Marmee Noir returns in Blake vampire series

By J. Stephen Bolhafner at St. Louis Today
Anita Blake’s guns blaze and her love life becomes ever more complicated in “Bullet,” the 19th book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.

Those who think the erotic interludes in Laurell K. Hamilton’s novels threaten to overwhelm the plot may not be happy with this one, as there is more sex than in her most recent installments. But it’s hardly extraneous to the plot. In ways it would be spoiling things to reveal, the sex scenes really are inextricably linked with the development of the story.

The big news is that Marmee Noir is back. Fans may remember that the ancient progenitor of all vampires was finally judged to be so dangerous that the Vampire Council hired mercenaries to blow her up.

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Book review: ‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin

By Ed Nawotka at Dallas News
It hasn’t happened yet, but the end of the world begins under the 610 loop in Houston.

It starts when a River Oaks housewife in tennis whites pulls over her gleaming black Denali to give a homeless man $20. That innocent encounter ends luridly, like so many of the true-crime stories that come from the nation’s fourth-largest city, with the woman floating dead in her pool and the man, named Carter, sitting on death row in Huntsville.

Fast forward to 2016, when our story begins proper, and things are familiar but different: Jenna Bush is governor, gasoline is $13 a gallon, and New Orleans, destroyed by Hurricane Vanessa, has been cordoned and redubbed the Federal Industrial District of New Orleans.

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Feed Your Reader

Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor
Now free on the US version of Apple’s “iBooks” store:’s four major award finalists from 2009, nicely done up as elegant ePub files for your iPad (and, once iOS 4 ships on June 21, your iPhone).

All four are also available for free in Amazon’s Kindle Store and the Sony Reader store; they’ll appear soon in some other channels as well. They’ll stay free until after the Hugo Awards are announced at Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne, Australia, over Labor Day Weekend.

More Details here

Q&A: Android Karenina Mash-Up Author Ditches Horror For Sci-Fi

By Allie Townsend at Techland
Ben Winter’s Android Karenina – yes, Leo Tolstoy – takes the monster mashing to a place rarely touched by wannabes: science fiction. The shift from classic horror to sci-fi is refreshing, and more importantly, necessary to rejuvenate what is now, somewhat of a tired trope. Android Karenina is Tolstoy’s sweeping epic told with a steampunk twist. Winters cleverly takes the major philosophical issues of Tolstoy’s world and gives them a sci-fi polish: The relationship between the classes is shifted to the question of the relationship between man and machine. That’s right, robots.

AT: How then, did you decided to mash-up Tolstoy? Why Anna Karenina and robots?

BW: The title was so great, it was irresistible. We were talking about a bunch of possibilities for the next book and Android Karenina was a title that had been suggested early on. It was so deliriously ridiculous that you wanted to find a way to make a book out of it. I know this is audacious to say, but Anna Karenina is widely recognized as one of the best, if not the best, novels that has ever been written. It’s so beautiful and so big and has so many ideas and the story is so compelling and the characters are so real, I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t resist seeing if we could pull this off with a novel that is beloved, and beloved for a reason.

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Writing Tips from The Hunger Games

via Katacomb@Blogspot
As you all probably know, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is hot, hot, hot right now. I might be a little late on the bandwagon–I just finished the first book yesterday. But to make up for my tardiness… I read straight through the night and finished the thing in about five hours, ending at 4 am!

That in itself is a testament to the book. But this post is not a book review–no, I’m going to give you some writing advice using The Hunger Games as an example. After all, the books has got to be selling like hotcakes for a reason, right?

2. The fact that the mayor’s daughter isn’t a stuck up snob like stereotype demands.
Okay, so this is a tiny thing, but I serious gave a little sigh of relief when her personality was revealed.

Takeaway message: Even your minor characters shouldn’t be stereotypical if you can help it. Don’t go overboard, but try to reverse some tropes and stereotypes!

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Guest Post: On Female Victors and Probability

By John at Hogwarts Professor


It’s Hunger Games Time! Mary Baldwin College Professor Louise Freeman, a longtime friend of this weblog. has jumped from the Pearl Plot and other ideas about Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novels posted here into exploration of neglected details of the series that open up fascinating possibilities about the series’ finale, The Mockingjay. I’ll be posting her insights here this week and next — stay tuned!

Female Victors, Probability and the Quarter Quell

A commonality shared by Johanna and Katniss on Catching Fire is their status as the lone female victor in their District.  Thus, when the conditions of the third Quarter Quell are announced, they are both in the position of being the only name in their Reaping lottery and therefore automatic “winners” of the 96% death chance that comes with being an Arena tribute.  Actually, the risk is probably even higher given their gender; with the emphasis on hand-to-hand combat in the Games, it is fair to assume there are more male than female victors.  So, the odds of survival for these women were probably never higher than 2% or so.  Or even less if you consider neither are from Career districts.

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The more I hear about The Passage the more interested I become. But 600 pages is very off-putting, so I will absolutely wait for the paperback. But Android Karenina I’ll read right away. All of the And Zombies/Vampires got old very quickly, so I just started avoiding them. So when a new creature comes out I happily check the book out (like Little Women and Werewolves, I loved it!). It may help that I hadn’t read Little Women, and haven’t read Anna Karenina (while I have read all the Jane Austin books), but who knows.

What upcoming books are you looking forward to?