Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sub-genre Schizophrenia?

Yay, the week is almost over. Had quite a few urgent things at work this week which I really don't mind because I prefer it to be busy and I tend to work more efficiently in a crisis. Go figure.

I will take a moment to whine about the weather. Arrgghh. 8 inches of snow followed by 4 inches of rain and more snow on Sunday and then more rain on Tuesday. It's crazy. The rain on snow means a lovely layer of ice on side-walks. Not fun and I nearly did some groovy moves on the walk in today but didn't fall on my butt so it's all good.

Terrible news about the earthquake in Japan. It's been quite the season for natural disasters. The videos of the tsunami were just freaky, seeing the water just go and go and go. Mojo to all and I know the Red Cross in most countries are probably already accepting donations. I know in the US and Canada they are.

Anyway, I've read a book in just about every sub-genre out there. Historical, paranormal, sci-fi. Whew. Two of the three not my normal choices either.

Chasing the Mailman by Amber Redd
Dreamspinner Press

Usher is a horse farmer in ... somewhere they don't usually get tons of snow. One of his horses is killed by what he suspects is a large wolf, however the game warden ignores his calls for help. He helps the mailman (Jarreth) whose truck goes off the road in bad weather and they become friends. Usher would like it to be more since his partner died 8 years ago, but Jarreth gives off mixed signals and finally makes it clear he's not gay. Things start getting weirder and when Usher's dog runs off in the woods at night (ever heard of a leash?), Usher is attacked by a werewolf (movie-style) and protected by a large timber wolf. Soon other people are being killed around town and Usher, Jarreth, and a few of their friends and family are hiding out in Jarreth's house. When the police come to ask questions the big attack happens with lots of drama and a dementia-ridden mother saving the day. This is written in a very unusual style. Regular past tense point of view from Usher, but then every few paragraphs it would flip into his thoughts. An example:

He noted the snow chains on the vehicle too. Maybe I should wait another day and give the township more time to treat the roads before driving into Stone Trail.
So rather than say "He wondered if he should wait another day ...." it hops right into his head and what he's thinking at that time. It was quite different and didn't really work for me and I found it rather distracting. I figured out the mystery of the guardian wolf and the werewolf pretty quickly. Personally I would have been more pissed off if I was Usher at Jarreth's confession later, but he seemed so desperate for the guy he didn't even blink about the lies, including the fact Jarreth WAS gay. Then again, as I've said before, I'm a bit of a vindictive bitch who would make them suffer more. For those looking for a different writing style with the present tense thoughts inserted it's an interesting read and I salute the author for trying something different. In light of all the snow we've had lately reading a story with lots of storms seemed kind of relevant.

The Nobleman and the Spy by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Loose Id

Jonathan is a spy and former assassin who is tasked to keep an eye on a German nobleman. By chance he ran into Karl on opposite sides of the battle field years ago. Once Jonathan's cover is blown, there is instant chemistry between the two, despite Jonathan's reticence after being betrayed by his Captain and lover. However part of his job was to keep Karl safe if necessary and when a bomb goes off at a party nearly doing Karl in, they start to work together to solve the mystery of who wants him dead, while figuring out their relationship. I'm not a huge historical fan but I have read one or two of the other by these authors and enjoyed them and this was no different. While there is discussion of Karl and Jonathan being discrete, thanks to their positions they are able to be together and even back then, being royalty meant you could get away with a lot that the average guy on the street couldn't. I know some people didn't care for Jonathan and he is a bit of an everyman, kind of nondescript, no great personality, but I didn't mind him. He probably seemed more normal than most characters and I liked that he had less experience and was figuring out not only a relationship but sex with a more experienced Karl. So if you enjoy historical that while accurate (apparently), but not to the exclusion of a good romance - and I enjoyed the mystery part - this is another good one.

Retribution by Jambrea Jo Jones

And on to outerspace. It's like I have a time machine. Doctor, where are you? Okay, enough.

Rave and Kain were lovers working for the Alliance when Rave was falsely arrested for smuggling and sent to prison. As this happened Kain just so conveniently disappeared, leaving him dangling in the wind. A couple of years later, after getting out of prison (badly damaged by his treatment there) Rave and his best friend Sela are running a transport ship. Even though Rave knows Kain is still alive he avoids him until Kain comes on the ship and tells him it was all a big plot and know the plan is to pretend he's kidnapped so when Rave picks up his next shipment which is some kind of weapon, the Alliance will have an excuse to arrest him, thus getting the weapon. Well Kain should have clued in right there with that convoluted plan, but his main goal seems to be the convince Rave to give them another chance and he's not quite sure why Rave is pissed. Duh! When the whole story comes out, both men were used, but I found Kain's naivete at how his military used him, lying to him and coming up with plans that any normal guy would likely have called bullshit on, a bit much. I thought his expectation that Rave should just fall back in his arms after 2 years rather unbelievable. I was happy when Rave punched him. (See vindictive bitch comment from above.) I'm not a huge sci-fi in books fan, but there wasn't overkill and most of it seems to take you to a pretty comfortable sci-fi universe, something most of us have experience with in movies or on TV. I did like the BF Sela, which is unusual because usually the female BF is a raging overprotective/meddling bitch, but she was just right.


Jenre said...

How many shifter books have you read in the last few weeks? LOL!

I liked The Nobleman and the Spy too :).

Tam said...

I'm on a binge. LOL I bought two more last night from Silver. I should be careful or I'm going to burn out.

Anonymous said...

I was off shifters for a while, but I think I'm ready to go back.

I'm picky about historicals, and there have been very few sci-fi that I've enjoyed. I just don't think that genre is for me. Part of the problem is that the names of people and places are usually so "weird." It looks like JJJ did pick names that I can handle, though. :)

Average Reader said...

What an eclectic mix of stuff you're reading! I'm with Eyre on the weird names problem in SFF.

Tam said...

I've been on a shifter kick Eyre but it comes and goes.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan in books, love it on TV and movies which is odd but I say it's because I'm a lazy reader, I just want someone else to paint me a picture to build a world, don't make me imagine in words. :-) In this case I think Kain's middle name was Nicholas or something completely boring.

Tam said...

Names can be an issue Val, but in this case they were within the norm although probably a bit more "modern". No one was named SyZyFiop or Kr'oieue.

I had read the historical, then the shifter and I was looking at my TBR and thought,let's live dangerously and go for sci-fi. :-)

wren boudreau said...

Eclectic weather, eclectic reading... Glad you haven't landed on your butt in your travels!

Tam said...

Maybe that was it Wren, it was influencing my reading choices. I walked back on the road, forget the icy sidewalk.

Lily said...

Weather's really acting up everywhere. I started Spring cleaning yesterday morning and packed away almost all my sweaters. By nightfall we were in the 30s. Go figure! :)

I love shifter stories. So much that bothers me in other genres I can easily forgive in a shifter story.

I've got the last two in my TBR.

Hope you gave a great weekend! :)

Chris said...

I haven't read any of those! But weird names are a big part of my dislike for SFF - my brain doesn't want to remember all that crap anymore. :)

So, so, so tired of winter...

Tam said...

You and I are on divergent reading paths lately Chris. I've never read much sci-fi in the past but the names in this one were all "normal".

K. Z. Snow said...

I'm in the midst of my first YA novel. Although it isn't m/m, I'm really enjoying it 'cause it's post-apocalyptic, creepy, and very well written. I'd always been afraid that YA stories would seem dumbed down, but I've actually read a lot of adult fic that's far more stupid-sounding than this!

Got any m/m YA recs, Tam? I still intend to read Berman's book, but I can't think of any others offhand.

Anonymous said...

K.Z., I'm curious. What YA novel are you reading?

Bart Yates' The Distance Between Us is pretty good. It wasn't marketed as YA, but the main characters are teenage boys. It is GLBT.

David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy is pretty good, too.

Jenre said...

Try these, KZ:
Enlightened by JP Barnaby
Hero by Perry Moore
Masks: Rise of Heroes by Hayden Thorne
Thinking Straight by Robin Reardon
Geography Club by Bent Hartinger

I've not read them all but I know people who have recommended them to me in the past.

Tam said...

I also enjoyed J. Tomas's Without Sin about two boys in a Catholic school. Jen gave some good recommendations. I have Hero but haven't read it but friends of min really liked the Mask books - I think there are two - (adult friends).

My friend Craig just recommended The Maze Runner. I think it would be considered YA since the characters are teens. Not romance but for a good adventure read it sounds good.

Janna said...

The snow-rain-ice thing sucks, Tam. Winter seems to be endless in you part of the world...
Here we were having 15 degrees Celsius today, with sun. That was really energizing. :)
*sorry, didn't intend to make you jealous*

Your reading was eclectic indeed, lol.

And I'm swooning a bit because of your hottie of the day's werewolf eyes. *sigh*

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks, everybody! Suggestions duly noted.

Eyre, it's The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I found the title sufficiently intriguing to read the blurb, which really set the hook.

Tam said...

Ah 15 would be a treat. Even 4 feels nice today. :-) His glowing eyes are cool aren't they?

Hope you find some good ones KZ. Young adult these days I think walks a pretty fine line with adult, just usually less graphic sex.

Erotic Horizon said...

Hope the freaky weather stops soon - we need a bit of spring around now...

I'm a bit of a vindictive bitch who would make them suffer more

I agree on so many level -I love a bit of suffering in my reading as well..

Yeah for shifter books - they are really working for my re-read mode at the moment...


Leontine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leontine said...

We had the snow-rain-snow-rain weather crap going on in December and yeah, the sidewalk turned into something that made me go break dancing as well *sigh* It wasn't a pretty sight!

Tam said...

Spring. Soon I hope EH. I hate it when the one character is hurt really badly by the other and then he just "oh yeah sorry" and the other guy goes "Great, no problem". Ummm. The guy did THAT and you can just forgive him in a day? I don't think so. :-)

Yeah, it's not fun Leontine. Hopefully the warm weather in the last few days has gotten rid of most of the ice, but we'll see if we get more snow again. OMG, I just checked the weather and it says 12 on Friday. I can only hope. LOL