin to spiral out of control for Jake. Uly is dealing with his own problems at the gym when some of the patrons start getting sick and start eating hurting other people.
I’m not going to go in to all the details of this story as it would give too much away. There is a diverse cast of secondary characters from the gym bunny muscle men to the “Alphabet Twinks”. There is quite a bit of gore in this story as compared to the other two in the anthology. Be prepared as parts are pretty graphic.
It’s no secret that Eric Arvin and TJ Klune are two of my favorites. I’ve read all of TJ’s and (including this one) ten of Eric’s. So of course the first thing I did when I started this was look for each author’s individual writing style. It didn’t take long to see the differences and to know who wrote what. However, everything flows so smoothly that someone not as familiar with the work of both authors would not know that it was not written by one person. The collaboration is done well and the writing is perfect.
I would never give the ending away but I will say to be prepared. This is supposed to be the first of a few stories so the story doesn’t end at THE END. Also, keep in mind that TJ Klune wrote half of this story and anyone who has ever read his stuff knows to expect to cry like a little girl at some point. He doesn’t disappoint in Ghoul’s Gym.
Overall, a great story. It’s creepy. It’s gory. It’s funny in some places. The reader is left to anxiously await the continuation and as always, I will one of the first to read it when it is released.
A huge thank you to my blog partner for sharing the equal rights zombie pic.
This anthology was provided by Wilde City Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.