Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2

Welcome back readers! It’s nearly St. Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means! No, not zombies this time…well, ok zombies, but only a few… It means Romance! Pink and red decorations, creepy teddy bears, and candy that tastes like plastic abound! Oh, also love. Love probably abounds too. And the Friday Fiction Feature is not to be left in the dust, we’ve got stories of timeless love and romance against all odds (and some physics). It is Friday the 13th after all…
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The Professor’s Daughter  by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert

The Professor's DaughterOur first romance is one for the ages. Literally. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I at least have often wondered about this “one person for everyone” thing; what if that one person is in the South Sandwich Islands while I’m trapped up here in Minnesota? What if the deity in charge of romance mucked up and my one true love got born 30 years too late? Well, The Professor’s Daughter suffered from this very crossing of the stars, but wasn’t about to let a little thing like thousands of years and ancient embalming techniques stand in her way!

Three thousand years may seperate them, still… they love each other.
19th-century London. She is the lovely daughter of renowned Egyptologist Porfessor Bowell, he the dashing mummy Imhotep IV, owned by the professor and awake for the first time in thirty centuries. They stroll through London arm-in-arm and find their way into an abiding love, but everything seems to be getting in the way of it.
Murder, adventure, mystery kidnapping, Queen Victoria tossed into the Thames–what more could you ask for?

Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth #26) by M.C. Beaton 

Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth, #26)Sadly not all love can go as smoothly as the professor’s daughter’s, for some, like the unfortunate Sergeant Macbeth, tend to see death as an impediment to romance, even when it is not his own.  But, alas, for some the Death of a Valentine will always spoil a good date, if not because the valentine is your own, then at least by keeping you too busy to tend to your own lovely lad/lass. (So I suppose the romantic tip here is to stay away from corpses, at least until you’re married. Sound advice.)

Amazing news has spread across the Scottish countryside. The most famous of highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth, will be married at last. Everyone in the village of Lochdubh adores Josie McSween, Macbeth’s newest constable and blushing bride-to-be.
While locals think Josie is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of prenuptial jitters. After all, if it weren’t for the recent murder of a beautiful woman in a neighbouring village, there wouldn’t be a wedding at all. For it was a mysterious Valentine’s Day package–delivered to the victim before her death–that initially drew Hamish and Josie together on the investigation. As they work side by side, Hamish and Josie soon discover that the woman’s list of admirers was endless, confirming Hamish’s suspicion that love can be blind, deaf . . . and deadly.

My Zombie Valentine (Dark Ones #4.5 (Bring Out Your Dead)) by Katie MacAlister, Angie Fox, Lisa Cach, & Mari Mancusi 

My Zombie ValentineWe bring you next a selection of lovers so devoted, so connected to each other (or at least bits of each other), that Macbeth’s advice to avoid corpses is just the mantra of a quitter. For some devoted sweethearts to whom the underrated cry “Bring out your dead!” sounds like an invitation to speed-dating night pick up My Zombie Valentine and see some love that really never ends!

Four women who are about to dig up the truth!
Tired of boyfriends who drain you dry? Sick of guys who stay out all night howling at the moon? You can do better. Some men want you not only for your body, but your brains. Especially your brains.
It’s true! There are men out there who care–early-rising, down-to-earth, indefatigable men who’ll follow you for miles. They’ll take the time to surprise you, over and over. One sniff of that perfume, and you’ll have to use a shotgun to fight them off. And then, once you get together, all they want is to share a nice meal. And another. And another.
Romeo and Juliet, eat your hearts out.
“Bring Out Your Dead” by Katie MacAlister
“Gentlemen Prefer Voodoo” by Angie Fox
“Zombiewood Confidential” by Marianne Mancusi
“Every Part of You” by Lisa Cach

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon by P.N. Elrod, Marjorie M. Liu, Katie MacAlister, Lilith Saintcrow, Ronda Thompson, Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, & Caitlin Kittredge

My Big Fat Supernatural HoneymoonThere is a trend in romance tales which I imagine must be obnoxious to the happily married/partnered/living-together-and-please-stop-asking-when-we’re-getting-married-or-we-never-will-just-to-spite-you. It seems like all the best stories (practically all the stories actually) are about finding new love or getting engaged. There is a terrible dearth of actual happy couples who have been together for more than two years. (Unless you count the protagonists’ parents, and no they don’t count because I’ve seen those movies, and the parents never count). Fortunately we have My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon to at least fill in the next step in the romance genre. Picking up where the romance novels end, these stories will get us all the way through the wedding and at least to the following day! (Hey, it’s progress).

Nine popular fantasy and paranormal romance authors celebrate marital bliss supernatural style in a collection of honeymoon tales populated by demons, vampires, shape-shifters, magic-users, and other unusual characters.
What newly married couple doesn’t dream of a romantic retreat where they can escape the world for a while — but what happens when supernatural forces intrude on their wedded bliss?
Nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors answer that question in this all-star collection of supernatural stories. Can a vampire-hunter enjoy her honeymoon after learning that her new hubby is a werewolf? How can newlyweds focus on their wedding night when their honeymoon suite is haunted by feuding ghosts? And what’s a wizard to do when a gruesome monster kidnaps the bride on her way home from the wedding? With so much otherworldly mayhem awaiting our newlyweds, will they ever get around to the honeymoon itself? Find out in…My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon.

Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman & John Bolton

Harlequin ValentineOf course, some of you will not be completely impressed by my lineup of romance for (and across) the ages. Some of you prefer more boring traditional romance stories. Well, I have just the thing. One of the oldest romance stories we have, and the namesake for an entire industry of trashy romance; Harlequin! Because I also know my audience won’t want me to just push them towards an old story they may have heard time and time again, I’ve swapped out the original for a version updated by one of our favorite authors here on the Fiction Reboot.

In this modern retelling of a classic commedia dell’ arte legend of tomfoolery and hopeless, fawning love, creators Neil Gaiman (Sandman) and John Bolton (Manbat: Batman) update the relation of Harlequin and Columbine. A buffoon burdened with a brimming heart, Harlequin chases his sensible, oblivious Columbine around the streets of a city, having given his heart freely. Consumed with love, the impulsive clown sees his heart dragged about town, with a charming surprise to bend the tale in a modern direction. Gaiman’s writing is poetic and as loopy as the subject matter. Bolton’s art, a combination of digitally enhanced photo-realism and dynamic painting provides sensational depth with bright characters over fittingly muted backgrounds. Those who have spent Valentine’s Day alone know that the cold February holiday can be hard to swallow. Gaiman and Bolton want you to know that all it takes is a steak knife, a fork, and a bottle of quality ketchup.Contains an additional 8-page backup feature written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Bolton on the history of commedia dell’ arte!

Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne

Breathers: A Zombie's LamentThis last book aside, I doubt that many of you actually clicked on my Valentine’s edition hoping for some straightforward boy-meets-girl-meets-unnecsarry-problem-solves-problem-gets-happy-ending novels. So to get us firmly back on track, and in true Friday Fiction Feature spirit, we’re ending on zombies with Breathersa tale of love, loss (of life), and class action law suits. (and for those of you who–like me–thought the movie with a living person dating a zombie was just ucky, don’t worry, everyone’s undead here. Nothing ucky about it).

Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.
Darkly funny, surprisingly touching, and gory enough to satisfy even the most discerning reader, Breathers is a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for short) that will leave you laughing, squirming, and clamoring for more.

*P.S. rom-zom-com might be my new favorite appellation.

 

So from all of…me here at the Friday Fiction Feature, happy Valentine’s Day!
(And singles, please stop calling it Singles Awareness Day…that’s just sad. Literally SAD. That’s what it spells! You should celebrate this day of plastic candy too, just please, please come up with a new name!)

Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2Hello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! Series editor Tabatha here again, breaking away from the riveting world of research and finals to bring you some books with bite! This week we’ve got a very subtle theme: see if you can claw your way to it, but don’t blame me if it gets hairy!

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The Tattooed Wolf by Kim Bannerman

Kim Bannerman’s new book The Tattooed Wolf tears into the werewolf genre with a story of love, lunacy, violence and divorce- an unexpected, but intriguing approach (and besides, for those of us on a college schedule nearing finals, a little lunacy fits right in).

The Tattooed WolfCaufield muttered as he slouched back in his seat and crossed his hands over his belly, smirking. “You’ve got my attention, Dan; I’ll humour you. Tell me, from the very beginning, how you got into this whole bloody mess.”

Morris Caufield thought he’d seen it all…
Until the moment Dan Sullivan walked into his office. Dan needs a divorce lawyer he can trust, and he thinks Morris is the man for the job. The thing is, Dan wants Morris to represent his wife. Who tried to kill him. Twice. And as if that wasn’t enough, Dan expects Morris to buy some crazy story about werewolves…

As Dan reveals the truth about his life and his marriage, Morris listens to a captivating tale of lycanthropy, love and betrayal. It’s lunacy, he’s sure of that, but there’s something about Dan Sullivan that makes it all very easy to believe.

Blood and Chocolate by  Annette Curtis Klause

Blood and ChocolateOur next contribution, Blood and Chocolate, is a hairy tail I read as a Young Adult, and from which I still carry fond, if fuzzy, memories. (P.s. the wolf puns are not going to stop any time soon: better just put your tail between your legs and leap on for the ride).

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?

Werewolf by Peter Rubie

WerewolfBounding back through time, Peter Rubie’s Werewolf morphs into a new perspecitve and a new setting: following a crime-fighter (rather than the usual crime-causer) in WW2 London when the only threat worse than ze Germans was ze werewolf!

Something is prowling the streets of World War II London. It goes hunting during the fires and turmoil of the Blitz when most people are dodging Nazi bombs. But this creature isn’t deterred by the destruction or the carnage. As its victims start turning up shredded and gnawed, the East End community of Smiths Common becomes terrified of what might be preying on them. Only the gypsies will give it a name: werewolf.

Detective Sergeant George Llewellyn’s assignment is to restore order to the chaos of the war, and solve a series of brutal child slaying. A victim of his own abused past, George is haunted by the killings. As the pieces of the puzzle fit together, he is forced to confront his own rage and a decade-old gypsy curse before he can stop the ravages of the werewolf….

The Werewolf by Aksel Sandemose and Gustaf Lannestock

The WerewolfA great book to read by the light of a full moon, The Werewolf compiles stories of different werewolves facing the biting challenges of love, work, family and silver.

The Werewolf is a novel of the tyranny of love over men and women and the unending trials of strength between good and evil in human nature. Its main characters are of heroic stature yet deeply flawed, moving against the backdrop of Norwegian society from World War I to the 1960s.” Over the novel broods the symbol of the Werewolf, which for Sandemose represents all the forces hostile to a full, free life – the thirst for power over others’ lives, the lust to destroy what cannot be possessed or controlled. In their private encounters with the Werewolf, few can claim total victory. Sandemose’s characters all bear the scars of lost battles.

Confessions of a Werewolf Supermodel by Ronda Thompson

Confessions of a Werewolf SupermodelWith Confessions of a Werewolf Supermodel Rhonda Thompson pounces out of the usual dark woods and marks a new territory for her wolf: the catwalk.

Supermodel Lou Kipinski seems to have it all. But beauty is only skin deep–and sometimes Lou’s porcelain complexion can get a bit hairy. The only thing worse than a furry fashion faux-pas? Fangs in her million-dollar smile. That’s what happened six months ago, when Lou had her first outbreak. But now that she’s at the height of her career she absolutely must find a cure…So what’s a single werewolf gotta do?

Then a sexy detective comes knocking on her door. Two women who bear an eerie resemblance to Lou have been killed–something with teeth and claws tore them apart. Is it a coincidence that the grisly murders have taken place during the same time as Lou’s own outbreaks? With a killer at her heels and another outbreak just a concealer-wand’s distance away, Lou is soon in a race to discover truths about her own murky past. And before it’s all over she may be forced to show the world that her bark is nothing compared to her bite…

Werewolf Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Last but not least (the silver medalist?) sink your teeth into Werewolf HaikuRyan Mecum sharpens his poetic fangs with the story of a postal worker who fell prey to the quintessential mailman’s silver bullet: the resident dog.

Werewolf Haiku“Dear haiku journal, I think I killed some people.That was no dog bite.”

This journal contains the poetic musings of a mailman who, after being bitten by what he thinks is a dog, discovers that he is actually now a werewolf. Wreaking havoc wherever he goes, he details his new life and transformations in the 5-7-5 syllable structure of haiku–his poetry of choice.

Follow along as our werewolf poet slowly turns from a mostly normal man into the hairy beast that he cannot keep trapped inside. And watch out for carnage when he changes and becomes hungry. No toenail, no entrail, no pigtail will be left behind. And talk about wreaking havoc: His newfound claws and teeth have sent his clothing budget through the roof!

He is in love with a woman on his route, but he has never had the courage to tell her. As he fights against his urges during each full moon, he discovers that succumbing to his primal instincts will not only bag him a good meal–it just might help him in his quest for love…Or maybe not.
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FictionReboot2And so, dear readers, I will leave you with some hairy tales of adventure you can really sink your teeth into, until next week when we’ll have you howling over another snappy selection.