Saturday, May 30, 2009

Diamond Star by Catherine Alsaro

Science Fiction

Diamond Star by Catherine Alsaro is a side story in the Skolian series. Del is a member of the Ruby Dynasty. He along with other members of his family have been held as hostages on Earth. The others are rescued but Del chooses to stay on Earth where he feels that he can be free from the expectation of his family. His singing talents lead to a contract and he becomes a rock star something his family would not condone or understand. Although Del tries, even on Earth he cannot be free of interstellar politics. Earth as one of the three interstellar civilizations wants to stay clear of the conflict between the Skolian Imperialate and the Eubian Concord. Del brings that conflict to Earth. Diamond Star does not move the main story line along, but it does tell more of the story of the Ruby Dynasty. This is a nice addition to the Skolian series.

Baen published Diamond Star by Catherine Alsaro in 2009. I purchased Diamond Star as an eBook from Baen.

Interesting piece of trivia:

*In the book Del visits a antique store that sells paper copies of books. One book that he picks up is a book I just recommended; The Rake by Mary Jo Putney. It must be on Catherine Alsaro's favorite list.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Lost Fleet: Relentless by Jack Campbell

Space Opera/Military Science Fiction

The Lost Fleet: Relentless is the fifth book in the six book Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. Read my October 8, 2008 post on the Lost Fleet series.

The fleet lead by Captain John Geary is within 3 jumps of Alliance space. The action starts with a stop to free Alliance prisoners of war. Geary has destroyed much of the Syndics fleet but finds that there is a large reserve flotilla that has been moved to block his way. There are still people in the Alliance fleet that do not like Geary and are trying to destroy him. All of this adds up to continued action and adventure. Jack Campbell keeps this series moving at a fast pace.

ACE published The Lost Fleet: Relentless by Jack Campbell in 2009.

The previous books in this series are:

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless
The Lost Fleet: Fearless
The Lost Fleet: Courageous
The Lost Fleet: Valiant

The Lost Fleet: Victorious comes out in 2010

John Hemry writes the Lost Fleet books using the name Jack Campbell. The Starks War series and the JAG in Space series were written using John Hemry. Both are available as an eBook package or as individual eBooks from Baen. I have read both. If you like The Lost Fleet check out his other two series.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Charles Stross, The Revolution Business (Book Five of the Merchant Princes)

Science Fiction

Do not read this book if you have not read the first four.

In Book One, The Clan Corporate, Miriam finds a necklace with a knot design in a box left by her Mother. Looking at the knot transports her to a parallel Earth and her adventures start. Miriam finds that she is a world walker, one of the few who can travel between the different worlds. With each book the world building becomes more complex. By The Revolution Business there are four parallel worlds populated by their own set of characters. The world walkers have used their ability unwisely and the consequences of that decision are coming home to roost in Book Five.

The characters in The Revolution Business move from world to world with actions that set the scene for the next book. I like the series and while I did find this book rather slow everything seems to be in place for The Trade of Queens, the final book in the series.

TOR published The Revolution Business by Charles Stross in 2009.

The books in the Merchant Princes series are:

The Clan Corporate
The Family Trade
The Hidden Family
The Merchants War
The Revolution Business

The Trade of Queens is due out April, 2010

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Science Fiction Releases

3 of my favorite Science Fiction authors have new releases out. Look for posts this month on:

Jack Campbell, The Lost Fleet: Relentless
Catherine Asaro, Diamond Star
Charles Stross, The Revolution Business

Monday, May 18, 2009

Beauty and the Beast - Physically Wounded Heroes

Historical Romance

I got Elizabeth Hoyt’s newsletter thanking her fans for putting To Beguile a Beast on the bestseller list. The book follows the beauty and the beast theme. That started me thinking about books featuring physically wounded heroes and beautiful heroines. I realized that I had three favorites that fell in that category. In all three books the heroes suffered wounds in a war that left them with visible unattractive scars; scars that caused them to hide from the world.

Here are my three beauty and the beast favorites. Leave a comment if you have others.

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt was published by Forever in 2009. This is the third book in the The Legend of the Four Soldiers series. Sir Alistair Munroe is a naturalist who traveled with the British Army in America. In an ambush that killed most of the company he was captured and tortured by Indians leaving him with terrible facial scars. He has retreated to his home in Scotland and is living as a recluse when Helen Fitzwilliam arrives with her two children to act as his housekeeper. Helen is hiding her own secrets. To Beguile a Beast is new to my favorite shelf. It can be read as a stand-alone. I purchased it as an e-Book from Fictionwise.

Delacorte published Simply Love by Mary Balogh in 2006. This is part of the Simply Series featuring teachers from Miss Martin’s School for Girls. Sydnam Butler and Ann Jewell are both uncomfortable in polite company. Sydnam has horrible scarring from the war. Ann’s scars are internal. She has a child conceived during a rape. There is an attraction when they are meet but neither thinks they are worthy of love. While it is part of a series it can be read as a stand-alone.

The Unlacing of Miss Leigh by Diane Gaston is a novella published by Harlequin and available only in eBook form. I purchased the story from Fictionwise. Captain Graham Veall came home from the war scarred and a recluse. He decides to hire a mistress and Margaret Leigh responds to his ad thinking he needs a lady’s companion. This is a short but sweet story.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In the Stormy Red Sky by David Drake

Space Opera

I have two favorite space opera series. One is the RNC series by David Drake and the other is Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. New books in both series came out this month (May 2009). Look for a post on the new Lost Fleet book later this month.

In the Stormy Red Sky is the 7th book in the RNC series featuring Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy. Daniel and Adele are again sent on a mission that should be peaceful but as we all know nothing is peaceful when Daniel and Adele are involved. The previous books were mostly Daniel’s story; In the Stormy Red Sky is mostly Adele’s story. It makes a nice change of pace. As usual the plot is fast moving and the action intense. The story expands the world building and shows how Adele’s character is growing and changing. In the Stormy Red Sky keeps the series moving at a brisk pace. I loved this book and look forward to more in the RNC series.

Baen released In the Stormy Red Sky by David Drake as a hardcover on May 5th, 2009. I purchased In the Stormy Red Sky as an eBook from Baen for $6.00.

My December 8th, 2008 post highlighted the RNC series. Check it out for all the previous RNC titles.

David Drake

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bread Alone by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnik


Several years ago I decided to make some changes to my diet. One change was to only eat bread made with no sugar. I also wanted bread made with unbleached or whole-wheat flour. I found it easy to find whole wheat bread but not so easy to find bread made with unbleached flour. I decided to make my own but when I pulled out my bread recipes I found that all used sugar to speed the work of the yeast. I then searched the web and still did not find a recipe that met my needs. That sent me to my local bookstore where I found Bread Alone. The recipes in the book met all my requirements.

I think that Bread Alone is a bread makers dream. The authors guide you through all the steps required to make bread. There is a section on how to select your equipment, how to select your flour, and step-by-step instructions on how to make each type of bread.

My favorite recipe in the book is the classic country-style hearth loaf on page 64. Water, flour, sea salt and yeast combine to make a loaf “much like the peasant breads of seventeenth-century France and Italy”. It takes 2 to 10 hours to make and ferment the poolish and another 7 hours before you bring the completed loaves out of the oven. I find the resulting bread well worth the effort.

Bread Alone was published by William Morrow in 1993. If you love to bake this book deserves a place on you cookbook shelf.

Daniel Leader has a bakery called Bread Alone in the upper Hudson Valley. You can visit his web site at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

Fantasy and Romance

White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan ( is the second book in her current series. While mention is made of characters from Dragger Star, the first book in the series, White Star can easily stand-alone.

Evelyn, Lady High Priestess has both healing and battle magic. Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins is a War Leader. The two are from opposing sides and should be sworn enemies. In a changing world they find that they are first drawn together and then working together to stop an enormous evil. The story moves at a fast but believable pace, both the main characters and the supporting characters are well drawn and Elizabeth Vaughn uses humor, drama, romance and magic to keep the story moving. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Berkley Sensations published White Star in 2009. If you like White Star, be sure to read Dragger Star.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Finds at a Library Book Sale


While I was on my recent trip I visited the Book Sale at the local library. I think these sales are a great way to support libraries, find books by favorite authors and discover new authors. I have finished 3 of the books I purchased and because I loved all three decided to recommend them to you.

Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I don’t know when I have laughed as much while reading a book. The one I picked up at the sale has a 1999 copyright but when I checked Amazon I found that it has been reprinted and is still available. If you want a good story and lots of laughs pick up Lady Be Good.

The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

This is the first time I have read a book by Mary Jo Putney. This was a well-written story with a good plot and engaging characters. The book is out of print but if you see a used copy pick it up.

Something About Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle

I have seen books by Elizabeth Boyle but have never read anything she has written. I purchased Something About Emmaline and found another book that had me laughing. Published in 2005 Something About Emmaline is still in print and available from Amazon.

If you have a chance pick up any of these romances.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blue Diablo, A Corine Solomon Novel by Ann Aguirre

Romantic Paranormal

I heard Ann Aguirre ( on a panel at World Con in Denver in 2008. She was talking about her novel Grimspace and said that she wrote Romantic Science Fiction. I think Blue Diablo is a Romantic Paranormal. There is romance but do not expect a HEA (Happily Ever After) in her books. That is why I think she used Romantic Science Fiction instead of Science Fiction Romance when she talked about Grimspace. I have read Grimspace and if you would like to see my rating go to my Good Reads page.

Blue Diablo has fast paced action, great characters, and a good plot. Written in the first person, the book solves the problem that brings the characters together but leaves unsolved the problems that are uncovered along the way. This is obviously written as the first of a series. I enjoyed the story and liked the main characters. I am invested enough I want to see what happens in the next book.

Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre was published by Roc in 2009.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Invisible by Kimber Chin

Contemporary Romance

I entered a contest at Kimber Chin’s web site. I didn’t win the grand prize but was offered a free PDF copy of Invisible as a welcome gift. I sent back an acceptance and the copy of Invisible was in my mailbox yesterday. I downloaded it, started reading and could not put it down. I finished Invisible late last night. As I have said in other posts in romance it is not the destination, it is the journey. The journey in Invisible is filled with twist, turns and suspense. The main characters are well written and several of the supporting characters are ripe for their own story.

Antique collector Hagen Rayner is an expert at telling the real from the fake. Maveve Delaney is an expert at helping people hide themselves or their assets. When Maveve’s friend and Hagen’s Great Uncle dies the will requires the two of them to work as to team to find the deed to the Great Uncle’s house. If they fail to find the deed the Great-Uncle’s estate goes to another nephew. The hunt requires both of their skills to succeed. Maveve must find the clues that have been hidden and Hagen must determine which clue is real and which clue is fake. All of this makes for a great journey. Invisible is a well –paced suspenseful love with story filled with great characters. Don’t miss reading Invisible. Buy the book today.

Champagne Books ( published Invisible by Kimber Chin ( in 2009. Invisible is available in print from Champagne Books and also is available from Fictionwise ( as an eBook and at Amazon ( on Kindle.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Book Ratings

Good Reads

I decided not to put a rating on my posts here on Mixed Book Bag. I do rate all of the books posted plus others I have read on Good Reads. You can find the last 20 books listed here on the bookshelf on the right side of my blog or you can click the Good Reads link and go to my Good Reads page to see all the book I have rated.

Books are rated from one to five stars.