Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Worst Nightmares Trailer

Book Discription from Amazon:
Dermot Nolan is an award-winning bestselling author who seems to have it all—a successful career, fame, fortune, and a beautiful wife. Between the royalties coming in from his most recent book and the revenue he has received from the film company that bought the rights, Dermot seems every bit the literary darling. 

And yet, for the last year, he has suffered from a bout of writer’s block, and in the process has grossly overspent his income. So when Dermot comes across an unsolicited manuscript stuffed into his mailbox, he cannot help but feel intrigued. It tells the story of the homicidal “Dream Healer,” who snares his victims via his website, worstnightmares.net, seduces them into revealing their innermost fears, and then kills them by revisiting their very own nightmares upon them. 
Dermot, with the help of his wife, begins to rework the novel, while simultaneously researching the individual dream stories. In his search, he very slowly begins to realize that the novel may not be entirely fictional, that these poor characters may have perished at the hands of a twisted torturer. Could the Dreamhealer be real? Could these innocent cyber-surfers have fallen victim to a raving maniac? Just how far is fact from fiction? And could Dermot be writing his own ticket to death...his very own worst nightmare?
Buy Worst Nightmares

Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold by  Joe Abercrombie was recommended by someone. I forget who. I don't know if they thought it was good or if they thought I'd like it. There's no way I would have picked up this book without someone telling me about it first.

Not that it's a bad book. It's got a strong female main character. There are plenty of interesting minor characters. The story is quite simple and if you recognize the title as a quote from Shakespeare then you know that the main theme of the book is betrayal and revenge. Meh. I guess everyone has to have something to live for. This book is like a bastard child of A League of  Extraordinary Gentlemen and Kill Bill.

Monza and her brother Benna are mercenaries. They're very good at their job. So good that their employer decides to kill them to stop them from taking him out. Benna dies in the first chapter. Monza survives the attack and sets on a course of revenge. Seven men were involved in the room when Benna died and those seven men have to die.

Monza picks up a motley crew including a poisoner and his young female apprentice and a mass murderer someone has let out of "Safety" (Prison). This character, Friendly, is the first OCD character I've ever seen in a fantasy book. He counts everything. He has spent most of his life institutionalized. The world is very confusing. Numbers always make sense. All together Monza collects six people to join her on her bloody quest. There many betrayals both big and small along the way.

Once the seven start dying Monza's former employer sends an assassin to kill her before she can get to him. There is a lot of blood and violence in this book. Revenge is a bloody business. In places the story becomes a comedy of errors. The lucky breaks are a little too lucky. The book went on too long for my taste.  I found myself skimming all the passages with fighting in them.

The ending is a bit of a surprise. The real reason Benna died is just sad. Just goes to show that you should never assume anything.  

I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either. I'm told that if you like Abercrombie's other books you will like this one. If you decided to read it come back and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Falling Skies

Something a little different for trailer Tuesday. Falling Skies is a new TV series starting June 19, 2011. It's executive producer is Steven Spielberg. The action takes place six months after aliens have invaded Earth. This promo was so cool I just had to pass it on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It Happened One Knife

I love a good pun. I will never knock an author for adding one – even if it makes me groan. What I don't like is when the pun does not refer to something in the story. It happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen is a play on the movie It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. That's all well and good but I expected a knife to be part of the story. I kept waiting but it never happened. No one in this book gets stabbed or even threatened with a knife.

Okay. It's a small thing but I think the title of the book should have SOMETHING to do with the story. This doesn't... well, okay... a lot of the action takes place at night but I don't think that counts. If I'm going to stretch it I'd put it this way: One night Elliot Freed learns that one of his comedy idols was involved in a murder 50 years ago.

There are three plot lines in this book. A film is stolen from Freed's theatre, Freed's ex-wife is leaving her second husband and wants to date Freed again and (as if it was an add on to plump up the page count) one member of a famous comedy duo accuses the other of murdering his wife.

From what I read from other reviewers this book is supposed to be laugh out loud funny. I didn't get that. I chuckled a couple of times but that's it. One review I read said that if you examine all the movie references you know the answer to the mystery well before Freed figures it out. Without paying that much attention to the references I figured out the main plot point before Freed was halfway there.

This book has a thread of a plot and a lot of teenaged (young adult) angst that gets really annoying fast. I found myself skimming all the passages where Freed dealt with the staff at his theatre. I really didn't like any of the characters. Freed is in turns whiny, blundering and annoying. His ex-wife, who is supposedly a doctor, comes off as a shallow, slightly bitchy woman who can't make up her mind. The aging comedians cling to their past glory and old jokes and they're not that funny.

This is another series I'm going to give a pass.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Oblivion Society Trailer

Book Description from Amazon:
The end of the world is just the beginning of the adventure!
What would you do if you slept through the apocalypse? What if everything you knew about disaster survival came from old B-movies? What would you do if society as you know it suddenly became The Oblivion Society
After an accidental nuclear war reduces civilization to a smoldering ruin, grocery clerk Vivian Gray joins a comically inept bunch of twentysomething survivors, and together they try to ride out Armageddon on little more than scavenged junk food and half-remembered pop culture. 
When the contaminated atmosphere unleashes a menagerie of deadly atomic mutants, Vivian and her friends take to the interstate for a madcap cross-country road trip toward a distant sanctuary that may not, in the strictest sense of the word, exist. But can they get to safety before the toxins get to them?

Buy The Oblivion Society

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wicked Weaves

I've been putting off writing a review of Wicked Weaves by husband and wife authors Joyce and Jim Lavene. I knew I didn't like this book but I didn't really know why. I wanted to like this book. I should have liked this book. Here's the blurb from the back:
Assistant professor Jessie Morton spends her summers at the Renaissance Village honing her skills and finding the lady, lord, or serf whodunnit. Now that she's studying for her Ph.D, it's not just work; it's research. This summer her apprenticeship is with  Mary Shift - a skilled  basket maker with a dark past.
Things appear to be going without a hitch, until a man is bid a deadly fare-thee-well with Mary’s signature weave around his neck. It’s up to Jessie to spring Mary from the stocks of the Myrtle Beach police station. Yet innocence is hard to prove in a place where there’s a fine line between reality and good theater—and history is bound to repeat itself.

Sounds Interesting right? Turns out not so much. It's not the little problems pointed out by other reviewers: animatronic sheep that get sheared every spring or fraternal twins coming from one egg. Those are just stupid mistakes that should have been caught by a good editor.

The real problems with this book are the plot and the main character.

Jesse is insecure and immature. She's slept with half the town and mentions it every time a new guy enters the story. The guys she hasn't slept with are too old or unattractive. Except for Chase. He's perfect. Cute, rich, honorable, sexy. Jesse spends way too much time thinking about screwing this boy and/or worrying that he's just another summer fling.

As for the other characters: the cops are cartoons; Chase is just too perfect – turns out he's a lawyer right when Jesse needs one – to be believable and Mary is the stereotypical exotic with a past that is revealed bit by bit but is still uninteresting.

As for the plot... it's rather flimsy. Mary's estranged husband is killed and she looks guilty. Jesse decides to investigate and prove that Mary is innocent. Readers are taken along as Jesse blunders from one suspect to another. After awhile learning one more secret about Mary's past just doesn't add to the story.

This was the first book in a series but I don't think I'll bother with the others.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Informationist Trailer

I've always clumped mysteries and thrillers together as one genre because there is a mystery or problem to solve in each. I'll have to think about that. In the meantime, enjoy a 3-part trailer for a book published today:

Book Description from Amazon:

Stevens's blazingly brilliant debut introduces a great new action heroine, Vanessa Michael Munroe, who doesn't have to kick over a hornet's nest to get attention, though her feral, take-no-prisoners attitude reflects the fire of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. Nine years have passed since Munroe, the daughter of American missionaries, escaped Cameroon at age 15 after a violent incident. She's forged a new life in Texas as an "informationist," a person who specializes in gathering information about developing countries for corporations. Munroe's best friend, marketing consultant Kate Breeden, refers her to Miles Bradford, a high-stakes security pro, who believes she's the perfect choice to help Houston oilman Richard Burbank find his adopted daughter, Emily, who vanished four years earlier at age 18 while vacationing in west central Africa. Munroe returns to Africa, where she reconnects with her ex-boyfriend, Francisco Beyard, a sexy drug- and gun-running businessman, who assists in the dangerous search for Emily. Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner.

Buy The Informationist: A Thriller

Friday, March 4, 2011

Angel Interrupted

Angel Interrupted by Chaz McGee is the second in his Dead Detective series. I haven't read the first book and I'm glad to report that this book passes the Stand Alone Test (SAT)*.

Kevin Fahey is dead. During his life he was a lousy husband, father and detective. Drunk more often than not. He was a joke. Now his "soul" is looking for redemption. He's trapped here as a ghost. He can't communicate with living. For some strange reason he can sift through people's memories to find an emotion that he can amplify to get the person to do what Fahey wants. It's a lot of work.

Fahey is following his replacement on the force. Maggie Gunn is the daughter of a retired cop. She lives for her work and has very little time or energy left for a personal life. Her current partner is an obnoxious screw up. Gunn wonders what she did to get saddled with him.

The two detectives and their ghost ride along are assigned to an apparent suicide. Within minutes it is determined that the woman was murdered. While everyone is distracted by the goings on at the crime scene, a four year old boy is abducted. Fahey's supernatural senses lead him to the boy. He seems safe for the moment. Fahey has to figure out how to get Maggie to the boy before the lurking predator gets him. Along the way he finds out the two cases are connected.

Angel Interrupted is a good read. Watching Fahey try everything he can think of to get Maggie to the boy is interesting. I figured out the answer to both crimes before any of the detectives. That could be because I've read so many mysteries there's nothing new to me any more. Or maybe Chaz McGee is as cynical and contrary as I am and that puts us in sync.

* I believe that each novel in a series should stand alone. Someone who has never read the series should be able to pick up the story with the briefest explanations. The story should end a the end of the book. No "to be continued" allowed. :-)

Desolate Angel (Dead Detective Mystery - Book One)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stephen King Turns to Time Travel in 11/22/63

Photo: Victor Hugo King

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian.

Pre-Order 11/22/63: A Novel
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'American Gladiator.' Book one of The Hunger Games trilogy.

Buy The Hunger Games

Buy Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)

Buy Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

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