Book News: 50 Best Libraries in the US, Patterson Gives Away Bonuses, New ‘Unfortunate Events’ & More!

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Mo’ Money
James Patterson is giving away some substantial holiday bonuses once again to deserving booksellers.

How the Internet Helps Bookstores
An interesting New York Times article about how four independent bookstore use the internet to improve their business.

Best Libraries
Elle Decor makes its picks for the 50 best libraries in the country. Time to start checking them off.

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“Kronos Rising: Kraken Volume 1: The Battle for Earth’s Oceans has Just Begun” by Max Hawthorne (Far From the Tree Press, 2016)


After thrilling fans with a new giant-sized menace on the high seas with a taste for human flesh in Kronos Rising, Max Hawthorne is back with a new species of sea monster in Kronos Rising: Kraken. If the first book was the “Jaws” event for readers, then its sequel takes it to the level of Pacific Rim.

It has been thirty years since the tragic events of Paradise Cove, and the world is now a changed place. Giant pliosaurs now ply the oceans in the multitudes wreaking havoc against sea vessels and wiping out crews. In retaliation, there are those crews with unique vessels looking to capture the high-priced bounty that is the pliosaur. There are specific rules on what can be killed and what can be captured. Our story focuses on brothers Garm Braddock running the Gryphon, an anti-biologic submarine with some unique weaponry and tactics specifically designed to take out the pliosaur or bag it. At the secret research facility known as TARTARUS is Garm’s brother Dirk, working on the primeval pathogen that is alive and well within the blood of the pliosaurs. Meanwhile, in the deep ocean depths there is a new menace on the rise, one that makes the pliosaurs look like puppies.

Hawthorne has once again done his research in marine life and what it’s like living on and off the sea, whether it be above or below the waves. While the characters are interesting and well-developed, Hawthorne takes it too far with men being men in a combat zone and wanting to outdo each other; at some points the reader is just waiting for them to undo their flies and whip it out. There are a number of graphic sex scenes in the book that just come out of nowhere and derail the reader from novel. Overall, Kronos Rising: Kraken goes on for too long and loses its momentum unlike its thrilling predecessor.

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

To purchase a copy of Kronos Rising: Kraken from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Tale of a Notorious Book Pirate, The Fall of Camelot Arrives, Hollywood Ranks Power Authors & More!

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Hollywood Authors
Hollywood’s 25 most power and influential authors for your perusal.

Pirated Book
Michael Koryta tells the unbelievable tale of someone pirating his book and selling it on Amazon.

NYPL Train System
The New York Public Library has a new transportation system in place . . . for its books and files!

F*CK Portlandia
The unique bookstore featured on the popular show has severed all ties for some very important reasons.

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Podcasts of the Fairer Sex

In case you haven’t (literally) heard, we are living in a golden age of podcasts. In a time when the world is full of entertainment multi-taskers, we use up every spare minute and second with some sort of media, whether it’s playing on our phones, listening to music, reading a book  . . . or all of the above. Our days are broken up into specific increments of time and we like to get the full extent of our entertainment out of those increments. Podcasts are a great way to do that. As your friendly neighborhood mailman, I have a lot of time during the day while prepping and delivering mail to be able to dedicate to listening: sometimes it’s music, but usually it’s audiobooks and podcasts. At last count I’ve subscribed to and listen to 12 podcasts.

wtnv lore

Varying in lengths from ten minutes to a half hour, to 45 minutes, to an hour or longer, you can find a podcast for just about anything right now, and with the handiness of iTunes, you get each new episode automatically downloaded as it’s released. Also there are podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale and Lore, as well as many others, that have shown it is possible to make some good money with sponsors and donations through sites like PatreonNight Vale has gone on to an unprecedented level of success with their production, seemingly always on tour with the show, taking it worldwide, along with the recent release of a novel and the first two years of transcripts in book form which have become instant bestsellers; and somehow they’re still able to crank out new episodes every two weeks

I’m discovering new podcasts all the time. I must’ve tried over 50 of them. I give them an episode or two to pique my interest and get me hooked, though they usually reel me in within the first ten minutes. But like so many forms of entertainment in our world today, many podcasts are written by men and feature the male sex as the main characters. In the podcast I’m currently working on (@ostiumpodcast) coming out January 2017, I’m certainly guilty of this because Jake was the character I came up with initially, though I was quick to add a female character.

Basically: there are a lot of dudes writing and talking about other dudes in podcasts.

BUT . . . there are also a good number of podcasts written by and featuring women that are some of my favorites and I wanted to just highlight these today, because it’s important and . . . they’re awesome podcasts you should be listening to.

blacktapes

Black Tapes: A fascinating podcast about the supernatural and unexplained. Alex Reagan is a journalist working with Dr. Richard Strand and investigating his “black tapes,” which are recordings of strange events that he cannot explain. The show is very well produced, with great sound effects and an ambiance that totally sucks you in. The listener soon starts caring a lot for Alex, as you journey along with her into these unexplained mysteries.

arsparadoxica

Ars Paradoxica: Dr. Sally Grissom is a physicist who through a lab experiment gone bad is transported back to 1943. After accepting that she’s stuck in this time period, she joins a secret government group to continue her research on the time machine she invented which accidentally transported her back to the forties. Sally’s voice reminds me of Jodie Foster in Contact, intelligent and fascinating and powerful. Sally’s not someone you want to mess with, and if you do, she’ll be sure to let you know what she thinks. The storyline is compelling. The productions values are great and listeners really feel drawn in. Plus there’s the character of Anthony Patridge (voiced by Robin Gabrielli) who sounds like Chris Parnell to me, and when I hear his voice all I can think of is Cyril from Archer.

brightsessions

The Bright Sessions: Dr. Bright is a therapist who has patients that are unusual and different, which she calls atypicals. There is the woman who under stressful situations travels to a different point in time. A young man who can empathically feel what another person is feeling. Each of these patients has a supernatural ability and Dr. Bright’s history and experience has given her the tools to help these people. The voice acting on this show is fantastic, with a varied cast that makes each character clear and distinct, and just when you think things might be getting a little slow, the plot kicks into high-gear as storylines start to come together and the listener gets more and more addicted.

bridge

The Bridge: The newest of the four, the bridge in question is a trans-oceanic bridge of the future connecting Europe with North America; it’s the new way to travel! Along the way are watchtowers in place to protect travelers on their long journeys. This podcast focuses on Watchtower 10 where Etta is a DJ for the radio station providing news, updates and weather for those traveling acrossing the very long bridge. But there’s never that much traffic news to tell, so Etta tells stories instead, stories about the history of the bridge and it’s not so successful attractions and its not so glamorous past.

As a reader, I’m fascinated by the “What if?” question, and each of the podcasts explores this question in completely new and fascinating ways that makes my imagination for the unknown and unexplained go into hyperdrive. The fact that each of these shows are mainly written, or at least feature women writers, makes them all the more entertaining and compelling in this golden age of podcasts.

Now, I’m sure there are more great podcasts out there written by women and featuring female leads that I’ve not heard about. Feel free to Tweet @bookbanter or leave a comment on this blog post.

“Frozen Sky 3: Blindsided” by Jeff Carlson (JVE, 2016)


With Jupiter being a hot topic item in the news these days, it’s time for a riveting science fiction thriller set on one of Jupiter’s moons. Cue bestselling author Jeff Carlson’s latest novel, the third installment in the Frozen Sky universe.

Like the previous novellas, Carlson throws the reader right in the middle of some intense action, with Vonnie dealing with the Sunfish and things being pushed to the limit. In Blindsided readers learn more about the complexities of the Sunfish and the fact that they’re a lot more intelligent and developed than anyone really thinks, except perhaps Vonnie. Carlson cuts back and forth between Vonnie working with the sunfish and the interactions of the people in the European Space Agency, giving an insight into what life is like living in a small space many millions of miles from Earth.

Meanwhile, tensions are increasing with the Brazilians and the Chinese, as well as a new “competitor” entering the ring, just as the sunfish are getting all haywire because of a creature deep below the ice that is having a strong effect on them, but the big deal is it isn’t a sunfish.

Originally written on August 11, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Frozen Sky 3: Blindsided from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News:Banned Books Week, Amazon Comes To Beantown, Mondo Reading & More!

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Banned Books Week
Banned books weeks has begun; you know what to do: read them, check them out from the library, buy them, attend banned books events.

Old School
Here’s the classically beautiful process of a book being made.

New Agatha Christie Stamps
In Britain, new Agatha Christie stamps are coming with hidden clues and awesome artwork.

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“Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature” by Roland Keys (John Hopkins University Press, 2016)


We’ve all seen those spectacular National Geographic covers of a leopard at night, or a bird of paradise in full plumage, or an elephant shrew deep beneath the ground doing whatever an elephant shrew does. But how did that photographer get that precise, beautiful shot? Sometimes, actually, often it involves sitting in one place with little movement for a long time until you see the animal you’re trying to photograph. Other times it involves a specially placed camera in a camera trap and when the animal goes by, the camera is activated and takes a number of shots, hopefully capturing that exact one you’ve been looking for.

Candid Creatures is a coffee table book bursting with photos of many different kinds of wildlife, all caught using these camera traps. The photos give a different, lesser seen side to viewing the animals in their natural habitat, where no human is involved. The book provides lots of information on camera traps and creating them, as well as on the different species. The only real lacking with the book is that while the photos are colorful and breathtaking, they are sadly small, and the book could’ve used lots more giant splash pages of these wondrous animals and less words on the page.

Originally written on May 11, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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