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Posts tagged book review

Book Review: Sand of Bone by Blair MacGregor
February 25, 2015 | 12:25 pm

sand of boneI purchased this book as part of the recent Indie Fantasy Story Bundle (now complete). Having been disappointed with the first two books I tried from the bundle, I was starting to think I'd wasted my money with this one. Then I started [easyazon-link asin="B00MRCCG9M" locale="us"]Sand of Bone[/easyazon-link] and knew that this book alone was worth the price of admission. I mean, just start with that cover. And feel free to judge this one by the cover. The inside is just as impressive. For those who still believe that indie books are rife with typos and bad writing, let me assure you...

Review: Steampunk LEGO by Guy Himber
February 23, 2015 | 10:25 am

steampunk legoI got a package in the mail this week---a gorgeous hardcover book from No Starch Press! When I wrote earlier about this publisher, I mentioned that one of the things which intrigued me about them was their print-plus-eBook bundles. They graciously agreed to let me try one out, and while I was able to download the PDF copy of [easyazon-link asin="1593275285" locale="us"]Steampunk LEGO[/easyazon-link] right away, I wanted to wait to write the review until I had the paper copy for comparison. Well...it's here! And is a beautiful book. Even the Beloved, who is not particularly a book fan in either format, remarked...

Book review: How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman, Broadway Books
February 11, 2015 | 4:25 pm

This is a subject ever so slightly dear to my heart, and I turn to it with the same sense of modesty and proportion that the author includes in his subtitle, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It. But he makes an extremely good supporting case for it - overstretched perhaps, but not very far. "The point of this book is that being Scottish is more than just a matter of nationality or place of origin or clan or even culture. It is also a...

Book review: The House of Oracles and Other Stories, by Thomas Owen, Tartarus Press
February 4, 2015 | 6:24 pm

One of the many areas that Yorkshire-based independent Tartarus Press does so well is translations of celebrated and lesser-known non-English authors of classic weird, strange, dark, and fantastic tales. Thomas Owen definitely fits this category. The House of Oracles and Other Stories collects a representative sample of short fiction from across the career of this Belgian master of the fantastic, a near contemporary of the better known Jean Ray and sadly neglected in Anglo-Saxon circles - at least, till now. Thomas Owen (1910-2002), real name Gérald Bertot, trained as a lawyer, and began his writing career with crime fiction, but like Jean Ray,...

Book review: The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, by Patrick Leigh Fermor, John Murray
February 2, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Patrick Leigh Fermor's peregrinations across Western, Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe have become almost as legendary as his wartime exploits with the Greek Resistance. The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos is the long-awaited third volume of his reminiscences of his teenage walking tour from Holland to Constantinople in the 1930s. Long-awaited because after the termination of his second volume of travel reminiscences, Between the Woods and the Water, no one knew if the journey would ever reach its intended goal, and when Patrick Leigh Fermor died in 2011, mystery surrounded the condition of the notes and literary remains...

Book review: Wild Fell, by Michael Rowe, ChiZine Publications
January 27, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Latest in a long line of superb dark/weird horrific titles from ChiZine Publications, Wild Fell by Michael Rowe tells the tale of the house of the title on Ontario's Blackmore Island, site of a tragic drowning that has haunted the local town of Alvina, and of other more mysterious events deeper in the past. The book's protagonist, Jameson Browning, purchases the house partly as a refuge from his own ghosts, only to find, sure enough, that other and worse ones await him there. The novel was a finalist for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award, and Clive Barker, no less, has declared that: "this is...

Book review: The Last Weekend, by Nick Mamatas, PS Publishing
January 22, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Not quite your everyday run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse, you could say. Yes, it's another rigid, stiff, slow-moving essay in that genre, shambling and groaning its way into your to-read pile. And what a surprise that this sub-genre has grown so fast, proliferating like - well, a zombie plague. Okay, enough of the cheap demi-humor. And no, I didn't really mean any of those crude, brainless, groaning cracks. Nick Mamatas has written - sometimes brilliantly - in many other branches of horror and dark fiction, and this is his stab - or baseball bat bash, or scattergun blast, or drillbit whirl - at...

Book Review: Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
January 17, 2015 | 10:47 am

discoverability by Kristine Kathryn RuschThere are lots of books out there about how to market your book. Some of them are good. Some aren't. [easyazon-link asin="1561466190" locale="us"]Discoverability[/easyazon-link] is one of the best I've read, and I appreciate it because it looks at writing as a business, not as a way to game a system to make sales quickly. Since one of my day jobs is as a business coach, that appeals to me. This book started as a series of blog posts, and the posts are still available. I read them last year and was excited to see she's expanded on them and updated them for...

Review: The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley
January 16, 2015 | 4:25 pm

the smartest kids in the world[easyazon-link asin="1451654421" locale="us"]The Smartest Kids in the World[/easyazon-link] is my first almost-five-star read of the year! This engaging and well-written book follows three American teenagers who, as part of Ripley's research into the best education systems in the world, go on year-long exchanges to three of the 'top' countries. The narratives of Tom in Poland, Kim in Finland and Eric in South Korea frame Ripley's thoughts on what makes a good teacher or school, the importance (or not) of standardized testing, and what really is the most vital component of a good education. I was impressed by the breadth of research Ripley...

Book review: Orpheus on the Underground and Other Stories, by Rhys Hughes, Tartarus Press
January 12, 2015 | 6:32 pm

Tartarus Press, as some Teleread readers at least will know by now, is doing a sterling job of producing a really fine series of contemporary and classic British (and other) dark, weird, strange, and horror fiction, with some excellent and unbelievably cheap ebooks to accompany their high-quality print editions. Latest addition to their list is Orpheus on the Underground, by Welsh author Rhys Hughes, who received a lot of extremely approving recognition for his 1995 Tartarus volume Worming the Harpy and Other Bitter Pills. British writers very often major in whimsy - a sort of literary corollary to that famous well-bred English...

Book review: Inkblots and Blood Spots, by Michael Bailey, Villipede Publications
December 23, 2014 | 8:25 pm

Michael Bailey's Inkblots and Blood Spots is the second collection of shorter work from this versatile, hugely talented, and very influential dark/weird fiction writer and editor. It sweeps a very wide field, from pure psychological - and body - horror through weird tales to (approximately) straight science fiction and cosmic horror, all with a sprinkling of equally dark and unsettling poems. At the very least, it's not a collection that shies away from testing the boundaries of its genre - if indeed it is delimited to any single genre at all. Michael Bailey's first novel, Palindrome Hannah, owed its title as...

Book review: The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley, Tartarus Press
December 4, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Tartarus Press is becoming one of the most diverse as well as the most accomplished and fastidious independent UK presses devoted to horror and dark fiction, and The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is absolutely off their ordinary beat and all the more striking for it. Instead of the society and theatrical pieces of Reggie Oliver, or the decadent horrors of Mark Samuels, we have the grim, bleak realm of poor man's English Roman Catholicism, and a chilling coastal setting in the remote Lancastrian preserve of the title - "a dangerous place. A wild and useless lenght of English coastline. A dead...