Friday, January 28, 2011


Xenopath by Eric Brown is the second book in his Bengal Station Trilogy. The other two books are Necropath and CosmopathI haven read any other books by Mr. Brown but he's gotten some really great reviews.

I picked up this book because of the "blurb" on the back. That blurb had very little to do with what was in the book. It mentions "alien corpses" when there are none. Actually, that's the main point of the book. I'm not going to spoil it.

I think that each book in a series should stand alone. I want to be able to pick up any book from any point in the series and get up to speed in a few paragraphs. Not pages. Paragraphs. I also want the story to be self contained. To begin and end with each book. Of course, the "world" created for the series is the same in each book. At least it should be. I hate authors who add stuff halfway through the series. Imagine being three books into a series and you suddenly find out magic works. Sigh.

Characters of a series should carry over with just enough information so that the reader knows who they are and what their relationship is to each other. Past events can be referred to IF it moves the story or explains something that cannot be communicated in any other way. Touch on it and then get on with the new story. I do not want to read pages of explanation of what has gone on before.

Is this too much to ask? I think not. Xenopath does it very well.

I understood the world the book takes place on without a lot of explanation. It's the future. There's a gigantic spaceport on Earth. The main character, Vaughan. was a telepath. He's married to a woman he met in the first book. She's pregnant. Easy peasy. That tells you why, when he's offered a chance to be telepathic again without previous drawbacks, he takes the job.

After that Xenopath is your basic noir mystery with sci-fi flash. People are being lasered. All the victims are connected to a distant planet called Mallory. Vaughan looks for a possible witness to one of the crimes but he knows he'll have to go to Mallory to get any real answers.

If you've been reading a while you know I likes me some noir. Endings aren't always happy but I can accept that if it fits the tone of the rest of the story. The only quibble I have with Xenopath is a deus ex machina in the form of an alien who has been hiding in a little girl's head. It was a bridge too far for me to cross. I couldn't stop myself from yelling, "Foul!"

Even with the alien intervention, I enjoyed this book. I'm looking forward to reading the other two books in the series. If you've read the books don't spoil it for me but I'd like to hear your thoughts on Xenopath.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eternal Trailer

Book Description from Amazon

This dark romance is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of 17-year-old Miranda and her guardian angel, Zachary, in an alternate America in which vampires and werewolves exist. Early in the novel, Zachary falls from grace as punishment for materializing in his full radiance in a failed attempt to save Miranda from being bitten by a vampire. The tale resumes a year later with the now-vampire Miranda a revered princess living among vampire royalty and feasting regularly on humans. Zachary, meanwhile, has sunk into a life of aimless debauchery and is resigned to never regaining his wings when an archangel suddenly gives him the opportunity to become Miranda's personal assistant. Determined to save his former ward, with whom he has fallen in love, Zachary takes the job. Miranda finds herself drawn to him, and the murders she has carelessly committed begin to weigh on her conscience. With his help, she is determined to find a way to redeem herself and help him return to grace.

Buy Eternal

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shakespeare Undead

Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland was not what I expected. When I picked up the book I was sure I was in for a dark, gothic tale of the great playwright as a vampire. What I got was a light hearted book that doesn't take itself seriously.

Shakespeare is not only a vampire but he is also a necromancer (he sees dead people) and he can raise armies of zombies. In the past he'd done it for anyone who could pay. Now he's got a quiet new life as an actor and writer. The problem is there are zombies in London. He soon realizes that there is an army of them. While tracking a zombie he comes across a zombie hunter named Kate. He keeps his "condition" secret when he agrees to help her kill zombies.

The book's narration toggles between third person focusing on what Shakespeare is doing and Kate's first person narrative. They are two very distinctive styles so you won't get confused but I'm not sure what it was necessary to write that way. I'm also not sure why it was necessary to add references to, among other things, Star Wars, The Sixth Sense and The Wizard of Oz. Other than being cute I can see no reason for modern references. I found that it pulled me out of the action every time it happened. At times I had to roll my eyes and plunge ahead.

I read this book in a couple of hours. As I put the book down I realized I was disappointed that I didn't get the heavy gothic tale I had been expecting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Follow Friday for Book Blogs

You might have noticed things are changing around here. I've been trying to spruce up the place and add things to make it a better blog. I've still got a lot to do but in the meantime I thought I would share a Blog Hop with you.

Parajunkee's View is doing regular Follow Fridays (FF). If you have a book blog you can add it to the list. If you don't have a book blog but want to read some you can click on the link for anyone who's joined that week's FF.

Suspense and Mystery Challenge

I'm notoriously bad at "challenges". I start off with the best of intentions. Within a week I get distracted or my life takes a u-turn. I've found one I think I just might be able to complete.

Book Chick City is hosting a Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge. There might even be prizes. All I have to do is read 12 mystery or suspense novels in 2011. One a month. I think I can do that. I've already read one for January.

If you feel like reading some books and writing some reviews, make your way over to Book Chick City and sign up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Darkest Mercy Trailer

Book Description From Amazon

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

Buy Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fearless Fourteen

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich is pretty much what you've come to expect from a Stephanie Plum story. There's some sex, a mystery of some sort and a lot of laughs. This particular episode features a buried treasure, a kidnapped woman and her gamer geek son.

Some of the lines had me laughing out loud. Here's a sample:

"This looks like the Queen of the Damned costume party at the Shady Rest Nursing Home," Lula whispered to me. "Is this what the golden years looks like?"

"I heard that," Ruth said, "The golden years are for pussies. We went straight to brass."

People who haven't read the other 13 books in this series will be lost. I highly recommend them for some light reading. Don't expect the plot to exercise your brain. These books are what I call "Bathtub Reading" meaning you could take one into the bath and enjoy a relaxing soak. Neither your memory nor your vocabulary will be taxed. This book has just enough wackiness to make it worth reading.

There is one aspect of this series that I am getting tired of. The character Lulu is a "plus-sized" bounty hunter in training who used to be a hooker. There are a lot of fat jokes. Humor when she's around tends to be about her size/weight. She wears a lot of spandex that is a few sizes too small. She eats buckets of chicken when she's stressed. It's all just getting old.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Teen Paranormal Series

Book Description from Amazon:

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Buy Vesper: A Deviants Novel

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vampire Empire Book One: The Greyfriar

I won a copy of this book through a contest on another website. I don't remember which one. I'm a little scatterbrained. I write things on various pieces of paper and then lose them. Anyway...

Let me start by saying that I really want to like steampunk literature. I love the aesthetics of steampunk (think movies like Van Helsing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sherlock) but I just can't get into the written words.  I got a copy of Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology and only made it through the first two stories. Neither of which I remember much about. I really did try.

I managed to get to the end of The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1). I finished it a couple of weeks ago. I should have written the review then. Today I found the book under a pile of papers on my desk and I couldn't remember the book at all. I had to read the blurb on the back to get some kind of clue. I think that pretty much says it all.

For those of you who still want to give it a go, the action takes place in an alternative history. About a hundred years before the book's opening, vampires took over the Northern part of planet. They breed humans for their consumption. When they're not being bred or snacked on they are slaves that do what they are told without a fuss.

Only those living in warm climates live free. America is cut in half, Britain only exists in the tropics. The heroine of the book, Princess Adele, is the heir to the Empire Equatoria. She is about to be married to a man she's never met in order to form a solid alliance with America. It is hoped that the combined forces of the two countries can take on the vampires and win.

On a tour of the Northern boarder, Adele is kidnapped. She is taken to London, now a vampire stronghold, to be held hostage. The vampire's know about the impending marriage and the war plans. Adele's only hope is the mysterious vampire hunter known as The Greyfriar.

It's a decent enough story. If it wasn't interesting I would not have finished the book. I don't know why it didn't stay with me. I am prejudiced against books that don't stand alone. I hate the whole idea of "to be continued" unless I have all the books at my side and can read them back to back.

I don't know if I'm going to read the other two books. I'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, maybe I'll try some steampunk erotica.