James Taylor is a small town Texas man with a painfully normal life, except for the visions. Even those are something he's become accustomed to, until...moreJames Taylor is a small town Texas man with a painfully normal life, except for the visions. Even those are something he's become accustomed to, until he starts slipping into the mind of a dangerous predatory beast hulking through the woods near the town. His unique perspective puts him in a position to hunt down this dangerous foe, with the cops' help or not. While it doesn't cover much different territory than your average horror-monster novel, Doppelganger easily sates the dark-thing-in-the-night hunger of horror fans. The pace clips along nicely and James is a clear good guy who wants the best for his wife, friends and neighbors and is willing to put himself in danger to help others. The character building is somewhat thin, with most of James' friends, and even his wife not really breaking out of the role they play (the pregnant, dutiful wife who must be saved, the best friend who is well meaning, but goes too far in joking, the Andy Griffith sheriff, etc). It's an enjoyable read, recommended for collections with insatiable monster-horror fans. Contains: violence, language, some gore(less)
When we last saw our heroes they were facing down three terrifying boogie monsters. In this book, Sulu the bionic hamster saves them, but that just fl...moreWhen we last saw our heroes they were facing down three terrifying boogie monsters. In this book, Sulu the bionic hamster saves them, but that just flings George, Harold and Captain Underpants into their wildest adventure yet. If Mr. Krupp and Melvin Sneedley having switched bodies wasn't enough now Melvin is principal! And that means Melvin has Mr. Krupp's super powers and Captain Underpants has none.
This is a tangled plot that only...time travel can fix?
The Captain Underpants books are fun, silly (and a little gross) books that kids really love. They're good for reluctant readers since there aren't huge blocks of text to overwhelm them. Best for a 6-13 age range they make excellent library or class collection books as well.(less)
The third book in Andrews' rural-modern fantasy series is also the first to be a less satisfactory starting place for new readers. And again fans of t...moreThe third book in Andrews' rural-modern fantasy series is also the first to be a less satisfactory starting place for new readers. And again fans of the series already will find all the things they love about it here for their eager eyes.
In the Edge series there are three world settings, the Broken, where magic doesn't work, the Weird, where magic developed instead of science and fantasy-style nobles and bluebloods rule, and finally the Edge, a space between the Broken and Weird that collects exiles, runaways and all manner of odd folk. Fate's Edge focuses on Kaldar (also in the second book) a swamp rat swindler turned Special Agent for the Weird. His female lead is Audrey, a woman whose family used her magical talent for thievery only to betray her in favor of her addict, abusive brother.
There's a lot more world-building and setting related material here than in the previous books. The past books and the Weird politics are far more essential to the story. Likewise, there's a difficulty in a book where both leads are, by legal if not moral standards, bad guys (just not as bad as the evil, magical skewed, murdering Hand). There's quite a few times where the romance element between Kaldar and Audrey is shoved to the background. The main plot, too, takes an unconventional path as the leads seem to get distracted with side plots rather than attacking the problem at hand directly (like the leads in the first 2 books did). That said, I really enjoyed it. Andrews' writing style is richly detailed, wonderfully expansive and unconventional. It's action-y and engaging, an enjoyable read from page one. But this isn't where new readers should start (you should start with On the Edge).(less)
Aftermath is the fifth book in a six book series, which means if you love science fiction with rich detail and characters, grand world-changing advent...moreAftermath is the fifth book in a six book series, which means if you love science fiction with rich detail and characters, grand world-changing adventure and a dose of romance this isn't the book to start with. (You should start at the beginning Grimspace.) And if you're already a fan of the series, well you don't need me to tell you to check out this book.
But I enjoyed Aftermath quite a bit, though within it Aguirre is attempting to wrap up several strands in Jax's universe. In the last book Jax, March and crew took on military orders and faced down an invasion of the flesh-eating nasties of the universe, the Morgut. In the process she reprogrammed the entire system of markers inside grimspace which makes interstellar travel possible. Now her actions see her facing treason charges, arrested and waiting in prison for trial, trying to deal with the public and personal cost.
A lot happens in this book, and the pace is larger scale than the previous books. This is the first book in the series that doesn't feel like a complete story of its own, but it does a necessary job of both wrapping up some plot threads and pushing Jax and company into new paths in life.
Aguirre proves that her Jax-universe has plenty more secrets, and that the character arc of Jax herself doesn't include giving up all the wanderlust and charm that readers came to love for a happy ending. Aftermath is an enjoyable, vivid read. I recommend the whole series, especially for character-based science fiction fans (like those who enjoy Star Wars and Serenity). (less)
Zombielicious is equal parts sex and zombie apocalypse in a fast-paced, over-the-top tale of finding love in the middle of disaster. Twins Molly (a sp...moreZombielicious is equal parts sex and zombie apocalypse in a fast-paced, over-the-top tale of finding love in the middle of disaster. Twins Molly (a spoiled brat whose greatest aspiration is to win a singing contest and have people do what she wants) and Walt (a perfectionist deeply ashamed of his sexuality who tries to make up for it by pleasing the people around him) meet up with Jill (an ex-porn star turned nurse who can't even use scientific terms for body parts), Ace (the security guard who thinks Jill owes him sex because he's a fan) and Joey (a teen who is selling his body to science to get the money to run away from his hateful parents) and have to support each other through the zombie uprising.
For zombie apoc fans this book has lots of fight scenes, some hot smut scenes, and lots of gore. But the characters are either completely deplorable people or super sensitive damsels in distress. And while there's a lot of action, there's no larger plot other than survive all the stuff thrown at them. Traditional zombie fans will no doubt find Zombielicious exciting and fun, but it's not a whole lot different from other books out there (outside from a major male/male relationship) so public collections will find other books better suited to diversity of theme. Contains: Violence, gore, very crude language, explicit sex (hetero and homosexual), rape(less)
Karen's just starting to get her life back on track after the disappearance of her twin brother months ago. Until a strange voice on the phone tells h...moreKaren's just starting to get her life back on track after the disappearance of her twin brother months ago. Until a strange voice on the phone tells her ″Two men have the carcass.″ When a man calls claiming to be her brother's partner, both romantically and in a budding B&B in Fallen Trees, Washington Karen feels the overwhelming urge to travel to the small town in the middle of nowhere and retrace her brother's last steps. But what she finds at the House of Fallen Trees is a classic creepy ghost tale that might have killed her brother.
House of Fallen Trees is a fast, compelling read. It's dark, twisted and will have readers questioning Karen as much as the strange happenings the giant ship built in the middle of the woods. Creepy and fun it's a stellar ghost tale in a thin market. A definite good choice for horror collections.
Allegiance to a Dead Man is a fun novelette about a modern woman who finds herself in a position to save someone who's already dead and (maybe) the wh...moreAllegiance to a Dead Man is a fun novelette about a modern woman who finds herself in a position to save someone who's already dead and (maybe) the whole city of San Francisco. There's a touch of the The Crow's morbidity and a touch of Terry Pratchett's Discworld policy on magic (especially books like Hogfather). The spirits keep the memories alive and remembering keeps the spirits alive. It's part urban legend and part sweet remembrance story.
Allegiance is a good, fast read, especially suited to San Franciscans or ghost story fans. (less)
A cute little story about an Appalachian cryptid named the Snallygaster, Beware the Snallygaster is quick-paced and filled with mystery. Holly and Pet...moreA cute little story about an Appalachian cryptid named the Snallygaster, Beware the Snallygaster is quick-paced and filled with mystery. Holly and Peter are two intrepid fifth graders determined to find out whether the Snallygaster is real or not for the sake of their reputations (and grades). But how do you catch a mythical monster that might be dead? While some of story vocabulary might above the reading level for the ages Amazon lists it for (9-12), Beware the Snallygaster is a fun and very modern Halloween-themed story, good for before bed reading or for parents who love cryptids and want to share that with their kids. Recommended for public collections as well. Contains: alcohol (including moonshine which is essential to the legend), references to violence and gore(less)
Sara M. Harvey's novella trilogy is part urban fantasy and part steampunk. Featuring angels, demons and nephilim with surprising little religious content, Labyrinth of the Dead strikes at the same chord as Dante's Inferno. Warrior heroine Portia travels physically to the underworld to reclaim the spirit of her lover Imogen, whose body still lives in the upper worlds. But there are those to seek to use Imogen as a gateway to the living world.
Portia traveling bodily to the Netherworld puts her at great risk, because, as she learns, typically the spawn of celestials and humans by nature go to better afterlifes. But here Portia will learn the truth about her divine heritage, about what becomes of souls when the body dies and she'll face an old enemy and new betrayers in her quest to be with Imogen.
Harvey's world is rich for being so brief. Her vivid mix of technology and magic is appealing to fans of steampunk and urban fantasy. At its core Labyrinth of the Dead is a timeless love story, tapping into legends like Orpheus (if, instead of being a pied piper of the dead Orpheus magicked his way to the underworld, often with his own blood). Harvey's tale is a stand out in the science fiction/fantasy field for it's uniqueness and it's quiet, determined strength of storytelling. Here Portia, and Harvey, aren't content to let the tale unfold, but instead forge the fiction world into something powerful and enjoyable for readers.(less)
The air has turned crisp and pumpkins are appearing all over. The trees are donning their fall colors and stores have been slinging fun-sized candies...moreThe air has turned crisp and pumpkins are appearing all over. The trees are donning their fall colors and stores have been slinging fun-sized candies in purple and orange for a month now. It's the perfect setting for some great Halloween-themed tales, and this book delivers. Jack O' Spec is a delightful collection of poems and prose all centering on some of the themes of Halloween. Not the typical horror fare of monsters and killers, instead it studies magic, what Halloween would be like if we were no long subjected to Earth's season and the myths behind the celebrations and masks in the first place. This isn't a collection out to scare or turn reader away with blatant gore. It's out to dazzle and does its job well. From Michael M. Jones' holiday noir ″Who Killed the Pumpkin King?″ to Daniel R. Robichaud's steampunk ″Autumn Jitters″ and Samantha Henderson's south-of-the-border ″Sugar Skulls″ Jack O' Spec has a lot to offer. It's an excellent choice for Halloween lovers, and for public collections. Contains: Pagan themes, language, adult situations(less)
Kate and Michael, a pair of twenty-something hipsters, are the point of view characters of choice for this wry, off-beat new take on the zombie apocal...moreKate and Michael, a pair of twenty-something hipsters, are the point of view characters of choice for this wry, off-beat new take on the zombie apocalypse. While the dead rise, partially because of an STD, they plan to get their last bits in order then meet at Alcatraz for the long wait. Meh just about sums up this book. Kate and Michael witness two full zombie transitions (one during coitus and one their friend who pluckily tries to rape the first zombie) but instead of doing anything (other than making excuses on why they can't bother to help their friends and instead just leave them tied up for hours) they get high and watch zombie movies. Kate and Michael seem uninterested in their own story, so it's hard for readers to get involved as well. Add in completely unsympathetic scenes (like straight Kate suddenly having lesbian sex and dating a married man for money), disconnected sex scenes (everyone on the sight-seeing zeppelin tour is being eaten, so let's go have blood-covered sex in the bathroom) and bits of cleverness that just come off as eye roll-worthy (whips make zombies obey? And an iPhone app that sounds like a whip saves the day?) and Dead just fails to connect. For readers who like zombies stories where most of the action happens off screen while the leads make Jesus jokes and have lots of sex The Loving Dead will be a huge hit. For readers looking for a smart, funny zombie apocalypse story there are better reads out there. Contains: explicit sex, language, gore(less)
This is My Blood is a sneaky, beautifully written Christian horror tale of supernatural damnation and love. In this hard-to-put-down book a vampire tu...moreThis is My Blood is a sneaky, beautifully written Christian horror tale of supernatural damnation and love. In this hard-to-put-down book a vampire turned by Lucifer himself to punish humanity becomes enamored with the mythos of The Christ and finds the love and power radiating from the man himself to be more than she expected. Taking on the role of Mary Magdalene she finds herself drawn to him, despite Lucifer's promise that she's bound to damn him. Wilson's tale is enchanting, deeply religious without being judgmental or hypocritical. Beautifully written it's definitely worth the cost and the time to read. Highly recommended for budding digital collections. Contains: violence, religious themes (less)