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Posts tagged book review

Book review: Flowers of the Sea, by Reggie Oliver
March 27, 2014 | 12:29 pm

Reggie Oliver is proving to be one of the most prolific, as well as most consistent, of modern British dark fiction and horror writers. His latest collection from Tartarus Press, Flowers of the Sea, includes thirteen stories and two novellas, many "originally written for inclusion in specific anthologies and ... therefore, to a certain extent, composed to a brief," but this needs little apology. As the author says, "none of them, however, was 'manufactured' ... cobbled together out of sheer ingenuity and the desire to please an editor." If anything, they show more sustained quality and variety than much of his...

Book Review: Shadow Campus by Kathleen Kelley Reardon
January 27, 2014 | 4:43 pm

Shadow CampusI was fortunate to receive a review copy of [easyazon-link asin="B00EBZACUS" locale="us"]Shadow Campus[/easyazon-link] by Kathleen Kelley Reardon. It's a mystery/thriller that takes place on California university campus. The location is important because much of the book revolves around university politics and everything rings true. It's obvious Reardon has been a professor, and many of the incidents sound like situations she's either seen or heard about. The basic plot is that the main character, Shamus Doherty, is called from Connecticut to California because his sister, a professor at the university, has been in an accident. When he arrives, he learns that the "accident" was actually...

Review: Summer is my Favorite Season by Ilir Berisha
January 20, 2014 | 10:32 am

Ilir Berisha might say he was one of the lucky ones. He got out of Kosova alive while living there during the war, and got to tell his story. Berisha’s book “Summer Is My Favorite Season: A Memoir of Childhood and War in Kosovo ” paints a true story of a young boy who witnesses some of the worst the world has to offer. His parents are frustrated and frightened. They don’t know where they are going to get their next meal or when the electricity will return or if they will ever get running water again. His father has to work...

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
December 31, 2013 | 1:25 pm

the way of kings by brandon sandersonI have time to get in one more book review before the end of the year, and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is a good one to end on. Sanderson is an excellent epic fantasy author, and he proves it again in this book. Note that this is not a new book. It was published back in August of 2010, and, although I bought a copythen, I didn't get around to reading it until this month. Why? The reviews I read indicated that not much happened in the book and that it was mostly a set up for the...

Book Review: House of Small Shadows
December 19, 2013 | 4:18 pm

On the jacket of House of Small Shadows, Adam Nevill is described as "Britain's answer to Stephen King." I'm happy to say that, if this is an answer, it's a very distinctive and locally accented one that is anything but pastiche King. Rather, Nevill's very personal style is more what you would expect from a British ghost and horror story writer in the tradition of M.R. James and Arthur Machen - updated to the era of The Ring and body horror. It's that unsettling. Briefly, late-thirtysomething provincial antiques valuer Catherine Howard sets out in quest of a fabulous collection of animal...

Ragnarok by Brian James: A Book Review
December 10, 2013 | 2:06 pm

ragnarok by brian jamesWhile not being immersed in Norse mythology since middle school, I’ve found myself surrounded by it lately between a number of different books and movies. In a matter of a few months, I’ve read or seen several different versions of Thor, Loki, Odin and the Norse fringe characters. The latest was in [easyazon-link asin="B00AEDPNFA" locale="us"]Ragnarok: Book 1: The Hammer[/easyazon-link] by Brian James where the gods have been thrown out of Asgard and have made lives for themselves on Earth. There is a fight to control Thor’s hammer with nearly a dozen characters appearing throughout the first book. The story is enticing with a...

Book review: The Hat-Stand Union, Caroline Bird, Carcanet Press Ltd
October 24, 2013 | 6:57 pm

caroline birdBefore reading this review, please note that Caroline Bird: "won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001. Her first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, was published in 2002 (when she was just fifteen). She was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010 for her second and third collections." And "she was one of the five official poets for the London 2012 Olympics." Plus, "she is also a playwright. In February 2012 her children’s musical The Trial of Dennis the Menace was premiered at the Southbank Centre, and in...

Book review: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
October 23, 2013 | 10:03 am

jeff bezosThe narrative has been there for years – Amazon is a big, evil corporation that will do anything to get what it wants. Part of that is true, especially after reading The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone. Amazon didn’t become a successful business by being nice and allowing other companies to get in line in front of them. No, it was ruthless and confrontational. Yet, point of view matters when it comes to Amazon. If you are a competitor, then Amazon is not your friend. Partners have had it hard with the Seattle-based company as it looks...

Book Review: I Bring the Fire Part 1: Wolves by C. Gockel
October 16, 2013 | 5:08 pm

C. GockelI don’t read much traditional mythology anymore. There was a time in school when we were forced to read Greek, Roman or Norse mythology. So, stories have gotten stuck in my head over time. Names, places and situations pop up in entertainment in books, movies, TV shows and comics that borrow from these stories, always reminding me of the good old days. [easyazon-link asin="B008UUIGB2" locale="us"]I Bring the Fire Part I : Wolves (A Loki Story)[/easyazon-link] by C. Gockel is that kind of story, using Loki as one of its main characters. The good news is that I didn’t need to have much...

Ebook review copies: DRM, distrust, demands
October 15, 2013 | 3:55 pm

piracyThis post was prompted by the complaints of a friend on Facebook about the DRM on a review copy of an ebook he had been sent to cover. Not a fan of ebooks at the best of times, he was driven to protest long and hard about the struggles he had been put to to actually open and read the book. I've had similar and worse experiences. One leading publisher responded to a request for a review copy for TeleRead by sending me a download link, which, after an involved login procedure, prompted me to install Adobe Editions on my device....

Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
September 30, 2013 | 4:41 pm

[easyazon-image align="right" asin="0385743564" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rtkjsXacL._SL160_.jpg" width="105"] Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. While almost everything he writes would be classified in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, he manages to make everything he write fresh. So when I saw he was going to tackle superheroes, I knew I was in for a good ride. And he didn't disappoint. In Steelheart he addresses the question, "What if there were no superheroes? Just villains?" It's an intriguing idea, and he didn't disappoint. The main character, David Charleston, witnesses the murder of his father when he's eight at the hands of Steelheart, one of the...

Book Review: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2013 Edition, edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books
September 30, 2013 | 11:23 am

This collection of 35 dark tales groups stories that have appeared in other collections or in magazines, so readers should check the list of contents in Prime Books' online catalog to make sure of what is really new to them before parting with their money. But that's almost the only qualification that needs to be made to an otherwise excellent guide to what's been going on on the literary dark side through 2012. There are established names, like Neil Gaiman and John Shirley. There are rising stars of the smaller press and alternative/ fan circuit, like Laird Barron and Cory Skerry....