Saturday, February 26, 2011

Time Spike

This is going to be a non-review review of  Time Spike by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmatka. I can't really do a review because I never finished the book. I tried and tried over that last six weeks but I just couldn't get into it. For some strange reason I always feel guilty when I don't finish a book. As if I didn't give it a fair shake as they say.

I should have loved Time Spike. Time travel, science nerds, dinosaurs and conquistadors. But some how I just couldn't care about what happened to a prison full of people I didn't like or even care about.

The premise is that there is some kind of phenomenon that happens at random intervals where time is displaced and things are sent either forward or backward in time. This has been happening for a while and the government has been covering it up. It's been relatively small things but some scientists tracking the phenomenon expect something big to happen at any time.

The big thing happens and a maximum security prison vanishes. The government tries to keep a lid on it but the scientists sneak in and find out. Meanwhile the people in the prison are sent back millions of years. What they thought was a massive earthquake is something more. They can tell by the dinosaur scratching itself on the prison wall.

I found many of the characters stereotypical. The "good man" with a sad past as the warden. The young nurse on her first shift. Being the reliable one while needing the warden's shoulder to cry on. Then there's the fuck up guard who plans to take over but doesn't realize that the inmates are using him. Stop me if you've heard this before.

In the end I gave up because I just didn't care what happened to these people. Someone else will probably think it's a great book. I may try to go back to it at a later date or maybe there are just too many books I could like out there.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Threshold Trailer

Book Description from Amazon:
After a terrorist attack on a reservation in Oregon leaves thousands dead, Jack Sigler, call sign King and his Chess Team— Queen, Rook, Bishop and Knight—must protect the only survivor, thirteen year-old Fiona Lane.
But the attack is part of a larger offensive. Around the world the last speakers of ancient languages are being systematically exterminated. As they fight to find the mastermind behind the killings, the team is hunted by strange creatures that defy explanation—living statues, genetically modified monsters and walking megaliths—sent by an enemy from their past. If not stopped, he will be able to remake himself, and the world.
Jeremy Robinson’s third book in the Jack Sigler series is a rocket-powered thriller, combining high adrenaline action, smart science, ancient legends, and stunning locations.

Buy Threshold: A Jack Sigler Adventure
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Guest Post: Jeanne Davis

Jeanne C. Davis grew up in southern California then traveled the world as a Pan Am purser until she landed a job writing for the television series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She wrote, produced and directed the independent feature, The Uniform Motion of Folly. She is currently at work on her second novel which explores her life with Pan Am, and another feature film, Lip Service, along with a documentary about her family's four generations in the carousel business. Visit Sheetrock Angel Homestead or Facebook. You can also visit Jeanne's website.

Sheetrock Angel

I happen to believe that we’re all part of The Spirit, the Godhead, whatever you want to call it. I’ve heard that called a mushy religiosity, but for me, it’s legitimate. Whatever your belief system, I think you can devise an explanation for the Fred character and feel satisfied. Atheists and agnostics can simply see him as a manifestation of psychosis. I lean toward the school of the open mind with a slight scientific bent. What if scientists discover that the dark matter which no one has been able to find, only to speculate about through oblique observations, is actually Spirit? I’d love to be around if they figure that one out.

My protagonist, Audrey James, is divorcing her actor husband, she’s had a fling with her drywall taper, and she may be in love with her best male friend… or he may be a murderer. She has a lot on her plate as she tries to begin a new life after her final separation from her husband. Luckily she has a best friend, Catherine, to help her out… though she also could be a murderer. That nice young man who taped her drywall without asking for anything in exchange, made her want to give him something. When she did, he was murdered, though, no one else believes that.

It doesn’t help that mental illness runs in the family, a long feared legacy. Having grown up with a mother who often conversed with people who weren’t actually there, Audrey had hoped that she had missed the boat to schizophrenia, but when she is presented with murder, kidnapping and a situation where any or all of her closest friends and colleagues could be involved, she has to question her capabilities. How can you know whom to trust when you can’t trust yourself?

Audrey’s voyage of self-discovery coincides with her wade through the lies and half-truths woven for self-protection or in self-interest by her friends and acquaintances. When she begins to see that guilt and innocence are not always sharply delineated, she must finally make a conscious decision to trust. That decision allows her to be at peace with the result of both the mystery and her question of her own mental competence. Still… she never quite knows what kind of entity Fred is.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Divine Misdemeanors

Divine Misdemeanors by Laurel K. Hamilton is the latest in her "Merry Gentry" series. Meredith Nic Essus is half fae and the rightful ruler of the UnSeelie Court. In order to save her unborn twins, she has given up the throne and returned to her job as a private investigator in Los Angeles.

Fae are being murdered and posed to match pictures from various books. With something that sensational you'd think that it would be the center point of the book. Not a chance. It's just a distraction from Merry's problems with her men. It seems that having a magic hoo ha doesn't solve all your problems. In fact it makes more.

I'm sorry to say that this series is going the way Hamilton's Anita Drake series is going. The books are just an excuse for kinky sex scenes. I'm beginning to wish she'd stop pretending and just write straight erotica. That way she can write what she wants and won't bore her readers. She won't have to waste pages trying to string together an interesting plot either.

That might seem like pretty strong criticism, but Hamilton is a much better writer than the crap she has been putting out  lately. I loved Merry and Anita when they first arrived. I would look forward to each novel. Now when I notice a new book I tell myself there's no hurry to read it. And that is a shame.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Post: Erin Bassett

Erin Basset is author of the urban fantasy online series, Clock Work (Abandoned Towers Magazine). Today's post deals with a common problem for writers.

Dealing with Distraction

Most writers nest. We dig in, create a space and make ourselves at home before we start work. And for a good percentage of us it's at home. The appeal of writing in your pajamas with whatever beverage of choice readily available and literally surrounded by the comforts of home is hard to resist. But, inevitably, those comforts tend to become distractions. The cat runs across the key board, the kid's boredom demands alleviation only you can give or, if you're like me, the laundry and dirty dishes start to seep into your mind creating a mental block. And even if you aren't bombarded with the everyday there's the mother of all distractions: the Internet. What's a writer to do? Well I have come up with a few simple tricks that keep me focused and the distractions at bay.

1. For those lucky enough to live with loved ones or liked ones: Tell them what you are doing. Don't just hole up in your writer's space with no warning or explanation. If you don't at least attempt to communicate how important your writing time is, how will anyone in the house know?

2. Good way to get at least an hour of uninterrupted time from little ones? Put on a movie for them. My mom used to use Don't Wake Your Mom with Lamb Chop. Dating myself aside, I was thoroughly entertained for an hour and mom got a nap. There's also the option of a day sitter. I used to go over to a neighbour’s house and babysit two kids while their mom practiced karate in the basement. She got her time and we had fun upstairs.

3. Really addicted to the net? Can't resist the temptation to tweet? Put your iPhone in the next room and pull up the timer on your computer. Or get a cooking timer. Set it for 45 minutes. Tell yourself once you have got 45 solid mins of writing then you can go check out face book or tweet. But once again time yourself. Five or so minuets then back to writing. Slowly up the writing time and decrease the distraction time. It will really help time management and slowly break the Net addiction. Then maybe the next time you tweet it will be to tell everyone you have a finished manuscript!

Now, that said, I’m a firm believer that you cannot force a muse. Sometimes the mind is just too full of other things to be creative. It happens to the best of us.

I hope you find these little tricks helpful. And remember: You are not a writer unless you write! So get past those distractions and write on!

Erin Bassett is Senior Editor for CW Productions and her serial Clock Work airs every 5th of the month here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Veiled Mirror Trailer

Book Description from Amazon:

Legend has it that the love of Prince Vlad Dracula's life committed suicide during a siege when the odds of winning were slim. This is the story of Ecaterina Floari, consort to the Wallachian prince who served as inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. A ruthless warlord in the fifteenth century, Prince Dracula fought valiantly against those who would control the land of his ancestors. As his consort, Ecaterina accompanied him in the turbulent years of exile and discovered an ancient force influencing their lives. Her devotion to him was eternal, and she followed him into immortality...

Buy The Veiled Mirror: The Story of Prince Vlad Dracula's Lost Love
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jim Butcher Interview

Here's a short interview with author Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) in which he explains the difference between fantasy and urban fantasy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (Nightside, Book 6) is probably my least favorite book of the Nightside series. The three previous books lead up to the Lilith War. In this book Lilith has returned to Nightside and she doesn't like what she sees.

John Taylor spends most of the book either lost in time or hiding from Lilith. We see most of what Lilith does through the memories of people and magic mirrors. There's a lot of carnage but the deaths and destruction don't seem real because we're seeing most of it second hand.

Most of the book goes by at a snail's pace until the last couple of chapters and then everything speeds up. It's as if Green realized his book was getting long and decided to wrap everything up in as few pages as possible.

At one point, Taylor is saved from Lilith's wrath by a deus ex machina in the form of The Collector. Deus ex machinas are a pet peeve for me but I just found it really weird to suddenly bring another character into the story.

There's a theme running through this book about the legacy you get from your ancestors. John discovers his talent comes directly from Lilith and she had a purpose behind the gift. Another theme shows  how the family you choose (friends) can be much closer and more important than any genetic relationship.

I don't know where the series is going to go now. So many story lines are wrapped up in this book and many characters are dead. I just hope the next book has a more even pacing.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stealing Mona Lisa Trailer

Synopsis from the Author's Website:

What could be more lucrative than stealing Da Vinci’s masterpiece Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum and selling it to an American millionaire? How about stealing it and selling six exact copies to six American Millionaires?

This is the plan that master conman Eduardo de Valfierno comes up with in the historical novel, Stealing Mona Lisa. Loosely based on the true story of the theft of the world’s greatest painting in 1911, the novel is set against the colorful milieu of early 20th Century Paris.

At first, Valfierno’s plan goes like clockwork, but his scheme begins to unravel when he finds himself falling in love with Ellen, the young bird-in-a-gilded-cage wife of Joshua Hart, his richest and most powerful - not to mention vindictive - customer. The story climaxes against the backdrop of another actual event from the same time period, the devastating flooding of Paris by the rain-swollen River Seine.

Buy Stealing Mona Lisa

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Going to be That Kind of a Year

Yesterday's review got eaten. Not sure when I'll have time to re-write it. Sigh. In the meantime, check out the Top 100 Sci-Fi Books at SF Crowsnest. This is according to reader votes. I haven't heard of most of them. I've only read one (Necropath # 31). I'm playing with the idea of reading each book in order. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hellhole Trailer

Book Description from Amazon

Bestselling authors Herbert and Anderson (The Winds of Dune) start a space opera series with a tale quite similar to Frank Herbert's Dune in setting, theme, and conflict. On the dangerous frontier planet Hellhole, defeated and exiled rebel Gen. Tiber Adolphus continues his honorable opposition to the political scheming and selfish machinations of the Crown Jewel worlds and grandmotherly Diadem Michella Duchenet. Adolphus and his companions work in secret to undermine the royal space travel monopoly and form a coalition of Deep Zone planets. Diadem Michella, embroiled in the schemes of the ancient noble families on the decadent capital planet Sonjeera, is too distracted to recognize the danger Adolphus poses.

Buy Hellhole