Saturday, January 31, 2009

NYT bestsellers for January 30th

Stephanie Meyer’s The Host maintains last week's position at number 2 in week 37. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ From Dead to Worse also keeps steady at number 12 in its eighteenth week. (Amazon, B&N)

The paperback of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road rounds out its 70th week on the NYT list down nine to number 35. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series has books 1-7 in various positions from number 10 to number 35.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BSC Review: The Jennifer Morgue

I just complete my first review for Bookspot Central of The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross. This also happens to be my first review not done for my blog so I hope everyone there likes it. In retrospect, perhaps I should not have provided an important plot spoiler though it did make sense to mention it in the review. Click here to read the review.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New releases for the week of January 27th


Already the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack, Kitty and Ben now plan to tie the knot human-style by eloping to Vegas. Kitty is looking forward to sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool and doing her popular radio show on live TV, but her hotel is stocked with werewolf-hating bounty hunters. Elsewhere on the Strip an old-school magician might be wielding the real thing; the vampire community is harboring a dark secret; and the irresistible star of a suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild, and this werewolf has never had to fight harder to save not only her wedding, but her very life.

> Men of the Otherworld, Kelley Armstrong

Flight into Darkness, Sarah Ash
> The Domino Men, Jonathon Barnes
> Horizon, Lois McMaster Bujold
> Arch Wizard, Ed Greenwood
> A is for Alien, Caitlin Kiernan
> Heroes of the Valley, Jonathon Stroud
> Iron Angel, Alan Campbell
> Sins of the Assassin, Robert Ferrigno
> Ring of Fire II, Eric Flint
> Dragon in Chains, Daniel Fox
> The Book of the Wars, Mark Geston
> The Map of Moments, Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon
> The Vampire’s Revenge, Raven Hart
> The Born Queen, Greg Keyes
> Hunter’s Run, George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham
> Victory Conditions, Elizabeth Moon
> From the Sea to the Stars, Andre Norton
> Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Patterns of the Force, Michael Reaves
> Manxome Foe, Tavis Taylor, John Ringo
> End of the Century, Chris Roberson
> Three Unbroken, Chris Roberson

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NYT bestsellers for January 23rd

Stephanie Meyer’s The Host finishes its 36th straight week on the bestseller list and maintains its previous position of number 2. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ From Dead to Worse is down one to number 12 at the end of its seventeenth week on the list. (Amazon, B&N)

Matthew Stover’s Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor slips four points in its third week to number 31. (Amazon, B&N)

Stephen King’s Just After Sunset comes in at number 33, down thirteen in week ten. (Amazon, B&N)

The paperback of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is back up two spots to number 26 in its 69th week. (Amazon, B&N)

After last week's big tumble Tobias Buckell’s Halo: The Cole Protocol clings tenaciously to the NYT bestseller list for its eighth week falling one rank to number 34. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series has books one through seven in various positions between number 7 and number 26.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review: Mean Streets

Mean Streets

by Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kat Richardson, Thomas E. Sniegoski

Format: Paperback, 342 pages
Publisher: Roc Trade
Cover Art: Chris McGrath
Release Date: January 6, 2009
ISBN-10: 0-451462497
ISBN-13: 978-0451462497

Mean Streets is a new supernatural detective anthology made up of four short stories, “The Warrior” by Jim Butcher, “The Difference a Day Makes” by Simon R. Green, “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” by Kat Richardson, and “Noah’s Orphan’s” by Thomas E. Sniegoski.

In “The Warrior” by Jim Butcher, a threat is made against Harry Dresden’s friend Michael Carpenter, injured during the events in Small Favor and now retired Knight of the Cross. Harry is determined to protect his friend and soon discovers that the danger is from a rather unlikely source. In the process, Harry learns that battle between good and evil occurs on many levels and enemies are not always the ones you’d expect.

Simon R. Green’s John Taylor is the best private detective in the secret world of the Nightside. When an innocent woman stumbles across his path asking for help finding her lost memories, he takes the job but in the Nightside some things are best forgotten.

Kat Richardson created a parallel world of ghosts for her series Greywalker. Harper Blaine is asked by a woman she’s never met to do a simple job on the Mexican Day of the Dead. However, it soon becomes clear that there is far more to the story than meets the eye.

There is more to private eye Remy Chandler than meets the eye, especially considering that he is a fallen angel. When Noah of the Noah’s Ark parable is found murdered, Remy sets out to find the killer and stumbles onto a mystery of biblical origins. Be sure to check out this interesting new series by Thomas E. Sniegoski.

Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green are the more established authors with several books each in their two series. Kat Richardson and Thomas E. Sniegoski are the “new” blood to the supernatural detective genre. Of the four authors contributing to this anthology, Jim Butcher is the only one that I have previously read. I’m a big fan of the Dresden Files so Butcher’s story was definitely my favorite of the four. Richardson’s story was the weakest though it was also impressively researched. I thought all four stories were well written and worked together very well. I’m definitely interested in trying the three authors I have not yet read.

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and supernatural mystery.

Rating: 8/10.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New releases for the week of January 20th


The Steel Remains, Richard Morgan

As the Yhelteth Empire recovers from a devastating war, embittered veterans Archeth, Egar and Ringil embark on parallel but vastly different journeys. The emperor sends drug-abusing Archeth to gather details about a rumored invasion. Egar becomes a steppes clanmaster, but the other horsemen despise him for seducing teenagers rather than leading. Ringil attempts to locate and free a cousin sold into slavery. All three soon discover the dwenda, a race of magical beings thought long dead.

> Mind Over Ship, David Marusek
(Amazon, B&N)

> Whipping Star, Frank Herbert
(Amazon, B&N)

> Yellow Blue Tibia, Adam Roberts
(, Book Depository)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

NYT bestsellers for January 15th

Stephanie Meyer’s The Host inches up a single slot to number 2 in its 35th week on the list. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ From Dead to Worse jumps another eight spots in its sixteenth week to number 11. (Amazon, B&N)

Stephen King’s Just After Sunset falls to number 20, down eight in its ninth week. (Amazon, B&N)

Matthew Stover’s Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor ends its second week down six to number 27. (Amazon, B&N)

Simon R. Green’s Just Another Judgement Day makes its debut on the NYT bestseller list at number 31. (Amazon, B&N)

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road slips another two points to number 28 in its 68th week. (Amazon, B&N)

Tobias Buckell’s Halo: The Cole Protocol falls a staggering twenty-one spots in week seven to number 33. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series has books 1-4 and 6-7 in various positions from number 14 to number 30.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Review: Barrel Fever

Barrel Fever
By David Sedaris (Agent site)

Format: Paperback, 196 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Release Date: June 1, 1995
ISBN-10: 0-316779423
ISBN-13: 978-0316779425

I’ve heard of David Sedaris the humorist from time to time. A few of my friends of have read him and they say he writes super funny essays on just about anything. One even has a quote of his as one of her favorites. When I read a new author of science fiction or fantasy I like to start with their first book if I can. I didn’t even think about doing any differently with Sedaris when I picked up Barrel Fever.

Barrel Fever is divided into two sections. The first three-fourths is made up of short stories while the rest is of essays. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of the short stories. Each story is a stand-alone, unrelated to the others. They are told in first person narrative by a character that often has a pretty snarky and crooked look on life. I wasn’t sure if the stories were supposed to be satirical, comedic, dramatic, or anything at all. A few were funny but others were less so and they didn’t really seem to have any purpose.

Sedaris finally hit his stride in the essay section culminating with “Santaland Dairies”. There were only four essays, but they held my interest a lot better than the short stories had. “Santaland Dairies, in which the author works as an elf in Macy’s during Christmas season, was the funniest and best of the book. The author related his encounters during the most stressful time of the year in a sarcastic tone that appeals to the devil in all of us. I nearly pissed myself reading how he and a coworker re-envisioned Santaland as Satanland. The essays are clearly where Sedaris shines.

This book wasn’t what I expected and the rating will reflect that, however I realize that it's mostly my fault. In retrospect, I should have started with a different book. I would recommend this book for all Sedaris fans, although first-time readers might want to start with a more recent or well-known collection.

Rating: 6.5/10.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox
By Barry Hughart

Format: Hardcover, 645 pages
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Cover Art: Jon Foster
Release Date: November 2008
ISBN-13: 598-1596062009
Barry Hughart

I had never heard of this book until last fall when people were talking about it because of the upcoming release from Subterranean. I did a little research and it seems he’s only written three books. The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Tex Ox is an omnibus of those three books, Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentleman, and set in an ancient magical China that never was. The books are written in first person point of view of Number Ten Ox, a humble assistant to Master Li. Master Li is a wise man that also happens to have a flaw in his character and is a bit of a drunk, murderer, and thief. Together they have bumbling adventures, fight injustice, and battle and match wits with evil forces.

Being three books in one Chronicles took me almost a week and a half to read. Part of that was due to the highly detailed and rich prose. Hughart describes history, scenery, and characters in flamboyant detail, often in a meandering path. Not that I’m complaining. The book was a joy to read and vividly imagined, though the author does sometimes get a little carried away.

Other than an oft overly verbose prose, the only real drawback is that I thought Master Li was sometimes a little too clever in figuring out the mystery. Number Ten Ox is a peasant and presents himself as the dim, if pure, assistant to the wisest man in China. So Master Li’s unraveling of the plot is essentially a forgone conclusion. Readers shouldn’t expect a simple, straightforward plot because that would be unfair to the story.

I was quite enchanted by how realistic the stories felt. The level of detail in Chinese culture, history, and myth is extremely high. Hughart weaves ancient folk tales, legends, and history into his version of a fantastical China. The stories are simultaneously parody, drama, love, adventure, comedy, and fantasy all in one. The humor is often laugh-out-loud hilarious as evidenced by the quote at the top of this blog.

Subterranean was the publisher for this omnibus so the book is a limited edition and last I checked all available copies were sold out. I don’t believe it’s even listed on Amazon anymore. It’s still possible to get an omnibus that was published in 1998 as well as the original, individual books. Please look for them because you won’t regret it. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 9/10.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New releases for the week of January 13th

One thing to note: several of the books on this week's list are reprints and since reprints are not tracked as closely as brand new titles there are often conflicting releases dates or none at all.
When they conflict, I'm going by Barnes & Nobles's release date.


The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, Charlie Huston
(Amazon, B&N)
The fact is, whether it’s a dog hit by a train or an old lady who had a heart attack on the can, someone has to clean up the nasty mess. And that someone is Webster Fillmore Goodhue, who just may be the least likely person in Los Angeles County to hold down such a gig. With his teaching career derailed by tragedy, Web hasn’t done much for the last year except some heavy slacking. But when his only friend in the world lets him know that his freeloading days are over, and he tires of taking cash from his spaced-out mom and refuses to take any more from his embittered father, Web joins Clean Team–and soon finds himself sponging a Malibu suicide’s brains from a bathroom mirror, and flirting with the man’s bereaved and beautiful daughter.

Then things get weird: The dead man’s daughter asks a favor. Her brother’s in need of somebody who can clean up a mess. Every cell in Web’s brain tells him to turn her down, but something else makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. Is it her laugh? Her desperate tone of voice? The chance that this might be history’s strangest booty call? Whatever it is, soon enough it’s Web who needs the help when gun-toting California cowboys start showing up on his doorstep. What’s the deal? Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? Web doesn’t have a clue, but he’ll need to get one if he’s going to keep from getting his face kicked in. Again. And again. And again.

> The Maze of the Enchanter, Clark Ashton Smith (Anthology)
> Psychlone, Greg Bear (Reprint)
> Science Fiction: The Best of 2005, Karen Haber (Anthology)
> Crossing Infinity, Karen Haber (Reprint)
> Hammer of God, Karen Miller
> Gilgamesh the King, Robert Silverberg (Reprint)

> The Destiny of the Dead, Ian Irvine (Paperback)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NYT bestsellers for January 8th


Stephanie Meyer’s The Host ends it's 34th week on the list up two points to number 3. (Amazon, B&N)

Stephen King’s Just After Sunset slips six spots in its eighth week to finish at number 12. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ From Dead to Worse jumps an impressive thirteen ranks to stop at number 19 in its fifteenth week. (Amazon, B&N)

Matthew Stover’s Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor makes its debut on the NYT bestseller list at number 21. (Amazon, B&N)

Orson Scott Card’s Ender in Exile rounds out week eight at number 29, down four. (Amazon, B&N)

Jim Butcher’s Princep’s Fury also makes its first debut on the list at number 30. (Amazon, B&N)

Tobias Buckell’s Halo: The Cole Protocol inches up one spot to number 12 in its sixth week. (Amazon, B&N)

The paperback of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is down nine ranks to number 26 in its 67th consecutive week on the list. (Amazon, B&N)

Stephen King’s Duma Key tumbles a staggering twenty-four points in its eleventh week to stop at number 32. (Amazon, B&N)

Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series has books 1-7 in various positions from number 9 to number 28.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A song and a bookreader's test

In case you haven't already noticed, John of Grasping for the Wind has written a song with lyrics almost entirely of book blogs. He manages to make it rhyme as well as match it to a tempo. It's quite good. This particular blog is mentioned in the first line of the second stanza. If you'd like to check out the song for yourself, click here.

I was checking out Aiden's A Dribble of Ink blog this morning and saw that he found an online test to see what kind of reader you are. I took it and got this:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

That sounds about right I think. ;-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New releases for the week of January 6th


The direct sequel to the Hugo Award- winning novel Cyteen, Regenesis continues the story of Ariane Emory PR, the genetic clone of one of the greatest scientists humanity has ever produced, and of her search for the murderer of her progenitor—the original Ariane Emory. Murder, politics, deception, and genetic and psychological manipulation combine against a backdrop of interstellar human societies at odds to create a mesmerizing and major work in Regenesis. Who did kill the original Ariane Emory? And can her personal replicate avoid the same fate?

> David Falkayn, Star Trader, Poul Anderson
> The God Stalker Chronicles, P.C. Hodgell
> The Vacant Throne, Joshua Palmatier
> Honor of the Clan, John Ringo, Julie Cochrane
> Bones of the Dragon, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
> Mean Streets, Jim Butcher, Simon Green, Thomas Sniegoski, Kat Richardson (Anthology)
> We Think, Therefore We Are, Peter Crowther (Anthology)
> Poe, Ellen Datlow (Anthology)
> Evil Ways, Justin Gustainis
> The Stepsister Scheme, Jim Hines
> The Accidental Sorcerer, K.E. Mills
> Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
> Maelstrom, Peter Watts
> Twelve, Jasper Kent

Saturday, January 3, 2009

NYT bestsellers for January 2nd

Stephanie Meyer’s The Host finishes it's 33rd week on the list maintaining its previous position at number 5.

Stephen King’s Just After Sunset also keeps it's previous spot at number 6 at the end of its seventh week.

Orson Scott Card’s Ender in Exile is up three points to number 25 in week seven.

Charlaine Harris’ From Dead to Worse climbs up three spots in its fourteenth week to number 32.

Neal Stephenson’s Anathem makes it debut on the NYT bestseller list at number 33.

Stephen King’s Duma Key rounds out week ten at number 8 and up one.

The mass market paperback of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is up fifteen to number 12 in week four.

Tobias Buckell’s Halo: The Cole Protocol slips four spots in its fifth week to hit number 13.

The paperback of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is still going strong in its 66th week on the bestseller list. It's up six points to number 15.

Gregory Maguire’s The Wicked is up four ranks to number 23 in week eleven.

Christopher Tolkien’s The Children of Hurin marks its 11 week on the list with no change from last week. It is at number 31.

Gregory Maguire’s Son of a Witch makes its debut on the paperback list at number 33.

Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series has books 1-7 in various positions from number 4 to number 22.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! It’s the first day of 2009 and I thought it would be a good time to restart my blog. I plan to do much the same as I did before concentrating on reviews, bestsellers, and new releases. I’m also currently talking to the moderators at Bookspot Central about reviewing books for them. If it works out, I’ll be reviewing one book a month and posting a link here from the forum. I’ve added and mixed up some of the links to the side so be sure to check those out. I’ll also be making some changes to some of my posts. They’ll be mostly cosmetic changes to my reviews and new releases to make them look a little better and more organized. I’ll probably experiment a little so don’t be surprised if they change a little throughout rest of the month.

Because it’s the New Year I think it would be appropriate to list my favorite reads from 2008. I threw together a few “bests” categories to highlight some of the books in particular. After that, are two lists of all the books I read last year in alphabetical order, 2008 books first followed by books published prior to that. All the books listed are those that I rated at least eight out of ten or higher.

Best Overall Novel
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon. A young man seeks information about a mysterious author in post-War Barcelona. The story is dark and melancholy yet tempered with hope. This novel is a superlative tale of both the darker and better sides of human nature.

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie.

Best Science Fiction
Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin. The Wild Cards series, about a virus that transforms people into superheroes and mutilated freaks, is the longest running shared-world anthology in ever. The first volume in the series covers almost 40 years and some of the most dramatic history to make for great superhero storytelling.

The Separation by Christopher Priest.

Best Fantasy
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. The last book in the First Law trilogy by hot new author Joe Abercrombie concludes on a very dark, gritty, cynical tone and probably marks one of the strongest series finish you'll ever read.

A tie between An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham and The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney.

Best Unexpected Novel
Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin. I picked Wizard of Earthsea year ago and did not care for it. I picked this book up almost on a whim and have not regreted it for a minute. This blending of myth and historical fiction will appeal to just about everyone.

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow.

Most Underrated Novel
The Fade by Chris Wooding. This science fiction book about revenge and underground civilizations has only been released in the United Kingdom. I heard about this from a review by Adam Whitehead of The Wertzone. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
Superpowers by David Schwartz.

Most Promising Author
Brandon Sanderson. With his new epic fantay series, Mistborn, Sanderson has established himself as a great new voice in speculative fiction.
Charlie Huston

Inside Straight, GRRM et al
Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie
An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham
Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow
Sly Mongoose, Tobias Buckell
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow
The Ten Thousand, Paul Kearney
Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin
Blood of Elves, Andrzej Sapkowski
Superpowers, David Schwartz

Wild Cards I, GRRM et al
World War Z, Max Brooks
Already Dead, Charlie Huston
The Mark of Ran, Paul Kearney
Thirteen, Richard Morgan
The Separation, Christopher Priest
The Well of Ascension, Brandon Sanderson
Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
The Secret History of Moscow, Ekaterina Sedia
The Wheelman, Duane Swierczynski
The Fade, Chris Wooding
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Luis Zafon