Vacation time! Soon enough, I’ll follow Billy Joel’s advice, take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while, because, you know, Vienna waits for you. The fact that I’ll have the kids along notwithstanding, I do have high hopes to find a little time to just lie down on a blanket on a meadow and read the occasional book. And since I’m always happy if someone recommends a good book to me, I thought I’d share the ones I’m taking with me.
1 – A Cold Day in Hell, by Mark Cain
Okay, I admit it, I’ve already started reading this one. Today, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surrounded by ten people of the elderly spectrum, who were all just sitting there doing nothing but glaring at me the whole time, because I couldn’t stop laughing. This book is the sequel to Hell’s Super. The narrator is a guy called Steve Minion, the setting is hell. Steve is hell’s Mr. Fix-it, and, since this is hell, he totally sucks at his job and hates it. In part one, the elevator leading down from the Pearly Gates is broken, and he has to build a stairway to heaven. Mark Cain did a terrific job in the first book to capture all the little mean things that make hell, well, hell, and the individual ways each condemned soul suffers. For instance, there’s a woman who used to be a chain-smoker in life. She still smokes in death, but she only gets menthol cigarettes. As you can imagine, I went into reading this with high expectations. So far, I haven’t been let down, and I don’t think I will be.
2 – The Shard, by Ted Cross
Back in the good old days, when I was still on authonomy, I stumbled through a couple of very old threads in the fantasy forum, and came upon Ted Cross. I don’t even remember what it was he said about which topic, I only remember that I instantly rooted for him. Besides, he was looking fabulously handsome with his Aragorn avatar…whatever, I went to read a few chapters of the science fiction book he was working on at the time. I don’t usually read science fiction, but it was just. so. very. good. A few weeks ago I barged into a book launch party on Facebook, and one of the participating authors was…Ted Cross, announcing a competition to win his latest fantasy novel. Yeah, I yelled, ‘ME MEEE PLEASE!’ and, hoorray, I won. I don’t even know yet what the book is actually about, but I have complete faith in the author’s ability to craft a story, so I’m expecting something epic.
3 – Fate Fallen, by Sharon Stevenson
This is the third part of the Gallows series, centering around the activities of Shaun and Sarah Gallows, twins, and demon trackers. You might remember, I interviewed Sharon a while ago, then went on to read the first part, which was a bit of a slap in the face. Because seriously, I don’t like all this chosen teenage hero vampire slayer stuff. Twilight. Buffy. I mean…ugh. But I like this series! What’s wrong with me? Here I am, preparing to read the third book! I suppose there’s only one thing I can say to save my reputation, and that is, Sharon has a really wicked sense of humor, and her characters act like real people. The stories don’t pull the heroic-deed-needs-done-so-characters-have-to-adapt card, quite the opposite. It’s the characters who define where the story goes, which means they mess up, they do stupid things, and it feels real. I’d read each book again simply for the wonderful verbal banter between Sarah and Shaun, a girl who picks up her phone with the words, ‘Thrill me!’ and a guy who thinks, ‘Get bent!’ is a good answer every time someone pisses him off.
So, we have satire, epic fantasy, and YA horror. Guess that’s a good enough mix to get me over the holidays. See you in a few weeks with a handfull of reviews! Have a wonderful summer, everyone!