Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Scott, Carey and Blake spent the weekend as well as some other friends dropped in to watch ball games and tennis this weekend. Carey spent a lot of time working on plans for Kayla's wedding that is coming up in October. Kayla and Kyle will be coming from Oklahoma for a Gatlinburg wedding. It will be good to see them and get their life together off to a great start.

With all that going on, I didn't get to read any; so here are some from Harriet, who seems to have a never ending supply.

The Sunless Countries
Karl Schroeder
Tor, Aug 4 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780765320766

Far from the center of Vega where the artificial light is at its strongest in the city of Pacquaea, the dimmer outer towns begin to vanish with no known cause. Those in the inner sanction believe a threat from off world has begun to systemically destroy the sunless orb.

At the same that towns are being devastated most likely from the outside, a new religious movement has taken root proclaiming that Vega is eternal and not created. They are called Eternists. They begin a concerted effort to impound books, control all the news they feel fit to print and force a referendum on subjecting science to popular votes.

Sun lighter Hayden Griffin and historian dreamer Leal Hieronyma Maspeth unite to investigate the outsider assaults. Their inquiry takes the courageous duo to an eerie group of dead apparently killed by rain, encounters with the “mythical”, struggles with menacing politicians threatening to end each of their careers especially his commission to build a new “sun”. As he reconsiders his choices while she pushes on, they begin to close in on the outside at a time the increasingly powerful Eternists want to prevent them from learning any truths except what they decree is the one and only Truth.

The latest Virga science fiction thriller (see SUN OF STARS and QUEEN OF CANDESCE) is a super entry as Karl Shroeder takes readers to previously unexplored bubble regions beyond the world’s centrally located artificial suns; places that were dim, but now are THE SUNLESS COUNTRIES. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as the two heroes investigate why bubbles are going dark. Fans will relish Karl Shroeder’s excellent outer space saga as once again the bubble world of Virga seems a genuine host for a great adventure. Harriet Klausner

Hunting Ground
Patricia Briggs
Ace, Aug 25 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441017386

Anna Latham was turned against her will into a werewolf, but soon became wife and mate to Charles Cornick, the son of Bran the Marrock alpha enforcer of all the North American werewolves. Charles is Bran’s enforcer and understands his mission is to kill anyone in or out of the pack that can cause harm to his breed. Charles knows he would do anything for Anna to make up for the abuse she suffered with her first pack.

The Marrock sends his son and daughter-in-law to Seattle to head a conference dealing with relationships with humans starting with announcing their existence. The attendees are divided over the related subjects as much of the European packs oppose the agenda strongly claiming history is on their side. Jean Chastel, the European Marrock, is outspoken as he loves dining on pretty human females. On the other hand the Alpha of Great Britain supports Bran’s position but he fears what otherworld species can do when his beloved wife is killed by rogue vampires. He collapses. These same bloodsuckers stalk Anna infuriating Charles as they try to kill him and kidnap her. Anna investigates who is directing the undead while she fears for her beloved dying from a mage’s spell at the same time he is the chief suspect in a murder that means execution in the North American werewolf code of justice.

The key to this super ALPHA AND OMEGA urban fantasy series (see CRY WOLF) is Patricia Briggs’ uncanny world-building skills that cleverly interweave a full culture into the plot; for instance the werewolf code of justice. Anna is an omega outside the pack structure while her soulmate is an alpha loner (before he met her) yet insider. Charles is obsessed with her well being, but when he becomes the target, the omega proves that lifemates are alpha when their beloved is in trouble. Fans will relish this strong entry in a terrific saga as the Briggs’ earth is filled with full blooded paranormals living unseen along side the narrow minded humans. Harriet Klausner

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men
Molly Harper
Pocket, Aug 25 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416589433

In Half Moon Hollow instead of allowing children's librarian Jane Jameson to die, Gabriel converted her into a vampire and his lover (see NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS). She loves her “sire’ dearly but also knows he is not honest about where he goes when he leaves town or who the mysterious Jeanine is. Gabriel asks Jane for more time, but swears he will explain all to her soon; she agrees to his request. Meanwhile she works at an occult bookstore owned by Mr. Wainwright who accepts her for what she has become unlike her blood family who are ashamed of her fangs.

She's a bridesmaid for her best friend Zeb and his fiancĂ© Jolene the werewolf. Both families are against the marriage and will do anything to sabotage it. Zeb’s mother wants her son to marry Jane and Jolene’s pack demands she wed a were. They show their opposition in violent ways, which leaves Zeb to wonder if he can live safely on the same land as his future in-laws. If that is not enough to occupy Jane, she wonders how a dead man can be alive with a zillion spouses who did not survive the first year after saying I do while worrying about her Grandma Ruthie who is next to the altar with this Black Widower.

NICE GIRLS DON'T DATE DEAD MEN is a humorous down to earth vampire thriller with various subplots that add depth to the story line. Molly Harper’s take on the vampire mythos is not totally new (see MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy’s shoes and all), but refreshed by a terrific heroine who lost her library job due to the hours the place is opened. The eccentric cast adds depth in terms of jocularity as they drive Jane crazy. The different species effectively turn Half Moon Hollow into a unique locale in the urban (make that small-town) fantasy sub-genre. Readers will enjoy what happened to Jane as she finds herself as the forever bridesmaid in dresses that she would not want to be caught dead in let alone attend a wedding.
Harriet Klausner

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