The Last Love Story (The Reversal of Time Series) by S.B. Santiago is an interesting short novel that explores the ways in which the world quicklyfalls apart when people suddenly have modern technology they take for granted pushed off beyond their reach with little warning. A mysterious force from somewhere west of California is slowly spreading forth over the US and Canada (and for all anyone knows elsewhere in the world) that is destroying all long-distance means of communication as it comes.
Without TV, phones, and internet normal society begins to fall apart. It isn’t long before mail stops being delivered and even newspapers are discontinued. And to make things even better, the government doesn’t really seem concerned with finding answers.
When people start to disappear, finding a reasonable answer for what is going on doesn’t even seem as important as simply getting away. Now I’m not talking something like one or two people going missing. Huge numbers of people, like the entire city of Portland are suddenly not there.
When 17 year-old Rayne suddenly finds that her parents do not return from work, it isn’t long before Lorna, a girl that used to go to school with Rayne before she moved, shows up. Lorna’s home city of Seaside was devastated by the disappearances as well, leaving her alone too. She is now traveling with a couple other young people who have watched most everyone they know get taken away. They take in Rayne and continue on their own personal search for safety.
But just how dangerous has the world become? What dangers lurk just out of sight? With ‘friends’ holding on to their own secrets, will life ever be ordinary again?
Wild Blood- Vampire in the City by Donna Ansari is the sequel to New Blood that continues the story of Emma the new vampire. In this book, her werewolf roommate David is attempting to help a group of werewolves who want to establish werewolf control of New York by forcing the vampires to leave. David has no problem with Emma herself, it’s just that vampires and werewolves are supposed to hate each other.
As the story goes on, Emma learns of the personal stake her sire’s sire holds in the fight involving the invading pack’s responsibility for his late wife’s demise. In fact, the invading lupines proudly claim responsibility for clearing the west cost of all vampires.
Emma befriends one vampire who fled from California, but he (James) is a little weary about meeting up with the vampire leader of New York (Michael). It seems these two have a slight bit of history.
Just like how all vampires may not get along, there could be some resentment and mistrust held by the wolves for their annoying, third person talking leader.
And, to top it all; if vampires and werewolves aren’t enough, by the end of the book there’s some strong evidence of witchcraft. If you liked the first Vampire in the City, you will probably like this one.
Skeleton Key by Jeff LaFerney is the sequel to Loving the Rain in which the main character is blessed (or possibly cursed) with an assortment of psychic powers. Because Clay Thomas is a lonely man who blames himself for the death of his wife, his friend, psychiatrist Zander Frauss gets him to meet with Erika Payne, an office-worker who likes to help people have experiences that lead to their trusting in faith in her free time.
Zander set the two of them up together not only because he knows that Erika can probably help Clay with his grieving, but because he believes that Clay can use his powers to help Erika solve the mystery of her missing husband.
The husband’s name is Adrian Payne and Clay is quick to find out he is not a well liked man. No one was mourning when this man disappeared amid-st the chaos and confusion that came, following a train wreck. As he was one of the owners of the train company and may have even been driving the train at the time of the wreck, people who weren’t involved find little reason to doubt he may have simply run off into hiding after the accident.
The only reason that Clay doesn’t latch onto that assumption himself is simple: more than one person close to Adrian sincerely believes that they are responsible for his death. Clay is left to try and solve the mystery even though in every direction he turns he can hear another ‘thought confession’ of someone who finds themselves responsible for Adrian’s death.
And the final problem? Clay is left with his powers allowing him to hear the voice of Adrian’s ghost. He may have been annoying without trying in real life, but as he is dead and almost no one can hear him, he has no reason not to be irritating while haunting someone.
New Blood- Vampire in the City by Donna Ansari is the story of a girl who finds that surprisingly little about her life has to change when she becomes a vampire. She is also quick to learn that several of the ‘facts’ that people always claim when sharing superstition about vampires are nothing more than happy disinformation spread by the vampires themselves to stop humans from ever attempting their extermination when learning just how strong these un-dead are.
Emma lives alone and works nights for an advertising agency in New York city. One night (or early morning) as she walks to her home in Queens she manages to stop two delinquents that look to be trying to beat an innocent man with sticks and crosses. Her walking home is never peaceful; the next day she missteps into traffic and is killed by a car!
Except she isn’t quite killed, the man she saved the night before is really a vampire who turns her to prevent her death out of gratitude. From here on we watch as Emma gets pulled into the world of vampire politics, the different actions and laws of the differing clans. For one thing, she must prove herself worthy to stand among the Queens vampires by taking specific actions against their Brooklyn rivals.
As the story goes on, Emma finds her relationships with others (sometimes necessarily) changing. As her whole world is thrown upside down, it is interesting to watch how she intends to keep her life from getting any more out of her control.
Loving The Rain by Jeff LaFerney is the first book in a trilogy about a father and son who both have nearly supernatural mind-powers stemming from difficult births. This book is also a story about the anger and importance that some people can’t help but put into high school athletics. As cool as mind control power might seem, would you really want to be the one who has it?
Before you answer, let me bring up a couple of large problems addressed in this book; would you really want someone to love you if you were left forever questioning whether or not the feeling came from their own free will? Is it worth it to win a game if it only happens because you unfairly made your opponent fail?
And if you were left to watch your best work come to nothing as good rained upon another person, might it not engender a slight amount of hatred, even if you didn’t know your opponent’s full responsibility?
That’s not to say that knowing would make it any better. Could you trust someone if you knew that any feelings of trust might just be what they want you to feel?
I like this book. The characters felt real, and the story left me thinking.
The Unwanted: The G6 Chronicles by Daniel L. Carter is the surprisingly good mixture of crazy, off-the-wall mad science experiments and believable, un-exaggerated faith. If, like me, you like the explanation of ‘science’ to come up with crazy fun it doesn’t seem should be possible or don’t want to be preached at when another’s belief is shown; this is a book worth checking out.
The story follows the early lifetimes of 5 children who were produced as part of an experiment in a secret genetic lab in Chicago. There were actually several of these labs, yet wanting to keep the project a secret, the company funding the project has taken to destroying the labs and killing their non-central workers in the unwanted facilities at any time when they looked to be in danger of falling under public scrutiny. As one of these laboratories is being covered up, two nurses are able to load a car with newborns and escape before they are all killed.
It also focuses on the investigation led by two FBI agents who are trying to figure out what is happening to cause the sudden seemingly-unprovoked killing of these workers. At least in Chicago it doesn’t look like infants were killed, yet investigators are simply baffled as to what the purpose of these deaths could be.
Of course, let’s not forget the great Dr. Tibon Agha here; his wonderful psychotic mind is responsible for a good bit of the fun. A large part of this story is the recounting of past events in his life. While these may not actually give him the right to act as he does, they certainly develop him into an interesting character.
Overall, I’d say this is an enjoyable story. While in a couple of places I was worried it my be ready to go ‘fantasy-religious’ on me, it never did. If we can just ignore the super-human science for a moment, the characters handled situations the same as real people may do.
A Whisper in Space (Adventures of the Spitfire Crew) by David C. Drizzit is the beginnings of Big Damn Love Story (Adventures of the Spitfire Crew) by the same author. It puts into place the reasons why the story’s characters are acting as they do, and even lets slip a major secret that is sure to effect future events. Unfortunately; while it is an enjoyable beginning that lays the groundwork for some interesting escapades, standing alone, it’s not much more than that.
The story starts with Drizzit giving us glimpses of an amusing crew upon a spaceship that wanders the stars,as they work by hiring their services out for all manner of business; be such business for transportation, or even bounty hunting. Such bounty hunting even brings about the main parts of this story:
1 The Spitfire has wandered slightly off course, and is in danger of getting lost in the open emptiness of space without effective navigators or mechanics.
2 People on the scarce-visited planet they are able to get to for help may have their own secret agendas.
3 Getting close to their target might just throw these wanderers up against parts of their past they were looking to get away from.
I wouldn’t advise reading A Whisper in Space alone. Many plot strings are started, but nothing was resolved. I did like how it was written, and wouldn’t refuse the whole story, yet a tease like this makes me wary to put down money when I have no guarantee that anything will ever fully happen.
Scat by Jim Graham is a great, futuristic tale involving everything you could expect to come from a Sci-fi story; be it rebels wanting to break their chains to Earth or frightening, very god-like aliens. The word Scat is actually a person, a high ranking Earth soldier with the last name Scatkiewicz. Soon after the story begins, he is hired to act as a spy and help keep an eye on the ever-growing society of those who live away from the planet, people who find that their lives and work only produce what is endlessly gobbled up by the very overpopulated Earth.
Because the people of Earth’s great demand for resources that they now find dwindling at home can be supplied by matter upon exoplanets, the idea of colonization becomes quite profitable. In fact, the money to be made makes it where most space exploration is funded by corporations who want control of the new possible commodities instead of relying upon countries that are looking to expand. This means that people who live off of Earth often resent the ‘home’ planet; its demand of materials that supply funds the corporations, who in turn are able to make nearly any demand of citizens on the planets they own so they can produce more and drive up the demand.
The corporations are forever looking for new, valuable property to claim. Because of this, when an item of unknown origin is encountered, the company who finds it tries to seal the priceless artifact away for their own inspection rather than letting their findings be known. Now, this is much more selfish than a simple case of hoarding. When considering the new technologies and possible monetary value the seeming space-junk may hold, i’s finders feel they have the right to ignore rules and procedures for alien contact that were put forth to look after humanity’s safety, and do so with barely a moment’s thought.
Living as a spy to try getting close to people can start to make that spy see things from the ‘enemy’s’ point of view. Before long Scat almost considers himself to to be one of the colony-rebels. His experience as a soldier before-hand makes him to be a quite worthy adversary. The problem that his enemies face is deciding if it would do them better to rid the universe of is anger for them or to try using his strength as their own asset.
This story had me riveted. I enjoyed the interactions between the people, and the descriptions of futuristic technology. The idea of the controller aliens and their technology caught me as sickeningly fun.
Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch(Volume 1) by L.A. Jones is a fun book about supernatural folk who live among us. Not just werewolves and vampires here, but everything from leprechauns and fairies to witches. Actually, let’s make that just one witch. You see, back around the time of the Salem witch trials there was also a bit of anti-witch fever among the world of the hidden races and it was believed that every witch was killed from existence; in fact, for a fair amount of time in this story no one can even guess what Aradia is.
And Aradia herself? All she knows about herself and her own past is that she was found alone in the wilderness as a baby by the couple who eventually adopt her. Her human ‘parents’ of course notice and realize the amazing magical feats she is capable of. They help her to keep her powers hidden so that she can have a chance at a normal life. It is through this need to appear normal that they unintentionally throw their daughter into a veritable hurricane of supernatural forces.
To escape the questions that are asked when a silly schoolkid argument unintentionally brings forth a display of her powers, the family decides to move away from their home in Arizona to go to Salem, Massachusetts. This is a city that finds itself to serve as something of a mixing pool of the supernatural. A happily paranormal version of New York.
I found myself enjoying this new take on a very common theme. I like it how the vampires are outraged when a serial killer starts draining his victim’s bodies of blood and so becomes known as ‘The Vampire Killer’. That would be a name that doesn’t help race relations when it starts to become clear that the victims are all werewolves.
As Aradia learns about the hidden world we are given a few brief scenes of powerful hidden people watching her. Enticingly, it leaves unanswered questions for future volumes wile letting the story itself come to a satisfying end. There are already 5 volumes of this series written.
Elena by Duncan Lloyd is a dark book about young Edward ‘Teddy’ Schoendienst who lives with his sister Ellen, and his father Dr. Edward Schoendienst in a small town where his father is the psychiatrist in charge of the local nut-house. His grandfather used to be the local minister, but is gone now. His mother is dead. Teddy is not a popular kid at school, and so spends most of his time with his three best friends: an imaginary Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade (an imaginary bum), and Mrs. Goethe (the local librarian).
One evening as he leaves the library, a group of bullies manage to surround him, total his bike and beat Teddy horrendously. His father is outraged of course. Dr. Schoendienst is a man who strongly believes in the strength of the individual working for himself. If the school and local police are unable to provide a safe environment for his son, he decides; why, young Edward is disciplined enough, he should home school on his own!
Of course now, Teddy isn’t left merely to indulge in his whims. He is given a strict curriculum of what he must accomplish while his dad is at work and his sister is at school. It’s just that one of the things that the other kids picked on him for is being smart. One of their favorite insults was to call him a “brain”. Now if a kid who thinks himself intelligent is left with too much free time to sit alone with his imaginary friends, trouble can start.
When free time for Teddy starts involving sexual fantasies about his sister Ellen I was more than a little grossed out, but I could continue reading because of his awareness of its wrongness himself. When trying to get beyond these incestual thoughts, the idea of a new woman comes upon him like a ghost. Her name is Elena. Unfortunately, this new imaginary friend asserts her presence until Teddy begins to doubt that he created her himself. Somehow even Ellen knows of Elena…