Zoe E. Whitten


Writer of dark and weird fiction, amateur comedian, retired nymphomaniac.

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Smashwords book reviews by Zoe E. Whitten

  • Cupcake of Love on Aug. 08, 2010

    A slacker, an insane princess, a stalking fairy godmother, and a bakery. This pretty much sums everything in this funny tale without giving anything away. It's a short story, cute and quirky, and worth multiple reads. Highly recommended.
  • DEAD(ish) on Aug. 08, 2010

    Hysterically funny, and should come with a warning not to eat or drink anything while reading this book. A haunting story about a vengeful but artistic dead woman and her messed up but definitely wicked boyfriend. Linda even goes so far as to torment a PI into this mess, all for the task of finding her body. The answer was a bit of a shock, but fitting with the rest of this kooky and hilarious tale.
  • Save My Soul (Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy: Preternaturals Book 2) on March 18, 2011

    Save My Soul is the story of Anna, a woman who returns to her hometown for her father’s funeral and rediscovers her obsession with an old house. Only after she’s bought it and moved in does anyone clue her in that she’s got a supernatural roommate, Luc, (short for Lucien) an incubus with gorgeous looks and a killer appetite for sex. Luc has been trapped in the house for a long time, and since Anna isn’t interested in leaving, the demon wants her to help him escape by torching the house. And since Anna has been obsessed with the house since childhood, that’s not happening. Things become more complicated with the arrival of another incubus, Cain. Hoping to protect Anna from Cain, Luc performs blood magic on Anna that has far reaching consequences for both demon and human. More drama is added with the arrival of a witchy best friend and a harem of hookers. And that’s before the book kicks you in the gut with its metaphysical premise about Earth being in one of many temporal dimensions. There’s so much to like in this story. The characters are challenging and yet it’s still possible to relate to most everyone in the story. The pacing is fast, and the plot unfolds well without making any revelation feel jarring, even the surprise twists. The story builds to a tense conclusion, and then closes with a semisweet epilogue. Even the bit characters offered some nice character development in their tiny subplots, so this is a book that gives a lot for the short size. Since I enjoyed the book so much, I’m giving Save My Soul 4.5 stars and would recommend it to fans of fantasy, dark fantasy, romance, and urban fantasy. I’m going back to read Claimed and Mated, and I can’t wait for book 3 of this series to hit virtual book shelves soon.
  • The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating on March 31, 2011

    The Vampire Relationship Guide Volume 1 is subtitled Meeting and Mating, but probably should have been labeled UR Doing it Wrong. While the writing is engaging and the world building fascinating, the narrator’s stunning lack of perception drags down the second half of the novella. The ending is further hampered by a bad guy plot so hideous, it’s no wonder it failed. I’ve seen better criminal plots hatched by first graders for a cookie raid.(And the first graders didn’t get caught.) But let’s start with what works, and why it works. We’re introduced to Josie, a bridal shop worker who has an obsession with meeting and bedding a vampire. She’s offered the chance to attend a party of a well to do vampire named Gregory, and so dressing up fancy, she head out to hook up. Josie and Gregory meet and hit it off well, and as Josie leaves she meets another vampire, and that meeting doesn’t go so well. These introductions work well for me, and I initially loved Josie’s random strange questions or comments. I also liked the little glimpses into the background of this world’s vampires. They have a good mix of familiar tropes as well as some new ideas to help keep the monster fresh and interesting to learn about. The second vampire Josie met at the party introduces himself the next day as Walker, and then proceeds to act like a jerk over, and over, and over. And yet, “there’s something about him” that Josie can’t help but like. Oy. I had a similar problem with the characters in Amanda Hocking’s Switched, and for the exact same reason. Nothing in the dialogue or the character’s actions hints at physical or emotional attraction, and yet the narrator tells me over and over how very hot the vampire is, and therefore, that overcomes their absolutely boorish behavior. Aaprently female heroines are so lonely that the first guy to look at them is worth jumping, even if the look they’re getting is a scowl of contempt. This kind of “attraction” makes Josie look so desperate for a approval that even when both guys are treating her like crap, she sticks around. Hey, at least it’s attention, right. Bleh, this is not a good quality when combined with her other bad traits. The story moves to a big conflict for the final chapters, and when the bad guy steps out to reveal his plans, I wanted to weep with baby Jesus. The plan is poorly thought out, and the reasons that the bad guy chose Josie make no sense. So, this leaves me in a bit of a pickle. Here we have a story with solid writing, many charming moments of wit, and with vampires who are a combination of familiar and new aspects that make the world building intensely interesting. But Josie’s method of world building is asking hick questions that aren’t even appropriate as fifth date material, much less the first. If Josie and I were on a date, I would expect her to say “So...you used to have a dick, huh?” That’s exactly how tacky she is in broaching vampire topics. And while the world Josie lives in is fascinating, once we get to that first set of dates, Josie reveals why she’s still single as she nears her thirties. She’s a goober who likes the taste of her own shoes. She has to, because she keeps opening wide to shove both shoes inside. The vampires have an interesting background, and this is a world where vampires are out in society, something you don’t see often. It’s a unique enough view that if you can overlook Josie being a hick, the book isn’t bad. But even being a hick myself, I was frequently face palming at how tacky she was. Think of this as a brief road trip with someone you sometimes wish you could sex up, only to wish you could drown her voice out with the radio a few minutes later. I’m going to give The Vampire Relationship Guide Volume 1: Meeting and Mating 3 stars and recommend it to fans of vampire humor and urban fantasy series like the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. And being charitable, Josie didn’t rub me the wrong way nearly as badly as Sookie, or as Wendy from Switched. I was able to make it through Josie’s book, while I dropped Switched and Dead Until Dark early on. So call that a tepid endorsement of Josie as being the least cloying of the three.
  • Frankie & Formaldehyde on Aug. 31, 2011

    Frankie and Formaldehyde is a strong story right from the start, and it just keeps building on those strengths as the plot unfolds. Take a zombie nursing home similar to the kind depicted in Michele Lee's Rot. But instead of magic animating these undead, a corporation, Osmosis, Inc. has created a compound to bring the dead back to life. But unlike most zombie apocalypse stories, Osmosis does not entirely lose control of the situation, and the undead are herded into arenas and fed. Afterward, the company is even selling the compound to grieving family members using predatory ad campaigns to prey on peoples' inability to accept death. Enter into this cold world an elderly woman named Frankie, who, along with coworkers Shirley and Larry, shovels rotting meat to the corpses in one of the arenas. She works constantly because Osmosis has taken over her bank and swindled her on her home loan. Did I mention that Frankie's husband is a zombie? George isn't like the others, and instead of being a violent "rogue" he passes most of his days watching TV and eating bacon raw. But when Frankie leaves her door unlocked in a fit of worrying, George gets outside and begins to uncover a plot by Osmosis to strip everyone's land. Only…George seems to have discovered this before, back when he was alive… Enter into this mess a S.I.R. investigating office, Chuck. A retired cop now working to investigate and eliminate rogues, Chuck is rightly seen by everyone as the corporate errand boy of Osmosis. Like Frankie, Chuck is in denial about how bad things have gotten, but as the story unfolds, Chuck sees how scummy Osmosis really is. Eventually, he must come to terms with this, but not before confronting George and Frankie in a truly explosive finale. But, this is not a fast-paced story. The cast's ages range from 40-70 in most cases, so the pace moves a bit slower, befitting the cast's age. But this is not to say the story is slow or dull. It unfolds at just the right pace and delivers a great ending. There's resolution, but Shirley predicts that there can be no happy ending. And this is perhaps the most realistic assessment of their future. So to recap, this is a great story premise, a great cast of quirky characters, fantastic dialogue, and a romantic angle that's all about love and sacrifice and nothing about sex. The scenes were descriptive enough to rip shudders from my jaded black heart, and toward the end, I was giggling gleefully with every line from Shirley or Larry. Can I gush about this story further? Yes, but I'll spare you. I give Frankie and Formaldehyde 5 enthusiastic stars and recommend it to all zombie and horror fans who like a little brains with their blood and guts.