Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

What we’re reading this week! “A Thousand Pieces of You,” “Codex Alera,” and more!

Howdy all! The shelves are slowly emptying out, and we couldn’t be happier! This week’s set of books are great, and we can’t wait to tell you about them. But first, here’s what we here at Lytherus have been reading this week:

DIANA

51iWOxQ4DsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This week I read A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, by Claudia Gray. I kept hearing great things about it, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and the plot (travel between parallel universes and how they change) sounded amazing. So I had very high expectations for this book.
And it definitely didn’t disappoint! I was a bit wary at first because the romance was shaping up to be a love triangle (no spoilers, it’s fairly obvious from the beginning) and I’m not a big fan of romance as the central focus of a book, much less a love triangle. But I thought it was done well, nicely interwoven with the story, and it didn’t detriment the plot itself. The book is just one big adventure that rarely stops, with very good pacing with the occasional, very rare lull. But in those occasions you have great character development as well as a really interesting story. The writing is also good and very easy to read, and I found it a very, very enjoyable read and I could barely put the book down.
This is a definite recommendation to science-fiction (and YA) fans. Can’t wait for the sequel, and to see what Claudia Gray is going to do with the Star Wars franchise this year!

EMMA

M_O_BlackThis week I managed about 2.2 things!  I tried reading Jim Butcher’s SKIN GAME for the Hugos, but I haven’t read any of the other books in the series and had to give it up. I really like Butcher’s CODEX ALERA, and I  enjoyed the little of this story I read as far as tone and characters. It just doesn’t really stand on its own.
I did however finish MIME ORDER – another book that doesn’t stand on it’s own! This time I’d read the preceding book, BONE SEASON, and I felt that MIME ORDER did an extraordinary job of continuing the saga. As Paige Mahoney’s story continued to unfold, I felt like the entire series finally clicked for me. The first book just never quite shook the Harry Potter/Divergent feel, but as author Samantha Shannon unfolded her world more and more in MIME ORDER, I began to fall in love with the story and characters in a way I hadn’t during BONE SEASON.
I also read a short story collection called KALEIDOSCOPE which comes out of a small independent Australian press.  Even though KALEIDOSCOPE is marketed as YA, it’s probably the best anthology I’ve read so far this year. Often in books like these, I consider it a win if I read 50% of the stories, but I didn’t skip a single entry in this collection!

LAUREN

 

Seraphina_book_cover_(US_addition)This past week’s book was a re-read for me: SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman (I did the audio this time, which was a cool change). This series is the book club series for the month of April, and I wanted to go into the sequel, SHADOW SCALE, as fresh as possible (You should read along with us, and submit your questions for me to ask Rachel in the interview at the end of the month!). At least 4 different times I said out loud, “man, I forgot how much I loved this book!” It really is a wonderfully creative, well-written book with interesting characters and a really cool world. I’m about half-way through the SHADOW SCALE audiobook right now, and so far it’s also great. It’s getting creepy, which is a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. Next up on the docket? I think I’m going to do the audio of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, which I’m excited about. Stay tuned!

 

This week we’re lucky enough to have some input from the lovely Erica Cameron, author of SING, SWEET NIGHTINGALE. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with Erica this week, and when I told her what I was doing she happily added her recent reads into the mix. Enjoy!

ERICA

neverwhereRight now I’m reading Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker. This lyrical, wonderfully creeptastic, Southern Gothic story grabs you from the first sentence, digs in its claws, and drags you toward the finish. I’m still in the middle of this book but I cannot wait to see how it unfolds. I’m expecting a brilliant finish and I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed.

Also, I’ve recently been trying to get myself into audiobooks because of how much time I’m going to be spending on the road this year. So far I’ve listened to the BBC production of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Neverwhere was extremely entertaining and imaginative (which is to be expected from Gaiman’s brilliant mind) and I loved listening to the fantastic cast recording. With Verity, it seemed as though the intensity was heightened by listening to the talented narrators. Since the story is told in the form of journal entries, it really was like being inside these girls’ heads while events were unfolding. Kudos to the author and the performers of both books for a job extremely well done. I’d give both audio versions five stars. Highly recommended.
On to the giveaways! This week we have an amazing set of a whopping FIVE books! They’re all middle-grade, and they’re all fabulous:

This is an extra awesome set of books for two different reasons. First, all of them except Beyond Foo are ARCs, so they’re a lot rarer than a regular book. And Beyond Foo? It’s signed by the author! So these are super fun goodies this week. (US only)

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It wouldn’t be a spring cleaning giveaway without a Christopher Paolini goody, so this week we’re throwing in a signed photo:
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We ALSO have a bonus giveaway this week: Erica Cameron’s Sing Sweet Nightingale, which is signed! There’s a catch though: if you win it you’ll have to review it for us to post on the site and share with the world! We want to hear your thoughts on her awesome book, so here’s your chance to be a guest book reviewer on Lytherus! Only enter if you’re interested. (US only)
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Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

Guest Post: Lissa Price talks about going from fan girl to author at cons

For our last post for the Lissa Price Featured Author Week Lissa talks about what it’s like to go from con fangirl to published author sitting on a panel with some of her favorite writers, and about an awesome anthology she’s a part of with the possibility of winning an award. Take it away Lissa!

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Going From Fan to Author at WorldCon

photo-144 Tight CropBefore I was a published author, I went to several of the legendary WorldCons, the major convention where the Hugo Awards are presented. I loved listening to authors like George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman read. I met Cory Doctorow in a kaffeeklatsch and even got to have tea with Neil and a few other fortunate members.

That was fantastic and inspiring. Then, once I became a published author, I got to participate on panels side-by-side with such established, award-winning authors as Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, Charlie Stross, Harry Turtledove and more.

So I’m excited about the possibility of attending LonCon3, the next WorldCon set in London. As a bonus, I am in the Campbellian Anthology, an online collection of samples by the writers eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  The first part of Starters is there, as well as “Portrait of a Spore,” a short story that is otherwise exclusive to the Starters paperback. This book, edited by M. David Blake, is available for a free download for a limited time – it may end after March 31st, the deadline for nominations. Even if you are not a member eligible to nominate, you can enjoy the anthology which has over a hundred new writers.

The Campbell Award is given to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years. I’m in my second and last year of eligibility to be nominated for this award, with endorsements by Grandmaster Harlan Ellison, Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures and Unbreakable) and David Gerrold, Hugo and Nebula winner for The Martian Child and screenwriter for Star Trek (The Trouble with Tribbles).

The prize is named in honor of science fiction editor and writer John W. Campbell, whose science fiction writing and role as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact made him one of the most influential editors in the early history of science fiction.

http://stupefyingstories.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/announcing-2014-campbellian-anthology.html

http://io9.com/a-trove-of-great-science-fiction-and-fantasy-free-for-1514412496

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Thanks Lissa! Be sure to check out the links, and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lissa’s books! 

 

 

Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews, Comics/Graphic Novels, Reviews

Holiday Recommendations 2011: Comics

Have a comic book fan in the family? The comics gurus here at Lytherus have put together a fantastic list of new comic books (and a book about comics!), along with a few oldies but goodies, that will make a great addition to any library.

 

DC Comics: The New 52

Released Dec. 13, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Various

In the mood for some last minute shopping? (Don’t have a choice because you procrastinated?) DC Comics: The New 52 is a 1,216 page compilation includes every #1 issue that will not be released until December 13.  This book is a perfect way for new comic fans as well as those who have been out of the game for a while to easily get an idea for the  flavor of each of the new series. The catch is that the list price for this item is $150.00 but don’t worry both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are selling this book for $89.99 (still ouch, but much more reasonable). Pre-ordering is an option for those who don’t want to cut it close.

 

Absolute Sandman Vol. 5

Released Nov. 8, 2011

Author/ Illustrator: Neil Gaiman and Various

Absolute Sandman Vol. 5 is a little different from the first 4 (though we’d highly recommend those too) – The first four volumes collect the series in chronological order. Vol 5 brings together a good amount of side material that doesn’t fit easily into the regular chronology. It is broken into three sections. The first section “Endless Nights” is a gather of stories about The Endless who are “a family of magical and mythical beings who exist and interact in the real world”. Secondly is “Sandman: Midnight Theatre” showcasing Golden Age superhero Wesley Dodds (The Sandman) as he goes on a mission to un cover fascists in London. Lastly is “Sandman: The Dream Hunters,” which is the tale of a monk who falls in love with a kitsune and is subsequently endangered by dream eaters who want to kill him. The kitsune and the monk must learn how to save one another.

This is another expensive buy at about $73.64 on Amazon, but anything coming out of the Sandman line or, really, from Neil Gaiman is a pretty safe bet.

 

The Walking Dead: Compendium One

Released May 2009

Author: Robert Kirkman

Illustrator: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore

We’re cheating here. This is a repeat suggestion from last year – but here’s the thing, The Walking Dead on AMC just keeps getting more and more popular! How can we NOT keep pushing the comic series, which is even better. The Walking Dead Compendium is great because it assembles the first 8 volumes worth of collections (which you also have the option of buying individually) into a giant, 1088 page book. This is the equivalent of the first 48 issues. The nice thing about an older book like this is that you can get a crazy amount of comics for a decent price –you can find this on Amazon between $30.00 – $35.00.

TV show aside, this is a great series and a New York Times Best Seller. Follow Rick Grimes from the moment he wakes up in the hospital to find himself in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the un-dead to about the point where the survivors find Hershel’s farm.

 

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command

Released Nov. 22, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Haden Blackman, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, Wes Dzioba

Taking place shortly after Anakin Skywalker transformed into the Sith Lord, about 19 years before Episode IV, this great graphic novel showcases the between period of psychological transition from one to the other. Vader is haunted by the memory of Padme and the life the two of them could have built together. He feels ultimately responsible for her death. Though these feelings plague him, he has no time for such a sentimental way of being; he has been given a mission by the Emperor to find the missing ship of Grand Moff Tarkin’s son, Admiral Garoche Tarkin which is somewhere in the Ghost Nebula of the Atoan System. Turmoil quickly ensues upon their arrival as they realize that civil unrest awaits them in this overlooked corner of the Republic. See the full Lytherus review here, where you will also find a preview of the book.This new 120 page hardcover collection goes for about $17.00 on Amazon.

 

A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel

        Released 2008

Author: Sean Michael Wilson (Adapter) Charles Dickens (Author)

Illustrator (Mike Collins)

Love the tale, don’t like the length of the original book? Sometimes things are just more interesting with pictures. This beautifully constructed graphic novel is a well-written representation of the classic Dickens story that we all know so well. The cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits on Christmas eve as they attempt to show him the love of mankind existing all around him and ultimately save his soul.  This 134 page book also includes interesting support material with educational information detailing the life and work of Charles Dickens and a description of life in Victorian England. (So in other words this is a great way to entertainingly trick kids into learning something.) Because this graphic novel is older and of an educational nature, you will be able to find it online for about $10.00.

 

Marvel Firsts: The 1960s

Released October 26, 2011

Authors: Stan Lee, Gary Friedrich, Jack Kirby Roy Thomas, Gardner Fox

Illustrator: Gene Colan

This is the first of a set of two books and the only one to be released before the Christmas deadline. “Compiled in one titanic tome: the famous first issues of dozens of your favorite super heroes and super-hero teams…” including the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Defenders.  You will get about 488 pages of “firsts”, equaling 26 issues, for about $20.00. The up side to this is that you get to physically hold, in one organized compilation, the first issues of so many fan-favorite characters. The down side is that if you are a Marvel digital comics subscriber then you can read these anyway because most of their old stuff is included in your yearly digital rate. Still – if you can’t have the originals, this is the next best (physical copy) thing. Expect the second book, featuring the firsts of the 1970s to be released in March of 2012.

 

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby: The Wonder Years

Released Nov. 30, 2011

Author: Mark Alexander

Who couldn’t love a book about comic books! (On second thought, don’t answer that…) We do! Stan Lee & Jack Kirby: The Wonder years was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fantastic Four #1. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are renowned for their creativity which kicked off a decade of comics that we are still feeling the effects of today. “Calling on his years of research, plus new interviews conducted just for this book [with Stan Lee, Flo Steinberg, Mark Evanier, Joe Sinnott, and others], regular Jack Kirby Collector magazine contributor Mark Alexander traces both Lee and Kirby’s history at Marvel comics, and the remarkable series of events and career choices that led them to converge in 1961 to conceive the Fantastic Four.” (book synopsis) Learn about the first decade  of the FF, details concerning Lee and Kirby’s working relationship as well as their fateful parting of ways in 1970. The book also includes of some of the classic Kirby artwork.

This book won’t break your bank at $20.00. This particular recommendation is for the die hards in the audience who don’t just want to read the comics, they want to read about the comics.

 

Flashpoint

Released Nov 1st, 2011

Author: Geoff Johns

Illustrator: Andy Kubert

The event that turns the entire DC Universe upside down and leads directly into the New 52, Flashpoint, is THE comic event of the year. With great writing from Geoff Johns and stunning art from Andy Kubert, the hardcover graphic novel collecting all five issues is the perfect gift for your favorite comic book fan.

Barry Allen(better known as The Flash) wakes up one day to find that the entire world has been changed. His mother, who has been dead for years, is alive and well, and his fellow superheroes, including Batman, have undergone changes too. On top of that, Aquaman and Wonder Woman prepare to wage war against each other. The Flash, with the help of Batman, Cyborg, and the other superheroes, must find a way to stop the war and set things right before it is too late.

Not only is this a fun read with superb storytelling, it also basically starts the entire DC Universe all over again. A comic with such an impact on its universe and its characters should not be missed by anyone who claims to like comic books. Find the Lytherus review here!

 

Batman: Noel

Released November 8th, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Lee Bermejo

One of this year’s best graphic novels, Batman Noel puts a fun, original spin on the classic A Christmas Carol story by Charles Dickens. Written and drawn by the talented Lee Bermejo, this original graphic novel will get you in the holiday spirit while satisfying your desire for a good Batman story at the same time.

In this story, Batman is put in the role of Scrooge, unfriendly, detached from other people, and cruel at times. Superman and Catwoman function as two of the spirits who come to Scrooge and attempt to make him change, while the Joker kind of functions as the third spirit.

Well-written, original, and deeply satisfying, Batman Noel stands apart from the countless other graphic novels being released this month and just might make a Batman fan out of anyone who reads it. Click here for the Lytherus review!

 

War of the Green Lanterns

Released Nov. 22nd, 2o11

Author/Illustrator: Various

Another winner from DC Comics, War of the Green Lanterns stands as one of the best Green Lantern stories to date, and features some of the best work we’ve seen from writer Geoff Johns.

A new foe threatens the universe, and Hal Jordan, along with his fellow Green Lanterns, must stop him before it’s too late. But sacrifices must be made, and the consequences of Hal Jordan’s choices are shocking.

Those who lost hope in the Green Lantern series after seeing the movie can rejoice. Not only does this story arc offer plenty of thrills and breathtaking action,  it also changes Green Lantern comics forever. Those wanting to know more after the shocking cliffhanger will have to read The New 52 Green Lantern series. This  graphic novel  is definitely worth your money.

 

 Ultimate Comics: Death of Spiderman

Released Nov. 2nd, 2011

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator: Mark Bagley

In this collection from thepopular Ultimate Spiderman series, one of Marvel’s most beloved superheroes meets his end. It is an event that has been heavily marketed and highly anticipated, but now that it has hit store shelves, does it live up to the hype? The answer is yes, it more than lives up to the hype.

In this stunning collection, we witness Peter Parker fight off a group of his greatest enemies, collectively known as the Sinister Six, with the help of his friends Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake.  He prepares to fight his most powerful foe and the leader of the Sinister Six, the Green Goblin. This amazing graphic novel showcases the last stand of Spiderman, and it truly is a spectacular book. It all boils down to Spidey taking on one of his oldest foes in one final, glorious fight.

Anyone who wants to see one of the most historic showdowns in comic book history will love this incredible collection.

 

Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of November 20th, 2011

Here are this week’s new fantasy, scifi, and horror book releases:

Released Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

 Hearts of Smoke & Steam (Society of Steam #2), by Andrew P. Mayer

Sir Dennis Darby has been murdered, the Automaton has been destroyed, and Sarah Stanton has turned her back on a life of privilege and comfort to try and find her way in the unforgiving streets of New York. But Lord Eschaton, the villain behind all these events, isn’t finished with her yet. His plans to bring his apocalyptic vision of the future to the world are moving forward, but to complete his scheme he needs the clockwork heart that Sarah still holds.

But she has her own plans for the Automaton’s clockwork heart—Sarah is trying rebuild her mechanical friend, and when she is attacked by The Children of Eschaton, the man comes to her rescue may be the one to make her dreams come true. Emelio Armando is a genius inventor who had hoped to leave his troubles behind when he and his sister left Italy for a life of anonymity in the New World. Now he finds himself falling in love with the fallen society girl, but he is rapidly discovering just how powerful the forces of villainy aligned against her are, and that fulfilling her desires means opening the door to a world of danger that could destroy everything he has built.

THE SOCIETY OF STEAM takes place in a Victorian New York powered by the discovery of Fortified Steam, a substance that allows ordinary men to wield extraordinary abilities, and grant powers that can corrupt gentlemen of great moral strength. The secret behind this amazing substance is something that wicked brutes will gladly kill for, and one that Sarah must try and protect, no matter what the cost.

Borderlands: The Fallen, by John Shirley

WHAT KIND OF MAN MAKES A LIVING IN HELL?

His name’s Roland. Soldier class, a former mercenary, he’s on a full-time mission to scrape a living out of the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.

Is he qualified? He’s well armed, he’s ruthless, and he’s tougher than skag hide. And, oh yeah—he’s strapped with some of the most exotic weaponry this side of the Vault, not to mention possessing fists like chunks of steel.

Zac Finn and his wife and young son had better get on the right side of Roland, because a stopover in orbit has turned into a nightmarish fall to the unforgiving landscape of the Borderlands. Zac hopes to find a strange new alien treasure in the Borderlands to turn his down-spiraling life around. But his wife, Marla, and his son, Cal, just want to survive, and reunite, because catastrophe has left them separated by hundreds of klicks. Their chances aren’t good . . . and Roland is all that stands between them and the planet’s kill-crazed Psychos and murderous bandits—not to mention the grotesque primals, giant wyrm squids, insane tunnel rats, voracious skags, brutal bruisers, and ruthless mercs. . . .

An original novel set in the universe of the Rated M for Mature video game created by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games.

Micro: A Novel, by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.

Lightspeed: Year One, by Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, George R. R. Martin, et al.

Lightspeed (www.lightspeedmagazine.com) is the critically-acclaimed, online science fiction magazine edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams. Lightspeed publishes all types of science fiction, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between. Each month, Lightspeed features a mix of originals and reprints, from a variety of authors – from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven”t heard of yet. Now, in Lightspeed: Year One, you will find all of the fiction published in Lightspeed”s first year, from new stories such as Nebula Award finalists, Vylar Kaftan”s “I”m Alive, I Love You, I”ll See You in Reno” and “Arvies” by Adam-Troy Castro, and Carrie Vaughn”s Hugo Award-nominee “Amaryllis,” to classic reprints by Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and more.

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, by Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Cherie Priest, et al.

For more than 80 years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gaming. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history – written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread – remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it. In the first decade of the twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction – bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters – eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing.

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves, by Sarah Monette

The first non-themed collection of critically acclaimed author Sarah Monette”s best short fiction. To paraphrase Hugo-award winner Elizabeth Bear’s introduction: “Monette’s prose is lapidary, her ideas are fantastical and chilling. She has studied the craft of fantastic fiction from the pens of masters and mistresses of the genre. She is a poet of the awkward and the uncertain, exalter of the outcast, the outre, and the downright weird. There is nothing else quite like Sarah Monette’s fiction.”

 

 

 

Bad Blood (House of Comarre), by Kristen Painter

Samhain approaches, bringing with it the final melding of the mortal and othernatural worlds. No one knows just how much power the night holds…

Violent murders occur in Paradise City as counterfeit comarré are systematically hunted. The police and the Kubai Mata have more than enough trouble to keep themselves occupied. As war erupts at home, Malkolm and Chrysabelle head to New Orleans to recover the Ring of Sorrows. Chrysabelle is forced to make a life and death decision and will realize that her relationship to Malkolm may have fatal consequences.

The clock is ticking . . .

 

Saints Astray, by Jacqueline Carey

Fellow orphans, amateur vigilantes, and members of the Santitos, Loup Garron-the fugitive daughter of a genetically engineered “wolf man”-and Pilar Ecchevarria grew up in the military zone of Outpost 12, formerly known as Santa Olivia. But now they’re free, and they want to help the rest of the Santitos escape. During a series of escapades, they discover that Miguel, Loup’s former sparring partner and reprobate surrogate brother, has escaped from Outpost 12 and is testifying on behalf of its forgotten citizens-at least until he disappears from protective custody. Honor drives Loup to rescue Miguel, even though entering the U.S could mean losing her liberty. Pilar vows to help her.

It will take a daring and absurd caper to extricate Miguel from the mess he’s created but Loup is prepared to risk everything… and this time she has help.

Soul Screamers Volume One: My Soul to Lose, My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, by Rachel Vincent

It starts with a scream….

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s compelling Soul Screamers series keeps getting better—here, for the first time, the original stories are compiled into one special volume….

My Soul to Lose

—The prequel: never before in print!—

Kaylee is just your average girl shopping at the mall with friends—until a terrified scream bursts from her that cannot be stopped. Taken to a hospital ward, will she be able to save her mind—and her life?

My Soul to Take

She’s always felt different, but now Kaylee discovers why. The screams that cannot be denied mean that someone near her will die—and she can never save them. Because saving one life means taking another….

My Soul to Save

Going on dates with her boyfriend is still new to Kaylee. But when the singer of the band they’re seeing dies onstage and Kaylee doesn’t scream, she knows something crazy is going on. Soon she discovers souls can indeed be sold….

Released Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations), by Michael J. Sullivan

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY.
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles–until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

BOOKS IN THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS
Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis)

Released Thursday, November 24th, 2011

In the Forests of the Night: The Goblin Wars Book 2, by Kersten Hamilton

The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on?

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.

Unleashed (Wolf Spring Chronicles), by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Wicked series, have created an entirely new trilogy with the passion of Twilight and the grandeur of Fallen. The Wolf Springs Chronicles introduces readers to a town of secrets and the new girl who’s about to start believing in werewolves.

 

 

 

 

Descriptions from Amazon.com

 

News, TV, TV News

American Gods Coming to HBO, Produced by Tom Hanks

In April we reported that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was being pitched to HBO by Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone Productions. Well, it has happened!

This news has me really excited. Today The Hollywood Reporter posted that Playtone is set to produce not one, but SIX seasons for HBO.

Here’s the official report, given to THR by Playtone partner Gary Goetzman:

The series-in-development, revolving around the question “are you a god if no one believes in you?” is executive produced by Goetzman and Hanks, with Bob Richardson, and Gaiman on board as executive producer and writer.

Each of the six seasons will be of 10-12, hour-long episodes with a budget of around $35-40 million per season, targeted to debut on the cable powerhouse in 2013 at the earliest.

Rich in religious folklore that spanned millennia and featuring deities from Greek and Nordic mythology, and even the Judeo-Christian monotheistic God making an appearance, in the contemporary U.S., American Gods will be effects-heavy to do justice to the awe-inspiring power of the divine beings. “There are some crazy things in there. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series,” said Goetzman.

More effects than have ever been done? That sort of boggles my mind, considering the amazing CGI things that are out right now. Granted, two years is a long time, in computer terms, so I can’t wait to see how things progress, and if they can live up to that claim.

The reason the show isn’t set to air until 2013 is that Hanks has to finish up another project for HBO, Major Matt Mason, based on the Mattel action-figure.

Having read American Gods not that long ago (you can see the Lytherus review here), the book is still fresh enough in my mind to be excited about this. I’m curious to see how they’ll make six seasons, whether they will try to milk the book, or if they will go off on new tangents and/or continue the story beyond where the book ends.

Either way, I’m happy for Neil Gaiman, especially since he’ll be a part of the project, which means we should get his approval on the scripts.

What do you think? Do you think HBO will do Gaiman’s book justice?

Book News, Books, News, TV, TV News

Gaiman’s American Gods coming to HBO?

There have been a lot of books-to-shows/movies lately, even more than usual. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is the newest addition to that list (what’s this book about? Check out the Lytherus review of it here). Playtone production company, made up of partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, recently approached HBO with the project. Cinematographer Robert Richardson (known for Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and Shutter Island) brought it to their attention, and the plan right now is for him to write the screenplay with Gaiman (at least the pilot episode, anyway).

I am truly excited about this one. HBO has been amazing with its shows, and with all the hype around the upcoming Game of Thrones, they are only securing in viewers’ minds their ability for authenticity. Playtone is no lightweight either: they have such credits to their name as Big Love, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, and John Adams, all of which are sensational in their own way, so we can only hope that American Gods will fall into the same category.

Things are only in the beginning stages of talks, so it will be some time before we know more, but we’ll be sure to bring it to you as soon as it’s out there!

 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Throwback Review: American Gods, a Delicious and Rare Treat

We here at Lytherus are always trying to come up with new and better ways of bringing you interesting news and reviews. Recently we decided to divide up the reviews we do into different categories. There will be definitions of these coming in the future, but for today I wanted to introduce you to the Throwback Review.

There is a lot of amazing older stuff out there. We want to cover these things though, to introduce them to a new audience who may not have heard of them, nor had the chance to experience them.  So today we’re going to bring you two throwback reviews, one a book and one a movie.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman came out in 2001. It has won the Hugo and Nebula awards, and is a New York Times bestseller. A friend gave me this book after he started it and didn’t particularly like it, but I took it with the hopes that I would get what all the hype was about. Reading it was an interesting experience. I felt like I was reading mythology literature. The story was well-written, detailed, and though it seemingly had a lot of little rabbit trails, they all connected in such an interesting fashion that I found myself wondering about the characters during the times between reading, wondering what their future held as the story progressed. It took me longer than my usual quick devouring time to read this book, but I found myself relishing it, not wanting to plow through. It felt like a delicious and rare treat, like girl-scout cookies or Shamrock shakes, something to be savored because it doesn’t come around every day.

The premise of the story is that our main character Shadow is released from a three-year prison sentence a few days early, because his wife and former boss died in a car accident together. Now, with no direction, he is courted by a man named Wednesday, who offers him a job working for him. Shadow turns him down, but Wednesday is persistent, and Eventually Shadow decides to take him up on his offer.

Wednesday is none other than Odin, the Norse god of old. He is rallying all the other older gods who are living throughout America for a battle. This battle is against the new American gods, the gods of TV, the internet, and cars, to name a few. As we journey with Shadow and his boss, we discover why these gods are in America, living simple, human lives, and what is in store for them if they lose.

It was really fun trying to figure out who the gods were as we were introduced to them. Gaiman doesn’t come out right away and tell us who they are, and for some of them I still have no idea. He definitely did his homework, and this book is chock-full of ancient gods from all eras and areas of the world. He also did a great job integrating them into modern society. My favorite had to be Misters Ibis and Jaquel, who owned a funeral parlor and did the best embalming in the country, though people didn’t realize this. I loved the creative process that must have gone on in Gaiman’s head. “Okay, ancient Egyptian gods. We have Thoth the Ibis-headed god of writing, and Anubis, the jackal-headed guardian of the underworld. What could they do today? Of course! Run a funeral parlor and keep wonderful well-written records of the deceased’s’ lives.” Of course I don’t know for sure if this is what he thought, but it is how it came across, and beautifully. The entire book was full of little details like this, and it was fun to continually discover them.

I had no idea where the story was going, other than to some sort of climactic battle between old gods and new, but the journey was so interesting that I didn’t mind that it took almost 500 pages to get us there. But the ending. Wow. Surprises left and right, things I didn’t see coming, clues planted from the very beginning revealed as Gaiman seamlessly tied up the story. I felt satisfied with the ending, and he wrote both an epilogue and a postscript to sum up a few loose ends, which left all questions answered.

If you are into mythology, and you like books that take you on a complicated ride, check out American Gods. The only warning I’d give is that it was way more vulgar than I was expecting—I mean, this is the guy who wrote Stardust! And sometimes the details were shocking in nature, but I really do believe they served a purpose and weren’t there for no reason, so it didn’t bother me. If anything it made the story more real and believable. Nothing was taboo, and he wasn’t afraid to go there, and I adore that quality in a writer.

This book was, in a word, fantastic. I think I need to have a little chat with my friend and see if he’ll give this book a second chance. But there’s no way he’s getting his copy back.