Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ender's Game Trailer

This one's a little different. It's a trailer for a movie that doesn't exist and maybe never will. It is kinda cool.

Book description from Amazon

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.  
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If the world survives, that is.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vegas Knights

I was seduced by a cover blurb. Again. Vegas Knights by Matt Forbeck had a really interesting premise as stated on the front cover:
It's Ocean's Eleven meets Harry Potter when two college students scam a Vegas casino - using magic.
It sounds cool. Almost too good to be true. Well it is. Vegas Knights isn't a bad book. It just doesn't live up to the promise of the cover. I'm not even sure why the word knights is in the title. The story has nothing to do with chivalry. There's not a sword around outside a stage magician's act. I suppose you could claim that the main character ends up on a crusade for all that is right and good in the world but that would be a stretch.

This is another book where I found the main characters annoying. Bill is a rich brat. Jackson is the poor kid with abandonment issues. They know just enough magic to get them into trouble. The only "noble" people in the book are the aboriginal people led by an old woman. Her young granddaughter doesn't understand what's at stake and balks at the woman's ruthlessness. Everything goes to hell pretty fast after that.

This book is a kitchen sink of cliches. The stage magician who can really do magic. The extraordinarily gifted, but untrained, college kid who just happens to be the magician's son. The "dead" wizard holding on to life at any cost. Mobsters both live and dead. And zombies. That's not even getting into the Vegas cliches.

As I said, Vegas Knights is not a bad book. It is amusing in places.  I just wanted more.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Net Switch Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
In the dead of winter, Sydney Hayes finds herself in an internet chat room in hopes of expelling her loneliness. Enchanted by a stranger, she soon finds herself caught up in an affair that spills over into her everyday life. Within a short period of time, the stranger captures her mind, her body and eventually her heart, but excitement turns to terror and Sydney must abandon the life she built in Chicago and assume a new identity. A fragile woman in a new city, Sydney tries to put it all behind her as she makes a fresh start in Seattle, but her troubles follow her and she is running out of time. Feeling as though she has no other choice, Sydney is determined to destroy him before he destroys her—unaware that her journal holds the key. Will she discover the secret before it’s too late?

Buy Net Switch

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Second Summoning

The Second Summoning by Tanya Huff is the second book in her The Keeper's Chronicles series. If you haven't read the first book, Summon the Keeper, you'll be lost. You really need to have read it to get many of the things referenced in this book.

Claire Hansen is a Keeper, a person with magical powers charged with preventing hell from manifesting on Earth, and she takes her job seriously. Too seriously. She's kind of a stick in the mud. She finally loosens up to the point where she consummates her relationship with her non-magical boyfriend, Dean. I mention it because the Earth moves. And heaven weeps. Sort of.

While Dean and Claire are occupied a teen aged girl brings forth a manifestation of her version of an angel. She's been reading Twilight and watching Vampire Diaries. The angel appears as a teen aged boy who is, as they say in Star Trek, fully functional. And because of the "as above, so below" rule a demon is brought forth in the form of a teen aged girl.

While Claire goes after the demon, her teen aged sister, Diana, goes after the angel. Claire intends to send both of them back where they belong. She does not consider them people but as manifestations of good and evil. The problem is that things are not that simple.

Tanya Huff is one of my favorite urban fantasy writers. Even though I find Claire and Diana annoying in many ways, I still enjoy the Keeper books. I will say that I don't think this book is as good as the first one. It seems to be a little light weight. Maybe I just don't have all that much interest in teenagers.
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Friday, January 6, 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter

In The Bleak Midwinter by M.R. Sellars is the first Special Agent Constance Mandalay novel. Mandalay is a character from his Rowan Gant Investigations series. I haven't read any of those novels so I had no background going into this book. Luckily I didn't need it. Sellars doesn't spend a lot of time going over things that happened in the other books.

Mandalay is sent to the the small town of Hulis, Missouri where every Christmas, for the past eight years, a man is brutally butchered. The body just shows up in a house where something really terrible happened back in the 70s. Of course the police and the F.B.I. keep the house under surveillance but somehow the deed gets done.

Mandalay knows that there's something she's not being told. The last agent sent to Hulis won't talk to her. The files are just a little sketchy. Every new lead she ferrets out doesn't lead anywhere. She begins to think this might be a career breaker.

Two things you need to know about this book. It is, in effect, a locked door mystery and I really hate those. Once I realized that was what was going on I wasn't expecting much. The other thing is that it's a "paranormal thriller" so the solution doesn't have to make a lot of sense. It does does fit together but the ending was somehow unsatisfactory. I can't explain how but I really felt that something was left out when I was finished.

Having said that, it's still a decent book with an interesting bunch of characters. I'd be willing to give another Constance Mandalay novel a try.

I received a review copy of this novel.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's All Shiny!

(From left to right, top to bottom) Adam Baldw...
Image via Wikipedia
Wordnik has a science fiction related blog post up today. Monday was National Science Fiction Day (and Isacc Asimov's birthday.) Tuesday was J. R. R. Tolkien's. Today's post is a collection of sci-fi words and their meanings. Check it out!
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raven Cursed Trailer

Here's a pretty lame trailer but of all the ones I found posted this week this it the only genre trailer.

Book Description from Amazon:
The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.

But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Is it a rogue-vampire, shapechanger, werewolf, or witch? Or something else magical? Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It's a good thing she's worth every penny.

Buy Raven Cursed