Monday, January 31, 2011

The View From Monday - January 31, 2011

January is almost over. It seems that it went by quickly... in between snow storms. There are a lot of books coming out tomorrow. There may be a New Release Tuesday Vlog this week. It's been hard to get books on release day lately though. The weather has been delaying shipments. So there may be a vlog, but maybe not on Tuesday. On February 1st, I will list the February Debut Authors that are part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. You have a lot to choose from in February.

On Wednesday, there will be some sort of giveaway. I haven't decided what though. We'll be surprised together. Thursday I'll write about comics, but no more about the True Blood collecting mania at least for now. On Friday, there will be photos. I may once again delve into the archive for sunny pretty pictures with no snow in them. There will also be some reviews scattered about during the week.

Here are this week's releases.

February 1, 2011

Midnight RiotBen AaronovtichUF - Rivers of London 1
ZombiesqueStephen L. Antczak (ed)
James C. Bassett (ed)
Martin H. Greenberg (ed)
Haunting JasmieAnjali BanerjeePNR
Raven's QuestAnya BastEF
The Sea Thy MistressElizabeth BearF - Edda of Burdens 3
BlackveilKristen BritainF - Green Rider 4
UnseenRachel CaineUF - Outcast Season 3
Love BitesTori CarringtonPM - Sofie Metropolis 5
The Werewolf UpstairsAshlyn ChasePNR
Storm of ReckoningDoranna DurginPNR - The Reckoners 2
Darkness DawnsDianne DuvalllPNR - Immortal Guardians 1
Jane Goes BattyMichael Thomas FordUF  
Halfway HexedKimberly FrostUF - Southern Witch Book 3
Forest Moon RisingP.R. FrostUF - Tess Noncoire 4
Blood WyneYasmine GalernornUF - Otherworld 9
Witch BreedAlan GibbonsYA - Hell's Underground 4
The Midnight Mayor*Kate GriffinUF - Matthew Swift 2
CloserRoderick Gordon
Brian Williams
YA - Tunnels 4
Visions of MagicRegan HastingsPNR - The Awakening 1
Pandora Gets AngryCarolyn HennesyYA - Mythic Miss-Adventures 5
Road Trip of the Living Dead**Mark HenryUF - Amanda Feral 3
First Grave on the RightDarynda JonesPRS - Charley Davidson 1
Curiosity Thrilled The CatSofie KellyPM - Magical Cats Mysteries 1
License to EnsorcellKatherine KerrUF - Nola O'Grady 1
PrimalLora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong
Ava Gray
UprisingSean McCabeUF - Vampire Federation 1
Reaper's JusticeSarah McCartyPHR - Reapers 1
EvenfallLiz MichalskiUF
Moon BurningLucy MonroePNR - Children of the Moon 3
The Demon Trapper's DaughterJana OliverYA - Demon Trappers 1
Blood of the RoseKate PearcePHR - Tudor Vampire Chronicles 2
666 Park AvenueGabriella PierceUF
Siren's SurrenderDevyn QuinnPNR - Dark Tides 2
Retromancer*Robert RankinF
Mists of VelvetSophie RenwickPNR - Immortals of Annwyn 2
NightshadeMichelle RowenPNR - Nightshade 1
On the HuntGena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen,
Deidre Knight
PNR - Anthology
Where Angels Fear to Tread**Thomas E. SniegoskiUF - Remy Chandler 3
The Curse-Maker*Kelli StanleyUF - Arcturus 1
Angel's VerdictMary StantonPM - Beaufort and Company Mystery 4
Absolutely, PositivelyHeather WebberPNR - Lucy Valentine 3
Jack: Secret Circles**F. Paul WilsonYA - Repairman Jack 2
Jack: Secret VengeanceF. Paul WilsonYA - Repairman Jack 3

Book Trailers


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills

Midnight Riot
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Rivers of London 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (February 1, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-345-52425-6
Review Copy: Arc provided by Publisher, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

UK Cover and synopsis

My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden ...and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

My thoughts:

While Ben Aaronovitch has written some Doctor Who tie-in novels, this is his first original novel and his urban fantasy debut. Midnight Riot / Rivers of London is quite simply fabulous. It's a mystery, police procedural, and urban fantasy wrapped in a rich mythology of London's rivers.

I find it interesting that this novel has two different covers and two different titles. This is not the first time this has happened in the history of novels, of course. I find it interesting because the covers and titles reflect two different aspects of the same story.

"Rivers of London" seems to emphasize the fantasy construct underlying the story: a mythology of London's rivers. Peter Grant, the main character, has to deal with issues created by the rivers. He deals directly with the gods and goddesses of the rivers and streams - the rivers personified. "Midnight Riot" seems to emphasize the police procedural aspect of the novel. A terrible chain of events has been set off. The mystery underlying the crimes comes from London's past. These two themes of the novel intertwine sometimes in surprising, but satisfying, ways.

Themes aside, this is essentially a story about Peter Grant. I find Detective Constable Grant to be a likable, flawed character. He makes mistakes. He's sometimes foolish, but he's got a curious mind and a willingness to learn. He's also got a scientific mind which would seem at odds with his new assignment working with DCI Nightingale investigating crimes that involve magic. However, this serves him well as he starts to navigate the world of magic. It's incredibly fun to read about his attempts at magic and watch him begin his journey to wizardom. He's starting to grow into both his jobs - Detective Constable and wizard.

The characters both paranormal and normal are well written. The river gods and goddesses are particularly well drawn. I'm intrigued by DCI Nightingale and hope to learn more about him in future books. The pacing is well done. The police procedures are detailed and interesting. There is quite a bit of detail about London and environs, which I enjoyed. I love the understated humor that suffuses Midnight Riot / Rivers of London. I'm looking forward to Moon Over Soho (March 1, 2011).

I give Midnight Riot / Rivers of London 4 1/2 Qwills.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wednesday Comics on Thursday - A Tale of Collecting True Blood Comics, Part 2 - January 29, 2011

This is Part 2 of my post about collecting True Blood comics from IDW Publishing. Today I'll cover Series 1, Issues 3 - 6. I'll also reveal the only exclusive cover I've not been able to find. You can read Part I of this post here.

True Blood, Series 1, Issues 4 - 6

True Blood, Issue 4 has 8 covers: 2 regular covers and 6 exclusives and incentives. Issue 4 includes the last Hot Topic Exclusive and the first Australian Exclusive from IKON Collectibles. I purchased the first IKON Collectibles exclusive on eBay from Popcultcha. After that I picked up the Australian exclusives directly through Popcultcha's website. I had absolutely no problems whatsoever ordering directly from Popcultcha.

Cover A

Cover B

Cover C - Sketch Incentive Cover

Cover D - Photo Incentive Cover

Cover E - Jetpack Exclusive

Cover F - Hastings Exclusive

Cover G - Hot Topic Exclusive

Cover H - IKON Collectible Exclusive

True Blood, Issue 5 also has 8 covers: 2 regular covers and 6 exclusives and incentives. There is no Hot Topic variant for Issue 5. The cover I am missing is part of Issue 5.
Cover A

Cover B

Cover C - Sketch Incentive Cover

Cover D - Photo Incentive Cover

Cover E - Jetpack Exclusive

Cover F - Hastings Exclusive

Cover G - IKON Collectibles Exclusive

Cover G - Angus & Robertson, IKON Collectibles, and Borders Exclusive

Cover G is another Australian exclusive. I have not seen it anywhere and believe me I've looked. This is the only True Blood, Series 1 cover that I am missing as far as I know!

True Blood, Issue 6 has 8 covers: 2 regular covers and 6 exclusives and incentives. Dynamic Forces once again has an exclusive cover after skipping Issues 4 and 5. It's not a negative variant though. It's the same as Cover 6A, but without the bar code and with a Certificate of Authenticity. Again there is no Hot Topic exclusive.

Cover A

Cover B

Cover C - Sketch Incentive

Cover D - Photo Incentive

Cover E - Jetpack Exclusive

Cover F - Hastings Exclusive 

Cover G - Dynamic Forces Exclusive

Cover H - IKON Collectibles Exclusive

So there you have it. This adds up to a lot of different covers for True Blood, Series 1. If there are 2nd or 3rd printings of any of these issues, I'll pick them up... of course. I hope to find the missing exclusive for Issue 5. Again, if you know of any variants I don't have, leave a comment.

Images are from IDW Publishing, Hot Topic, Dynamic Forces, Jetpack ComicsPopcultcha and my own photos and scans.
IDW Publishing has a new Godzilla comic coming out soon. IDW has partnered with Toho Co., Ltd. for the comic which means 2 things - 1) the Toho monsters will appear in the comic and 2) I'll be collecting it with all variants.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Blog by Trent Jamieson & Giveaway - January 28, 2011

Please welcome author Trent Jamieson to The Qwillery.

Death takes the Stage and Why that's a Good Thing.

The character of death has always lurked at the edge of fiction, occasionally taking centre stage. And, right now, there are a heap of novels being published featuring Death (or people working for Death, Psychopomps, Reapers, whatever you want to call them). Death is the new black.

And, having devoted the last few years to writing about Pomps, I can understand the appeal. In fact, I think it's a very good thing.

With Death you get a chance to really explore life, after all what places life in starker relief than death? Death’s inescapable we’re all heading there. And yet it's so easy to ignore the important stuff: a life well lived; a love well loved; being open to the opportunities to not just help yourself, but others, too.

These seem to me to be absolute imperatives. But just as there many approaches to the subject of death, there are at least as many approaches to living a good life.

When I started my Death Works books with Death Most Definite, that was one of things that I wanted to look at. Surely, if you work for Death you’d have everything else sorted?

Then, of course, I realised that sometimes this just wouldn’t hold true. All of us can forget the meaningful things, as though this life is never going to end. And, maybe if you work so closely to death (people dying, crossing over) you're even more susceptible to forgetting that you're going to die, too. After all, death is what happens to other people. Not you.

Which is exactly the thinking of my protagonist, Steven de Selby. He has pretty much everything, but he’s really taken it for granted. By yanking it away from him, I could explore just what happens to a character when they realise what they thought was important, isn’t really that important, after all.

The results are messy for poor Steve. But mess makes great story! Steve is fundamentally a good person who has lost his way. If the Death Works books are about anything they’re about him facing up to that, scrambling in the dark perhaps, but moving towards being a better person.

In book two, Managing Death, Steven has to deal with the fallout from the first book. He has to get his house, and his business in order, and he may not be up to the task. He's moved higher up the chain of command, and is greater risk of losing sight of everything that's important to him.

He can be a bit of an idiot. He makes a lot of mistakes. But his heart is in the right place, even if his head isn’t. Oh, and there’s something out to destroy the world, something so big that people are starting to ignore it, in the hope that it will go away.

If I’ve done my job properly these books should be funny, dark, a little scary, and possessed of a heart that beats with love and terror.

When Death is your job title you never know what tragedies the working day will bring. But the stakes are always high, and you forget that at your peril. Let’s hope Steve has a good memory.

Death Works Series 

Death Most Definite
Book 1
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.

Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D's his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.

Mr. D's gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse-unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss- that is, Death himself.

Managing Death
Book 2
It's not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then, they keep getting up again.

Steven de Selby got promoted. This makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumors of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. That time management seminar he keeps meaning to take would also remind him that he's got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert.

Steven must start managing Death, before Death starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than Regional.

About Trent

Trent Jamieson lives in Brisbane, Australia. A multiple Aurealis Award winner for short fiction, he has taught short story writing at the Qld University of Technology, and Clarion South. Death Most Definite, Book One of the Death Works Series was published by Orbit Books in September 2010. Book Two, Managing Death was released in Jan 2011, and Book Three The Business of Death is due for publication in September 2011. He has just sold a two book series of Steampunkish novels to Angry Robot Books, the first of which, Roil, is due for publication in September 2011.

September's going to be a busy month!

His webpage is at

He also produces a series of ridiculous writing blogs called Trent's Book Corner.

Watch them at your peril here

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win Mass Market Paperbacks of the first 2 Death Works books: Death Most Definite and Managing Death.

How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery what sort of supernatural or paranormal job you would like to have? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you in case you are a winner. If The Qwillery can't contact you, you can't win!

Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, February 4, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday Comics on Thursday - A Tale of Collecting True Blood Comics, Part 1 - January 27, 2011

I collect a lot of different comics and usually don't bother collecting all the variant covers. However, every now and then I do decide I want the variants. I decided to collect all the variants of the True Blood, Series 1 comic from IDW Publishing. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

I picked up some of these comics at my local comic shop, some directly from the shops or companies issuing the exclusives, some from eBay, some from Mile High Comics, and some from Midtown Comics. Some came from overseas, but more on that in Part 2 of this post. Any mistakes in labeling the covers are mine.

After collecting all 20 variants of True Blood, Series 1, Issue 1, I became much better at knowing where to look and when to buy. Did I pay too much for some of these comics? Undoubtedly. On the other hand I purchased others at really good prices so I think it comes out all even in the end. Is it satisfying? Yes, it is. Will I do this for True Blood, Series 2 - True Blood Tainted? Quite possibly.

True Blood, Series 1, Issues 1 - 3

True Blood, Issue 1 has 4 regular covers, 11 variants/exclusives/retailer incentive covers, 2 resissue covers, and a Legacy issue, with photo variant and 1 exclusive for a total of 20 covers. It was quite an experience getting all of them. The last one I purchased was Cover K. I watched for it on eBay for quite some time and was thrilled to finally get it. To the best of my knowledge I now have all covers for True Blood #1.

Covers A

Cover B

Cover C

Cover D

Cover E - Virgin Sketch Cover

Cover F - Cast Photo

Cover G - Hastings Exclusive

Cover H - Jetpack Exclusive

Cover I - Larry's Wonderful World of Comics Exclusive

Cover J - Diamond Comic Con Exclusive

Cover K - Black & White Con Exclusive
(B&W of Cover A)

1L - IDW Con Exclusive Wrap Around (SDCC)

1M - IDW Con Exclusive Wrap Around (NYCC)

1N - Hot Topic Exclusive

1O - Dynamic Forces Negative Cover 

1P - Legacy Edition

1Q - Legacy Edition Photo Variant

1R - Legacy Edition Jetpack Exclusive

2nd and 3rd Printings
They have the same cover, which is a reverse of Cover B.

True Blood, Issue 2 does not have as many variants or exclusives as  Issue 1. There are 2 regular covers and 6 variant/incentive/exclusive covers. There is also a 2nd printing of Issue 2.

Cover A

Cover B

Cover C - Sketch Incentive Cover

Cover D - Photo Incentive Cover

Cover E - Jetpack Exclusive

 Cover F- Hastings Exclusive

Cover G - Dynamic Forces Exclusive

Cover H - Hot Topic Exclusive

2nd Printing
It's a reverse of Cover B

True Blood, Issue 3 has 2 regular covers and 7 variant/incentive/exclusive covers. There is also a 2nd printing of Issue 3. The additional exclusive was given to retailers at New York Comic Con.

Cover A

Cover B

Cover C - Sketch Incentive

Cover D - Photo Incentive

Cover E - Jetpack Exclusive

Cover F - Hastings Exclusive

Cover G - NYCC Retailer Comic

Cover H - Dynamic Forces Exclusive
This cover is on order. 

Cover I - Hot Topic Exclusive

2nd Printing
It's a reverse of Cover A.

As far as I know these are all the covers for True Blood, Series 1, Issues 1 - 3. If you know of any others, let me know in the comments. On Saturday, I'll continue this post with True Blood, Series 1, Issues 3 - 6 including exclusives from Australia and the one exclusive that I can't find.