Treat Her Right – Lori Foster

Lori Foster lives in Ohio with her husband and three sons…she’s written 70 plus romance novels in her career as a writer but started out in various jobs in sales and handling material for Proctor & Gamble, but, quit becoming a stay at home mom.  She gained an interest in romance novels when stuck at home with pneumonia which was followed by her interest in writing them herself.  Within five years, she had completed then manuscripts but sold only one of them.  Harlequin published her first in 1996.

I became interested in her novels after reading Caught in the Act, which I’ve written about already, this is the fourth in the Men to Rescue series (Caught in the Act is the third). The story is well written and quite funny.  Zack Grange, an EMT with a young daughter has lost his wife several years earlier is rudely woken after a late shift by the noise of someone moving into the empty house next door and is taken aback by the stunning beauty who appears to be the new neighbor.  As is a common theme in many romance novels, hate turns into shear lust which turns into a strong bond and love; however, in this case, it’s the journey that is so fascinating here not to mention the intense sexual energy between these characters and the adorable as anything daughter.

I quite enjoyed this and look forward to reading the others in the series.  If your enjoy this, try some of her other novels which are too numerous to even list here.

 

The City at Worlds End – Edmond Hamilton

Edmond Hamilton was an American novelist of the early to mid twentieth century.  Much of his work was science fiction.  Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he was considered to be a child prodigy and graduated from high school at the age of 14 after which he gained admittance to Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania…although he left at age 17 without a degree.

His first short story in a genre that hasn’t been yet named as Sci-Fi, “The Monster God of Mamurth” published in 1926 in the magazine Weird Tales (the term Sci-Fi wasn’t coined until 1954).  Throughout the ’20s and ’30s, Hamilton was a very popular writer of space operas, in fact it is said that he an E. E. “Doc” Smith were the creators of this sub-genre of Sci-Fi.  His story “The Island of Unreason”, published in Wonder Stories in 1953 was the first story to win the Jules Verne Prize as the best Sci-Fi story of the year, which was the precursor of the Hugo Awards.   In 1945, Hamilton also wrote for DC Comics for Superman and Batman and was instrumental in the Legion of Super Heroes including many of the founding concepts.

In The City at Worlds End, the idyllic small town of Middletown, there is a secret; unknown by the majority of the citizens, Middletown is the home of the U.S.’s atomic defense research.  Our hero, Hamilton, is one of those scientists and one day while walking in town, an unnamed enemy has dropped a “superatomic bomb” over Middeltown…everyone drops to the ground and covers their heads although Hamilton knows this is futile…..or is it?  Shortly afterwards, he gets up off of the street and is amazed that he’s still alive and so is everyone else….but, something is different, the Sun is an odd color and it’s chilly.

So begins The City at Worlds End…Hamilton has transported this small town far, far, far into Earths future as a result to an atomic attack.  The citizens have to come to the realization that they are alone on an “alien”, inhospitable Earth.   Other than themselves, there are no other Humans on Earth and on a dying planet with a dying sun where every night is far below 0F and the days aren’t much above freezing either they are going to have to find some way to survive…they eventually do find a still standing domed city which offers some protection from the cold and has tanks of fresh water, but despite being Human it is very alien to these early twentieth century folks and just isn’t home.

This story is partly about the trials and tribulations of people trying to cope with such massive change and the daily struggle to survive.  It’s also also about human relationships and how they struggle to deal with crisis and drastic change from the norms.  It’s also about culture shock when alien races are eventually contacted and the how different and alien Humans become after thousands and thousands of years and how it’s possible to have more in common with alien races and less so with your own over time.

Yes, this is somewhat dated in some ways, but, in others it’s still quite relevant and very easy to read and relate to.  I quite enjoyed the story, but, it did kind of end abruptly and I found it quite unlikely that people would find out that they’ve been lied to for years then simply accept being led by the deceivers; however, if he hadn’t the story wouldn’t have gone very far.  The aliens are endearing and quite funny, it was the humans (both twentieth century and future) are actually the most annoying here; the twentieth century because they are so set in their ways and unwilling to give up their homes even to survive and the future humans in their “we know best” attitude.  Don’t get me wrong, I can see both in reality…frankly, we see it every day, I just don’t quite relate to either.  Without turning this into a political blog, this progressive attitude is overly present today with those on the far left and far right convinced that they know best and that everyone who doesn’t believe what they believe are the “unwashed masses” and just don’t know better so it’s our responsibility to “take care of them” and make them do what the were unwilling to or refused to take responsibility for in the first place.  On the other hand, there are those who are so resistant to change that they either fade from relevance or they gain enough power to suppress those that want to move forward.

I’m afraid I’ve not read anything else by Edmond Hamilton other than what I’ve mentioned; however, I do intend to remedy that.  If you want to hear this book rather than read it, there is an excellent LibriVox recording for free read by Mark Nelson.

The Big Over Easy – Jasper FForde

I’ve already written about Jasper Fforde, so I won’t explain what I know of him again.

I’ll admit, I’m a big fan of his Thursday Next novels and as a new series based on some comments made in the Thursday Next novels…but, don’t be mistaken, this isn’t the same series, although perhaps in the same world.  Never the less, I quite enjoyed the story.

This story is based on the Nursery Crime Division staring detective and family man Jack Spratt who is investigating what may or may not be a crime, a certain ovoid minor celebrity has been found in pieces…literally.  Did he fall to his death off a wall, or was he murdered?  Yes, the down and out Humpty Dumpty has been found dead and the investigation, much like all of Fforde’s novels, takes some seriously twisted and humorous  turns.  Written in much the same manner as Dashel Hammett and others in the genre, this hilarious noir crime novel is one entertaining gem of a story.  Despite the bizarre premise, the pace is fast and consistent with believable characters that you genuinely care for….a talent that, perhaps not uniquely his, is a particular talent of Ffordes.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • The Fourth Bear
  • Or any of Fforde’s other novels

Surrender – Kimberly Zant

Who is Kimberly Zant?  I’m assuming that this is a nom de plume since I can find no information about this individual, even their publisher only says that she enjoys the spicier side of life and a good erotic yarn…that’s it.  If any of my readers know or have a clue, I’d be interested in finding out.

I’ve read a couple of her books, and frankly, this is by far the best of what I’ve read.  Let me be clear, I personally have not interest in a ménage à trois, ménage à quatre or more so I was very skeptical of the story when I found it on Fictionwise (before they were bought by Barnes & Noble) and bought it because I had credits that were about to expire. I am happy to say that I was very surprised how enjoyable, if not implausible, the whole story was.

In an act of desperation to keep her children, Anna sells herself as a sex slave to a group of men for six weeks.  If she doesn’t come up with some very necessary funds quickly, her asshole of an ex husband is going to win the custody case against her.  She signs a contract that essentially gives these undisclosed and sight unseen men rights to do just about anything and everything they desire to her and with her, except kiss.  She believes she can close her eyes “and think of England”, get it over with, and no one would be the wiser and when it’s over she won’t have to see these men again and she would keep telling herself it was for the right reasons.

From the very beginning she’s subjected to things that she found to be distasteful and embarrassing, but, she also experiences something she didn’t expect….she’s actually excited and frankly, getting very hot…  But, she keeps asking herself, why her?  She’s not young, she’s not overly attractive, she’s slightly older than most of these men.  Why do these men look like they’re related?  They’re obviously rich, so, why do they need to hire someone for their pleasure?

Nothing is quite what it seems…these men are not callus as they first appear to be and generally take great care not to actually injure her either physically or emotionally.  Could she actually coming to like these men?  What happens when the six weeks are up, can she bear to loose them?

The sex scenes are well written and hot….I mean scorching, yet, not overly explicit and from a very personal point of view and are as much her reactions and feelings as they are about the sex.   The main fault is the very abrupt ending.  Throughout the story ebbs and wanes and reaches a climax in a single ending chapter….then just ends….no cuddling or anything  (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Other stories by the author:

  • Awakened
  • Heart of Midnight
  • and many more

Blood Price – Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff is a Canadian writer who writes fantasy, paranormal romance and sci-fi, often involving strong female main characters.  Unfortunately, my personal knowledge and research hasn’t raised much in way of a background.  She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a Bachelor of applied Arts in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, Ontario and currently resides with her wife Fiona Patton in rural Ontario.

This novel is the first of the “Blood” books involving a former police officer, Vicki Nelson, who was forced from her position as detective by Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes failing eyesight, and Henry Fitzroy, a historical romance writer who also happens to be a vampire and the 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

Vicki witnesses the brutal murder of a young man and is hired to investigate by his girlfriend, Coreen Fennel who claims that her boyfriend was murdered by a vampire, which she of course does not believe and even after seeing the killer disappear she chalks it up to her failing eyesight.  While investigating, she’s knocked unconscious and wakes up in an unknown apartment with a strange man looking through her purse.  The stranger, Henry Fitzroy, explains that he isn’t the killer but a demon is, oh and he’s a 450-year-old vampire…so begins a guilty indulgence of a series of 5 novels and a short story involving these two and several other characters.

The stories are cheesy, to be honest, but enjoyable much like watching the silly Sci-Fi series.  Cleopatra 2525 and much like the first few years of Smallville, the stories are “monster of the week”. This first and the last are probably the best of the series, probably due to them being more character based.  My biggest complaint has to do with the simplicity, i.e. it’s very, very straight-forward and other than the main vampire, all of the characters are stereotypical with clear delineation between “good” and “evil” and little depth or background; however, that can be part of it’s charm as well since it doesn’t require any “deep thinking” either.

The series of books was also the basis for a Canadian/Lifetime channel television series, called Blood Ties, which ran for two seasons.  The series was “OK”, just a cheep, Canadian cable television series…but, if you can get it cheap or off of Netflix, it’s still watchable…but, like so many books turned into movies or series imagination and visual media never quite match up.

If you enjoy this, please read the remainder of the series:

  • Blood Trial
  • Blood Lines
  • Blood Pact
  • Blood Debt

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror – Christopher Moore

I know I’ve written about Christopher Moore before, so I won’t describe him much here other than to say that this story proves that he is one man with a fertile, wickedly funny and weird imagination.

I chose this book to write about merely because it’s getting so close to the Christmas season and frankly, I’ve been dying to do so.  This story has it all, Santa Claus (well someone dressed up as one), murder, betraying, Christmas angels, and zombies, what more could you ask for?

The angel Raziel, last seen in Moore’s “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal“, comes down to Pine Cove (a small coastal California town which is frequently a location in Moore’s novels) to grant one child a Christmas wish.  Raziel is not the sharpest tool in the celestial shed…and when he grants the wish of a small boy (who saw the local land developer dressed up as Santa killed and buried in a shallow grave on a Christmas tree farm a short distance from the town’s cemetery) to not let Santa be dead, he mistakenly resurrects not only “Santa” but all of the dead in the cemetery all of which reek mayhem and death and terror on the towns folk collecting for a Christmas gathering.  Will anyone survive?  Will anyone want to?

This is one of Moore’s funniest (and shortest) books to date and the first of Moore’s books to begin production into a film (although others have been discussed, options sold, etc..).  The films web site is claiming that principal photography is supposed to begin in 2013, they’re kind of running behind if they haven’t at least started.

If you like this, read:

  • Practical Demonkeeping
  • Bloodsucking Fiends
  • Island of the Sequined Love Nun
  • The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
  • Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Towing Jehovah – James Morrow

James Morrow is a self proclaimed scientific humanist. His most famous series of novels is referred to as the Godhead Trilogy and are religious satire with elements of apocalypse.  The Godhead Trilogy (i.e. Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon and The Eternal Footman) are epic tales about God’s suicide and the aftermath, men coming to grips in a world without God and yet finally knowing that he did exist.  Religion and the religiously obsessed tend to be recurring themes in many of his stories and while many treat his novels as athiest (he considers himself to be one, I think this is too simplistic.  Blameless in Abadon, for example, is about a man who has suffered more than anyone should ever have to and taking God to task for his suffering. And while irreverant, whether the story is an affirmation of religion or of anti-religion is in the eye and mind of the reader.

In Towing Jehovah, the first in the Godhead Trilogy, the massive body of God is found floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Vatican secretly hires a supertanker to tow the body to a tomb being carved out of ice in the Artic.  Along the way, any number of challenges along the route including a group of atheists discovering the body and attempting to destroy it to prevent everyone from knowing that, while now dead, God did exist which now proves they were wrong all along.  The supertanker’s captain, Van Horne, struggles with guilt over damage caused to the ecology (think Exxon Valdez) as well as the usual that everyone struggles with (girlfriend and father), but hopes for redemption in his devine task.  Even worse are crew mutinys and the results of the devine corpose decomposing in ways never expected.

The novel is equal parts religious satire, and naval adventure drama.  The story is funny, scary, and critical of every faction you can imagine (feminists, athieists, organized religion, you name it).  Noone is off limits and everyone is lampooned in action and statement, yet, underneath there is a overwhelming question…”Can we, whether we say we believe in God or not, survive without Him?”

If you enjoy this, read:

  • Blameless in Abaddon
  • The Eternal Footman