Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2010.01


Live Free or Die: I wouldn’t pay for this

Live Free or Die by John Ringo

Humans were alarmed when the first aliens that arrived to introduce themselves to Earth set up a hypergate that immediately connected Earth with all the outside universe. We were no longer alone. At least the Glatun were friendly aliens.

Tyler Vernon, a smart hard-working guy who chops wood for a living, decides to take this opportunity to improve his fortune. He finds a product that our new alien friends love and begins a business empire. Soon he’s the richest man on Earth, and that means he’s got a lot of influence on how things get done.

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Swarm: Shallow but thrilling

Swarm by B.V. Larson

Professor Kyle Riggs and his kids were asleep in their house when the alien spaceship arrived. It killed the kids, kidnapped Kyle, and put him through a series of grueling tests. Since he was still alive afterward, the ship made Kyle the captain. This has been happening all over Earth. Most of the captured humans have been killed because they couldn’t make it through the rigorous tests, but all the survivors are now piloting spaceships and in the perfect position to fight off an alien invasion that’s coming to enslave humanity.

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Museum of Thieves: Asked too much of me

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

She didn’t want to be safe. She wanted to be free.

It’s Separation Day and 12-year old Goldie is finally going to be separated from her parents and guardians. Literally separated. For in the town of Jewel, where the most important value is safety, children are always chained to a parent or guardian during the day and tied to the bedpost at night. And when they do something wrong, as Goldie is prone to do regularly, they’re put in heavy “punishment chains.”

This year the Grand Protector has lowered the separation age from 16 to 12 because she believes that Jewel is much safer than it used to be.

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Kat, Incorrigible: Magical Austen for the middle grade reader

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden.

Thus begin the adventures of Katherine Ann Stephenson, also known as Kat. Kat is twelve and has a plethora of problems. Her oldest sibling, Charles, has gambled away all the family’s money and been sent home from Oxford. Her oldest sister Elissa is in love with the idea of being the tragic gothic heroine who sacrifices everything to marry and save her family from destruction.

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The Last Dragonslayer: A fast and mildly entertaining read

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde, is a young adult novel whose style will be readily familiar to those who’ve read Fforde’s adult fare such as the THURSDAY NEXT series. Unfortunately, the wit and satire don’t quite translate fully to the young adult realm here, and while The Last Dragonslayer is a fast and mildly entertaining read, it falls short of the exuberant originality and enjoyment I’ve come to expect from this author.

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Captain America Vol. 5: “The Winter Soldier”

Captain America, Vol 5.: “The Winter Soldier” (Issue 1-14) by Ed Brubaker

There has been a long-standing rule for writers of Captain America: his sidekick Bucky must stay dead because his death is central to understanding the character of Captain America in the present. The basic story is that Captain America takes a teenaged Bucky under his wing in his fight against Nazis in World War II. In an explosion that nearly kills Captain America, Bucky Barnes dies. When Captain America is found years later preserved in the ice and is brought back to life,

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Don’t Kill the Messenger: Doesn’t take itself too seriously

Don’t Kill the Messenger by Eileen Rendahl

Don’t Kill the Messenger is a paranormal romance that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Eileen Rendahl is not a visionary writer, but in this genre she doesn’t need to be, as long as she knows how to write a handsome, edgy love interest for the main character. My cynical attitude aside, Don’t Kill the Messenger is really not bad.

Melina drowned as a young girl. The near-death experience brought some pretty amazing changes,

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Nightfall: A bloody mystery thriller

Nightfall by Stephen Leather

Jack Nightingale was a cop, a negotiator to be specific. He becomes a private investigator after a series of strange and tragic events. Things get really weird for Jack when he finds out the parents he lost as a teenager had actually adopted him, and his real father has left him a huge mansion in the countryside. I should also mention that his biological father was an evil bastard who sold Jack’s soul to a demon, and only a few days remain till said demon comes to collect.

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Esperanza: Lots to like, but ultimately disappointing

Esperanza by Trish J. MacGregor

Esperanza is a supernatural adventure novel set in Ecuador. It has a lot to recommend it, even though I was ultimately disappointed.

Some of the problems have to do with marketing. Esperanza is blurbed as a “supernatural thriller.” The book is tense and suspenseful, but I was never scared by it. Also, it is clearly book one of a series, but the blurb does not make that clear. As it is, Esperanza doesn’t end,

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SKULLKICKERS Vol. 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body

SKULLKICKERS Vol. 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body by  Jim Zub (author) & Chris Stevens (artist)

Note: Vol 1. collects issues #1-5

No one knows the names of these two monster slayers for hire. One is a dwarf who wields two short battle-axes and the other a big bald brute that carries an almost unknown weapon: a pistol. For the right price, this pair will do any killings you require. They can out-fight, out-drink, and usually out-smart most anything — man, beast, or creature. They are the SKULLKICKERS.

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Recent Discussion:

  1. Not sure I can be persuaded on two of these articles. When I was young book-banning meant you couldn't sell…

May 2023