Posts filed under 'Popular Fiction'
This is a story about sisters, who like many siblings, have very distinct and different personalities, likes and dislikes, goals, and levels of ambition. Unlike most siblings, the sisters Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins. Rose, the writer, is determined to tell her (their) story and so she coerces the very reticent Ruby to help her by writing some of the chapters. The only rule that Rose sets forth is that they are not to read each other’s chapters.
The Girls is their story, and although it’s a novel, you might be inclined to want to believe it’s a biography, or more correctly, a pair of biographies. Lansens brings us a most unusual coming-of-age story about sisters who truly love each other and about the small circle of people who inhabit their small town life.
Find The Girls in our catalog.
April 21st, 2011
When last we encountered haughty necromancer Johannes Cabal, he was running a diabolical carnival in an attempt to win his soul back from Lucifer. (“Johannes Cabal the Necromancer,” 2008.) That task accomplished, he sets his sights on acquiring a particular rare book of the necromantic arts. Unfortunately, things do not go to plan, and he finds himself captured and pressed into service reviving the corpse of a small militant country’s dictator for one last rousing speech. Unfortunately, the revived dictator’s prodigious appetites now lean toward human flesh. Managing to flee the scene of the debacle, Johannes dons the persona of a self-important bureaucrat and embarks upon the first aeroship out of town. Again, unfortunately, Johannes has managed to end up not only sharing passenger space with a young woman who knows him for who and what he is, but with a murderer. His investigations of the murder, at first undertaken from idle curiosity, begin to take a more personal turn—Johannes’s own life is threatened!—and he begins to discover the downside of a returned soul—that pesky conscience!—as he finds himself embroiled in a nest of political espionage.
Wickedly humorous, with touches of steampunk, mystery, and the supernatural, Johannes Cabal the Detective is a rollicking good time.
Find Johannes Cabal the Detective in our catalog.
April 15th, 2011
Melanie Middleton lives a very regimented, careful life of unshakeable routine. The wildest thing about her is her friendship with Sophie, a free-spirited art historian with hippie leanings. Well, that, and the fact that Melanie can see ghosts. But that part of her life is a closely-guarded secret. As Charleston’s foremost real estate agent dealing with old historic homes, Melanie comes into contact with ghosts more often than she’d like, but it isn’t a big problem until the aging Nevin Vanderhorst unexpectedly dies, leaving Melanie his home in the will. According to the terms of the bequest, Melanie must live in the house on Tradd Street for one year, using Vanderhort’s trust to restore the home. Only then can she sell the place if she wishes. Unfortunately for Melanie, who actually harbors a hatred for old homes, this one is also haunted by two spirits—one benign, the other decidedly not. And when, in addition to everything else, the handsome journalist Jack Trenholm starts poking around trying to research a story related to the history of the home and the Vanderhorst family, Melanie finds her careful life upturned and uprooted in more ways than one.
Flirtatious and fun, with some more serious elements carefully displayed in relation to Melanie’s painful childhood, “The House on Tradd Street” should be of interest to many readers.
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March 10th, 2011
Since I became a Reacher’s Creature (the name given to fans of the Jack Reacher series) so late in the game, I decided to go back to a much earlier title to see how it compared. I picked up Echo Burning to see if there was additional background in the earlier books that might help me understand Reacher a little better or if there were a style or quality difference between earlier and later books. I’m happy to report that Reacher remains consistent, takes the split second necessary for him to analyze all the possibilities and then acts decisively to put the bad guys out of business. There’s really no additional background offered on Reacher, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that none is needed. His actions speak for him.
In Echo Burning, a young mother begs Reacher to kill her abusive husband. She convinces him to help, although not in the way she had envisioned, despite his early skepticism about her story. Even when it appears she is lying about the entire story, there’s something that compels him to stick around and try to help. Child has a way of making the setting an important part of the story and this hot, dusty Texas setting is no exception. If you haven’t read his earlier books, I recommend it.
Find Echo Burning in our catalog.
March 1st, 2011
Fat Charlie Nancy…who was only fat between the ages of 10 and 14 but has never been able to shake the nickname…has always been embarrassed of his suave, story-spinning, flirtatious and tricky father, Mister Nancy and the two haven’t spoken in years. So when Fat Charlie reluctantly calls to invite his father to his impending nuptials, he is surprised to learn that Mister Nancy has actually just died. When Fat Charlie flies from London to Florida for the funeral, he learns one more surprising fact: he has a brother he’s never known existed. One of the other mourners at the funeral tells him that if he wants to contact his brother, ask a spider. And one drunken night back in London, that’s exactly what he does. And who should appear, but the tall, handsome Spider, who is everything that Fat Charlie isn’t: tall, handsome, in shape, suave, well-spoken…and, incidentally, in possession of some hefty magical powers inherited from their father, who happened to actually be the West African spider god, Anansi. Spider, a mischievous sort just like their father, proceeds to take over and ruin Fat Charlie’s life by seducing his fiancee, getting him fired, getting him arrested for a white collar crime he didn’t commit, and introducing Fat Charlie to the magical world of the other African animal deities. It’s up to Fat Charlie to prove that he, too, is his father’s son and take his life back from Spider’s meddling hands.
Fast-paced, clever, and inventive, “Anansi Boys” is a treat. Dealing closely with African folklore, but also firmly ensconced in the real world, the novel is both funny and heart-warming by turns. Highly recommended.
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February 14th, 2011
Shakespeare purists be warned: this is not your grandparents’ Bard! Humorist Moore hilariously re-envisions Shakespeare’s King Lear, taking as his protagonist Lear’s most humble Fool. Pocket, the fool, is a foul-mouthed, impudent, over-sexed young man of diminutive height and vertiginous intellect. His only loyalties are to his King, Lear, and to Lear’s youngest daughter, Cordelia. When Lear disowns Cordelia for being disloyal and sends her off to France, Pocket, along with his dim-witted apprentice Drool, undertake to get back at the King for his idiocy and return things in the realm to the way Pocket believes they should be. This necessitates, of course, much treachery, witchery, and buggery, though not necessarily in that order.
Raucous, raunchy, fast-paced, manic, and wild, Fool is a treat for anyone not scared off by a version of the Bard that includes toilet humor, foul language, and masturbation jokes side by side with biting social commentary.
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February 8th, 2011
Celia Graves, a security expert has just been attacked by vampires, leaving her part human and part vampire. The story becomes tangled very quickly with different law enforcement groups trying to unravel the crime and locate a minor demon on the loose, along with various groups of paranormal beings trying to kill Celia.
Ever pick up a book to read and get the feeling that you’ve started in the middle of the story or the second book in the series? That’s the feeling I got from Blood Song. Although it is the first in a new series, there’s an awful lot of explaining of the paranormal world inhabited by various types of monsters and magic. This might have been handled more gracefully by veteran paranormal authors C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp who use the pseudonym Cat Adams for this series. Still, die-hard paranormal fans may enjoy this new world of magic and mayhem.
Find Blood Song in our catalog.
February 6th, 2011
This is a reissue and update of Chamberlain’s 2002 novel, Cypress Point.
Joelle and Liam had been good friends since they began working together. Joelle and Mara had been best friends for even longer and Joelle was certain that Liam and Mara belonged together. No one was more thrilled than Joelle when Liam and Mara tied the knot and decided to have a baby. When Mara suffered brain damage during child birth and Liam and Joelle were told she would never recover, they pulled together as grieving friends with a newborn to care for. Eventually, Joelle and Liam became romantically involved just as Joelle met the one person she believed may be able to cure Mara. There are moral dilemmas galore in this novel however they are not explored in any depth. Fans of light women’s fiction may enjoy this reworking of Chamberlain’s earlier novel.
You can find Shadow Wife in our Browsing Bestsellers collection.
January 28th, 2011
Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, have been around since the beginning. Crowley tempted Eve and Aziraphale used to have a flaming sword…before he, uh, misplaced it. But that was 6000 years ago. Now, Aziraphale owns a used bookshop and enjoys a nice sushi dinner once in a while, while Crowley drives a mint Bentley, always wears shades, and also enjoys a nice sushi dinner once in a while…often in the company of Aziraphale. Unfortunately for this odd couple, the end is nigh and the world they so enjoy is headed for destruction. The Antichrist has been born, and it’s Crowley’s job to make sure he grows up evil and Aziraphale’s job to make sure he grows up good. The only problem is, the babies were accidentally switched at birth and the child they’ve been influencing is just a human. The REAL Antichrist has been growing up, uninfluenced by good OR evil, in a small village in England. Now the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are gathering, Aziraphale and Crowley are desperately playing catch-up trying to locate the Antichrist, the good witch Anathema Device is right on top of things (though she doesn’t quite know it) and the last two members of England’s Witchfinder Army are mucking about and generally getting in the way of everyone else. And in the end, the fate of Heaven, Hell, and Earth lies in the hands and heart of one rambunctious eleven-year-old boy.
Humorous, fast-paced, and quite clever, “Good Omens” is a good-natured romp that not only plays with theology, but quite sharply skewers it. Highly recommended.
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January 17th, 2011
Fate, who prefers to be called Fabio, is just coasting through existence. Most of the humans to whom he assigns fates end up screwing up their lives and ending up with different—and worse—fates anyway, and one of the main rules for the immortal anthropomorphized entities like him is not to get involved directly in the lives of mortals. When human Sara Griffen, who is on the path of Destiny (Fate’s rival and sometime-lover), moves into the building in which Fate resides when not jet-setting around the world to assign fates, Fabio gets into trouble. He falls in love with Sara. A big no-no! In addition, his new-found happiness inspires him to create happiness for his clients and he begins intervening in the lives of humans to push them back onto their true paths. Jerry (also known as Jehovah) isn’t happy about this, of course, but more of an issue for Fabio is the fact that Sara is destined to be involved in the coming of the new Messiah.
Slightly shallow characterizations and humor that at times feels forced diminish the impact of this otherwise enjoyable novel. Still, fans of Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, and other modern humorists will find much to like.
Find Fated in our catalog.
January 13th, 2011
Tessa has a wonderful life. She is in love with her handsome and successful plastic-surgeon husband, Nick, has two young children, and has recently made the choice to leave her job to care for her children. Valerie is an attorney and single mother of a young boy named Charlie. When Charlie has an accident and is severely burned, Nick is called in to treat him. This is the story of two women thrown together by accident, and what happens to a “perfectly good” marriage when mutual attraction between Valerie and Nick becomes more.
Some peripheral chararacters from Giffin’s earlier book, Something Blue, show up in this novel, but it is in no way a continuation of the earlier story. In this latest by Giffin, I’m reminded of Jodi Picoult. Giffin uses the alternating perspective of Tessa and Valerie to tell the story as it explores a range of human emotions and ethical situations. Fans of lighter women’s fiction will find much to enjoy The Heart of the Matter.
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January 8th, 2011
Charlie Asher is a hapless Beta Male living happily with his pregnant wife in San Francisco and running the family business, a thrift shop. When his wife dies unexpectedly right after giving birth to their daughter, however, Charlie’s life changes forever.
Charlie discovered a man in a mint green suit was standing over his wife’s body, seeming quite surprised that Charlie could see him. As it turns out, NOBODY else saw the man in mint green, not even the hospital’s surveillance cameras. And when Charlie returns home with his baby daughter, he discovers that various items in his thrift store have begun to glow red…another thing nobody else seems able to see. Charlie soon discovers…by reading the “Big Book of Death” mailed to him by the man in mint green…that he has become a Death Merchant. “Death” with a little “d.” His job is to collect the Soul Vessels into which the souls of the dying enter and make sure that the Vessels end up in the right hands thereafter. A conscientious person at heart, Charlie undertakes to perform his duties; but soon he discovers that the forces of darkness are rising and he…and his rag-tag band of friends, relatives, and employees…are the only thing standing in their way.
Filled with Moore’s characteristic humor, but also touched with moments of real pathos and simple wisdom, “A Dirty Job” is enjoyable. Fans of Moore’s work will recognize some characters from his other titles.
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December 22nd, 2010