Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cyborgs Pirates and Vamps

Oh, my!

Nothing angst-y, drama-y this time around.

'Jennifer Government' by Max Barry is one of those novels that I pretty much fell in love with as soon as I started reading. Which is unfortunate for Mr. Barry because it means that it's the novel against which I will always judge anything else he commits to paper. 'Machine Man' is his newest book and, while I enjoyed the bejeezus out of it, it didn't inspire 'Jennifer Government' levels of glee. Barry's a good satirist and is adept at taking a semi-plausible near-future premise and stretching it out to a truly absurd level. This time, it's a lab geek who, after an unfortunate accident, seizes on the idea of making himself a better man through prosthetics. Of course, the company he works for wants nothing more than to use his ideas for their own financial gain and things go ridiculously off the rails. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read and was a great transition from the High Drama of the last couple of books on my list.

Tawna Fenske is an Oregon author whose debut(?) romance, 'Making Waves', is one of those over-the-top frothy concoctions that is best paired with a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it. It's got contemporary pirates (though not the scary realistic sort) and a tropical setting and porn-tastic descriptions of food. There's a stowaway, a diamond heist, and a laugh-out-loud stretch of dialogue where our hero and heroine overhear a couple having "tacky sex". If you've got a couple of hours to kill while lounging in a poolside chaise and being served the aforementioned fruity cocktails, this is the book to have stashed in your tote.

And, okay, now it gets a little more serious, but in a paranormal kinda way.

'Bloodlines' by Richelle Mead is a spin-off from (continuation of?) her YA Vampire Academy series. Two characters who have played important supporting roles in the original series of books, Adrian Ishakov and Sydney Sage, take center stage here. If you haven't read the original novels, this probably isn't a good place to start. Although Mead does a fine job of giving the plot points from those earlier books that influence the events here, there is a lot of character background and inter-personal stuff that would make little sense to a new reader. But, for anyone who's read the Vampire Academy books, it's great to see familiar characters in new ways and in new combinations. There are a lot of seeds planted in this "first" book for what may unfold as the series continues and they're very intriguing. My only regret is that I read this in one sitting and didn't stretch it out longer. Who knows how long it'll be before I get another new Richelle Mead novel? I should've tried to make this one last.

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