Poison Fruit by Jacqueline Carey

Poison Fruit(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“The Pemkowet Visitors Bureau has always promoted paranormal tourism—even if it has downplayed the risks (hobgoblins are unpredictable). It helps that the town is presided over by Daisy Johanssen, who as Hel’s liaison is authorized by the Norse goddess of the dead to keep Pemkowet under control. Normally, that’s easier to do in the winter, when bracing temperatures keep folks indoors.

But a new predator is on the prowl, and this one thrives on nightmares. Daisy is on her trail and working intimately with her partner and sometime lover from the Pemkowet PD, sexy yet unavailable werewolf Cody Fairfax. But even as the creature is racking up innocent victims, a greater danger looms on Pewkowet’s horizon.

As a result of a recent ghost uprising, an unknown adversary—represented by a hell-spawn lawyer with fiery powers of persuasion—has instigated a lawsuit against the town. If Pemkowet loses, Hel’s sovereignty will be jeopardized, and the fate of the eldritch community will be at stake. The only one who can prevent it is Daisy—but she’s going to have to confront her own worst nightmare to do it.”

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The Future Falls by Tanya Huff

The Future Falls(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“When Auntie Catherine warns the family of an approaching asteroid, the Gales scramble to keep humans from going the way of the dinosaurs. Fortunately for the world, they’re wielding a guitar and a dragon.

The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, which has caused some supernaturally complicated family shenanigans in the past. So when NASA and Doomsday Dan confirm Auntie Catherine’s dire prediction, Charlotte “Charlie” Gale turns to the family for help.

But Allie is unavailable because the universe seems determined to have her produce the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son of a Gale.  And the Aunties can’t help because they’re tied to the earth–although they are happy to provide their delicious, trademark pies.  And in the end, all Charlie has is a guitar…

…and Jack. The Dragon Prince, and a Sorcerer.

But Charlie might like Jack just a little too much, and Jack might like Charlie a little too much in return. Actually, between Allie’s hormones, the Aunties trying to force her and Jack into ritual, the Courts having way too much fun at the end of days, and Jack’s sudden desire to sacrifice himself for the good of the many, Charlie’s fairly certain that the asteroid is the least of her problems.

The Gales are going to need more than pie to save the world from an incoming asteroid. But together there isn’t anything they can’t deal with–except possibly each other.”

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Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to Home(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King’s Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds’ Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags’ mentor, King’s Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King’s Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?”

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Ship of the Dead by John L. Campbell

Ship of the Dead(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Father Xavier Church never wanted to be a leader. Nonetheless, he’s grown attached to his fellow survivors, and he won’t let anyone cause them harm—though he may be the one who inadvertently leads them to destruction.

Ex-con Bill Carnes may crave freedom, but he still prefers sticking with the group rather than fleeing to Mexico with his former cellmate TC. Maybe he’s changing. Or maybe the look in TC’s eyes is more dangerous than the undead.

EMT Rosa Escobedo gave up on hope after she watched the man she loved rise from the dead. But when a patient seems to start getting better, she can’t help but hope for a cure, even if it means risking her life.

As the numbers of the dead swell, the living are running out of safe havens—especially when the biggest threats lie within their own ranks.”

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The long silence is (hopefully) over…

Spring OwlcatHi everyone.  Sorry to have been gone for a while.  Life got… overwhelming.

I’m not a person who adjusts to change well.  I don’t have a problem with change, per se, but it takes me longer than most people to settle into new routines.  And the past few months has seen much of my life upended and shaken around.

My job has become much more intense.  I’m taking on new duties, and the job itself is becoming more complicated, so I spent most of August and September dealing with that.

In October, my beloved cat Gryphon passed away in my arms.  She was 19 years old.  I now find myself without an animal companion for the first time in almost three decades.  I’m not ready to adopt a new feline companion yet, as Gryphon’s loss hurts too much still.

Last week I went on my first business trip, down to Southern California.  It was fun and I learned a lot, but I almost never travel alone, so that was extremely stressful for me.

During all of this, I was realizing that I’ve been reviewing for almost 14 years now with almost no breaks.  I took a couple of weeks in 2007 when I got married, and then I took a couple of weeks in 2012 after having surgery, but that’s about it.  I realized I was getting burned out and needed to step back.  I’m probably going to be making some changes to how I review and what I review, but I will still be blogging.  I just need a bit of time to sort things through.

In the meantime, I appear to be writing again, albeit in a limited fashion, which is good.  My thanks to all of you for sticking around while I got my head on straight.  :)

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

Lizzy and Jane(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She’s lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.

When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she’s losing her dream.

And her means of escape.

When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.

As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?”

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Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

Wolf in White Van(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.

Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.”

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Throwback Thursday, October 9

Guardians of the KeepI’ve been reviewing since 2001, when I was employed at the local newspaper and my reviews appeared in their arts section on the third Thursday of the month.  When I started this website in 2011, I was amazed (and somewhat horrified) to realize that I had a decade of reviews to archive!  I’m still working on it to this day, and so my version of “Throwback Thursday” will feature some of those old reviews.  Just for fun, we’ll jump back to ten years ago this month.

Today, have a peek back at Guardians of the Keep by Carol Berg.  Click the cover of the book to read the review.