TOP BOOK PICKS OF 2011
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
With her poetic style Laini Taylor showed that YA fiction doesn't have to be all about angst-ridden teenagers and non-stop sarcasm. This is a beautiful story that alternates between a modern, picturesque Prague and a world of fantastic creatures. I loved this atmospheric fantasy.
Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry
"Dead of Night" isn't Maberry first foray into zombie-themed fiction but this story is less of a thriller than a full-fledged horror story. Maberry doesn't forget the characters and the story is as introspective as it is taut. A very original take on the zombie story that does a credible job of creating a real-world explanation for a usually unbelievable monster.
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Rothfuss brings back his hero Kvothe in another soulful foray into his long and event-filled past. Rothfuss has the unique ability to take his time with a story without making it boring and his prose is beautifully rendered. This isn't a book for the fan of fiction that has the characters rushing around with a lot of pointless action. It's a grown-up fantasy for the reader that knows what it's like to look back on life with both fondness and regret.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
"Divergent" has garnered a lot of comparisons to "The Hunger Games" thanks to its action-packed style. But Roth deserves credit for creating her own brand of dystopian fiction that is perhaps more uncomfortably plausible than "The Hunger Games." Tris, the main character, is just the right kind of blend of stubborn and resilient who never ventures into the cookie-cutter territory of annoyingly precocious like so many YA heroines. I'm eagerly looking forward to the sequel Insurgent , due in May of 2012.
Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
I read "Among Thieves" early in 2011 and it still ranks high on my list of this year's favorites. The thief as the main character and sometimes-hero is nothing new, but in Hulick's hands the story is nonetheless fresh with subtle magic and lots of intrigue. It's action packed but never overly busy and I can't wait for the release of the sequel Sworn in Steel, due in June of 2012.
TOP MOVIE PICKS 2011
Unfortunately this is a very incomplete selection. There are several movies like "Hugo" and even "Real Steel" that I would still like to see. But these are the ones that I enjoyed the most (so far) last year.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol"
2012 looks to be a great year for genre, especially as far as movies are concerned. How can you not be excited when you have a movie schedule that includes both "The Avengers" and "The Dark Night Rises?" Needless to say, this was a fairly easy list to compile. I do have to acknowledge, however, that my book list is incomplete since I really couldn't find any publication lists that go beyond June of this year. So the book list is my "Most Anticipated for the First Six Months of 2012." I look forward to adding to it later...
MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS 2012
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
February 7, 2012
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.
Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.
Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.
The Scar Sergey Dyachenko and Marina Dyachenko
February 28, 2012
Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.
Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.
Doubletake: A Cal Leandros Novel by Rob Thurman
March 6, 2012
Half-human/half-monster Cal Leandros knows that family is a pain. But now that pain belongs to his half-brother, Niko. Niko’s shady father is in town, and he needs a big favor. Even worse is the reunion being held by the devious Puck race — including the Leandros’ friend, Robin — featuring a lottery that no Puck wants to win.
As Cal tries to keep both Niko and Robin from paying the ultimate price for their kin, a horrific reminder from Cal’s own past arrives to remind him that blood is thicker than water — and that’s why it’s so much more fun to spill.
Sworn in Steel: A Tale of the Kin by Douglas Hulick
Roc, April 3, 2012
Second book in an action-packed edgy fantasy series about thieves.
It's been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and found himself unexpectedly elevated into the ranks of the criminal elite. Now, as the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he's learning just how good he used to have it.
With barely the beginnings of an organization to his name, Drothe is already being called out by other Gray Princes. And to make matters worse, when one up and dies on him, all signs point to Drothe as being the hand behind the knife. As members of the Kin begin choosing sides - mostly against him - for what looks to be another impending war in the streets, Drothe is approached by a man. A man who not only has the solution to Drothe's most pressing problem, but also an offer that's hard for the new Prince to refuse: an offer of redemption. The only problem is, the offer isn't for him.
Now Drothe finds himself on the way to the Despotate of Djan, the empire's long-standing enemy, with an offer to make and a price on his head. And the grains of sand in the hour glass are running out fast.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Angry Robot
Date: April 24, 2012
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.
Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can't save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she'll have to try.
The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod
Publisher: Prometheus Books
A bishop is dead. As Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson picks through the rubble of the tiny church, he discovers that it was deliberately bombed. That it’s a terrorist act is soon beyond doubt. It’s been a long time since anyone saw anything like this. Terrorism is history. At first, suspicion falls on atheists more militant than the secular authorities. But when the target list expands to include the godless, it becomes evident that something very old has risen from the ashes. Old and very, very dangerous. . .
Tricked by Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Random House
Date: April 24, 2012
Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.
But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegan Books
May 1, 2012
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.
Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIES 2012
The Hunger Games
Snow White and the Huntsman
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 looks like it is going to be a great year for us geeks! What are you looking forward to?