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Explanations and Dan Wells Goodies

July 8, 2012

Hi everyone.  So, you may have noticed I missed a few weeks.  Part of that is that I got distracted and apparently never posted the last update.  That’s fixed now so you get 2 for 1 today.  The second reason is much sadder.  My dalmation, Tango, was sick so that was taking up most of my attention.  Sadly, she had to be put to sleep on Tuesday.  The vet thinks she had lymphoma.  I’m coping, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks.  My other dog, Ilsa, is very confused, but I’m pretty sure she’s excited about being an only child again.  She doesn’t count the cat. 

So, that’s the sad news.  The happy news is that the Dan Wells signing at Little Professor went really well Friday night.  We had fun.  We had laughs.  We had cake!  I’ve got four signed copies of Partials and five signed copies of The Hollow City to give away.  To enter just leave a comment on the previous post.  You can see pictures from the signing over on the Little Professor facebook page.  He was very nice and only made fun of me a little bit.  He did tell the story of how we met, but I suppose, since I told that story on this very blog earlier I can’t complain too much.

My 100 Books in 2012 challenge is going well.  I’m currently working on book #56, so I’m a couple of books ahead.  Honestly, that’s mostly due to Laurell K. Hamilton because I plowed through the Merry Gentry series in about a week.  Now, I can’t settle on what to read.  Please, by all means, give me suggestions.  I’m currently listening to Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey.  It’s one of her Elemental Masters books set at the beginning of WWI, my favorite period.  I like it much more than I did Home From the Sea, which came out this year in the same series.  I’ll get more into that when it comes up in a few posts.  On with the reviews:

#37. Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

I listened to this on audio, although I believe it is also available as an ebook.  I got it because it came up when I did a search for steampunk at  I wouldn’t really call it steampunk though.  True, the characters have a sort of clockwork, steam powered sled like thing.  But I wouldn’t say that the novella had an overall steampunk feel.  It’s still fairly interesting. 

The premise is that a group of performers have broken down on their way to a winter fair.  To repay the man who has taken them in they tell stories.  Some of them a brief, but Tara (our protagonist) tells a fairly long story about a girl who was orphaned and taken in by the fey.  She grows up and lives for a long time with the fey, but eventually becomes curious about the human world.  She steps back into the world to take up a mortal life.  But the fey are sure to tell her that she has but to call them and they will come.

Rolf, the host, tells a story of his own.  He talks about a scientist who, much like Dr. Jekyll, wanted to explore the chemical nature of man’s primitive side.  He manages to regress some lab animals to a more primitive state.  Then, accident befalls him and he is tainted by his own experiment.  Tragedy strikes and he retreats from the world for the sake of the people he might encounter.

It’s not a long book, nor is it especially complicated.  The writing is fairly good, and the reader well with the different voices and accents.  However, the romantic elements between Tara and Rolf weren’t especially compelling.  He was rough and tortured and she was curious and attracted.  Yay?  I would classify this much more as fantasy or fairytale than steampunk.  Outside of the sled the promised steam entirely failed to punk.  For $5.00 it whiled away a few hours and I certainly didn’t feel cheated.

#38. The Cat Who Brought Down the House by Lilian Jackson Braun

This is another in the Cat Who series.  In this particular volume, Qwill meets Thelma Thackery, an octogenarian who has moved back to Moose County after a successful career as a Hollywood restauranteur.  She plans to set up a supper club in Pickax with the help of her nephew.  However, as the renovations move forward things begin to go wrong for the would be hostess.  First her pet parrots are kidnapped and ransomed.  Later a dead body turns up in a delivery van.  Questions are even raised about the accidental death of Thelma’s twin brother.  Did he really fall or was he helped over the cliff?  Qwill and Koko are on the case!


#39.  Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

And again, we know I’m a crazy Jonathan Maberry fan.  So, I’ll spare you the histrionics.   This is book #2 in the Benny Imura series.  It’s six months after Benny tumbled Charlie Pink-eye off the edge of a mountain.  He and Nix have settled into a relationship, which, while not perfect, works pretty well for them.  Benny even has a pretty good relationship with his brother Tom. 

Tom, Benny, Lilah, and Nix are getting ready to head off into the rot and ruin in search of the plane they all saw right before the big battle.  Lots of people in town don’t want them to go.  They see it as Tom’s duty to defend them, but they don’t do anything about defending themselves.  There are also tensions within the group since Morgie and Chong won’t be going with them.  Tom offers Chong a slight reprieve.  He can come with them for two nights, to have some extra time to say goodbye.  Then Tom will have some friends bring him back to town. 

Then things start going wrong.  Very, very wrong.  New forces are moving in the great rot and ruin.  Someone new has stepped in to fill the shoes left by Charlie Pink-eye.  Rumors are floating around that Gameland has reopened.  And Tom is leading the kids straight through all of that.  Benny thought that he had seen the darkest times of his life.  He thought that nothing could be worse than facing down Charlie and the Motor City Hammer, or dealing with the zoms he’d already faced.  He had no idea how much worse it could get. 

Book 3 doesn’t come out until September.  Which is making me crazy.  On the bright side, it does come out on my birthday!  On the downside, it comes out after DragonCon so I’ll have to wait until next year to get it signed.  Le sigh.


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