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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House
by David Mitchell
Random House • October 27, 2015
256 Pages • ISBN 978-0812998689 • Hardcover

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Book description:
Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late...

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story — as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Slade House is a fever dream-induced tale with familiar ghost story and horror tropes all mixed together to bring us something new. Slade House isn't your typical haunted house; it only appears every 9 years and only to a particular person(s). This selected person finds themselves wandering down Slade Alley when they come upon the small door in the wall and when entering the door find themselves in the beautiful garden of Slade House. Here, they meet either the sister or brother who reside in Slade House, and while at first all of this seems wildly normal, by this point it is too late for them and they will never leave Slade House.

Each chapter of the book takes place in a different decade and is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of that decade's selected guest. I have to admit that the opening chapter, which takes place in 1979 and is from the POV of a young autistic boy, was the strongest for me, with each subsequent chapter feeling slightly less compelling. Not that the later chapters didn't hold up, there was just something about that opening chapter that struck a chord with me.

It wasn't until after I read Slade House that I discovered it had ties to Mitchell's previous book, The Bone Clocks (which I have not read), so I can't tell you what those ties are, but I'm definitely going to want to read that now, and probably follow it up again with Slade House. However, you don't need to have read The Bone Clocks in order to understand what's going on in Slade House, as I'm assuming the connections between both books must be minimal, as I didn't seem to be missing anything in the story when I read it.

If you like ghost stories or horror, I think Slade House would work for you. It's dark and atmospheric and does a great job at upping the creepy factor.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars: Aftermath
by Chuck Wendig
Published by Del Rey • September 4, 2015
400 Pages • ISBN 978-0345511621 • Hardcover

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To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies — her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector — who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.

Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting...


I had written quite the lengthy review detailing my love/hate relationship with this book, but the internet ate it and it is nowhere to be found, and quite frankly, I don't feel like writing the whole damned thing again.

Instead, you'll get the tl;dr highlights!

  • Not at all what I thought it was going to be: expected big sprawling epic leading up to The Force Awakens, instead given disjointed first part of a trilogy that won't be complete until after the movie comes out, so we won't even have the entire story before going to see the movie...
  • Perhaps my expectations were skewed too high due to my excitement over the new movie?
  • Too many new characters all arriving in the exact right place at the exact right time to feel believable (even for a Star Wars book).
  • What exactly was the purpose of the Imperial's super secret meeting? Because for all the time spent in that summit in this 400-page book, not a damn thing happened. Basically, it felt like the same argument between the characters told in different ways every single time.
  • Great ending space battle, and for all the disjointedness of the story and the unnecessary "Interludes" trying to showcase the sociopolitical spectrum of a post-Palpatine galaxy, there were enough teases and questions left at the end that made me want to read the next book.
  • Chuck Wendig's writing style is definitely not for me. Probably won't be physically reading anything else by him. Didn't like his style so much that I ended up switching over to audio production of book, which then moved much more smoothly for me.
  • What exactly was everybody so worked up over about the gay character? He mentions in one offhand comment that he likes men. Big fucking deal.

There you have it. That'll be my review on this one until I feel like rewriting it, which probably won't happen if I'm going to be honest.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Greer MacAllister promotes her book The Magician's Lie

Greer MacAllister reading from her book, The Magician's Lie.

Schuler Books hosted author Greer MacAllister tonight to promote the paperback release of her book, The Magician's Lie. She talked about her inspiration behind the book, what she learned while studying the history behind magicians, and female magicians in particular, and she read a couple of passages from the book. It was a small crowd tonight, but I think i enjoyed it all the more for that reason. I'm looking forward to reading this!

From Amazon:
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician's Lie, a debut novel in which the country's most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder - and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden's husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless-and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free... and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

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To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Gris Grimly

The Halloween Tree
by Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Gris Grimly
Knopf Books for Young Readers • August 4, 2015
145 Pages • ISBN 978-0553512700 • Hardcover

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To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
In The Halloween Tree, master of fantasy Ray Bradbury takes readers on a riveting trip though space and time to discover the true origins of Halloween.

Originally published in 1972, this striking new hardcover edition features dramatic illustrations throughout by Gris Grimly, giving a new generation of readers a chance to discover the magic...

On a race through history, 8 boys must learn the secrets and origins of Halloween night in order that they might save the life of their friend, who has been stricken ill on Halloween. Ray Bradbury weaves an imaginative story that creates a rather simplified but no less interesting history of Halloween night. With his usual imagery, Bradbury really creates a story with eerie and sometimes scary nature that is Halloween night.

That was my original review of The Halloween Tree from a couple of years ago. Having not read it since, when I re-read it for my book group recently I assumed that this time would just be a refresher for me on the book. I was so wrong. Somehow, this time around it was like I was reading the book for the first time. Bradbury's language spoke to me in a way that it definitely had not previously, leaving me nostalgic for my own youth and the excitement of being a young boy at Halloween, and then sad for how much Halloween seems to have changed for so many kids now. Halloween is nothing like it was when I was younger, which in turn was nothing like it is described by Bradbury in an earlier time, but there definitely seems to be a loss of the magic of the holiday for kids today. I think now more than ever, we could use Mr. Moundshroud to reveal the magic of Halloween to this generation.

This new edition has new, appropriately creepy accompanying illustrations by Gris Grimly. I'm always excited to see how Grimly translates the written word into visuals, and he didn't disappoint with this volume. He captures something of the magic in the story perfectly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Doctor Who: The Complete History, Vol 55 - Stories 181-184: Gridlock, Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment, and 42 by John Ainsworth

Doctor Who: The Complete History, Vol 55 - Stories 181-184: Gridlock, Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment, and 42
by John Ainsworth
Panini/Hachette Partworks
September 9, 2015
152 Pages • ISBN 977-2057604036 • Hardcover

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
From Hachette Partworks. Every fortnight, Doctor Who: The Complete History will take you behind the TV cameras to document the making of the world's longest running science fiction series from 1963 to the present day. From script to screen, you will discover how every adventure of all 12 Doctors was created. Written by the experts, Doctor Who: The Complete History is a must have for any Doctor Who fan.

Volume 55 (1st delivered volume) of
Doctor Who: The Complete History features episodes starring The Tenth Doctor: "Gridlock" - On New Earth in the far future, the Doctor and Martha discover that the population are spending their lives, trapped on a motorway; "Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks" - Arriving in New York during the Great Depression, the Doctor and Martha discover that the Daleks are secretly using the new Empire State Building as part of a plan to enslave humanity; "The Lazarus Experiment" - The elderly Professor Lazarus has found a way to rejuvenate himself into a younger man. But the Doctor discovers that the process is flawed, causing Lazarus to transform into a rampaging monster; "42" - The clock is ticking as the Doctor and Martha have just 42 minutes to save a stricken spaceship from plunging into a sun.

Doctor Who: The Complete History is a series of fortnightly published hardcover editions that will cover the complete history of the television series, covering everything from plot synopsis to pre-production, production, and post-production, cast and crew listings, and just about everything else that a fan of the series would want to know about the actual process of creating each of the episodes. Truly, I believe only a hardcore fan of the series will enjoy this series of books, but if you want some great, detailed information on the Doctor Who television series, this is it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cover Reveal: Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den by Aimée Carter

US Edition

UK Edition - part of me almost likes this cover better!

The cover was revealed today for Aimée Carter's upcoming book, Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den, the first book in her new middle grade series. The book will be released on February 2, 2016, from Bloomsbury.

Check out the book description:
A thrilling debut in the tradition of Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull about a boy who discovers he's part of a secret race of animal shape shifters.

Twelve-year-old Simon Thorn's life has never been easy or normal, but things like being bullied at school and living in a cramped Manhattan apartment with his Uncle Darryl are nothing compared to his biggest secret: He can talk to animals.

But when his mom is suddenly kidnapped by a herd of rats, Simon finds out that he, his mom, and his uncle are all Animalgams - people born with the ability to change into an animal at will. In search of his mom, Simon discovers the Animalgam Academy based at the Central Park Zoo. There he learns about the fractured five kingdoms - Mammals, Birds, Insects, Reptiles, and Underwater - that make up this secret world... and realizes he may be the only one who can save it.

This action-packed page-turner is filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, and finding one's true self, and is perfect for fans of the Spirit Animals and The School of Good and Evil series.

Click on any of the links below to preorder your copy or add it to your LibraryThing or Goodreads.

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To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cover Reveal: Legion by Catrina Burgess

by Catrina Burgess
The Dark Rituals Series, book 4
In Legion, the climactic finale to the Dark Rituals series, Colina must face her demons—both literally and figuratively—once and for all.


"Violence gleamed out of my eyes, and my hands reached toward the reflection in the mirror. Who was this girl? … I was changing. … I was becoming whatever I had to in order to survive."

We first met seventeen-year-old Colina Campbell in Awakening, when she unleashed the darkness inside her to become a master of the Death Arts. Now, after being hunted for months, Colina must finally face the consequences of her decision to become a death dealer.

Get the entire series on iBooks starting October 7th

Catrina Burgess’ Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Revenant is the final book of four. The first in the series, Awakening, was named Wattpad’s Best Suspense Story of 2014.