ARC Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Shallow Graves by Kali WallaceAuthor: Kali Wallace
Genre: Young adult, paranormal, horror
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
368 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for letting me read this!

I needed a few days after I finished this one to fully process my thoughts on it. The concept and the magic caught my attention right away, but Shallow Graves was not really what I was expecting. I didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters, even though I did think that Breezy’s situation was intriguing. But honestly, that might be the only thing I liked about her. She was just…okay. Being dead was the best thing she had going for her.

But I finished the book. I think it’s for 2 reasons. 1. Kali Wallace’s writing is easy to read, flows well, and was pretty straightforward, and 2. The beginning was SO good and I wanted to know the end. So that’s a good thing – I was interested enough in the characters and the magic to see it through to the end. I mean, the first line is “The first time I killed a man it was an accident.” And you’re immediately drawn into this story. The first bit of the book is really cool and you’re trying to figure out what happened to Breezy and what’s going to happen to her. But the middle part? I just got a bit bored. There’s eventually a conflict and she finds something to fight for, but I almost don’t understand why. No spoilers or anything but I don’t get why she had to get involved to the extent she did.

And as much as I liked the end – the end was COOL – I didn’t really feel satisfied with the answers we were given, which weren’t many.

The bottom line: Super cool concept, good writing, but overall, not a satisfying story for me. I liked it enough to continue to the end, but I feel like there’s a little something lacking here.

Rating: 5 – Take it or leave it

Waiting on Wednesday: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Shallow Graves by Kali WallacePublisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Author: Kali Wallace

Release date: January 26, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads: For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

Why I’m excited: This is the perfect one to be looking forward to during the week of Halloween, isn’t it? We really need more awesome zombie books, and this one sounds perfect. Plus – cults, monstrous humans, revenge, and something for fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma? Count me in. I’m a sucker for a good book about how horrible people can be. If that makes me weird, so be it. Bring on the creep factor.

Z Resurrected The Zombie Blog Tour [Interview with Dana Fredsti & Giveaway]

Banner 1 - Corrected

Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for a new zombie anthology Z Resurrected! This anthology is cool because it takes characters from the authors’ previous zombie books sometime after the books were set for an all new story! We’ve got 6 authors, 6 stops with author interviews or excerpts, and a bunch of zombie books to give away! Today I’m hosting Dana Fredsti, author of the Ashley Parker series, for an interview!


Describe yourself in 6 words: 

Sword-slinging crazy cat lady wino.

Describe the book the story was based on in 6 words:

Buffy Meets the Walking Dead

How long after the book is your short story set? 

With the aid of flashbacks, part of it is set during the same period as Plague World, the third book in the series, and the rest a few days after the end of the same book.

What was it like to revisit the characters from your books?

I really enjoyed the chance to dive back into Ashley’s world. JT is one of my favorite characters in the series and there were scenes I wanted to write for the original trilogy that just didn’t fit the overall story arc (or the word count), so I was delighted to have a chance to tell one of those stories and get back into the heads of Ash, JT and Griff.

Are you ever frightened by the things you write? Do they keep you up at night?

Nope.  The sort of things that keep me up at night are more along the lines of not being able to pay rent, afford cat food, losing a family member to cancer… stuff like that.  Very little horror actually scares me any more, although I occasionally creep myself out.  More normal for me is writing something really disturbing (like the scenes with Jake) and giggling.  My husband worries about me.

What’s your favorite zombie movie/book?

Favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead (original) followed closely by Shaun of the Dead and The Dead. Favorite book would be Dead City by Joe McKinney, which was the first really good zombie novel to come out back before zombies were the new darling of the monster world, and the Book of the Dead anthologies edited by John Skipp and Craig Specter. My favorite series (giving you way more info than you asked for, I know…) are the Benny Imura YA books by Jonathan Maberry. I could really go on and on as far as books…

How about your favorite “bad” movie/book (your bio says you’re addicted to bad movies)?

Favorite bad movie as far as zombie movies… it’s a bad/good movie called Zombi by Lucio Fulci.  It’s got some incredibly bad acting/writing/camerawork, but it also has some of the most iconic and unforgettable shots and images out there.  I also love City of the Living Dead (another Fulci movie).  Favorite bad NON zombie movie?  Oooh, it’s a toss-up between The Room and Troll Two. 

Tell us about Ash Parker (for new readers, she’s the heroine in the Plague Town series).

At the start of the series, Ash is a 29 year old who’s been dumped by her college professor husband for one of his 19 year-old students. She decides to go back to college, and is trying to fit in with a younger crowd when the zombocalypse starts. She’s bitten, but instead of dying, she survives and becomes a wild card.  Wild cards are a very small percentage of the population who, if they survive the initial attack, are not only immune to the zombie virus, but also have enhanced senses and physical skills.  This makes them uniquely qualified to be in the front lines of the fight to save humanity. 

What’s your favorite part of writing about zombies?

There really is no downside. The whole experience is fun.  I’ve been a fan of the zombie genre since I saw the original Dawn of the Dead and its predecessor, Night of the Living Dead (before zombies were cool, thank you very much!). So writing about my favorite monster is like full time play time. 

What would your role be in the zombie apocalypse?

Hopefully a survivor.  Heh. I was on a panel with a fellow author, Mark Allan Gunnells, and he was asked the same question. His answer was “I’d be the guy who’s been bitten and hides it and then dies and turns inside the safe house.”  Our nickname for him is “BiteMark.”  


Dana FredstiDana Fredsti is an ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical combat (a skill she utilized in Army of Darkness as a sword-fighting Deadite and fight captain). Through seven plus years of volunteering at Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center, Dana’s had a full-grown leopard sit on her feet, kissed by tigers, held baby jaguars and had her thumb sucked by an ocelot with nursing issues. Her other hobbies include surfing (badly), collecting beach glass (obsessively), and wine tasting (happily).She’s addicted to bad movies and any book or film, good or bad, which include zombies.

She is the author of the Ashley Parker series, touted as Buffy meets the Walking Dead, as well as what might be the first example of zombie noir, A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat, first published in Mondo Zombie edited by John Skipp, and more recently published as an eBook by Titan books. She also wrote the cozy noir mystery Murder for Hire: the Peruvian Pigeon, and is the co-author of What Women Really Want in Bed. She guest blogs frequently and has made numerous podcast and radio appearances. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and fellow author David Fitzgerald, their dog Pogeen, and a small horde of felines.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Amazon


zres_final_ebookTitle: Z Resurrected

Authors: Dana Fredsti, Tom Leveen, Joe McKinney, Eric A. Shelman, Mark Tufo, & T.M. Williams

Genre: Short Stories, Anthology, Horror, Zombies

Publication: Half Light Publishing; October 14, 2015

In this anthology, six horror authors revisit some of their most infamous zombie characters, resurrecting the undead. Contributing authors to Z Resurrected are some of horror’s best, who have each carved a distinct path in the world of zombies: Dana Fredsti, Tom Leveen, Joe McKinney, Eric A. Shelman, Mark Tufo, and T.M. Williams.

Find Out More:
Goodreads | Amazon


zombie gif

Dana is giving away a set of her Ashley Parker series paperbacks and you’ll also get a paperback copy of Z Resurrected. US only. Ends 11/5.

Giveaway Enter

Check out the other tour stops!

Tom Leveen
Host: Tika @ Fangirl Confessions

Joe McKinney
Host: Ashley @ Books Blogging Beauty

Eric A. Shelman
Host: Emily @ Emily Reads Everything

Mark Tufo
Host: Nicole @ Boundless Bookaholic

T.M. Williams
Host: Bex @ Aurelia {lit}{geek}{chic}