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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Timothy Zahn . . . and Rob Zombie (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I was going with a little author/title alliteration, but it's fallen by the wayside for these last 3 days - as much as I tried, as deep as I dug, and as hard as I pondered, the XYZ trilogy was an impossible one to allierate.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter Z, as in Timothy Zahn. While it's a little bit unfair that people so often focus on his Star Wars contributions when he's a very successful science fiction author outside the expanded universe, his epic Thrawn Trilogy was what made Star Wars cool again - long before Lucas tried ruining it with the likes of Jake LLoyd, Hayden Christensen, and Jar Jar Binks. Zahn captured the spirit and the feel of the original movies, giving us a sequel that not only made sense, but that had enough of a threat/menace to justify bringing Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest out of retirement.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Rob Zombie, and a track from his break-out solo album. As much as I loved his White Zombie stuff, it was cool to see him plunge completely into his horror roots and mine the darkness for a second career.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Chelsea Quinn Yarbro . . . and Yes (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I was going with a little author/title alliteration, but it's fallen by the wayside for these last 3 days - as much as I tried, as deep as I dug, and as hard as I pondered, the XYZ trilogy was an impossible one to allierate.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter Y, as in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. The veritable queen of historical fantasy, Yarbro has been drawing vampires out of the darkness and making them interesting as characters, not as monsters, for 35 years now. Her most famous vampire, Count Saint-Germain, first appeared on the scene less than 2 years after the (sadly) more famous Lestat de Lioncourt. If you're in the mood for a well-written historical fantasy, one that touches smartly on authentic historical events and personages, but with a subtle supernatural flavour, then I'd strongly suggest giving one of her books a try.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Yes, and their classic, chart-topping, genre-hopping hit, Owner of a Lonely Heart. Even though it's very much an oddball in the context of their largely progressive rock catalogue, it made them a household name . . . and it's just a killer track.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stacking The Shelves & What I'm Reading

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme being hosted by Tynga's Reviews, while Mailbox Monday is being hosted by MariReads this month (see Mailbox Monday for each month's host). Both memes are all about sharing the books you've added to your shelves - physical and virtual, borrowed and bought. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey, and it's focused on what's in your hands, as opposed to what's on your shelf.


A small stack of review titles this week:



As for what I'm reading, I have reviews coming up over the next 2 weeks for:


What's topping your shelves this week?
Luke Scull, David Black, John O'Neill, Douglas F. Warwick, Raymond E. Feist, Ira Nayman, Peter Hallett

X is for The Xibalba Murders . . . and X (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter X, as in The Xibalba Murders. Okay, so this is the second time this week (and third overall) that my theme failed me but, come on, it's the letter X! This first book in Lyn Hamilton's Archaeological Mysteries series appeals to me on several levels . . . but it's still sitting in the to-be-read pile. Hopefully I can rectify that someday soon and give my fellow Canuck a read.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of X, the eighth studio album from Def Leppard. Marking a significant departure from the sound of the Slang album (which I see to be one of the few DL fans to truly enjoy), this one really kick-started their career resurgence, even though it only had one real hit.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for The World Without Us . . . and Wednesday 13 (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter W, as in The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. If you've ever watched the TV series Life After People, then you know what to expect here, in the book that inspired the TV adaptation. Weisman takes a look at what would happen to our world if humanity were suddenly and completely removed from the picture. How would our civilizations, our monuments, our towering achievements of architecture fall; how would nature reclaim its own; and how would the world reinvent itself for whatever species rises to supremacy next?

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Wednesday 13. If you've never been exposed to Wednesday 13 and his various musical projects - including Maniac Spider Trash, Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, and Murderdolls - then you are missing out. Imagine a more tongue-in-cheek Alice Cooper, with more of a punk influence, and an unabashed love for horror movies, and you've got an idea of what to expect. Fast, fun, fierce, and catchy, he just keeps cranking out the hits.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Forever Knight by John Marco (TOUR REVIEW)

Although The Forever Knight is a direct follow-up to John Marco's original Bronze Knight trilogy, this novel is deliberately written to serve as a standalone entry. Although it's been called a reboot - I really hate that term - that is most definitely not the case. Marco doesn't negate or reinterpret events of the first series, and doesn't rewind the chronology to make a fresh start. It is, instead, something of a reset or a refresh, a chance to establish Lukien as a protagonist for new readers, and set him up for new adventures to come.

In that sense, the story suffers a bit from the proverbial 'middle book' syndrome, in that it seems like more of a side-wise detour than the epic journey one might expect. It's an engaging enough detour, entertaining from start to finish, but all the talk of prophecy, destiny, and mysterious purposes makes you feel as if Marco is warming us up for something big . . . something that's only teased here.

Lukien is an interesting hero, a flawed protagonist with some unusual issues and motivations. Immortal - for all intents and purposes - he's already faced his demons, won his battle, and come out the other side, not quite alive, but not unscathed either. He's a man without a purpose, a hero looking for a cause, with only a ghost and a child to keep him grounded. Lukien is an easy man to admire, although a difficult one to like. His anger often gets the best of him, and his mood swings can be just as rough as his scarred, one-eyed appearance might lead one to expect.

If there's one aspect where the narrative suffered a bit for me, it's in the single point-of-view we share with Lukien. With his frantic sojourns to-and-fro, there's so much happening behind him that there could almost be another book lost in the details there. More than that, though, it leaves the climax of Cricket's story to happen off the page, denying us the drama, and redirected our sympathies from her to Lukien. That may very well be a deliberate move on the part of Marcos - Lukien is the protagonist, after all - but given that she represents the only real danger, vulnerability, and weakness in the tale, I felt cheated (in a fashion), of seeing her arc through to the end.

That POV issue aside, this is a fast-moving, richly-detailed novel that goes to some very dark, very grim places. Mad would-be-emperors, armies of the dead, thieving merchant-kings, demon monstrosities, and more populate the landscape, providing Lukien with something to rail against. There are also elements of humour and moments of sympathy, balancing out the tale and providing a thematic counterpoint to the rejuvenation of the protagonist at the heart of it all. Marco does a superb job of recapping previous events in a natural manner, weaving memories and recollections into the story where it makes sense, rather than badgering the reader or hitting us over the head with backstory info-dumps.

Not having read the Bronze Knight trilogy (yet), I can't say how compelling this volume will be for fans of that series, but I know it's made me want to continue reading.

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John Marco is the author of seven previous books. His debut fantasy series, Tyrants and Kings, earned him a Barnes and Noble Readers Choice Award and has since been translated into numerous languages around the world. His first three novels of Lukien, The Eyes of God, The Devil’s Armor, and The Sword of Angels have received high praise.

In addition to his work as a novelist, he is also a proud and avid nerd and blogs at his website, thehappynerd.com.

He lives on Long Island with his wife and young son.

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V is for The John Varley Reader . . . and Voivod (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter V, as in  The John Varley Reader by (you guessed it) John Varley. This is a one-stop-shop for fans looking to relive some of Varley's best moments, as well as for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to his work. Many of the stories here will be familiar to fans of the genre, but the last 5 have never been collected before, and are worth the price of admission alone.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Voivod. Having spanned the entire metal spectrum throughout their career - from speed, to progressive, to thrash, to almost mainstream - but it's a cover tune that, perhaps, is most well-known to the casual listener.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday - Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Aug 6, 2013 (Ace Hardcover)

Mark Lawrence brings to a thrilling close his epic trilogy of a boy who would be king, a king who would desire an empire—and an empire on the edge of destruction…

King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. 

His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb.

For there is only one power worth wielding…absolute power. 

Jorg would be emperor. It is a position not to be gained by the sword but rather by vote. And never in living memory has anyone secured a majority of the vote, leaving the Broken Empire long without a leader. Jorg has plans to change that—one way or the other. He’s uncovered even more of the lost technology of the land, and he won’t hesitate to use it.

But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King.

The boy who would rule all may have finally met his match...


This is another series from my 2013 TBR Pile that I'm anxious to give a read. There's nothing like a note of finality to kickstart my reading, so I anticipate another back-to-back-to-back series read here. It worked for Peter V. Brett, and is working well for Raymond E. Feist, so I have high hopes. Of course, I also have Daniel Abraham and S.A. Corey cued up for series reads before then, so we'll see how I manage.

U is for Under the Dome . . . and Union Underground (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter U, as in Under the Dome. Yes, my alliteration theme has failed me for the day, but only for the 2nd time, which isn't bad. Today gives me a chance to highlight the latest magnum-opus from Stephen King, which is set to become a TV miniseries this summer. The concept alone is fantastic, no matter how many times it's drawn comparisons to The Simpsons movie. One day, out of nowhere, a dome appears around a small town, completely cutting them off from the rest of the world. Where it came from is the least important (and silliest) part of the tale - where King triumphs, as usual, is in exploring how society crumbles and how quickly our humanity is stripped away in the face of fear.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of The Union Underground. What the hell ever happened to these guys? One great album, with a shout-out-loud anthem that demands to be cranked up to 11 and screamed out in the car, and then they disappeared. It's a shame, because I would have loved a follow-up, but at least they left us with a killer track.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for To Green Angel Tower . . . and Type O Negative (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter T, as in To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams. The final book of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy has to be one of the most satisfying conclusions to a fantasy saga. Williams clearly knew exactly where he was going, and had a roadmap for how to get there. It's a heavy volume in every respect, but absolutely stunning in its scope and power. Instead of being one of those final volumes where you're just anxious to get past the filler and get to the end, the drama and the suspense is maintained throughout, keeping the journey just as important as the destination.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Type O Negative. What can I say about these guys that hasn't been said before? They're not exactly hook-laden, but there's something accessible about their music, making them a great introduction to the darker halls of industrial music.



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The Fugitive Grandma by Dmitri Ragano (REVIEW)

The Fugitive Grandma by Dmitri Ragano
Published February 5th 2013 by CreateSpace
Paperback, 374 pages


Synopsis:

At once a crime thriller, black comedy and family drama wrapped into one poignant and satirical novel.

Deep in the heart of California’s dysfunctional, strip-mall suburbs, the city of Santa Ramona, California is besieged by a pair of unlikely bandits.

Johnny Valentine is a lonely boy who dreams of becoming a hero, just like the masked avengers from the pages of his comic books.

His feisty grandmother Stella is a retired supermarket clerk and cancer survivor with a fierce sense of justice. Running out of time, money and options, the old lady is driven by the need to make one last great contribution.

Together the boy and his grandma devise a Robin-Hood style scheme to rob a ruthless retail conglomerate, stealing cash and medicine for the sick and needy.

As their crime spree continues, the citizens of Santa Ramona wonder how to judge the crazy young boy and his fugitive grandma.

Are Johnny and Stella Valentine a menace to society? Or are they the only ones trying to save it?


Review:

We all know Thelma & Louise, Mickey & Mallory but Dimitri Ragano brings us Stella & Johnny Valentine. In this Robin Hood tale of the 21st century.

Johnny Valentine spends most of his days with his grandmother Stella. When his father gets mixed up with a thug running bingo gambling, and money embezzling he makes changes that sends his mother into robbery and police chases.

This is a great read for crime detective readers. Although I can not pull out the black comedy in this work of fiction from Ragano.



(as posted by Donald on Goodreads)

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Scourge of the Betrayer . . . and Steel Panther (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter S, as in Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards. The debut novel from Salyards wasn't perfect, but it had a lot to offer, and has me anxious to see what he can do with the next book in Bloodsounder's Arc. It was a dark and gritty fantasy, centered around a cast of characters who were definitely not your typical band of heroes, and narrated by the most reluctant member of their band, a scribe who isn't even sure he'll survive the journey.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Steel Panther. These guys are, hands-down, the best tongue-in-cheek musical homage to the heyday of hair metal around. They absolutely nail the over-the-top sexual innuendo, the attitude, and the glam look, but they pair that with some legitimate musical chops, creating a sound that could have come from the late 80s.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Revelation Space . . . and Rasputina (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter R, as in Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. A hard sci-fi space opera, this is a series opener I've started twice, thoroughly enjoyed, but have yet to finished. I liked everything about it, and really want to immerse myself in his world. It's just a matter of timing, I guess, but any book that opens with a deep space archaeological dig is guaranteed to remain on my shelves until it's finished.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Rasputina. A decidedly odd, ethereal sounding band, Rasputina first came to my attention through the use of their song Transylvanian Concubine in an early season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just an all-around great track, and one that brings to mind great memories.



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Friday, April 19, 2013

Geddy's Moon by John Mulhall (REVIEW)

Amnesia. It's one of the most overused tropes in entertainment history, overplayed to the point that it has become a soap opera punch line - and rightly so. While it can be effective when resolved in the right way, all too often it's drawn out for the sake of dramatic effect. Juliette's prolonged amnesia on Grimm is a perfect example of where a desperate attempt to generate a little genre fails miserably.

Tie that amnesia to the proverbial drifter, and you've dug yourself a literary hole that many readers won't care to escape.

Fortunately, John Mulhall understands the risk involved in building a story around a drifter's amnesia. While it  launches Geddy's Moon, the amnesia here is exploited just long enough to help establish some mystery, and then promptly resolved. It ends up being one of those rare instances where the trope works, and where the story is stronger for using it wisely, allowing for a very nice narrative reveal. There's such a sense of anticipation created through Tyler's dreams and his snippets of memories, we not only care what's happened to him, we're desperate to understand just what he's tried so hard to forget .  .. and why.

Mulhall's work here reminds of Jonathan Mayberry, a literary nod to the likes of King and Koontz, but one that stops short of being a homage or an imitation. It's more an acknowledgement of just how effective, how narratively compelling those older stories are, updated for a new generation of readers.

There's a great story here, built upon a solid mystery and a truly chilling sense of horror. It's a story with several twists and turns, many of them surprising, some of them even shocking, but all of them consistent with the progression of the story. There are no cheap twists here, and no forced gotcha moments. Mulhall evokes strong emotional reactions on the part of the reader, but does so fairly. More than that, it's a story driven by great characters, men and women who are already being developed the moment they first appear on the page. It's hard not to become connected to these characters, to identify and sympathize with them, which is (of course) key to making us care about those narrative surprises.

The pacing, for the most part, is excellent, with only the ending coming across as a little rushed. There's a lot of detail, and a lot of time invested in developing scenes and settings, but it all flows well. While I sometimes found myself impatient to get on with the story, to find out how it was all going to be resolved, that's not a comment on the pacing or the level of detail, but on my investment in the fate of the world created.

I hate to keep making comparisons, but if you're a fan of the 'classics' of King, Koontz, Straub, McCammon, and their peers, where the supernatural element is just as important, just as well-developed, and just as entertaining as the character element, then you are definitely going to enjoy the read.


Published February 20th 2013 by Blanket Fort Books
Kindle Edition, 475 pages

Q is for Ellery Queen . . . and Queensryche (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter Q, as in The Adventures of Ellery Queen by Ellery Queen. My first exposure to the world of Ellery Queen was through the mid 70s TV series starring Jim Hutton, which I caught about 15 years later in repeats on A&E. While some 50 years separated the books and the TV show, it was done as a mid 40s period piece, which made the transition from TV to book quite smooth for me. The character isn't written quite the way Hutton portrayed him, but the whodunit mystery element is even stronger. Simple, classic, and thoroughly enjoyable, it's a series I revisit every once in a while when I need something different to read.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Queensryche. They've never quite recaptured the progressive metal supremacy of their first two albums, but they're a smart, creative, innovative band that I never get tired to listening to - kind of a more metal version of Dream Theatre. Silent Lucidity is the track that gets the most airplay, but Empire is the one that I crank the loudest.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dark Children of Naor by Justyna Plichta-Jendzio (REVIEW)

A tale of elves, vampires, dragons, and more, Dark Children of Naor is a collection of three tales that take us from the frozen wastes of the north, to the vineyards and courts of the south, all in a land called Naor. What Justyna Plichta-Jendzio has crafted here is a work of classic/traditional fantasy that weaves together interesting characters, complex monsters, and almost fairy-tale like themes.

It's also a tale of strong women - monsters, hunters, and heroes alike - who surpass their traditional roles by putting a new spin on them. In the first tale, a beautiful young woman must do battle with the exterminators sent to hunt her down, while fighting against the darkness of her very nature. It's a very traditional vampire story with an edge . . . literally. The second tale turns the tables, making a woman the hunter, hot on the trail (no pun intended) of the dragon who decimated her family. She's a great character, but it's the mythology of the dragons - the velangs - that really intrigued me.

The third tale is the longest of the lot, and the one that really takes us into the mythology and philosophy of Justyna's world. It's also the story with the most depth in terms of setting, introducing us to the highs and lows of society - the rich, the poor, the nobles, and the slaves. While the first two stories were largely straightforward, with a nice twist at the end, this is a tale that's built on betrayals. The introduction of more spiritual themes, of angels and demons, is an odd expansion of the traditional fantasy genre, but one that works.

All told, these are strong stories, with interesting characters, that are well-told. I would have liked to see a bit of framing around them, something to either link them together or establish them within the larger worldview, but that's a minor quibble. I enjoyed my time in Naor, and would definitely be up for a return visit.


Published August 1st 2012 by Devine Destinies
ebook

P is for Pendergast . . . and Platinum Blonde (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter P, as in the Pendergast series, from Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Aloysius Xingú Leng Pendergast quickly made the jump from supporting character in Relic and Reliquary to the main character in The Cabinet of Curiosities. Imagine, if you will, a reclusive, eccentric, genius of an investigator - a modern day Sherlock Holmes, if you will - investigating cases the likes of which might be found anywhere from The X-Files to Criminal Minds. He is a brilliant creation, and the stories are as fascinating as they are gruesome. There is an element of formula involved, but it is the character of Pendergast who elevates the books above their competition.

While his first 6 novels are largely standalone tales, Preston and Child gave him a pair of longer story arcs in the Diogenes Trilogy and the Helen Trilogy.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Platinum Blonde. Perhaps best know for their first two albums, I went with the title track from their third album, the one so carefully crafted to garner international acclaim, but which fell victim of a time in which new wave rock was on its way out. Still around, with a new album out last year, these guys are just stellar songwriters and musicians.



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Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday - The Crown Tower by Michael Sullivan

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Crown Tower by Michael Sullivan
Aug 6, 2013 (Orbit)

Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

Hadrian Blackwater, a warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with Royce Melborn, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the old wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, just might do it.


With the first book of his Riyria Chronicles, Michael J. Sullivan begins weaving the backstory of Hadrian and Royce, the heroes of his popular Riyria Revelations. I've quite enjoyed the Revelations books so far, and while I'll likely wait to catch up on the series before diving into the Chronicles, I am sorely tempted to give this a read the moment it hits shelves.

O is for One Rainy Night . . . and Oingo Boingo (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Challenge is a daily meme posting every day (except Sundays) in April. Check out the list of 1500+ participants below and follow along for 26 days (and 26 letters) of fun. The 2-letter code after each blog name may help narrow your choices - (BO) is Books, (WR) is Writing, (PH) is Photography . . . and, if you're concerned about those NSFW pages, (AC) is Adult Content.

For my theme, I'm going with a little author/title alliteration.

Today's challenge post is brought to you by the letter O, as in One Rainy Night by Richard Laymon (ahem). Okay, so today seems to be the day that theme falls apart, but that's OK because it offers me a little flexibility to feature the classic that originally established me as a Laymon fan. The basic premise is as simple as it is horrifying - a mysterious black rain falls upon a small town, turning everyone it touches into violent psychopaths. Laymon pulls no punches in exploring the consequences of such a rain, and pushes the weird, creepy, unsettling horror up a notch higher than most authors could only dream of. Better yet, he wastes no time trying to explain it away or justify it all. In terms of guilty pleasures, Laymon is right up there with Bentley Little in my books.

The musical accompaniment for the day comes to us courtesy of Oingo Boingo, the alternative, new wave, college rock, call-it-what-you-will, band that Danny Elfman fronted for so many years. They had so many great songs, and so many movie anthems, but this is the one track that always comes to mind when I think of the guys.



αωαωαωαωαωαωαω

Click Here for the full list of blogs participating.