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Book List

Lock In (Hardcover)

$24.99
ISBN-13: 9780765375865
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Tor Books, 8/2014

Our Speculative Fiction Fantastic First for September.

 

Many great writers have themes (obsessions may be a better word) they return to in their work again and again. The late, great Roger Zelazny often considered immortality in his novels; the wonderful Czech novelist, Milan Kundera, deals regularly with the ideas of memory and forgetting; and John Scalzi’s novels often address the concepts of identity and free will. On the surface, Scalzi’s new novel, Lock In, is a murder mystery set in the near future. After a global pandemic leaves a significant minority of the population “locked in,” physically paralyzed but mentally functional, they use “threeps,” artificial, mechanical bodies (some would call them robots), controlled by embedded neural nets in their brains, to function more-or-less normally. A few Hadens, as the survivors are called, retain the use of their bodies and become “Integrators,” permitting their bodies to be used by other, locked in, Hadens. Several murders (or perhaps suicides) involving the locked-in are assigned to Chris Sane, a new FBI agent who also happens to be a Haden. The more he investigates, however, the more complex and convoluted the cases become. Isaac Asimov often dealt with these themes, incorporating corporate greed, politics, virtual realities, and what it means to be human. I think Scalzi may do it even better. This is a terrific, compelling novel by one of our most exciting young science fiction writers. 

– Guest Reviewer Terry Hertzler


$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780062297211
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: William Morrow & Company, 9/2014

Three bodies. Three rooms. Three floors. One hotel. When young Scotland Yard detective Edward Catchpool interrupts Hercule Poirot’s search a young woman, he has no idea what his future will bring. Nor does he know how to solve the three connected murders he is investigating. As Poirot continues to search for the elusive Jenny, Catchpool travels to the small town the hotel murder victims –  two women and one man – left to visit London. Ostracized, avoided, and ignored by the townspeople, Edward learns of two more bodies and a years-old injustice. The young detective connects another young woman, now famous and in London, to the deceased couple as well as his three new bodies. His biggest concern after visiting the small, unpleasant town is the humbling realization that Poirot is right; Jennie is in danger of becoming the fourth victim, murdered by the same fashion, poisoned with a monogrammed cufflink in her mouth. As Catchpool and the retired Poirot continue to probe the murders, the plot twists, turns, and horrifies. Investigating these murders will plummet Catchpool and Poirot into the selfish depths of human emotion, as well as the primal need for revenge. Not for the faint of heart, but a fascinating read.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780758290847
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Kensington, 9/2014

Murder at Marble House: A Gilded Newport Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell

The twentieth century looms, the women’s suffrage movement is in its infancy as is the bootlegging industry, the Vanderbilt family is in turmoil, and Emma Cross is involved in murder. Again. When a fortune teller is strangled during a gathering at Marble House, the palatial home of newly-divorced Alva Vanderbilt, servant Clara Parker is arrested. The housemaid, found leaning over the body, swears she was only trying to loosen the scarf which was the murder weapon. Consuelo Vanderbilt, Emma’s eighteen-year-old cousin who is faced with an unwanted marriage, chooses to vanish during the resulting chaos. With the help of Consuelo’s rejected suitor Derrick Andrews, Emma searches for both her cousin and a murderer. Emma, rejecting the restrictions society places on women as well as her overwhelming attraction to the rich Andrews scion, comes close to drowning – with Derrick. This action-paced story is rich in history, turn of the century gossip, and social mores and restrictions, as well as romance. This is book two in a charming series that has become one of my favorites. – Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Heaven's Queen (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780316221122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Orbit, 4/2014

Third in the SF series about Deviana Morris and her Lady Gray (personal first class armor) – Fortune’s Pawn and Honor’s Knight were the first two. Deviana now remembers memories she lost regarding a whole hell of a lot of things. You’ll have to read the book for all of the answers! This book shines as the concluding volume,  with all the secrets out in the open. Oh boy, and what secrets they are. Two other alien worlds are colliding with hers, and Deviana finds someone who really, really loves her. But she doesn’t believe all the revelations, including that of someone who is dangerous and lies about it being close to her. And some of the aliens aren’t really the bad guys. Or are they? You can’t miss the adventure’s last throes with what’s real and what’s not.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


The Shibboleth (Hardcover)

$17.95
ISBN-13: 9780761390084
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Carolrhoda Books, 3/2014

In my review of The Twelve-Fingered Boy I said that it was an incredible story. The Shibboleth is the sequel to that book - and it’s even more incredible. It’s combustible – on fire! We find Jack and Shreve are separated. Having no other choice, Jack (the twelve-fingered boy) has gone off to be a part of the “evil” Mr. Quincrux’s school for people with powers. What??!! How did that happen?  There is something going on in another part of the country that is quite unnerving and terrifying – there are those out there who can feel it but no one knows what it is exactly. Meantime, Shreve is desperately trying to escape the boys’ prison. The reader follows the trials and horror Shreve goes through as he keeps running and, along the way, finds out more about his powers. John Hornor Jacobs’ book is an impressive trail of twists and turns, of flashbacks, of winning and losing, of terror and joy. His superb writing skills once again carry us off to heights and emotions – extraordinaire.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates (Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
ISBN-13: 9780425267233
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Berkley, 9/2014

Mystery & Suspense

As if Michele Serrano and Erica Russell, roommates, best friends, and business partners, didn’t have enough to do running their shop Chocolates and Chapters, they may have to add sleuthing to their resumes. When Denise Coburn, photographer and fellow shop owner, is found dead in their shop with chocolate froth around her mouth, Chocolates and Chapters is closed due to the crime scene, and the health department threatens. This fast-paced, entertaining read demonstrates all sides of small town life, and introduces a cast of characters with complicated, messy, interwoven lives. I found every page compulsively readable and couldn’t put it down until the final stunning conclusion. Like Michele’s chocolates – try it, you’ll like it.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Grunt Life: A Task Force Ombra Novel (Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
ISBN-13: 9781781082010
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Solaris, 4/2014

In the acknowledgements at the end of the book (and I give nothing away here), I would like to quote:  “ Special thanks to Jon Oliver for giving me the opportunity to sit in the middle of the intergalactic science fiction sandbox and toss sand gleefully into the air.”  Boy, I tell you what – he built the most fabulous sand castle (or more appropriately, alien spaceship) I’ve ever seen!

Weston Ochse (author of the popular Seal Team 666 series) has written another knockout.  His knowledge of the military and his love of science fiction and writing give us a book that is sure to hit best seller lists. Let me just say that this is much more than aliens running amok here.  It is the story of men and women and their friends, strengths, sorrows, love of Planet Earth and the never ending desire to protect it. And last but not least their fierce fight to free all humans from extinction. Benjamin Carter Mason is standing on the Vincent Thomas Bridge with a bad case of PTSD and a desire to finally get away from all of it – by jumping.  An unknown man comes to stand by him and proceeds to tell Benjamin that he knows his name and the fact that Benjamin died in a house fire that night. The hell? He looks at the stranger and rolls his eyes and jumps off that bridge - falling into a net set up below him to catch him.  And from there comes an amazing story. The world is being attacked by creatures not of this earth and they seem to be winning until a hodgepodge of US military and ex-military – all mentally screwed up; all with serious designs on committing suicide – come together and are trained to be the best they can be and more.  Weston takes you through the process that makes all of them part of the team who must save our planet and our race. We are thrown into a world that could be right around the corner for all of us. A world that is so astonishingly realistic that we could imagine it - maybe not too far into the future.  This book is incredible.  Don’t miss it.

- Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


$15.99
ISBN-13: 9781250033437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, 3/2014

Speculative Fiction ... grrrr arrrgh ...

Jonathan Maberry continues to produce amazing stories and Code Zero is again, amazing. This is the sequel to Patient Zero in which he introduced DMS (Department of Military Sciences) and its major characters, Joe Ledger and Echo Team. Reading one of Jonathan’s novels is like being right there with all the excitement and action flowing around you. Ledger and his team are back and they are still mired in one situation or another where if they don’t fix it – all hell will be out of control and unstoppable. DMS has made it their business to stop terrorists from using world-ending weapons of the biological kind (see zombies in Patient Zero for one). And…. OMG, a secure facility – cannot enter if your life depended on it – has been breached. All of the bioweapons that DMS has confiscated were in that facility and are now gone. One person is claiming she’s doing it - Mother Night. She seems to know everything from everywhere and is threatening to take the entire world down. Put your running shoes on and get ready to zoom off with DMS!

- Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


Alien Research: Alien Novels, Book 8 (Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
ISBN-13: 9780756409432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: DAW, 12/2013

Speculative Fiction

Kitty Katt-Martini and husband Jeff are back on the tarmac and running with the wind. The gang from Alpha Four in the Alpha Centaurion solar system is still here. And some things haven’t changed – the need of jealous and evil (vile evil) people to blast them back to where they came from and steal all the necessary information and power from them while they’re at it. Rumors are that a super-drug is on the market which causes new dangerous talents for those who take it, which can cause more than super problems for our heroes (and heroines). A top of the heap hacker named Chernobog the Ultimate arrives, smashing the myth that he wasn’t real, and throws some nastiness at the gang’s computers. Some new heinous people in this book, and (get ready), we find out who really is behind those sparkling clean clothes in A-Cs’ closets which show up every morning like a miracle – a clean miracle. Hot-paced incredible writer, Gini Koch continues to throw exciting and tantalizing “go good guys” stories our way. Until next time – GO A-Cs!!!!!!

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


Honor's Knight (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780316221085
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Orbit, 2/2014

Spec Fiction

This sequel to Fortune’s Pawn (see my review below) shows our heroine in circumstances she can hardly stand.  Devi Morris lost her memory and her partner due to a mysterious attack, and things don’t stop there.  Rupert, the good looking, to die for cook that created havoc last book is back.  And Devi knows she knows him but she cannot remember what she knows about him and it’s making her crazy!  Meantime, the captain’s young daughter is finally giving up some secrets – which will give you trepidation – a lot of – trepidation and maybe the heebee geebees.  All this amongst a couple of races of aliens who are hell bent on the destruction of all mankind.  This is a finely tuned, interesting out of this world story.  Bottom line – Devi Morris continues to kick some serious ass and you’ll have fun while she’s doing it!

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


Fortune's Pawn (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780316221115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Orbit, 5/2013

Spec Fiction

I loved this book!  It has a kick butt heroine and fight scenes that keep you running off with the action and trying your best to keep up. You do – keep up, that is, if you’re like me and truly enjoy good military science fiction. And, Rachel Bach knows how to do it well. Deviana Morris is a mercenary – but not an average one. She has plans to make it big someday. She wants to serve the Sacred King directly as one of his elite Devastators, who have the best armor, best guns, and most dangerous missions. But before she can do that, she has to prove herself in the field and get the experience to take that step up. She signs on as part of a two man security team with a ship with a bad rep for bad luck. The captain seems to be someone he is not; Basil is a very large bird who sits at the controls on the bridge who is the captain’s right hand feather; Cotter, a big oaf who’s a royal pain in the ass and the other half of the security team. And a few others on the team that are a little more interesting - Rupert a drop dead gorgeous cook who Devi is sure is anything but – a cook not the gorgeous part. And a very small, totally silent strange little 5 year old girl who they say is the Captain’s daughter… hmmmmm. So Devi sets off with her Lady Gray (personal first class armor) for an adventure she’ll never soon forget and neither will you…

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader 


$25.99
ISBN-13: 9781250019257
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Minotaur Books, 12/2013

Mystery & Suspense

Small town waitress Daisy McGovern and her sick mother live at the local inn. Having lost the family property to the federal government, Daisy lives paycheck to paycheck. When a man staggers into H&P Diner foaming at the mouth, Daisy’s morning is ruined. The dead man is identified as the town recluse, and due to the questionable nature of his death the diner is closed. With her livelihood endangered, and an agent with Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms throwing the bootlegging Virginia town into an uproar, Daisy begins to investigate. Teaming up with the hated ATF agent, she learns Rick Balsam, older of the two bad boy bootlegging brothers, now owns her family homestead. Rick becomes a suspect when his shine, complete with poison, is found in the dead man’s home. When Daisy’s mother is threatened and there is another mysterious death, figuring out which of the town’s secrets could lead to murder becomes vital. This book paints a vivid picture of a small southern town populated with likeable, eccentric characters. Daisy is a gutsy, determined main character caught between the attractive ATF agent and Rick Balsam, the smooth talking moonshiner she grew up with. Interaction between the townspeople as well as the elevating stakes will keep readers engaged. This book is worth investigating.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


When Shadows Fall (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780778316046
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Mira Books, 2/2014

Mystery & Suspense

Dr. Samantha Owens is moving on with her life as she tries to recover from a horrible loss. Instead of settling into her new teaching position, Sam is thrust into the past. Timothy Savage, a stranger as well as a suicide, has requested the former forensic pathologist autopsy his body. He has also made the doctor executor of his estate. After Savage’s lawyer is murdered, curiosity prompts Dr. Owens to fulfill the man’s wishes. Sam learns that Savage was murdered and forensic evidence discovered on his body leads to a missing person’s case from seventeen years earlier. The kidnapped seven year old girl is not as dead as detectives believed. When people named in the dead man’s will are also murdered, the case becomes deadly. As they investigate Timothy Savage and his life, Sam and her friends realize that the man was stalking her, has a missing son, and a fake id. With every discovery the investigators make, this story twists and turns into a darker and darker place. This book is part mystery, part thriller, and always horrifying.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


$16.99
ISBN-13: 9780803736719
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Kathy Dawson Books, 2/2014

Young Adult

Moses LeBeau and Dale Earnhart Johnson III are back. Not only is the Desperado Detective Agency keeping the two entrepreneurs busy, but they are also hunting a ghost. Mo’s dear friend, Miss Lana, accidently bought a dilapidated inn and, according to the fine print in the contract, a ghost is part of the purchase. No refunds allowed. While some people might be upset by the information, Mo is exuberant. A ghost means extra credit on the paper Miss Retzyl has assigned her students. Using Mo’s logic, if you get extra credit for interviewing the oldest person in town, no one outdates a ghost. Of course nothing is that easy. How do you get a ghost to co-operate during an interview?  How do you schedule an interview?  What do you do with the new, arrogant boy in town and the connection he appears to have with the lovely, young, female ghost at the inn?  This book is a much fun as the first one in the series. Mo is still in love with Lavender, Dale’s older brother, Grandmother Miss Lacy may no longer be the richest person in town, and every person in town helps raise the children they love. I cannot recommend the book enough. Read it and laugh.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Frenzy (Hardcover)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9781423185383
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Disney-Hyperion, 4/2014

Young Adult

Heath Lambert just wanted a quiet summer at camp to swim, play games, and enjoy the outdoors. Admittedly some of his fellow campers are questionable. You have the bullies, the nerds, the cool chicks, and Will Stringer. Will is a chess player and plays at life the same way he plays chess - three steps ahead of everyone else with a take no prisoner attitude. Unfortunately, a rabid porcupine ruins Heath’s plans for a peaceful summer. When water from a squirt gun kills the animal, the kids have more questions than answers. Before any of the campers or their leaders can process the idea of a rabid animal, their situation worsens. The campers and keepers are faced with rabid wolves, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks. If it has four feet and fur, the animal is determined to turn humans into lunch. In the ensuing chaos, the camp forms into groups. Health and his group find themselves in the canoe livery by the water. With Will Stringer as the elected leader, they flee for the river. If a squirt gun killed the porcupine, the river may keep them alive. Unfortunately, Heath has one major worry - is their situation better or worse with Will as their leader?  Will is determined to survive – but at what cost?  Will he keep the group safe or are they pawns in a game he is playing?  This fast-paced book has three dimensional characters, plenty of action, and unexpected plot twists. I devoured it in hours and cannot recommend it enough.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Invasive Species (Mass Market Paperback)

$9.99
ISBN-13: 9780425269497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Berkley, 12/2013

Spec Fiction

Mother Nature makes quite an impression on me. You? Well, like those things that happen and your response is – OMG!! How did that happen?  Humans are finding “new” species of who knows what turning up all the time in nature - like new butterflies, new frogs, new birds, new salamanders, and new snakes – you know life we’ve never seen before but find almost by accident somewhere in a deep dark forest or right down the street, for that matter. Did you ever think that maybe somewhere out there is something that might not want us at the top of the life pyramid – and maybe want to take our place as the dominant life form?  Invasive Species is about that very thing. The problem is that it could happen. What, you don’t believe the possibility? You may reconsider after reading Joseph Wallace’s new book. I will see the nervous tick in your eye, the sweat that pops out on your forehead, the tremor in your hands…. Oh yeah, many other books have been written – but not as real as this one, not as scary as this one, not as possible as this one.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


Three (Paperback)

$7.99
ISBN-13: 9780857663634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Angry Robot, 7/2013

Spec Fiction

I sometimes go astray of my favorite genre – horror – to enter into other genres that pull on me. Science Fiction is one of them and I can say that Three curled its finger and I walked in. I don’t usually read reviews, unless of course they are written by Mysterious Galaxy staff (ahem). But after I read Three, I checked a few reviews from other places. And, I wondered if we had read the same book. Yes, it is an Armageddon-type world. And, yes it is filled with dangerous creatures. But, no, that’s not exactly the theme of the book. Questions Three asks: are there any heroes out there; is there anyone who cares anymore; is there such a thing as giving more than you take?  Yes. Posey poses an accident where three people meet from which arises a purity of commitment and an unparalleled love. Don’t get me wrong – there are violent confrontations, high impact chases and nasty creatures running amok. But amongst all of these is the author’s incredible insight into depth of human awareness and the ability to rise above everything and anything. You won’t regret this read – it will add something important to your life.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader

 


The Pawnbroker (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9781250027986
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Minotaur Books, 1/2014

Mystery Suspence

Charlie Henry and Gordon Sinclair are the proud owners of Three Balls Pawnshop. Up until close friend and lawyer Gina Sinclair is shot during a drive-by shooting, the two ex-soldiers figure the name of their new acquisition is the biggest problem. With Howard Baza, previous owner of the ill-named shop , peppered with holes in the shooting, the special ops survivors rethink their theory. They set out to find the shooters and figure out the reason behind Baza’s murder. In order to do that, they have to find paper records on purchases and sales, try to salvage computer files erased by the dead man, and find Baza’s employees. Figuring out why the man destroyed his lucrative business becomes paramount. After irritating the lead detective, Charlie and Gordo enlist the help of Nancy, Gina’s roommate and an Albuquerque cop. Amidst car chases, back alley brawls, and shoot ‘em ups, the two men clash with two gangs and a mysterious stranger. For each answer uncovered, multiple questions present themselves. I enjoyed every minute of the mystery. The two main characters border on superhuman, the action is nonstop from the first paragraph of the first chapter, and the plot twists and turns defy second guessing. I’m looking forward to round two with Charlie, Gordon and their growing entourage.

–Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


The Joshua Stone (Paperback)

$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780062021397
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: William Morrow & Company, 10/2013

Mystery Suspence

I enjoy books that set you up to find an incredible secret or send you out with archeologists to find a “find” never before found. (Ok, ok). You get the picture. This story involves an underground laboratory, a secret government endeavor and then – boom. Laboratory shuts down and no one hears from the people that worked there ever again. Well, here’s the clincher. No one knew about it from its inception and no-one missed the people working there until… 50 or so years later, something comes out of that lab (no, this is a secret, right) and people start investigating. And what they find will mess up the world as we know it. And time is short. Two government agents are sent in to investigate and what happens blows all perceptions of science and religion into smithereens. Oh I know… They find this, and they do that, and they try this and they kill that and they… This is not an ordinary tale where you can see all the ordinary conclusions from the first. I thought that it was another book about the same old this and that. But brace yourself, all is not what it seems. You will think so and then you will be totally surprised. I was. And I love surprises. Against the clock, these two investigators must find both the biblical and scientific mysteries behind whatever was in that lab, before there is no longer a world or a mystery to worry about.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader

 

 


$24.99
ISBN-13: 9781250036629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Thomas Dunne Books, 10/2013

Horror Suspense

Hooya! They’re back. Yes! SEAL Team 666 is out there taking care of business and protecting our lives from vicious, unsavory and otherworldly beings. Not to mention, humans who could care less about other humans – they just want any supernatural power they can get their hands on! A US Senator’s daughter has been kidnapped by a group linked to insidious activities in Mexico City. In order to find the Senator’s daughter, the SEALS have to mess with Followers of the Flayed One (think about that one for a minute), a hit man turned skinwalker – and the most dangerous – Drug Cartel groups that want to bring back ancient Aztec rule and their gods, starting with a modern version of the Age of Blood. Big question becomes – how does the Senator’s daughter fit into all of this? And the answer is – ya gotta read the book! But, no fear there. You will be enticed into the world of some magnificent Navy SEALS who use all the skills they’ve learned (and that does not include magical muscles or supernatural weapons) to beat the pants off of these beegees (bad guys). And, before I forget, Hoover is still one of my favorite SEALS – not the ones in the ocean but the ones that have four legs and a big bark! Hooya!

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader

 


$17.95
ISBN-13: 9780761390077
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Carolrhoda Books, 2/2013

Horror Suspense

I really liked this book. It is an incredible story. Books that are this good make you feel – shock, fear, compassion, anger, empathy, sorrow, happiness – and this book covers a gambit of feelings. When an author can make you feel his words – well, that’s kinda incredible in my book. (Sorry, don’t mean to be punny…) Jack Graves is in his early teens and he’s a new resident at the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center for Boys. Jack is special or some would say different; and he tries to hide that difference as much as he can. He has six fingers on each hand. He was born with perfect postaxial polydactylism – perfectly symmetrical extra digits on both his hands and his feet. And someone outside the Detention Center knows this and comes searching for Jack and he most definitely is not a nice man. Mr. Quincrux walks right into the Detention Center and right into Jack’s new room and, as you will find out - that should have been an impossible thing to do. But this nasty dude has powers. In due course, Jack finds out that this man and the organization he belongs to are searching for people like Jack who might have extraordinary powers and abilities. Jack and his new friend Shreve are in horrible danger from the extremely evil Mr. Quincrux. And the things that start to happen will put your hair on end. Jack finds out that he does indeed have supernatural powers and will need any and all of them to fight this vile horrid man and his friends. Excellent story – don’t miss it.

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader

 

 

 

 

 

Older guest reviews ....

 


$7.99
ISBN-13: 9780756407575
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: DAW, 5/2013

This is the 7th book in the Alien series by Gini Koch and just as the other books, this one is another winner. Kitty Katt-Martini and her gorgeous (and sexy) husband Jeff are back. This time they are trying to stop the demise of the entire alien (A–C) nation. Seems there is a large contingency of humans who want the A-Cs off their planet and won’t stop at anything to make that happen. Then the murders start. People begin dropping like flies in Washington. At the death of the representative from New Mexico’s second district, Jeff Martini is asked to replace him, leaving his wife as the Ambassador for the A-Cs, team of one. And people are still dropping like flies. The murders are coming way to close to home when an attempt on Jeff’s life occurs. The kill count goes double digits and conspiracy abounds. And herein is one of Gini Koch’s story skills. Along with writing robust, in your face, real characters and story lines to die for – this author knows how to run some of the most magnificent conspiracy trails ever seen in print. Just follow the bouncing ball interspersed with all the action, the  nasty enemies and don’t forget, the heroes (to die for…) that get you to buy these books in the first place. Oh, and another thing, book 8 – Alien Research - is due out in December 2013 – so catch up so you can run with the ball!

-Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


The Bone Season (Hardcover)

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781620401392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 8/2013

This adventure is set in 2059 London, in a post-Victorian England where magical talent is treason punishable by death. Caught by police, Paige Mahoney discovers that the penalty is actually enslavement to a race of magical beings, the Rephaim. A compelling plot, combined with a richly developed alternative world, give first-time author Samantha Shannon an excellent start to a planned seven volume series.

-Guest Reviewer Gregg Davidson


Murder on the Rocks (Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
ISBN-13: 9780758280152
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Kensington, 8/2013

Murder on the Rocks offers a lethal mix of an enjoyable, fast paced romp with well-rounded, engaging characters, a pleasant environment, two intriguing murders, and some lethal alcoholic concoctions. When Mackenzie Dalton, owner of Mack's Bar, stumbles across a body in the alley behind the business, she suffers sensory overload. Between no morning coffee and finding the second body in that location in less than a year, Mack's synesthesia drives her from the scene. The lights, colors and shapes blocking her vision, the cacophony of musical sounds assaulting her ears, and the odors compounded by her neurological disorder cause her to become disoriented – unfortunately not before she picks up a portion of the cardboard covering the body. During her interview she tries to explain her reaction to the police and one observant detective in particular. Detective Duncan Albright suspects the killer is either a bar employee or a patron. Going undercover as a new hire, Albright begins lessons in bartending and waiting on tables. As the attraction between the cop and his primary suspect grows, tension and danger heighten. The secondary characters are as quirky and entertaining as the byplay between the two main characters. This laugh-out-loud pleasure can be finished in a day and is well worth the time.

-Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Let Me Go (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780312619817
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Minotaur Books, 8/2013

When Chelsea Cain writes a book, readers devour it. When you begin the book, you don't intend to inhale it. You want to savor the words, the nuances, and the character's interactions. You don't. The book races along - Leo's DEA handler is found murdered. Leo vanishes. Slowly characters gather on a private island belonging to Leo's father, drug lord Jack Reynolds, for a Halloween party. With the hair on the back of your neck standing up and goose bumps on your arms, you become a voyeur. Susan is forced onto the island while Archie shows up seeking information on Leo. The people in costumes and masks could be anyone. Drug lords, murderers, an escaped serial killer named Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen Lowell, always at the back of a reader's mind - and in Archie's erotic thoughts. As the emotional stakes elevate, a groggy, battered Archie relives his months of sexual games with a serial killer. The violence. The forbidden encounters. The eroticism. When the body of a young woman is found the morning after the party, Archie recognizes her. From the party. Desperate to separate reality from fantasy, Archie must figure out if he is seeking one serial killer or two.

–Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Plum Deadly (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9781451689556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Gallery Books, 9/2013

Maggie Grady is living proof you can go home again. She is living in her aunt’s house, occupying the room she grew up in, working as a waitress at Pie in the Sky, her aunt’s bakery and coffee shop. She is not happy about her situation. Maggie is hoping the townspeople never find out she was terminated from her longtime job for embezzlement. She knows she is innocent, but her circumstances belie that theory. While Maggie is finding it difficult to accept the reincarnation of her earlier life, she is keeping busy trying to untangle her aunt’s finances as well as helping the elderly woman deal with a pushy real estate developer. Then her old boss shows up in the tiny North Carolina town, announces he can prove her innocence, and is found dead in the alley behind the pie shop hours later. With the cause of death listed as murder by the coroner, Maggie becomes the prime suspect. While the majority of the citizens of Durham may sympathize with Maggie, the sheriff doesn’t and the national press vilifies her. With the help of her Aunt Clara and Ryan Summerour, a hunky local newspaperman, Maggie set out to prove her innocence. This story has multi-layered characters, unexpected plot twists, humor, and romance. It is an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon.

– Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780312552213
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, 3/2013

I’m tellin’ you, this man can write. You want to be carried along to places you’ve never been before with incredible people you’ve never met before, this is your man. The Department of Military Sciences (DMS) is back with Joe Ledger leading the team – all of course working for the enigmatic Mr. Church, who seems to have anything and everybody when problems arise. During a test flight of a new stealth fighter, it is shot down – by something surely not seen before except maybe the tabloids. When the shooting is done, the unknown craft simply disappears in front of their eyes. Waitaminute – what’s going on? No, it can’t be aliens, can it? Before you know it the US government, including the president himself, the Chinese and some ruthless enemies are mixed up like a Molotov cocktail – ready to explode. The team is gathered and the first person Joe goes to see is Junie Flynn, a top expert on conspiracy theories in the world, which includes alien existence. Oh, and Joe doesn’t buy it for one little minute -  until he gets his first glimpse of Miss Flynn and his world is turned upside down. Great book, exceptional adventure – excitement, danger, earth shattering discoveries – another jewel of a story. The DMS team is asked to help and they do more than that – they uncover something you’ll never forget. It may just change how you think about the world.

- Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


$19.00
ISBN-13: 9780316213103
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9/2013

What do you do when you wake up from a party and realize that everyone else is dead, except your ex-boyfriend who is on the verge of turning Cold?  Cold as in cold-blooded, maybe cold-hearted, but definitely with a taste for human blood.  If you're Tana, you try to help in spite of the mess and the nightmarish memories of your mother's similar infection, and you find courage and will that you may not have known you had ... and you try to understand if being a vampire, being Cold, changes a person -- or if change is really a matter of choice.  This novel keeps you turning the pages to find out not only what happens, but also who people really are.

--Guest reviewer Silvia Mancini


Shadows (Hardcover)

$18.99
ISBN-13: 9780399165795
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books, 9/2013

Maggie lives in Newworld, where it's all about science- but she's not sure what science can explain the weird, disturbing shadows that she seems to keep seeing around her new stepdad, who she's not crazy about in the first place- he's from Oldworld, and just doesn't fit in. Isn't being a teenager hard enough with algebra and friends and boys you don't know if you like, without having to worry if you're losing your mind?  Or without finding out that things aren't what they always appear to be, and there's more going on than you realized with your town, your stepdad, your family... and you. A great coming-of-age tale told in the voice of a somewhat reluctant but definitely spunky heroine.

-Guest Reviewer Silvia Mancini


The Different Girl (Hardcover)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9780525425977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Dutton Juvenile, 2/2013

Veronika only knows her world, the world on the island- with her three sisters, and where Irene and Robbert take care of them, because they are orphans from a plane crash. The four girls are different, and yet alike- one has blond hair, one brown, one black and one red; but they all go to class, and like to do the same things as the others, together. One day there is a visitor to their small island, a girl who is very different from them... and as they secretly try to understand her, she also begins to understand them... and as the story unfolds, we realize that 'different' is a point of view, and not at all what matters in the end.

-Guest Reviewer Silvia Mancini


Sick (Hardcover)

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781419708053
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: ABRAMS, 10/2013

When Brian, Jack, and Chad skip fourth hour, it may be the smartest thing they've ever done. The three seniors, misfits if not delinquents flee their locked down, gang ridden school, climb onto the roof of Chad's house with their pizza,  and waste three hours. They forget about Mackenzie, Brian's sister, and Laura, his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem. They briefly talk to Hollis, another friend who called in sick because of a virus. Hollis tells them he couldn't get into urgent care or the emergency room. Too many sick people. Then they head back to school and an easy A in the theater department for Brian and Chad. Even after learning about a fight that morning (a kid got a finger bitten OFF) and a riot in assembly, Brian and Chad are not prepared for their afternoon. Isolated at the far side of campus in the theater department, the first sign of trouble is students screaming. Looking outside the doors, the group sees students running, being attacked, being killed. And eaten. Hollis is one of the attackers. Jack is one of the victims. Now Brian, Chad, and teens they never got to know set out to save Mackenzie and Laura. And, hopefully, to escape their high school prison before they are killed or become killers. This fast paced, action packed story, has unexpected twists and turns, a lot of gore, and appealing heroes.

–Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


The Waking Dark (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780375868771
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9/2013

One year after the killing day, Oleander, born twice and decimated once, returned to normal. In one day, the town had five separate murders, with suicides, at the hands of five apparently normal neighbors. Four teens were witnesses and one was a killer who could not explain or remember her actions. The murders left loving families broken and dysfunctional families dangerously fractured. For 365 days, Oleander moved forward as usual, planting and harvesting crops, eating, drinking, attending work and school. But things are not the same as before the killing day. Then came the tornado and, in its aftermath, half of the town vanished and the remainder became broken, darker, unhealthy. Oleander is quarantined, complete with an electrified fence and snipers. Four of the teens, witnesses to the vicious murders a year before, watch and question the changes. They set out to find answers - and to hold on to their humanity. This dark apocalyptic novel is well written and aimed at teenagers. Because of graphic descriptions and scenes, I would recommend older teens read the book not the younger ones.

–Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale


Blood Riders (Mass Market Paperback)

$8.39
ISBN-13: 9780062023094
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Harper Voyager, 9/2012

I loved this book! I read it in two days when I wasn’t flying, visiting, walking, etc. The year is 1880 and you meet Detective Allan Pinkerton, Oliver Winchester - maker of the Winchester Rifle, and Abraham Van Helsing – who knows more than anyone alive about vampires. Ring any bells? But of course they do! Jonas P. Hollister is in jail because he told the truth. Soldiers under his command were slaughtered and he saw exactly who did this – blood sucking demons. Well, heck, there were no witnesses and no bodies and the law just doesn’t believe Hollister. Hey – who would??  (I would! Yes – I would. I know all about those blood sucking creatures!! – you do too, right?) Well, so did Pinkerton, Winchester and Van Helsing.  Pinkerton not only gets Jonas out of jail but also promises him a presidential pardon if he finds and destroys these creatures. Because it has happened again and the government wants it handled. A fast moving tale with lots of action – characters that are tough, funny, scary, almost loveable – and believable! Yes, I said it – believable. If you want to take a fun romp through the American wild, wild West with some of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a while, you just hafta read this book. Oh, and one more thing. It does get scary – after all, you’ll find this book in the horror section.   

– Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


The Human Division (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780765333513
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Tor Books, 5/2013

John Scalzi is a cannibal. Not that he eats the flesh of other humans (so far as I know); but he “use[s] or draw[s] on material of (as another writer or an earlier work)” (Merriam-Webster, cannibalize). As he did with Fuzzy Nation, Red Shirts, and Zoe's Tale, Scalzi has drawn on existing work or ideas to create something wholly new and absorbing. Published online as a three-month digital serial from January to April, 2013, The Human Division is now available as a hardcover. It follows the exploits of Lieutenant Harry Wilson of the Colonial Union (CU) as he deals with other sentient beings in an often-violent, competitive universe (the same universe of Old Man’s War). What this series of thirteen loosely linked episodes (and two extras) brings to mind is the brilliant and funny Retief tales of Keith Laumer. Scalzi even incorporates the satirical humor that characterized most of Retief’s exploits (see especially, Episode 7: The Dog King). These stories are all told against a background that sees the CU in conflict with Earth, as well as with a confederation of alien civilizations that is trying to pull Earth into its alliance against the CU. Assigned as a representative of the Colonial Defense Forces under the authority of various ambassadors and other politicians, Lieutenant Wilson often has to outthink (and sometimes outfight) not only his alien foes but also his own, sometimes thick-headed, fellow humans. These are immensely enjoyable stories—serious yet often laugh-out-loud funny. Highly recommended.

–Guest Reviewer Terry Hertzler  


Three Parts Dead (Hardcover)

$24.99
ISBN-13: 9780765333100
Availability: Not in stock, but can usually be shipped within the week.
Published: Tor Books, 10/2012

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”1

“It was a pleasure to burn.”2

“Call me Ishmael.”3

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”4

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”5

“A screaming comes across the sky.”6

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.7 “The bureaucrat fell from the sky.”8

 

Great opening lines from great novels. I’m sure you have your own favorites. I just added a new one: “God wasn’t answering tonight.”9 What do you do when a deity dies? That’s the question Max Gladstone addresses in Three Parts Dead, a wonderfully twisted fantasy legal thriller that moves like a massive steam locomotive, gathering power as it combines gods, magic, religion, courtroom drama, vampires, gargoyles and more as it rolls to a spectacular climax in one of the best first novels I’ve read since Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. This novel is that good. Buy it. Read it. Reread it. Wow. -Guest Reviewer Terry Hertzler

 

1William Gibson, Neuromancer; 2 Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451; 3 Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; 4Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; 5George Orwell, 1984; 6Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow; 7John Scalzi, Old Man’s War; 8 Michael Swanwick, Stations of the Tide. 9Max Gladstone, Three Parts Dead.

 


SEAL Team 666 (Hardcover)

$24.99
ISBN-13: 9781250007353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Thomas Dunne Books, 11/2012
Hooya! Say it again - hooya! With praise from Peter Straub, Joe R. Landsdale and Jonathan Maberry, among others, this book is a great read and will keep you riveted with all the action. Jack Walker is going thru SEAL training and using every ounce of his strength to get it. In the middle of his training, he’s pulled out and given full SEAL status before he completes the required schooling. There is something a little odd about him and he hasn’t shared his secret – but more about that later. The powers that be put him right into Team 666. You know, there really isn’t a Team 666 – but then again, no one would admit to one anyway. The person who pulled him out of training knows his secret.

What I liked most about this book was the reality of the SEAL team – they weren’t composed of magicians, wizards or magic men – they were SEALS in the real sense. But here’s the spark – they fight against evil pure and simple including demons, possessed humans and a diabolic, fiendish cult setting out to rule the world. Read the book to find out Jack’s secret and whether it will help or harm the team. Lest I forget, there’s a fantastic, powerful member of the team I haven’t mentioned. He’s not human – oh but don’t worry, that’s because he’s a dog.  WooHoo!!

- Guest Reviewer Diane Bader


The Blood Gospel (Mass Market Paperback)

$9.99
ISBN-13: 9780061991059
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: HarperTorch, 8/2013

Wowzie – What a change, what an adventure, what a story!!! James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell have teamed up to collaborate on The Order of the Sanguines Series. The story deals specifically with the Roman Catholic Church and some beliefs that are held by its followers. Among many of the Church’s convictions, the belief in transubstantiation is at the core of this story. And it is simply a story – isn’t it?  A disturbing find in a buried tomb after an earthquake in Masada, Israel, binds three people together in a search for answers. And an interesting group they are – a Vatican priest, an intrepid archaeologist and a military forensic expert. And away they go - off to adventure, danger and close calls. The group is after a sacred book that was supposed to be in the tomb they searched at the Masada site – a book that was written by Christ himself about the secrets of His divinity. Of course no story like this would be perfect without an ancient enemy who runs after them trying to keep the book out of their hands – an ancient enemy who wants to wipe the small group off the face of the earth. What the group does not know is that someone on their team is not who they think he is – or better yet, not who but what. The Blood Gospel is not a book you’ll soon forget. I certainly won’t and will be anxious to read the rest of this incredible series.

--Guest Reviewer Diane Bader