Buy a Book Day: Day Five

Another day, another stop at a place in Wild Rose that has free wifi. In this instance, it is Culver’s. Of course free is a relative term when you are buying something and not simply squatting. Of course this has nothing to do with National Buy a Book Day, my suggestions for it or the theme for today’s suggestions.

Today I am going for Youth Adult books. I am also going to bend my personal restrictions I am setting for my own purchases and suggest some best selling authors. And finally, the last of these suggestions will give a hint to our suggestion theme for tomorrow.

Chronicles of Vladamir Tod by Heather Brewer

I have these books sitting on my shelf, ready to read. They are there due to a stint at Romantic Times, several panels Heather Brewer was on and several friends extolling the awesomeness of her series. Considering the attention it garnered at San Diego Comic Con, it is hard to argue that.

For these reasons alone, I am recommending a series I have not yet read. Again, I do own it (and even got one of the books signed), so I am not suggesting anything I have not done myself.

The first book in the series is 8th Grade Bites. Start there and work your way forward to 12th Grade Kills.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan

The story takes place seven generations after the zombie apocalypse. Remaining villages of people live in the Forest of Hands and Teeth behind chain link fences that keep the zombies (known as unconsecrated) at bay. At the heart of it, the story is about a girl growing up, learning about the world, being an adult and love. And then the zombies attack.

If you are a fan of YA fiction and zombies, this series is a match made in heaven. The characters are strong role models, human beings yet have enough flaws to seem human without being spineless and disinteresting. It has all the elements for a great story.

In order you are looking for the Forest of Hands and Teeth before Dead Tossed Waves. Dark and Hallow Places comes out in March of next year.

Megan Berry Series by Stacey Jay

I originally bought this book for my oldest granddaughter and read it to make sure she was old enough to read it. I

also read it because the author was quite humorous on Twitter when I noticed her and the title of her book. It was a fun read and gave a less apocalyptic use of zombies in a YA series.

Start off with You Are So Undead to Me and continue on from there.

Kiss Me Deadly edited by Trisha Telep

This is the only single title in my post today. Well, single title as in it is one ISBN to purchase. It is an anthology from several authors including the above-mentioned Carrie Ryan and the short story for a YA novel currently being represented from Daniel Marks. Anthologies are a great way to get a taste for several authors as well as get some background information on series characters or supporting characters that you might be more interested about.

Which brings us to the end of today. Monday will bring me back to Madison and more definite Internet connectivity. Hopefully, it will also bring me to the movie theater to see Machete.

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Buy a Book Day: Day Four

Today’s post is coming from a McDonald’s in the middle of Wautoma, WI. For those of you in my weekly writing group… yes, that Wautoma. Although there is a definite lack of vampires, werewolves and wizards hiding amongst the normal folk here in town a curse has befallen the area. McDonald’s curse of the really damn slow Internet connection and not enough tables forcing me to sit in the playland area where there are no electrical sockets. I will likely be finishing this at the library later as I am already losing juice.

In light of the minimal amount of time and power, as well as the location of today’s blog, I will be focusing on the police procedural books. These would be options that would be strongly suited to you if you are a fan of traditional mystery novels and the like.

Kara Gillian Series by Diana Rowland

This series revolves around Detective Kara Gillian would in your normal every day Louisiana detective. If your every day detective can summon demons to help her solve crimes. She also seems to attract all of the strange crimes to her. Demonic or arcane based serial killers are drawn to her like geeks to a comic book convention. At the heart of it though this is a cop story. You can tell the author’s comfort level with the police voice (due to the fact that she was a cop) in how her main character talks and acts.

The titles of the series in order (of what has been released so far) are Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon. If you enjoy them, Secrets of the Demon is due out soon as well as a new series titled I was a White Trash Zombie after that.

Simon Canderous Series by Anton Strout

While not strongly police procedural, the main character is the member of a fictional police agency in New York that secretly polices supernatural crime. It is more a cross between Men In Black and Ghostbusters, but his stints of bureaucratic frustration and government meddling makes it close to this sub-genre. At least closer than anything else on my shelf right now. So if you are a fan of scifi flavored comedy or the Buffy genre of shows, this is an excellent pick for you.

In the order of release there are Dead to Me, Deader Still and Dead Matter released so far. This coming February will see the release of Dead Waves.

Upcoming Suggestions

Depending on schedules for the rest of the weekend, I will either be posting short lists (like this one) or will be doing a longer single post come Monday. The library is close tomorrow after all.

Buy a Book Day: Day 3

Although most of the books I have to suggest will be in the horror or urban fantasy genres, I have a couple of personal categories as well. The key example of this is the “Local Author” category. That is not to say specifically Madison, but Wisconsin in general. As I have stated before I like to support the local community – that includes its artists and authors. As such, today will be my Wisconsin author section.

An important note to consider here, is that I will list a couple of authors as local that do not live in Wisconsin due to previous association in their lives or their work with Wisconsin. Maybe it is the “once a badger, always a badger” ideal – but it’s mine so I don’t need to explain it too much.

Eddie Lacrosse Novels and Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe

These are two very different series, but both are well worth the read. One is a sword and sorcery fantasy novel written in the style of a detective noir and the other is a vampire tale that takes place in 1975 Memphis with flashback to turn of the century Wales.

Should you wish the hardboiled “sword jockey” (detective) story, in order the books are Sword Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly and Dark Jenny (not yet released). The first two could be read out of order, but I am a bit of a stickler for reading in order of printing. If you are not, both would be easy to slide into singularly.

To appease the horror fan in you with some blood-sucking goodness, Blood Groove is the first book, with the sequel being Girls with Games of Blood. I have not started in on Girls with Games of Blood yet, but I would guess this is a case of you should really read Blood Groove first. I can’t really see it working any other way. But again, I am wired a bit OCD when it comes to reading books in order.

The Amazon Series by Lori Devoti

The series takes place most in Wisconsin, specifically on campus in Madison. At least the first of the series does. I have yet to read the second, though it is sitting amid the chaos of my “to be read” shelf. The characters and mythology behind them was interesting and it will be interesting to see what evolution they take in the second book.

The books ride the fence between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance but are definitely more Urban Fantasy. In order you are looking for Amazon Ink and then Amazon Queen.

The Phoenix Chronicles by Lori Handeland

This series ranks up there with the most hard core urban fantasy series I have read. Every character in this series is tough and has access to some amazing power. Even though you might think the power flinging would eventually escalate into Doomsday, it is actually the exertion of that power that prevents it. Also, that power does not turn them into one-sided Superman-like characters. All display a light and a dark side.

In order you are looking for Any Given Doomsday, Doomsday Can Wait, Apocalypse Happens and Chaos Bites. No matter what your disposition on the subject, DEFINITELY read these books in order. Skipping ahead will hurt you in enjoying the earlier books.

There is also Shakespeare Undead, and while I own a copy of it, I have not yet read it. I would still suggest it because… well… zombies.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is one where I am stretching a bit. I have no idea where he actually lives, but a significant part of American Gods plays out at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. That alone makes this worth calling a local author. And even though he is award winning and a rock star of geek literature, I am going to the special event Halloween weekend at the House on the Rock so there is really no way I can’t suggest this book.

Hunters Kiss Series by Marjorie Liu

As my last of the local author series (for now), I am including her as another grandfathered Wisconsinite. While not living in Wisconsin, she studied undergraduate in Wisconsin and Law School on the campus I work at. That spells local author to me. Also, she writes comic books and has enough of a knowledge of Highlander to know who Methos is.

Her books stand alone in their merit. Were she not a Wisconsin author I would still have read them and still loved them. Very complex characters, complex mythology and plenty of action to keep the heart racing. This series is definitely worth looking into. In order you are looking for The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls, A Wild Light, and a short story included in an anthology titled Inked.

She also authors a number of romance novels in addition to the comic books. While I read her current stretch in Dark Wolverine, I have not read any of her romance novels yet. Although older there are is also X-Men: Dark Mirror, an X-Men novel she wrote for Marvel.

Buy a Book: Day Two

Yesterday I gave you all the suggestion of one of the books I intend on picking up; a new novel from Jesse Petersen. Today I am delving into the stacks of books that I have read in the last year or two for some gems that you can look into. Specifically I am going to be looking at Urban Fantasy today.

Downside Ghosts Series by Stacia Kane

The first three books in this series came out in rapid-fire succession this summer. As such, you can read three of some of the freshest Urban Fantasy I have read in a long time. Chess, the main character is so damaged while being the heroine of the story it made me like her even more. Although rough to read in spots, it is that good kind of rough. The kind that makes you chomp at the bit for more.

In order the titles are Unholy Ghosts, Unholy Magic and City of Ghosts. Definitely read them in order.

Horngate Witches Series by Diana Pharaoh Francis

I am calling this a series, but really Bitter Night, the first in the series is the only one released so far. I am really excited for the next in the series though. Again, this highlights some flawed characters. There are very few White Hats and Black Hats in this series – more the lot of them are favoring the Earth Tones. If you get my meaning. If not, no worries. Sometimes I don’t even get my meaning.

Sabina Kane Series by Jaye Wells

Bad-ass magpire (half-vampire/half-mage) assassin and her demonic minion that takes the form of a hairless snarking cat? What’s not to love? Seriously though the series has some excellent action, humor and mystery to it. It also introduces some solid mythology to the invention of vampires and mages as a race as opposed to a disease or field of study.

Also my personal copy of the first book in the series (Red Headed Stepchild) is a proven and tested defense against drug-crazed wrens everywhere. It’s a long story, but it has the scars to prove it. Both Red Headed Stepchild and Mage in Black are in stores now. I would definitely suggest reading them in order.

Tell ’em Marge sent ya!

If you are the outgoing sort, when you go in to purchase your book (or books) on the 7th, tell them you are in an purchasing because it is National Buy a Book Day. Let as many of them know about the movement as possible. Power to the People!

Buy a Book: Day 1

With National Buy a Book Day fast approaching, I am considering what I will be offering up as suggestions, but also what I will get. Most of my suggestions will be urban fantasy with a small spattering of young adult fiction. While I said that I would be going outside of my genre to pick something up that I would not normally get, my first suggestion is going to be a book I intend to pick up even though I would totally get this one anyhow – in fact I almost picked it up twice this week so far.

The book is Married with Zombies written by Jesse Petersen. Aside from getting some very good early reviews (and being about zombies) if you go to her blog you can enter a contest to win an ARC of the second book in her series. You know I love me some ARC as much as I love me some zombies.

Originally I was drawn to the book due to a combination of the cover art and the title. The synopsis on the back really sealed the deal for me. It is about a couple that are going to a marriage counselor and at their next session find out she is a zombie. They then use the tricks and skills taught to them by the professional to survive the zombie outbreak. That blurb matched with the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” style cover made me think Mr. and Mrs. Smith Meet Zombies. This made me giggle. Me giggling has two effects; picking up a copy of the book and having people in the bookstore look at me strangely.

So looking for something to pick up for National Buy a Book Day and you were thinking of giving Urban Fantasy or Horror Comedy a try? Consider picking up this one. It released this week and the second in the series is out in January of this coming year. I know I am going to be picking up a copy, maybe two. A zombie has to spread the love, right?

Another Open Letter to Bookstores

So, in spite of my experience with the February 23rd release day, I made the trip out to the Borders on the other side of town as it is just down the road from the Sundance 608  Theater/Cafe. Once a month my writing group meets there. Partially I was looking to pick up Roadkill (I won copies of book 2 and 3 in the series, so now I just need to pick up book 4) and Broken. The Cal Series from Rob Thurman is pretty awesome and aside from any promoting of Broken that Shiloh Walker has been doing (which is a lot), I am making a point to read more paranormal romance and the like. So, off I went.

My first stop was to see if the west side store (larger two-story one) had copies of Battle of the Network Zombies. They did not. They did manage copies of Demon Possessed by Stacia Kane and Dead Matter by Anton Strout though. I stopped looking through Science Fiction after finding a copy of Roadkill by Rob Thurman. One of the last two. Which left me with Broken.

So the Romance section in that Borders is thirteen flavors of eff’d up. They are all grouped into one section and not by subsection (which is not a bad thing). But then you have to take into consideration if the book you are looking for is a mass market, trade paperback or one of those novella sized Harlequin books. I managed to find a copy of Fragile (the prequel to Broken) on the shelf, but no copies of Broken. This is of course after figuring out they were trade paperbacks.

I make my way to customer service and since nobody is there (making me think about the last visit to Borders east) I looked it up in their system. It was listed as “likely in store” in the system. So I walked up to the front. The woman at the register could not even find the book in the system. She told me, “I usually don’t work with the searches, so I am not sure how it works. If you would like, you could go see Mike over at customer service.” Really? Boolean searches elude you? Never used Google?

Mike was not at the Customer Service Center, so I leaned against it and waited. At this point I was late to dinner with James before the meeting, but I wanted to see how this one panned out. I was curious. My Spock-like scientific mind wanted to see what the endgame was. To their credit the gentleman did notice me after helping another customer find the book they were looking for.

So I imparted that the book I was looking for was listed as “likely in store” but I could not find it. I informed him that it released today so I was wondering if it was just not stocked yet. I gave him the name and author so he could look it up himself to confirm the status of it. His response was so much more awesome in person but I had to send a tweet about it from my droid at dinner.

“Uh, sir. You do realize this is a romance novel?”

“Um… yeah.”

The look on his face was like I just asked for his number and if he like flannel jammies and sushi. It was classic. For the record, he did find the stack of books on top of the shelf in a wire display, just none in the shelving alpha-numerically. He was busy fixing that situation as I went up to pay for my finds.

Overall, aside from a register person that seemed to have a lack of understanding of a basic job function (totally my opinion mind you), the store was better than my visit to the east side. The only thing that would have made it better would have been copies of Battle of the Network Zombies. I would give my visit to that store a B. It was a little tough to find help but most book stores are understaffed these days.

I was impressed more with this store to the point that I also purchased a copy of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for a local literacy charity. Just so I am clear on this as my last “open letter” was less than favorable, I am all for supporting the local stores. Even the big chain type stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders. Not to mention local charities – be it literacy campaigns or cancer support charities like Capital Candlelighters. Even if the workers at the store look at me strange when I buy a paranormal romance.

Shiloh Walker is running a contest around the release.

Rob Thurman is offering chapter one of book 6 if you pick up Roadkill this week as well.

Mark Henry on the other hand is offering snark and humiliation for picking up Roadkill. As is Mark’s way.