2010.06


Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: Stories that deepen Wells’ world and characters

Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud by Martha Wells

Martha Wells has written several short stories and novellas set in the world of her BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA. They’ve been collected in two volumes called Stories of the Raksura and I’ve read both of these volumes. Volume 1, which collects the novellas The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud as well as the short stories “The Forest Boy” and “Adaptation,” is the best of these and, in fact, I think these shorts were better than the novels, making Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1 my favorite RAKSURA book.

Here’s a description of each story in this volume:

The Fal... Read More

Give Up the Ghost: A welcome little twist at the end

Give Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell

Fans of Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES will be happy to hear that Give Up the Ghost, the new sixth book in the series (released today) again delivers exactly what’s expected: a low-stress cozy paranormal murder mystery with a cute premise, a marvelous setting, and a great cast of characters.

For most of the novel there’s nothing unique or unexpected with Blackwell’s formula which, I assume, will please readers who’ve made it this far in the series. This time Mel Turner is renovating the historic mansion of Andrew Stirling, a millionaire living in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. Stirling, whose taste is rather tacky, has had the house modernized, but this has upset its resident ghost, so Mel has been called in to ... Read More

Ares: Bringer of War: A great new take on an old tale

Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor

Ares: Bringer of War is George O'Connor's sixth title in his OLYMPIANS series of graphic retellings of Greek myths for younger readers. Short take? I'm wondering why the Hades I don't own the first five, an oversight I will quickly rectify. Long take below . . .

I absolutely loved this book. Beginning with its opening segment on the distinction to be made between the two gods of War in the Greek pantheon: Athena and Ares. O'Connor begins with Athena, whom he calls the "the goddess of martial skill. Of formations, of strategy. Of training realized and wisdom applied." And the art presents just such a calculating image of war, with its highly symmetrical depiction of Greek soldiers, their feet, spears, bodies, and shields precisely aligned, all against a cool blue background. But war isn't always so neatly organized; it is often "chaotic, unpr... Read More

By A Thread: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Stop here if you’re planning to read Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series and haven’t read books one through five yet. This review is for book six, By a Thread, and will contain spoilers for the earlier books.

In the previous book, Spider’s Revenge, Gin Blanco (as the title implies) took care of Mab Monroe, her nemesis and the crime boss of Ashland Tennessee. At this point, Estep’s fans have got to be wondering “now what’s Gin gonna do?” It seems like her life is set; she’s got an awesome boyfriend, she’s reunited with her sister, business is booming, and her enemy is dead. But life still isn’t easy for Gin. With Mab gone, all sorts of bad people have been trying to take Gin out and she just can’t get a break. So Gin, Bria, Owen, and Finn pack up and go on vacation to the town were Bria grew up in a fost... Read More

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell: A horror novella

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell by Mira Grant

Mira Grant created a fascinating world in her NEWSFLESH, is a masterful piece of hard science fiction, combining medical detail with political intrigue with intricate worldbuilding. Her characters were so real that the end of the first book in the trilogy, Feed, reduced me to tears.

Since completing the trilogy, Grant continues to write about the world she created. With the novella The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, she may finally have returned to the well once too often. It’s a solid story, detailing the day-to-day issues presented to schools when blood becomes a deadly substance. Grant skillfully builds suspense for those less familiar with her world as she tells of the consequences of one 6-year-old child’s tiny lie about skinning his hand at recess. But ultimately, she has so comp... Read More