Thursday, October 28, 2010

Siren Song: By Cat Adams



Nothing if not resilient, Celia Graves is slowly adjusting to being a half-human, half-vampire Abomination. But her troubles are far from over. Her best friend’s murder is still unsolved, the cops are convinced she should be in jail, and her old lover, the magician Bruno DeLuca, has resurfaced in her life, saying he has something important to tell her.

The vampire attack that transformed Celia kicked her latent Siren abilities into high gear, and now she’s been summoned to the Sirens’ island to justify her existence—and possibly fight for her life—in front of the Siren Queen. Celia isn’t sure she’ll survive to make the trip. The demon she defeated in
Blood Song hasn’t exactly gone quietly—he’s left Celia suffering from a powerful curse.


Are you tired of vampire novels? Well then this book probably isn’t for you?

Or course if you’re tired of vampire love novels, then this might be a fun book for you.

Siren Song isn’t one of those lovey dovey “we were meant to be together” vampire novels. Instead it’s a supernatural action book that includes all sorts of dangerous creatures from demons to telepaths to sirens.

The people who will enjoy this book are the ones looking for an action packed book with a good narrative. Celia Graves makes a great hero for this series with her hard-ass composure, level of loyalty to her friends, and mainly through Cat Adams (the penname for C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp) great writing ability.

Not only that, but Cat Adams does a great job creating a compelling read through its nonstop action and intricate storyline. Fans of Patricia Briggs and Charlaine Harris will love this series as they hang on the end of each chapter as Graves is forced into each dangerous and death defying situation. And the farther into the story readers get the more intricate the story becomes.

The authors also do a great job creating strong supporting characters, who not only are forced into circumstances that cause some surprising situations to occur. Making the plot even more intricate.

All in all this is not the best book you’ll ever read. It wont win a Pulitzer prize nor will it win a Hugo award. What this book will do is keep you captivated until the last page and then have you go out and read the next in the series.


9 out of 10


Publisher: Tor Books

Published: September 28, 2010

Price: $14.99

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Lost Hero: By Rick Riordan



After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.


The first thing you should know about Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero is that fans of Riordan’s previous young adult series will not be disappointed.

The story follows Leo, Piper, and Jason, three new demigods who’ve just been introduced to Camp Half-Blood and the latest great prophecy introduced at the end of the Percy Jackson series.

While Annabeth and Percy aren’t major characters in this book, fans of the previous books will certainly find these new characters endearing and fun to read about.

Without giving to much away the world we grew to love in the Percy Jackson series is just a fraction of the actual world out there. The gods have multiple personas. In fact, both Greek and Roman deities exist, but in a single entity. What this means is that while Zeus is off somewhere his counterpart Jupiter is also doing something, because the gods can be in multiple places at once. So when Hera is captured in her whole being by a new evil, it’s up to these rookie campers to come to her rescue.

All in all The Lost Hero is amazing. The characters are endearing, the plot fun and intricate, the pace moving at a swift and exciting speed, and the writing absolutely superb. Everyone, both young and old should read Riordan’s new series, and I can’t wait to brush up on my Roman myths before the next book in the series comes out The Son of Neptune.

10 out of 10


Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

Published: October 12, 2010

Price: $18.99

Fated: By S.G. Browne



Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he's in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race-the 83% who keep screwing things up.

Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, Fate has to watch Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five- hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He's fallen in love with a human.

Getting involved with a human breaks Rule #1, and about ten others, setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality-or lead to a fate worse than death.


Who would you rather be? Destiny or Fate?

Destiny gets all the successful, world-changing people. The people who things just seem to naturally flow their way. The cool kids.

Fate gets everyone else.

The people who cheat, lie, rape, steal, and kill. That’s who Fate gets, oh and all the nobodies left in the world.

In Fated, Browne does a fantastic job of creating a world where the different compulsions are given their respective humanistic characters. Gluttony is fat and a slob (aka gluttonous), Sloth is always falling asleep, and Destiny is ravishingly beautiful and compelling.

The story follows Fabio (Fate) as he does his job and is forced to see the inadequacies of the human race first hand. He’s pained as each and every human under his watch makes the same predictable mistakes. He wants them to stop, but the #1 rule is no interfering. So it’s perfectly understandable that the story takes place around Fabio’s indiscretion and breaking of this number one rule.

I thought Fated moves at a pretty good pace and I really enjoyed meeting the different deities and compulsions and see how they interacted. I thought some of Browne’s side jokes such as that Jerry’s (Gods) office is certified by OSHA were really funny, but I felt some of the continuous jokes (which I realize are part of the theme throughout the story) such as the “the thing about” jokes become old after the first hundred pages or so.

Yet while some of the jokes grew old after a few dozen reinterpretations. I felt Browne’s narrative is strong and humorous through most of the story, his characters funny and charismatic (I especially liked Dennis (Death)), and his story compelling. Because of this I would recommend Fated for people looking for a fun new book with a different spin on things, but not for people who will be caught up in a religious fight.

8 out of 10


Publisher: NAL Trade

Published: November 2, 2010

Price: $15.00

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mr. Monster: By Dan Wells



I killed a demon. I don’t know if it was really, technically a demon, but I do know that he was some kind of monster, with fangs and claws and the whole bit, and he killed a lot of people. So I killed him. I think it was the right thing to do. At least the killing stopped.

Well, it stopped for a while.

In I Am Not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies.

But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County. Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve. But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he used as a weapon---the terrifying persona he calls “Mr. Monster”---might now be using him.

No one in Clayton is safe unless John can vanquish two nightmarish adversaries: the unknown demon he must hunt and the inner demon he can never escape.

In this sequel to his brilliant debut, Dan Wells ups the ante with a thriller that is just as gripping and even more intense. He apologizes in advance for the nightmares.


To describe the I Am Not A Serial Killer series, think of the TV show Dexter, now take Dexter back to when he was a kid, and add demons.

Yeah, that’s right demons.

Mr. Monster is the second book in this series but it certainly does not need to be read second. Wells does a fantastic job of catching the reader up in the series without boring readers of the first book, I Am Not a Serial Killer. In I Am Not a Serial Killer, we met John, a child sociopath, with urges to kill and burn things. But like the TV show Dexter, John has certain rules he follows, and as long as he follows these rules he’s able to control his inner demon, dubbed Mr. Monster by John in an effort to separate himself from his murderous urges. But when a serial killer comes to town and starts killing people in the town Mr. Monster gets control, and kills the serial killer, who happens to be nothing less than a demon.

Now in Mr. Monster John is having trouble controlling himself. It seems once he broke his cardinal rule about not killing, Mr. Monster is fighting for a life of his own. As John struggles to control himself, his home town is once again visited by a serial killer. As bodies keep showing up in mutilated forms John decides to take it upon himself again and track down this killer. But as John struggles to control himself while attempting to discover who the new killer is John’s torn between who the real monster is, the serial killer or himself.

Mr. Monster is a dark interesting read. Wells takes a great leap by adding fantasy aspects to this already proven subject. While Dexter fans may say this book follows to closely to Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels, they will none the less be drawn to read them, if not for the simple reason that the books are intriguing and captivating. If you’re at all squeamish then this is not the series for you, but if you have a dark streak in you and are at all curious of the inner workings of sociopath, then you’ll defiantly love this series.

8 out of 10


Publisher: Tor Books

Published: September 28, 2010

Price: $11.99

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Goblin Gate: By Hilari Bell



He's willingly crossed over to the Otherworld with a hedgewitch named Makenna and her legion of goblins. What Tobin doesn’t know is that the Otherworld is a perilous dimension that leeches magic from those who have it—and life from those who don’t. In order to save his brother, Jeriah must find a way to open a mystical gate between the worlds.

Searching for the key to rescue Tobin from the clutches of the Otherworld, Jeriah is thrust into a tangled web of political intrigue as he uncovers a dangerous secret that could change the fate of an entire kingdom. Now he must get help from the very beings he’s been taught to hate—the mischievous goblins. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Tobin. . .


Every few years there comes an author that strikes home with such precision that they remembered for years. These authors have inspired loyalty to such a degree from their readers that these readers follow the author’s books between genres and series.

Hilari Bell is such an author. She has written a number of fantastic novels including, The Shield, Sword, and Crown series, The Knight and Rouge series, The Farsala Trilogy, The Prophecy, The Wizard Test, A Matter Of Profit, Song of Power, and now The Goblin Wood Trilogy, each of them better than the last.

In her latest novel The Goblin Gate, Bell revisits the plot of an old standalone novel that was never resolved completely, The Goblin Wood. Although it has been years since readers have entered Makenna and Tobin's world fans expecting a novel just as fantastic as the first will not be disappointed.

The Goblin Gate begins moments after The Goblin Wood ends, but this time instead of Makenna and Tobin being the main characters, the story follows Tobin’s younger brother Jeriah, as he tirelessly works to save his brother from the impending doom he has forsaken himself to by entered the new world. Fans expecting more interactions between of Makenna and Tobin such as in The Goblin Wood should not be disappointed though, while of Makenna and Tobin only appear in small inter-chapters between Jeriah’s quest, their tenuous situation builds throughout the book, ending with a predicament that will have fans dying to find out what happens next in The Goblin War (the third book in this trilogy.)

Bell once again does a amazing job creating and developing her characters and situations in The Goblin Gate. But even more impressive than the mere building of the characters is the dialog Bell crafts for her characters. Jeriah and Cogswhallop each possess such distinct and individual voices that readers will feel as if they are speaking to a friend by the end of the book, instead of reading the exchanges between two characters. Readers will delight in reading these interchanges as they and Bell’s fantastical imagination are some of the key reasons why Bell is such a revered author.

Thus it is because of Bell’s creativity, character development, tenuous situations, and level of writing that she is read and revered by fans and colleagues alike. Because of this I advise anyone looking for a good book to read The Goblin Wood and then The Goblin Gate, for this really isn’t a series you’ll want to miss.

10 out of 10


Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: October 12, 2010

Price: $16.99

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scott Westerfeld Interview

Scott Westerfeld is the multi-series New York Times Bestselling author of The Midnighters, The Uglies, So Yesterday, and Leviathan series. He has won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award, a Victorian Premier's Award, an Aurealis Award, and had his books named Best Books for Young Adults 2006 by the American Library Association.

Westerfeld will be touring across the US for his most recent book release Behemoth. He was gracious enough to grant us an interview about his most recent series, his recommendations for new writers, and his writing style from book to book. Enjoy.

Whatchamacallit Reviews: How did you come up with the idea for the Leviathan trilogy?

Scott Westerfeld: I've always thought that an alternate history with Charles Darwin as a sort of hero-scientist would be quite fun. Then I noticed that the title of his famous book, Origins of Species, sounded a bit like a "how-to manual," and I said, "What if Darwin had discovered DNA?" Victorians loved biology, after all. They filled curio cabinets with seashells and pinned insects, so a world shaped by Victorian bio-engineering seemed like a wonderful place to visit.

Obviously, not every culture would go along with bio-engineering, just as many people resist the ideas of evolution. So I added the Clankers, who have embraced the machine even more than our own culture. They have walking tanks and lightning cannon, all sort of mad-scientist stuff.

As the World War I setting came into focus, I realized that a collision between metal and flesh would make a perfect analogy for that war. Those first tanks and other machines of war look almost comical to us now, but to the first soldiers to encounter them on the battlefield, they must have seemed like monsters. Steampunk was a way to reinvigorate that horror, while at the same time playing with ideas about how technologies change the way we see the world.

WR: What did you do to prepare and research for this series, did you travel to any of the locations?

SW: I went to the small city in Germany where they still make Zeppelins, and took a ride on an actual airship. Unlike an airplane, which travels miles high and more than half the speed of sound, we were about a thousand feet up and only going forty miles an hour. In other words, the same flight characteristics as an eagle. It was gorgeous, the closest thing to being a bird I could imagine, and the Alps being close by didn't hurt.

For Behemoth, I went to Istanbul and took lots of photos for my artist to use, and tried to get the feel for the city. The main result of my visit, however, was that there wound up being a lot more food in the book. Istanbul is a great culinary city, with everything from high-end restaurants to street vendors having great food.

WR: How was it working with Keith Thompson?

SW: I write the scenes first, and then Keith sketches the machines and creatures, always changing certain things. And because he's a better "engineer" than I am, his creations generally make more sense than mine did. After I see his sketches, I rewrite the text to match his work, and sometimes things bounce back and forth a few times. Of course, his images stick around to inspire me for the rest of the series, so the feedback loop gets richer and richer.

WR: Of all the miraculous creatures and machines in the series thus far which one would you want to have in real life?

SW: I've always wanted an airship, and that hasn't changed. When the Graf Zeppelin was flying around the world for the first time anyone had, it was a daring and at time dangerous adventure, but they still had caviar, champagne, and a piano aboard. Seriously, if you're going to risk your life, that's the way to do it.

WR: I heard from a conference I went to that while working on Extra you realized you were writing from the wrong perspective and started over in the book after having written 1600 words. Did you experience any such situations while writing Leviathan or Behemoth? And would you ever consider writing any short stories or other novels from any of the other characters perspective?

SW: It was actually 16,000 words, or about 60 pages, a month wasted. Nothing that big ever went wrong with the Leviathan series. I did start a short story set in the same world about a year earlier, which was intended for an airship anthology. I never finished it, but it gave my the groundwork for Leviathan.

WR: I’ve heard you mention in an interview that the first million words any writer writes are complete crap. What were some of the books you wrote before you were first published?

SW: One terrible book set on a starship, but it was really a giant role-playing game. Bad Twilight Zone mixed with D&D, I suppose.

WR: You were recently in an anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns can you tell us a little about your story in it?

SW: It's set a few years after the zombie apocalypse, and is about the generational conflicts between adults and teenagers. The adults are traumatized by fighting to survive the early days, while the teens were quite young during the outbreak, and are much less psychologically damaged. In fact, they're getting a bit bored of hiding behind fences, and want to go out into the world.

WR: What other advice would you give to young writers?

SW: Write at the same time every day, and in the same place if possible. The more a habit and ritual writing becomes, the more your brain will accept that NOW is the time to write, and will stop fighting you.

WR: What’s been the hardest book for you to write of your different series? Why?

SW: The Leviathan series is definitely harder than anything else. With a historical, you think you know everything about a period, and then a character is getting dressed, and you realize you don't know if zippers were around in 1914. And if they were, did anyone in the Ottoman Empire use them?

WR: Where and when can Austin fans come meet you and hear more about your series?


October 16th

2:30 – 3:15PM

Behemoth presentation

The Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church

1201 Lavaca Street

Austin, TX 78701

Hunger: By Jackie Kessler



Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?


In a world filled with snacks, fast food, and deserts it is not surprising we have encountered large numbers of obesity in both men and women. But for every yin there is a yang, and in this case our world has created a problem just as serious as obesity, anorexia.

Hunger speaks out for these silent sufferers and it does so with magnificent grace.

Hunger was the first young adult fantasy book I’ve read that has dealt with this issue. That said I’ve read other books that have dealt with eating disorders, but none with the level of detail and understanding that Hunger exhibits. It is cruel, painful, and strikes home with startling accuracy.

Hunger tells the story of Lisabeth, an anorexic teen who just got appointed to the role of hunger/starvation as one of the four horsemen. Kessler does a fantastic job of paralleling Lisabeth’s struggle for confidence in her position as Hunger with her realization and confrontation of her disease.

In my opinion this is what makes Hunger such a fantastic book, the creative way that Kessler demonstrates the struggles of anorexia and other eating disorders while still retaining an interesting story. Kessler doesn’t fold under the pressure of a making this disease look easy to beat either. Anorexia is a disease that stays with the person for years if not forever, and constantly requires support and will power to deal with it. Kessler shows all of this in intricate detail, and really allows the reader to experience the thoughts and struggles Lisabeth and other’s afflicted with this disease fight everyday.

Because of these brutal truths and the sensational way that Kessler lays them out, I think everyone should read Hunger. It should be a school reading book to show the struggles people deal with on a daily basis. I know that the book isn’t that long and many will see it’s size as not worth the money, but readers should do what they can to read this brutal but fantastic book, it will be worth it once you finish.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Graphia

Published: October 18, 2010

Price: $8.99

Bloodthirsty: By Flynn Meaney



Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.

Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel
called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before-he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part.

With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.

This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin-- can get the girl.


Are you tired of vampire books? Well Flynn Meaney certainly is.

In her debut novel, Bloodthirsty, Meaney introduces us not to a dark and cold night, with a pale, gaunt, yet strikingly handsome young vampire, but to Finbar, a pale, skinny, non-athletic teenage boy, who happens to be smart, kind, and incredibly unpopular. Finbar’s undesirable qualities are even more apparent when contrasted with his handsome, popular, and athletic twin brother Luke, (he even got a better name), who also happens to be the football star at their old high school.

Now after having moved to New York, Finbar decides to reinvent himself, and what better thing to reinvent yourself as than the most popular, sexiest thing out there, a vampire. So he works on his brooding stare, stays out of the sun (not to hard as he’s actually allergic to it), and remains blasé. But when Finbar actually meets a girl who may like him for him, he has to decide whether to keep up the charade, or risk exposing his geeky unpopular side.

All in all Bloodthirsty was a good book. I actually wasn’t expecting it to be original or good, but it really surprised me with its original storyline and good pace. The characters were well developed, the plot wasn’t so hokey that I couldn’t follow the story (I was expecting this to be the problem, but it really wasn’t), and the book was well written. It’s not going to appeal to everyone, and I’m sure some people wont even pick up the book from looking at the title, but this really is a fun young adult book, and I think if those hesitant to pick it up should give it a chance, Bloodthirsty wont let them down. As for me I can’t wait for Meaney’s next book to come out.


8 out of 10


Publisher: Poppy

Published: October 5, 2010

Price: $9.99

The Death of Joan of Arc: By Michael Scott



Joan of Arc was not burned at the stake in Rouen, France in 1431. She was rescued from certain death by Scathach the Warrior.

The truth about that day is revealed in the last will and testament of William of York, and it will leave you wondering: does Joan of Arc still walk the earth? Michael Scott’s first-ever exclusive ebook short story delves into the world of the bestselling series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel and offers readers a never-before-seen lost story—the story of two warriors who would become sisters.


The Death of Joan of Arc is short, good, and cheap.

The first thing you have to understand about this short story is that it is short. I know you think you know what I’m saying, and consider me an idiot for having to reiterate this, but there is no other way to describe it in full. The story is 12 pages long and close to a quarter of it is used to set up the story and state the perspective it’s based on.

That said this kindle only short story is a decent buy for fans of Michael Scott’s Nicholas Flamel Series at $0.89 a copy. The story itself will mean nothing to readers who have not read the series, but for fans who have read the series, this will be a fun opportunity to enjoy watching Scathach and Joan in action.

All in all The Death of Joan of Arc is a short cheap reminder for fans of the next Nicholas Flamel book. While I felt this story could have been better, I would certainly read a book of short stories in the Flamel series, but until then I’ll wait for the next book in the series.

7 out of 10

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Published: August 24, 2010

Price: $0.89