Bookbanter’s Best Books of 2016

#1

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins: Phil Collins has been kind of quiet for the last five or so years. He said it’s because he wanted to semi-retire and actually spend time raising a family for once, having never had this experience with his previous three families during his multiple decade-spanning superstar career. Continue . . .

#2

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: From the author of the Wayward Pines trilogy (now a TV series) comes Blake Crouch’s follow up novel which is in every way as addictive and compelling as his previous works. “Are you happy with your life?” Continue . . .

#3

It’s been a few years since fans enjoyed the last Newsflesh novel, and in that time the dark and twisted Mira Grant has written a number of novellas for various anthologies, which fans may have missed along the way. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Orbit have helped collect all these separate stories together in this mighty and magnificent tome, Rise. Continue . . .

#4

It is likely that you have heard in some way, shape or form of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale that has grown to incredible popularity over the last few years. In addition to putting up new episodes every couple weeks, the team continues to go on live tours not just across the United States, but also across the globe. Continue . . .

#5

Mary Roach has wowed her addictive readers with corpses (Stiff), sex (Bonk), and life in space (Packing for Mars). In Grunt she delves into a new arena with the world of the military and the science behind it that protects them in every way possible. Continue . . .

#6

It’s been many years since readers got the first bloody taste of the terrifying vampires in Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Since that time the second volume of the trilogy, The Twelve, came out with a lesser bang than the first. And now the final volume, The City of Mirrors, is finally here much to everyone’s hope and excitement, and it does not disappoint. Continue . . .

#7

Seanan McGuire has a number of books under her belt, with both the October Daye and Incryptid series. Then there are the many books she’s written under Mira Grant. So with the publication of her new novel,with a new publisher – Tor, readers might be expecting something similar to what they’ve read before. Every Heart a Doorway is completely different to anything she has written before, and it may be (at least in my opinion) the best piece of fiction she’s written so far. Continue . . .

#8

If you’re any sort of epic fantasy fan, then by now you know full well who bestselling author Brandon Sanderson is. You may know him as the author who finished the long-spanning Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan; or the creator of the fantastic Mistborn series; or perhaps you know him as the great mind behind his ongoing epic Stormlight Archive series. Continue . . .

#9

Bestselling science fiction author Allen Steele’s latest novel, Arkwright, is the science fiction equivalent of Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. Readers get to experience the saga of the family Arkwright and its friends through the centuries and across the distant reaches of space. Continue . . .

#10

Bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s previous two books were fantasy-tinged sweeping works of historical fiction set within the Tang dynasty of 8th century China. In his latest novel, Children of Earth and Sky, he returns to his alternate quasi-medieval Europe that readers have come to know in his Sarantine Mosaic duology and The Lions of Al-Rassan. Continue . . .

#11

The long-awaited (whether it’s published two weeks after the last one or two years, it will always be long-awaited) fifth installment of the Old Kingdom is out! Goldenhand is the one fans have been waiting for, featuring many old friends we’ve cared for and wondered about for some time: Sabriel, the Abhorsen; King Touchstone; Lirael, Abhorsen-in-waiting; and Nicholas Sayre; and yes maybe Chlorr of the Mask is involved somehow too. Continue . . .

#12

It’s been a few years since Robert J. Sawyer published a novel, his last being Red Planet Blues in 2013. With the passing of his brother, Sawyer needed to take some time off. Now he’s back with a new novel, Quantum Night, and if readers and fans might be wondering if the new book might be lacking in some classic Sawyer way with the time off, they will not be disappointed in the slightest! Continue . . .

#13

The second book in The Change quartet, after Stranger, does a lot of things the second book in the series should: opening the world further, adding some new and interesting characters, and raising the stakes to a whole new level that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Continue . . .

#14

Charlie Jane Anders is someone who has been very much a mainstay of the science fiction and fantasy world, is a co-editor of the science fiction blog iO9, and Emcees a monthly reading series Writers with Drinks in San Francisco. So it’s not surprising that she should write an interesting novel the blends the worlds of fantasy and science fiction in a delicious way. Continue . . .

#15

There is a Peruvian legend that Andres Ruzo once heard his father tell him, of a mysterious river deep within the Amazon jungle that consists of rushing boiling water so hot that anything living that falls into it is immediately boiled alive. It seems like little more than an entertaining folk tale that can’t possibly be true, but now a geoscientist, Andres Ruzo intends to find out whether there is any truth to this “boiling river” story. Continue . . .

On Serial Box: Episodic Writing: The Golden Era of Podcasts

Writing a podcast is very different from writing a novel or short story, in fact I believe it’s more akin to writing for a TV series, but can’t confidently say since I have yet to be hired on to write the next episode of Game of Thrones. The big difference with this type of writing is that it’s episodic: you’re writing shorter pieces in each episode for a longer overarching story. You might think, well, this is pretty similar to writing a novel with individual chapters each telling a part of the longer story of the book. And yes, there are some similarities, but when you’re working on a novel you usually have a deadline in mind many months or sometimes even a year or more down the road. When it comes to a podcast, especially an ongoing one, the deadlines are a lot more . . . oncoming and perhaps seemingly never ending.

[read the rest of the article on Serial Box]

Join Me in Taking a Stand

Ever since the night of November 4th, I’ve felt sad and somewhat helpless about the future. Lots of changes are going to happen and have already begun to happen, and pretty much all of them are for the worse for this country and is many diverse and wonderful people. I’ve done what I can, donating when I can afford it.

When I heard that a publisher I have respected for decades, Simon & Schuster, plans to publish a book – after a book deal for a quarter of a million dollars – by white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos I was incensed and angered. Simon & Schuster says it is an expression of free speech.

When I learned that an online publication I work for, City Book Review, which includes multiple online publications of book reviews, was boycotting Simon & Schuster, along with others, there was no hesitation. Finally, I could do something. I immediately joined the boycott.

Below is the email I sent to every Simon & Schuster publicist I could find. I understand this punishes the authors as well as the publisher and its imprints, but it also sends a strong message, and the authors may want to think about the publisher that represents them.

I encourage you to join me in boycotting Simon & Schuster.

Dear Publicist,

It was extremely disappointing to discover one of Simon & Schuster’s imprints is publishing white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos’s book. When it seems like daily this country moves one step deeper into the quagmire of racism, bigotry, and hatred, as well as the bullying and harassment of women and minorities, giving this man a lot of money and publishing his voice from a publisher I have respected for years is one more step in completely the wrong direction.

Your publisher claims it is freedom of speech. So were speeches made by Hitler, Stalin, and so many others throughout history.

I will be expressing my freedom of speech, in joining The Chicago Review of Books, San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review, Seattle Book Review, Kid’s Bookbuzz and Booksmith, and Bookbanter will no longer be reviewing a single book published by Simon & Schuster or any of its imprints. I join those in a growing voice hoping Simon & Schuster will make the right choice about this disgusting book deal.

Sincerely,

Alex C. Telander.

Listen to the Sound of My Voice

mic2

After winning a $100 Apple gift card from the great people at Blaze Entertainment, I faced a weighty decision as to what to do with said gift card. The choices were numerous and intoxicating: I could buy myself music, apps, headphones or earphones, portable speakers . . . but it didn’t take me long to think back on how I won this special gift.

I followed Blaze Entertainment on Twitter as a fellow podcaster and I was interested in their work and supporting them and learning from them. When they Tweeted about their giveaway, I automatically entered figuring it was worth a shot and then was both shocked and surprised when I found out I won.

mic1

Therefore it was only logical and correct to use this gift card to help improve my podcast and then I found this awesome Microphone for $99 that was USB compatible, and considering the last Apple device I had was an iPod many, many years ago, this seemed fated in some ways. And now that I am possesion of this mic, the sound quality of my recordings have drastically improved and there are many features to this device that I have yet to learn about.

20170112_085747

So today’s lessons are:

  • Listen to and support podcasts
  • Fellow podcasters listen to and support each other
  • Help yourself become better at what you do
  • Follow Blaze Entertainment on Twitter.

A Little Thing Called Ostium

ostium_logo

It was over a year ago that I got this nifty idea for a podcast and started chatting about it with a friend. And now, 12 months later, all ten episodes of the first season have been written. All ten episodes have also been recorded. Team Ostium is a group of four people all with our own roles and we love the work we’re doing.

Episode 1 of Ostium will debut on January 1, 2017.

The first teaser is out, which you can listen to below.

The second teaser will be out this Sunday, December 18, which will feature the first few minutes of the debut episode.

So in the meantime, why don’t you give that first teaser a listen. You can listen on Soundcloud using the widget below, or listen and subscribe through iTunes.

Book News: Fiction’s Nasty Women, Audio Thrillers, The Magic of Bookshops & More!

179d6-bookreporttelander

Kingkiller Coming to the Screen
Patrick Rothfuss’ epic fantasy series is coming to the big screen and Lin-Manuel Miranda is involved!

5 Hamilton Moments in Name of the Wind
With the big picture coming, here are some Hamilton moments from Name of the Wind.

Nasty Women
Here are some important nasty women authors dominating weird fiction.

[read more . . .]

“Of Saints and Shadows” by Christopher Golden (JournalStone, 2016)

ofsaintsandshadows

Back in the 90’s, very pre-Twilight, when there was really only Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to contend with, as well as a really bad movie called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bestselling author Christopher Golden (Dead Ringers, Snowblind) penned a series of vampire novels known as The Shadow Saga that brings a whole new world, feel and sense to the vampire story. Featuring the vampire hero Peter Octavian, they are now being re-released. Also some of these vampires can go about in daylight, and no, they damn well don’t sparkle.

Vampires have been scorned by the Catholic church for centuries, and are referred to as the Defiant Ones, an abomination under the sight of God, so there are those within the church who do all they can to kill and eradicate the blood-suckers, even if it means using powerful, magical abilities that seem like a form a heresy. There is a book of the undead, the Gospel of Shadows, that holds the answers to wiping all of the them out once and for all. The book has been missing for some time, but has recently been discovered. Now the church is looking to get a hold of it and carry out a mission it has longed to complete for a very long time.

Peter Octavian is a Private Eye, he’s also a vampire with some impressive powers. Those powers help him solve the cases, though he tends to pretty much just work at night. He has separated and distanced himself from his vampire coven for some very specific reasons, but as a new case is brought to his attention, he realizes it has far-reaching ramifications. He’s sees that the Catholic Church is involved and what their plan is. He must make some big decisions and consider the costs.

Of Saints and Shadows is a vampire story that has a very different feel to it. With the P.I. angle, it feels a little like the TV show Angel, but in this world the vampire rules don’t always apply in the same way. Magic is also alive and well and those who can wield it can carry out some impressive feats. There are also demons – aren’t there always demons? – that can be summoned, drawn from another world in this one to wreak havoc. The story does have an “older” feel to it, since it was written and published in the nineties, but nevertheless is enthralling and entertaining and sexy and many things a vampire story should be.

Originally written on November 22, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Of Saints and Shadows from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.