Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, #10)During Dead in the Family, Sookie is still dealing with the physical and emotional fallout from the Fae War. Sookie’s boyfriend, Eric, is having difficulties with Louisiana’s new vampire power structure, and her friend and employer, Sam, is facing increased scrutiny now that shapeshifters have made themselves publicly known. Sookie faces ambitious vampires and vengeful fairies, and is also drawn back into drama surrounding the Shreveport wolf pack, all while many of her strongest allies are distracted with troubles of their own.

This review doesn’t include any major spoilers for this book, though I will bring up a few more of the many, many plotlines than the cover blurb does – because it would be hard for me to write much about this book without them. Those who don’t want to hear what could be thought of as light spoilers should read no further, and of course you shouldn’t read this review at all if you haven’t finished the previous Sookie books.

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Men of the Otherworld is an anthology focused on Clay and Jeremy Danvers, mostly told from Clay’s perspective. Most of this book was previously available for free on Armstrong’s website, but it’s nice to see it in print form. Armstrong will be donating her proceeds from the book to World Literacy of Canada.

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When Kitty and Ben decide to elope to Las Vegas in Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, Kitty doesn’t expect it to turn into a working vacation. But she gets an opportunity to broadcast her radio show on television, which means she’ll be spending a little less time lounging by the pool and a little more time poking into the area’s supernatural community. She encounters a surprisingly large vampire population, a seductive group of lycanthropes, and a stage magician whose act might be based on real abilities. If that wasn’t enough, some people from Ben’s past are in town – bounty hunters who carry guns with silver ammunition.

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In Living With the Dead, Hope Armstrong and her boyfriend Karl Marsden take an extended trip to LA in order to spend time with Robyn. She’s Hope’s recently widowed, fully human best friend, and she works as a PR rep for an up-and-coming celebrity socialite. When Robyn’s client is killed, she makes several extremely bad decisions and becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation.

When she calls Hope and Karl for help, they use their respective chaos half-demon and werewolf skills to find out what really happened. The search involves a secretive group of supernaturals, a powerful Cabal, a ghost, and a cop with a tiny dose of necromancy ability. As the case unfolds, clearing Robyn starts to seem less important than keeping her alive. All this is made more complicated by the fact that they’re trying to keep Robyn in the dark about the supernatural world.

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We’re practically swamped in anthologies lately, this one is a holiday themed collection. The stories in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe involve werewolves and Christmas, though several of them could have been set at any time of year and seem to only include seasonal mentions as an afterthought.

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Breaking Dawn is the fourth book in the series. It begins with a wedding. That goes pretty smoothly, though Meyer can’t resist the urge to have a little love triangle angst in the mix. Writing much of anything about the honeymoon would mean I’ll have to focus on it, and that’ll make me want to drink heavily. So let’s just skip it.

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This anthology from the Horror Writer’s Association may not be to the taste of every urban fantasy fan, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Blood Lite is a collection of humorous horror stories, so some of them get a bit cheesy. Short descriptions of each are below.

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Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

October 17, 2008

In Eclipse, Bella prepares for both graduation and her planned transformation. She and Edward have their usual arguments and misunderstandings, mostly centering around the confusing idea that Bella is eager to become an immortal so she can be with Edward forever but she’s still reluctant to marry him. Read the rest of this entry »

At the start of New Moon, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are a happy couple. Surely they’re past the relationship drama that bogged down the previous book, right?

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Cry Wolf is the first novel in a new series by Briggs. Anyone familiar with her Mercy Thompson books will recognize some of the characters. It’s set shortly after the events of Moon Called.

The main character is Anna, a skittish young woman who was turned into a werewolf against her will. She spent years living in an abusive pack until being recently rescued by Charles, whose wolf side immediately claimed Anna’s as its mate. Of course this makes things awkward between Anna and Charles, who are basically strangers.

Charles is the son of the leader of all the North American werewolf packs, and he works as his father’s enforcer. He explains to Anna that she is a rare Omega wolf, which means she has a calming effect on other werewolves and is not bound by direct orders from an Alpha. When a rogue werewolf begins hunting humans close to Charles’s home, Anna hopes that these newly-discovered abilities will help. But the rogue is only part of a larger evil, one whose ancient grudge and current ambition could endanger the rest of the continent’s werewolves.

This book was set up in the story “Alpha and Omega” from the On the Prowl anthology. It explains how Anna and Charles meet, so if you skip it then you should be aware that you’re missing out on backstory. It also includes a Karen Chance short that some who enjoy Briggs might like. I didn’t care for the other two stories, they’re more romance-oriented.

Briggs tries to work the story’s most important details into Cry Wolf, but I can easily see some things confusing those who didn’t read “Alpha and Omega.” The basic plot of how the main characters met came through just fine, but I didn’t feel that this book did the best job of introducing the relationship between Anna and Charles. We got a great take on the difficulties of their situation, but not as much of a sense about why they should be together other than the attraction that their wolf sides share. I hope that the next book spends more time on the human part of their relationship, because right now it seems a little arbitrary.

Anna is a likable character, and the peculiar way that she managed to deal with some of the traumatic events of her past makes for a fantastic twist. Charles is still pretty mysterious, it was interesting to see the different ways that the other characters reacted to him. It was nice to get a different view of Bran’s pack, though (and this is just random speculation) I’d be surprised if Anna and Charles end up spending most of their time in Aspen Creek.

There was a good balance of mystery, action, and character development, and the ending was intense. This is a series with a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the characters better.

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