Friday, June 29, 2012

The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity

The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray is a collection of 14 short stories about fae living in the modern world. None of the stories really stand out. A week after reading it I have to look at the table of contents to remind myself what I read.

There aren't any "big stars" from the fantasy world in this book. No Jim Butcher or Laurel K. Hamilton or Tanya Huff. There are only a couple of names I'm sure I recognize (Elizabeth Bear, Anton Strout) but since I don't always remember the author's name that doesn't mean much.

Of the 14 stories, my favorite is "How to Be Human" by Barbara Ashford. The idea of a fae becoming a self-help guru spending his days running motivational seminars tickled my funny bone. Fae trying to spread the use of plastic in "We Will Not Be Undersold" by Seanan McGuire was slightly disturbing because it explains some things.

This collection of stories is an easy read for a rainy after noon. Each of the stories deal with a different aspect of being fae in the mortal world. The tales are uniformly good. You might even find yourself wanting more of the specific world in a story.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. 
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Calypso Directive Trailer

Book description from Amazon:
For one hundred and fifty-five days, Will Foster has been locked in medical quarantine without his consent. The doctors claim he is infected with a deadly virus, but this is a lie. Encoded in his DNA is a mutation that provides immunity from disease for all who possess it, source code that Vyrogen Pharmaceuticals aims to commercialize as a multi-billion dollar gene therapy.Against all odds, Foster escapes his laboratory prison and steals a virulent strain of bubonic plague as insurance. To help him unravel the mystery inside him, Foster contacts the only person he can trust--a former lover and microbiologist living Vienna-- and the two become fugitives, hunted across the heart of Europe.Under the guise of averting a plague pandemic, Vryogen hires an elite, underground Think Tank to track down Foster. But when the team sets a trap for Foster, they discover they're not the only ones in the hunt. In a race against two deadly assassins, can the brilliant minds of the Think Tank unravel the truth before time runs out for their quarry?In a novel where conscience clashes with greed, loyalty with suspicion, and paranoia with reality, THE CALYPSO DIRECTIVE deftly explores the issues of genetic exploitation and piracy.

Buy The Calypso Directive

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Winslow Incident Trailer

Book description from Amazon:

A tale of ghosts, madness and other strange happenings. 
What would you do if everyone around you went instantly, inexplicably mad? 
Welcome to Winslow, Washington, where all anyone expects is another ordinary summer: tourists taking the ghost town tour, locals cooling off in Ruby Creek, the carnival in Prospect Park. Nothing unusual. That's because residents here have always done well at keeping order, keeping secrets and keeping the past buried. 
Until now. 
First, the animals go strange. Then townsfolk begin losing their minds. And that's when the ghosts come out to haunt. 
Inspired by true events. Set in a small town hidden in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The Winslow Incident--a present-day thriller informed by historical accounts of entire villages gone mad. What triggered the mass hysteria of the Salem witch trials? Why did residents of Pont-Saint-Esprit suddenly lose their minds? And how does it feel to be the last sane person in town?

Buy The Winslow Incident

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Parade's Summer Reading Guide

I got an interesting email from the people at Parade magazine:

In PARADE's 2012 Summer Reading Guide out this Sunday, Castle star Nathan Fillion graces our cover and reveals why he's hooked on books. Fillion’s favorite books are a fitting selection for an actor who has earned serious cult status— just ask his million-plus Twitter followers. “I’m the biggest geek of all,” he tells PARADE. “Adventure, fantasy, comic books—I can’t get enough.” As the son of two highschool English teachers, actor Nathan Fillion, who plays a mystery novelist turned crime solver on ABC’s Castle, learned early on that books possess magical qualities. “Whatever our bedtime was as kids, we could stay up an extra half hour if we were reading,” Fillion tells PARADE for this Sunday’s issue. “Now I read in bed, I read at work. I read standing in line. It’s like, ‘Hello, my name is Nathan and I am a reader.’ ”

 A sampling of Nathan’s favorite reads:

Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence by Michael Capuzzo “I love reading about shark attacks,” Fillion says about this real-life story of a Jaws-like rampage on the New Jersey coast in 1916. “A book that can make you afraid? I love it.”

The Spenser detective novels by Robert B. Parker “Spenser’s supertough, but he’s not indestructible. He’s got just the right amount of macho. If they remake that TV series [Spenser: For Hire, in which Robert Urich starred in the 1980s], I’d be interested.”

See video of Fillion at the shoot and hear more about his series, fans, and summer travel plans. Plus, sample the new Richard Castle Mystery: on the Parade website

Friday, June 8, 2012

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar is a steampunk adventure novel. I could image this story being serialized in a newspaper. If they still did that type of thing. The story starts off with Milady De Winter arriving at a the scene of a murder on the Rue Morgue in Paris. And the literary hits just keep coming. I started keeping track of all the references to other fictional characters from the late nineteenth century but gave up because there are so many. There are also a lot of references to real people and events of the same time period.

Like any steampunk story, the world described slightly different than the real Victorian age. For one thing, an alien lizard is the queen of England. Seriously. It's a very important plot point. The other thing is there is absolutely no racism in Tidhar's world. The man character is a 6 foot tall black woman who once married into English society. She now works for the Black Council of France as some sort of supper agent/troubleshooter and no one bats an eye.

The crime scene Milady is called to is a locked room (how I detest locked room mysteries!) but once you notice the window is open it's not so important. In fact the whole murder is inconsequential to the rest of the story. I read the book and I still don't know why the victim was carrying something inside his stomach. At some point Milady ends up with a piece of a jade sculpture in her eye but it's not clear where the piece came from. Was it once inside the belly of a dead man?

There are a lot of people in this book and not a lot for some of them to do. Everyone's after the jade lizard statue. Everyone wants it for his/her own reasons. The only people who know what the statue really is are the lizards. And the reader. The statue "talks" to the person holding it and to Milady but neither of them understand what it's talking about. Anyone who has read a lot of science fiction will figure out what the statue is for.

I could have done without whole portions of this book. I think they could be ripped out without causing any ripples in the story. Sometimes color is just annoying after a while. Having said that, I will read more books by Tidhar.