David Wong: John Dies at the End

If you take its core plot at face-value, John Dies at the End is at least superficially a xenophobic horror story in the Cthulhu mythos mode. Wong gives his Big Nasties different names from Cthulhu and his crowd, but he specifically borrows a key concept from Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” — if you do something specialContinue reading “David Wong: John Dies at the End”

Cherie Priest: Boneshaker

The phrase that kept coming to my mind to describe Boneshaker while I was reading it was “purely awesome.” The back cover copy gives away a little too much of the setup for my taste, but I will say that it shifts between being a steampunk adventure story and a gritty, claustrophobic zombie novel soContinue reading “Cherie Priest: Boneshaker”

Benjamin Parzybok: Couch

Benjamin Parzybok’s Couch delivers exactly the experience I expect from a first novel. It’s rough in spots (particularly the end; I thought Parzybok wrote himself into a little bit of a corner), but it shows considerable promise and leaves me eager to see what Parzybok writes next. Couch is the story of three roommates whoContinue reading “Benjamin Parzybok: Couch”

Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers

Translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear I’m no literary critic; I read The Three Musketeers primarily because I recently saw Slumdog Millionare, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to read books a little farther afield from my usual choices. But for whatever it’s worth, here are my impressions. Initially I found The ThreeContinue reading “Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers”

Diana Peterfreund: Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel

I was a little hard on Secret Society Girl, so I’m happy to report that Under the Rose addresses both major defects I complained of in the first novel: less heavy-handed telegraphing of evolving plot points, no deus ex machina. Amy Haskel’s breezy narrative voice is if anything even more assured, and the novel wasContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel”

Julie Powell: Julie & Julia

I read this at least partly to challenge my own preconceptions about what kind of books I read. This is a non-cookbook about cooking — worse, French cooking, although I didn’t realize quite how meat-intensive it would actually be. But it’s also a book about a crazy challenge — specifically, cooking every recipe in JuliaContinue reading “Julie Powell: Julie & Julia”

Diana Peterfreund: Secret Society Girl

I’ve been on such a major Scott Westerfeld kick for most of this year that not only am I reading everything of his I can get my hands on, I’m subscribed to the Westerblog and I read some of the other young adult books he talks up there, too. Here’s one: Diana Peterfreund’s debut novelContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Secret Society Girl”