2009.07


Chimes at Midnight: We love this series!

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

I have enjoyed Seanan McGuire’s OCTOBER DAYE urban fantasies, but a few of her more recent novels in the series seemed to introduce too many characters and bring too many different magic systems into play. However, the latest two novels, Chimes at Midnight and The Winter Long (which I’ll review soon), have knocked my socks off with tight plotting and memorable characters. Now I once again find myself impatient for the next one to arrive, and annoyed that the September 1 publication date is so far away.

In Chimes at Midnight, Toby is working with her team — her lover, Tybalt, the local King of Cats; May, Toby’s Fetch; Jasmine, May’s shapeshifting lover; Quentin, Toby’s squire; and Raj, Tybalt’s heir — to hunt for goblin fruit. Goblin fruit is no problem for pure-blooded... Read More

Messenger’s Legacy: Another DEMON CYCLE novella

Messenger’s Legacy by Peter V. Brett

There are a few reasons why I haven’t yet read the novels in Peter V. Brett’s DEMON CYCLE. First is that Bill’s been reviewing them, so there’s no urgent need for me to do so for this site. (I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s kind of what happens sometimes with a group blog.) Second is that they’re a huge time commitment — the last two were each 700 pages long! Third is that the series isn’t finished yet and I have so many unfinished series floating around in my head that I want to wrap up more of them before starting something new. However, I’ve been collecting the novels in audio format at Audible and I’ve been reading the spin-off novellas that Subterranean Press sends me. I really can’t wait to indulge myself in Brett’s world when the time is right. I know I’m going ... Read More

Killing Pretty: Stark gives mainstream life a try, and fails brilliantly

Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey

Killing Pretty is the seventh book in Richard Kadrey’s SANDMAN SLIM series. Barnes and Noble included this book on their list of series books you could start if you hadn’t read the earlier books, and I think this is true. The book is not a reboot by any means, but James Stark, who was known as Sandman Slim when he fought in the arena in Hell, does some ruminating about what his life in L.A. has been like the past few years, and savvy readers would have no real trouble catching on to the story.

At first, Killing Pretty is a little worrying, because it looks like Stark is going legit. He is an employee of a licensed private eye, Julie, who used to work for the Golden Vigil, a hybrid agency comprised of Homeland Security agents and heavenly... Read More

Spellcasting in Silk: Another great audio installment

Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell

Think of Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series as paranormal cozy mysteries. Each stands alone and deals with a relatively non-gory murder committed by a seemingly upstanding member of the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury community where Lily Ivory owns a vintage clothing shop. Being a witch, Lily has some amateur detective skills that Carlos Romero, the handsome local homicide detective, finds helpful. In each installment, Lily, who can be a little nosey (as any amateur detective is), helps solve the case. As the series advances, new characters are added, Lily’s business grows, and her love life evolves. Although each murder mystery stands alone, I recommend reading the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES in order so that you don’t miss Lily’s character development.

I would also highly (highly!) recommend that you read these in audio format, even if you’re ... Read More

Antiagon Fire: When does might make right?

Antiagon Fire by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Antiagon Fire is the fourth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s IMAGER PORTFOLIO series about Quaeryt the scholar (it's the seventh book in the entire series). The twists and turns of Quaeryt’s life have been momentous as befits a fantasy epic, but have often dealt with very mundane aspects of life. In this installment, Modesitt really reaches deep into the realm of political motivations and asks us to consider whether and when might really does make right.

After the traumatic conclusion to the war with Bovaria and the near death of Quaeryt, there was really no way of knowing what would come next. The continent of Lydar has consisted of many different nations for a long time and might have remained that way if not for the war. Quaeryt’s brother-in-law Bhayar has seized the opportunity to unify two nations under his rule and that leaves only two other nations with which to contend. Read More

House Rules: Did Not Finish

House Rules by Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill’s CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES novels have been brain-candy reading for me for a few years now. The books are quick reads that don’t require a lot of thinking but provide action, romance, humor, and occasional pathos. But, sad to say, I think I’m breaking up with this series.

I had high hopes at the beginning of this seventh book, House Rules. Neill introduces a mystery: two rogue vampires have gone missing, last seen at one of the vampire registration offices the new mayor has set up. In the other main plot, Cadogan House has voted to secede from the Greenwich Presidium, and that would surely shake things up a bit.

The series, however, has fallen into the same trap that Neill’s DARK ELITE series did for me. The plot often seems secondary to immature bickering among the characters. It’s not funny enough to work as comic relief; it’s just sniping. An example ... Read More