Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review #28

Skull-Kickers Treasure Trove volume 1, by Jim Zub, Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang, and Misty Coats. Hardcover, collecting issues 1-11 of the comic book, and containing fun extra features! Image Comics.

Writer Jim Zub described this comic book series as “Lord of the Rings meets the Hangover.” That’s pretty accurate, but for comic book fans, I’d call it “Groo the Wanderer meets the Punisher.”
This volume contains eleven issues of awesome fun.  In a fantasy setting, a pair of warriors hire themselves out as mercenary thugs. Except that the big one, Baldy, has a gun, and it is made clear in the story that nobody in this world has ever seen such a weapon. It is mysteries like this that make the world of Skull-Kickers seem very lived-in, as we are thrown into the middle of an ongoing epic.
Baldy and his feisty little partner, Shorty, are in the town of Mudwich when the first five-issue arc (“1000 Opas and a Dead Body”) begins. When the visiting chancellor is assassinated, the skull-kickers go after the 1,000 opa reward. Their efforts go reasonably well, and attempts by their enemies to poison them go hilariously awry. After that adventure, they head to the capital fortress city of Urbia.
The second five-story arc (“Five Funerals and a Bucket of Blood”) find the pair going up against a band of faeries who want the city returned to its natural state. Faeries that have a huge, man-eating plant at their disposal. The version of faeries that Zub and the artists give us is a unique mix of light and dark, of humor and violence.
The stories are strong, the characters are interesting, and the situations intriguing. But what makes this book stand out is the sense of humor contained in the book. Skull-Kickers makes better use (and funnier use) of text boxes and sound effects than any comic I’ve run across before. It is these humorous elements that make each issue enjoyable, but the overarching story and mysteries are what will bring me back to Treasure Trove, volume 2.
We had a delightful conversation with Zub, along with a couple of guys from Comixology, in the Book Guys Show episode #76. A link to the video can be found here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Chapter 1 of Elizabeth the First Wife, by Lian Dolan: "Now he was close enough to touch, and I was tempted, because his T-shirt, stretched poetically across his chest, appeared to be made of the softest cotton ever spun. I needed to physically stop myself from petting him."

Now I admit that I am not the target demographic for this adult ladies contemporary novel. But I am a big fan of Lian, her podcasting, and I really enjoyed her first novel.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review #27

The Dalek Generation, by Nicholas Briggs. Paperback.

The Doctor (in his 11th incarnation, as portrayed by Matt Smith on TV) stumbles across a small spaceship that is under Dalek attack. Although he cannot save the married couple on board, he does save their three children. When he takes the children to their home planet and makes his claims about a Dalek attack, he is swiftly arrested.

He finds himself in what must be the only section of the Galaxy where the Daleks are considered the good guys. They administer the Sunlight worlds with justice and kindness, and have brought the inhabitants prosperity and peace. But the Doctor knows that something is going on, that the Daleks must be "up to something." What they are up to, in fact, is what archeologists have found on another Dalek Foundation planet -- technology that may be the most dangerous weapon in the universe. 

There is some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey aspects to the conclusion of the novel, but fans of time travel in general and the Doctor in particular can forgive that. The character beats at the ending seemed natural, and flowed properly from the rest of the novel.

Nick Briggs has been involved in the world of Doctor Who for more than twenty years, mostly through his role as executive producer with Big Finish, who produces original audio adventures featuring various incarnations of the Doctor. Since the TV show's return in 2005, Briggs has also voiced many of the monsters on the show, most notably the Daleks. Despite this being his first published novel, Briggs captures the spirit of the show very well , and his characterization of the 11th Doctor is spot on.

This story takes place during a period of the Doctor's life when he travels alone. But the necessary roles of companions are filled by the children, and also by Lillian Belle. Like many other companions in the long history of the Doctor, she is a journalist, and is suspicious of the Daleks. The Doctor's presence on the planet stirs the Daleks to action against him, and an underground rebellion movement attempts to arise.

There are interesting commentaries in this book, although they are not terribly subtle. For example, there is a scene where the Doctor announces on live TV to everyone on the planet that the Daleks are evil and need to be resisted. The vast majority of the populace responds by mocking him, ignoring him, and then by changing the channel to a reality-style game show. The language of "hate crimes" is also a topic right out of our modern society.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Revisiting Holmes: The First Collection

Book #26. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unabridged audio.

This is a collection of the first dozen Holmes short stories, containing stories that were first published in the Strand Magazine in 1891 and 1892. The first two novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four, had previously appeared in 1887 and 1890, respectively.

This collection begins with the only appearance of one of the series most notable characters, Irene Adler, in "A Scandal in Bohemia." As time has passed and as the Holmes legend has been continued by authors beyond Doyle, she has become an iconic character. If these stories were written in the modern era, I imagine Doyle himself would have brought her back into later stories himself.
It is interesting to note that Holmes is not always successful in the stories in this collection. I will pay attention to see if this trend continues as the legend of Holmes grows throughout Doyle's writing of the character.  The great detective loses to Irene Adler, for example. At the beginning of The Five Orange Pips, Watson reveals that not all of Holmes' cases end in success -- in that case specifically, Holmes' version of justice is stolen by an act of God on the high seas. This story deals with the Ku Klux Klan, in a way that is reminiscent of how Doyle used the mysterious Mormons as a way into the story in The Sign of Four.

Some of these stories have all of the action taking place in the drawing room, the consulting detective truly doing his work with only his mind. I appreciate this element of Holmes, but am glad that not every story is of this variety, as I tend to enjoy the "on location" stories more. Another interesting point is how Doyle seems stumped by how to deal with Watson's marriage. He continually has to invent reasons for the men to come together to tackle a case. In a trick that Doyle will later come to rely on ever more, he presents a few of these stories as having occurred earlier in Holmes' career, one even before he had met Watson.

Ummm, spoiler alert?
There are many stories in this collection that have become classics, and have been revisited often in the many adaptations of Doyle's work. This category of story include "The Speckled Band," the solution of which is revealed on the cover of one version of the printed book -- perhaps the concept of "spoilers" was not a concern at this point in publishing. "The Copper Beeches" and "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" are also among the memorable stories contained in this volume.

I have read every one of the stories at least once, probably twice, and some many more times than that. But certain of the stories had completely fled my mind, and I found it delightful to read the strange "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb," the mysterious "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" and the bizarre "A Case of Identity" without knowing where the stories were going. This was a pleasant experience for me, and I hope that as I progress with the Holmes canon I run across more of these stories that are "new again" to me. 

source: public library.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Podcast Marathon

Summer vacation + not much on the DVR = opportunity to listen to lots of podcasts yesterday!  Here is what I listened to:

Hope of All Trades, Post 221B Convention episode. host Hope Mullinax talks with Heather & Crystal, the organizers of the recent 221B Convention. They talked about the con, and about general Sherlock Holmes topics, including the Doyle works (which I am re-reading this year), the current BBC and previous PBS adaptations, and Elementary.

The Tony Kornheiser Show. Local sports & general chat from Washington, DC.

A Podcast of Ice and Fire, Episode 110: Second Sons. This is the longest-running podcast dedicated to the George RR Martin books, and during the TV season, about the show. This was a discussion of the most recent episode of the show, and the hosts all thought it was better than the one before.

Arsenal Review USA: Post-Newcastle. A pair of Americans chatting about how the end of the season went for the English soccer team. At least we finished ahead of Spurs.

Who True Freaks, episode 4: Sarah Jane. A very nice discussion about Elisabeth Sladen's character, focusing on the "School Reunion" episode of Doctor Who and the "Death of the Doctor" episode of The Sarah jane Adventures.

More Than One Lesson, minisode #14: Tyler and Josh talked about Josh's 8th favorite movie, The Godfather. These minisodes are counting down each host's top 10 movies, in between their longer, standard episodes.

DH Unplugged, #182: Don't Short! Yet. John C. Dvorak and Andrew Horowitz talked about the drop in the vlaue of gold, recent earnings announcements, and how exactly the stock market is staying so high.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Chapter 6 of The Dalek Generation, by Nicholas Briggs: "The Doctor and the children rolled and scranbled their way to safety. All the while, the thought pounded through the Doctor's mind ... Have I miscalculated thie time? Is this how it ends? A stupid bit of over-confidence on some depressing human colony planet where everyone thought the Dalek were the good guys?"

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New 52 Review: The Dark Books

I, Vampire volume 1: Tainted Love, trade paperback. Issues 1-6, by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Andrea Sorrentino. And Justice League Dark, volume 1: In the Dark, Issues 1-6, by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin.

These are related volumes in that they both fall into the "Dark" line of DC's New 52 titles. They overlap at the end of their stories, and begin a crossover in the issues following these, so I am reviewing them together.
I enjoyed the I, Vampire issues, these being the first I have ever read from that title or with that character. There have been plenty of stories about vampires and/or vampire hunters, and even of vampires who turn to hunting other vampires. But this sentiment that drove this story was unique to a world with super-powered characters, a sentiment voiced by Mary the Queen of Vampires: "Today we begin our holy war against the humans. Many of ours will die, more of theirs will. We were meant to inherit the earth, but instead we let it be stolen by aliens and masked men."

The narrative style was interesting, as Fialkov wrote each of these six issues from only one person's perspective. This made for very tight writing, and perhaps one book that might actually read better as single issues than as a collected whole. Batman guest stars in one of the issues, and this is just enough of a tie to the greater DC Universe.
John Constantine also appears as a guest star in I, Vampire, another tie between these two series. Madame Xanadu (also a character in Demon Knights) peers into the future and sees a coming global destruction, from the out-of-control Enchantress.
She recruits her Justice League friends to take the Enchantress out, but they fail miserably. Xanadu attempts to form a team of more supernatural heroes to aid her instead -- Deadman, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, Zatanna and Mind Warp fight the powerful magic of the Enchantress, but they manage to find plenty of time to fight each other, as well.
I enjoyed the fact that even after their joint adventure, these characters all mistrust each other, and many flat out dislike each other. They come across as well-rounded fully thought-out characters, and their conflicts seems natural. It is pointed out at one point that dealing with powers of magic and the supernatural does have consequences, and the wrecks that each of these people have made of their lives are testament to that. The story moved a bit slow for my taste, as the gathering of the team members was a bit repetitive, and dragged on an issue or two more than it needed.
Fortunately, the team never calls itself the "Justice League Dark," at least not in these six issues. But it is a testament to the power of the words "Justice League" that this title continually lands in the top half of DC's monthly sales, despite having a cast of (mostly) little-known or unknown characters. Yes, Constantine is here, but the New 52 version will be much less "mature" than the Vertigo version that lasted 300 issues.
I am personally a fan of Deadman, and thought his portrayal here was strong. Milligan strikes the right balance of including critical parts of his pre-New-52 character, while modernizing him just enough to give this version a fresh start. I am not as familiar with the rest of the cast, except for Zatanna, whose powers and personality seem similar to her earlier incarnations, as well.
The end of issue 6 of both JLDark and I, Vampire was exactly the same, indicating that these two books will cross over in the following issues. I am looking forward to reading those joint issues. This crossover is at least partially an attempt to bring new readers to I, Vampire, which consistently sells about half the number of issues that JLDark sells.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review #25

The Areas of My Expertise, by John Hodgman. Paperback.

You probably know John Hodgman from portraying "PC" in the "Mac vs. PC" television commercials for Apple Computers. He has also appeared regularly on the The Daily Show, and hosts a very entertaining podcast. And he has written a comprehensive three-volume series of complete world knowledge, in the style of the almanacs of old.

This is the first volume, and considering all of the information it contains, which is approximately one-third of all world known knowledge, it is a pretty quick read. And considering all of the magnificent facts that are conveyed, it is quite funny. The author is able to use his ability to write humorously as a method for instilling a wide range of facts in his readers.

I certainly learned many things, especially from the long section on our 51 states. Other insightful articles include "Nine Presidents Who Had Hooks For Hands," "All Kinds of Squirrels," and "700 Hobo names." The role of hoboes in calling down The Dust Bowl, for example, was completely new to me. 

You should read this book. It is quite humorous, and incredibly informative, sort of.
That is all.

source: purchased from Half-Price Books.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quarter Bin Finds!

Three or four times per year, my local comic book shop pulls out the boxes of 25-cent comics, and I usually go!  A few days ago, my daughter and I went, and here is what I came home with:

Fantastic Four, issues 279, 287 & 375, all of which are stories that feature Doctor Doom. Any story with good ol' Victor is worth at least a quarter!

Rune (from Malibu Comics, 1995), issues 4 & 5. I bought these because they were written by my blog-buddy and recent guest on the Book Guys Show, Paul O'Connor from the Longbox Graveyard blog.

ROM Spaceknight, issues 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 33, 55, 65, 70, and Annuals 2 & 4. At one point in my life, I had the entire run of ROM, all 75 issues and the 4 Annuals. I sold them when I moved about 15 years ago, but thanks to my most recent few trips to the 25-cent bins, I have managed to track down 67 of the 79 issues. I hope to fill in those holes, then I will re-read it all.

Warlord, issues 37, 39, 43, 50, 57, 78, 85, 102, 103, 112, & 121. Similar to ROM, I once had a huge run of Warlord, and sold them when I moved about 15 year ago. Now I am just missing the more expensive issues 1-36, and about a dozen of the other 100.

Starslayer: The Director's Cut, issues 1-8. More Mike Grell goodness. This one looks like Warlord ... in space!

Mike Grell's Shaman's Tears, issues 0, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, & 12.  Now I am only missing #1. What can I say? I am a big fan of Grell.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review #24

The Skin Map, by Stephen R. Lawhead. Unabridged audio.

Stephen R. Lawhead is one of my favorite fantasy authors, but he has dipped into science fiction before, which is the genre where this series (this is the first book of Bright Empires) belongs.
Kit Livingstone is an ordinary fellow, with an ordinary life, an ordinary job, and an ordinary girlfriend. Until he is visited by his long-lost great-grandfather Cosimo. His long-dead great-grandfather Cosimo. With Cosimo's help, Kit finds that he can travel along ancient ley-lines to other times and/or other dimensions, and is recruited to the search for the one complete map of the lines. This is a parchment made from the skin of a man who learned about the ley-lines, and then tattooed them onto his body. It turns out that Cosimo and Kit are not alone in this quest to the find the skin map, and then the race is on.

In the past, Kit in joined in his quest by the enigmatic and flirtatious Lady Fayth, while his girlfriend Wilhelmina struggles to survive on her own in 17th century Prague, as the apprentice to a baker. All of these characters  get caught up in an omniverse of intersecting realities as they chase down the secret of the skin map.
This is just the first in a series of books, so the story does not come to a satisfying conclusion in terms of the overall plot, although branches of the intersecting realities do merge towards the end to give the story a nice launching-point into the next book.

Lawhead is strong in his characterizations, and the relationships between Kit and his compatriots all seem realistic. There are moments where credulity is strained between characters, especially in Wilhelmina's story, but this is a typical issue with time-travel stories -- I just don't think that people would be so blasé about meeting others from hundreds of years in the future. But again, that is a constant worry in this type of tale, and Lawhead does the best he can with that issue. The action is strong, the plot is intriguing, and the dangers that our crew of heroes face in future stories will bring me back to book #2 in the series.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Guys Show: updates!

For more details, check out our new website, which contain the videos for the shows (also on YouTube), as well as book-related links. Audio versions of the podcast are available through iTunes.

In episode #75, we talked with R.E. McDermott, author of Deadly Straits (reviewed here) and Deadly Coast. He was a great guy to talk to, and had a lot of good stories about his writing and editing process.

In episode #76, we had a comics-heavy show. We taked to comics creator Jim Zub, writer of Skull-Kickers, as well as 2 hosts from the Comixology podcast. This was one of our most skull-kickingest episodes yet!

I missed episode #77, but the other hosts did a pretty good job talking with Ewan McGee about his Indiegogo crowd-funding project, and with crime author Pat Flewelling.

In episode #78, we talked with podcasting veterans Tom Merritt and Brian Brushwood, both from the TWiT network. Lots of movie talk in this one, as we tlak about Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and Ender's Game.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Consequences & Reboots

All I look for in a sequel (or a series) is consequences. That things from the first story, be they plot elements, character aspectws and relationships, or world-building, have effects in the second story. And beyond.

Maybe no fictional world did this better than the TV show Babylon 5. J. Michael Straczynski planted clues in season 1 that did not bear fruit until season 3, or 4, or even 5. And there were consequences to actions: relationships changed, plot elements flowed beautifully. Things that happened, the ways people behaved, just "made sense."

Suzanne Collins does this very well in the Hunger Games books, as well -- at least, in the two that I have so far read. I noted it in the recently-reviewed Catching Fire, and I have enough general spoiler knowledge to know that this continues in the last novel. I am a big fan of this type of writing. To me, that's what makes a piece of fiction realistic -- the specific work can can be set in any world, alien or fantastical or historical, but if there is reasonable cause-and-effect occuring, then I can think of it as "realistic."

Which brings me to the frustrating run of Wonder Woman I recently read, the Odyssey storyline that ran in issues 600-614. This was a re-boot, or re-imaging, or re-something of the Wonder Woman character, started in 2010, that was going to launch the character with a new and modern take, to really establish her as one of their big guns, a pillar of the DC Universe. They even gave her a new look, with long pants, that I kind of liked.
They tasked the above-mentioned J. Michael Straczynski to write this. He is a big-name TV guy, and has written movies, and done a fair amount of comic work. Putting JMS' name on this storyline was evidence of how seriously DC wsa taking this re-boot, or re-imagining, or re-whatever this was.

The problem is, that after about four issues, DC Comics announced their New 52 initiative. They said that all of their books would be re-booted , or re-imagined, or re-something-ed in September of 2011, which totally pulled the rug out from this effort. JMS left the book, and story was finished, just in time for the New 52.
And that's the problem with this stroy, and I relate it to what I said above about Catching Fire. By the time I got halfway through these Wonder Woman issues, I grew more frustrated. The problem was that I knew that however this major ended, it would be wiped away. These issues were literally inconsequential -- it had no conseqences. Nothing in this story stuck, as another reboot happened as soon as this story ended.

I like the New 52 Wonder Woman, and the new creative team -- I reviewed the first six isues here. It's a good book, but reading the Odyssey collection pointed out many of my frustrations with modern comics. One of the big reasons I read as many older stories as modern ones, is this constant churning and changing. We regularly get new origins, new first issues, new everything, at a much quicker pace than prior decades. 

There is no sense in modern comics that what happens in any one issue will have consequences in the next one.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Chapter 1 of The Skin Map, by Stephen R. Lawhead -- the first Bright Empires novel:

"After walking for two minutes, he started looking for the crossing street at the end. Two more minutes passed. He should have reached the end by now, shouldn't he?"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review #23

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Unabridged audio.

There are many best-selling authors, both in YA and adult fiction, who I can't quite figure out how they became best-selling authors. They write predictable stories, involving plain characters, and demonstrate average literary skill.

And then there is Suzanne Collins. She is a best-selling author who deserves all of the accolades (and big sales) that she gets.

Before she hit it big with the Hunger Games series, Collins wrote the terrific Underland Chronicles for younger children, starting with the book Gregor the Overlander, released in 2003. These books sold well, but she did not become a superstar writer until The Hunger Games came out in 2008.

The events of Catching Fire follow very logically from the first book, and that is all I ask for in a sequel. There are murmurs of political uprising in some of the districts, which was touched on in the first book. Katniss is able to verify these uprising, ironically, only because of an ominous visit from President Snow. After he leaves, Katniss hears word that the mysterious District 13 may actually exist, and may actually be thriving.

When the details of the quarter quell games are announced, it becomes apparent that destroying Katniss and Peeta are Snow's main priority. Killing them is the best way to put down the brewing rebellion.

By the time we get into the second half of the novel, there is a sense of repetition, as Katniss and Peeta engage in another version of the brutal Games. There are new allies, new enemies, new aspects to this version of the Games, but there are a few chapters that make it seem that we've been there before. But Collins focuses on character moments here, and even when the action seems familiar, the political tensions manifest.

The ending of the novel comes quickly, and it does end on a cliff-hanger, which is standard for the second volume in a trilogy. There is a sense of the society teetering on the edge, and I have no idea how the series will end. But I am looking forward to reading the next one, to find out.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Retro-Reviews: The Fly & Private Strong

The Double Life of Private Strong, issues 1 & 2, August 1959, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. 
Adventures of the Fly, issues 1 & 2. August & September, 1959, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. This series and character lasted much longer, but Simon and Kirby collaborated on only the first two issues.
By 1959, Archie Comics thought it was a safe time to bring superheroes back into their comic books. These two titles reunited comic creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for a brief time, after which Jack moved to the warmer climes of California and Joe relocated to the center of the comic book world, New York City. These issues represent their final steady work together, the two only reuniting once after, for a single issue of The Sandman in the 1970s.

Private Strong is a straightforward action-adventure comic, telling the story of a boy raised from birth by his mad-scientist father to be a man of advanced physical and mental  power. His "double life" is as a recruit in the armed services, and as the costumed adventurer The Shield. Simon dialed back the over-the-top humor for these stories, and Kirby also dialed back the over-the-top art style -- the only memorable art scenes were the first few pages of the origin issue. So this ends up being a little more than a standard spy comic, telling standard spy stories. They were fun, they were fine, but they were nothing special.

The Fly is a more traditional superhero story, a mish-mash of their earlier character Captain 3-D, with a little Shazam and Supergirl thrown in. An orphan boy receives a magic ring from that along with a magic phrase, can turn him into the super-powered Fly, and speaking his own name turns him back into the young Tommy Troy.

In his first mission, he exposes the corrupt orphanage manager, and then moves into more traditional crime-fighting behavior. One adventure ended with the Fly tying up his quarry (the criminal mastermind The Spider) in a net and hanging him up for the police to find later, a feat that would come a common trick for a certain spider-based hero a few years later. There is some interesting art choices in the Fly stories, with many of the individual stories starting with double-page splashes, adding a sense of epic scope to the stories.

These were later reprinted in the early 1980s in Archie's Blue Ribbon Comics series.

Source: public library.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Reading List

22. Quitter (ua) , by Jon Acuff.
21. The Bone Bed (ua), by Patricia Cornwell.
20. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart (hc), by J.D. Greear
19. Left Behind: The Kids #28 (pb), by Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, & Chris Fabry
18. Left Behind: The Kids #27 (pb), by Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, & Chris Fabry
17. Left Behind: The Kids #26 (pb), by Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, & Chris Fabry
16. Time Travelers Strictly Cash (aa), by Spider Robinson
15. The Devil's Company (ua), by David Liss
14. Deadly Straits (ua), by R.E. McDermott

earlier in 2013:
13. Doctor Who: Paradise Towers (ua), by Stephen Wyatt
12. DC Universe Secret Origins (gn), by various writers and artists
11. The Gods of Mars (ua), by Edgar Rice Burroughs
10. Craving Grace (hc), by Lisa Velthouse
9. The Sign of Four (ua), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. DC Dead (ua), by Stuart Woods
7. A Study in Scarlet (ua), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Hunger Games (ua), by Suzanne Collins
5. Take Three (ua), by Karen Kingsbury
4. Mary Through The Centuries (hc), by Jaroslav Pelikan
3. Roil (ua), by Trent Jamieson
2. The Devil You Know (ua), by Mike Carey
1. Ender's Shadow Ultimate Collection (gn), by Mike Carey