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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Releases by Debut Authors!

Looking for something new?  Try one of these recently released author debuts or series starters!

How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
The main character in this standalone struggles with what is reality, memory, and what is imagination in this chilling thriller.  S.J. Watson fans will love this!

Styx & Stone by James W. Ziskin
This period series debut is set in 1960's New York City.  It's an amateur sleuth mystery with noir undertones.  Fans of Mad Men's Peggy Olson will love Ellie Stone and her experiences working as a reporter in a very male-oriented industry.

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
This space opera by pseudonymous Bach features a strong female lead.  SF fans who love the action and adventure of Whedon's Firefly series should check this one out!

Masks  by E.C. Blake
Blake's debut is a traditional fantasy with a unique magic system focused around masks.  The age of the protagonist and its coming-of-age theme makes this a good potential Y.A. crossover.

Game, Set and Murder by Elizabeth Flynn
Fans of British police procedurals will enjoy this first in D.I. Angela Costello series.  Angela's first big case centers on the murder of a tennis coach at Wimbledon.

Séance Society by Michael Nethercott
Although Nethercott has published many short works, this is his first novel.  It's another historical, set in the mid-1950's and features a private detective, amateur sleuth duo.  Fans of Sherlock Holmes and historical mysteries in general will enjoy this one!

White Ginger by Thatcher Robinson
Set deep in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, White Ginger is a mystery that challenges the Buddhist beliefs and pacifist ways of the main character whose job as a people finder often puts her in the path of violence.  Mystery readers looking for a cultural twist should pick this up!

All titles are held by LPLS.  To check availability, go to our online catalog, or call a branch! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Goodbye Bon Temps, Welcome Midnight, Texas

By now, the fact that Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series ended is very old news. But I just finished the last book and felt like writing about it.

I drug my feet for a while. While I’m not a huge fan of HBO’s interpretation of Bon Temps, I’ve loved these books since 2001 when Dead Until Dark came out. And the idea that this was the very last one… Well, I had to mourn a little first before I could read that last one and enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did. Without spoiling things for people who are also dragging their feet, the series ended exactly the way I wanted it to.

I know that, as long as HBO keeps producing True Blood, readers will always be interested in Bon Temps and the supernatural people who live there. I hope that’s true even after the show ends. I know that I will do my part and keep on recommending them to patrons looking for quality contemporary fantasy. But for fans like me, readers who feel the ending of an era with the ending of this series, there will be quite a void when next spring rolls around without a new Sookie story.

Luckily, there are a few writers out there who are producing stories that are just as compelling and well-crafted.
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley – Rae “Sunshine” Seddon’s first person narration is just as charming and down-to-Earth as Sookie’s. Although the vampire lore is different and the setting is post-apocalyptic, there isn’t much worldbuilding or info-dumping that bogs the story down. This standalone is artfully crafted and extremely readable.
  • Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs – Many Sookie fans already know and love Mercy. She’s regarded by many fans of the genre as Sookie’s heir. So this is more of a shout-out than a passing-on of knowledge. The Mercy series shares many elements with Sookie’s: a charming first-person narration; tight writing, plotting, and editing; a romance subplot; a rich world filled with magic and paranormal creatures; and a strong female main character with her own unique magic.
  • Walker Papers series by C.E. Murphy – One of the things that make the Sookie series successful with so many different readers is the strong mystery element. The structure of each book is more mystery than anything else. Which makes sense – Harris’s bibliography up to 2001 was entirely made up of mysteries, mostly of the amateur sleuth variety. Murphy’s long-running series shares this. Her heroine, Joanne Walker, is a police officer whose work and personal life sometimes conflict. While Joanne is a bit more outwardly strong than Sookie, all the elements we love are there.
  • Jane Jamison/Half Moon Hollow series by Molly Harper – This series straddles the blurry line a little between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The first four focus on former librarian and newly-made vampire Jane. The small town setting and quirky first person narration will grab Sookie fans right away. (I also have to admire the pro-library aspect of both series.)
  • Harris’s other work – Aurora Teagarden, Lily Bard, and Harper Connolly series. Normally I hate looking for book recommendations based on a favorite author only to come away with other titles by that author. But many contemporary fantasy fans don’t cross genres. In this instance, they should. Harris is comfortable working with any type of tone or setting from light (Aurora) to dark and gritty(Harper). Lily and Sookie fall somewhere in between depending on the individual installment.
For those of us who just want more Harris do not despair! An epilogue to the series, After Dead, is out now and contains an encyclopedia of character endings.

She also has two new series debuting in 2014. Cemetery Girl kicks off a graphic novel trilogy in collaboration with Christopher Golden and artist Don Kramer.

If graphic novels or collaborations aren’t your thing, this Spring Harris launches the new Midnight, Texas series with the book Midnight Crossroad. In an interview given last July, Harris said that we'd see cameos of characters from all of her series in the new one.

So, readers, how do you feel about the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series? Any books you would recommend to fellow fans?

 All of the titles above, with the exception of the 2014 releases, are all held by LPLS.  For availability, check our online catalog or call a branch!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013