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Tim Lebbon was a new name to me when I picked up Echo City, though I had heard many good things of his work. Being a stand-alone novel, Echo City looked like a good place to start. It presents a neat dark-fantasy story which though very well thought out and interesting, still felt somewhat lacking in many respects; the characters aren’t as engaging enough and the focus of the story too narrow for it to score perfect marks. Echo City does have some redeeming features, though, like its dark and complex world and mythology which serve as the ideal background against which the story may play out.

Look around for a bit, I'm sure you'll notice it. Yes, that's right, LBR does have a new look. You like it? Well that's nice of you to say.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, LEC Book Reviews has undergone a few changes of the aesthetic sort. The design it now features, as you can see, is much less cluttered and bright. The logo you see hanging up in the header is a variation of the original logo I had designed a year ago but was never able to fit in the old design. This is also the logo that is present on the nifty little LBR bookmarks I had printed a while back and never got to distributing...

Quite a few pieces of cover art have cropped up recently, and I feel ashamed that I haven't brought them up yet. This first one is the UK cover art for Brandon Sanderson's Elantris, to be published for the first time this summer. Gollancz have chosen once again to stick to the style of art that adorned the Mistborn books and afterwards The Way of Kings. Personally, I think this particular cover is beautiful - it's simplistic, eye-catching and desirable. It is certainly better than The Way of Kings art which didn't seem to quite fit with the story of the book. I'm liking how they seem to be attributing a single color (other than black and white, which are tones anyways) to each of Sanderson's series; Mistborn was blue, Stormlight Archive appears to be red and now Elantris (and it's supposed sequels-to-be in the distant future) have gotten green.

Ah, Dan Wells. With his first book, I Am Not A Serial Killer, he made me a fan of his stuff. With his second, Mr. Monster, he gave me confirmation that I spent my time well reading his books. Really well. Now with this third novel, and final John Cleaver book, he has, in my mind, transcended the position of writer, and gone immediately to god-like status. I Am Not a Serial Killer has become my go-to book to give as a present, no matter who the person, because I’m confident they will enjoy the read. And I’m just as confident they will enjoy the second even more, as I did, and now I’m absolutely certain they will be possessed by the greatness of I Don’t Want to Kill You. Dan Wells has done it again.

One year...

Yes, it’s been that long. Though I realize for most of you reading this, its hasn’t been that long. For me it has.

I think it’s obligatory in one of these celebratory posts for me to look back to January of a year-ago and reflect.To be honest, I started this blog on something like a whim after having discovered and followed one, two, maybe three, blogs for a couple of months. I felt I hadn’t been reading nearly as much as used to and decided reviewing books for a public might be just the incentive I needed. And, apparently it was.

Robert Jackson Bennett’s debut, Mr. Shivers, was to my great surprise a fabulous read. I say to my great surprise, yet this is a book that has been loaded with praise, but I still had my doubts. Those were quickly vanquished by Jackson’s honest prose and eerie tale of a man out for justice - revenge - and who will get more than he bargained for on a journey through the vast and haunting landscape that was the dust-strewn American southwest. For the work of a debut-writer, Mr. Shivers possesses an unusual depth and maturity and expertly wields themes and plot into a captivating literary horror novel.

This is the start of a new year, and as such for the past few weeks I've been hunting out any new SFF books that will be released this year that I don't already know about. One of the books I came across is this one, The Winds of Khalakovo from debut-author Bradley P. Beaulieu (see original cover art post from the author here). This interesting debut is due to hit the shelves (in the US) this coming April - the 19th to be precise - and will be published by Night Shadw Books, a publishing house quite famous for the great look of their books. This cover, from artist Adam Paquette, is fabulous. The artwork is stunning and of a very high caliber - the colors, the detail and the thing as a whole simply look amazing. I'll admit it, if I hadn't seen this cover as I was browsing catalogs and whatnot I probably wouldn't have given The Winds of Khalakovo a second thought, but now its worked its way into the list of books I will certainly be checking out this year. Click-through or scroll down for the blurb and links to the author's website, etc.

As you may have noticed, unlike some other bloggers, I haven't yet made any proclamations about my intentions or resolutions for year 2011. That's partly because I believe that I'm already hard at work on bringing those ideas to life, but also because I'm saving up on making any big statements until LBR's first birthday which is coming up on the 17th (though you loyal blog followers already knew that, right?). Meanwhile though, I thought I'd share a few of the projects I've been working on or thinking up and wish you might expect to see at some coming date. I'll leave any definite resolutions and stuff for the 17th, though. So without further ado...

George Mann brings on the steam-loaded riotous Victorian action again in this second Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, The Osiris Ritual. Following on the very solid ground of The Affinity Bridge, Mann continues to expand his alternate London with its slightly offbeat atmosphere, zany action and characters which continue to grow more and more lovable by the page. Though in some respects it does not equal its predecessor, The Osiris Ritual remains a very strong, entertaining novel all of its own, and in other respects, it surpasses The Affinity Bridge.