Book Report: Top 10 Horror Stories, Top 10 Short Story Collections, Icelandic Authorship & More!

A baby was born in the Torrance Barnes and Noble store, read all about it!

How the ereader numbers are doing and what it means about reading.
What it means to be an author in Iceland and how many of them there are.


“River of Stars” by Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc, 2013)

River of Stars

In River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay returns to the same world as he did with Under Heaven inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty, but jumps 400 years ahead and presents one of his own unique partly historical fiction, partly fantasy novels, this time inspired by the Song Dynasty. River of Stars is another great example of Kay’s lyrical writing and creative talent, making it no surprise he is a bestselling author with many readers worldwide.

Ren Daiyan was just a boy when he was ordered out on a mission to protect a magistrate and when besieged by highwaymen fought and killed them all in cold blood. It changed him, made him advance beyond his years and see the world and his life in a new way. From that moment he was different and never returned home, taking a new path. He finds himself joining a group of outlaws, becoming a Robin Hood type character, feared by those rich nobles who must travel throughout Kitai to serve the emperor.

Lln Shan is a beautiful woman and the daughter of a scholar who has educated her in ways most women never are. She is a talented songwriter and calligrapher who soon earns the interest of the emperor. She finds herself uprooted from her simple life and transported to one of lavish opulence in the city of the emperor, but it is one she is quite inexperienced with and must learn the complex politics and ways that a noble woman should perform.

As factions pit against each other and a war begins to brew in the north, Ren finds himself drawn to the wondrous city of Xinan and then Hanjin as he begins to serve the emperor in the army, doing what must be done to preserve the peace and the empire. He also meets a beautiful and talented woman by the name of Lln Shan.

River of Stars is well named, as it takes the reader on a literary pleasure cruise along a river of words and images, transporting them back in time to this great period of luxury and decadence, but also harshness. Kay does a good job of showing the various classes and levels of society, making this world seem not that different from our own, and certainly a relateable one. He also introduces his quasi-fantasy element; giving scenes and events a supernatural and spiritual feel that go beyond the mundane. Fans of Kay will delight in River of Stars, and for those looking to try the talented writer for the first time, this is a worthy example.

Originally written on September 23, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of River of Stars from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Under Heaven  Ysabel  Lord of Emperors

BOOK REPORT: The Greatness of Stephen King, The Importance of Indie Book Stores & More Book News

Finding libraries around the world in unexpected places.
Publishers Weekly on why Little, Brown took a chance on this unknown author.
An interesting piece from the New Yorker on what makes King so good, and it’s not that he’s a great horror writer per se.

[READ MORE . . .]

“Eye of God” by James Rollins (William Morrow, 2013)

Eye of God

Bestselling author James Rollins is back with his next Sigma Force novel, and like the previous installments, in Eye of God he puts his known characters in situations that defy logic and the odds and their survival is brought into question. But they’re members of Sigma Force for a reason; this is what they do best.

Once again Rollins ramps up the thrill and stress levels to 11, with a tale that posits the possible apocalyptic end of the world. An expensive research satellite used in the study of dark energy gives a vision of a torn and burnt eastern US seaboard, and then crashes to Earth, deep within the harsh lands of Mongolia. Sigma Force is called in to get to that satellite and rescue its valuable cargo of information before it’s too late and the events foretold come to pass.

A package has also been delivered to the Vatican containing a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and an ancient book bound in human skin; the evidence points to the ancient Mongol king, Genghis Khan. These items also possess links to what the satellite image prophesied, and now Sigma Force must bring all the elements and evidence together and the doomsday clock is ticking.

Fans of the Sigma Force series will enjoy Eye of God, as Rollins brings back familiar characters, as well as introducing some new ones, and puts them in the ringer. Towards the end of the book, things seems to be taken a little too far and become perhaps too preposterous, even for Rollins, but then it seems each time the author sets out to top the events of his previous book in the most outlandish and incredible way possible.

Originally written on September 23, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Eye of God from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Devil Colony  Blood Gospel  Bloodline

Book Report: McBooks, Library Shaming, Indie Publishing’s Golden Age & More

Alive Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature.

A Tumblr to make librarian’s blood boil.

Want to know what important authors have lived in the San Francisco area, as well as other literary landmarks?

“Big Egos” by S. G. Browne (Gallery Books, 2013)


S. G. Browne, author of Breathers and Lucky Bastard, is back with his next book and this one’s a real humdinger, pushing the reader’s believability into the arena of compelling science fiction. Big Egos feels like a possible future that could well happen, and like most books of this nature, it is a cautionary tale from which we have much to learn.

Big Egos is the ultimate company that can make your dreams come true. For a considerable fee you can become just about anyone you want to, especially if you share some of said person’s looks and characteristics. With the injection of a DNA-laced cocktail for six to eight hours you can become your favorite dead celebrity and live that life you’ve always wondered about. It’s the ultimate role-playing fantasy from Engineering Genetics Organization and Systems, aka EGOS.

Our main character is one of Big Egos’ favorite employees and everything is seen through his eyes. As an employee he is also required to sample the product and readers get a taste of the Elvis ego, among others. The problem is there is a growing black market of egos, but the quality isn’t as good and sometimes the person using it doesn’t recover all the way, they can be left changed.

And now bodies are starting to show up. Big Egos announces that it’s all because of these pirated black market egos, but our main character is brought in to investigate and find out where and how these black market egos are turning up, only things are starting to get a little fuzzy around the edges. Is it because he’s been sampling too many egos too often? And why is his boss totally refuting their clandestine meeting about his secret job? And why are some important people at Big Egos now starting to turn up dead?

Browne has a lot of fun with the various egos, setting the stage with descriptive action of all these celebrities and how they might interact with each other, even though they may have never met. It’s another great example of one of his fun novels, original and enthralling that keeps you reading to the end.

Originally written on September 23, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Big Egos from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Breathers  Lucky Bastard  Fated  I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus

Book Report: Gaiman’s Rules, Secret Bookshelves, Bowie’s Favorites & More!

Tom Clancy, the bestselling author known for his military techno-thriller, such as The Hunt for Red October.
Some spectacular bookstore windows from around the world.