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Halo Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Halo
By Alexandra Adornetto

Price: $24.99
On Sale: 1/08/2010
Formats: B+ Format Paperback
ISBN: 9780732289898; ISBN10: 0732289890; Imprint: ; On Sale: 1/08/2010; Format: Trade paperback; Trimsize: 138 x 210 x 37 mm; Pages: 496; $24.99
http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Halo-Alexandra-Adornetto/?isbn=9780732289898&cm_sp=hpg-_-topbooks-_-9780732289898

Book Description
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels, Ivy, Bethany and Gabriel are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings.
But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls for the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him?
Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.
The angels and Xavier must work together to overcome the dark forces - but will Beth survive the battle?
′Halo enchanted me from the very first page.′Claudia Gray, #1 best-selling author of Evernight series

Alexandra Adornetto

Alexandra Adornetto was only thirteen when she wrote The Shadow Thief. Now fifteen, Alexandra has won various awards for her writing and in 2006 won the State Legacy Public Speaking competition. Her future aspirations are to work full time writing novels and screenplays, while also pursuing a career as an actor.
She is currently working on Von Gobstopper′s Arcade, the third novel in the Strangest Adventures trilogy

Review

Alexandra Adornetto is an Australian author, and this is her first US release. Halo is the first in her trilogy to be followed by Hades in 2011 and Heaven in 2012.
Three Angels are sent to Earth to diffuse some of the evil prospering in the quiet town of Venus Cove. Bethany, the youngest of the three is the closest to being human and therefore is more susceptible to the temptations of Earth, including the handsome school captain. Readers experience her emotions and discoveries as she fumbles through her new home, trying to fit in with her schoolmates. While she makes some questionable decisions that may leave readers shaking their heads, her character shows considerable growth by the end of the book.


The characters in the story were real. I found Bethany to be one of the strangest characters of all. She’s the youngest in our trio of angels. Gabriel and Ivy act just as you would expect angels to, but Bethany is different. It might be because she is young, or maybe her personality, but she is like Pandora with her curiosity. This gets her into trouble, often. It also makes her seem more human and easier to relate to as a reader. She may be naive, but she’s impulsive, and very loving.

Most of the story follows her relationship with Xavier. It was well developed. I was only bothered when she started talking about sex, which really didn’t seem to be appropriate for teen angels to be thinking.

The scene has been set for a great series here and I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Some Girls Bite: Chicagoland Vampires #1 Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Some Girls Bite: Chicagoland Vampires #1
Chloe Neill
ISBN 0575094044(978-057-509404-8)
RRP $22.99 April 2010
Gollancz Paperback (198 x 129)

I was doing fine until Chicago's vampires announced their existence to the world - and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker...one who decided the best way to save my life was to take it. Turns out my saviour was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I've traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan 'Lord o' the Manor' Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four hundred year old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he also seems to expect my eternal gratitude - and servitude... But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I'm surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan's attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone's out to get me... My initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war - and there's going to be blood.

http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780575094048.html

Chloe Neill
Chloe Neill was born in the south of the USA and currently resides in the US Midwest. SOME GIRLS BITE is her debut novel and the first in the Chicagoland Vampires series. Previous titles: Some Girls Bite (Bfmt May 2010)

Review

Some Girls Bite is the debut novel for Chloe Neill, and a ripper of a read in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre. Neill has spent the groundwork for an interesting new world in the flooded market of vampire novels, no mean feat with the huge range of vamp books around these days. As far as heroines go, Merit is very well-flushed out. She's intelligent, down-to-earth, emotionally and physically strong, as well as driven. Unlike too many MC’s who befall similar circumstances in other novels, she realistically struggles with her new vampiric lifestyle without wasting too much time moaning about it. Instead she faces the decision that she must make between braving it alone or joining with her new vamp brothers and sisters by learning as much as she can and making the most of her new abilities. Merit isn't the only draw, however. The plot is very nicely paced and well thought out. Neill has obvious put a lot of effort into world-building and the pacing of the story over the next few novels.

The setting is against the backdrop of Chicago, with many familiar locations, such as Lincoln Park, Hyde Park, Wrigley Field and Michigan Avenue. If you’ve ever visited this city, then you’ll be quite at home with the regular references, if not, you’ll probably want to visit it as Neill’s descriptions are quite vivid.

Pure Blood: Nocturne City #2 Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Pure Blood: Nocturne City #2
Caitlin Kittredge
ISBN 0575093730(978-057-509373-7)
RRP $22.99 August 2010
Gollancz Paperback (198 x 129)
http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780575093737.html

In the shadows of Nocturne City, witches lurk and demons prowl and homicide detective Luna Wilder must keep the peace - while living life as a werewolf. Now bodies are turning up all over town, the brutal murders linked by a cryptic message: We see with empty eyes... To make matters worse for Luna, she can't get wolfishly handsome Dmitri Sandovsky out of her mind. The last time he helped her with a case, Dmitri suffered a demon bite that infected him with a mysterious illness and now his pack elders have forbidden him from associating with Luna. But she'll need his help when high-level witches start turning up slaughtered. Because a war is brewing between rival clans of blood witches and caster witches - a magical gang war with the power to burn Nocturne City to the ground.

Caitlin Kittredge

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Nocturne City series, about a werewolf detective. She collects vintage clothes and lives in Olympia, Washington with her two cats. Previous Books: Pure Blood (Bfmt Sep 10 9780575093737); Night Life (9780575093713)

Review

If you haven’t read Caitlins first book in The Nocturne City series, here’s a quick recap for you; it is an urban fantasy novel set in the fictional city of Nocturne City. The city exists somewhere in America, albeit an alternate world or timeline as real places are mentioned but werewolves and magic exists but no mention of vampires.

The protagonist, Luna Wilder, is a homicide detective with the Nocturne City PD as well as an Insoli, or pack less, werewolf. She's a balls-to-the-wall, pedal-to-the-metal, quick-to-flare adrenaline junkie, so the storyline is always a fast-paced adventure. Luna is pretty hard headed and gutsy, and she has no problem going after the bad guys herself, which I really like about her. She also has no problem being rescued once in awhile. Here we have a heroin e that is vulnerable to death and damage, and getting help out of a jam is necessary sometimes.

Pure Blood sees Luna returning from medical leave after the horrific events of the first book. Here first case back on the job involves an apparent OD case that she strongly suspects is murder. Suddenly bodies are turning up all over town all linked by a cryptic message: "We see with empty eyes . . . " Luna is struggling to put the pieces of the investigation together, juggle wolfishly handsome pack-leader, Dmitry, her own estranged family members, and a new partner who seems to have her own link to the murders.

The plot moves along at a nice pace and the action springs out of the page. We see the characters well developed compare to the first novel in the series and get to know the MC even better. Can’t wait for the next one in the series to come out.

Julie Miller Interview  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Scott: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us. I’ve just read Something Is Out There and enjoyed it, how long did it take to do the research for this book?

Julie: Thanks! We researched it over a period of about six months, but we had visited some of the places a couple of years back when we were putting together a TV pilot on haunted places (which we ended up filming in New Zealand!), so we were revisiting familiar territory.

Scott: What was the scariest encounter you experienced during the investigations you conducted during the writing of Something Is Out There?

Julie: I’m still freaked out about the light that followed us down the Stuart Highway in the NT, near Wycliffe Well. I’m not convinced it was an “alien probe”, but it was certainly an unsettling experience and I haven’t as yet heard a satisfying scientific explanation to counter claims that it was paranormal.

Scott: With the hype surrounding government cover-ups when it comes to investigating reports of alien life and UFO’s, how much resistance or interference did you come across in your research?

Julie: The UFO community in particular is very closed, and we were researching as outsiders. We did have trouble penetrating some particular groups, but other individuals were very helpful with their research. I do think there’s a lot of paranoia in the field, however.

Scott: What was the motivation behind writing Something Is Out There?

Julie: Grant and I have been obsessed with the paranormal since 1999, when we first discussed making a television series about haunted places. We eventually made a series in New Zealand called Ghost Hunt, which threw us into the thick of the action over there. We wrote two books about haunted places in New Zealand as a result of that, but always wanted to continue our research in Australia, since there is such a wealth of material.

Scott: Have either you or Grant considered making Something Is Out There into a television series, or documentary? I know I’d definitely be interested in seeing the locations you mention in your book.

Julie: Yes! We are both television producers, and have a proposal for a TV version of Something is Out There which we will be sending to the networks soon. We tried to sell the concept of our NZ series Ghost Hunt here a couple of years ago, but the networks were closed to the idea – at the time, they said the subject matter was “too dark”!

Scott: Where there many urban legends you researched that you thought were absolute hoaxes, only to be proved wrong when you visited the location yourself?

Julie: I always thought the Picton Railway Tunnel legend was an urban myth, but having seen strange lights in there myself, I can honestly say there’s something unexplained happening…

Scott: What are you plans for your next project? Should we expect another book from you and Grant or one by just you in the future?

Julie: Grant and I are working on a book on vampires at the moment, looking at the myths and legends behind the popular culture. We also have individual projects we are working on.

Scott: What are you reading at the moment and who are your favorite authors?

Julie: I just finished Bret Easton Ellis’ Imperial Bedrooms and am currently re-reading his old books. I saw him speaking in Sydney just week, and was very impressed – for someone who writes about cutting up women, he was totally charming and very funny! I also love Jonathan Franzen (the Corrections) and I’m looking forward to the release of his new novel.

Rebecca James Interview  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Hi Rebecca, thank you for taking the time to have a chat to us here at Midnight Echo. Can you tell us a little about who Rebecca James is?

Rebecca: Hmmm - I’m a 40 year old woman, writer and mother of four boys. I live in Armidale but will very soon be moving to Port Macquarie. Right now I’m sitting in my kitchen, fireplace blazing, hot cup of tea by my side and red uggh boots on my feet. I think life will be quite different in Port (as the locals call it)...

Scott: How did if feel to read the praise in the Wall Street Journal in October last year about you being the next J.K Rowling?

Rebecca: The comparison to JK Rowling made me a little uncomfortable, to be honest - they are some mighty big boots to fill and I don’t think I’ve got a hope in hell!

Scott: How long did it take you to write Beautiful Malice?

Rebecca: It took about 2 years.

Scott: Did you begin writing short stories, and if so, what was the first story you had published and where, or did you get straight into novels?

Rebecca: I have written a couple of short stories but have never submitted them anywhere - I’m much more interested in novels! The first thing I had published was a humorous piece of creative non-fiction about dinner time in a household with four young kids. It was published in an Australian parenting magazine.

Scott: What are you working on at the moment? Will it be in the same genre as Beautiful Malice or are you writing something completely different now?

Rebecca: I’m writing the second book in my contract. It’s another psychological thriller in a similar vein to BEAUTIFUL MALICE. At the moment it’s called COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD although the publishers may decide to change this.

Scott: Do you have a favourite character you have created and why?

Rebecca: I like Alice best and I think it’s because she gets such a strong response (normally negative) from readers. It was great fun creating such an extreme character.

Scott: What is a typical day of writing for you? Do you have a goal for achieving a certain amount of words or hours per day?

Rebecca: When I’m writing the first draft I aim to write about 1000 words a day from Monday to Friday. When I’m editing or revising I just try and get as much done as I can while the kids are at school.

Scott: What are you reading at the moment and who are your 5 favourite authors?

Rebecca: I’m reading a book called GOOD OIL by Laura Buzo. It’s a new Australian YA release. It’s fantastic. Truly hilarious and brilliantly written - I’m quite envious of Laura’s talent for creating utterly believable and complex characters! And my favourites... well, actually, I’ve recently decided not to have favourites because I change my mind all the time depending on my mood and what I’m reading...it’s too much of a fluid and changeable thing.

Rec 2 Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Rec 2 follows straight on from where Rec ended, with the apartment building under heavily armed quarantine and no apparent survivors inside. I watched Rec in anticipation of this sequel and it was a seemles transition to Rec 2, making the 4 hours of viewing extremely enjoyable.

The movie starts with another armed team ready to escort a specialist "doctor" inside to obtain samples of the infected blood. The team are not long in the building before they encounter the infected and the body count starts again.

There are also other new victims in the apartment when a firefighter helps one of the occupants spouses in through an underground tunnel, closely followed by a trio of clueless teenagers.

Filmed in the same format as Rec, we see the action through the live camera's of the teenagers and swat team. This style is widely used now, but the original ones like Rec, really mastered the format.

If you enjoyed Rec then you will love this sequel, even though there is a completely new cast and twist to the plot not far along.

Something Is Out There Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Something Is Out There
Unlocking Australia's Paranormal Secrets
ISBN: 9781742371320
Australian Pub.: September 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: ARENA
Subject: Memoirs
Edition Number: 1

Strange lights in the sky... Menacing footsteps in the bush... Things that go bump in the night... Come on a weird and wonderful journey inside the world of the paranormal in Australia.

Description

Join Julie Miller and Grant Osborn as they enter the strange sub-culture of ufologists; sky-watchers who chase flying saucers and extraterrestrial craft in the hope of a close encounter. On a quest to find the truth about UFOs, Julie and Grant travel from isolated mountain peaks to a remote spot in the dead heart of the outback labelled the 'Roswell of Australia'. Along the way they discover government cover-ups and top secret X files guarded by mysterious men in black...
Not all strange creatures come from outer space. Monsters are said to stalk Australia's forests, mountains and rivers - elusive species fanatically hunted by pseudo-scientists known as cryptozoologists. Miller and Osborn enter their whacky - sometimes scary - world, in search of Australia's answer to the Loch Ness Monster, sharks bigger than the star of Jaws and primeval big cats who drop from trees to attack their victims.

While such scary creatures stalk the landscape, committed ghost hunters and psychic investigators stalk creaking corridors trying to find proof of goings-on from the 'other side'. Miller and Osborn join these seekers of the supernatural, spending a night in Australia's most haunted house and venturing through spectral graveyards and abandoned train tunnels in Australia's most haunted town.
Something is Out There recounts the hair-raising adventures of two intrepid writers on a frightening otherworldly mission - to find evidence of paranormal activity.

About Julie Miller and Grant Osborn
Julie Miller is an award-winning travel writer and freelance journalist, contributing to the Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas magazine, American Express Platinum, Inside Sport and Holidays with Kids. She also works in television, producing, script writing and script editing. Grant Osborn is an award-winning television producer and writer who contributes to a diverse range of local and international TV programs including Gladiators, Mythbusters, One Step Beyond, Catalyst, Real Prison Breaks, Big Brother, The Great Outdoors, Guerrilla Gardeners, Food Investigators and My Kitchen Rules. He also writes regularly for Suite 101, specialising in travel and B-grade movie reviews.

Review

This book contains many very brief accounts of the supernatural places around Australia. While there is a treasure trove of places and events described in this book, I would have liked a tad more detail about each encounter the authors wrote about. Some of the places are only a one page briefing on the history of the legend behind the famous, and infamous locations in this great nation of ours.
I found the many sections of this book to be extremely interesting, and hadn’t heard of many of the haunted houses and buildings described. Julie and Grant sound like they had a fantastic time travelling across the country in search of paranormal activity and evidence. If they made a tv series about their journey, I’m sure it would be a high rating show. Just about every urban legend and documented supernatural even in Australia’s history is contained in the cover of this book.

Competition  

Posted by Scott Wilson

To enter, just click on the 'Follow' button (lower right). Both new and existing followers will be eligible to win as long as you live in Australia (sorry overseas postage is just tooo expensive)! A winner will be drawn at random on September 14th, 2010, and contacted via this site.

We've to one prize pack consisting of the following novels to give away to one lucky person;

One copy of Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Pan MacMillian 2010, http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/display_title.asp?ISBN=9780330425711&Author=McDermott, Kirstyn)

One copy of By Midnight by Mia James (Gollancz 2010, http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780575095533.html)

One copy of Something is out There by Julie Miller and Grant Osborn (Allen and Unwin, 2010, http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781742371320)


Spread the word about this blog to help promote the authors, publishers and books we've reviewed. You've got to be in it to win it!

So Cold The River Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


So Cold the River

Michael Koryta
ISBN: 9781742371337
Australian Pub.: June 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: ARENA
Subject: Thriller & Suspense
Edition Number: 1

The restoration of a grand old hotel unleashes an unspeakable evil in a supernatural thriller of unstoppable ferocity and bone-chilling terror. Read it with the lights on ...
Description
It started with a documentary. The beautiful Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to unearth the life story of her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose childhood is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job, even though the only clues to Bradford's past are his hometown and an antique water bottle he's kept all his life.
In Bradford's hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary past - a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes and mobsters once intermingled. Long derelict, the hotel has just been restored to its former grandeur.
But something else has been restored too - a long forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to settle a decades-old score. And with every move, Eric inches closer to the centre of the building storm.
Brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, So Cold The River will appeal to fans of Stephen King, Peter Straub and Dean Koontz and readers of masters of investigation such as Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and John Connolly.

About Michael Koryta
Michael Koryta is the author of six books, including four Lincoln Perry PI novels and the standalone thriller Envy the Night, which won the Los Angeles Times prize for best mystery. Michael's first novel, Tonight I Said Goodbye - written when he was just 20 - won the Private Eye Writers of America award for a debut crime novel, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for best first novel. Michael has since been nominated for all manner of prizes including the Shamus and Quill awards. So Cold The River, is a standalone paranormal thriller that is already receiving rave reviews.

A former private investigator, award-winning newspaper reporter and academic, Koryta lives part of the year in Bloomington, Indiana, and the rest in St Petersburg, Florida.
Michael Koryta has earned nominations for the Edgar, Shamus, Barry and Quill Awards, and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

http://www.michaelkoryta.com/
http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781742371337

Book Review

I’d never heard of Michael Koryta before I was lucky enough to receive a copy of his latest novel to review. I’m glad I’ve been introduced to this author now as this is one of the best written supernatural novels I have read in awhile.

The plot is a nice, simple and straight forward one about a washed out movie director who the reader can’t help but dislike, who is hired to investigate the background of a man near death. He doesn't know much aside from that fact that the town from whence he came was famous for its water, which hasn't been bottled for nearly a century. He is given a bottle from way back when. Of course he takes a sip. Bad call.

No kidding--things will go bump in the night, causing you to put the book away until daylight. This, then, is a gripping tale that will have you shivering and reaching for the light switch at every creak in the floor, every knock in the wall.

Michael Koryta has developed a world of fantasy mixed with reality that has you wondering after a while if this really did happen, or if it is indeed fiction. In the backwoods of Indiana, a pair of towns built around a plethora of sulfur springs, have lots of mysterious things going on.

The characters are so well defined that the reader easily feels for them and can’t help but want to keep reading to find out more about them. The plot is solid and reads smoothly from page one to the last.

Nalini Singh Interview  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Scott: What got you started writing in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre?

Nalini: It was a really natural fit - I've always loved science fiction and fantasy along with romance, and paranormal romance/urban fantasy involves elements of all those genres. I also love the room to explore that I have in pnr/uf - as long as I follow the rules of my fictional world(s), there is so much freedom in terms of the directions in which I can go.

Scott: Which of your characters was your favorite to write? The most challenging?

Nalini: It's impossible to pick a favorite! I think each time I start writing a book, those characters are both my favorites and my challenges.

Scott: What advice would you give young writers wanting to get their first novel published?

Nalini: To write as much as possible. I really think writing is an apprenticeship - each word you write teaches you so much, makes you a better writer. It also helps you find your voice, and voice is what sells, what sets you apart from other writers.

Scott: Tell us about your typical day of writing, for example, how many hours/pages/words would you write per day?

Nalini: It depends on the day. For example, if I'm doing a first draft, I usually like to do around 3000 words a day, but some days, I might end up doing a lot more, others less - but in the end, I always try to ensure it averages out so I stay on deadline. If I'm editing, I'll go over a certain number of pages per day.
Writing full-time requires some flexibility because things like copy edits might come in and need to be turned around within a short timeframe, so then I'd switch over to complete them before returning to the work in progress.

Scott: Your stories seem to be character driven. How would you compare this to writing plot driven stories?

Nalini: I think it's simply what works for each particular writer. Writing character-driven stories means that I start with the characters and let them show me the story. They are the heart and soul of the book.
I have tried to begin with a plot and let that drive the story, but that process just doesn't "click" with me - however, I know other writers for whom plot comes first, so it really is a personal choice.

Scott: You seem to publish two books a year? How long does it take you to write each book, and would you like to work on a longer or epic length novel?

Nalini: It depends on the book in question - I usually say 4 months, but that doesn't take into account all the time I've spent thinking about the project beforehand. Especially since I write series, while I'm working on one book, I will quite often make notes for another story that will be coming up several books later on in the series.
As far as writing an epic-length novel - I actually have a strong overarching storyline in my Psy/Changeling series, and it's something I really enjoy. However, I also like writing a different story for each book, while continuing to have that longer storyline. So the novel-length format works great for me.

Scott: What book/s are you currently reading?

Nalini: I'm working on a draft of a book at present, so I've been focusing on that, but I'm looking forward to reading Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke, the final book in Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet, Jayne Castle's Midnight Crystal, and the new Kathy Reichs novel, Spider Bones, just to name a few!

Michelle Rowen Interview  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Hi Michelle, thank you for taking the time to have a chat to us here at Midnight Echo. I love the title of your latest novel, “Lady & The Vamp”, how did you come up with it?

Michelle: Thank you! Some of my books have started out with one title and I’ve had to change it on the back end, but Lady & the Vamp never had another title. It came about when I was watching Lady and the Tramp and I just had an a-ha moment. I checked if anyone else had used the title and was surprised that I was the first to think of it!

Scott: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what inspired you to start writing?

Michelle: I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid, maybe 12 years old or so. I was inspired to start writing when I became frustrated with the way some of the movies and books I devoured ended. I was at the whim of the creator. I realized that if I wrote my own stories they would always end the way I want them to.

Scott: Did you begin writing short stories, and if so, what was the first story you had published and where, or did you get straight into novels?

Michelle: I dabbled in a lot of writing in the beginning, but it was always novels that held the greatest interest for me. The stories I wanted to tell could rarely be contained at shorter lengths. The first story published for me was Bitten & Smitten, which was a full-length paranormal romance novel.

Scott: I really like the Shadowlands realm you have created as a dimension between humans and the Underworld. How did you come up with this idea?

Michelle: In the books, a teenager finds out her father is a demon, and the king of the Shadowlands. When I came up with the idea originally, I wasn’t going to pull any punches. I was going to make him the head honcho of everything -- the king of Hell itself. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this might not be accepted by readers as I wanted it to be. I wanted him to be an estranged father, who’d been thought ill for leaving his unborn child alone for so many years, but not actually a bad guy when all is said and done. But he was still a demon, no getting around that, which brought up the question about whether or not he was evil. So I created the Shadowlands, which is a buffer zone -- essentially a barren wasteland containing a castle and not much more -- between the human world and the Hell worlds, and it acts as protection for our world so we’re none the wiser about the danger lurking very close by.

Scott: You have written a Young Adult series, Demon Princess, and the adult Immortality Bites series, do you have a preference for which market you write for and how different is the process writing for these two markets?

Michelle: I love both the YA and the paranormal romance genre. I really couldn’t pick just one -- I love writing both. My first love when it came to reading fiction, however, was YA. I don’t honestly approach the writing any differently between the two -- the only difference really is the age of the protagonist and the themes on which I’m focusing.

Scott: Do you have a favourite character you have created and why?

Michelle: My favourite character of all that I’ve created is probably Sarah Dearly, the vampire heroine of my Immortality Bites books (except for Lady & the Vamp, which features Quinn and Janie). She was featured in my first published book, Bitten & Smitten. Most characters aren’t quite as “alive” as Sarah is in my head. Sarah tends to be very opinionated, even eight years after I first created her. She can be quite a handful! For example, I had in mind a different Mr. Right for her, but she chose the other guy in her love triangle, and I’m glad she did. Immortality Bites is a five book series because of that decision! She knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid of going after it. It’s definitely an admirable quality -- even in a fictional character!

Scott: What is a typical day of writing for you? Do you have a goal for achieving a certain amount of words or hours per day?

Michelle: When I’m working on a first draft I try to do at least 10 pages a day, but I’m gentle with myself unless I’m on a very tight deadline. Sometimes the muse can be cranky if pushed too hard. I’m at the computer more hours a day than I’d care to admit, though. I don’t tend to start any serious writing until noon, but my writing day can and often does go well into the night if the words aren’t flowing easily.
Scott: What are you reading at the moment and who are your 5 favourite authors?
Michelle: At the moment I’m reading Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning and Sins of the Soul by Eve Silver -- both fantastic books. My five favourite authors currently (in no particular order) are Suzanne Collins, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephenie Meyer, and Stephen King.

Lynsay Sands Interview  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Hi Lynsay, thank you for taking the time to have a chat to us here at Midnight Echo. Can you tell us a little about who Lynsay Sands is when is she isn’t writing?

Lynsay: You’re more than welcome. As to your question...hmmm, lol. I’m not sure. The last several years have been a confusion of writing and moving. I’ve moved 7 times in the last seven years, including a move to England and then back) and between that and some really hairy deadlines (six stories in five months at one point) I haven’t had much of a life at all other than packing, unpacking and writing. I’m hoping the moves are done for now and that I can find a life beyond writing and moving, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Scott: You’ve written novels in several different genres now, do you enjoy writing one more than the others?

Lynsay: Not really. To me the genre is like the suit a date is wearing, I’m more interested in the date than fashion and when it comes to writing books I’m more interested in the characters and interactions than the setting. The genre itself is just window dressing, and maybe it sets boundaries as to what I can and can’t do, but all stories are about people and relationships to me, whether they’re set in medieval Scotland or a contemporary world with vamps.

Scott: How much research do you usually do for your historical based novels?

Lynsay: I have tons of history books and have done loads of research in the past, but I do less now-a-days. After writing so long I know a lot about different eras, their dress, homes, social habits, etc. and I tend to try to avoid true historical characters or events to avoid complications, so there is less research needed now.

Scott: Did you begin writing short stories, and if so, what was the first story you had published and where, or did you get straight into novels?

Lynsay: Nope, no short stories. Short stories are actually very hard for me. I’m too wordy, I think. Even anthologies and half books are difficult for me to write. I started with novels.

Scott: Your Argeneau vampire family is quite interesting and complex, how hard was it to create the Argeneaus?

Lynsay: This is almost embarrassing to admit, but it was kind of an accident. At least it wasn’t planned. I never read vampires, still don’t for the most part, and certainly never planned to write them. I was writing what some call my “Hysterical Historicals” and happy doing it, but then myself and two friends were chatting online and one of them suggested we do a Halloween anthology together, that we could all write our own version. I chuckled and said if I wrote vamps, mine would have to faint at the sight of blood or something ridiculous like that. We all laughed, I threw out a couple more ideas, and then we changed the subject. We never wrote the anthology, but those ideas I tossed out that night stuck with me and just kept running around inside my head until I decided to write them down. That was the start of the Argeneaus.

The basis for their origins, however, was a case of necessity being the mother of invention. The reason I’ve never really been into vamps is because my terribly logical mind has trouble swallowing the whole mythological, cursed walking dead business. I just couldn’t write a story with dead guys as heroes and heroines. I needed to find a basis for vampirism that my mind would accept. Some research led me to bio-engineering and nanos, but the next problem was that I also wanted my vamps to be older. Twenty-something vamps just didn’t sound as much fun as old ones who have been around for centuries and seen and done it all. That meant another round of research to find a way that this technology could be available long ago without resorting to aliens or something. Atlantis was my answer. So, there you have it. Some cute ideas for vamps including one with a blood phobia and the necessity to create vamps that would be believable to me led to the Argeneaus.

Scott: Do you have a favourite character you have created and why?

Lynsay: Lucian would have to be my favourite and just because of who he is and what he does. This is a man who puts his people first, and his family before his people. He does what needs doing no matter how unpleasant. He has honour, and strength of character and he seems hard as a rock, but does have a heart. What’s not to like.

Scott: What is a typical day of writing for you? Do you have a goal for achieving a certain amount of words or hours per day?

Lynsay: Hmmm, a typical writing day . . . I am not a nine to five writer. When I’m writing, I’m writing. I get up, sit at the computer, write for 16 to 20 hours, drop into bed, sleep four to eight hours (although I’ve been known to skip sleep altogether when in the last days of a deadline) and then get up and do it again. I write in one long stream, like cramming for exams. I find it easier to hold onto the thread of the story that way and try to avoid any and all interruptions while doing it.

Scott: What are you reading at the moment and who are your 5 favourite authors?

Lynsay: I’m not reading anything at the moment because I’m in writing mode right now. This is the last thing I’ll do before I get into the stories to the point where I won’t allow interruptions. However, my five favourite authors are Dean Koontz, J.F. Lewis, Terri Garey…Hmmm, guess you’ll have to make do with three, I don’t have any other favourites. Most of the rest I can take or leave, but I watch for these three.

Private Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


PRIVATE
by James Patterson
Product Details
ISBN: 9781846057694
Format:Trade Paperback
Imprint:Century
Published:01/06/10
Subject:Crime Fiction

http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Books/PRIVATE/9781846057694/Trade%20Paperback/

A brand new Patterson series based around an L.A. private investigator

DESCRIPTION OF BOOK

Jack Morgan is a war hero. Returning home from Afghanistan after being wounded, Jack is called into California State Prison to visit his father, Tom, who is serving a life sentence for extortion and murder. Before being incarcerated, Tom ran a private investigation firm called ‘Private’. Tom wants Jack to re-start the company, to make it great again, and gives him access to a $15 million dollar account in the Cayman Islands to do it with.

Five years later and Jack has set up offices spanning the globe. Private’s services are much sort after and Jack has clients ranging from movie stars to politicians. Jack is keen to keep the business legal and not fall into the same traps as his father. But when the mob come calling, they are not easy to refuse.

On a rare night off accompanying a client to the Golden Globe awards, Jack receives a phone call from school friend Abbie Cushman. Abbie's wife has been murdered and he desperately needs Jack’s help. The murder is brutal and with no apparent motive; fingers begin pointing towards Abbie. Jack is certain that Abbie didn’t kill his wife, but he will have to work night and day to prove it.

Meanwhile, Jack’s second-in-command at Private, Justine Smith, is helping the L.A.P.D. in a serial killer investigation. Over the past two years, twelve school girls from the same area in L.A. have been murdered. The killings are highly professional and so far the Police have no leads whatsoever. Justine has been called in to make use of her experience and Private’s resources. A breakthrough is desperately needed, because these killings show no signs of stopping.
Review
Hopefully this will be the start of a new series by Mr Patterson, I enjoyed the story and new character, Jack Morgan. Again, if you like the formula driven novels by Patterson, then you will find this one lives up the this style and pace. The team up with Maxine Paetro for this story has worked a treat, unlike some of the previous tag teams that were easy to pick which chapter was written by each author and seemed jerky because of this.

Jack Morgan is a former CIA Agent and Marine who inherited Private Investigations, a firm who does first-class investigations for the elite, the rich, and the famous. Private has top-of-the-line equipment, a plethora of staff members who will work 24/7 to get things done, and a multimillion-dollar forensics lab that is better equipped and faster than anything at the LAPD or FBI.

In this book, Jack's team of investigators and analysts are involved in several cases, but I was not confused at all while reading. I thought I might be when I started reading about one case and then the story shifted to another case, and then another case; but I wasn't. The transitions were seamless and I didn't forget what was going on and was able to pick right back up with each case as it came up in the story.

The three cases that Private is working on are: (1) the death of Jack's best friend's wife, Shelby; (2) the Schoolgirls killings; and (3) an NFL gambling fix. All cases are unique and interesting in their own right. Being a huge football fan, I was really intrigued by the NFL storyline case in this book.

Jack had a relationship with Justine in the past and is currently having fun with his receptionist at Private. Jack's personal life is like a roller coaster. He is haunted by dreams of the time he was in Afghanistan and actually died, but was brought back to life by his fellow Marine, Del Rio. He keeps having flashes of something he missed and is trying desperately to put the pieces together so he can move on with his life. It doesn't help that he receives daily phone calls telling him, "You're dead, Jack." Add to it a father who is in jail and a brother with a huge debt and hates Jack with a passion, and you have a novel ripe with a deep and emotional character.

Don't Blink Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


DON'T BLINK
by James Patterson
Product Details
ISBN: 9781846054723
Format:Hardback
Imprint:Century
Published:15/08/10
Subject:Fiction/Mass Market

http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Books/DONT-BLINK/9781846054723/Hardback/


DESCRIPTION OF BOOK

New York’s Lombardo’s Steak House is famous for three reasons – the menu, the clientele, and now the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police’s fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad-boy. Shocked and shaken, he doesn’t realise that he’s accidentally captured a key piece of evidence. Ensnared in the city’s most sensational crime in years, Nick investigates for a story of his own. Back off – or die – is the clear message as he closes in on the facts. Heedless, and perhaps in love, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson knows.

Review

Like most of Patterson’s works, it’s a quick read with short chapters that never seem to end with a good place to put the book down. With only 2 to 3 pages per chapter, it seems easier to read than the more traditional length stories. Also true to the Patterson recipe, there’s an underlying theme of good guy versus bad guy mixed with a whole lot of death, a dash of an interesting setting, and a pinch of bittersweet romance thrown in for good measure.

Set in New York City, protagonist Nick Daniels is a journalist who seems like a likable enough guy, but has a knack for finding trouble. With Nick caught in the middle of a Russian/Italian mafia war, the cat and mouse games and his just barely escaping certain death was a frequent occurrence. It would have made a better read if Nick was injured at least once or twice to make his character seem more believable.

The book is written in the first person through the eyes of Nick, a reporter. The book carries on in the usual style until all of a sudden; Nick is talking to the reader directly. Once his pointing out of key background details is over, the story resumes in normal first person perspective. Until he does it again. This back and forth - breaking the fourth wall on multiple occasions - was unnecessarily distracting and drew me completely out of the story.

There was a romance between Nick and his editor that was predictable and didn't do much to add to the excitement of the story and almost seemed like it wasn’t in Patterson’s normal style of writing. The mystery is where we see Patterson return to form, with a lot of unexpected twists and proves to be the one thing to make the book worth reading.

The Kiss of Life Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


The Kiss of Life

By Daniel Waters

Trade Paperback, 416 pages

List Price: $17.99

Product Details
Simon & Schuster UK, September 2009
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1847383971
ISBN-13: 9781847383976

Description

When Phoebe's best friend Adam takes a bullet for her, it proves everyone right - Adam is in love with her. And now that he's come back to life, Phoebe's presence may be more important than ever. They say that a zombie can come back from death faster if they're loved... and kissed - which means Phoebe has to say goodbye to Tommy Williams, the other zombie in her life. While coaxing Adam back to reality and fending off Tommy's advances, Phoebe continues to carry on as if everything's normal. But normal has been different since American teenagers started rising from their graves. Although some try to bridge the gap between the living and the differently biotic, there are scores of people who want nothing more than to send all of the undead back to their graves. And the dead kids in Phoebe's school don't like that one bit...

Review

After reading the third book first, I’ve gone back and read the second book in this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has been a real back the front system for this series for me, but when you read the last book in a trilogy first and like it, you have no choice but to read the 1st and 2nd.

Teenagers in America are continuing to rise from the dead and return to a semblance of life. Not everyone returns as a zombie and not everyone is happy about all the people that do return as zombies.

At the end of Generation Dead, Adam took a bullet to save Phoebe's life. Luckily, in Water’s version of America, a fair amount of people who die come back as zombies, but not everyone is happy about that. So we see the return of Adam in the second book, but without most of his regular functions. He can barely walk, talk, or do anything without the help of somebody. He downright luck that his family has taken him in.

Two plot threads tangle together in this installment- the love triangle from the first book between Adam, Phoebe, and Tommy continues, and the zombie rights movement heats up as a group of local zombies clashes with those who oppose them.

Tommy leaves on a journey to Washington, DC, advocating for his people. While he is gone, things heat up back home as Tak, the somewhat menacing "old-school" zombie, leads a growing group of dissenters, into pranks designed to force the "trads" to recognize their existence.

Meanwhile, some a group of renegade zombies has decided that they need to take action against the crimes that are being committed against zombies all over the nation. Most of their actions are just stupid pranks but when things go wrong and people start going missing, the zombies are always the first to blame. And there group has only made them seem more like the guilty party.

Water’s series is an original take on the zombie culture and interesting with an insight into an alternative nature of the zombies' thoughts and feelings, along with showing the continuing discrimination against them. These are definitely not the flesh-eating zombies of the past, but a new kind, one that only wants to live in peace with the living.

If you are a fan, there is even a blog of one of the characters, Tommy, at mysocalledundeath.com

Demon Princess: Reign Check Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Demon Princess: Reign Check (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781742374369
Australian Pub.: July 2010
Edition: 1
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
Imprint: A & U CHILDREN
Subject: Young adult fiction
Edition Number: 1
Suitable for ages: 13-18

Nikki Donovan was a demon princess. Now she's a demon princess in love... 'Demons, magic and sexy guys! This is a series I definitely want to keep reading.' - Richelle Mead (author of Vampire Academy)

Description

Fresh from finding out she is a demon princess and meeting her father for the first time, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But then Rhys, the handsome teenage king of the faery realm, enrolls at her school as a "foreign exchange student". Her conflicted feelings for Rhys and her boyfriend are getting in the way of her new relationship with the Shadow-creature Michael. But this love triangle from hell isn't even Nikki's biggest problem: There's a new prophecy that claims she will destroy all the demon and human worlds. Her best friend Melinda just might be a demon-slayer-in-training. Throw in a field trip to none other than the Underworld itself... and Nikki's going to be hoping for a rain check on more than just her homework!

About Michelle Rowen


Michelle Rowen is the bestselling author of the Immortality Bites series, including Bitten and Smitten and Fanged and Fabulous. She lives in Ontario
For those who missed the first book, the central character is Nikki Donovan, a reluctantly demonic royal. This second book pretty much stands on its own, but if you’ve read book one, then you’d appreciate this sequel a little more than the uninitiated. We meet Nikki Donovan who moved to a new town two months because her mom got remarried, for the fourth time! Her father left her and her mom before she was even born. She is just trying to fit it and becomes friends with the popular girl. She snags a super cute popular guy and her life can't get any better. Until, she gets herself a bit of a stalker and finds out that her father is dying and he is demon! What does that make her? Yes, that’s right, his heir to the throne and a demon princess. We get to know her stalker whose name is Michael. Michael is a shadow and basically a servant to her father. Of course Michael just so happens to catch Nikki's eye in a more than friend kind of a way and she begins to have feelings for him. She realizes things may not be as they seem and she just wants a normal life.

The story is aimed at younger readers, but there is enough subtlety for older readers to appreciate this novel as well. In this instalment, the action continues with Nikki going about her life as normal as a half demon princess can, at her local high school. She is unaware of the king of the faery world lurking about spying on her and keeping tabs on how her supernatural powers and her part in the prophecy are playing out.

This book will keep you entertained and moves along at a fast pace that will keep you constantly thinking about how everything fits into the plot. This series is thought-provoking, plot-driven, and filled with world-building events that keep the pages turning. Michelle has written a novel that is both accessible to younger readers but carrying darker themes that will still resonate with adults.

Michelle has written a great series here and I look forward to reading the continuing story of Nikki Donovan for many more issues to come.

Soul's Reckoning (Broken Well Trilogy Bk 3) Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson



Soul's Reckoning (Broken Well Trilogy Bk 3)
Sam Bowring
ISBN 0733624359(978-073-362435-3)
RRP $19.99 August 2010
Hachette Aust Paperback (Paperback - A Format)

An army of darkness marches on the Shining Mines, stronghold of the light for a thousand years. At their head is the shadowmander, an unstoppable monster created from the souls of the dead. A forgotten race stirs in Whisperwood, led by Corlas, who has been granted ancient powers by a banished god . . . and Fahren journeys with his old enemy Battu to the Morningbridge Peaks, where he is given a task that shakes him to the bones. Meanwhile Bel rides with all the might of Kainordas behind him. He carries the Stone of Evenings Mild, his only means of drawing his counterpart Losara back into himself, this making his soul complete. Prophecy says that a blue-haired man will end the war forever - and the time has come to look oneself in the eye. The time has come for a reckoning.

Sam Bowring

Sam Bowring lives in Sydney and is a comedian and writer. As well as creating his own stand-up routines, he has written for Rove Live (Network Ten), The Mansion (thecomedychannel), The Big Bite (Channel 7) and The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (Network Ten). He lives in Sydney, Australia.
Review

If you’re up to this book in the series, then there is no need for me to tell you if you are going to like Sam’s style of writing or the depth of his characters. Being the last book in this trilogy, most readers will already know just what they in store for and if you don’t, well you’d better go out and stock up on the first two books, because this one’s worth the read.

Sam’s fantasy world is one that is interesting and full of characters and creatures that have been well crafted and fully developed by this final novel. Bowring ties up all the loose ends and answers questions that readers of Destiny’s Rift and Prophecy’s Ruin have been dying to work out. The Prophecy unfolds neatly and some readers will be happy while others will be disappointed, depending upon which character they built a stronger kinship with.

Halfway to the Grave: Night Huntress #1 Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Halfway to the Grave: Night Huntress #1
Jeaniene Frost
ISBN 0575093773(978-057-509377-5)
RRP $22.99 June 2010
Gollancz Paperback (198 x 129)

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of those deadbeats is her father - the guy responsible for ruining her mother's life. But when she's captured by Bones, a bounty hunter and a vampire, she finds herself forced into an unholy partnership. In exchange for his help in finding her father and still astonished she hasn't ended up as his dinner, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. But that's not all Bones has to show her - Cat's starting to believe maybe vampires aren't all evil after all, especially ones as cute as Bones. She's half-convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as confident kick-ass demon hunter Cat finds herself and Bones, hotly pursued by a band of killers. She's is going to have to pick a side - and fast...

Review

Although classed at another paranormal romance, I feel that it was more of a high octane, action packed story with a dose of romance. It was refreshing to see a novel in this genre that did not focus on the romance as the sole basis for the story, but rather added it as part of the overall story. An unlike other stories in this genre, the action scenes were written in a more graphic and gory style with less time spent on the airy fairy romance.

Another element that was refreshing to this novel was the excellent humour that Jeaniene has scattered throughout the book. As I’m writing this, I am thinking more and more that it is misplaced in the paranormal romance genre.

The main character, Catherine Kathleen Crawford "Cat" was half vampire/human and due to her mother's prejudice for all vampires became a vampire killer. When she crossed paths with Bones (Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell III) she discovers a) all vampires are not bad, and b) there are other "things" in the world besides vampires. There was also tons of action with Cat as a kick-ass, yet vulnerable, loveable heroine, and the hero, British bad-boy Bones...oh, be still my heart! If he isn't the sexiest, most romantic vamp of all time--and what a badd-ass sweetheart too! I won't get into the plot as it would be too easy to give away the story, but I will say if you are a fan of JR Ward's BDB or Kresley Cole's IAD series then you would enjoy this series! You won't be disappointed.

The end of the book sets up the rest of the series and I am looking forward to reading it

The Bourne Objective Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


The Bourne Objective
Eric van Lustbader
ISBN 1409101649(978-140-910164-2)
RRP $32.99 June 2010
Orion Fiction Paperback (234 x 153)

Readers were first introduced to Jason Bourne's nemesis Leonid Arkadin, a brilliant Russian assassin and fearless international mercenary, in THE BOURNE SANCTION. His girlfriend was killed during a fight for which an enraged Arkadin blames Bourne. In The BOURNE DECEPTION, Arkadin hunted Bourne to take revenge and kill him. Bourne, in a fight for his life, learned that Arkadin's skills mirror Jason's because he received the same original CIA Treadstone training. Now, in THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE, Jason will turn the tables and target Arkadin. The hunter will become the hunted. But revenge can cause great psychological devastation. Has this become too personal for Bourne? Will this hunt be Bourne's downfall?

Review
I have been a big fan of Ludlum’s Jason Bourne character for two decades, so I was excited when I first heard about the Ludlum estate allowing Eric van Lustbader to continue the legacy of Bourne. To date, Lustbader has written more Bourne novels than Robert Ludlum 5 to 3.
Van Lustbader has managed to pen another original, fast paced and explosive plot, where we are introduced to new characters as well as the ones we’ve come to know and love, well the few that haven’t been killed off in previous novels.

Bourne Objective, is a continuation of its predecessor Bourne Deception, it’s a riveting carry-over of the deadly chase between Leonid Danilovich Arkadin and Jason Bourne, the result of which will prove who the world's ultimate warrior, along with the hunt for the legendary treasure of King Solomon which results in a penultimate and explosive show-down.

Lustbader has smoothly integrated a certain level of mysticism into a thoroughly modern story; fans of his Eric’s Ninja Cycle will instantly recognise this. If you are a Jason Bourne fan, then you will definitely love this continuation of the series. Even if you’ve never read a Bourne novel before you could pick this one up and enjoy the fast paced action of such a well crafted story.

Fever Dream Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Fever Dream
Preston; Child
ISBN 1409113531(978-140-911353-9)
RRP $29.99 August 2010
Orion Fiction Paperback (234 x 153)

At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning - and dreadful -discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle - her only protection from the beast - had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead and why? With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden.
Note: Prices subject to change.

Review

I read the book in one sitting. I must say that Preston-Child are showing some love back to Prendergast series after the last couple of mis-haps ( yes, wheel of darkness quite ruined the series for me ). This book gets basic elements right and tells a compelling story set in the heart of American south.

One thing that I have noticed about Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's recent partnership novels was a distinct break in writing styles chapter by chapter. After reading their solo works, it was easy to pick out who wrote the action type chapters and who wrote the more setting and character building ones. It was getting old and honestly, Pendergast was starting to wear thin. He became sort of a superhero character that could never make a mistake, and was always 1 step ahead of everyone else, and I think that the more this happened, the more I really stopped enjoying him as the main focal point of a novel.

This book signals the return to form for the authors. Recurring characters are kept to a minimum and story is fast paced with thriller elements. Sherlockian style is quite visible here more than any other novels. Also the books seems to leave quite loose ends of the story for continuation in another book, but is not quite unwelcome. We would love another great story by the authors.

Dog Blood Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson in , ,


Dog Blood
David Moody
ISBN 0575084707(978-057-508470-4)
RRP $29.99 August 2010
Gollancz Paperback (216 x 135)

The world has suffered a catastrophe of unknown cause, dividing humankind into two: the Haters and the Unchanged with each group believing the other to be the enemy. Danny McCoyne has managed to break free and after days of indiscriminate fighting and killing, he is determined to make his way home, to reclaim the only thing of any value to him in this strange new world: his daughter Ellis. Unlike his wife and son, Ellis is like him and he knows, in his heart of hearts, that she is not dead. His dearest wish is for Ellis to be fighting for the world at his side - but Danny soon discovers his daughter is worth far more than just another fighting body. Others like him have discovered that children are absolutely vital to the cause. They are strong, small, and fast and they have no inhibitions. They are pure Haters...

About the Author
David Moody was born near Birmingham, UK in 1970. He is a long-time fan of horror and pulp science fiction. His first novel, Straight to You, was published in 1996. Previous titles: Autumn Online Series (Infected Books): Autumn: The Human Condition (2005); Autumn: Purification (2004); Autumn: The City (2003); Autumn (2001); Trust (self published 2002); Straight to You (Infected Books 1996)

Review
Dog Blood is the sequel to Hater and another fine novel by David Moody. It’s fast paced, and even more intriguing and full of action than the first. If you haven’t read the first novel in this series, then please pick up a copy of Hater, you will enjoy the sequel so much more with this background under your belt. The world is now divided between the Haters and the Unchanged. Families are divided and separated while the Unchanged try to hold off the Haters who will stop at nothing to destroy all the Unchanged. Those inflicted by this vicious change of heart only feel satisfied when in the throes of violence and attacking the Unchanged. Complete annihilation has become the only thing that matters to people that were once very much like us. While the Unchanged—in an effort to continue some semblance of normal life—have moved into small-sequestered city centres trying to follow the safety in numbers survival rule. Food is scarce; the system has completely broken down and in the few months since the change no place is safe

The second book follows on from Hater with the story of Mark, Danny’s cousin, who is Unchanged and his survival in the city centre with his pregnant wife, in-laws, Danny’s wife, and a secret. It shows just how much the world has changed since the Haters began to emerge. The story then changes to the view of Danny, the main character from Hater, as he struggles to survive out in the world as a Hater. Danny moves from group to group and searching for his daughter, Ellis, who was taken along with his sons by his wife when she runs away from him. He heads back to the only place he knows to start his search and it only gets more interesting from there.

This is pretty hard to describe without giving something important away and this is one that you really need to read yourself to experience the full effect of Moody’s well researched and thought provoking dystopian fiction. If you are a fan of David’s style of writing from his humble beginnings as a serial blogger, then you will thoroughly enjoy this new series just as much.

Curse of the Wolf Girl Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Curse of the Wolf Girl
Martin Millar
ISBN 0749942886(978-074-994288-5)
RRP $21.99 August 2010
Piatkus Fiction Paperback (Paperback - B Format)

Publishers Web; http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780749942885.html

Scottish teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is in London trying to settle down and live a normal life. Her new friends support her as she goes to college to learn to read and write, but her old enemies won't leave her alone. Many powerful werewolves want Kalix dead, and the Guild of Werewolf Hunters is still dedicated to wiping out the entire MacRinnalch werewolf clan. Life might be easier for Kalix if her werewolf family were able to help, but her sister the Enchantress needs all of her sorcerous powers to locate the perfect pair of high heels, her brother Markus is busy in Scotland organising an opera, and her cousin Dominil is engaged in her own merciless vendetta with her enemies. Kalix must carry on alone but she's finding it difficult enough to pay the rent and cope with her anxiety and depression, while struggling with werewolf hunters and exams at the same time...

Note: Prices subject to change.

Review

Curse of the Wolf Girl, the sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl was a good, strong follow up for continuing the series created by Millar earlier this year. It was great that this sequel was published in the same year as the first book as I hate waiting for the next book in a series to come out to find out what is going to happen. I definitely like as entertained by Millar’s writing. Millar’s eccentric characters and the ridiculous situations they find themselves in keeps the reader entertained and move the story along nicely.

Unlike the Lonely Werewolf Girl, there is less fighting and danger in Curse as we get to see the character we got to know grow and develop further. Some readers may find that it isn’t as exciting as the first in the series because of this, but I liked getting to know the characters better and can see how this will lead up to a climax of epic proportions in the next book.

Those who enjoyed Lonely Werewolf Girl will want to pick up its sequel Curse of the Wolf Girl, as will fans of Christopher Moore’s writing.

Crossing Over Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Crossing Over
Anna Kendall
ISBN 0575094265(978-057-509426-0)
RRP $29.99 August 2010
Gollancz Paperback (216 x 135)

Whether it's a curse or a blessing the fact remains: whenever Roger is in enough pain he can cross over to the Land of the Dead and speak to the people there. It's an unexpected gift - and one that, throughout Roger's life, his violent uncle has taken advantage of. Roger has been hauled from fairground to fairground and beaten into unconsciousness, in order to bring word of the dead to the recently bereaved.

It's a hard, painful way of life, deceiving the living for a crust of bread. So when Roger has the chance of a new life, it seems a gift. He has a chance at safety and at living a life of his choosing, tucked away in the royal court. But life is unexpected and when Roger falls in love with the bewitching, willful Lady Cecilia he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. With every step he takes towards her, he is drawn deeper into court intrigue, into politics and even into war...

Review

Kendall draws the reader in with a unique medieval setting, different to many other fantasy worlds that we often see stories set in. Day to day life of the citizens in the world are more believable with often left our details like disease, bad food and foul odours.

The story follows a teenage boy with the ability to "cross over" into the land of the dead. Far from making him a superhero, this puts him in great danger as he becomes a pawn of progressively more and more powerful and ruthless people. The land of the dead is creepy, the characters are well-rounded (and sometimes also creepy), and the ending makes following the story all the way through.

Despite the general plot (a teen can cross over into the land of the dead), this does not feel at all like the typical teen paranormal fiction that floods the current market. For a first novel, Anna has done an excellent job of creating a new and refreshing story.

DEATH MOST DEFINITE Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson



DEATH MOST DEFINITE

A Death Works Novel


Trent Jamieson


Published AUGUST 2010 by Orbit $19.99

Publisher web page http://www.hachette.com.au/books/9780733624834.html


‘Trent Jamieson may just be the hottest literary talent to come out of Queensland recently..... It’s Jim Butcher meets Holly Black: bleak, funny and mysterious with a pulsing vein of tragic romance’ - Courier Mail

Debut Australian urban fantasy author, published simultaneously by Orbit worldwide

Living in Brisbane can be hell...

Steve knew something was wrong as soon as he saw the dead girl in the Wintergarden food court. Nothing new, he saw dead people all the time, but this one was about to save his life...

“The book came to me in a flash. A guy looking across a crowded food court and having a love at first sight moment with a girl. Then I realised she was dead and telling him to run. After that I spent the rest of the first draft trying to work out the hows and whys.

I really wanted to capture Brisbane in this book, the urban spaces, the winding river, the coffee, and the light. Mostly it comes from having lived here for the past decade. This is my book about Brisbane, my favourite city. I hope I’ve done it justice.”

Steve is a necromancer in the family firm, tasked with easing spirits from this dimension to the next after death. And he’s kind of OK with that, until someone high up the corporate hierarchy makes a bid to be Australia’s new Regional Death. This means killing all of the current Death’s staff. After his parents, relatives and pretty much every other necromancer he ever knew has been killed, Steve is left to make a reluctant stand.

Trent Jamieson has had more than sixty short stories published over the last decade, and, in 2005, won an Aurealis award for his story “Slow and Ache”. His most recent stories have appeared in Cosmos Magazine, Zahir, Murky Depths and Jack Dann's anthology Dreaming Again. His collection Reserved for Travelling Shows was released in 2006. He won the 2008 Aurealis Award for best YA short story with his story “Cracks”. Trent was fiction editor of Redsine Magazine, and worked for Prime Books on Kirsten Bishop's multi-award winning novel The Etched City. He’s a seasonal academic at QUT teaching creative writing, and has taught at Clarion South. Trent has a fondness for New Zealand beer, and gloomy music and lives in Brisbane with his wife, Diana. Visit www.trentjamieson.com

Review

This would have to be one of the best books I’ve read in a while. Trent drew me in with the local setting of Brissie, and in particular the opening scene in the Wintergarden. My first job was in the Wintergarden, so I could visualize the setting and picture every scene Trent described.

I loved the profession of a Pomp, created by Trent in this novel, a kind of doorway for ghosts to pass to the next life. The characters in this first book in what is going to be an exciting series were well crafted and easy to relate to.

The way the organization of supernatural pomps has been added to the business world of the CBD like it was just another corporation, such as a bank or law firm – nothing different or strange to think twice about. The Aussie setting was very refreshing to read, with local watering holes such as the Paddo, scattered throughout the book; as were local delicacies such as Chicko Rolls. If you have ever lived in Brisbane, you will love this story.

With a faced pace narrative, I finished this novel in a couple of day and was left waiting for the next book to find out more. Can’t wait.

Make sure you check out the interview with Trent at the Australian Horror Writer’s Association web here; http://www.australianhorror.com/index.php?view=238

Dark Secrets: No Time to Die & The Deep End of Fear Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Dark Secrets: No Time to Die & The Deep End of Fear

By Elizabeth Chandler

List Price: $16.99

Product Details
Simon & Schuster, July 2010
Trade Paperback, 624 pages
ISBN-10: 1847389120
ISBN-13: 9781847389121

Description
No Time to Die

When Jenny plans to spend the summer undercover at the theatre camp where her sister was murdered she had no idea the drama would be quite so deadly. Still grieving and trying to cope with the loss of her sister, Liza, Jenny feels completely out of place on stage, unlike the rest of her theatrical family. But she is determined to understand why her sister was murdered, and more importantly, find out who killed her. So when Jenny thinks she hears Liza speaking to her, and suspects that someone might be following her, she is sure the truth will unfold…but, the drama that follows is even more twisted that she thought.
The Deep End of Fear
After her childhood best friend, Ashley, tragically drowns in an icy pond, Kate thought she was done with daring adventures for good. But now she has to return to her childhood home and it all comes flooding back. And the scary thing is, the neighbour that she's tutoring claims he can see Ashley…and, that she's been daring him to go on potentially fatal adventures. Can Kate face up to her childhood fears to stop history from repeating itself?

Review

As with Miss Chandler's first Dark Secrets book, the second story was better than the first. I don't know what it is, but I found Kate's story far more interesting then Jenny's, even though both were exciting. I thought that Kate was naive with the way she just handed out information. I mean, people keep warning her not to trust people, to which she always replies, "I stopped trusting long ago," or something along those lines. And yet, every time Joseph or Adrian wants an update on the Patrick situation, she willingly spills it all without a second thought, to both of them!!! Other than that, it was a fantastic book.

No Time to Die was an equally exciting book, with an equally exciting plot. Look forward to the next book in the Dark Secrets series.

Secret Ones Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Secret Ones: Dream of Asarlai Book One
By Nicole Murphy

Price: $22.99
On Sale: 1/07/2010
Formats: A Format Paperback

ISBN: 9780732291617; ISBN10: 0732291615; Imprint: ; On Sale: 1/07/2010; Format: Paperback; Trimsize: 112 x 182 x 24 mm; Pages: 416; $22.99;

Publisher website; http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Secret-Ones-Dream-of-Asarlai-Book-One-Nicole-Murphy?isbn=9780732291617&HCHP=TB_Secret+Ones:+Dream+of+Asarlai+Book+One


Secret Ones is a wonderful debut that promises an excellent series to come.

Book Description

She′s from an ancient clan. He has no family. Can they save the world ... together?
Maggie Shaunessy is used to keeping secrets. She′s a fantastic teacher, but she′s also gadda, part of a hidden, powerful race - and she has a habit of annoying the wrong people.

Until Lucas Valeroso meets Maggie, he had no idea what awaited him: super-human powers, a smart and beautiful woman interested in more than unlocking his new abilities and, above all, a sense of belonging.

But dark ambition and dangerous bigotry are emerging in the gadda ranks. Lucas′s new family might cast him out before he′s even truly found his place. And Maggie must work with new allies to find and retrieve a missing artefact before the entire world is changed for all time.

′fresh and interesting approach to an urban fantasy series′ Bookseller+Publisher

Review

It’s a little hard to pick a genre to place Secret Ones into. Although there is a strong romantic element, and it is in a paranormal setting, there is also a theme of mystery throughout that moves it into the urban fantasy genre.

Nicole has built the world around a new race that co-exists with humans, and the world building is done quite well, with slow introduction to the rather complicated hierarchy. The mix of the Australian setting with the Irish appealed to me as an Aussie, with enough description that even those who’ve never seen the Australian ‘outback’ or an Irish winter could believe they’d visited the country.

Overall, this is a light, romantic urban fantasy. The characters are all well developed and the flow of the story even. This is very light and romantic, even with the mysterious dark deeds going on in the background there is still a sense of hope and goodness. This first book is a great start to the series and I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Passing Strange Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Passing Strange

By Daniel Waters
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
List Price: $16.99

Product Details
Simon & Schuster UK, August 2010
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1847389600

Description

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she's dead, she's still passing - this time, as alive. When her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, she has to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if he finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death...

Review

I didn’t realise this was the third book in the Generation Dead series until I started reading it and wondered who some of the characters were that were mentioned. Now that I’ve read, and enjoyed this book, I have to go out and buy the first two in the series to put together some pieces (and because I enjoyed the third book).

I love a good zombie book and found this one to be quite different and humourous.

The main character, Karen, is shot by a policeman and mysteriously heals unlike the other zombies who return with the damage that caused their deaths, Karen decides to date murderer Pete Martinsburg to try to expose the truth about the anti-zombie hate groups. As the story progresses, we learn more about Karen's death as a suicide. She drowned herself because of her mother's reaction to her disclosure of being gay and her belief that she could never be with the girl she loved. Some secondary characters from Generation Dead and Kiss of Life return for cameo appearances but this is mainly Karen's story and her hope to find redemption.

If you haven’t read the first two books, get yourself a copy and read them first, then get stuck into this one so you enjoy if fully.

Under The Dome Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Under the Dome
Stephen King
ISBN 0340992573(978-034-099257-9)
RRP $34.99 November 2009
H&S Fiction Paperback (C)

Celebrated storyteller Stephen King returns to his roots in this tour de force featuring more than 100 characters - some heroic, some diabolical - and a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any he's ever conjured. On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as 'the dome' comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town's corrupt politician. But time, under the dome, is running out.... UNDER THE DOME is King at his epic best and will capture a brand new readership as well as thrilling his existing fans.

Review

Under the Dome is the long awaited novel by Stephen King. So long in fact, that Stephen even released copies of his original notes to the general public to counter claims that the book was based on the Simpsons movie with a similar plot (sort of).
This novel is another epic, weighing in at 1072 pages long, but right from the get-go you're hooked and the pace of the book is brilliant. Yes there are a ton of characters but King handles their introductions with the skill he showed in The Stand, we like and care for the people who we are supposed to and we hate and dread those who deserve it. The story is not so much about the dome as it is about the town. Just as The Mist was more about the horrors of humanity trapped in the shop rather than the beasts in the mist outside, for the most part the dome itself is simply a means of containing a town.

King doesn’t fail to deliver a great story in the same vein as some of his better works, such as The Stand and The Dark Tower. There are plenty of characters for the reader to become familiar with and keep track of throughout the course of the novel.

This story is good and won’t disappoint fans of Stephen King and I can already see a movie being made based on this novel.

Blockade Billy Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


Blockade Billy
By Stephen King
Blockade Billy by Stephen King (pp. 144)

In 1958, a rookie nobody named Billy Blakely joined the New Jersey Titans. Not expected to be much more than filler, he becomes an overnight fan favourite. Hitting almost .500 and becoming a human barrier to home plate as the Titan’s catcher, he’s a force to be reckoned with and yet really doesn’t grasp the gravity of his skill and contribution. An odd bird to be sure.

Blockade Billy’s story is presented by the aging voice of George Grantham, the Titans third base coach as its being told to King him. The baseball jargon is fantastic. It’s true to the period and rich in texture. Some takes a bit to decipher, but that adds to the joy of the story. Hearing portions of baseball season recounted by a coach could be like listening to box scores read mechanically from the newspaper, but King does what King does so well. With an economy of words, but not missing a beat, he presents a solid tale worthy of any storyteller.

It’s not a long book, but reads so well, you’ll be surprised that you’re already done and wish there was more story to tell

The great thing about being Stephen King is, the rules don’t apply. I mean, who else can write a short story and have it published as a standalone book. It would be great if stories by other authors were published as novelettes like this one.
At a mere 130 pages, including two short stories or novelettes called Blockade Billy and Morality. Neither of the two stories is what you'd consider a Stephen King story, in the sense that neither one relies on some kind of paranormal twist or monster. The monsters here are all human in nature, so the two stories are more along the lines of his famous The Body short. I think that Blockade Billy is only a good read if you are either a diehard Stephen King or Baseball fan. As an Aussie, I couldn’t get into the first story in this book, but then again, I’m not a sports fan either so that’s not surprising.

The second story Morality has nothing to do with baseball nor does it have any connection to Blockade Billy in any tangible way. Basically, a married couple with a little financial trouble is offered some money if they'll do something . . . not quite moral. It isn't something huge, but it changes them. What's interesting about this story is how something so minor can have such a huge impact on people's lives, even if they don't get caught. I read this story when it was first published in Esquire and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was glad to see it package with Blockade Billy. For me, Morality was the better read of the two stories.

23 Hours Review  

Posted by Scott Wilson


23 Hours
A Vengeful Vampire Tale
David Wellington


PUBLISHED: 29 March 2010
IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin
CATEGORY: Popular Fiction
RRP: $23.99
CONTACT: Emma

The perfect antidote to anyone seeking relief from Twilight.

Vampire hunter Laura Caxton is back. In the next 23 hours, there will be no reprieve, no mercy,
and no time off for good behaviour.

The cop turned con is locked up in a maximum-security prison with nothing to lose and plenty of
time to kill. She has always been able to watch her back, even when surrounded by countless
murderers but she soon learns that the oldest living vampire, Justinia Malvern, has also taken up
residence behind bars. Raiding the prison like an open bar with an all-you-can-drink supply of
fresh blood, Justinia’s strength grows and then she offers Laura an ultimatum she cannot refuse.
Now Laura has 23 hours to make one last desperate attempt at protecting the world from
Justinia’s evil.

Filled from cover to cover with vampires, zombies and the undead 23 Hours will keep you up at
night with its action, gore and horror.

Praise for David Wellington:

“Thrilling entertainment for readers who like their horror raw and bloody” – Publishers’ Weekly
“David Wellington is moving the literature of the undead into the 21st century with new levels of
brutality” – LA Times

“Vampirism is the dark side of the idea of immortality, as well as a nightmare personification of
parasitism, viral infection and the concept of sharing blood. Wellington uses all of these ideas
and they make his novel more than just a gory story.” – The Sydney Morning Herald

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Wellington is the author of the Laura Caxton vampire series, including 13 Bullets, 99 Coffins, and
Vampire Zero. He made a name for himself in the supernatural genre with his Monster Island trilogy, which
broke out as an online serialized novel before it was published by Thunder's Mouth Press. It was optioned
by screenwriter Stephen Susco (The Grudge).


Review

This is the last novel in this series and a good, strong ending to the book to tidy things up. The last book saw Laura Caxton killing off her former boss, Arkley. Can’t really tell you much more without giving away the plot and ruining the final book for you.

This is a well written and strong finale that won’t disappoint fans of the series.