As I said a couple of posts back I’m having a go at Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge and Day 2 is called Write a List Post, which also explains yesterdays post of Five Books I Love.
So I’m starting a new monthly feature on the blog, Five Posts from Five Blogs, and I thought I’d show you some of different posts from the last month. It will feature new blogs each month so the voices and views should show off some off the books out there and some of the passionate bloggers who promote them. I hope you find some things you like.
A Dribble of Ink from Aiden Moher
Aiden loves his cover art April has a great selection. He’s started on The Dresden Files and I hope he reads more. There is also a big up on Mark Charan Newton.
- Review | Storm Front by Jim Butcher
- Cover Art & Synopsis | The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn
- Interview | Mark Charan Newton
- An Aside | The David Gemmell Legend Award shortlist announced
- Review | Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton
BookGeeks has a great range of reviews from the now eight contributors, which probably explains the wide-range of books presented. There is a wonderful number of reviews with a few interviews thrown in in April.
This blog is a new discovery for me. Whilst I have to say that it might not have the most in-depth reviews. It does have a great selection of books. There are also some wonderful reviews.
My Favourite Books
The wonderful Liz and Mark run My Favourite Books and they always have a great selection of books. For April and May they are running a celebration of horror with Horror Blog Fest. So with that in mind here are five Horror Blog Fest related posts:
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy & Sci-Fi Weblog
Dave is having a bit of an Orbit fest this month. Not that’s a bad thing at all. Orbit have some great titles as you’ll often see here on this blog .
> An Interview with Michael Cobley, Seeds of Earth
And there you have it. Five posts from Five Blogs.
I don’t really take too much notice of Richard & Judy’s Book Club, not that there is anything wrong with it but usually they don’t spark too much interest on the radar. But the Summer Reads have a couple of genre-touching titles you might like.
Mystery Man by Colin Bateman
Published by Headline and released 14 May 2009 in paperback
He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective agency next door goes bust, the agency’s clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases. It’s an easy way to sell books to his gullible customers and Alison, the beautiful girl in the jewellery shop across the road, will surely be impressed. Except she’s not. And when they break into the shuttered shop on a dare, they have their answer. Suddenly they’re catapulted along a murder trail which leads them from modern dance to Nazi secrets and serial killers…
I’ve read a Colin Bateman some time ago though I can’t remember for the life of me remember what it was called. I know I enjoyed it at the time so I have a feeling that this one will be quite fun too.
Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter
Published by Vintage and Out Now in paperback
Summer, 1952. Twenty powerful men gather in secret and devise a plot to manipulate the President of the United States. Soon after, writer Eddie Wesley leaves a party hosted by affluent and influential members of black society, and discovers a body. The murdered man had an unusual gold cross gripped between his hands and Eddie is determined to find out why he was killed and what the cross signifies. But then Eddie’s sister Junie becomes entangled in an underground movement and vanishes…Is her disappearance connected to the conspiracy to control the President of the United States?
I do like the odd conspiracy theory and I’m a bit of Americanophile. I’m also a lover of things like The West Wing so this sounds quite fun!
Actually both seem to fit in the escapist fiction category and what better type of book do you need when on holiday?
I really need to start thinking about a post on Summer Reads. Now that’s a good idea. Whilst I’m thinking about that. What do you take on holiday to read?
I’ve just done this top five quiz on Facebook and trying to get it done quickly I choose five books I love off the top of my head. Well not quite the books off the top of my head but books that for some reason have stuck with me and here they are:
Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
Sorcery by Terry Pratchett
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
Crow by Ted Hughes
Those are some of mine, what’s yours?
Hellboy: The Fire Wolves by Tim Lebbon
Published by Dark Horse and Out New
Hellboy is called to Amalfi, Italy, by Franca, a young member of the Esposito family. She fears that a dark curse on her family is about to claim her cousin as its next victim. Hellboy makes his way to their large home, and he encounters a flaming demon – a fire wolf – which he successfully fights off. Hellboy and Franca make their way to Pompeii, where Franca remembers seeing an image of the fire wolf whilst on an archaeological dig. Hellboy unearths the shriveled corpse of a demon hunter who was buried during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius, and it tells him of the fire-demon that escaped the grip of the volcano leading to that devastating eruption. Attacked again by the fire wolf, Hellboy and Franca have to make their way back to Amalfi to confront Adamo Esposito, the family elder. But already the volcano is rumbling again, and an eruption even more devastating than that historical catastrophe looks very, very close!
I’ve already sneaked a peek at this one and read the prologue. I had to pull myself away.
I’m a great lover of Hellboy in movie and cartoon versions but I’ve yet to read the comic and it looks like I’m going to see his novelised-persona before I get to the comics. I want the Library Editions of the comic books (graphic novels if you want) but haven’t quite found the budget for them yet.
Anyway, I’m excited by this one! Plus I know that Mark Chadbourn has written the next one Hellboy: The Ice Wolves so I have no choice but to devour this one first. Such a chore!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I’m trying to be more organised? I’ve got carefully selected book promotions going on regularly for a start I like them. They remind me of the books that have caught my eye and that I really do want to and will try to read plus and probably most importantly I’m sharing them with you.
I’m also starting to feature more crime and literary titles – the literary ones still have to have that speculative edge. It’s strange when you look at it what genre and literary imprints release and how they touch each other and cross over. But that’s probably a discussion for another day. I’ve never been able to stick to narrow band of books and love them from all other. And I have a feeling that NextRead might expand in scope. I’m hoping that’s my personal tastes aren’t going to be alienating or too wide. We’ll have to see I think.
And as I’m in that mood in May I’m going to take Darren’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge! I admit to starting it a month late but I only just found out about it. So you’ might find some changes from that too. (It must be in the air and Graeme’s asking for feedback on his blog)
Anyway apart from the changes my Moleskin has a list of things that I need to feed onto the blog like a couple of interviews I need to write questions for and see if the authors are still OK doing them. I have some great new titles from publisher Serpent’s Tale and Cannongate. Along with titles from Orbit, Gollancz, Vintage, and Tor to name but a few imprints that have been feature many times before.
It might just be me finding more books but there are a lot of exciting stuff out there for readers at the minute.
If anyone has any suggestions of what they’d like to see more or less of please do let me know…
Right time to go back to the fabulous Charlie Hutson!
Monster by A. Lee Martinez
Published by Orbit US on 11 May 2009 (US only for now)
Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don’t like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady – for the future of the universe.
Monster runs a pest control agency. He’s overworked and has domestic troubles – like having the girlfriend from hell.
Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.
But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster’s in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn’t catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.
Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.
I’ve just seen my first review of this, ‘the pure entertainment definitely worth the cover price.”
Sounds like the stuff. Light relief in novels is the way to go!
The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison
Published by Simon and Schuster and Out Now
It is never a good sign when the novel you are reading feels like it’s dragging and it’s only 326 pages of quite large type. But that’s what happened with The Thirteen Treasures. I’ll admit now that I am not the target audience as it’s more a teenage fantasy than adult but it’s very much in the realm of my reading with two examples being Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom and Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher.
Tanya is sent to her grandmothers to give her mother a break as her mother can’t cope with her behaviour. But Tanya really isn’t to blame it’s the fairies. And at this point I really should have stopped reading. I’m going to try hard not to spoil it too much but I do need to explain a few things in order to say what I’m having problems with so with that in mind…
You’ve got that haven’t you?
Right with that out of way. I can say a bit more. When Tanya arrives are her grandmothers she discovers a mystery that no-one in the house speaks of. That isn’t a spoiler it’s in the blurb. As is Fabian, the caretaker’s son being tormented by the disappearance and the fact that his grandfather was the last person to see this person alive. The other thing is that Tanya can’t tell anyone about the fact that she can see fairies.
This leaves Tanya as quite a miserable character. Actually it’s not a bad premise. The trouble comes in after the story starts, how the characters interact and how the story builds. It’s a mental story rather than emotional. Characters like the grandmother and especially the mother fulfil their role without a sense of depth or connection to Tanya. This might be how teenage girls see their elders. So this might suit the audience but it niggled at me a lot.
The other thing that I had problem with is the way Tanya is left alone – and this is where the spoilers come in – you find out at the end that she has been in danger all along and the elders know something about the danger she is in. But the way they act and react throughout makes her being there illogical and why her mother is clueless to her abilities when she must have grown up in the same house with the same rumours can’t possibly be ignored.
There really are too many holes that can be poked here. The story felt like it was progressing by numbers and so long as everything fitted it would work. But it doesn’t, not when you look back over it. There are too many strange choices, interactions, lack of interventions and explanations that would have stopped the story in its tracks. And things that could have had more impact weren’t used like the bracelet and the compass.
I’m afraid to say that by the time I got the end I was glad to shut the covers.
Saying all that So Many Books, So Little Time liked it, and it won Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2009 so it might come down to audience but I really can’t give it credit due to the flaws that it contains.
Kill Her Again by Robert Gregory Browne
Published by Pan Books on 1st May 2009
FBI agent Anna McBride has reached a crisis point in her life. Disgraced and demoted after leading a disastrous operation in South San Francisco, she finds herself reassigned to one of the Bureau’s Southern California satellite offices, stuck with a partner who’s about as obnoxious as they come. But Anna is also battling demons of her own. Increasingly vivid and disturbing nightmares have begun to blur her judgement and interfere with her job, nightmares of a little girl being kidnapped by a man who keeps appearing with a red cap. When she seeks the help of hypnotherapist, Daniel Pope – a consultant on a case she’s currently investigating – a past life regression session suggests that Anna is the reincarnated victim of a notorious serial killer. Armed with this knowledge, and using clues found only in her nightmares, Anna circumvents Bureau rules and begins investigating a twenty-eight year-old case, hoping to find the killer of the girl who once harboured her soul.
The thing that’s attracting me to Robert Gregory Brown apart from the strange mix of FBI Agent and hypnotherapist is that it’s not that start, middle or end of a series. It’s a stand-alone, which is quite rare in crime drama. Oh and it’s quite short.
Blood Hunters by Steve Voake
Published by Faber Kids and out now
They know where you are …
In the middle of the Mexican jungle a small scientific team prepares to embark on an exploration of the world’s deepest sinkhole; a naturally-formed underwater shaft that no one has ever reached the bottom of. What they are about to discover could change the world forever.
Three thousand miles away, Joe McDonald’s father is arrested for murder. Joe and his friend Giles are desperate to prove his innocence, but when more people are attacked in mysterious circumstances, Joe begins to suspect that a predator is on the loose. Maybe the dark shapes he has seen in the woods and canal aren’t just his imagination.
Could the attacks in Joe’s town be linked to his dad’s research at the university? Could Dad’s colleague have brought something back with him from the expedition in Mexico? Suddenly the search for justice becomes a desperate fight for survival …
Blood Hunters is a good example for me of the power of blogs. I’ve never heard of Steve Voake never heard of Blood Hunters but after reading the review on My Favourite Books I just had to read it. Especially after reading this bit in the review:
a book boys would definitely enjoy, especially for the “ewww” factor
I don’t care if it’s aimed at children or not. If it’s good I want to read it. In fact children’s fantasy is often better than adult’s as children won’t put up with the boring bits!
Social Networks are diversifying, whilst everyone you know and don’t want to know might be joining places like Twitter and Facebook, and I’m a member of both, there are also places like GoodReads and Tor.com that gather together like minded people. I quite like the idea of social or cultural hubs.
Canongate emailed me today to announce the official launch of Meetatthegate.com:
Meet At The Gate is not a typical publisher’s website. Designed as a cultural hub, Meet at the Gate will act as a forum for great writing, intelligent and lively debate, and recommendations you can trust. Interactive and totally independent in its spirit and content, it will provide a wide range of articles and opinion pieces – called Gateposts – on all manner of subjects, but with a particular focus on books, film and music. Visitors can read and comment on essays by leading writers such as Richard Price, Misha Glenny, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin and Nick Cave, and post Gateposts of their own. Those who sign up to the weekly newsletter will be sent Meet at the Gate Fives – 5 of the latest, 5 of the most popular and 5 of the most commented-on Gateposts. Regular features include the “Literature World Tour”, moving East-ward from country to country focusing on books from one country each month, “Talking With”, a series where one author interviews another author, who then interviews another, and so it continues and “The Gatekeeper’s Site of the Week”, linking to literary and book-related sites that visitors may not already be aware of.
The first 500 people to sign up from the launch date will each receive a free book, and everyone who signs up get a free download of The Gift by Lewis Hyde.
You read the bottom bit right? About the first 500 people getting a free book? So what you waiting for! Go on Meet at the Gate!
It does sound like they’ve thought a lot about it. And as it’s been in beta (for want of a better word) so there is plenty of content there already! I’m also sure that Canongate wouldn’t mind if you spotted one or two of their books along the way too.
I’ve just spotted Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
In the afterlife you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. Or you may find the afterlife contains only those people whom you remember. In some afterlives you are split into all your different ages, in some you are recreated based on your credit card records, and in others you are forced to live with annoying versions of yourself that represent what you could have been. In these wonderfully imagined tales – at once funny, wistful and unsettling – Eagleman kicks over the chessboard of traditional notions and offers us a dazzling lens through which to see ourselves here and now. His stories are rooted in science and romance and awe at our mysterious existence: a mixture of hope, love and death that cuts through human nature at innovative angles.
Have fun exploring!