It's been a dry month for blogging. I've started a number of books that I didn't finish, and finished a number of books that I thought were okay but not amazing enough to blog about. But I recently downloaded something onto my ereader that I can enthusiastically recommend:
Black Dog, Rachel Neumeier's very fun take on werewolves (sort of) and witches (sort of). You can go here for Neumeier's explanation of the stories. There are four stories, plus a sneak peek at Pure Magic, (second book in the Black Dog series), which I haven't read because I don't want to tease myself too far in advance of the book coming out. (I think it's coming out next month, though, yay!) Plus a detailed explanation of the genetics of black dogs and Pure women! (In case you were wondering how one family could have a black dog boy, a human boy and a Pure girl. It's all quite scientific.)
Each story is a little vignette that develops a few characters and lets you know a bit of what's been going on since the end of Black Dog. Natividad and Miguel adjust a little more to life with the Dimilioc black dogs. Thaddeus gets more of a measure of the Dimilioc Master, Grayson.
I particularly liked the prequel story about Ezekiel. Great insight into his character. I'm quite excited to see how his storyline develops in Pure Magic.
If you haven't read Black Dog, I would say the first two stories might not mean much to you, but the second two would be a good introduction to the world. If the word 'werewolf' puts you off, I should emphasize that black dogs are not werewolves, and this is not a ParaNormal Romance. I'd call it more alternate-world fantasy—like Robin McKinley's Sunshine, which you can't describe by saying it's about vampires—it's in this world, modern day, but there just happens to be a genetic mutation that causes some people to turn into a huge wolf when they get mad, and gives a few people the power to calm the wolf.
What Black Dog and its stories are really about is family—great sibling dynamics—and about power, trust, loyalty. There are violent action scenes, but it's the relationships that are at the heart of both the novel and the short stories. The world-building is excellent, the setting is gorgeously rendered, and there's lots of humour.
Chocolate pecan tart.