Eric Carter is that guy. You know him, the one who "tries" to do the right thing, yet somehow it always backfires. Oh, by the way Eric is a Necromancer, which means he spends a lot of time making the dead angry. Dead Things is full of blood magic and all the seedy underbelly of L.A. you can take.
Meet Mookie Pearl, a bone breaker for the underworld, and his daughter, Nora (call her by her street name – Persephone). You can bet she had the most interesting parent at Career Day.
Enter Cerulean, the blue stuff… The Blue Blazes. What does it do? Imagine a supernatural drug, literally straight from hell, so powerful, that it rips the bandage of perceived reality from your bloodshot eyes, leaving you with no doubt that hell exists.
So how do you rebel when your father is the henchman for a drug cartel that consists of shape-shifting, tentacled snake-men and half-goat hit-men?
You don’t. You take over. And that’s just what Persephone tries to do.
Until it all of her plans go terribly wrong.
Chuck Wendig’s writing is fast-paced, honed to the quick, and cuts through the B.S. with an obsidian blade. His characters are fast talking, tough when they need to be, but likeable and well developed, leaving you wanting to know more. The Blue Blazes echoes with Blackwood’s supernatural sense, and a Dante-esque vision of Hell filled with ghosts, goblins and snake face, slithery demons that harken back to Lovecraft.
I had no idea what a Golem was before I read this book. Helene Wecker writes in a way that makes a book hard to put down, but also made me not want it to end. Her storytelling and characters are equally beautiful, but not flowery.
Joe Hill never fails in the horror department. NOS4A2 is no exception. Not your typical vampire, Charlie Manx steals the youth of children using his Rolls Wraith. When Charlie kidnaps Vic McQueen's (the only person to ever get away) son, Vic uses her "gift" for finding things to track him down.
Any book that introduces a horrible ghost called Naughty John is a book for me.
And so begins The Diviners by Libba Bray. After refusing to apologize for a scandal caused by a party trick in her hometown, headstrong “modern girl” Evie O’Neil is sent to live with her Uncle Will, owner of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult in New York. This is no punishment in Evie’s eyes and she makes plans to paint the town red, as any flapper worth her while would do. Until the murders begin, and the very thing that Evie was exiled for becomes the greatest tool in solving the murders. Evie is a Diviner, and as it turns out, a handful of other characters have begun to develop certain supernatural gifts, which coincide with the appearance of a comet, multiple murders, Naughty John, and a doomsday cult. Not necessarily a story one would expect to see set against the glamorous backdrop of New York during the Roaring Twenties. Libba Bray pulls it off by creating a believable world with a dynamic cast of characters akin to The X-Men, and a story line that throws curves at you from every darkened alley way.
A stoic Captain of the Guard with a heart of gold, a
misunderstood prince and best of all, a nineteen year old
assassin masquerading as a lady – toss in otherworldly magic
and you’ve got Throne of Glass, the spectacular debut YA novel by Sarah J. Maas. Celaena Sardothien is the most notorious and feared assassin of her time, and only 18 years
old. Prince Havilliard and Chaol, the Captain of the Guard,
collect Celaena from the salt mines where she’s been imprisoned for the past year. They offer a bargain to her –
compete to become the King’s champion and in four years
regain her freedom. Celaena agrees. But things aren’t what
they seem. When Celaena forms a friendship with Chaol,
Princess Nehemia and Prince Havilliard, Celaena finds she
isn’t just fighting for her freedom, but also for those she’s come to love. Throne of Glass is perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.
if you will, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy peopled with the
members of Spinal Tap and what do you get? Year Zero by Rob Reid. When
Earth’s music – specifically the theme to “Welcome Back Kotter” – breaks
through the barrier to the rest of the universe in what the Universe begins to
refer to as Year Zero (1977 to us), aliens go crazy
for it. Turns out they’re addicted to the art
form, and we Earthlings make the best music in the Universe. Through a
series of events, these Aliens find out they’ve been pirating music from us for
years, and as it turns out, paying for the licensing to keep using our music
may very well bankrupt the entire Universe. So what is an entire addicted
civilization to do when they can’t pay for their fix? Well the only logical
thing to do is to blow the entire planet of Earth to smithereens.
in a sexy alien nun, another alien constantly mistaken for a vacuum cleaner,
and an entertainment attorney named Nick Carter (you know, like from the Back
Street Boys, except not) who is barely convinced the whole thing isn’t a prank
and you’ve got a hilarious ride through pop culture, music industry insanity,
and just plain old fun.
Rey Books, $25.00
When I first saw the cover of Blackbirds on the Angry Robot website, it was all I could do not to crawl through my screen and grab it. As amazing as the cover is, it in no way prepared me for the bitch-slap of backstreet magic that this book holds. Miriam is one messed up broad, and rightly so. She knows when you’re going to die, and she knows she can’t do anything to stop it. Or can she? When Miriam sees that she’s present at the death of a trucker named Louis that she met by chance, she begins to question everything she knew about her “gifts.” Miriam is one bad-ass lady who knows how to take a punch – and gives it back to the reader ten-fold. Blackbirds will appeal to anyone who likes gritty, fast-paced stories, and even to fans of more traditional noir. – LeAnna
Do you remember how much high school sucked? Imagine going through those years with a secret — a really big secret. Meet Jasper Dent, son of the most notorious and prolific serial killer of the 21st century, Billy Dent. For Jasper, Career Day had a whole different meaning.When a copycat killer strikes in Lobo’s Nod, it’s up to Jasper to prove it isn’t Billy — and more importantly, that it isn’t Jasper. Although at times graphic and intense, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is Dexter for the YA crowd, but definitely has crossover appeal. I couldn’t put it down. Barry Lyga has made a splash bigger than a severed artery could.
If a world existed where Neil Gaiman and Erin Morgenstern got together and made book babies, the outcome would be something akin to The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett. This magical and dark vaudevillian tale follows 16-year-old runaway George Carole as he searches for his father, Heironomo Silenus, leader of the infamous Silenus Troupe. When George finally finds the Troupe, the red velvet curtains are opened to reveal a backstage full of deception and bravado, where magic is real and so is the battle between good and evil. This gaslamp-lit world is filled with eerie imagery, thrills, and eccentric characters, from Franny the strong woman to Kingsley the Ventriloquist, and all those in between. This book had a little bit of everything I love. – LH
I can’t think of a thing that compares to my love of an old-fashioned ghost story. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James is just such a story. Set in post-WWI Britain, we find unemployed Sarah Piper landing a job as a temporary assistant to the handsome and dashing Alistair Glennis, who just so happens to be a ghost hunter. Sarah’s first case is to rid a country house of the angry and malevolent ghost of Maddy Clare, a former servant girl. As this debut novel unfolds, the sad and tragic story of Maddy is revealed as the ghost hunting team uncovers the events that lead to Maddy’s death. Keeping the suspense and terror building without becoming hokey is no easy task, but St. James manages well. The imagery and atmosphere that St. James creates is dark and even sultry at times, as Sarah and the assistant she was meant to replace discover a mutual attraction. St. James’ writing is clear and fast-paced and suspense-filled. — LH
I was helping a customer find a book when A Dark Dividing by Sarah
Rayne literally jumped off the shelf at me. I’m not exaggerating — I had
my back turned and it just hopped off and hit the ground. I was
immediately intrigued by the synopsis on the back. (I did help the
customer find their book first though).
Two sets of conjoined twins born nearly a century apart but linked
together in a most mysterious way (that pun was unintentional — but
there’s not a lot of ways to get around it), turn of the century haunted
English workhouses, traveling sideshows, more than one murder, and a
psychotic nurse make for an exciting read. Rayne manages to take
subjects that from another writer’s pen could easily turn hokey, and
manages to keep the intrigue moving through multiple story lines without
ever becoming confusing or convoluted. Her characters are fleshed out,
and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I googled Philip Fleury to see if
he existed. I’ll let you solve that mystery on your own. Sarah Rayne now
has a new fan and I can’t wait to read more from her. — LH
Although initially it was the cover of Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day that I found intriguing, it was a recommendation from another reader that made me give it a try. I am not a usually a fan of short stories- but after reading Loory’s collection, I may have changed my mindset. This fun, quick read is exciting and filled to the brim with charming stories. This is a great holiday gift for any reader.
Tea sipping Octopi, invisible crowns, sharks that swim in pools, sentient televisions and tiny men in boxes -- Loory’s tales are filled with imagery as vivid as any Dali or Ryden painting. Loory gives a coy wink to the preposterous, challenging readers to reflect on the absurdities of the world they live in. Loory’s sly sense of humor is peppered throughout each fable. At the same time, these short little yarns feel very intimate. From the first sentence on, Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day creates an atmosphere that can only be compared to what it might be like if we were able to read Loory’s dreams. - LH
Silas Umber’s life is turned inside out the day his
father, mortician for the town of Lichport,
disappears. The already introverted Silas is
heartbroken at the loss of his father, and the
behavior of his alcoholic mother only adds to his
grief. Left with nothing, the only option Silas and
his mother have is to move back to the family home
in Lichport with Silas’ estranged and secretive
With the discovery of an old skull-shaped pocket
watch that belonged to his father, it becomes clear to Silas that things in
Lichport are not always as they appear. Amos Umber was no mere mortician, but the town Undertaker, ushering the lost, frightened and often angry souls of Lichport on to the next plane. The Death Watch, a tool for his family’s trade, allows the owner to see the dead, and has been passed from father to son for centuries. As Silas gradually slips into
the former role of his father, he overcomes his childhood fears and learns as much about himself through helping the lost souls as he does about his father.
Death Watch, the first installment in the Undertaker Trilogy, is full of beautiful prose that carries the story along, adding to this atmospheric tale. Mixing myth with his own creations, Ari Berk has invented an imaginative folklore for a town that becomes as much a character in the
book as the citizens of Lichport. So even though the dead only stick around in Lichport, Death Watch makes a subtle statement that our memories can keep our loved ones just as close. — LH