Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

August 9

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Sunday Salon: Monsters, Zombies, and (Smokin’ Hot) Angels, Oh My!

by Ann-Katrina

Sunday Salon Welcome to another (late) edition of The Sunday Salon…

It’s been a fair while since my last Sunday Salon post and I’m writing this one late at night rather than in the morning, but I say it’s better late than never.

Raaaawwwwr! Scary Psychologically Abnormal Monsters Abound

The Night Monster Cover My current reading pleasure is The Night Monster by James Swain. I’m rounding the last fifty or so pages and will most likely finish it up tonight.

The story so far is about an ex-cop (detective) turned private investigator Jack Carpenter who’s on the hunt for a missing college basketball star, who also happens to be one of his daughter’s friends and teammates.

The case is personal to Jack because he discovers it’s connected to a case that he’d been investigating for sixteen years—a case involving an abduction that he hadn’t been able to stop.

So far, the book is great reading, though I’ll admit the first three-quarters of the book was fast-paced and even left me a little breathless and now that I’m nearing the end, and the action should be picking up, it seems to be trundling along at almost half-speed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily a good thing either.

Even if the book’s pacing never picks up again, I still think it’s a great read. I hope to have my full review up some time this week.

And speaking of reviews I hope to have up this week…

It’s Twilight, with Zombies and Better Writing (and Only Marginally Better Editing)

Generation Dead Cover I’ve finished reading Generation Dead by Daniel Waters and absolutely loved it. There were some laugh out loud funny moments and the characters are all highly well developed. The writing is tight and flows well.

What I found highly interesting is that it’s Twilight, with zombies. The pacing of the book is similar to Twilight in that it meanders for the first three-quarters of the book and then for the last quarter, the action suddenly picks up. The difference with this book and Twilight is that the action is built from the beginning. We see the villain and watch him ramp up his campaign of evil.

Tommy Williams is described as having pale skin, and despite being dead, it’s not decaying or foul-smelling—he smells rather earthy actually. He’s also good-looking, strong, and feels stone-hard and cold when he’s touched. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s a zombified version of Edward Cullen.

Phoebe Kendall is described as being very pale, doesn’t realize her own physical beauty, can’t seem to sort out her romantic feelings and is inexplicably drawn to the new zombie in town despite knowing next to nothing about him. Bella Swan anyone?

Finally there is Adam Layman who is a living, breathing, hot-blooded teenage boy who happens to be one of Phoebe’s best friends. Despite his feelings for Phoebe, which he chews down and swallows, he helps her get closer to Tommy simply so he can be near her. Sounds vaguely familiar…oh that’s right, Jacob Black.

I also spotted similarities to Alice and Rosalie Cullen, and a few other characters from Twilight sprinkled throughout. There were even a couple references to vampires that made me do a double-take and giggle.

At the end of the day, I could probably dissect both books and write an essay, but I’ll save that for some other time. Instead, I’ll share my Sunday sketch (yay! I finally did one…and on a Sunday) of the Generation Dead love triangle.

generation-dead-bw

It originally had a bit of color to it (Phoebe’s eyes and lips), but since I didn’t scan it—took a picture with my digital camera because I’m lazy—I decided it looked better in black and white. Also, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see who I hope Phoebe ends up with—*cough*Adam*cough*

Smokin’ Hot Angel, Oh My!

Hush, Hush Cover I’ve started reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, but had to put the title aside and read a few other things. Why? I’m entirely too excited to read it. I’m worried that I’ll breeze through it and I would like to savor it.

When I finish the Night Monster, I believe I’ll take a few days to write reviews of all the books awaiting reviews (sad to say, quite a few) and then I’ll be picking up Hush, Hush again.

And…I may have a surprise in store for Today, I Read… newsletter subscribers coming up. That’s the only hint I’ll give. :)

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August 8

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Recent Arrivals: The Night Monster by James Swain

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Night Monster by James Swain

The Night Monster Cover

First line: Cops weren’t supposed to get frightened.

Initial thoughts: It’s about time I read a nice suspenseful thriller. Lately, I’ve been reading more supernatural, horror, and romance. It’s time to change it up a bit. And The Night Monster seemed like an excellent way to do just that.

Book description:

The shadowy side of the Sunshine State, where blood runs cold even in the tropical heat, is the tantalizing, terrifying territory few know better than James Swain. His razor-sharp tales of criminals, cops, and South Florida—style suspense bite like a hungry gator and never let go.

The past has come back to haunt P.I. Jack Carpenter, former head of the Broward County Missing Persons Unit. As a young cop he failed to stop the kidnapping of a college coed by a shockingly large assailant–and neither of them was ever seen again. The abduction has remained Carpenter’s most chilling cold case, and even now the mystery of the missing girl lurks in his darkest dreams. But after eighteen years, it’s about to become terrifying reality once more.

When his daughter, Jessie, asks him to bird-dog a camera-toting creep who’s been shadowing her college basketball team, Carpenter’s hot pursuit of the video voyeur leads him smack into another run-in with his old hulking nemesis, who abducts one of Jessie’s teammates. While the Broward County cops are determined to pin the rap on a convenient suspect, Carpenter isn’t about to let grim history repeat itself–especially when he discovers a pattern of unsolved kidnappings involving the same massive perp.

With the eager assistance of the kidnap victim’s high-powered tycoon father, the uneasy cooperation of his old unit’s new commander, and precious little time before the trail goes cold, Jack and his trusty dog, Buster, hit the ground running. And they’ll need all the help they can get–including backup from an FBI man with a personal stake in the hunt–as they follow a twisted trail from the ruins of a shuttered mental asylum with an infamous past to the streets of a sinister small town with a ghastly secret.

Book Details: 336 pages; Ballantine Books; Pub. September 15, 2009

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