The Panama Laugh has been high on my to-read list for a bit, but it moved up in the queue because Paul Goat Allen (of Barnes and Noble) said it was aw...moreThe Panama Laugh has been high on my to-read list for a bit, but it moved up in the queue because Paul Goat Allen (of Barnes and Noble) said it was awesome. Yep, The Panama Laugh made a zombie fave list of his, and it’s been a few books since my last zombie novel, so it was time. There’s a fairly comprehensive synopsis above so I won’t rehash it. I will say that The Panama Laugh grabs you by the throat, hard, pretty much from page one and doesn’t let you go. Please let me stress this. It. Doesn’t. Let. Up. Dante Bogart is pretty much everything I love in an anti-hero. Yes, I’m a sucker for the bad boys sometimes, I admit it, and Frosty D. (don’t call him that)¸falls right in with just the kind of guy that would get my motor running. When the man wakes up naked, bloody, and loaded for bear in the middle of a battleground, gets up, surveys the scene, takes a suspicious-yet-valuable looking case with him, and makes his getaway, I’m totally his by the time he washes up at the home of his old friend Van Fish, wondering where the last 5 years went. His old flame, Trixie (that’s Dr. Trixie to you) is there too, and she’s a little bit pissed at how Dante left things between them. That’s really the least of his worries though. Trust me on this one. When the laughers start invading the shoreline of Fish’s jungle home, the real fun starts.
Thomas Roche pulls absolutely no punches with Panama Laugh. The guffawing (this is seriously creepy-making), hysterical dead come from every direction, and thanks to a relatively good supply of ammo, lots of guts end up flying around. Lots. A veritable cornucopia of gooey flying zombie flesh fills the pages of The Panama Laugh. As Dante, Trixie, and Van make their escape via air, eventually ending up on a nuclear fortified gunship of the coast of San Francisco, our hero rarely flags. Told in first person from Dante’s POV, the narrative goes back and forth between the action at hand to the events leading up to the zombie apocalypse, and it’s not a pretty story. Corporate greed, a madman’s desire for eternal life, and radical groups bent on depopulation make for a heady cocktail, and Dante’s experience with the nasty cause of the Panama Laugh is very, very personal. Giving away too many details would take away the visceral fun of this awesome, terrifying, gruesome, and warped roller coaster ride, and I certainly don’t want to do that. Roche’s writing is tight, immediate, and engaging, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to read it in one sitting (ok, I read it in two, but I wanted to read it in one.) Horror lovers will eat this one up (sorry about the pun), and if you’re a true zombie fan, it’s not to be missed. I was in the mood for something “zombie”, different, and awesome, and I got all three, and more, with The Panama Laugh. Put this one on your must list!(less)
My favorite graphic novelist and Visualizer,Willow Tate,and her cranky Pomeranian,Little Red,are back in book 2 of Celia Jerome’s charming series! This time,three magical white horses are rampaging through Paumanok Harbor at night,causing its citizens to wreak havoc among one another,and giving Willow dreams of a baby horse that may have been kidnapped for nefarious reasons. When sexy cowboy Ty Farraday arrives in town to help Willow locate the horse,Willow’s hormones start acting up in a big way and sparks most definitely fly.
I really enjoyed Trolls in the Hamptons,the first book in this series,so I was eager to crack open Night Mares. Paumanok Harbor is charming as usual,full of citizens that have certain “special” talents,such as one boy who’s nose runs when someone is lying,and a plumber that uses the water in the drains he fixes as scrying mirrors. Paumanok Harbor really is a character in and of itself,and I just love it more and more as I get further into the series. The handsome Brit Grant,of the DUE (Department of Unexplained Events) who Willow fell for in Trolls is across the world fighting Yetis in the Himalayas,and Willow is seriously doubting her feelings for him. He’s the perfect man,right? And he wants to marry her! If that’s the case,then why is Willow falling hard and fast for Ty Farraday? Let me tell ya,I thought Grant was a hottie,but Ty? Whooooowee! Here’s a quote from Ty at their first meeting:
“Honey,I’ll stop flirting as soon as I stop breathing. And you are the prettiest sight I’ve seen in ages. Apple pie and whipped cream,with vanilla ice cream on the side.” See? Hot tamale,huh? Anyway,I digress. Willow must find this little horse to stop the reign of terror that the mares are causing,she’s been asked to teach a drawing class at the local community center,there may be drug smuggling going on,her mother still hasn’t returned from taking care of her dad,and eventually,she’ll have to deal with Grant. Willow’s got her hands full with this one,and of course,all of this just keeps her farther and farther away from her life back in the city. Night Mares was such fun,and it even got me a little teary at one point. I love hanging with Willow and her eccentric family and friends,and you can be sure I’ll be returning to Paumanok Harbor in Fire Works in the Hamptons,the brand new book in the series! If you haven’t discovered this fun,sparkling series,what are you waiting for?(less)
The Otherworld lands are at war, and the fighting must stop, so what’s a Thorn Queen to do? When a seer tells Eugenie that she must go on a quest to find the Iron Crown, Eugenie is skeptical. The Iron Crown, she is told, is a very powerful symbol for its wearer, and could help bring peace to the kingdoms. When Eugenie presents this option to Dorian, he encourages her to get the crown. The only problem is, Dorian can’t travel with her, since she’ll have to journey through lands heavy with iron. Guess who can go with her? Did you guess Kiyo? Her ex, Kiyo? If you did, you’d be right. Oh, Kiyo, you wily little fox. You have a talent for coming back into Eugenie’s life at such pivotal times, don’t you? See, Eugenie finds out that Dorian might not have been totally honest about the power that the crown has. Uh oh. That’s not good, especially since Eugenie is on this quest with Kiyo, who she still finds sexy, and desirable, and well, you get the picture… This is a hard one for me. Kiyo irritates me. Yes, he’s a cutie, and super foxy (hehe, couldn’t help it), and is hot for Eugenie. He is however, somewhat a wet noodle in the boyfriend department. He just lacks a certain something. Most irritating is his propensity to run off to report to Maiwenn at every opportunity. If I had to pick, it would be Dorian: powerful, arrogant, masculine Dorian. We’d have to work on the kinky sex, but like I said, between the two, he’d have to be my pick. But I digress… Eugenie’s got some hard decisions to make (pun not intended). Not only about her love life, but about her role as Thorn Queen, which is getting harder and harder to maintain. She’s got to make a move, and it’s got to be soon, or land will suffer and people will die.
I love this series, and Book #3 kept me just as riveted as the first two. Richelle Mead has a knack for drama (of the best sort),and this one will keep you up past your bedtime. Yes, I wanted to shake Eugenie a couple of times. Trust me, if you’ve read it already, you know why, but she is human, and we’ve all done some silly things in the name of love. Besides, Eugenie kicks some serious ass in the magic department (she is the Storm King’s daughter after all), and her heart is always in the right place. My favorite minion, Volusian, gets some page time here, and his desire to kill Eugenie while being bound to serve her always makes for some amusing dialogue. Eugenie’s sister Jasmine seems to be mellowing out a bit, and they make some headway in their relationship, which is heartening, and I hope we’ll see Eugenie’s stepdad, Roland, softening toward her soon. Iron Crowned is a game changer, though, folks, and there were moments that I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. This one will definitely wow you, and you’ll be breathlessly awaiting the next installment! I know I am! (less)
Ellie McEnroe followed her husband to China a few years back when he got a job with a private security firm. Little did she know that it would lead to their divorce. Well, not yet exactly, since she hasn’t signed the divorce papers, and making him wait might be petty, but it’s the only revenge she has right now. For the time being, she’s renting a room in one of many abandoned high-rises in Beijing and spending lots of time with friend/lover Lao Zhang, an up and coming name on the Chinese art scene. One day, when he stops by Lao Zhang’s apartment, she realizes Zhang isn’t there, but someone else is, a Uighur (Chinese Muslim) man whom she only interacts with briefly. Soon after, she finds herself questioned by authorities and tailed by other shady folk, including US operatives, that all of a sudden have her on their radar.
Poor Ellie. She’s just trying to live her life quietly and now she’s got secret police and thugs gunning for her on every corner. Her soon to be ex-husband also seems to have something to do with these new developments and keeps sending her emails urging her to cooperate. The problem is, Ellie’s not sure what, or who, she needs to cooperate with. Soon she’s contacted by an online group in the form of a MMOG who claims to want to help Zhang. Figuring out who is friend, and who is foe won’t be easy, and the game’s clues will lead her all over China. However, Ellie resolves to see this thing to the end, whatever the outcome.
Rock Paper Tiger works on a few levels. On one, it’s a compelling mystery; on another, it’s a character study of a very wounded warrior (physically and mentally), whose recklessness is sometimes surprising considering the possible consequences. On yet another level, Rock Paper Tiger is a riveting travelogue of modern day China. Ellie is really, really hard not to like, and she hides some pain and guilt from her time in the Iraq War that she carries with her always. Like I said, there are times when Ellie is so reckless that I winced for her, but you have to keep in mind, she’s still young and living in a dichotomous place that both inspires taking chances and encourages living within a very strict set of rules. It’s Ellie’s flaws and humanity that make her such a charming heroine, and though she does find herself in some pretty sticky situations, she’s definitely not helpless. Rock Paper Tiger is a surprising novel in many ways, smartly written, frequently funny, and always entertaining. Lisa Brackmann is a singular talent and makes getting hooked on this quirky mystery very easy, indeed.