Genre: Urban Fantasy / Noir
What had I done before coming to the city? I couldn't remember. It sounded crazy but my past was a blank. I could recall every step since alighting from the train, but not a single one before.
Young, quick-witted and cocksure, Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark in a world of sweet, sinister sin. He finds the City is a place of exotic dangers: a legendary assassin with snakes tattooed on his face who moves like smoke, blind Incan priests that no one seems to see, a kingpin who plays with puppets, and friends who mysteriously disappear as though they never existed. Then Capac crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.
The Cardinal is the City, and The City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without the Cardinal's knowledge. His rule is absolute.
When Capac discovers the extent of The Cardinal's influence on his own life, he is faced with hard choices and his own soaring ambition. To find his way, Capac must know himself and what he is capable of. But how can you trust yourself when you can't remember your past?
Without realizing it, I ended up ordering the UK Paperback edition of this book. $1.99 for an import? Not too shabby. The US hardcover is set to release on June 4th. I heard about this book from Rebecca over at Dirty Sexy Books.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Sooner or later, the dead catch up . . .
Judas Coyne was a collector. The bizarre, the uncanny, the grotesque. A cookbook for cannibals. A used hangman’s noose. A snuff film. Many of these objects were gifts from the black-clad fans who made his metal band a legend and made him rich.
But not all. When his personal assistant told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, Jude knew he had to have it for his private collection, didn’t think twice. He should have. Jude has spent a lifetime evading ghosts -- of an abusive father, of the bandmates he betrayed, of Anna, the suicidal girl he loved and abandoned. But this spirit is different. This one means to chase him to the edge of sanity.
His new acquisition -- delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box -- is the restless soul of Anna’s vengeful step daddy. Craddock McDermott swore he would settle with Jude for ruining his daughter’s life. Soon, everywhere Jude turns, Craddock is there: behind the bedroom door; in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang; outside his window; on his widescreen TV. Waiting -- with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand.
If ever there was a case of caveat emptor, this is it . . .
I've read good things about this author and his books on different sites and thought I'd try out something new.
The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes
Genre: Mystery / Urban Fantasy
Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect that he did in earlier times. Still, each night he returns to the stage of his theater to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling, audience, aided by his partner, the Somnambulist -- a silent, hairless, hulking giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed. But these are strange, strange times in England, with the oddest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly. And the very bizarre death of a disreputable actor has compelled a baffled police constabulary to turn once again to Edward Moon for help -- inevitably setting in motion events that will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality.
I purchased this book as well as its indirect sequel, The Domino Men. But, Jen, you say. Isn't that like putting all your eggs in one basket? What if you hate this book? Have no fear. The way I see it, I spent $5 for two hardcovers. I think that significantly tones down any potential sting. I think I first heard about Jonathan Barnes over at The Book Smugglers.
The Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes
Genre: Mystery / Urban Fantasy
Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable -- until the day he learns that he's expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital.
Summoned to the gargantuan Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, Henry receives his orders from Dedlock, a gilled and wrinkled old gentleman eternally floating in a pool of amniotic fluid. London, it seems, is at war, resisting an apocalyptic fate foisted upon it by a long-dead queen. A shadowy organisation known (to very few) as the Directorate wishes to recruit Henry to the cause. All he has to do is find "the girl" and save the world from the monster Leviathan, who can already taste the succulent metropolis that will soon be his to devour. Simple enough.
But there are formidable enemies lining up to oppose Henry, all gathering in and around the royal family. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Arthur Aelfric Vortigern Windsor -- the sniveling, overbored, underappreciated sole heir to the British throne -- has been shaken from his resentful malaise by grisly, seductive visions of unrestrained power . . . and by an extremely potent narcotic called ampersand. And an unspeakable evil lurks in the cellar of 10 Downing Street: the twin, serial-slaying schoolboy nightmares, the Domino Men -- so-called for their hideous desire and terrifying ability to topple every towering edifice in the city, one after the other . . . just for a giggle.
See tidbit above.
Severance Package by Duane Swiercynski
Genre: Thriller / Noir
Jamie DeBroux’s boss has called a special meeting for all “key personnel” at 9:00 a.m. on a hot Saturday in August.
When Jamie arrives, the conference room is stocked with cookies and champagne. His boss smiles and tells his employees, “We’re a cover for a branch of the intelligence community. And we’re being shut down.” Jamie’s boss then tells everyone to drink some champagne, and in a few seconds they’ll fall asleep -- for good. If they refuse, they’ll be shot in the head.
Escape is not an option. Jamie’s boss has shut down the elevators and rigged the fire towers with chemical bombs. Panic sets in, chaos erupts, and no one is sure whom to trust. Jamie quickly realizes that there’s only one way he’s ever going to see his family again: the hard way.
This was a random book pick. I saw the cover, it reminded me of a graphic novel and I clicked 'Add to Basket'. After a little research (which I probably should've done before adding it to my basket) I now know that Mr. Swierczynski is a comic book writer and that I coincidentally have another one of his books (Level 26: Dark Origins) in my TBR pile. And then I found a really good review at Fantasy Book Critic. Here's a snippet:
"CLASSIFICATION: Blending together noir, espionage, and dark office humor, “Severance Package” is like Alias meets The Office meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith as imagined by Quentin Tarantino. Also possesses the accessibility and lightning-quick pacing of a Dean Koontz thriller."Intuition for the win. =)
Smoke by Patrick Quinlan
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Smoke Dugan is on the run.
A bomb-maker by profession, he dropped out of sight because of a misunderstanding with his employers about an airplane crash and $2.5 million in cash. Unfortunately, they’ve found out where Smoke’s living -- a picturesque seaside city in Maine. And Denny Cruz, a highly paid assassin, is on his way from New York to collect him.
Smoke’s girlfriend, Lola Bell, is unaware of his past. Sexy, smart, and tough, Lola’s a weed that grew up through the cracks in an inner-city housing project. Her big eyes belie her secret weapon: she’s spent a decade studying the martial arts. The tattoo on her shoulder reads girls kick ass. When Cruz decides to use Lola to get to Smoke, he has no idea what he’s taking on.
A time bomb is ticking as Smoke, Lola, Cruz, and anyone unlucky enough to come into their orbit are caught up in a drama of abduction, car chases, and triple bluff, where escape or violent death look like the only options. But nothing turns out quite as anyone might expect . . .
Another random book pick. I liked the cover and thought the synopsis was pretty interesting. Add to that a character named Lola with a tattoo on her arm and I was sold.
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
SHE’S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas -- if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.
HE’S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN’T HAVE
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty is under the spell of a billionaire tycoon -- a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.
Will they find their hearts’ desires --
or will HEARTBREAK tear them apart?
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you’ll root for every step of the way. A love story you’ll never forget.
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance / Adventure
Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett, and you’ve got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love…
Agnes Crandall’s life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she’s staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane - no last name, just Shane -- and he has his own problems: He’s got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn’t so little, that his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes’s house, and that his last hit was a miss, Shane’s life isn’t looking so good, either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hitmen show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with the intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and - most dangerous of all -- each other.
Here's another book recommendation I read about at Dirty Sexy Books. Like with Sugar Daddy, this is part of the whole reading outside the box project I put myself on. I've seen several glowing reviews so I don't think it's going to be as painful as I've made it out to be in my head.
Another One Bites the Dust by Jennifer Rardin (Book 2 of the Jaz Parks series)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Jaz Parks has enough trouble in her personal life. What she doesn't need is more trouble with her vampire boss and another mission. This time she has to retrieve a vital piece of biotechnology by killing the maniac who stole it: an ancient Chinese vamp. Their cover in this mission: professional entertainers at the Corpus Christi's Winter Festival.
The crew's all here: a psychic, a techno-wizard, a singing vampire, a juggling PI, and Jaz. Holy crap in a bottomless well, Jaz is going to bellydance. It's definitely, probably, quite possibly going to be the end of the world as we know it.
I've started reading book one in the series and couldn't pass up picking up book two for a buck 99.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest (Book 1 of the Eden Moore series)
Genre: Horror / Southern Gothic (Does anyone know what that means?)
Although she was orphaned at birth, Eden Moore is never alone. Three dead women watch from the shadows, bound to protect her from harm. But in the woods a gunman waits, convinced that Eden is destined to follow her wicked great-grandfather an African magician with the power to curse the living and raise the dead. Now Eden must decipher the secret of the ghostly trio before a new enemy more dangerous than the fanatical assassin destroys what is left of her family. She will sift through lies in a Georgian antebellum mansion and climb through the haunted ruins of a nineteenth century hospital, desperately seeking the truth that will save her beloved aunt from the curse that threatens her life.
I was on Cherie Priest's website looking for info on Boneshaker and came across her backlist containing the Eden Moore series. I did a little research and it received plenty of positive reviews. So I decided to check it out. Added bonus...Kelley Armstrong had this to say about it:
"Southern Gothic at its best. An absorbing mystery told with humor and bite."
DO NOT PANIC
Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened Haters by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path.
The assaults are brutal, remorseless, and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, and then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim -- or a Hater.
WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS
People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes, and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra-violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well-defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, "ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER" becomes the order of the day...only, the answers might be far different than what you expect...
THE SITUATION IS NOT UNDER CONTROL
I read a review for this book on The Book Smugglers blog and added it to my wish list. I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth a few months back and thought this would work to cure my need for a zombie fix even though it's not really about zombies.
PlagueMaker by Tim Downs
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
July Fourth: New York City
Hundreds of thousands line the banks of the East and Hudson Rivers awaiting the nation's largest fireworks display. Soon the sky will explode in cascading showers of silver and gold. Everywhere, faces will turn skyward in wide-eyed wonder. Then the sky will grow dark again -- but it will not be empty. The air will be filled with clouds of smoke and specks of debris will rain down everywhere. Some will pick bits of paper from their children's hair. Some will brush away still-burning sparks or embers. And some will absentmindedly scratch at the tiny, biting specks that dot their necks and arms. Will the beginning of the show mark the beginning of the end? That's what FBI agent Nathan Donovan must decide. When he is forced to enlist the help of ex-wife Macy Monroe, an expert in the psychology of terrorism, the fireworks really begin -- but she may be the only one who can help him stop the Plague Maker in time.
Funny how a $1.99 sale allows you to purchase books you've never heard of with reckless abandon. This was another random pick. The blurb sounded interesting enough that I thought I would end up enjoying the book.
Genre: Noir / Mystery / Crime Fiction
On October 7, 1949, dark-haired starlet Jean Spangler kissed her five-year-old daughter goodbye and left for a night shoot at a Hollywood studio. “Wish me luck,” she said as she crossed her fingers, winked and walked away. She was never seen again. The only clues left behind: a purse with a broken strap found in a nearby park, a cryptic note and rumors about mobster boyfriends and ill-fated romances with movie stars.
Being that I love pin up art, the cover for this book caught my eye. I mean seriously, if this were on display in a bookstore and I walked by I would've screeched to a halt. Maybe that's just me though. I recently read The Maltese Falcon for the Dirty Sexy Book Club and it sparked my interest to read more of these types of books.
"If you ever want to hide from the world, live in a small city, where everyone seems anonymous."
That's the advice of twelve-year-old Ariella Montero, who lives with her father in Saratoga Springs, New York, in a house haunted more by secrets than by memories. The Society of S traces her journey south, to Asheville and Savannah, and on to Florida, as she learns that everything she knows about her family is a lie.
When she finds her mother, she learns the truth: Ariella is a fledgling member of the Society of S.
S stands for Sanguinists: a sect of environmentalists concerned with ethics and human rights - although they happen to be vampires. S also stands for synesthete: a person able to see words and letters in colors. The letter S is lucky for Sara, Ariella's mother, who gravitates to cities such as Savannah and Sarasota. But will it be lucky for Ariella?
I've seen good reviews floating around the web for this book as well as it's follow up, The Year of the Disappearances (listed below). As you can see, when the price is right I'll try anything once. Maybe even twice.
It was the year of disappearances. The honeybees were the first to go.
Ariella Montero is no stranger to the dark side of life. Half human, half vampire, she spent her first thirteen years in exile from both societies.
When her best friend was murdered, Ari ran away to begin a new life in Florida. But, one by one, the people and things she cares most about keep disappearing. And Ari may be next.
She can hypnotize, she can read minds, and she can make herself invisible, but can she escape her stalkers? Ari's special talents are severely tested as she moves on — from a vampire community in the Sunshine State to college in Georgia to the primeval maze of the Okefenokee Swamp. In contending with the politics of vampire and human cultures, Ari comes face-to-face with zombies that are infiltrating America, as well as demons and shadows that haunt us all.
I hadn't really paid attention until now, but, isn't Ethical Vampire kind of like an oxymoron?
I'm noticing some recurring themes here. Apparently, really good sales bring out my inner adventurer and I'm a sucker for a good cover. Go figure.
At the end of the day I ended up with 8 Hardcovers, 6 Paperbacks and 1 Mass Market Paperback for the bargain price of $40.10 ($9.25 of which was shipping). That's roughly $2.70 per book. Not bad my friends. Not bad at all.