Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Except, the book was ultimately a disappointment. Not exactly a wall-chucker, but a frustrating near miss. I won’t go into detail, because it’s just unique enough that you would recognize it and I don’t want to slam anyone. I will tell you that it is a historical, with one of my favorite plots. I must marry Bachelor #1, but I love Bachelor #2…or do I?
The characters were engaging and different, and the storyline was interesting, but it fell where I find a lot of historicals go plop. The, you know, intimate scenes. Tea and crumpets. Regency hula.
If the characters are married, and learning to love each other while consummating, fine. Love it. Got no problem with it. Even if our heroine is a widow who knows very well what she’s about, I can at least understand that. But a virginal young miss who knows very well that her reputation is truly all she has? You just lost me.
Historical writers have to walk a fine line- you have to do enough research to make it believable, but there will always be some reader screeching that those kind of wine glasses weren’t used until 20 years later, moron! I understand the frustrations of appealing to modern readers while staying true to history, but this one thing I can’t take.
How, precisely, does a typical sheltered young girl, who has been protected from the exact details of sex, who has probably at some point been told to “lie back and think of England,” decide that hiking up her skirt OUTSIDE ON THE GRASS is perfectly fine? I can accept that said young miss got carried away, and can straighten her dress with nary a stain and go back to the house unseen. What I can’t accept is that, without benefit of marriage or instruction beyond a gossiping servant, is that she can on second tryst become a skilled and enthusiastic…er, performer of certain type of crumpet-making, if you catch my drift.
And so lies my frustration with a lot of historicals. In the zeal to make them requisitely hawt, they’ve become unbelievable.
ETA: Kimber runs a fairly family-friendly place, so if I've confused you with my euphemisms feel free to email me and I'll clear it up!
I’ll do better next time, I promise! I’ve read the next one all the way through, and you’ll like it. Kimber An, there’s even a diaper-changing Viking! Check ya Nov. 16.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sara Donovan is a crackerjack pilot in the US Air Force assigned to a top secret mission to explore a galaxy far outside the Milky Way. This human mission stumbles into the middle of a generations long war between the Dustan and the Gadi. Donovan is attacked by the hostile and ruthless Dustan and crash lands on the planet Kikk. Kiernan Fyn is a member of a group of outside-the-law fighters known as the Ojemba who are sworn to destroy the Dustan. He’s been stranded on Kikk for long enough that his people think he’s dead. Donovan dropping almost into his lap seems like a reward from the gods to make up for all his hardship. Donovan wouldn’t like the idea of being someone’s reward but she’s more than a little taken by the hunky alien who ‘rescues’ her from her crashed war-bird.
Fyn and Donnovan both have secrets, and they are surrounded by a vast number of questions. Why is Donovan the exact image of Miri, the woman who may have caused the Dustan-Gadi war? What exactly is Fyn’s aleigence to the Ojemba’s mysterious leader? Why, although the Gadi don't think much of women, and the Dustan are worse, do both their leaders risk provoking war with the explorers from Earth to try to marry feisty, outspoken, more than a little, rough around the edges Donnovan? Why do they think she is the key to the lost secrets of Garradians who vanished centuries ago leaving behind vast empty cities and outposts all over their galaxy?
This book reads like the novelization of the whole seasons run of a SF TV show that you somehow missed seeing. I’m guessing that’s intentional since Donnovan is a fan of the SciFi network. Jones really nails military jargon, but the story is light on things like - How did the Earth team get to another galaxy? How did they built a fleet of ships to get there in secret? Why exactly are they exploring another galaxy instead of someplace closer to home? In some ways this would have worked better for me if they were in another solar system in our galaxy because the scale of extra galactic travel is just too big for me to buy it being done this casually, but… I’m willing to overlook that because the book was such a fun read.
Donnovan is almost too perfect, ace pilot, talented musician, completely unaware of her sex appeal, but she is also vulnerable and tough so she grew on me. Fyn is big, gorgeous and silent most of the time, but he has an inner vulnerablity and sweetness that grew on me too. If you were a fan of shows like Farscape, the various Treks and most of all Stargate you will enjoy this book. If you like a slightly harder version of SF you might find the book a little light, but don't let that keep you away, it makes for a great comfort read. I’m in the middle of the home remodeling adventure from hell, which is why this review is being posted late, and knowing I had a fun comfy read waiting for me at bed-time last week helped keep me sane. That may sound like a weird recommendation for a book, but I’m a strong believer is reading as escape from the stress and strain of the real world. Not enough books can give you that release, so when I find one that helps we unwind as much as this one did, I’m happy.
Everyone in this book is in the military, so there is some “salty” language. Although much of it is done with euphemism, it’s easy to see what’s really being said. I can have bad potty-mouth myself given the right triggers, so I enjoyed the “code word” cursing. Someone really sensitive might be offended. There is sexual tension all over the place in this book, including a might-build-up-to-rape-but-gets-stopped-before-things-go-too-far scene, but all sex takes place off-screen. There are several battle scenes, and there are deaths, but they are bloodless for the most part.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Amazonia is the avatar of Sheriff Talia Fortune, and the Netherwood is a virtual reality world where you can be anything, anyone. Think World of Warcraft times the Matrix times the Holodeck. In this future society, the governments are still nominally there, but everything is run by corporations. Space travel to other occupied worlds takes months, even if you use wormholes, and no one can do anything without their handheld computers. More than communication, more than a PDA- you can literally download yourself through your device to enter the Netherwood. It’s slightly illegal- the Netherwood has become the ultimate Sin City. But Talia risks going anyway, both to hone her skills, and because The Avenger is her only real connection.
He gave her a message during their last fight; everyone is going to die, and she can learn how to save herself on a world called Fresh Havens. She has to head there anyway. Her uncle is the mayor of that world, and he’s doing a rotten job. The motherboard that runs the place has just been sabotaged, and it’s her duty to get the place running again. She has other concerns, too: Talia is the heir to FortuneCorp, the monolithic company her grandmother Violet Fortune started. Talia is under pressure to take her place as the head of FortuneCorp in just a few years. When Violet’s body started to die, she downloaded herself onto a chip, or “reduced down.” She can basically go anywhere in the computer universe, as long as she’s loaded onto a program.
When Talia investigates the sabotage, she knows that her Avenger is a man named Kovner, and he is the one who melted the computer system. She must go beyond the carefully cultivated city, into the Gray Forest wilderness, to find him. Once there, she finds wild, hungry predators and a distinct hostility to technology. In the forest, computers don’t work. And the wind calls her name.
Kovner is in the forest with a group of people who have never used technology. He is trying to save a pocket of humanity that will not become part of a frightening computer assault. He tells Talia of the coming Singularity; FortuneCorp and the other big companies are assimilating human life to become part of a single, collective mind. Since corporations long ago censored historical documents, as well as used a horrific war started by religious zealots to outlaw religion, the majority of people have no concept of their own souls. When approached about reducing down and entering the hive mind, many will give in. Talia, good corporate officer that she is, can’t believe that it could happen. Accepting what Kovner tells her means gutting her career and betraying her grandmother. But doing her duty means destroying her Avenger.
Michele Lang is a great world-builder; I can see everything she’s prophesied happening. Fantastic though it is, it’s entirely believable. It takes a long time and a big struggle for Talia to overcome her training and her fear to accept what’s going on around her. Reading her journey was a joy; she finds some strengths she didn’t know she had and is brought down a peg or two on things she was arrogant about.
Michele skillfully illustrates the fears of the computer age- we know there is almost no such thing as privacy anymore, and we have legitimate worries that corporations are really running things. Are we in danger of selling our souls for convenience, money, power and pleasure? Within all the deeper meanings, though, is just a good adventure yarn about a small band of rebels fighting the Evil Empire, something I’m always happy to read. There is action but not gore. The heat level is very hot but those passages were a little disconnected; of course that may be my bias against first-person love scenes. Reading “He grabbed my this, that, and the other” and “I shrieked as I became one with the cosmos” always makes me feel like I’m trapped in the booth at Denny’s with the other girls from the office who are totally oversharing, ya know?
I enjoyed the story, and I’m looking forward to more. Thanks, Michele!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
You gotta love a hero named Walter. And you gotta love anything that expands the boundaries of romance. Check it out!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Hello Blog Buddies,
I'm blogging from the world of the horrible, terrible, no good, eternal flu. So forgive me in advance if I sound a little, um, addled. I haven't really eaten in three days. ;)
That said, I wanted to share with you what I'm reading. I don't like to rave about a book till I'm done because it could all fall apart in the end, but so far these look really promising.
First - The Diplomat's Wife
It's set right after WW2 in London, and is written in a really beautiful lyrical style. I feel like a lot of literature today has a snarky female protagonist, and while I love spunk as much as the next person, it's nice to read someone who is more introspective and calm sometimes. This is about a girl who fights in the resistance, survives untold physical and personal calamities, and keeps a quite determination about her. It also does an excellent job of pulling you into the story while the rest of your world is swirling about you and with little kids, that's a must have!
Second - The Guard's
I can't tell you how much I love this mystery. I flipped open the cover not expecting to be drawn in. I was challenging it to make me keep reading. And wow, it did. It uses short sentences, but not in a sparse, Hemmingway sort of way. It's more poetic, but down to Earth. Very difficult to explain. It's funny, without being snarky, and intelligent, and very masculine, but very enjoyable to a female reader.
Jack Taylor is an loveable Irish alcoholic who used to be part of the Irish Guards and is now working as a Private Eye, which is apparently very un-Irish.
All I can say is go to Amazon and read the first page and you'll hit one click buy on the spot!
She's also digging up the greats in Science Fiction, like Jules Verne, but she can find those by herself.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
There are those at court who favor Nefertari marrying Ramses and those who are vehemently opposed. Meanwhile, Nefertari is so giddy in love she'll do whatever she's told to achieve marriage with Ramses. And an achievement, it is. While she's mooning and swooning over him, her nanny, Merit, and others know she'll hold power as a wife of Ramses. More than that, they know she'll have a shot at becoming Chief Wife - Queen of Egypt.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
This week's Oldie but Goodie is....
The Switch by Sandra Brown
First released in 2000
Have you ever wished you could trade places with someone for the day, or even for a few hours, just to break up the mundane routine that is your life? Well, in The Switch, twins Melina and Gillian Lloyd do just that.
Melina is a media escort, hired to accompany one Christopher "Chief" Hart, beloved astronaut, around town on the eve of a speech he is giving in Dallas. Melina thinks Gillian would enjoy herself much more, and convinces her to switch places for the evening.
Gillian agrees, needing the outlet. She is in a relationship that has no spark, and she had just completed her first appointment at a fertility clinic to be artificially inseminated.
Neither twin has any inkling that the night will end with one of them murdered.
Melina is awakened at the crack of dawn by two police officers who relay the worst news she could ever face - her sister has been found dead in her bed, the victim of an apparently random attack.
Melina is not convinced when it appears the killer is found, dead by a self-inflicted wound, and neither is Chief. The subsequent attempt on Chief's life, and the appearance at her door by two people posing as FBI agents spurs her into action. Both Chief and Melina slowly uncover what at first looked like a deadly attack on her sister but becomes proof of a conspiracy that reaches to the very door of a powerful and enigmatic televangelist.
As Chief and Melina run from the fake FBI agents hunting them, trying to permanently silence them ~ they discover their reasons for wanting the killer found have more in common then they knew. The question now before them is how much to they tell each other, and how much do they dare trust each other?
The Switch highlights, in my opinion, some of Ms. Browns' best work. Not only is the character development top notch, she maintains a pace not easily conveyed. At it's heart, this is definitely a story of love and redemption, but the fast-paced action and huge shocker of an ending will make you glad you gave this story a thorough read-through.
You can view this authors website for more information and a complete back list at http://www.sandrabrown.net/
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Lord Lucas Foxhaven must marry his childhood friend Caroline Torrington or risk being cut off financially by his father. He doesn't want to marry anyone, not even Caro, a woman he finds irresistible. He refuses, using excuse after excuse, one of them being Caro's rather generous proportions. Finally his excuses run out and he does the unthinkable - he proposes to Caro.
Well, Caro may have been left destitute upon her father's death, she may be responsible for a houseful of sisters, she may be well aware that no one, including Lucas, finds her plus sized figure attractive, but she does have her pride. Caro initially refuses Lucas' careless offer of marriage. It takes much pleading and a business deal set in writing for Caro to relent. Partially relent. Their's will be a temporary and platonic marriage of convenience.
I know what you're thinking… the plus sized heroine is a gimmick. Nope. Caro's character is so real and admirable and wonderful that I was crying for her three chapters into the novel. She's not a skinny heroine in a size 14 dress. She's plus sized because… she simply is.
Lucas, having his own problems, is completely unaware of Caro's insecurities. He finds Caro attractive so he assumes everyone else does too. Yeah, I know, very male thinking but then Lucas is very male (very, very, male, oh, my). He's not perfect, he's much more flawed emotionally than Caro, but he is real.
The chemistry between Lucas and Caro works. The author, Michele Ann Young, uses flashbacks to their shared history to show us what a strong base they've built. These flashbacks are especially amusing because Lucas and Caro look at them from VERY different perspectives (like the time the teenaged and easily embarrassed Lucas had an ummm... physical reaction to Caro – I was laughing my head off).
The heat level is sensual. There are only two sensual scenes in the novel, not that I noticed (I was so sucked into the story). The Gore O' Meter didn't blip at all (some beat downs of the baddies).
For more information on No Regrets, visit Michele's website at http://www.micheleannyoung.com/ .
Dynamic barrister Sir Douglas Drury is attacked in a seedy part of Regency London. Juliette Bergerine, a French seamstress, rescues him from certain death (she throws potatoes at his attackers – priceless). Drury is perhaps not as grateful as he should be. Why? Because after spending time in French prison, tortured and left to die there, he holds an understandable grudge against the entire country. So he is happy to reimburse Juliette for her time (and her potatoes) and be on his way.
Except that Juliette is then attacked by someone thinking she is Drury's new mistress. Knowing no one else in London, she insists Drury protect her. Protect HER. An irrational and overly emotional French woman. He wishes he could refuse but his honor won't let him. The best he could do is find the person responsible for the attacks as quickly as possible.
Okay, I'll admit to being a frothing-at-the-mouth Margaret Moore fangirl. Any novel she publishes is a dependably great read. However, I usually prefer her medievals as they have that author-in-her-element glow about them. So I was disappointed when I heard Margaret's next book was a Regency. Boy, was I foolish. I LOVED A Lover's Kiss. Loved it.
I also love Drury. (Sigh) He is so tortured and deep. Juliette, do I really need to sell you on her? She threw potatoes at the hardened thugs attacking Drury. Potatoes! Her creative solutions are a delight to read. Drury and Juliette together? Fireworks. The more emotionless Drury tries to be, the more dramatic Juliette becomes. And he secretly loves it.
A Lover's Kiss is book three of a series but it can very well be read alone. Actually, I recommend you read it first (if you haven't already read the first two). Why wait? It is that good.
This is a Harlequin Historical so you know what to expect for heat levels and the gore o'meter.
For more information on A Lover's Kiss, visit http://www.margaretmoore.com/