The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, by Mario Acevedo

Mario Acevedo apparently, when he was four years old, told one of his aunts that he wanted a machine gun for Christmas. A stint in the army — where he also flew helicopters — apparently cured him of that, and provided him with fodder and knowledge for a series of books about a vet — these books, as a matter of fact. When not in the army, he has worked as an engineer and an artist, including being a combat artist and working with children. He has apparently been writing since he was young, and has published (so far) four novels in this series, all with . . . interesting . . . titles. A member of the Rocky Mountain Writers Group, he credits joining the group with his success in the publishing world.

Felix Gomez is in the U.S. military, and while he is in Iraq, he comes back with what he tells people is “Operation Iraqi Freedom Syndrome.” Except it’s nothing of the sort; he got vampirism instead. Fortunately, some of the weaknesses of being a vampire can be mitigated by 21st-century technology, such as Dermablend and high-octane sunscreen. Now Gomez is a P.I., and one of his old friends from college has called him up to find out why something very strange has happened at his DOE base (i.e., somewhere where they do nuclear research) — the women appear to have been infected with something that is causing them to be, ahem, hyper-interested in a certain sort of physical activity. Can Gomez figure it out? And why are vampires in the area dying? Continue reading The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, by Mario Acevedo

Lust, Loathing, and a Little Lip Gloss (Sophie Katz, book 4), by Kyra Davis

Kyra Davis is half Jewish (Eastern European) and half African-American; she married early and repented at leisure, getting divorced within a relatively short period of time. Despite a career in the fashion industry, she found herself writing novels as a sort of therapy, given the events of her life. Unlike most people’s therapy journals, though, hers turned out to be worth publishing, and she signed with Red Dress Ink (now subsumed back into MIRA, rather like Luna). This is the fourth novel to feature her amateur detective and mystery novelist, Sophie Katz. Ms. Davis currently lives in Southern California, where she writes full-time.

Sophie Katz (also half Eastern-European Jewish and half African American) is at an open house one day when she runs into her ex-husband, a realtor. He tells her of a dream house, a three-bedroom Victorian being sold for well under market value, and she reluctantly agrees to meet him there. Turns out there’s a catch: When they get there, the owner is found dead of a heart attack. The owner’s son still seems likely to sell, provided that Sophie joins the Spectre Society. Also, the house may or may not be haunted. Add that to some odd characters in the Spectre Society itself, her ex-husband’s jealous new girlfriend, and Sophie’s mother, and Sophie finds herself in another uncomfortable situation . . . Continue reading Lust, Loathing, and a Little Lip Gloss (Sophie Katz, book 4), by Kyra Davis

Star Trek (2009)

Confession time: I am a Trekkie. When I was a kid, Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG) was still being aired live, and my parents were not only fans, but felt that it was good, clean family entertainment. (Close enough.) I’ve seen enough episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series (ST:TOS) to know what’s going on; I’ve probably seen all of them at one point or another, but it’s been fifteen years on many of them. I don’t, however, have the sentimental attachment to ST:TOS that I do to ST:TNG, and that’s obviously coloring my observations on the movie — which, by the way, was directed by J. J. Abrams of Alias and Lost fame, and starred Zachary Quinto (of Heroes infamy) as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, and Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. (Also Leonard Nimoy [Spock, also] and Bruce Greenwood [Capt. Pike], with appearances by Winona Ryder [Amanda], John Cho [Sulu], Simon Pegg [Scotty], Anton Yelchin [Chekhov], Karl Urban [McCoy], and Eric Bana [Nero].)

In the beginning, there was a brave young first officer named Kirk — George Kirk, thank you very much — who realized that he was in a no-win situation, and ordered the entire ship evacuated, including his wife who was pretty much in the process of giving birth at the time. Fast forward to twelve years later, and we see the baby — James Tiberius Kirk, after his grandfathers — has already started a life of rebellion and general James Deanishness. Eight or ten years later, after a bar fight, a Starfleet officer named Pike convinces the young Jim Kirk to join the academy. Three years later, while there, Kirk is on the verge of getting thrown out when a situation requires a good deal of the cadets to be used on ships, and via subterfuge, he gets onto the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). Will they survive this situation? Continue reading Star Trek (2009)

Silver Falls, by Anne Stuart

Anne Stuart (not, coincidentally, the deceased member of the English royalty) is apparently one of the grand masters of romance, having won the lifetime achievement award from RWA. She’s been publishing novels since 1974 (when she was twenty-five) and has worked with every publisher I can think of, and in every subcategory except (as far as I can tell) paranormals. I’m sort of confused as to how this is the first novel of hers that I’ve read, what with her prolific output. Currently she is concentrating on romantic suspense/thrillers and historical romance, published by MIRA. She lives in Vermont and is inordinately fond of Japanese rock music. She also appears to have bellydanced at one point in her life, but then again, so did my grandmother. (No joke!)

Rachel Chapman is a photographer; as a single mom, she traveled around the world with her daughter Sophie for thirteen years, until, during a brief time settled in San Francisco, Sophie’s best friend Tessa was murdered. That event spooked Rachel so much that she decided to get married and settle down so that Sophie would have a safe rest of her childhood. Enter David Middleton, an English professor on sabbatical — charming, mild-mannered, smart, and a little bland, but attentive and, above all, safe — or so Rachel thinks. Some months after they return to his hometown of Silver Falls, Washington, another young woman — or three — are murdered, coincidentally right after David’s black-sheep brother Caleb returns to town. Is it a coincidence? If not, then why is Caleb so devilishly attractive?

Spoilers behind the cut. They’re always possible, but in this case, I’m telling you that there are definitely some there. Continue reading Silver Falls, by Anne Stuart

The Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, book 1), by Patricia C. Wrede

Patricia C. Wrede is one of my auto-buy authors. Based in Minnesota, she’s probably most well-known either for the Sorcery and Cecelia series of YA epistolary Regency-set fantasy novels co-authored with Caroline V. Stevermer, or for the quartet of YA books starting with Dealing with Dragons. Less well-known are her Lyra novels, set in a fantasy world during various eras and containing such obscure titles as Caught in Crystal, The Harp of Imach Thyssel, and The Raven Ring. She has also written two novels set in roughly the same world as the Sorcery and Cecelia books, Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward, neither of which features any of the main characters from the YA series. Another obscure work of hers is Snow White and Rose Red, a contribution to the Fairy Tales series (like Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin).

The Thirteenth Child is set in an alternate universe, where North America wasn’t settled by Asians via the Bering Strait, and mammoths, dragons, and other various megafauna still roam most of the country. Eff Rothmer is the second-to-last child in her family — the thirteenth, to be precise — and the twin sister of Lan, who is the seventh son of a seventh son. He is considered particularly lucky and possessed of an amazing ability to do magic, and it was suggested to her parents by more than one relative that they should have drowned her at birth. When the twins are still young, the entire family moves out to Mill City, which is just on the edge of the frontier. Mr. Rothmer has gotten a job as a professor at the brand-new college there, and besides, it would be best to move somewhere where no one knows that Eff is the thirteenth child and Lan is a double-seven. Out there, they find all sorts of adventure — on both sides of the Great Barrier that keeps the rest of the country safe from the frightening flora and fauna that characterizes the wilderness. Continue reading The Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, book 1), by Patricia C. Wrede

Angelic, by Kelley Armstrong

A little over a year ago, I decided to read everything that Kelley Armstrong had published at that point, being that I’d been recommended her works by so many different places so many times, and in general I quite enjoy the genre she writes (urban fantasy, whatever you’d like to call it). So I read all eight available Women of the Otherworld books, and reviewed them. All the titles can be found either in this review, or this one. Ms. Armstrong is a full-time writer and presumably a full-time Canadian; I think I’m behind on this series by one book, and she started a YA series when I wasn’t looking.

This particular volume, a slender 98 pages, will be a Subterranean Press publication in December of this year. It concerns Eve Levine, the star of book five, and the mother of Savannah, a common character in the other volumes. Eve is dead (seriously, that’s not a spoiler) and is currently working part-time for the Fates as an avenging angel. Or something like that. The djinn have been behaving poorly recently — torturing those who have summoned them — and just when Eve is about to get some time off, the Fates decide to make her investigate. Alone. Well, she’s never been one to follow rules, and usually, that gets her into trouble . . . Continue reading Angelic, by Kelley Armstrong

Nights of Blood 2: More Legends of the Vampire, edited by Elyse Salpeter and Bob Nailor

I was sent this book by a member of my former writers’ group (where we talked about anything but writing) who happens to have a story published in the anthology; he and a couple of the other writers, including one of the editors, are all residents of my home region. The book, however, was published by a small press located in Texas called 23 House, and is, as one may plainly see, the second volume of stories about vampires. Mr. Nailor and Ms. Salpeter are experienced editors and writers, and both have been published in other short-story anthologies. They have both been nominated for Eppie Awards, as well.

The stories in this volume include: “The Night Garden,” by Mark Onspaugh; “Debts,” by Amanda Pillar; “Under the Chocolate Tree,” by David E. Hilton; “Floaters,” by Michael S. Bumagin, M.D.; “Burden of Proof,” by Jennifer Graham; “A Rustle of Curtains,” by Henry Leon Lazarus; “Pas de Deux,” by Edward McKeown; “Defender,” by Garry Ward; “Expiration Date Not Required,” by A. D. Nailor; “Lazuli,” by Christine Rains; “1-800-VAMPYRE,” by Bob Nailor; “The Vampire Doll,” by Joette Razanski; “Days and Nights,” by Elyse Salpeter; “Down in the Cellar,” by Joe McKinney; “Barney,” by James R. Cain; “Tales of the Vampire,” by Mitchel Whitington; and “Give Until it Kills,” by Joe Sergi. Continue reading Nights of Blood 2: More Legends of the Vampire, edited by Elyse Salpeter and Bob Nailor

Incantation, by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman has written a number of books for both adults and young adults; three of said novels (Practical MagicAquamarine, and The River King) have been made into movies, starring some rather impressive actors. Born in New York, she attended Adelphi College and later Stanford, getting degrees in creative writing, and in 1983 she wrote the screenplay to a movie entitled “Independence Day,” but not the one with Will Smith and aliens. She currently lives in New York and Boston. Previously on Someone’s Read it Already, I reviewed a novel of hers, The Foretelling.

Estrella de Madrigal is a young woman in sixteenth-century, small-town Spain; her best friend is Catalina, who lives nearby. The girls are very close to each other until Estrella pays a little too much attention to Andres, Catalina’s cousin whom she is intended to marry. Unfortunately, this sets off a streak of jealousy and vindictiveness in Catalina. The town, Encaleflora, is undergoing some awful changes; it’s the time of the Inquisition (although they don’t call it that) and all the Jews and Muslims in town are suspect, even the ones who converted years and years ago. Estrella’s family behaves strangely — is it possible that they are secretly Jewish? And how will they survive? Continue reading Incantation, by Alice Hoffman

Moonspeaker, by K. D. Wentworth

This was a Del Rey Discovery book some fifteen years ago, and my copy is a paperback that gleefully splashes that information all over. Ms. Wentworth’s first novel was The Imperium Game, published in 1994, but for some reason it was decided that this second book would be a good Discovery. Apparently she got her start via the Writers of the Future contest, and now is an editor for it. Her short stories “Tall One” and “Burning Bright” were Nebula finalists. Apparently a couple of her novels are available via the Baen Free Library, and she has made some contributions to Eric Flint’s giant 1632 complex.

Haemas is the only child, daughter, and heir to the Tal’ayn house; she and her father have a difficult relationship, and just before her Testing and Naming (where she would be tested for psionic talent, mostly telepathy, and then officially given her title in the community), it appears that she has attacked and killed her father. She gets dumped outside, all her mind-senses terribly hurt, and runs away to be among the non-telepathic beings. Unfortunately, she had gotten caught in the middle of a conspiracy, and her father wasn’t actually killed. Now her cousin — a conspirator — and a searcher from a house of something like a college are trying to find her, either to kill her or to save her life. Will she survive? Continue reading Moonspeaker, by K. D. Wentworth

Goose Chase, by Patrice Kindl

Patrice Kindl was born in Alplaus, New York, which is outside Schenectady, the youngest of four daughters of a mechanical engineer and a stay-at-home mom. In college, which she attended in St. Louis, she studied acting, before dropping out to go to a drama school in New York. After four years of less than success, she moved back upstate, got a job, got married, and eventually — in her late 30s — decided to become serious about writing. Her first novel, Owl in Love, was published to a fair amount of success, and she’s published several more since. Apparently, in the realm of odd trivia, her son is in a band, and the lead singer of that band is one of the few female master falconers in the world.

Alexandria used to be a Goose Girl, until she grudgingly did a good turn for an old woman who turned out to be a fairy godmother. Now she is as beautiful as the dawn (much more beautiful than many dawns, she reassures us), her tears turn to diamonds, and when she combs her hair, gold flakes appear. Of course, this means that the prince of one country (Dorloo) and the king of another (Gilboa) both are desperate for her hand in marriage, so they (well, really the king) lock her in a tower and attempt to convince her that she should marry one of them. Fortunately, her geese — twelve of them, all female — rescue her from that situation — but now she’s on the lam. What can she do? Will she ever get back to her simple life? Continue reading Goose Chase, by Patrice Kindl