Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cover Art! 'My Life As A White Trash Zombie' - Diana Rowland (Corsair)

'My Life As A White Trash Zombie' has been around for a little while now (since 2011, thanks for helping me out with that one internet!) but yesterday was the first day that it came through my door and the first time that I had paid any real attention to it other than a cursory 'not another zombie book...' thought a couple of years ago. And so a cover art post was born...

I'm a little partial to covers that have the title etc going up the side (don't ask me why, I have no idea...) so 'My Life As A White Trash Zombie' was off to a good start as soon as I opened the package. I also like it when an artist takes one look at the title and then proceeds to completely nail it with the artwork. Nice work, Dan Dos Santos! It's sleazy, not too gory (less is more) and comes with a hint of humour that I'm really after in my reading right now. Which is why I'm reading 'My Life As A White Trash Zombie' pretty much as you're reading this. Have a look at the blurb and then tell me if you have already read the book and what you thought of it...

Angel Crawford is a loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue--and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey--just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat. Literally.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

'State of Emergency' (2011)

I've been having a bit of trouble getting to sleep recently and have found myself watching films on Youtube in an attempt to wait out the insomnia. Looking back at what I have just written, this doesn't seem like a clever move at all. Oh well, back to the ol' insomnia drawing board…

But yeah, I've been watching films and one of those was 'State of Emergency'. I'm still slowly going off zombie fiction but I can't resist a zombie film, mostly because of the suspense and gore. 'State of Emergency' follows similar 'zombie apocalypse' themes; a man attempts to survive in the middle of an outbreak (toxins accidentally released from a chemical facility) and finds shelter with a dysfunctional group of survivors. It's just a shame that it doesn't follow those themes particularly well…

It's often occurred to me that a zombie apocalypse could become pretty boring once you've secured your shelter and are waiting to see what happens next. Nothing can get in but you can't get out either and if you don't have some entertainment to hand then you're pretty much screwed really. In 'State of Emergency', the survivors hole up in an empty warehouse where the only thing to do, once the offices have been searched, is to sleep and eat. There are a couple of scary moments, in a '28 Days Later' kind of way but with far fewer infected, but the rest of the film really shows you how tedious a zombie outbreak can be (and not in a good way either…) And why didn't they notice the manhole, in the warehouse, until it was too late? They checked everything but the floor… Ooh that made me cross...

None of this is helped by a cast that seem to exist just to fill in a 'cast shaped gap' in the film. You could make an argument that they are all in shock but my money is on poor direction/lack of acting ability. It's painful to watch them interact as they all seem to be looking for cues that the other actors don't supply. 'State of Emergency' is beautifully shot (and the flashback sequences worked very well) but I was so glad to see the end credits roll up. An apathetic film that seems to rely on inducing that same feeling of apathy in its viewers so they don't switch off.

Monday, 21 July 2014

An Evening With George R.R. Martin & Robin Hobb

Sorry for another copy and pasted post but I started a new job today (another one!) and all my attention was on that. Erm... So there you go.
Normal service will resume soon(ish) but in the meantime, here's a tasty little piece of news from Harper Voyager...

We are very pleased to be announcing that HarperVoyager will be hosting an event with two of their highest profile authors, George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. The event will take place in a central London venue on 19th August 2014. Tickets will go on sale later this week.

We will be partnering with blinkbox Books, who will be live streaming the full event for free, which means that those who are unable to come to the event can still watch and enjoy it.

Demand for tickets will undoubtedly be high, but HarperVoyager and blinkbox Books newsletter subscribers will be first to hear about tickets, so do sign up for information as soon as it is released!

Sounds pretty good until you realise that those tickets are £45 each. That £45 does include a hardback copy of 'Fools Assassin' but even so, that's pretty steep (or is it just me?)
I'm just the guy who brings the news though ;o) If you have a spare £45 burning a hole in your pocket, an evening with GRRM and Robin Hobb is as good a way to spend it as any. Or you could give it to me, I could do with some money ;o) 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

'I like the look of that!' (Another Occasional Series...) - 'Two Hundred and Twenty One Baker Streets' - Edited by David Thomas Moore (Solaris)

I've been too busy sheltering from the heat, and keeping the two littl'uns cool, to get any reading done today but I did see this on Amazon (not too hot for some online shopping...) and thought I'd share if you haven't seen it already.

You can't go wrong with a bit of 'Sherlock' these days and Solaris have taken this one step further (as they like to do) to give us a collection of tales of the great detective the likes of which I'll bet you haven't seen before. Check it out,

The world's most famous detective, as you've never seen him before! A dozen established and up-and-coming authors invite you to view Doyle s greatest creation through a decidedly cracked lens. Read about Holmes and Watson through time and space, as they tackle a witch-trial in seventeenth century Scotland, bandy words with Andy Warhol in 1970s New York, travel the Wild Frontier in the Old West, solve future crimes in a world of robots and even cross paths with a young Elvis Presley... Set to include stories by Kasey Lansdale, Guy Adams, Jamie Wyman, J E Cohen, Gini Koch, Glen Mehn, Kelly Hale, Kaaron Warren, Emma Newman and more.

I could never get into the original stories as a kid (I wonder what I'd think of them now...?) but this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. It won't be around until October though so there's a little waiting to do yet...
Will you be reading it? Are you in possession of an advance copy and reading it already? Tell me, tell me now! :o)

Friday, 18 July 2014

A Little More News About The Gollancz Festival...

Remember that post where I mentioned the upcoming Gollancz Festival in Waterstones, Piccadilly? Okay, here's a hint, click Here...
All caught up? Cool because Gollancz have released a few more details about what will be going on. Here's the copy and pasted bit from the press release,

Today, Gollancz has shared news of sensational new additions to the line–ups of both rooms at Waterstones Piccadilly, including Joe Hill (Horns, NOS4R2) and Connie Willis (Blackout/All Clear). They will be releasing the dynamic schedule of daytime digital author events in due course. For updates on digital events please register your interest at and follow @gollancz #gollanczfest.
Room 1 at Waterstones Piccadilly will have a reading from Patrick Rothfuss, bestselling author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, followed by a series of panel events with award-winning authors covering the sense of wonderment in SF, the elements of SFF that make it impossible to cross genre boundaries, and whether fantasy, by definition, is consolatory.

In Room 2, Gollancz’s talented 2014 debut novelists (our ‘Class of 2014’) will talk about their novels and experience of publishing, and three bestselling authors will give solo talks, readings and interviews:  Joanne M. Harris will discuss the use of different narratives as a means of exploring stories; Joe Hill might share an insight into having your work become a Hollywood film; and Patrick Rothfuss will give a solo talk and tremendous audience Q&A.

The entire event will be punctuated with performances of SFF inspired songs from The Bookshop Band.  

Gollancz can now also confirm that the Gollancz Festival Goodie Bags, available to every ticket-holder, will include two Gollancz novels, and an exclusive Pat Rothfuss The Slow Regard of Silent Things book plate.

I'm not going to lie, that thing about SFF inspired songs made me squirm in terror when I first read it. I'm probably being unfair but there is nothing more painful, to me, than the thought of someone singing an ode to their love of Terrahawks (I'm not picking on Terrahawks by the way. Ok, maybe I am a little).
The rest of it looks good though and if I book a ticket I will finally find out what a book plate is. I think you can count me in :o)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

'Offline' - Kealan Patrick Burke (Free Reading!)

Internet trolls are disgusting creatures but they still have their uses from time to time, seriously.

While waiting for Hope to go back to sleep, I like to have a peek on Twitter and see what one particular troll is up to (no names here, the fun lies in watching him get taken down, not having him appear here). Kealan Burke's name was mentioned, in one conversation,and this led to me finding 'Offline' as a free read on Smashwords (via Honey BoomSlang, best blog name ever...)

Welcome to the digital age.

Cell phones and text messaging allows us to keep in touch with each other no matter where we are...

Instant messaging has brought us closer together...

Social networking allows anyone not only to contact you whenever they want, but to learn everything they need to know about you too.

When it's the right person, it can be wonderful.

When it isn't, it can be murder.

'Offline' is only 19 pages long which makes it very difficult to say anything meaningful without totally spoiling it. What I will say is that it is an incredibly creepy read that had me wanting Mandy to just turn her computer off and stop talking to the strange guy at the other end. She doesn't though and I had a sick feeling in my stomach as the almost palpable sense of horror compelled me to keep reading. And just when I thought that I had a handle on what was going on, Burke threw in a really nasty surprise that I never saw coming and even had time to offer up a little social commentary as well. All in nineteen pages.

'Offline' is a nasty little slice of horror that wants you to read it and say, 'Oh god... no!' right at the end. And you will.

Not sure how long 'Offline' is a free read so I would click on that link now if I were you.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Cover Art! 'Retribution' - Mark Charan Newton (Tor UK)

I found this on the Tor UK Blog and it seemed like just the right time to share as I've been reading 'Drakenfeld' these last couple of days (with a little break for Adam Baker's 'Impact'). If you haven't seen this already, have a look...

This seems like an odd thing to say but I'm not too keen on the blue background; makes it hard to see the writing and the detail behind the shield. If I'm being honest, it looks like someone has sneezed black ink on some poor unsuspecting book... I do find myself more and more appreciative of a good font though (no idea of what that's all about...) and I love the swirls on display here. What? 'Swirls' is a perfectly serviceable technical term (ahem...) What I'm not so keen on is the cover as 'fantasy camouflage', something that you wouldn't be afraid to be seen reading on the train to work. I can see why it's done like this but it still makes me feel a little sad.

Here's the blurb,

WHEN JUSTICE FAILS, REVENGE FOLLOWS... Having just solved a difficult case in his home city of Tryum, Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld and his associate Leana are ordered to journey to the exotic city of Kuvash in Koton, where a revered priest has gone missing. When they arrive, they discover the priest has already been found - or at least parts of him have. 

But investigating the unusual death isn't a priority for the legislature of Kuvash; there's a kingdom to run, a census to create and a dictatorial Queen to placate. Soon Drakenfeld finds that he is suddenly in charge of an investigation in a strange city, whose customs and politics are as complex as they are dangerous.

Kuvash is a city of contradictions; wealth and poverty exist uneasily side-by-side and behind the rich fa├žades of gilded streets and buildings, all levels of depravity and decadence are practised.
When several more bodies are discovered mutilated and dumped in a public place, Drakenfeld realizes there's a killer at work who seems to delight in torture and pain. With no motive, no leads and no suspects, he feels like he's running out of options. And in a city where nothing is as it seems, seeking the truth is likely to get him killed . . .

And did I mention that the link, at the top, also leads to a chance to win a copy of 'Drakenfeld'? I have now :o)