What’s New: April 2012

Welcome to Wild-Card Wednesday.  Today, I’m going to share about a few new books I’ve read and about my new favorite gadget.

Books:

The Evil Within (Horror Anthology)

I love short stories.  Rarely do I re-read novels, but I often re-read short stories that grab me.  Horror short stories have a special brand of scariness that stick with me long after I read the last sentence.

I quite enjoyed this horror anthology.  Most of the stories ran on the long side of short, but that was not a drawback for me.

My favorite stories were

“Dirt Nap” by Amber Scott.  (Very funny zombie tale)

“Highland Chills” by Elena Gray (A ghost story with a twist)

“Supper” by Cristyn West (This was one Wrong Turn meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It impressed me enough that I’m keeping an eye out for her horror novel Fresh Meat.  It isn’t due until October, which greatly saddens me.)

Neat features of the e-book included short bios of each author with links to their websites.

The DEAD series by T.W. Brown

I learned about this series from Greg Carrico.   I downloaded the first book–Dead: The Ugly Beginning–without much real hope. Boy, was I surprised.

Here’s how hooked I got on the DEAD series:

On March 29, 2012, I purchased book one, Dead: The Ugly Beginning.  On March 31, 2012,  I purchased and downloaded book two, Dead: Revelations.  On April 2, 2012, I purchased and downloaded book three, Dead: Fortunes and Failures.

I read somewhere that the author has enough material to write quite a few of the Dead series, and I hope he does.   I also read that book four will be out in May 2012.  I sure hope this is correct because I am halfway through book three and can’t wait.

So what is the Dead series about?  It’s like The Stand by Stephen King, only with zombies and without an old lady in a corn field.  The series follows several groups of survivors, some of whom are good and some of whom are downright evil.

If you like The Walking Dead, you might like the Dead series by TW Brown.  It definitely fills the same hole for me.

TW Brown’s series is different from The Walking Dead TV series in that it follows different—seemingly unrelated—groups of people on their journey to figure out how to survive in this new world.  (The Walking Dead doesn’t follow any groups of people who are not directly related to Rick Grimes’s group.)

Because TW Brown’s Dead series follows so many different people, it takes some adjusting each time he switches to a new group.  By midway through the first book, I could switch pretty easily because I was invested in all the different stories for one reason or another.

Ahh, memories of The Walking Dead

If you can stand zombies and you like post-apocalyptic horror, I recommend you check out the DEAD series.

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Yes, this book is almost a year old.  I had to hurry to read this one before the next installment comes out in May.

For those unfamiliar with Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, it is Urban Fantasy.  The genre features characters who are vampires, werewolves, faeries, and other mythological creatures.  The idea behind Urban Fantasy is exploring how these creatures—if they existed—would function in the contemporary world.  Urban Fantasy is commonly told in first person point-of-view and feature a dash of romance—usually with a supernatural being.

Charlaine’s Sookie Stackhouse series was one of the first Urban Fantasy series to really take off and get extremely popular.  Because of authors like Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and Kelley Armstrong, the Urban Fantasy genre exploded.  After a while, the stories—which all had similar elements, similar protagonists, and similar secondary characters—sort of ran together for me.

I got tired of the genre and quit reading it, but I didn’t quit reading Charlaine Harris’s contributions.  Ms. Harris has a unique writing voice that really appeals to me.  I have read every one of her books–including her cozy mysteries–and loved them.

So…onto Dead Reckoning.

This installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series was entertaining.  Sookie’s romantic entanglements and how she reacts to them fascinate me.  The secrets of Sookie’s ancestry and her fairy heritage are deepening and causing Sookie trouble.  Sookie’s narrative voice is as down-to-earth as it was in Dead Until Dark, the first book in the series.

There are some less than positive reviews floating around online about characters acting out of character and about how the revelations in the book are impossible given the storyline of previous books.  I didn’t catch on to any of that.  Reading only one Sookie Stackhouse book a year plus watching the series (True Blood) on HBO has probably clouded my knowledge of Sookie-verse.

According to interviews Charlaine will only release two more Sookie books.  To the best of my understanding, the one she releases in May 2012 will be next-to-last.  I will be sorry to see the end of reading Sookie’s point-of-view.  I am, however, interested to see what Ms. Harris does next.

Gadgets:

Roku

For my birthday last month, I received a Roku player.  For those who don’t know, a Roku is a streaming video player for TV.  It can be used to steam Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant videos (and other video services).  Roku also has the HBOGo channel, which is one of the reasons I wanted a Roku.

Other than the purchase price for the Roku, there is no Roku subscription fee.  The fees come from the channels the user chooses.  Channels like Amazon Instant Video are free but have a per-the-video charge or the user has to be a member of Amazon Prime.  Channels like Netflix and Hulu+ have a monthly subscription fee.

I am a Netflix streaming subscriber and love their service.  We never rent videos from iTunes anymore.  We just find something to watch on Netflix streaming.  I am not a Hulu+ subscriber, so I can’t speak with any authority on their service.

Onto HBOGo.  I love HBOGo.  Being able to use this channel is dependent on my monthly subscription to HBO on Dish Network.  HBOGo has available every episode of most of their self-produced series.

I have spent the last month watching Big Love, which we quit watching at the beginning of Season 3 when it was on the air.  HBOGo also has an impressive number of movies available for on demand viewing.

 

The first book in my Peri Jean Mace Ghost Thriller series is FREE right now. Click here to download it from a retailer.

Or join my mailing list. By joining my mailing list, you’ll not only get Forever Road as a free download, you’ll also get a few extra goodies.