Looking for something light and fun? Try these books by Beth Hilgartner - one about animals and one about people named for animals.
*** A BUSINESS OF FERRETS by Beth Hilgartner
I read Beth Hilgartner's A BUSINESS OF FERRETS and CATS IN CYBERSPACE. Both very good. A BUSINESS OF FERRETS is YA fantasy that moves between Ferret, an apprentice thief, and her friends in the slums and the Court. Ferret et al get involved in complicated court conspiracies when Owl, a beggar boy, is taken by a slaver and sold to a member of court who has plans to control the throne and intends to use owl to further these. There are a couple of romances, one so low-key I didn't notice it until near the end. There are good guys, bad guys, in-between guys, priests, priestesses, a goddess, foreign mercenaries, an idealistic king of unknown potential, mobs, gangs. --Margaret
CATS IN CYBERSPACE by Beth Hilgartner
CATS IN CYBERSPACE could be summed up by "on the internet no-one knows you're a cat". Fluffy, the narrator, and the psychotic PKP are annoyed because their Two-legs, who used to work at home and provide all day care to their cats, now have jobs that take them from home. The cats would like to return to the previous arrangement but don't know how until Dana brings a laptop and modem home. Fluffy and PKP soon work out how to use the internet and start playing the stock market using money they "borrow" from Dana's account. They quickly make enough to repay Dana but realise the need for their own online identities and banking facilities. Making money turns out to be easy but there are complications - how do you get pizzas delivered when you can't open the door? And how do you get $500,000 to your Two-legs without their knowing their cats are responsible? --Margaret
Invisible Lovers and Victorian Magic -- Two reviews (Lori)
Here are two books that are on the fast track to the movie screen. While neither is strictly romantic SF, they have intriguing fantasy and romance elements.
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW by Cecelia Ahern
I've also read IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW by Cecelia Ahern which is sort of chick lit. It's about a woman who starts seeing her nephew's invisible (grown male -- they don't age physically, but mental age doesn't necessarily match their physical age) friend, but who doesn't realize that others can't see him. Invisible friends have purpose; they come when they are needed, and she desperately needs someone. But then they start falling in love. The book is supposed to become a movie musical, and the premise intrigued me. I wasn't blown away by the book, but the story does offer promise as a movie. This is the author's third book; she's supposed to be very popular. She's in her early twenties, and the daughter of the Irish Prime Minister. --Lori
THE PRESTIGE by Christopher Priest
And THE PRESTIGE by Christopher Priest, they start filming it very soon. The premise is two magicians in Victorian London who get into a feud. The book won a fantasy award a few years ago, and apparently Christopher Nolan (who directed Batman Begins and Memento) was fascinated by it, but couldn't figure out immediately who to film out. Finally, his brother (who wrote the screenplay) figured it out. It's a complex book, with more than one person telling the story (it starts in the present, and goes back to the past). I think I need to read it again to pick up some things now that I know more. (There were some odd things in one person's narration that may have been explained later on. Or not. ) Cast is intriguing: Christian Bale and Michael Caine from Batman Begins, Hugh Jackman, David Bowie, Scarlett Johanssen, and possibly Andy Serkis (who played Gollum and King Kong, among other things). I recommend the book, but it's not a romance (though there is a bit of romance in it). Plus it's one of those books that can leave a very uneasy feeling. Has incredible potential for the movie. --Lori
ACADEM'S FURY by Jim Butcher -- As good as the first! (Linda)
This is book 2 of the "Codex Alera", sequel to FURIES OF CALDERON. Tavi has grown into a young man and is now going through academic studies and secret training to be a cursor while working as a page to the First Lord of Alera. The political atmosphere continues to be in turmoil as the ascension is still up in the air with no heir available if the First Lord dies. But there is a lot more to worry about than the well being of Alera...there is a threat to all life. Dorogo and his daughter, Kitai, have discovered the destruction of the wax forest. Something awoke when Tavi and Kitai were fighting for their life there, in the last book, and it has left a dead forest behind them. Dorogo and a large legion of Marats track it down and recognize it as an old enemy that they call an Abomination before the one. They had battled it before and barely survived as a species. The Abomination or Vord must be destroyed early or they will multiply and be too late.
Tavi's Aunt Isana has been called to court to be presented as the first female steadholder, yet another move by the First Lord, meant to divide his enemies, which has put her into danger. But she has to go and get help from the King. But unknowingly the crown is in a crisis that only Tavi and a few loyal friends can prevent from turning into a total civil war and there is no one to help!
This was as good as the first book!! I did not want to put it down...great characters, romantic, a real threat with lots of action to keep you on the edge of your seat. A high recommend. This doesn't leave you with a cliffhanger but its not over. --Linda
I read POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder after reading the recommendations (got it from the library) and found it to be as recommended. I read it pretty quickly, found it easy going. It's as if the background is complex but she didn't get lost in the details (I'm not sure whether her world would work or not, but she paid it some attention). Basically a dictator has overthrown the king; it's now a military society. (They don't ever say dictator, but that's how it came across to me.) One of those deals where if you've got a good person in charge, you're fine, if not, you're screwed. (They're supposed to follow the very strict laws, but presumably those laws could be changed with the wrong person in charge.) And the leader has outlawed magic, which always seems like a stupid thing to me when magic exists and one might have to fight it (or at least know about it to defend against it).
But the focus is on the characters, and I sure hope it stays that way. (Some authors get caught up in creating their world, which is fine, as long as they don't lose sight of the characters.) The book has the necessary strong focus on the heroine, so I hope that doesn't get lost in the sequel. --Lori
The January 2006 Locus focuses on Canadian SF, with interviews with Canadian writers Geoff Ryman, S.M. Stirling, and Dave Duncan, as well as essays on the state of SF in Canada by Charles N. Brown, Cory Doctorow, and others.
News which caught our eye: -Sarah Monette sold THE MIRADOR and SUMMERDOWN, sequels to MELUSINE and VIRTU to Ace. -Alan Dean Foster sold SAGRAMANDA, a near-future tale of India, to Pyr. -Tom Holt's next three humorous fantasy novels sold to Orbit. -Diana Pharoah Francis sold three books in her new Crosspointe Chronicles series to Roc. -Rachel Caine sold three novels in a YA vampire series to NAL. -Deborah Chester's THE PEARLS OF SORROW and THE EMERALD THRONE went to Ace. -Mary Janice Davidson & Anthony Alongi sold volumes three and four in their Jennifer Scales YA Fantasy series to Ace. -Liz Williams's THE DEMON AND THE CITY, sequel to SNAKE AGENT, went to Night Shade Books. -Kage Baker's collection DARK MONDAYS, featuring an original pirate novella, sold to Night Shade Books. -Tad Williams sold a collection to Subterranean Press. -Kristine Katherine Rusch turned in PALOMA, fifth in her Retrieval Artist series, to Ace. -Charlaine Harris delivered Sookie Stackhouse novel DEFINITELY DEAD to Berkley. Harris & Toni Kelner sold original vampire anthology MANY BLOODY RETURNS, and Harris resold early mystery novels SWEET AND DEADLY REVENGE and A SILENT RAGE, all to Ginjer Buchanan. TV Rights for her Sookie Stackhouse series went to HBO. -S.L.Viehl turned in CLANSON, seventh in her Star Doc series, to Roc. -Julie Kenner turned in CALIFORNIA DEMON and Kenner, Dee Davis, and Kathleen O'Reilly all delivered novellas for anthology HELL WITH LADIES, to Penguin. -Sarah Hoyt, writing as Sarah D. Almeida, delivered DEATH OF A MUSKETEER, first in a historical mystery series, to Berkley/Jove. -Chris Marie Green, writing as Crystal Green, delivered the first book in her Vampire Underground trilogy to Berkley. -Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling turned in YA fantasy anthology THE COYOTE ROAD: TRICKSTER TALES to Viking Children's Books.