April 18, 2014

Chasing Tale [4/18/14]: Bad TV Stars Make Worse Authors

Chasing Tale is a recurring feature of the blog in which I highlight the latest books to appear on my bookshelf. Some I find at bookshops, some are bargains on the Kindle Store, while others are review copies sent my way from authors, publishers, and publicists.

Last week, I was asked if I'd be interested in reading the latest book from a reality TV star. I think the person's claim to fame stems from one of those "Real Housewives" shows. My answer? While I was quite polite in declining, I wonder if the undercurrent of "Are you some kind of fucking moron?!" came through to the person who asked me.

TV stars have a sketchy track record when it comes to writing books--or rather dictating books to poorly paid ghost writers--but I'm guessing it's even worse with the glut of pseudo-celebs spawned from the fetid swamps of reality TV. And let's just set aside the capabilities they possess towards the English language for a moment to ask one dismal question: Do people who sit down to watch such dopey dreck even buy books?

I get the attempt to cash in on the popularity of Duck Dynasty or Honey Boo-Boo or the riveting life story of some American Idol reject, but these books are doing little more than propping up wobbly table legs or serving as gag gifts to actual readers. HA, fooled you! You thought you were getting that novel you really wanted and instead you got a book of poetry by one of the Bachelorettes (That's a real book, by the way).

Some may see me wasting my time by reading genre fiction, but those people lack the understanding that true drivel is not found in genre, but in the nonfiction section.

No sir, I will happily while away my time with books like these, thank you very much:


Queenpin by Megan Abbott - Abbott has a new novel out this summer, a rather gruesome one too by the sounds of it, but this one I snapped up is one of the nostalgic noir titles that put her on the map. Plus, I haven't read a whole lot of crime fiction lately with female characters in the spotlight, so cheers for that.

Peckerwood by Jedidiah Ayres - This one from Broken River Books looks like smalltown noir with the dial turned up to 10, and it comes highly recommended from a couple authors whose work I enjoy greatly, so I'm sure I'll get a kick out of it. I already love that bony two-finger salute on the cover.

The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson - This one is described as a "cli-fi spy novel." What the aitch is that? Oh, climate-fiction ... gotcha. Anyway, this is a tranlation of a French novel. I read a French novel last year with pleasing results, so let's hope this goes two for two.

Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe - This is one I've had on my wish list for a while and I finally snagged a copy. I guess it is one that is under-appreciated by Bledsoe's readers, perhaps preferring the more adventurous tales than a stylistic vampire tale set in the 70s. Me, I want this one.

The Impostor #1: Half a Hero by Richard Lee Byers - I first heard of Byers a few years ago when an urban fantasy novel he wrote was published by Night Shade Books called Blind God's Bluff. Not sure what happened to that series in the wake of NSB's shakeup, but this series of super-hero novellas looks pretty cool, so I got the first one.

The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark: Deluxe Edition - I actually already read this collection earlier in the month, but Spectral Press forwarded along a PDF copy of what they have planned for the deluxe hardcover edition and it just makes it all the better.

Night of Wolves by David Dalglish - I think David and I are in the same anthology, Fading Light if memory serves, but I've never gone out and gotten one of his books. Then I saw this one was free on the Kindle Store, so that took care of that.

Bad Karma in the Big Easy by D.J. Donaldson - The folks at Astor + Blue sent me a review copy of this New Orleans set mystery novel. I think I have the preceding novel somewhere on my TBR pile, but things have a way of getting away from a fella.

The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater - For as much praise Rhiannon Frater gets for her zombie novels, I've never read one. Then she came out with a 99 cent sale on this one a week or two ago and I thought I'd give it a go.

Ugly Little Things by Todd Keisling - I was lucky enough to win all four of Todd's short stories in his Ugly Little Things series: "Radio Free Nowhere" (which I listened to as part of an audiobook anthology last year), "The Harbinger", "Saving Granny from the Devil", and "When Karen Met Her Mountain." Very cool stuff by the sounds of it. I already loved one of the four so far, so ...

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Lansdale - Here's a YA novel from one of my favorite authors. I've read a couple stories of his that feature young protagonists, but I think this is the first novel he wrote geared towards a young audience. Ought to be interesting.

The Axeman of Storyville by Heath Lowrance - BEAT to a PULP released this novella as a freebie a week or two ago. Love the cover and Lowrance can spin a yarn, so I'm happy.

A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride - This is one of the novels I've been eager to read ever since I first heard about it. McBride's Frank Sinatra in a Blender was one of my favorite reads of 2013 and this one sounds like it could be even better.

Infinity House by Shane McKenzie - This one looks to be firmly rooted in the horror genre. Even the cover makes me queezy a little bit.

Hot Rock by Annie Seaton - I won a giveaway just a little while ago that was hosted by Bitten By Books, so when perusing Annie's lineup of books this romantic one with a time-travel twist caught my eye. Hey, if you want me to read more romance, throw in some tropes I already love.

The Waiting by Hunter Shea - A new short novel from Hunter Shea and Samhain's horror line that sees a worried husband who sees a boy's ghost lurking around his comatose wife. Eesh, sounds deliciously creepy.

Switchblade Goddess by Lucy A. Snyder - As Lucy A. Snyder got the funding for her fourth Jessie Shimmer novel, I figured I ought to buy the third. I have a little catching up to do.

The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski - This is one of Swierczynski's earlier novels, but it sounds like a doozy, with a femme fatale keeping a poor schmoe hostage in her bid to stay alive.

Vile Blood by Max Wilde (aka Roger Smith) - This premise for this one sounds so effing bonkers I can't believe I hadn't heard of it until last week. Smith writes riveting thrillers, but this one is straight-up horror and has got some big-time praise from some amazing authors.

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