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Contact Imminent by Kristine Smith

Description: Fourth book in the Jani Kilian series. Jani plays diplomat as the political intrigues of the first three books come to yet another boiling point - this one a bit more violent than the others.

I would think this is the last book in the series, but I thought that about the previous book as well. This is classic sci-fi that examines the age-old questions as we encounter an alien species - what does it mean to be human? what is the role of biology and what is simply tradition?

Jani has survived all sorts of political and physical attacks, dealt with past lovers, teachers, and enemies, and made new friends and enemies along the way. In this book, she is finally taking up the both the alien and human responsibilities as the first hybrid between the two races. She's learning the alien religion and is sent as the representative of her alien teacher to a colony world where trouble to brewing.

The plot, while fast-paced and intriguing, isn't the main point really. The best thing about this book is Jani herself. She's a reluctant hero who is well aware of her own faults. She still manages kick major ass and win the loyalty and respect of those around her.  If you liked the other books in the series, you'll love this one as well. If you haven't read the others, read them before this one. It's well worth the four book investment.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Description: On a flat earth on the back of four elephants on the back of a giant turtle flying through space, Death plays Hogsfather (i.e., Santa), when not so mysterious forces put a hit on the fat man.

It’s like Terry Pratchett saw <i>The Nightmare Before Christmas</i> and then decided do something completely different.

For those not familiar with Pratchett’s work, he manages to combine the absurd (A Tooth Fairy who subcontracts) with the sublime.

Death, as always, makes a great central character. By turns clueless and astute. Speaking in Capital Letter and larger than life. Well, he is a 7ft tall skeleton playing Santa.

His “grand daughter” Susan makes an excellent co-main, following her “grand father’s” trail and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

I love that the ultimate threat isn’t a straight forward thing. It is the ineffable. About maintaining your humanity in the face of the twists of the world. Plus, you know, Pratchett’s trademark twisty humor.

A great, twisted, book for the holiday season.

Simply Irresistible by Kristine Grayson

Description: Complete and utter fluff of a romance novel. Modern, slightly psychic girl finds about the world of immortal mages as the Fates land on her doorstep, asking for help.

No, seriously, this is complete and utter fluff. There's magic and mind powers. There's a reluctant hero who accidentally spawned the Superman myth back in the day (yep, he's the broad shouldered, black haired, dimple chinned original). Our heroine is a comic book fanatic who has a Tick teapot (is that real? where can I get one?) and a crush on the original Siegel and Shuster Superman, of course.

Plot stuff: The Fates are in trouble (something about a regime change mandated by the Powers That Be), but the heroine isn't powerful enough to help, so they send her to fetch the hero (and eventually several characters from the author's other books in this magical universe). They fight the bad guy (Eris, Goddess of Chaos is always so misunderstood) and fall in love.

Whatever. The book is fun and I loved all of the references to geek culture. This was the cutest book in the series and I'm pretty sure you don't need to read the others to enjoy this bit of cotton-candy.

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