Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick & Dirty Reviews: Say Hello To Disappointment



Blood Work by Kim Harrison
A graphic novel prequel to Harrison’s popular Hollows series, this is the story of how Rachel and Ivy first meet, when after being busted down from homicide to street crime, vampire I.S. agent Ivy is partnered with newbie agent and witch Rachel.  Sparks fly, heads butt and Ivy takes a bath with Kisten but there is not a lot of substance to this story and it is definitely not a stand alone.  I suspect first time readers will find some of it incomprehensible.  If you have read the  Hollows series, you won’t find much new here.  There is no real story.  Someone is killing werewolves in order to use their  blood for black magic.  For what exactly, we don’t know.  Who wants the blood?  We never learn that either.  There are some henchman types doing the bloodletting and killing but, oops, they get killed before anything can be learned from them. Nothing is solved at the end of the story.  The art is ok, with several bulbous tit shots and a scene where Ivy and Rachel manage to jump the line at a club by acting all lesbionic.  I suppose it’s titillating... if you’re a teenage fanboy but I would have preferred a story with more substance.  Or at least some sort of resolution.  Instead all we get is an oddly paced, slice of life that adds nothing to the series.  At $25, it is not worth the price.  I feel ripped off.
Grade: D
Obtained: Purchased



Cast in Ruin (Chronicles of Elantra, #7) by Michelle Sagara West
I’ve been a fan of the Chronicles of Elantra for quite some time and I thought the series hit a new high with book five,  Cast in Silence.  So I was really looking forward to the newest entry in the continuing saga of Private Kaylin Neya.  Unfortunately, this installment failed to satisy.  I found the writing style convoluted, even clunky at times, something I have not noticed with the earlier books.  This may have had to do with the fact that I wasn’t  engaged by the story of Cast in Ruin and. at points, was not completely sure what was happening.  Plus, after seven books, I’m getting tired of the scrappy little Hawk, who despite being super powerful and the designated “Chosen” of this world,is still only a private.  For a private, she sure gets around.  She’s the friggin savior to all – the Tha’alani, the Barani, the Leotine, the People, and now, the Dragons.  After seven books, I need more forward motion – not the baby steps I feel like I’m getting.  I want Kaylin to smarten up.  I want her to stop avoiding her responsibilities and stop acting like an adolescent.  It’s easy to understand why everyone else gets so frustrated with her.  I know I am.  It’s time for us to learn a little more about her powers and what exactly being “The Chosen” means.  So far, it seems like her powers are assigned solely by the needs of the story.  First there is some sort of magical conflict and then, lo and behold, Kaylin discovers a previously unknown magical ability that allows her, and only her, to overcome the threat. Well, yay for her.
I will say that I truly enjoyed the last 60 pages and the things we learned there could potentially make things very interesting in the next book.  However, I’ll be taking a break from the series.
Grade: C
Obtained: via Paperbackswap.com   





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BOOK PIMPIN

Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3) by Mira Grant
The year is 2041, and Shaun Mason is in a rotten mood.  Everyone he loves is dead or in hiding.  The world is doing its best to end itself for the second time.  With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, he must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies, and worse, before the conspiracy that killed Georgie manages to kill the only thing left of her - the truth.
The year is 2041, and Georgia Mason is having a bad day.  For one thing, she's not dead; for another, she's being held by a team of CDC researchers, "for her own good."  And if there's one thing she knows is true in her post-zombie, post-resurrection America, it's this:
Things can always get worse.
Drops June 7, 2012


The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.
he soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.
In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.
Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
Drops January 11, 2012

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BOOK NEWS


  • Somehow the National Book Awards screwed up.  Instead of announcing "Chime" by Franny Billingsley to this years shortlist, "Shine" by Lauren Myracle was named.  The error has caused all sorts of drama resulting in Myracle withdrawing her book from the list.  You can also check out an irate Libba Bray's take on the whole matter.

  • Roaming around Comic Con, I came across a table for Book Country, a free community for readers and writers.  It's a place to discover new works and new authors of genre fiction, learn about the industry, and give and receive constructive criticism.  It's free to join and it's also a subsidiary of Penguin Group, although not a backdoor for unsolicited manuscripts.  

  • Author Doranna Durgin is having trouble with Canadian Publisher, Fitzhenry & Whiteside over who owns the rights to Durgin's novel, Dun Lady's Jess.  Basically the publishers needed to keep the book in print "through regular trade channels" or else the rights revert back to the author.  Since the book is no longer being offered through these channels, Durgin has asked for her rights back.  The publishers are happy to comply if she buys up all the copies the publisher has stored in their warehouse.


  • Speaking of comics, things are really heating up over this Amazon/Kindle Fire/DC thing.  Two weeks ago, Barnes and Noble announced they would no longer carry any DC book that they were not allowed to also sell digitally.  Books-A-Million followed suit a week later.  This is like watching a fight between Mechagodzilla, Super-Mechagodzilla, and Millennium Mechagodzilla.  Sadly, it's the fans who lose out... at least the fans who own a Nook or iPad.  Kindle-owning fans - you're good.  Bookstore Drop Comics After Amazon deal with DC

  • Amazon sure is ruffling a lot of feathers in the book world.  122 books will be released under its new publishing program this fall.  According to reports, the company is also aggressively pursuing some of the publishing world's most successful authors.  The NY Times has the skinny here.  Then head over to Chasing Ray where Colleen Mondor calls "bullshit" and adds her own rebuttal to the Times' piece.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Pimpin

The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon & Clare, #1) by Lilith Saintcrow
Emma Bannon, Prime sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn’t much help that they dislike each other, or that Bannon’s Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs.   The game is afoot…     Drops August 2012 


The Killing Moon (Dreamblood, #1) by N.K. Jemison
In the city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Along its ancient stone streets, where time is marked by the river’s floods, there is no crime or violence. Within the city’s colored shadows, priests of the dream-goddess harvest the wild power of the sleeping mind as magic, using it to heal, soothe… and kill.
But when corruption blooms at the heart of Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru — most famous of the city’s Gatherers — cannot defeat it alone. With the aid of his cold-eyed apprentice and a beautiful foreign spy, he must thwart a conspiracy whose roots lie in his own past. And to prevent the unleashing of deadly forbidden magic, he must somehow defeat a Gatherer’s most terrifying nemesis: the Reaper.   Drops May 3, 2012


Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen, set in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades went on to earn great acclaim, became a finalist for the prestigious Nebula and Locus Awards, and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel, Glamour in Glass, which continues to follow the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a deeper vein of drama and intrigue. 
In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to France for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, they struggle to escape. But when Vincent is captured as a British spy, Jane realizes that their honeymoon has been a ruse to give them a reason to be in Europe. 
Left with no outward salvation, Jane is left to overcome her own delicate circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison... and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.
Drops April 20, 2012

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book News



  • A bit of a kerfuffle over at the British Fantasy Awards when author Sam Stone, the first woman to win the August Derleth award for best novel since 1980, returned the prize after criticism over the nomination and judging process erupted.  You can read all about it here.  Subsequently, the BFS released a statement that no corruption or wrongdoing took place during the process. 

  • Holy smokies! Talk about kerfuffle!  Celina Summers, a former senior editor at Aspen Mountain Press, has broken her silence about  the disintegration of the company which led to the senior staff walking out at the end of July.  It's a can't-look-away, car wreck of a read.  Make sure to check out the comments too.

  • Lev Grossman's The Magicians has been optioned by Fox with plans to turn it into a tv series.  Tor.com has the skinny

  • Some changes are being made over at Crossed Genres Publications.  After three years of publication, Crossed Genres Magazine is closing.  The last issue will be January 2012 and the publishing company will turn it's focus towards novels and anthologies.

  • After three (long) years, Dial has finally announced the publishing date for Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue, a companion novel to Graceling and Fire.  There is no description available but the plot will involve codes and cyphers.  Katsa, Po and King Leck will all appear in the novel. 

  • Lost in Austen, the story of a modern day gal who somehow is transported into Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, is Nora Ephron's latest project.  Originally an ITV mini-series, Ephron will re-write the script as well as direct.  I do not have high hopes for this.  Ephron is a great writer but a crappy director.  Unless she has learned something about pacing, I'll be skipping this one.

  • Amazon has launched a science fiction/fantasy/horror imprint called 47North, publishing original, previously published and out-of-print works.  I wonder if Barnes and Noble will carry Amazon books?  Especially considering the kerfuffle over the DC graphic novels/Kindle Fire Deal.

  • With her Southern Vampire series winding down (the last two in the series will come out in 2012 and 2013), Charlaine Harris has begun plans for her next project.  Along with Christopher Golden, Harris will write a graphic novel trilogy called Cemetery Girl for the Ace imprint.  GalleyCat has the scoop.

  • Stephen King and son Joe Hill too adapt their story Throttle as a comic.  From the press release: IDW Publishing is proud to announce ROAD RAGE, a new partnership with best-selling authors Stephen King and Joe Hill, to produce a comic-book adaptation of their co-written adventure tale, Throttle. This monthly two-part series begins in February, and will be followed by two issues adapting the story that inspired ThrottleRichard Matheson’s classic tale of suspense, Duel, beginning in April.  Further details here.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

New York Comic Con 2011

So it's that time of year - the New York Comic Con is happening at the end of this week at the grand ol' Javitts Center in lovely mid-town Manhattan and yours truly will be there.  The hardcore fans will probably go every day but me, I'm just going on Friday.  School and work should cut down the numbers of attendees that day, leaving Saturday and Sunday the huge days to go.   I don't like crowds and there is still plenty to do and see on Friday, especially since, for the first time,  Friday will be a full day at the convention.  I plan on attending several panels.  Some that have caught my eye: 

  • Zombies, Fallen Angels, and Other Paranormals Give New Meaning To
  • The Del Rey Spectra Steampunk Zombie Invasion
  • Intro to Intellectual Property Law
  • The Never Ending Battle (A PBS Documentary) Exclusive Preview 
  • Steampunk 101
  • XX: The Women of Queer Comics
  • Steampunk in Comics and Literature
  • Demonic Hotspots, Infernal Pit Stops and the Badlands: The Great American Roadtrip to Hell
Huh.  Eight panels.  That's a pretty long list.. for me.  In past years, my must list was maybe  three panels long and I'd spend the rest of my time roaming the floor and talking to book publishers, trying to find out if anything hot was coming down the pike.

Anyway.  When I was gearing up for BEA 2011,  I put together a couple of NYC informational posts for those visiting from out of town.  I thought the info could be helpful to those coming to comic con and I've linked to them below.  
Have a great time at comic con, don't act like a douchebag and be safe!




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Well, this is a exciting new entry to the vampire genre.  A dark, gothic-y tale with some intricate world building, plus a tormented hero and a dangerous heroine.  Right up my alley.  I'm not sure if I would categorize this book as urban fantasy or paranormal but since the publisher is Orbit, it's probably considered UF.  Whatever it is, I liked it.  Despite some familiar tropes, Painter's take on the world of vampires manages to be fresh, layered with a deep, rich history and the result is a multifaceted world ruled by complex power structures.


Blood Rights by Kristen Painter
House of Comarré, #1
ISBN13: 9781841499697  
Published October 1st 2011 by Orbit
Grade: B+
Back Cover Blurb: The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers. 
Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarrĂ©—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks. 
Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Pimpin

Discount Armageddon (Incryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 
Cryptid, noun:
1. Any creature whose existence has been suggested but not proven scientifically. Term officially coined by cryptozoologist John E. Wall in 1983. 
2. That thing that's getting ready to eat your head. 
3. See also: "monster." 
The Covenant of St. George was founded to uphold one simple ideal: anything that was not present on the Ark—anything they deemed "unnatural"—needed to be destroyed. Monsters. Creatures of myth and legend. All of them would be wiped from the Earth in the name of Man's dominion. Unfortunately for them, not all the monsters agreed with this plan...and neither did all the human beings. 
After their rather abrupt departure from the Covenant, Alexander and Enid Healy found themselves alone in the world, but with a simple mission of their own: to protect the cryptids of the world from those who would harm them without just cause. It was a cause that would eventually claim both their lives, leaving their children, and their childrens' children, to take up the fight. Now in the modern day, their descendants struggle to stay beneath the Covenant's radar, while defending the cryptids from humanity—and humanity from the cryptids.
Drops March 6, 2012


Something About Witches (Arcane Shot #1) by Joey W. Hill
Ruby Night Divine is a witch who runs a gun shop. Magic can fail – she knows that first hand, having experienced it with full-blown tragic consequences, far beyond what Dr. Phil can fix. Smith & Wesson is a whole hell of a lot more reliable, and nothing’s as cathartic as the ability to put a few holes in the things that piss you off. Like Derek Stormwind.
A powerful sorcerer, Derek is determined to get to the bottom of why she pushed him away and ran three years before. He also wants her help. A coven needs training to face a demon and his army of minions. Oh sure. It’s amazing what sweet things a guy will offer to get back into a woman’s heart, and into her bed. 
Only in this case, she knows he never left her heart, and in her bed is exactly where she wants him to be. Unfortunately, her bed’s already made, and she’s close to losing her soul. And not even Smith & Wesson or Derek Stormwind can fix that.
Drops February 7, 2012

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tangle of Need - excerpt


The cover has been released for Nalini Singh's Tangle of Need but I still haven't found a description for it so I can post it to my Upcoming Books 2012 page.  Oh well.  In the meantime, you can read this excerpt over at Singh's blog.  




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some Book News



  • Liza at Blogging by Liza, also has some spoilers for upcoming books.  Looks like Blay and Qhuinn's book will be happening after Tohr's.  From the blog:                                                         TEAM QHUAY!!!She said it needs to be next after Tohr’s book. 2 things have to happen in Tohr’s book to set it up – Team Qhuay won’t be happy with one of the things that happens. Both must happen for their book to be ready. FYI, this is the first time she called it a book rather than a novella. Not sure if that means we get an actual book, but kind of makes me wonder…                   You can read more here.

  • There's a rumor going around that the Qhuinn and Blay book will be in hardcover.

  • Orbit has posted an early look at some covers for books coming out in 2012.  Once a description has been posted, you'll see many of these show up on my Upcoming 2012 list but for now, check out some pretty covers.  Go ahead, it's art.

  • All this week, Tor.com and Barnes and Noble are co-sponsoring a steampunk book appreciation week.  You can find book recommendations, sweepstakes and blog posts here.

  • Booklamp is a website designed to help readers discover new books.  You put in the name of a book you read and enjoyed and Booklamp will make recommendations based storyline, themes, genres, and writing styles.  Personally, despite a super long TBR pile, I'm always interested in discovering new books so this could come in quite handy.

  • Another good place to check out new books, as well as read the first chapters, is D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters.  You can search by authors, publishers, labels, and relationships.  It's a risk free way to dip your toes in before deciding whether a book is worth buying.

  • F. Paul Wilson is ending his very successful Repairman Jack series.  He's at the point where he feels it is time to resolve the long-term story arc or else the series will begin to grow stale.  More here from Wilson on the decision.

  • Orbit will be publishing Gail Carrriger's next adult series in 2013.  Called The Parasol Protectorate Abroad, you can read the announcement here.

  • Abaddon Books is launching a venture for it's Pax Britannia series.  The next two installments will be published as ebooks and the readers will be able to vote on how the wish the series to continue.  Hellnotes has the details.









Monday, October 3, 2011

More Book Pimpin - Upcoming 2012



Geared for Pleasure: An Elemental Steam Romance by R.G. Alexander, Rachel Grace
The world of Theorrey runs like a well-oiled machine. The elements are in balance, passion is tamed and the young queen is the heartbeat of it all. But nothing is ever as it seems…
Earthly Desires
Demeter “Dare” Senedal is the Queen’s Chalice—her protector and closest companion. So when the queen goes missing Dare rushes to locate her, even though the search leads her straight into trouble. 
Gaming den owner Bodhan revels in carnal delights, but when a naked and bound woman appears on his shore, his hunger to possess wars with his need to protect. As Bodhan shares his knowledge of pleasure, Dare must decide if she can trust him, both with her mission and her heart. 
Fiery Temptations
Seraphina always lands on her feet. After all, she is a Felidae—more feline than human—and an excellent thief. There has never been a job Phina wouldn’t take or a man who could tame her…until she meets Cyrus Arendal. 
As the Queen’s Sword, Cyrus should have known better than to fall victim to a beautiful bandit. Now, to find the dagger that she stole from him, he’ll need to convince Phina not to judge a man by his station, but by how completely he can satisfy her desires.
Drops March 6, 2012


Royal Street (Sentinals of New Orleans #1) by Suzanne Johnson
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond. 
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. 
While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover. 
To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
Drops 4/10/2012