Book Giveaway: Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone

Courtesy of Penguin Books, I have a copy of Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 15. I’ll draw a name on September 14, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone

Fantasy Book Review: Death Warmed Over

Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson

Synopsis:Ever since the Big Uneasy unleashed vampires, werewolves, and other undead denizens on the world, it’s been hell being a detective—especially for zombie P.I. Dan Chambeaux. Taking on the creepiest of cases in the Unnatural Quarter with a human lawyer for a partner and a ghost for a girlfriend, Chambeaux redefines “dead on arrival.” But just because he was murdered doesn’t mean he’d leave his clients in the lurch. Besides, zombies are so good at lurching.
Now he’s back from the dead and back in business—with a caseload that’s downright unnatural. A resurrected mummy is suing the museum that put him on display. Two witches, victims of a curse gone terribly wrong, seek restitution from a publisher for not using “spell check” on its magical tomes. And he’s got to figure out a very personal question—Who killed him?

Chambeaux, or “Shamble” as his friends like to call him, is a smart investigator with a big heart. Unfortunately, both he and his lady love are both dead. And that she’s a ghost means that they can’t even touch, so their relationship is mainly based on their past memories. While he tries to investigate both of their murders, it has to take a backseat to his client’s problems.

Unlike most urban fantasies, this PI doesn’t just follow one case. Chambeaux, together with his lawyer partner, has a handful of clients that keep them extremely busy. From a frightened vampire scared for his undead life to a rich werewolf trying to fight a prenup while divorcing her sleazy husband – Chambeaux is kept busy with stakeouts and searching for clues. Because of the abundance of character, the jumping around cases was a bit confusing at times. But several of them were great comedy relief and others dramatic and tense.

Tim Waggoner’s Matt Richter zombie PI series is the first zombie series I read (though not the only), though Waggoner has more world-building and is a darker urban fantasy series with more horror and darker comedy. Anderson’s new series is a bit more light-hearted and based here in the real world, after the “Big Uneasy” is unleashed, creating all kinds of monsters and undead. Fast-paced and full of fun characters, adventure, suspense, mystery, and humor – Death Warmed Over is the first in a promising new series. Urban fantasy fans should check out this unpredictable and complex story.

Fantasy Book Review: The Ghost of Graylock

The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki

Everyone’s heard the stories about Graylock Hall. It was meant to be a place of healing – a hospital where children and teenagers with mental disorders would be cared for and perhaps even cured. But something went wrong. Several young patients died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, the hospital was shut down, the building abandoned and left to rot deep in the woods. As the new kid in town, Neil Cady wants to see Graylock for himself. Especially since rumor has it that the building is haunted. He’s got fresh batteries in his flashlight, a camera to document the adventure, and a new best friend watching his back. Neil might think he’s prepared for what he’ll find in the dark and decrepit asylum. But he’s certainly not prepared for what follows him home. . . .

Neil loves a popular ghost hunters tv show, so when he hears about Graylock, he has to investigate. Neil and his sister are staying with their aunts for the summer, after their father abandoned them for a career in Hollywood and their mother fell into a deep depression. Neil uses the mystery of Graylock to take his mind of his family problems. But he and his sister get more than they bargained for when unexplainable occurrences begin happening to both of them.

The Ghost of Graylock is a creepy and engrossing ghost story for middle readers on up. This mild horror novel is packed with danger, intense suspense, ghostly apparitions, and mystery. The story has no graphic violence, but instead is more of a psychological thriller paired with the paranormal. Well-paced and engaging, the suspense builds to an exciting and heart-pounding conclusion.

Fantasy Book Review: Havoc

Havoc by Chris Wooding

Seth finally managed to escape the terrifying comicbook world of Malice, but he left his best friend Kady there. Now he must go back and rescue her. But can he find a way back in? Kady has her own worries. She’s trying to reach Havoc, a group of rebel kids plotting to destroy Tall Jake, the evil ruler of Malice. But somebody is watching the comic and can see what everyone is up to. Is there no way to escape?
Part novel, part comic book, all thrill – welcome to MALICE

As soon as Seth regained his memories of his time in Malice, he begins searching blindly for a way back. While pursued by evil, monstrous creatures searching for the shard that he holds, Seth meets a girl who helps Seth find clues to getting back to Malice without going through Tall Jake. Meanwhile, Kady and Justin are searching for Havoc, a group who opposes Tall Jake. Kady can only hope that Seth reaches them before it’s too late to use the shard to bring down the dark ruler of Malice.

The story switches back and forth between worlds, following Seth and Kady’s stories. And several pages of black and white, simplistic comics accompany the story as a fun mash-up. They world of Malice is a comic brought to life, so the pages of comics really adds a fun element to the story. With plenty of danger, heart-pounding suspense, and fast-paced adventure young readers will enjoy this action-packed sequel that doesn’t disappoint. Mysteries are finally revealed, and several surprises along the way build to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. This a fun duology for middle readers who enjoy dark adventure, mild horror and/or comics.

Fantasy Book Review: Sweet Shadows

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

Triplets Gretchen, Grace, and Greer have just been reunited after being separated at birth. As descendants of Medusa, they have inherited a legacy along with special abilities. But these gifts come with a cost. Not one, but two factions are determined to see the girls dead – either before or after they complete an ages old prophecy. But when the few people the girls can go to for answers disappear, Gretchen, Grace, and Greer must learn to rely upon each other. While trying to fend off monstrous creatures bent on their destruction, the triplets wonder who they can really trust and still try to maintain a sense of normalcy in their personal lives.

The girls have such distinct personalities, that when the chapters switch between their voices it’s easy to tell them apart. Gretchen is the brash, brave and most prepared for fighting monsters. Grace is the smart, humble and most easily relatable girl from a loving home. Greer is a high society, prom queen-type, yet still manages to stay grounded. It’s sweet and endearing to see them slowly form relationships with each other despite their differences. And blossoming romances with the young men in their life add a lighter edge to their otherwise intense lives.

Childs has created a unique and fantastic world based on Greek mythology with equally interesting and engaging characters. Sweet Shadows is a solid sequel to last year’s Sweet Venom, building upon the story and answering more questions about the triplets’ prophecy. Though, one plot point bothered me. The girls find a note written in Greek, and instead of looking up a translation on the internet (which would have taken minutes), they wait days to find someone to translate it for them. I find it hard to believe teenage girls in this day wouldn’t immediately think of the internet. But this was one minor point of confusion in an otherwise brilliant story. With plenty of fast-paced adventure and mystery, this fun and exciting story was impossible to put down. Once again, the triplets are leave us with a mild cliffhanger ending that makes the next year’s release seem too far away. Don’t miss this charming YA fantasy series with bite.

Sweet Shadows releases from Katherine Tegen Books on September 4, 2012.

SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods

Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods by Michael A. Martin

Though the United Federation of Planets still reels from Andor’s political decision that will forever affect the coalition, Captain William T. Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are carrying out Starfleet’s renewed commitment to deep space exploration. While continuing to search the Beta Quadrant’s unknown expanses for an ancient civilization’s long-lost quick-terraforming technology— a potential boon to many Borg-ravaged worlds across the Federation and beyond—Titan’s science specialists encounter the planet Ta’ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But this quest also takes Titan perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, the galaxy’s most prolific source of lethal radiation, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta’ithan civilization. Meanwhile, Will Riker finds himself on a collision course with the Federation Council and the Andorian government, both of which intend to deprive Titan of its Andorian crew members. And one of those Andorians—Lieutenant Pava Ek’Noor sh’Aqaba—has just uncovered a terrible danger, which has been hiding in plain sight for more than two centuries. . . .

Now that Andor has left the Federation, Starfleet is trying to pull its Andorian crew from their positions aboard starships to supposedly lower profile postings elsewhere. And Captain Riker has been told to hand over all seven of his Andorian crew. They won’t be forced to repatriate as Andor demands, but Riker and the rest of his crew aren’t happy with Starfleet’s decision.

Meanwhile, the Titan has noticed a planet affected by radiation from a nearby pulsar. And it’s ancient technology has deteriorated to the point of near destruction for the remaining inhabitants. But when an ancient artificial intelligence is awoken, it reaches out to two of Titan’s crew members for help in repairing the planet’s defenses.

This is only the seventh book in the Titan series, but the crew already has a strong bond and camaraderie. The crew is very diverse with fascinating new characters as well as a handful of familiar ones. If you aren’t current in the political climate of the “current” Star Trek universe, don’t let that deter you. Plenty is explained here in regards to the Andorians and as with other series, this is mostly a standalone story. Yet the suspense and mystery builds with the Andorian situation and leaves off in a bit of a cliffhanger ending for several crewmembers. While part of the mystery aboard the Andorian ship is predictable, there is a surprising twist I didn’t see coming in regards to an intriguing alliance. Fast-paced and full of fun adventure, Fallen Gods was an incredibly enjoyable read.

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