Holly Messinger: The Curse of Jacob Tracy

Reminds me almost equally of TV’s Deadwood and Angel – impressively researched post-Civil War setting with a complex supernatural ecosystem in a series of nearly self-contained novellas that gradually advance a larger plot. Novel finds some degree of closure, but more seems indicated, and I’m eager for follow-on.

Chelsea Handler: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

Here are some of the page-count inflating techniques on display in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang: half-page half-tone snapshots a purported multi-page e-mail* thread between Handler and her siblings a purported multi-page letter of complaint from a tenant of her father’s rental property whining (in multiple chapters) about the need to write another “stupid book.” OtherwiseContinue reading “Chelsea Handler: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang”

Lauren McLaughlin: Cycler

Cycler has an inventive premise: for most of every month Jill McTeague is a more-or-less normal teenage girl, but for four days she physically turns into a male. (The novel doesn’t explicitly deal with how this came about, although it drops some clues. I suspect McLaughlin will address it directly in a future volume*.) JillContinue reading “Lauren McLaughlin: Cycler”

Cassandra Clare: City of Ashes

Mostly I thought City of Ashes was a vast improvement on City of Bones. It had a few nifty surprises. The plot continues to echo elements from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Harry Potter series, and Star Wars, among other sources, but generally doesn’t draw enough from any one of those wells to feel overlyContinue reading “Cassandra Clare: City of Ashes”

Charlaine Harris: Club Dead

I’m still enjoying the Harris’ southern vampire series more than enough to keep reading, but in this third entry in the series, the genre-defying elements that appealed to me so much in the first novel are definitely on the wane. Club Dead does not equally blend waitress Sookie Stackhouse dealing with both normal and supernaturalContinue reading “Charlaine Harris: Club Dead”

Cassandra Clare: City of Bones

City of Bones, the first volume of Clare’s young-adult supernatural series Mortal Instruments melds tropes and themes from sources such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, Meyer’s Twilight books and Rowling’s Harry Potter in a way that sometimes felt a little calculated, but still kept me flipping pages. Three little gripes: The author’s nameContinue reading “Cassandra Clare: City of Bones”

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”

Neil Gaiman: Coraline

I loved the film Coraline although I expected not to (I’m not a Nightmare Before Christmas fan). I started reading Coraline the novel expecting additional richness and strangeness that had not fit into the film, and instead discovered that with one interesting (and somewhat controversial) exception, Coraline the film is one of the most faithfulContinue reading “Neil Gaiman: Coraline”