In a world where tiny humans live in symbiosis with insects, Anand is a half-breed of the lowest caste. When a new colony is to be formed, Anand is deIn a world where tiny humans live in symbiosis with insects, Anand is a half-breed of the lowest caste. When a new colony is to be formed, Anand is delighted at the prospect but soon finds himself living with a different clan and a new outlook. When the Ghost Ants attack his new home, Anand has a chance to change the world...
This was on my radar for a long time and I couldn't resist when it popped up on Netgalley. I was not disappointed.
While I'm not a fan of today's extruded fantasy product, originally scores big points with me and Prophets of the Ghost Ants has originality to spare. After a great cataclysm, the Earth is nearly destroyed and humans gradually evolve into being insect-sized for survival. Humans live in symbiosis with their gargantuan insect brethren and largely live in a caste system.
You don't normally read a fantasy novel where insects play a prominent role and the main character is in charge of emptying the chamber pots of nobles. I really liked the use of the caste system, somewhat emulating the hierarchy of ants. I also liked that each clan lived in symbiosis with different insects, like roaches, different varieties of ants, and termites.
Since it was a fantasy novel, you pretty much knew Anand was going to turn things upside down but I was surprised at the magnitude. It reminded me of Michael Moorcock's Elric books, only without so much genocide and melancholy. It was also very well thought out. There were no logical holes in the setting of the "Why don't they fly to Mordor on a giant eagle and drop the ring in the volcano" variety.
It was a fun journey, watching Anand go from being a shit-scraper to the founder of a nation. The violence was harsh and there was a fair bit of smut in it, all the things I look for in a fantasy saga. Four out of five stars....more
When Tomas Morales tracks down Juan's grandfather, Jimmy Veeder and his wife head to Mexico for a honeymoon and to meet up with him, with Bobby MavesWhen Tomas Morales tracks down Juan's grandfather, Jimmy Veeder and his wife head to Mexico for a honeymoon and to meet up with him, with Bobby Maves and Grizelda in tow. Little does Jimmy Veeder know that he's stepping into a hornet's nest of drug dealers and killers...
I got this from Netgalley.
Johnny Shaw's dimwitted duo, Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves, are back and in fine form. Jimmy gets married and heads to Mexico, only to stir up trouble as only he and Bobby Maves can. Things have changed since the last book, however. Jimmy has built a good life with Angie and Juan and has a lot more to lose.
As with the previous book, the humor is the star of the show. The book is peppered with hilarious lines, shades of early Joe Lansdale. In fact, if Joe Lansdale ever chooses to die and his estate wants to farm Hap and Leonard out to someone, he could do a lot worse than Johnny Shaw.
Speaking of Lansdale, Imperial Valley reminded me of Captains Outrageous, both because of the humor and of the structure, with the first half taking place in Mexico and the second, when the conflict comes home. While I knew Jimmy and Bobby wouldn't die, there were some tense moments.
One thing did irk me, however. When a book is this hilarious, it kind of deflates the sense of jeopardy. When everyone is cracking wise, it's hard to take the violence seriously. That being said, this book is high on violence but higher on laughs. I lost count of lines I would have uttered aloud if anyone was sitting within earshot.
Honestly, the third Jimmy Veeder fiasco does not disappoint. It's as funny as the previous two. Four out of five stars. Special bonus points to Shaw for including the World's Deadliest Mexican from Blood & Tacos #1 for a cameo appearance....more
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is a humorous book about punctuation. Who knew punctuation could be so entertainEats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is a humorous book about punctuation. Who knew punctuation could be so entertaining?
As someone who writes a fair bit (half a million words on Goodreads alone), I know my way around a sentence. However, when this popped up on Amazon on the cheap, I was powerless to resist, like my dog on a piece of cat shit.
In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynn Truss takes us on a Bill Bryson-esque odyssey through a forest of commas, apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, and exclamation marks. Incidentally, did you know an exclamation mark is called a dog's cock in some circles? I did not.
Truss' writing makes things like how to properly use an apostrophe entertaining, using amusing phrasing and real life examples, offering up rules like "Don't use commas like a stupid person." It isn't all laughs, however. I normally avoid colons and semi-colons but I feel like she's given me a greater understanding of them.
There's not a whole lot more to divulge. It's no surprise this short but sweet book is a best-seller. It's very accessible and as entertaining as a book on punctuation can be. For grammarians and writers alike, Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a fun yet useful book about fairly boring subject. Four out of five stars....more
A government agent called The Signalman has a meeting with a mysterious woman in Winslow, Arizona about a bizarre cult murder near the Salton Sea daysA government agent called The Signalman has a meeting with a mysterious woman in Winslow, Arizona about a bizarre cult murder near the Salton Sea days earlier. But what do those events have to do with the New Horizons space probe and a black and white movie penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Despite my resolve to take on as few ARCs as possible this year, I couldn't resist this one when it popped up on Netgalley. It sounded wonderfully bizarre and it was.
Much like half of the books I've read so far in 2017, Agents of Dreamland is a modern Lovecraft tale of sorts, a tale of madness, alien fungus, shady government dealings, and an apocalypse on the horizon. There are a ton of ideas and hints in this novella, enough to fuel my imagination long after I finished it.
The Signalman is just a few years from retirement and fighting for every inch in that direction. Immacolata is a mysterious woman who knows many things she shouldn't. When she gives the Signalman her briefcase, his life gets several shades worse. The Fungi from Yuggoth are one of my favorite Lovecraftian baddies and they probably don't get enough press. Agents of Dreamland pushes them to their full potential, making for a chilling read.
Since it's a novella, I don't want to say much more. Suffice to say, Agents of Dreamland is a gripping read that blends Lovecraftian lore with conspiracy theories into a slick package brimming with ideas. 4.5 out of 5 stars....more
When Roxane Weary takes on a case to find a woman that's supposedly been dead for fifteen years to clear her incarcerated boyfriend's name before he'sWhen Roxane Weary takes on a case to find a woman that's supposedly been dead for fifteen years to clear her incarcerated boyfriend's name before he's executed, she's in way over her head. Can Roxane put her alcohol problem and her pain over her father's death aside long enough to crack the case?
Every time I try to quit accepting ARCs, something like this falls into my lap. Thanks again, karen!
I've been out of the detective fiction game for the past few months for the most part. Once you read a couple hundred crime books, everything starts seeming the same. Then a gem like this comes along.
The Last Place You Look stars Roxane Weary, a woman reeling from her cop father's death, coping by drinking a small ocean of whiskey. Between an ex-lover named Catherine that continuously toys with her to her current companion, her deceased father's partner, Roxane's life is a train wreck. She's just the type of girl you can count on to keep a man from getting executed, right?
Roxane reminds me of some unholy offspring of George Pelecanos's Nick Stefanos and Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt. If only she spent as much time detecting as she did throwing back slugs of whiskey... I kid. I loved Roxane, from her complex relationships with her family members to her questionable taste in sex partners.
In between black out drunks, she finds time to get wrapped up in quite a case. What seems like one murder ages ago winds up being quite a bit more. Roxane goes through both physical and emotional wringers multiple times on the way to one of the better crime fiction endings I've read in a long time.
One of the hallmarks of a great crime book, for me, anyway, is when the author makes me feel like a rube when the big reveal comes. I thought I had the killer pegged really early but that turned out to be a read herring. I pondered the title while cooking dinner and still didn't tip to who the killer was. Well done, Kristen. Well done.
I don't have a single bad things to say about this book. I'm greatly looking forward to reading more of Roxane's drunken escapades in the future. Five out of five stars....more