Eljay's Books can find your out-of-print or hard to find favorites!

Eljay's Books now offers a book search function to our customers. We're always happy to ship out of town (and shipping is often no additional charge!) To get started, just click HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Big Reveal - New Jess Haines H&W Investigations cover!

I'm still getting the hang of this book blogger thing (I have decided that running an entire bookstore is easier than this). So today I embark on a new facet of blogging...a cover reveal.

You've already seen my blog about Jess Haines' H&W Investigations series and how it got me over my fear of Urban Fantasy. Well, like everyone following the series I'm absurdly excited to get to the fifth book, and while I (and the rest of you) have to wait until this summer, we can look at the new cover and check out the synopsis right now!

Here's the cover art and back cover blurb for Forsaken By the Others:

The Others--vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night--don't just live in nightmares anymore. They've joined with he mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem...
Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head...and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town--namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who'd like to turn her into a chew toy.

On Royce's suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten--literally--in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them--and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge...

 AND...a book giveaway you can enter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, for MORE chances to win cool things and for all kinds of information directly from Jess Haines, you can always check out her website HERE.

Happy Reading folks!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

H&W Investigations or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Urban Fantasy

It's only fair to admit I have (or rather HAD) a horrible prejudice against the Urban Fantasy genre.  My only experience with the genre was being forced by a really pushy roommate to read the first four books in a certain series, and while this particular series is really popular (no, I won't mention it by name here) I hated it with the fire of a thousand suns. So many people were baffled by my dislike of these books, and so many people insisted that this was the pinnacle of the genre, I just gave up right there. And so it was with profound trepidation (and excitement) that I picked up Jess Haines' books.

But woah! Hunted by the Others was funny and it was feisty, and five minutes after I finished it I was desperate to read the next one. Shiarra Waynest is a PI in a world where vampires, mages and were-creatures are living among humans. Humans and Others don't always mix well, and like a KKK for Other-haters a group called The White Hats openly opposes (and slightly less openly kills) anything non-human. Shiarra and her partner's PI agency isn't bringing in the kind of money they need, and so they reluctantly take a case involving Others. Almost instantly Shiarra realizes she's stuck in the middle of something bad, messy and way over her pay grade. She's already had her own tangles with Others in her personal life (her ex-boyfriend "wolfed out" on her after an intimate encounter, prompting their break up) and now she's got a high-profile (and yes, dead sexy) vampire to deal with as well as a bunch of angry White Hats, some mages and a pack of weres.

Shiarra is a great character: she's strong, but flawed (especially in the fourth book where she really falls to pieces for various interesting reasons I refuse to divulge) and she has a stubborn streak that is endearing and never over-the-top. The Others are equally interesting, and while there's not a lot of untrod ground in the Werewolf/ Vampire/ Human relationship, the human/Other relationships in this series have some unexpected twists and turns, largely related to the fact that Shiarra isn't hopping from coffin to coffin. I'm no prude but it's really nice to see a lady who can keep it in her metaphorical pants even when the supernatural lotharios are swarming her. I'm also a sucker for a good enchanted weapon of epic power, and I was delighted to see one pop up right away: a slayer's belt complete with stakes and  the soul of a warrior to give helpful tips.

I can't say I don't like Urban Fantasy anymore (I was also just reminded that The Dresden Files is considered UF as well, and I read those with delight) and I can't say that I'm tired of the Vamp/ Were/ Human tropes out there, because obviously I just needed to read someone who could do it this well. By the time I hit the end of the third book and realized the fourth was locked in my bookstore until Monday morning  I was so hooked I started calculating the time I'd need to make it to the store and back before the buses stopped running for the night. By the time I hit the end of the fourth book (which was the most satisfying and interesting so far) I was reading the excerpt for the next book and that's something I *never* do because reading five pages of a novel that's due out in six months is just pointless torture.

So I'm a convert! And since Jess is exceedingly nice to bloggers, I'll probably be able to share some cool stuff with you before the release of the next book, like the cover art. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dark Muse by Dave Smith

People don't live, only stories live. 

So reads the tagline of the scariest book I've read in a really, really long time. An unpublished writer is creating stories so vivid that everyone who reads them is moved profoundly. He's sending manuscripts to Jack, an editor who desperately wants to publish them, and to be the person who "discovered" this talent. But the writer has strange demands. He doesn't want to just be published, he needs to know if Jack is the right guy, if Jack can be trusted. And there's more...the writer is destroying a life to create each story. Because people don't live, only stories live. And if Jack wants to publish this daring new literary voice, he's going to have to make a few...sacrifices...of his own.

If you like your horror dripping with blood, you'll be well-satisfied, but if you like your horror to have a literary edge, you'll be similarly happy. It's a slim volume and I was fooled into thinking it wouldn't be too intense when I sat down to read it. Then I had two nights worth of nightmares to prove me wrong. 

What's so scary about this book? The premise is fairly disturbing on its own, a writer who kills so his stories can live. But the one-sentence blurb doesn't really do justice to what's going on in this book. This is masterful storytelling, the kind that gets deep into your bones like a bad chill and then stays there. I'm getting the creeps just writing this book review and thinking about the book, and I read it over a month ago. Smith takes his time spinning the story, and on top of even pacing is strong dialogue and believable characters. What's scary is that the whole thing is so damn possible, there's no leap of disbelief to make as a reader. In a time of "found footage" horror films and "reality" TV it's refreshing to see an author using a traditional format to scare the pants off his readers. No gimmicks, just a terrifying read.

We'll have copies for sale at Eljay's very soon, and you can come meet Dave (who is flying into Pittsburgh for two hours just for this event!!) On January 19th at 11am.

Sorry I don't have better cover art folks, I had to crib this from the poster I have advertising Dave's signing in my store (Saturday, January 19th at 11am).

The Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light - Not a review!

I will post a review of the book after I've read it (the release isn't until Tuesday) but in the meantime I want to share one of my favorite Wheel Of Time-related memories.

By the time Robert Jordan passed away I'd been reading the WoT series for almost ten years. I think most of us in the fan base knew that Mr. Jordan wasn't going to finish the series, and most of us were worried about who would complete it. There were rumors of different authors that had been tapped, rumors of family members who planned to finish it, rumors that it would never be completed.

Meanwhile, I had been reading books by a fairly new writer: Brandon Sanderson. He'd put out a fantastic novel called Elantris, and the beginning of a trilogy: Mistborn. He'd been gracious enough to put together some great discussion questions for my book club, and to answer our lengthy questions. We'd struck up an email friendship and I was really impressed with him. Not only was his writing strong, I thought he was a supremely decent guy. So a little voice in my head kept repeating "Wouldn't it be great if they picked Brandon to finish WoT?" But who would pick a relative unknown to pilot this 10+ volume behemoth of a series to its finish?

It turns out, Robert Jordan's widow (and editor) Harriett and the fine folks at Tor knew exactly what they were doing. The announcement came on the day I was preparing Joseph-Beth Bookellers, Pittsburgh to welcome Brandon for a signing. Our office phones started ringing, my email alerts starting going off and then I was simultaneously bouncing in my chair and trying to re-work all our in-store signage to reflect this amazing news.

When Brandon got to the store he had this backpack with him. One of the first things he told me was that he'd left his GPS charger somewhere and almost didn't make it to my store. Then he told me that his laptop wasn't with him because he'd left it in the bins they give you for your personal items at airport security. He'd been forced to call his wife and ask her to drive to the airport and retrieve it for him. He had a death grip on this backpack when we left the store to grab dinner.

At dinner Brandon explained that the backpack was full of written and audiotaped notes from Mr Jordan. He'd written outlines and when he was no longer able to write he'd recorded his thoughts to tape. And Brandon had all of this, plus his own notes on the series, all in this backpack. And I kept thinking about that GPS charger, and the laptop. And from that moment on I was watching that backpack like a hawk. All I could think was "If that thing gets lost in my store I'm going to be the bookseller who wrecked Wheel of Time."

It's been a few years now, since that amazing day. Brandon's got a few more books under his belt (all exceptional. If you haven't read his work outside of WoT you really should). My Jo-Beth store is long gone, but I own my own bookshop now and Sci-Fi/ Fantasy is our mainstay. The whole world knows Brandon's name now, and I don't think it's going too far to say that his skill had revitalized the WoT series beyond what many of us thought would be possible. I can't wait to read the final chapters of this epic series along with the rest of the world. And as I'm reading the 14th book, I will carry a mental snapshot in my head of this young guy with a *really* tight grip on a backpack.