Dungeon Master, Demon Caster, BS Blaster

 

Recently, during some downtime at the desk, a coworker and I found ourselves in a discussion about reader’s advisory in general, and of certain genres of books in particular. I flat out dismissed the romance genre as being too formulaic and of also perpetuating and idolizing scenarios that just don’t gel with reality, possibly creating false hopes and longings in some of its readers in the process.  My co-worker, however, felt that romance has its place. (Cue The Price is Right losing horn here.)  I also expressed a similar attitude about fantasy and science fiction, although she more vigorously disagreed with me on those.  My problem with said genres, I explained, is that what you’re reading is someone else’s fantasy, and many of these fantasies are very much alike.  I don’t personally dream about wars in outer space or going around slaying dragons, so I really can’t relate.

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Staff Review: The SPI Files

If you enjoy reading humorous urban fantasy books, you will like Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files novels. SPI stands for Supernatural Protection & Investigations, which is the covert agency that makes sure that all the supernatural beings who live among us play nicely. That isn’t as easy as it sounds, at least, that’s what Makenna Fraser discovers when she leaves her tabloid writing days behind her and joins the New York SPI office. Mac is a seer, someone who can look through any disguise, shield or spell and see the real being behind the façade. Since she’s a non-combatant, she’s been assigned to a human partner, Ian Byrne, who acts as her trainer/ baby-sitter. And that’s when the fun begins!

The Grendel Affair (#1)

When Mac decides to help a friend get rid of a Bavarian nachtgnome, she doesn’t know that she’ll soon be in danger up to her eyeballs after she discovers a room full of body parts. That and a series of violent murders are just the beginning as she and her colleagues are soon on the trail of a pair of Grendels who are poised to expose the supernatural world to the mundane world at the New Year’s Eve ball drop. To add to the difficultly of hunting these beasts, the Grendels have been given cloaking devices, so Mac is the only person who can see them. How can she assist the Grendel hunters and avoid being eaten? Read to find out.

The Dragon Conspiracy (#2)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is holding a gala event featuring mythical creatures. Mac and other agents from the New York SPI office are on hand to watch over the collection when the statue of harpies comes to life and steals the seven cursed Dragon Eggs. Each jewel is magically powerful on its own, but together, they can “cure” every supernatural being in New York City – if by curing you mean turning them back into humans. That’s not a good idea for long-lived beings like vampires or werewolves. Will Mac be able to find and disarm the Dragon Eggs before her friends and colleagues turn into dust? Read to find out.

These books and other urban fantasies can be found on the shelves at the Chesapeake Public Library. Also, take a peek at our e-book collection for your favorite authors.  Something new is being added all the time!

 

Vision of Fire: Is there anything Gillian Anderson can’t do?

Beloved science fiction actress Gillian Anderson, best known for her role as Agent Dana Scully from X-Files, is absolutely killing it. Not only is she a phenomenal actress, philanthropist and otherwise pioneer for women in the sci-fy world, but she wrote an amazing book for the genre as well. At first I was skeptical, you hear of actors and actresses writing books and they’re a total flop, but “A Vision of Fire” doesn’t disappoint.

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Win Lose or Draw: Minders by Michele Jaffe

 

 

How stunning is that cover? I mean, it is a thing of true beauty!! Don’t you agree?

 

I was very lucky to receive access to an e-ARC from Razorbill. (Thanks guys!) I was so excited to have a chance to get a sneak peek at this beautiful book! The story sounded amazing… this super smart girl is selected to participate in an exclusive program that will allow her to ride piggy-back in the mind of another person. She’ll get to see and hear and even feel everything they see, hear and feel. This, my friends, is the power of science at work. It is a bold new world and I was ready to leap straight in with both feet!!

 

Unfortunately as I read through the story I was filled with apathy for the characters. I didn’t care for their plights. I didn’t feel invested in their adventures. I felt… nothing and the plot didn’t feel urgent. I didn’t desperately NEED to read more and every page felt like a battle… not good. It just didn’t grab me, so although I appreciate the opportunity to read the book and I enjoyed the premise of the book, I’m going to declare this one a lose. 🙁

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler

 

Confession: I forget the names of most characters as soon as I finish the book. The exceptions happen to be characters that changed my life in some deeply personal way… like Ender and Katniss.

How could anyone possibly live up to the genius of two of my favorite literary heroes?

I’m not going to say Darrow is joining Katniss and Ender on my literary pedestal but this guy is something special.

Darrow and his family have been working themselves to death to prepare Mars for colonization. The food they receive is never really enough to fill their bellies. The work they do is hard and rarely rewarding. Life is harsh for a Red and the government likes it that way.

Following the tragic death of a beautiful young girl Darrow commits an act of rebellion and that is where the story really took off for me. The entire scale and scope of the story shifts as life as he knew it ends and something completely unexpected begins.

I am surprised to admit that Darrow very well could turn out to be the next best thing to hit the YA shelves since Katniss Everdeen. 

The themes in this story are big, important and really relevant to modern society. The characters are memorable, well developed and engaging.

I love it.

Special thanks to Edelweiss, Pierce Brown and Del Ray/Random House for the free e-arc.