Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays!

As you can tell, I haven't been posting this month. I've been dealing with a medical issue. I've decided not to stress about blogging for the rest of the year. I will be back going full tilt boogie in January of 2012.

See you then.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Think Fast Die Last Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Two couples, both needing to disappear for the night, arrive at a secluded forest retreat, just before a storm hits.
It’s a double booking - or so one of them claims.
Cut off from the world, the couples are stuck with each other.
But trouble soon finds them.
Armed men descend upon the retreat at midnight and shoot their way inside.
But which two people have they come for? 
The problem goes deeper than the couples could ever have imagined.
They are forced to put their differences aside in a struggle to make it to daylight, while dangerous secrets begin to surface.

Buy Think Fast Die Last

Friday, November 25, 2011

Norse Code

Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout is a weird little book. If you don't know anything about Norse mythology you might not understand some of what is going on. If Norse gods are part of your spiritual practise you might not be happy with how they are characterized.

NorseCODE is a DNA company run by Valkyrie. It's purpose is to find the human progenyof Odin and turn them into warriors for the final battle of Ragnarok. Anyone who does not agree to be a warrior is killed. No explanation as to why.

A Valkyrie, with the unbelievable name of Mist, wants to free her sister from Hel's realm. To do this she tracks down the only being ever to return alive: the god Hermod. For his part, Hermod is having a bad day. He may have just released the wolves that eat the sun and the moon which leads to the destruction of Earth (and everything else.)

This book is part urban fantasy, part science fiction and part mystery. I'm not sure the combination was entirely successful. It has got some very funny moments in it. While I liked the book I thought it tried a little too hard sometimes. Maybe it's just that I thought Ragnarok would have had a lot more going on.
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Murder Melts In Your Mouth

Over the top is the first phrase that comes to mind when I think about Murder Melts in Your Mouth. There are just too many "wacky" people in Nora Blackbird's life to be believed. More time is spent on the exploits of the people around Nora than on the mystery. I guess all the "colorful" people make the world of the Blackbird sisters more fully developed but after a while it's just noise.

I can't say I have that much sympathy or faith in Nora. Getting kidnapped twice in the same novel is overkill. Especially when the second time is by the person you suspect is the killer. I'm sure a lot of things in this book went over my head. I don't know anything about débutantes. Nor do I care. I also don't know anything about fashion. Nor do I want to.  There may have been cool or funny things about both those subjects  in this book but they were probably lost on me.

The murder at the center (?!) of this book is relatively simple. There are a few red herrings, everyone has a reason to hate the victim,  but there's really only one person who could have done it. The red herrings each bring to light different motives for the killing ad raise a lot of issues but in the end none of them had anything to do with it.

The book was okay. Some parts were even amusing. I'm wondering about the title. There's a chocolate festival going on but the murder doesn't happen there and has no connection to it. There's only one scene at the festival and a cameo appearance by a chef later in the book. The victim's son has a chocolate company in need of money but that's only touched on briefly - and the fix for that is unbelievable. While I was reading I kept wondering if all the chocolate was thrown out. Or if someone ate it all before I got there.

The title could refer to the heatwave taking place but THAT would be boring.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boss Bitch Swag Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

Meesha Clark, a gorgeous young wife, mother, and budding fashion designer, is forced to ask herself that very question when what she thought would be a routine prenatal checkup turns out to be anything but routine... Meesha meets the man she wants to devote her entire life to while she's still in high school. Falling in love with Boss, though, is the easy part; staying in love will prove to be a much harder task.  

When Meesha discovers that her heart's desire is not only a well-connected gangster, but is also next in line to head the mob that controls the entire city of St. Louis, she must make the most difficult decision of her entire young life. When she decides to stand by her man, it becomes painfully clear that, even though she's the only woman in his heart, she's not the only woman in his bed...  

Malcolm "Boss" Clark knows better than to fall for a girl almost ten years younger than him. He's a man, and Meesha is just a girl, but there's something about her that won't let Boss walk away. Their relationship moves fast and burns hot, much like the city they call home. In the blink of an eye, they find themselves dangerously in love with two small daughters and their first son on the way. The love soon turns to hate, though, when Meesha's doctor breaks the news to her that she's HIV-positive. Certain that Boss contracted the virus from one of his numerous affairs, an emotionally distraught Meesha locks herself in a bathroom with her husband, then proceeds to point his own gun in his face and demand answers - but will the truth set her free, or just keep her bound...? 

Buy Boss Bitch Swag

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time of Death

Time of Death is a collection of three Eve Dallas novellas by J. D. Robb. Each of them have appeared in other forms but this book is the first time all three of them have been put together. There's no real connecting theme to these stories. There's a death and Dallas solves it. Business as usual.

Eternity In Death features a rich, young airhead who is convinced by a madman that he can give her eternal youth. Think of it as Eve Dallas, Vampire Slayer. Complete with stake. You get what you'd expect: lots of fang jokes and garlic.

Ritual In Death Eve can't even go to a party without a naked man, covered in blood crashing the party. The question is who turned one of Roarke's high priced hotel suites into a Satanic ritual space complete with human sacrifice?

Missing In Death This one's new. It might be the first time that Dallas has to deal with a murder and no body. The answer to how the killer got off a ferry with a dead body might be the lamest piece of writing ever but until that point it's a pretty good puzzle.

These three stories are quick read. I finished them in a couple of hours and was left wanting more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In The Beginning Trailer

Book Description from Amazon:
As if the world didn't have enough problems of its own, heaven and hell are gathering for the biggest battle of all---a 'forced' apocalypse started by none other than Morning Star himself. With an insane plan to prove that God isn't perfect, he enlists the help of a very jaded archangel, Michael, to help him with his scheme. Along for the ride are Apollyon, Lilith, and their legion of Destroyers--the children of the Watchers--and cataclysmic worldly events quickly unfurl as one lone city cop discovers he plays a pivotal role in how this 'apocalypse' will end.

Buy In the Beginning

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Press Release: Root

Guardian Teen Books has partnered with Random House for a new interactive, serialised story called Root - a fast-paced thriller set in the shadowy world of computer hacking and espionage. Every weekday for six weeks a new chapter will be released on The content will be directly influenced by readers’ contributions, such as their ideas for characters' personalities and skills.

The heroine Molly Root is a 15 year old computer genius whose friend Danny is killed after being caught stealing priceless data from a ruthless global corporation. Now she's in over her head. So far Molly Root's mission to get to the bottom of her best friend's murder has taken her on a perilous trail across London. Her key lead is a dodgy police detective - and her attempts to expose his shady contacts are testing her ingenuity to the limits.

As well as incorporating suggestions from readers, the story will also be brought to life via several social media platforms. For example, Guardian Teen Books' Twitter and Facebook accounts will be providing behind the scenes updates of how Molly is progressing, along with clips on Audioboo featuring the voicemails that Molly has discovered. This will be accompanied by onsite quizzes and photo puzzles on Flickr.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Farsighted Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.  
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival--an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

Buy Farsighted

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Man's Treasure

I must respectfully disagree with the reviews printed on the back cover of Another Man's Treasure by James V. O'Connor. I did not find it "a delightful, engaging, fast-paced read." The book has 86 chapters. Things should happen fairly regularly if you're going to stretch it out that long. After introducing the "mystery" nothing really happens until around chapter 50. Another reviewer found herself "rooting for characters." She doesn't say which ones? Ted McCormick, the main character, is a man so focused on how good he is that he doesn't notice that his wife, Mary, constantly makes comments about his lack of income. She might as well have been asking, "Why is your organ so small?" Poor old Ted is so busy NOT screwing around on his wife he doesn't see what's going on under his nose.

Ted works as a personal organizer. He used to be a stock broker but he did something awful and had to leave Chicago for Albany. We're told Ted did something bad a few times but it isn't revealed until late in the book. When the big secret is spilled I just said, "Is that all? A stock broker who got greedy. How clichéd." That Ted feels really bad about getting greedy and losing a lot of money is sort of different but he's such a boring man I didn't care.

 Through most of the book Ted prides himself for resisting the advances of his client, Janet. She knows he's married but hits on him anyway. She has a psycho ex who is stalking her. Toward the end of the book, Ted confronts him. The ex makes a comment totally out of character by saying that Janet is the real treasure. Or something stupid like that. This is a guy who talks his kid into spying on his ex. A guy who stalks his ex, threatens any man who gets close to her and even tries to run Ted down. Nowhere in the book does he exhibit anything bigger than the basic Neanderthal brain. His final comment is VERY out of character. 

Everything about this book is predictable. The "Other Man" man of the title is a client who "knows" that his father left a treasure hidden in his home and hires Ted to find it. He's not a nice man and I would have walked away rather than work with him breathing down my neck but then there wouldn't have been any book...

The only thing remotely interesting about this book is the identity of and the story behind the house's ghosts. And that storyline only lasts a little while.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Outer Darkness Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

What would you do if your family was targeted for destruction by a violent Satanic cult? That's the position that Jim DiMario finds himself in - but has he found out too late? Jim feels the comfortable predictability of his day-to-day routine begin to unravel when he investigates a series of bizarre animal mutilations that have recently occurred in his normally quiet, upscale community. Seemingly by chance, he meets two strangers in his quest for the truth - a sheriff's deputy, and a TV news reporter, each of whom have their own reasons to investigate the grisly deeds. Jim soon finds himself hip deep in trouble when adverse events start happening to his friends and family. His world spinning desperately out of control, Jim finally discovers that he, his family, and his church are the focus of a dangerous Satanic cult - the shadowy Temple of Anubis, who's activities and true intentions are much more sinister than mere animal mutilations. With time ticking away just before Samhain, the most unholy night for the occultists, Jim and his new-found allies face an all-or-nothing gamble to save his daughter's life from the hands of the Satanists who have abducted her. Will he realize too late that his worst enemy is a member of his own inner circle?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Indulgence In Death

Indulgence in Death is the 31st Eve Dallas book by J. D. Robb. Two bored, wealthy young men begin a "killing game" and it's up to Dallas to make sure each of them loses.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, you might be thinking of the famous real life duo of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. In the early 20th century, two wealthy men from Chicago killed a young boy just to find out what it would be like to murder someone. Indulgence In Death takes the same idea a turns it into a game.

My one gripe with this novel is that Dallas "knows" whodunnit as soon as she meets the young men. There's no question in her mind. She doesn't like them so they did it. There's no detecting needed. The whole book is about proving they did it. It becomes a straightforward police procedural. There's nothing wrong with police procedurals but I expect more from a Dallas novel.

Along with not having a mystery, there's not a lot of the usual interaction between different characters in Eve's life. There's not even that much crazy, hot sex between Eve and Roarke. And that's a damn shame.

A Miscellany of Murder

A Miscellany of Murder: From History and Literature to True Crime and Television, a Killer Selection of Trivia, by The Monday Murder Club, is a rather long winded and pretentious title for a decidedly light weight non-fiction book. Having said that, I will admit that some of the tidbits in the book are interesting. It's just the little things that bug me. As always.

Is it just me or has there been a decline in the quality of work done by editors/proof readers/fact checkers? One of the most glaring mistakes in this book is that it lists the name of Sue Grafton's female detective as “Insey Millhone.” Anyone who has read any of the Alphabet books knows her name is Kinsey. It's a stupid mistake that should have been caught.

The other big problem I have with this book is that they present all kinds of “facts” without stating the sources. There's no bibliography or end notes. Take the following list as an example.
 Women commit:
  • 30 percent of murders within a family
  • 34 percent of intimate-partner killings
  • 48 percent of infanticides
  • 15 percent of murders of the elderly
It's a very interesting list but there's no word on where they got it. Magic 8 ball? Ouija board? We just don't know. Sloppy.

I should tell you that “murder” in this book is divided into seven categories based on the Seven Deadly Sins. This leads the editors to stuff some slightly square pegs into their preconceived round holes. It also leads them into writing some stupid stuff:

Stumped by Perry Mason 
Would you believe that America's favorite lawyer of all time, Perry Mason, never cracked any of his cases? Well... sort of, Raymond Burr, who played Perry Mason in the enormously successful TV series from 1957-1966 in some 271 episodes and then again from 1985-1993, said that he never managed to solve any of the cases until he'd read them all through. In fact, he admitted further that he'd often been puzzled about who committed the murder even after shooting the script. Sounds like The Case of the Slothful Thespian.

So what's wrong with that? To start off there's no citation for what Mr. Burr supposedly said. It is almost certainly taken out of context. Let's just forget the fact that Burr filmed an average of 28 episodes a season - as opposed to the 22 that seems to be the average these days. Let's forget the fact that TV shows and movie scripts are usually shot out of order. It's not unlikely that he wasn't always sure of what happened. Especially if they shot the final scene first. It happens. Because of the complicated script, The Usual Suspects actor, Gabriel Byrne, thought he was Keyser Söze.

My final point is that it's a good thing you can't slander the dead. In my opinion, it sounds to me like The Case of the Slothful Writers Trying to be Funny and Just Sounding Bitchy.

So those are my little nitpicks about this book. It's not a total waste of time. If you're looking for some suggestions of movies to see or books to read then this book will give you something some pointers. Just don't expect to get much else to chew on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Zombie Cookbook Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
  • Intro to this anthology by members of the metal band, The Zombie Cookbook.
  • Interior art by George Silliman
  • Wokking Dead By Karina L. Fabian
  • It’s war and love when zombies invade a Korean restaurant.
  • Secret Ingredient by Lisa Haselton
  • There’s a zombie in the kitchen! That may be the case, but when spaghetti-eating zombie Clete takes a job as the assistant chef at the L-Double-J ranch, he’s not the one you need to work out for. It’s a tale of catering and culinary revenge. Would you have added the secret ingredient?
  • A Zombie Named Clete By Lisa Haselton
  • A little poem in honor of the twice-deceased Clete. Was this on his tombstone, or did he carry a copy in his pocket?
  • Beer-Battered Zombie with Butternut Squash By Becca Butcher
  • What’s a cookbook without a recipe? Not for the faint of stomach, though with a few substitutions, it might actually make a good meal. (Not everyone’s a fan of squash, after all.)
  • The Right Recipe By Lin Neiswender
  • Zombie culinary aficionados had better watch out! The zombies are not pleased to be eaten, as the editor of the Zombie Cookbookery Publications discovers in this tale of turnabout-is-fair-play.
  • Quick & Easy Zombie Pastie by Kate Sender
  • A no frills, 4-ingredient full course meal will satisfy both your Zombie’s cravings and nutritional needs.
  • Express Cuisine by Dawn Marshallsay
  • Zombie attack on a speeding train--is there really any escape? Fight, hide, jump--none of it can stop you from becoming...Express Cuisine.
  • Brain Food By Carla Girtman
  • Ah, domestic zombie bliss! It’s the Undead Cleavers mixed in with a little Arsenic and Old Lace. Can’t tell you much about this story except that the ending will surprise you as much as it did Thelma!
  • Brain Salad for Dummies by Scott Virtes
  • The practical guide for that zombie invasion. Your own little zombie poison recipe, combined with practical advice. As Scott says--Follow his advice and you might get enough sleep at night to stay two steps ahead.
  • A Zombie’s APB By Cinsearae Santiago
  • A zombie decides to give a ‘Hear ye, hear ye!’ to the human race after getting fed up with the lack of ‘good food’ these days.
  • My Big Fat Zombie Wedding by Karina Fabian 
  • So what if he’s undead? That won’t not keep Vida from marrying her true love--and neither will challenges from prejudice to unusual dietary needs stop the wedding of the decade!

Buy The Zombie Cookbook

Friday, October 21, 2011

Claim of Innocence

Claim of Innocence by Laura Caldwell is an okay mystery. Izzy McNeil is a moderately interesting character. Another reviewer called her "plucky" I'm not even sure what that means these days. I find Izzy's family more interesting. Her back from the dead former spook/operative/whatever dad is a bit of a cliche but he's a nice contrast to the many bland people in Izzy's life.


 I'm sorry to say that I do not like the Izzy's client, Valerie Solara, at all. The whole did she or didn't she kill her best friend got boring fast. Solara is over dramatic. Dropping little bombs, like the fact that her father was executed for killing someone, while hiding something at the same time.

Here are some other things that annoyed me:

  1. The verdict in the case ridiculous. I really can't think of any logical reason they didn't find her guilty.
  2. The child molester storyline wasn't built up properly. It was just suddenly there, tacked on towards the end of the story.
  3. Neither the victim or the accused were sympathetic. They both made a bad decision to take the law into their own hands and then didn't take simple precautions to see that things didn't go pear shaped.
  4. The other sub-plot with Maggie and her grandfather was totally unnecessary. It didn't add anything important to the story. Other than continuing the theme of fathers and/or father figures. It was a distraction.
  5. Multiple and confusing case changes. If this is a new trend I don't like it. I like to get one, maybe two, voices in one novel. Not four or five. Unless you're writing a riff on Rashomon - which I think would be pretty hard to do well.
I wanted to like this book. I'd read good things about Laura Caldwell and the other Izzy books. It's an okay book. I'd give it a 6 out of 10. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mercy: The Last New England Vampire Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Fourteen-year-old Haley is struggling to cope with her stepmom and baby brother, with her beloved cousin's terminal illness, and with dropping grades at school. When she digs deep into her family history for a school project, she uncovers a disturbing New England tradition and a ghostly past. Haley must overcome her doubts and confront a vampire in order to save herself and her family.  
Buy Mercy: The Last New England Vampire 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sleeper's Run

Sleeper's Run by Henry Mosquera is your typical political thriller. The main character, Eric Caine, is a War on Terror vet with martial arts and computer skills. There doesn't seem to be anything he can't do. Except see a set up when he's getting into it.

At the beginning of the book Caine is in a hospital after being found wandering the streets speaking Arabic. He had been reported missing a week before. Mosquera makes a point of mentioning that Caine is speaking Arabic and then never mentions it again. I found myself hoping that the trouble Caine found himself in was created by terrorists who made it look like he was set up by his own government. That would have been a more interesting story.

I also wondered where Caine's sense of paranoia went when all of a sudden a stranger is bailing him out and getting him an interview for a job the stranger had no way of knowing he had the skill set for. Doing "computer stuff" could mean a lot of things. I re-read the beginning of the book and Caine's computer abilities are never explained other than to say that they're out of date. He should have known something was up. At the very least he should have done some digging to find out who is new friend was. It's not paranoia if they are out to get you.

Then again, if he had, that would have been the end of the book.

Sleeper's Run isn't a bad book. If you can overlook a couple of hanging elements, or the fact that the book really needed another round with a proof reader or editor -- there are case changes in different parts of the book and some modifiers didn't get changed with them -- you'll enjoy this book. After all, political thrillers do require a little suspension of belief. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Promissory Payback and Unrevealed

Promissory Payback by Laurel Dewey is a novella featuring Denver Homicide Detective Jane Perry. Dewey has three Perry novels out. I'm not really sure where this novella sits in the timeline. This story can be enjoyed without having read the previous ones.

Jane Perry is a deeply flawed character. Foremost is the fact that she is a recovering alcoholic. She's a lone wolf who isn't always comfortable dealing with the "people" part of her job. She reminds me of Carol O'Connell's Katherine Mallory and J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas. Perry is prickly and quirky and completely interesting to follow.

Perry is called to the home of Carolyn Handel. The elderly woman is found tied up on her bed with tape covering her mouth and nose. It's soon obvious that the killer sat and watched her as she suffocated. It turns out that Carolyn was a bitch and thought nothing of cheating people out of their money to finance her lavish lifestyle. There's no shortage of people who wanted to hurt her.

My one warning is that if you read Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and hated the ending you might be unsatisfied with the ending of this novella.

Unrevealed contains four Jane Perry short stories. My favorite is entitled Things Aren't Always What They Seem. Perry walks into a bar just after leaving a horrendous crime scene and runs into a woman from her AA group. The ending was a surprise. I don't think I was expecting something so dark.

You're Only As Sick As Your Secrets had me expecting something really out there but the secrets are rather tame. Nothing that hasn't been covered on CSI. Still, I liked the way Perry handled the "suspect". It shows that she has a softer side that understands people wanting to start over.

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover has Perry doing a presentation at a local high school. She meets a "problem" student who seems to be able to read her mind. Something about the boy's random outbursts clicks for Perry and she become suspicious that something awful has happened at the boy's foster home.

Anonymous takes place during Perry's brief stint as a private investigator. A woman from her AA group asks her to find her sister who died on 9/11. If you think that sounds weird, it gets much weirder and more complicated.

Both of these publications provide a quick introduction to Jane Perry. I'm looking forward to reading the novels Dewey has written. Perry is a character I want to see more of.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Accountable To None Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Glorious revenge, the dish known as best served cold. Audra Tanner has waited for five years to invite her unwitting guests to her feast of just desserts and now her dinner party approaches. 

Audra was a brilliant CPA that for years, worked the grueling hours her job demanded as she made her way from lowly grunt auditor to a minority partner at a prestigious accounting firm located in the southwest. Her dedication took a tremendous toll on her not only mentally, but physically as well, and culminated the night that she met with the sadistic managing partner, Olin Kemper, to discuss her promotion to equity partner. That night, Audra learned that to become part of the ‘elite’ at Winscott & Associates required much more than she was willing to give. Unfortunately, that knowledge came too late and partnership was granted as a reward for her silence after her violent beating and rape. 

Five years later, Audra is now an entirely different creature at work, a shell of her former self that wears the guise of partner during the day yet retreats at night to her hidden self as she plots her revenge on not only her rapist, but all those in power at the firm who knew what Olin had done to her, yet did nothing to stop him, as they were immersed in their own corrupt behaviors. Now head of the IT department and a self-taught hacker, Audra has spent the last five years perusing the firm’s computers, searching and digging through the mounds of encrypted words for anything that she can use to allow her the opportunity to exact revenge on all those responsible for her pain. 
Buy Accountable to None

Friday, October 7, 2011


I found Nightshade on a shelf in my local library. I probably wouldn't have picked it up if it hadn't been written by Laurell K. Hamilton. Star Trek books are a guilty pleasure. I usually take one into a hot bubble bath and finish it before I get out. Let's face it, they are not going to tax your brain matter.

I was disappointed by this book. If there is anyone who didn't figure out who the bad guy was by the time of the first murder then they were not paying attention. Talk about telegraphing. That's a problem with making Deanna Troi a main character. She “feels” what other characters are feeling. There's no hiding from her.

In this book, Captain Picard is sent down to Oriana as a Federation ambassador. There are two warring factions. The war has lasted so long nobody knows what started it. They are killing the planet along with themselves. Troi and Worf accompany Picard. Shortly after they beam down, the Enterprise receives a distress signal and goes off to find the ship in trouble. If you're thinking that's convenient, it is.

Before the peace talks can get started the leader of one of the factions is poisoned. The leader of the other faction points the finger at Picard and three members of another sub-group invited by Picard. Worf becomes the new ambassador and has three days to prove that Picard is not guilty or he will be executed. Yeah, I said it. Worf as a Federation ambassador.

You can probably figure out what happens next. The only thing that I couldn't figure out way before it was revealed was why the book is called Nightshade. I still don't know. Other than that the main action takes place at night. This book was nowhere near the quality of Hamilton's Anita Blake books. I was hoping she'd ad something new to the Star Trek universe but I was disappointed. To be fair, this book was written in 1992 before Hamilton became a best selling author. Maybe nobody's very good at the beginning of their career.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dark Curse Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Born into evil and ice, Dragonseeker Lara Calladine longs to find the source of her nightmares. The only man who can help her is Nicolas De La Cruz who, for centuries, has longed to feel the sensual love of a woman without a hunger for blood. He's found the perfect mate in Lara. But their mysterious pasts share a secret that could destroy them both. 
Buy Dark Curse

Friday, September 30, 2011


James Barclay's novel Dawnthief is  the first book in his Chronicles of the Raven trilogy. The storyline follows a very basic pattern common to most fantasy fiction. We're introduced to the “heroes” and they undertake a mission (or quest) even though some of them have misgivings about the mission and the employer. Along the way they lose some people and gain others. Distrust becomes trust as they all work together for the common good. Or do they?

What's different about Dawnthief is how Barclay follows fantasy fans expectations and adds some interesting twists. Dawnthief is a spell powerful enough to destroy the world. Our heroes must find the elements needed to cast the spell before an ancient foe awakes and plunges the world into war. There are three elements and each of them will require a different set of skills to obtain.

My one complaint with this book is that an interesting side story about a universe full of talking (and educated) dragons was introduced and then left alone. I'm hopeful that they will show up again in the other two books. If not I'm going to be rather disappointed. I realize that to get the story going the mage had to steal something from the dragon (isn't that always the way?) but if you aren't going to use him again why make him interesting? I'm just saying.

I will warn people that the body count in this book is quite high. I realize that certain people had to die in order to get someone else to go along with the mission. I still don't have to like it. Overall I liked this book. It's a classic fantasy story with some interesting twists and turns. I can't wait to read the next book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

inkBLOT Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
An award winning junior crime writer meets the teen-entrepeneur who owns inkBLOT, a popular quiz website. What transpires is a tangled web of crime and deception. Who's to blame? The attention hungry reporter or the website owner whose business has links to all of the victims.

Buy inkBLOT

Monday, September 26, 2011

PR: The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Edition

William Peter Blatty
40th Anniversary Edition

Forty years ago, William Peter Blatty published a novel that changed the literary and cinematic landscape. A masterful and often shocking blend of horror, mystery, and religion, THE EXORCIST spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, including seventeen consecutively at number one, and was turned into an iconic film that received ten Academy Award nominations, with Blatty winning the Oscar for best screenplay. The novel and film spawned countless imitations, but Blatty’s unabashedly profane, terrifying, yet faith-centered original remains the sine qua non of the genre.

For the special 40th Anniversary Edition of THE EXORCIST, William Peter Blatty has returned to the manuscript, reworking portions of the book that never satisfied him. Due to financial constraints and a pressing workload at the time, he was forced to forego a desired revision. “For most of these past forty years I have rued not having done a thorough second draft and careful polish of the dialogue and prose,” Blatty says. “But now, like an answer to a prayer, this fortieth anniversary edition has given me not only the opportunity to do that second draft, but to do it at a time in my life—I am 83—when it might not be totally unreasonable to hope that my abilities, such as they are, have at least somewhat improved, and for all of this I say, Deo gratias!” Among the changes, Blatty has added a chilling scene introducing the unsettling minor character of a Jesuit psychiatrist.

Or is he?

THE EXORCIST begins in northern Iraq, where an archeological dig led by Jesuit priest Father Lankester Merrin yields a demonic artifact, a harbinger of things to come. In Washington, D.C., young Regan MacNeil—daughter of famed film actress Chris MacNeil—begins exhibiting disturbing behaviors. Odd, haunting occurrences also begin to take place in the MacNeil’s rented Georgetown townhouse. Chris seeks medical and psychiatric help for her daughter, but Regan continues to descend into a state of apparent demonic possession. Desperate, Chris turns to a local priest, Father Damien Karras, who at the last decides that the life of the girl can only be saved by an exorcism. Because Karras is undergoing a crisis of faith, the higher powers of the Church turn to an experienced exorcist, with Karras to assist, and the priests are tested both spiritually and physically by the grueling sacred rite of exorcism. Facing their fears through the power of faith, they pay the ultimate price for saving the life of young Regan MacNeil.

With the storytelling gifts of a true master, Blatty crafts a riveting narrative that still retains the power to both terrify and edify its readers, including those who have come of age since its monumental debut.

Buy The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Favorite Vampire Series

I thought about posting samples of my favorite books in each genre but I realized that would make this entry extremely long. So I'll write about the genre, actually sub-genre, I read most - Vampire Fiction. Here are my top three Vampire series:

Vampire: St. Germain
Author: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
First book: Hotel Transylvania
Published: 1978
The Saint Germain Historical Fiction Series is into double digits. St. Germain is a 3000 year old mostly heterosexual vampire who gets his blood during sex, usually while giving head. A big deal is made of how well he can sexually satisfy his donors but once you get past that the books are quite interesting. If you like historical fiction you'll like these. Yarbro does a lot of research. There's a lot of detail and the plots are quite complicated. The first book I read was Blood Games. It's based in Rome at the time of Nero. St. Germain is drawn in to the politics of the time trying to dance between different factions. Yarbro's Rome is both brutal and beautiful. Much the action revolves around historical events.

Vampire: Henry Fitzroy
Author: Tanya Huff
First book: Blood Price
Published: 1991
Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy is the bastard son of Henry VIII. How's that for family baggage? His partner is ex-Toronto police detective Victoria (Victory) Nelson. She had to quit the force because of a problem with her eyes that left her almost blind at night. Get it? He can't work days and she can't work nights. Together the solve supernatural mysteries. Oh, did I mention that Henry makes his money by writing "bodice rippers"? The books are funny and set in Canada. What could be better? I think my all time favorite line in a vampire book is inBlood Price. Henry says, "A vampire, waiting for a demon, gets cruised in a graveyard. I love this century!"

There are five books in the "Victory Nelson" series and Huff swears that there won't be any more because she's taken Victory as far as she can go - I won't spoil it for you. Never fear, there is a new series that features Henry and his favorite "donor." The new series takes place in Vancouver!

Vampire: Jean-Claude and many others
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
First book: Guilty Pleasures
Published: 1993
TheAnita Blake Vampire Hunter series takes place in a heavily populated world. Not only are there vampires and vampire hunters but there are werewolves, wereleopards, wererats - pretty much were-anything as well as necromancers, voodoo priestesses and witches. It's hard to keep track of all the people and their complicated relationships to each other. But that's one of the things that makes the books interesting. The three main characters are Anita Blake, head vampire Jean-Claude and head werewolf Richard. The three of them have - unwillingly on Anita and Richard's part - formed a triumvirate that keeps the city under control. There's a lot of sex most of which is brought on by a kind of uncontrollable lust. Anita has a bit of a problem with the sexual aspects of her life. Each book pushes her a little bit closer to the idea that you can love more than one person at a time and you can have sex with someone you care about without them being "the one."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Targeted Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Chicago Police Detectives Pete Shannon and Marilyn Benson [are]thrust into a homicide investigation. A crazed sniper has been targeting cops, killing them for no apparent reason, other than for his own deranged satisfaction. The partners find themselves teamed with a pair of tough talking, abrasive, seasoned cops who do their best to interfere with the young detectives at every juncture, making their lives miserable. The hunt for the serial killer becomes a life-altering experience for the duo as they face individual challenges that threaten to destroy them. 

At the same time, Father Ed Matthews, a Catholic priest, has been accused of child molestation at the southwest side parish where he's assigned. Pete and Marilyn arrest him, but as the priest begins his journey through the Chicago judicial system, he decides to flee the city and become a fugitive. He begins a journey away from the priesthood from which he may never return.

Buy Targeted

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Labyrinth is the fifth book in Kat Richardson's Greywalker series. The stories take place in Seattle and revolve around P.I. Harper Blaine. At the beginning of the series, Harper is just your average investigator and then she dies for two minutes. When she comes back, she can see things the rest of us can't. She discovers that there is a “grey” side where the rules don't apply.

Blaine's life gets stranger and more complicated as she learns how to walk in the grey. Her clients get stranger and stranger and by book four she is working by the city's head vampire Edward Kammerling. In Labyrinth, Kammerling has disappeared. Harper comes face to face with his assistant, Bryson Goodall, who has been changed in some way. He is not a vampire but he's not human any more either.

The main bad guy of the book is a vampire called Wygan, who is an ancient Egyptian entity called the Pharaohn-ankh-astet. Goodall has become Wygan's ushabti, a day walking henchman with some extra-human powers. He wants to kill Harper but his boss needs her alive for a little bit longer. Harper has to stop Wygan's master plan, save Kammerling and come to grips with her grey given powers that keep getting stronger. Along the way she has to solve a riddle, save her father's ghost and keep all her friends out of harms way.

Anyone who likes Jim Butcher's Dresden novels will like the Greywalker series. Harper might remind some people of Anita Blake but she doesn't sleep with the monsters. She may be becoming more like them but she wants to have as little to do with them as possible. Vampire sex is kind of difficult when the smell of vampires makes you sick to your stomach.

By the end of Labyrinth, Harper has come into her full power. It will be interesting to see what she does with it when there is no crisis to focus it on.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dark Eden Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?
Buy Dark Eden

Friday, September 9, 2011

Miss Pym Disposes

Josephine Tey was the first British author I ever read. While I liked The Daughter Of Time quite a bit it was a long time before I picked up another book by a UK author. I haven't read too many others. Besides taking place in a land I know relatively little about, their mysteries have a pace that I'm not used to.

When I saw Miss Pym Disposes on the library shelf I decided to give it a try. It was nothing like Daughter of Time. The murder doesn't even happen until some where around page 130. You slog through most of the book knowing exactly who is going to be killed and it's kind of obvious who the killer is. At least it was to me but maybe I've read too many mysteries to be fooled by one published in 1946.

Miss Pym, author of a book on psychology, is invited by an old school chum to give a lecture to a all girl's physical training college. I actually had to look up what that was. I had no idea PhysEd teachers went to special schools. Miss Pym decides to stay at the school for their graduation. The majority of the book describes her interactions with various students and staff at the school. It's a total snooze fest until the old school chum does something illogical and the game is afoot. So to speak.

I'm tempted to talk about a couple of red herrings but if I do it will give to much away. The book is well written and if you like British cozies you'll probably like this book. There are some amusing parts and some of the characters are interesting. I'm just not used to waiting for three quarters of a book before the main action gets going.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fury Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But all is not as it seems... Em is thrilled that the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. And on the other side of town, Chase’s social life is unraveling and the stress of his home life is starting to take its toll. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel....And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed. In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. There are three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

Buy Fury

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust by Jennifer Rardin is the second novel in her Jaz Parks series. I love the beginning of the back cover blurb:
I'm Jaz Parks. CIA Assassin. Black belt. Belly dancer.
The book is pretty much what you'd expect. Irreverent and sometimes downright snarky. The series takes place in an alternate world where "other" is the designation given to non-humans like vampires and demons. Like Anita Blake, Jaz is connected to a vampire. This story has Jaz's team of misfits undercover at a Winter Festival (hence the belly dancing) where they are supposed to kill a Chinese vampire who runs a group of acrobats.

Chien-Lung is completely batty. He's managed to steal a set of "dragon" armor that makes him almost invincible. He is willing to do anything to make an army of dragon warriors in order to take over the world. Jaz and her team have to come up with a way to kill him. Luckily the tech guy is the guy who created the armor.

Along the way Jaz has to stay out of her vampire boss's bed, stop her team from imploding and avoid being killed by a new kind of demon no one knows very much about. The book moves quickly. Some of the idiosyncrasies of Rardin's world are a bit confusing at first but you get used to them. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Hunger Games (Movie) Trailer

The first teaser trailer for The Hunger Games was released this week. I thought some of you might be interested.

Book description from Amazon:
If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death. Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.
Buy The Hunger Games

Friday, August 26, 2011

Serpant's Kiss

Serpent's Kiss is the 10th book in Alex Archer's Rogue Angel series. I haven't read any of the other books. You don't need to have read the others to understand this book. There are a few things (like her friendship with two immortal men) that aren't explained but they don't take away from the story.

Annja Creed is an archeologist. Think female Indiana Jones. She's gorgeous. She has martial arts training up the ying yang. She can handle any weapon and fight any foe. She also has a magic sword that appears and disappears with a thought. Nothing we haven't seen in Highlander. I've always wondered why no one notices when someone suddenly has a sword and when the fighting is done it's nowhere to be seen. Obviously the effects of the sword are visible. What's the point of killing someone with a sword if they don't stay dead when the sword disappears? But I digress.

Serpent's Kiss is a bit jumpy. There are three main sets of characters. Annja and the rest of the archeology crew, a bunch of pirates who want what Annja digs up and a group of law enforcement people focused on catching the pirates. There's also a bit of story that happened a long time ago to set up what Annja finds when she finally gets where she's going. I have a bit of a quibble with the blurb on the back of the book.

Just as Annja's grail comes into view, she must ward off an even greater evil. Because deep in the Nilgris mountains is a race of people that the world forgot.

And they don't like strangers.

In reality the “forgotten people” are pathetic. They're no match for modern weapons. They only managed to kill people because they surprise them, set traps for them or out number them. The also only appear in the last few pages of the book. Not exactly major characters.

All in all, I give this book a 6/10. It was enjoyable quick read. The reality quotient is fairly low. Especially when it talks about Annja as if she's the average archeologist. I knew that Annja would survive the book (she's needed if the series is to continue) but I was never sure if anyone else would. That made it interesting. The head pirate was your stereotypical modern bad guy. He didn't see what he did for a living as wrong. He was just “reclaiming” things from the see. I hate to say it but I almost longed for a “plucky” sidekick with no special talent who knew Annja's secrets but had to be rescued at least once per book. Maybe I've been watching too much Doctor Who.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cheyenne Book Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
Murder, romance, secrets and hidden pasts. Deception from every angle—who's telling the truth? 

Cheyenne Wilson's life is thrown into turmoil after her adoptive parents are killed in an accident. With only her best friend Colt to comfort her, she scours through the family archives, hoping to quell her grief. Instead she begins to unravel the mystery behind her birth parents, and her secret heritage. She is a Timeless- a being that ages one year for every hundred human years when they reach their twenties- and of the royal line, destined to gain great power. 

But Cheyenne has other problems. The ones who killed her parents want her too, and Colt is hiding something of his own. Surrounded by danger and with few she can trust, Cheyenne must face the dark truth of her past, and choose between a forbidden love that will forever hold her heart, or her destiny...

Buy Cheyenne (A Timeless Series Novel)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2012: The War for Souls

2012: The War for Souls by Whitley Strieber is a bit of a trip. As an author, Mr. Strieber is hit and miss. The Hunger was excellent. The sequel not so much. I forget it's name. I didn't finish it. 2012 is an ambitious book but I think it works.

There are three Earths. One in each of three dimensions. One Earth has two moons and never had a World War. One Earth is ruled by a species that evolved from dinosaurs instead of primates. Then there's our Earth. The dinosaurs have been breeding like rabbits. They need to take over the two moon Earth. They tried 13, 000 years ago and failed. The Maya were there and they predicted the next time the two moon Earth would be vulnerable to attack again. In the year 2012. In that year the three Earths would be aligned and travel between them would be possible.

The novel jumps around between the three Earths. Sometimes I had to go back and make sure I understood which Earth I was in. It got really confusing when characters from each Earth started moving between the universes. 2012 is part sci-fi, part horror, part cautionary tale. Think Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Saw meets An Inconvenient Truth. There's a lot of death and violence. It gets a bit cartoon-like at the end. I found myself skimming over big sections. I got that the dinosaurs were bad early on. I didn't need to keep having evidence pushed in my face. They do some fairly disgusting things. Images that I may not get out of my head for quite a while. I hate that.

If you're a sci-fi/alien/prophecy/disaster fan you'll like this book. It's not the best book I've read in this category but it was interesting enough that I wanted to finish it. I'm also happy about the way things turned out. That's a big plus. I don't like wading through guts and gore to get to an end I think is stupid.