Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Always on My Mind (Sullivan’s #8) by Bella Andre


Always On My Mind (The Sullivans, #8)Contemporary Romance


What Goodreads Says:


Lori “Naughty” Sullivan finally falls in love in ALWAYS ON MY MIND, the new book in Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling series about the Sullivan family.

After a tragic loss three years ago, Grayson Tyler left his life in New York City behind and started over in the rolling hills of the California coast. He's convinced himself that all he'll ever need again is the blue sky, a thousand acres of pasture, and the crashing waves of the ocean. Until one day, Lori Sullivan barges into his life and promptly blows his emotionless and solitary world to shreds, driving him crazy as only a woman nicknamed “Naughty” can. But will Lori be able to convince him that it's safe to love her...and that forever isn't actually out of reach?



I was both happy and sad to see Always on My Mind come out.  Happy because I got to read Lori’s story and sad now we have the stories for all eight of the Sullivan siblings.  I will say that Lori’s story was worth the wait.  There was always a hint about Lori’s unhappy love life and we finally found out about the man who was making her so unhappy.  No, he is not the love interest here.  The love interest is Grayson Tyler.  When Lori runs away from her problems she get a job on Grayson’s farm and the rest is history.  He is gruff and she is mouthy and they are a match made in heaven.  Of course neither realize that at first.


I fell in love with the Sullivan’s so I hope that we will have stories from other branches of the family.


Harlequin published Always On My Mind by Bella Andre in 2014.  

I received an ARC of Always On My Mind from Netgalley.

Waiting on Wednesday - April 23, 2014

 

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature sponsored by Breaking the Spine.  It is a great way to share upcoming releases.

Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries are one of my favorite mystery series.  Only one book a year is published and the next one comes out in May.  I am waiting for Murder in Murray Hill (Gaslight Mystery #16).  

From Goodreads:

"When facing injustice, the residents of nineteenth-century New York City’s tenements turn to midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect their rights. Now, as the Edgar and Agatha Award nominated series continues, the two must track down a cruel criminal preying on the hopes and dreams of innocent women

A Gaslight Mystery

Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position within his department. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman for her worried father, Henry Livingston.

It seems the girl had been responding to lonely hearts” ads in the paper for months before she disappeared. Her father thinks that she’s eloped with a deceptive stranger, but Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims. But as Sarah and Malloy delve deeper into a twisted plot targeting the city’s single women, it’s their partnership—both professional and private—that winds up in the greatest peril…."



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Guest Post by Sharon Lynn Fisher - Author of Ghost Planet and The Ophelia Prophecy


World Building for Ghost Planet and The Ophelia Prophecy

I love both Ghost Planet and The Ophelia Prophecy (click on titles to see my reviews).  One of the things that really caught me was the unique and complex world building in both.  When I asked Sharon to share how she goes about creating these wonderful worlds she agreed to do a guest post on the subject.  I want to thank Sharon and I hope you enjoy the post as much as I do.  But first just a little bit about Sharon.

A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014). You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.

Building Sci-Fi Romance Worlds by Sharon Lynn Fisher

I used to hate world building. It’s a ridiculous thing for a speculative fiction author to say. But when I first started writing, I found it intimidating. Generating a whole new reality out of your gray matter. Making it believable and vivid for the reader. And really, wasn’t it just the “in between” part? The part that happened when there was no actual story going on — no action or dialogue or romance?

It’s hard to say when my attitude shifted, because I didn’t actually realize it until I started getting reviews that mentioned world building. I remember thinking, “How is it I’m good at this when I don’t even like it?” It landed on my head like a cargo hold full of tribbles. I do like it! In fact I love it. Creating setting and atmosphere and tone … it’s often a catalyst for the rest of the plot. It adds another layer to character development. It’s key to motivation. 

But yeah, it’s the hard part. For my stories, there are multiple branches of world building — the physical setting itself, the culture and political situation, and the science behind the speculative element.

For settings I often draw on geographical areas I know. My debut novel, GHOST PLANET, is set on an Earth-like planet in areas that closely resemble different parts of the Pacific Northwest, where I live. In my new book, THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, the last human city is located near Moab, Utah, where I’ve hiked and mountain-biked. The rock formations have a captivating, otherworldly quality. The main action of the story takes place in Connemara, in the west of Ireland, and in the Moorish city of Granada, Spain, both of which I’ve visited. The Gaudi-inspired architecture in OPHELIA comes from time I spent in Barcelona.

The science, culture, and politics are all pretty knotted up together, and make up what I think of as my special sauce (and really they’re the special sauce of any sci-fi novel). I tend to write speculative elements inspired by science. In GHOST PLANET, the heroine is actually an alien reincarnation of a human woman, joined in a symbiotic relationship with her psychologist supervisor. I researched Gaia theory and symbiogenesis for that story. For THE OPHELIA PROPHECY I researched recombinant DNA to create a species of human/praying mantis transgenic organisms. I also did research on biomimicry and biohacking. The book I have coming out next year, ECHO 8, required research into parallel universes, quantum physics, and parapsychology.

How all of the research and personal experiences blend together and churn out a whole world with its own unique history and personality is something of a mystery. It’s sort of like dumping a bunch of ingredients into a crockpot and opening it up to find lamb stew the next day. Because I’m mostly a pantser and don’t plot out stories in advance, my characters and story often spring from this world development rather than the other way around. 

Counterintuitive though it may seem, reading science books can really get the creative juices flowing. I think it’s because I try not to read with a specific goal in mind, but for the sheer joy of learning about something new.


World building takes time, and it takes faith. During the research phase it can feel like procrastination. Like I’m accomplishing nothing. But I’ve learned that as soon as those ingredients begin to coalesce — as soon as I feel that world coming into focus — the rest of my story is not far behind.

Teaser Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:"
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book. 



"The noise in the back room subsided at last, and Lord Hilford appeared, weary and bloodstained.  "He's asleep again," the earl said.  Whether he'll survive...well we shall see. Come."  Page 101

From A Natural History of Dragons,  A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan.




Monday, April 21, 2014

Musing Mondays, April 21. 2014

TC is in the sun musing about the chipmunk she sees out the window.
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…Musing Mondays is sponsored by Should Be Reading.
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!


My musing today is about a book I just finished.  I received a copy of The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison from Netgalley.  I was not sure about the book but from the moment I started reading I was hooked.  The author used something tried and true.  The Emperor and his entire family are killed leaving only the son he hated alive.  I have seen it done before but that did not matter.  Addison put a fresh spin on the story and I loved it.  Maia is the son and he has been raised away from court.  His Mother was an unwanted bride and was sent away soon after the wedding.  She raised Maia until her death.  He was then sent away in the care of a man who was physically and mentally abusive.  He never expected to be Emperor.

The story starts when he learns he is Emperor and it follows Maia as he learns and grows into the job.  The world of Elves and Goblins is built as the story progresses.  New and interesting characters fill the pages and they are developed using their actions around Maia.   The story is full of tension, action and intrigue.  The Goblin Emperor seems to be a stand alone and ends on a very nice note.  I will admit I hated to see Maia and his world end.  Maybe the author will build on the world she created and we will see more of both the Elves and the Goblins.

If you like a combination of fantasy and steampunk I think you would love The Goblin Emperor.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 Hugo Awards

2014 Hugo Award Nominee’s
The 2014 Hugo Award nominee’s are out.  I attended WorldCon last year so had a chance to nominate books I though should be considered.  One I nominated made the final list.  Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie was the one that made the final list.  The two others I nominated did not.  They were The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord and To Honor You Called Us by H. Paul Honsinger.  I really think that Karen Lord’s book should have made the cut.  To Honor You Called Us was a long shot but if a Military Science Fiction book was on the list I thought it should be the one. 
There are two I have not read on the list. I need to read Warbound (I have an ebook copy on my TBR pile) and The Wheel of Time before I vote.  Although I cannot attend I did purchase a supporting membership at Loncon 3 so I can vote.
2014 Hugo Award Nominees. 
Best Novel (1595 nominating ballots)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)     
1939 Retro-Hugo Awards
I did not nominate a novel in this category but have read several that made the cut.
Best Novel (208 nominating ballots)
Carson of Venus, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Argosy, February 1938)
Galactic Patrol, E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
The Legion of Time, Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)
The Sword in the Stone, T. H. White (Collins)







Dawn’s Early Light (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel) by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Steampunk/Paranormal

From Goodreads:

Working for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, one sees innumerable technological wonders. But even veteran agents Braun and Books are unprepared for what the electrifying future holds…

After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.

Even with the help of two American agents from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical, Braun and Books have their work cut out for them as their chief suspect in a rash of nautical and aerial disasters is none other than Thomas Edison. Between the fantastic electric machines of Edison, the eccentricities of MoPO consultant Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious machinations of a new threat known only as the Maestro, they may find themselves in far worse danger than they ever have been in before.

I love Books And Braun and Dawn’s Early Light continues to showcase how different they are and how well they work together.  Ballantine and Morris threw in a new curve for the two in Dawn’s Early Light.  They have to go to America and work with two agents form the American Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical.  The American agents are the opposite of Books and Braun.  The male agent is a shoot from the seat of the pants person and the female is a librarian.  Watch for a little jealousy to play a part in the story.

Remember that kiss at the end of the last book.  Well it is also playing a part in the story.  Eliza want to know just what it meant but she is having a lot of trouble pinning Wellington down.  The scene where she finally gets him to talk is one of the best in the book.

Again there are several historical characters in the book.  Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla are part of the story.  They are not at all how we think of them.  Same intellect but very different personalities.  

Dawn’s Early Light sets up the next book in the series. .  Hold on to your hat for another wild ride.  Nothing is as it seems.  There is a very serious problem in the English government and the last chapter is full of surprises.


Ace published Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris in 2014.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves, April 19, 2014

Books Stacked on My Shelves

Purchased:  

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan - I have read several reviews on this one and decided to give it a try.

From the Library:

Trade Secret by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller - I have this as an ebook but have not read it.   I think I will do better with the paper copy.
The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - I have read the book but will enjoy it again as an audio book.

Swag:

A nice swag pack from Dale Mayer containing books marks, a pen, a calendar, a note pad and cards.