“Rise: The Complete Newsflesh Collection” by Mira Grant (Orbit, 2016)


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.

After a thankful introduction from the author, the collection begins with “Countdown,” originally published as a series of blog posts, that helps document the lead up to the rising. “San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” is the incredible story of the rising at Comic Con when thousands of fans were trapped inside with some amplified zombies and what some did to survive, and what others did to help those outside survive a little longer. In “How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea” new head of After the End Times Mohinder travels to distant Australia which is different from the rest of the world in that the Aussies have always lived in a world where things were trying to kill them. The newsie travels to the Rabbit Proof Fence, a massive enclosure protecting the Australian people from amplified kangaroos and other marsupials that would love nothing more than to sink their teeth into some human flesh. “The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell” tells an origin story for a known Newsflesh character and is one of the most moving stories in the collection, as one teacher fights to keep her first grade class of children alive.

Rise also features two brand-spanking new novellas the world has never seen before. “All the Pretty Horses” is the powerful story of Shaun and George’s parents, Stacy and Michael Mason; how they survived the rising and found a new lease in life and ultimately made the decision to adopt two very special children. “Coming to You Live” continues the events immediately after Blackout, giving fans some much needed answers and story.

This collection is a delight and shows the true breadth and complexity of the Newsflesh world. And to add the icing on this delicious bloody cake: there is a NEW Newsflesh novel coming out in the fall called Feedback.

Originally written on July 13, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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

Book News: 50 Beautiful Libraries, ‘Potter’ Has a Good Week, Fall 2016 Anticipated Titles & More!

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Stormlight Archive Companion Download
For fans of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, the ebook companion is now available to download for free.

Most Beautiful Library
A state by state look at 50 beautiful libraries.

Next Oprah Pick
Oprah has selected her next book club pick, The Underground Railroad.

Target Starts Carrying Kindles Again
After a four-year hiatus, Target and Amazon have come to terms once more.

[read more . . .]

“The City of Mirrors” by Justin Cronin (Ballantine Books, 2016)


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.

After some setup chapters, the story jumps ahead where Peter is approaching middle age and has been president for some time. There has been no sign of the vampires in a long time and the decision is made to let people spread out and colonize and settle down in this new and very changed world. But Amy, the Girl from Nowhere, knows that there is one vampire still alive far in the East, the original vampire from the very beginning known as Zero. She knows he’s building an army and has plans. Then there is Michael who has been alone for a long time and has discovered an old giant tanker and a plan begins to hatch, one that will take him decades, but it may be the answer the dwindling numbers of the human race have been looking for.

The City of Mirrors pulls the story back to the exciting thrill ride of The Passage, after the somewhat annoying and disappointing diversion that was The Twelve, with some great ups and downs along the way. A satisfying ending for a trilogy of long books like this might be a tough thing to accomplish, but Cronin ends his epic series in a satisfying way that will leave readers happy.

Originally written on July 13, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The City of Mirrors from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch (Random House, 2016)


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?”

These are the final words Jason Dessen hears before he is abducted by a complete stranger. The man takes him to a warehouse where he injects him with something. The man is wearing a mask, obscuring his identity. Dessen falls unconscious. When he comes to he is strapped to a gurney and surrounded by people in hazmat suits. He has no clue who anyone is, but they all seem to recognize him. He manages to escape and return to his home where he finds his house filled with different items, furnished and decorated differently. It is his home but at the same time not. According to photos and what he can tell, he is also not married to the wife he loves very much, and doesn’t have a son he loves more than anything in the world.

The mysterious thrill of Dark Matter folds over and over on itself, like a thick taffy plot, that keeps the reader’s eyes glued to the page, not having any clue where the story is going to go next. The story goes places that other stories that have dealt with this similar subject before rarely dare to go, pushing the limits of imagination. Crouch clearly had a lot of fun writing Dark Matter, and the readers will have an equal amount of fun reading it.

Originally written on March 26, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Dark Matter from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Rowling Bids Farewell to Potter, A New Michael Crichton Dinosaur Novel Surfaces, Defining Afrofuturism & More!

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Comic-Con Aftermath
A look back at this year’s Comic-Con and its relation to all things books.

Muggle Mob
With the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two a flash mob seems just right.

Book Selling Cred
Do you have what it takes to work at The Strand bookstore?

Afrofuturism
A great article on defining the genre.

[read more . . .]

Book News: Los Angeles’ Best Indie Bookstores, Why You Should Read YA Lit, A Conversation Between Stephen and George & More!

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UK Indies Fight Back

How independent bookstores in Britain are finding ways of getting customers in their stores.

More Dark Tower

Everyone’s getting excited with the adaptation of Stephen King’s opus and here are some more groovy photos.

L.A. Indie

The next time you’re in Los Angeles, check out these awesome bookstores.

Why You Should Read YA

A great article with nine reasons why you should be reading young adult books.

[read more . . .]

“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans of War” by Mary Roach (Norton, 2016)


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.

Roach begins with the military combat uniform and its development over time. The author does her job – as usual – as she delves back into America’s military past providing shocking and insightful tidbits, leading up to the current model. She dedicates entire chapters to combat medics, how the military and technology works with extreme heat, how to deal with excessive noise, military vehicles and how they are developed to protect the soldier in every conceivable situation.

The two chapters that are the most moving and poignant of the book are “Below the Belt” and “It Could Get Weird.” With the disturbing evolution of improvised explosive devices or IEDs, the number of men coming back from the front lines alive but often maimed and mutilated below the waist has increased significantly. Often IEDs go off beneath vehicles or from a low vantage point beneath the person causing the explosion to go upward and usually in the groin area. This had led to an astonishing and impressive development in penis reconstruction and genital transplants. Roach goes into fascinating detail with this line of medicine and surgery, as well as the slower development in therapy and helping these injured veterans in living their lives with their families again.

The book ends with a sobering chapter on the autopsies performed on the fallen men and women in action and how they are learning from this to help those soldiers fighting on the front lines.

With most of Mary Roach’s books there is a learning curve, but in Grunt the author learns and develops along with the reader as the military is one of those facets of our society that most of us are not brave enough to be a part of, and sometimes – perhaps often – take it for granted in the incredible daily job those women and men do, and know very little about. Grunt does a great job of educating us on this.

Originally written on July 12, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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