John Green: The Fault in Our Stars

I read The Fault in Our Stars with no clear idea of what it was about, because several people whose judgment I trusted said I really ought to. If I had known what it was about, I doubt I would’ve read it, because the bones of the plot sound maudlin, heavy-handed, and more than aContinue reading “John Green: The Fault in Our Stars”

Gina X Grant: The Reluctant Reaper

The Reluctant Reaper is an urban fantasy drawing on Dante’s Inferno with plot and setting elements not entirely dissimilar to similarly inspired works by the likes of Piers Anthony and Amber Benson. Grant’s style is is short on description and long on puns, as this early paragraph demonstrates: Leaping up, I threw myself against theContinue reading “Gina X Grant: The Reluctant Reaper”

Alyssa Goodnight: Austentatious

There was a lot I enjoyed about Austentatious, but also a fair bit I found problematic. The novel scored big points with me early on by dropping a reference to The Princess Bride without belaboring it with an explanation. And I enjoyed its breezy, nerd-culture-reference-spiked tone throughout. I’m generally favorably inclined toward modern spins onContinue reading “Alyssa Goodnight: Austentatious”

Joe Gores: 32 Cadillacs

32 Cadillacs opens with a preface in which Joe Gores claims that the bones of the titular scheme, in which hapless Bay Area dealerships are confidence-tricked out of a boatload of caddies, are rooted in his real-world repoman experiences. And he cautions the easily offended that they’ll find plenty of fodder, but that he can’tContinue reading “Joe Gores: 32 Cadillacs”

Victor Gischler: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse may have been partly the victim of excessive expectations from me: I love the title, and it had extravagant blurbs from authors I admire. But it left me cold. Aside from the conceit hinted at in the title — that a strip-club franchise could become the nucleus of a newContinue reading “Victor Gischler: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse”

Erik Spiekermann, E.M. Ginger: Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

As the name might suggest, Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works takes a breezy, irreverent approach to introducing typography to the lay reader. It does a good job of explaining the vocabulary of the field. It demonstrates how elements of of a typeface contribute to legibility in various contexts. And it introducesContinue reading “Erik Spiekermann, E.M. Ginger: Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works”

Stephen Gallagher: Plots and Misadventures

The twelve stories comprising Plots and Misadventures span nearly twenty years of Gallagher’s career and encompass horror, dark fantasy, noirish suspense, and dark science fiction. The newer material generally stuck me as among the strongest, a circumstance I’m always happy to report. The collection opens audaciously: the story “Little Dead Girl Singing,” which certainly soundsContinue reading “Stephen Gallagher: Plots and Misadventures”

Lisa Goldstein : Walking the Labyrinth

Walking the Labyrinth doesn’t sound like it should work anywhere near as well as it does. Molly Travers, a young woman in the modern day Bay area, finds herself investigating her ancestors, a loose-knit family troupe of illusionists who may have commanded powers beyond mere illusion. In addition to structuring the novel around a well-wornContinue reading “Lisa Goldstein : Walking the Labyrinth”

Lisa Goldstein: Dark Cities Underground

Lisa Goldstein has long been on the list of writers I thought I should read something by sometime, and now she’s on the list of writers I want to read everything by. The set up for Dark Cities Underground reads like something from the manual of how to write a novel that appeals to me:Continue reading “Lisa Goldstein: Dark Cities Underground”