When you think about zombies, you most likely visualize an animated brain eating corpse. This book highlights a very different kind of zombie, probably more frightening than any zombie we know, a zombie capable of intelligence and able to think and learn.Half Past Dead is really two stories. The first, Half Past Dead is the prequel to Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose series. The second story Simon Says is by Bianca D’Arc. Half Past Dead 2/5 starsHalf Past Dead is a historical romance. It sets up the Blades of the Rose series, introducing the reader to some of the characters and themes of that series. It is not necessary to read this short novella in order to enjoy the Blades of the Rose series; it serves as a companion story. In this book Cassandra is on her first solo mission for the Blades. She bumps into childhood friend Sam who appears to be shadowing the same person. Sam is very different from her childhood days. When Sam is attacked, he does not bleed and he heals very quickly. At this point, I am sure that you are thinking vampire, I know I was. But no, Sam is a kind of zombie, not the brain eating kind, but kind of like a vampire that does not require blood. More on that later.There is a lot of action and excitement. A lot of running, sword fights, getting chased by angry townspeople, interspersed with generous sex breaks. Apparently Sam’s kind of zombie can have sex and no body parts fall off. The story was ho-hum for me. I did like the introduction of Blade members Honoria Graves and Achilles Voisin . Nice touch, adding vodou as an explanation for zombies. It fell flat for me because the sex breaks seemed unrealistic. I am not sure if I would have continued with the series had I started with this book.Simon Says 2.5/5 starsSimon Says is a different take on zombies. Our hero Simon was bitten by zombies while on a military mission. Instead of turning into the walking dead, Simon develops an immunity to the zombie contagion and becomes a covert zombie hunter.The zombies in this book are the result of a military experiment gone bad. These zombies were well trained marines and they were intelligent and capable of planning and learning. They stay out of the sunlight, but come out on cloudy or rainy days. (No, they do not sparkle). While hunting zombies near a military base, Simon is injured and brought to Mariana, the base doctor. Simon and Mariana once had a relationship. She cares for him and notices his incredibly fast healing. He swears her to secrecy. Their romance is rekindled. Once again, a lot of sex breaks while hiding out from zombies. Unfortunately, this felt like more of the same to me. Perhaps if both stories were not in the same book, I would have appreciated the stories more.