Avalon by Mindee Arnett

avalonIn the distant future, power is everything.  And power is metatech, the mysterious technology that allows ships to jump light years to the far reaches of space.  Bound together by the Confederation of Planets, the galaxy is ruled by the Interstellar Transport Authority, the government organization who controls the metatech – not just the sale and distribution of individual drives and who passes through the jump gates, but also the top secret knowledge of how the tech works.

The only thing more corrupt than the ITA are the crime lords – especially Hammer, a brutal thug of a man whose insidious tentacles – and implanted Guard and Brethren supersoldiers – have spread to almost every planet and spaceport in the ‘verse.  Which is where Jeth Seagrave and his motley band of teen misfits and thieves come in.  Gathered by Hammer using required aptitude tests, Jeth, his baby sister Lizzie, and the rest of his crew steal the ships and the tech for Hammer, who then sells them to the highest bidder on the black market.

Jeth doesn’t care about any of that – all he cares about is banking enough cash from the jobs he does for Hammer to buy back Avalon, his dead parents’ spaceship that his uncle lost to Hammer in a card game years ago.  Once he has enough, Jeth is taking Lizzie and his crew and settling far, far away from Hammer, who stole his freedom, and the ITA, who executed his scientist parents, on an independent planet on the edge of the galaxy.

So when Hammer tells Jeth to convince the crew to go into the Belgrave to retrieve a lost ship and the mysterious weapon that’s aboard, Jeth barely hesitates.  Rumors of strange happenings and whole ships vanishing into the swirling stars of the Belgrave are just that – rumors.  Besides, Hammer wants Jeth to take Avalon on this mission, which means he’ll have his parents’ nav maps to assist.  No problem.  Especially since all they have to do is find the dead ship and tow it out.

But what they find in the Belgrave isn’t a dead ship – and it isn’t any kind of weapon Jeth has seen before.  Will they make it out alive?  Or will the Belgrave swallow Jeth and the Avalon up, just like it has so many others?

Shiny!  Avalon was a whole heap of fun, plot-driven, action-packed scifi adventure all told at light speed.  If you’re at all familiar with Joss Whedon’s amazing cult classic Firefly, then you’ll recognize all the awesome that’s happening, and if not, you’ll love it just the same.  Jeth is a guy who loves his ship and his crew – and he’ll do anything to haul them out of trouble, including betraying the most feared man in the galaxy.  Avalon is a mechanical creature of beauty – a little rusty, sure, but she gets the job done and she does it with finesse.  Lizzie is a technical genius who’s feisty, tough, and doesn’t take orders from anyone – especially not her big brother.  And the plot is epic – conspiracies, fire fights, creepy tech, romantic sparks, and shocking reveals abound.  If you’re looking for a fast thrill ride of a book (in space!) to round out the end of summer, look no further than Avalon!


renaissance4renaissance3We are highlighting time travel this month as part of our Year of Romance campaign.  We’ve scoured the shelves and pulled together a collection of reads that will take you to another time and place.  To help get you in the time travel mood, we’re offering two free tickets this month to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival!  Never been there?  Are you kidding?  You’ve been missing out!  Its the largest Renaissance fair in the United States with an annual attendance of about 300,000 people.  Live jousting, artisans selling medieval wares, magnificent costumes and roasted turkey legs are just a few of the things that make this festival one you won’t want to miss.  Come on in to the library and enter our contest.  All you have to do is tell us where you’d like to travel in time to and what you’d do once you got there.  For that, we’ll send you back in time at the Renaissance Festival; what could be better?

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

complicitJamie Henry knows Cate is out before his adoptive parents tell him in the morning.  When his phone rings at 3:29 AM and no one is there, just road noise and Unknown caller on the screen, somehow, he knows.

Two years ago, Jamie’s older sister Cate burned down the horse barn where her horse, and a lot of other expensive horses, were boarded.  Jamie’s best friend’s girlfriend was in the barn when it happened.  The arson and attempted murder were the last in a long string of incidents – drinking, drugs, theft, and creepy rumors about what she did to kids in the woods – while Cate spiraled down in a whirlwind of anger and violence, and Jamie feels horribly guilty about just how relieved he was when she was locked up.  The day she was caught was the first day his hands went numb – no explanation, no warning, just suddenly nothing.

His psychiatrist calls Jamie’s numb hands idiopathic cataplexy, which basically means they have no idea what’s causing it.  It’s just one more thing piled up on top of the anxiety and panic attacks, all side effects of having a crazy sister and a terrible childhood.  Cate and Jamie were raised in wealth and luxurious privilege, but it wasn’t always that way.  Born into poverty, not-quite-six-year-old Jamie watched his mother die of a gunshot wound in their basement apartment while eight-year-old Cate held him and waited for the police to come.  After foster care and a group home, the two were adopted by the Henrys – as replacements for their own dead children, ages six and nine.  A fact that Cate has never been able to forget or forgive.

And now, after two years of relative peace and safety, Cate is back.  And she’s coming for her brother.

A twisty, mind-bending, taut psychological thriller, Morris Award-winning novelist Stephanie Kuehn has written an intense ride where nothing is as it seems – especially the truth.  For Jamie, the truth is as elusive and slippery as smoke.  When Cate calls, everything he thought he knew about his childhood, his birth mother, his adoptive parents and his sister is suddenly called into question.  The truth is everywhere – and nowhere – and it is waiting for him.  If you loved Gone Girl‘s unpredictable, hairpin turns of half-truths and lies, you don’t want to miss Complicit!