Thursday, June 30, 2011

Other Books I Read in June 2011

Science Fiction:


The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates - This is a good finish to the story started in The Noise Within.  I recommend both books and have a post on The Noise Within


The View From The Imperium by Jody Lynn Nye - Cute book.  The hero is part of the Royal Family and everything he does is wrong but turns out right.


Romance:


Fires of Winter by Roberta Gellis - Sequel to A Tapestry of Dreams and tell Bruno's story.  Great love story set in England during the war between Stephen and Matilda.  There is a lot of history included in the story.  The book is out of print but is scheduled to be re-released soon.  I found a used copy because I did not want to wait.


The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney - Another re-release.  Lady Jocelyn Kendal must wed or loose her inheritance.  She marries a dying officer in return for taking care of his sister  but then he doesn't die.  Good idea for a book and a good story.


The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle -  This is the second book in a series and I have not read the first.   I think this is one reason why I had so much trouble with The Bride Wore Scarlet. I was half way through the book before the story caught me. I would be reading and a scene would be thrown in that did not involve the main story or the main characters and I would wonder who are those people and why should I care. In my opinion Liz Carlyle did not do a good job of getting back story woven into the book. I enjoyed the romance between Anais and Geoff. There was some tension in the story. However, the blending of romance and paranormal did not work for me. I usually like Liz Carlyle books but all in all I found The Bride Wore Scarlet to be a disappointment.


The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley - This is the same author who wrote the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries using the pen name Ashley Gardner.  I wanted to see if I liked her Romances as well as I liked her Mysteries.  Lord Ian Mackenzie was the only one of her Romances at my library.  It was a good book and I think it may be is the first book in a series about the Mackenzies.  I did not like it as much as the Captain Lacey books but I still liked it.  It also had a mystery as a part of the romance.


Paranormal:


Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh - I really like the Psy-Changeling series and this is a nice addition.  I would have liked more about the trouble between the Psy and Changelings and and a quicker resolution for Hawke and Sienna.  All in all a good story but not my favorite in this series.


Quicksilver by Amanda Quick - Book Two in the Looking Glass Trilogy.  This one is set in the past.  A good mystery and fun romance that brings two families together and adds to the history of the Arcane Society.


Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee - This is another book I had on my Nook but did not read until I checked a hardcopy out from the library.  It is a good urban fantasy.  Not every question was answered so I wonder if there will be another book set in this world.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan


Warcry (Chronicles of the Warlands)
Fantasy

At the end of Warlord  Elizabeth Vaughn said:

Well, that’s it then.  My magic spell is cast and well done, as far as I can tell.  Lara and Keir’s tale is over, at least for now.  The snows are starting, blurring my vision of the Plains.” 

That was in 2007.  Today in 2011 Keir and Lara are back in Warcry.  While they are not the main characters in Warcry events around them are the main focus of the story.  Heath of Xy, who traveled to the plains with Lara his Queen, and Atira of the Bear, the Plains warrior whose broken leg Lara set and healed in Warprize, are the main characters. Lara and Keir are returning to Xy for the birth of their child.  Heath and Atira are pledged to protect Lara and her unborn child but when they reach Xy there are factions who want to overthrow Lara and place another on the throne.  While Heath and Atira work to protect Lara they must struggle to overcome the differences that threaten their relationship.

It was great to see Lara and Keir again.  Elizabeth Vaught did a good job of rounding out two of the secondary characters in the first series and making their story an important part of the continuing saga of Keir and Lara.  The world of the Plains and Xy is unique and full of conflict.  The story moves at a great pace and is filled with emotion, romance, danger and conflict.  There are also a lot of hooks just waiting to be answered in new books.  I am looking forward to seeing what Elizabeth Vaughan has in store for all of the great characters in this series.


I purchased a copy of Warcry.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl



Blade DancerScience Fiction/Science Fiction Romance

Blade Dancer was our Science Fiction Book Club choice for June.  I read the book several years ago, even so I had to pull it off the bookshelf and re-read it before our meeting.  Blade Dancer is one of several side novels in the Star Doc series.   Although I never carried for the Star Doc books I liked Blade Dancer. Another member of the club agreed that the side novel was better than the series.  S.L. Viehl’s original plan was to use Blade Dancer as the lead novel for a series but something interfered and even though Blade Dancer was very successful the series never got off of the ground. 

We all process what we read differently and that really comes out in a group discussion.  In Blade Dancer the main character is Jory Rask who has both Terran and alien blood.  When she is kicked off of Terra she ends up training at Tana, the school for assassins known as blade dancers.  The story included pages of description about how you moved during a fight.  I could not picture the fights when I read the descriptions and I could have skipped over that part.  Others in the group said they got a very clear picture of what was happening and felt that the descriptions were key to understanding the story.  We were pretty evenly divided on the topic.

We alway share as much information as we can find about the author.  S.L. Viehl has an interesting background so look her up on the web and find out more about her.  She writes under several different names.  As a group we agreed that we enjoyed the book and would be willing to read other books written by S.L. Viehl.

ROC published Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl in 2003.

I own a hardcover copy of Blade Dancer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Naked Truth, the Confederacy Treaty by Lilly Cain



Science Fiction Romance

The Naked Truth is another free eARC I received from Carina Press.  I read and liked the story in Alien Revealed, the first book in the Confederacy Treaty series, and The Naked Truth has an equally good story.  While The Naked Truth can stand-alone it did not hurt to have the background from reading Alien Revealed.

Lilly Cain says in her note to her readers:

Welcome back to the world of the Confederacy Treaty where the fate of Earth lies in the hands of lovers from different worlds.  On the surface they are very different.  Underneath, they are the same, driven by motivations and emotions that revolve around the heart.

Captain Susan Branscombe, an Earth pilot captured and tortured by terrorist who want to stop the Confederacy Treaty, and Asler Kiis, a Confederacy Examiner who must go into Susan’s mind to find the truth about her capture, are the main characters in The Naked Truth.  Susan must prove that she did not commit treason and Asler is her only hope.  If they can form a bond it will be important to both Earth and the Confederacy. 

Neither The Naked Truth nor Alien Revealed is a full-length novel but in both novellas Lilly Cain does a very good job of world and character building.  For SFR fans the Confederacy Treaty is a series worth following.

Carina Press published The Naked Truth by Lilly Cain in 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

The Dark Enquiry (A Lady Julia Grey Novel)

Mystery

In The Dark Enquiry Deanna Raybourn has once again written a mystery that does not rush in but gives the reader time meet the characters and become immersed in the story. Set at the turn of the century the background is careful crafted, the characters fully developed, and the descriptions true to the times.  Like previous books the dialog is often humorous and adds depth to the actions of the characters.

At the beginning of The Dark Enquiry Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane are back in London and settling into married life.  Julia wants to help Nicholas in his detective work and Nicholas wants to protect and keep Julia safe.  Conflict is inevitable and it is great fun to watch these two try to work out a compromise while trying to solve a mystery involving Julia’s family.

The Dark Enquiry is a great addition to the Lady Julia Mystery Series and I am looking forward to more books and more adventures with Lady Julia and Brisbane.  The book can be read as a stand-alone but like most series it is better read from the beginning.


I received a free ARC of The Dark EnquiryReceiving a free copy of a book does not guarantee a recommendation.  I only recommend a book if I like it. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Escape with a FREE Novella!

I just got the following in Carina's Newsletter today. The free coupon code for each novella is in the newsletter.   If you do not subscribe here is the link.  http://ebm.cheetahmail.com/r/regf2?aid=1691018318&n=8&a=0&t=%%t%%

Beat the afternoon blahs with a short, quick, 
FREE ebook! As part of our anniversary celebrations, we're giving away a different novella every afternoon this workweek.


—Angela James
Executive Editor, Carina Press



Two are novella's I have recommended.


The Debutante's Dilemma
by Elyse Mady



Demon's Fall
by Karalynn Lee



The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale - see my post
by Christine Bell



Blue Galaxy - see my post
by Diane Dooley



Friendly Fire
by Megan Hart

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Tapestry of Dreams by Roberta Gellis

A Tapestry of Dreams
Medieval Romance

I received an ARC of A Tapestry of Dreams in the books I received for attending the Online Book Bloggers Conference.  The book is a reprint of a book first published in 1985 and the writing style is different from books being published today.  The style does not date the book, in fact there is more story than you find in romances written today. A Tapestry of Dreams tells the story of Lady Audris who weaves tapestries that often hint at the future.  She is content to stay unmarried and let her Uncle control her estate until Hugh Licorne arrives.  Audris is everything that Hugh wants in a wife but he has nothing to offer a Lady like Audris.  There is no quick solution to Hugh and Audris’s dilemma. 

A Tapestry of Dreams is a character driven story set in England during the time of King Stephen and Empress Matilda.  Both Stephen and Matilda claimed the throne and the war between the two moved up and down the land.  Roberta Gellis uses the history of this time to weave a historically accurate romance.   Events in the books are not rushed.  Backgrounds are established, characters are introduced and the plot unfolds in a logical manner that holds the readers attention throughout the book. Roberta Gellis has a wonderful way with words and tells a compelling story.

There are plans to release more of Roberta Gellis’ backlist and I look forward to reading other of her books.

A note about the author:  I through her name looked familiar and it turns out I was right.  I had not read any of her romances but had read the fantasies she wrote with Mercedes Lackey.


Receiving a free copy does not guarantee a recommendation.  I only recommend books I like.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey


Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse)Science Fiction

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) is old time Science Fiction combined with some old time detective work.  Humans have made their way out into the Solar System but have not found a way to get to the stars.  However, over 2 billion years ago something sent a package designed to make major changes to life on Earth.  Instead of hitting Earth the package got caught on one of Saturn’s moons and now that package has been discovered.  What follows is a race full of twists, turns, tension, and danger.

Leviathan Wakes is not hard Science Fiction; it is well written and exciting Space Opera. The story has two main characters with dramatically opposed personalities who must often work together, a whole raft of well-developed secondary characters, and an exciting plot that often takes unexpected turns.  The story has a definite beginning and a definite ending but does leave room for future books and according to the author interview in the back of the book Leviathan Wakes is the first of three books under contract. You can find out more about the series at www.the-expanse.com.

A note about the author:  "James S. A. Corey is a collective pseudonym for Nebula award-nominee Daniel Abraham, and Ty Franck, personal assistant to epic fantasy heavyweight George R. R. Martin."

Orbit published Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey in 2011.

I received a free ARC of Leviathan Wakes from Orbit. 

Receiving a free copy does not guarantee a recommendation. I only recommend a book if I like it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day of the Moron, by H. Beam Piper

Day of the MoronScience Fiction

I’ve been an H. Beam Piper fan since I was a young whippersnapper. With the new Fuzzy novel out, I dusted this one off, as well. Day of the Moron is a story I read as a child, and it always troubled me a bit. Although dated, it is appropriate for modern times.

There is trouble at a nuclear power plant, and it stems from a labor/management showdown. The protagonist, Melroy, wants to test his union employees to make sure they aren’t morons. They, of course, object. It follows tired lines of melodrama and the very foreseeable ending doesn’t cast the “enlightened individual vs. everyone else” Ayn Randian moral that I think was Mr. Piper’s intent. It comes off as a self-assured blowhard doing things that he knows will have a bad result, and he does them at the worst possible moment. In the end, Melroy might have proven himself to be technically correct, but you have to wonder about the intelligence of someone who does what he did.

The “enlightened individual” who saves everyone is a theme in Piper’s work, and when the characters are capable of self-reflection, don’t preach, and are up against clearly bad people, he pulls it off. This is not one of those stories. I guess there is a reason this one doesn’t see the light of day very often.


Review written by Christopher Jones.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi

Fuzzy Nation


Science Fiction

Billed as a reboot of Little FuzzyFuzzy Nation is indeed a reboot. Gone are mentions of contragravity and collapsium. Also gone is the Yeoman Farmer pipe-dream that was always a hallmark of H. Beam Piper’s work. There is a hint of it at the beginning, but it evaporates by the end. While I did miss contragrav and ExTeeThree, the story rings true and Scalzi kept my attention.

The story begins much the same as the original, with the addition of a running gag that’s present throughout. And it works. The list of characters is a bit different, but still full of rivalry and tension. Whereas Holloway of the original was a gunslinger, Scalzi’s Holloway is a schemer. It’s a sad state of affairs but it’s not an indictment of the work; merely an observation Scalzi wove into the story line. Perhaps it’s also a wry comment on the current state of our schizophrenic Nash Equilibrium obsessed world.

I’m a bit of a retro-grouch and protective of my childhood scifi. Even so, I can still recommend Fuzzy Nation.

Review written by Christopher Jones

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lord Langley Is Back in Town by Elizabeth Boyle


Lord Langley Is Back in Town (The Bachelor Chronicles: the Widows of Standon)Romance

Elizabeth Boyle found that she had three Lady Standon’s who became widows and were left out in the cold when their husbands died before inheriting the Hollindrake dukedom.  None of the widows got along so she decided to put them all in the same house and then give each their own love story.  Lord Langley Is Back in Town tells the story of Minerva Hartley, the last Standon Widow.

The other two Standon widows have married and Minerva is enjoying the peace and quite now that she has the house to herself.  That only lasts until four of Lord Langley’s former mistress’s arrive and move in.  They all insist that Minerva is hiding Lord Langley and they will not leave until she produces him.  Minerva insists she cannot produce him because he is dead.  However, the news of his death is premature.  When someone tried to kill Lord Langley he ended in a Paris prison with no memory of what happened.  To make matters worse that same someone has framed him for treason.  He is out of prison and back in town. Unknown to Minerva he has been living in her attic while trying to find out who wanted him dead.  When he is discovered in Minerva’s bedroom he arranges a false engagement.  Both Lord Langley and Minerva have secrets.  How will they ever get everything straighten out and will their engagement become real?

Lord Langley Is Back in Town is a cute story.  All of the previous characters make an appearance when they decide to help Minerva out.  Nothing goes as planned but in the end everything works out.  The book is a great end the Standon Widows series.  It is more fun if you have read the first two books but you can read Lord Langley as a stand-alone.


I purchased Lord Langley Is Back in Town.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haven by Joel Shepherd


Haven (Trial of Blood & Steel, Book 4)
Fantasy

Haven is the fourth and final book in A Trial of Blood and Steel series by Joel Shepherd.  The final battle between the army of the Regent Arosh and the people loyal to the serrin people is at hand.  Sasha finds that she cannot support the actions of the Regent’s army and leaves to join the other side.  She joined by others in her family and is forced to face her destiny as a leader and warlord. 

Joel Shepherd has created a sweeping world for this series.  It is a good setting for the epic battle that must be fought.  All of the characters are back, sides are chosen and one man’s decision will decide the victor.  Haven is a fitting ending to this series but having created this vast world Shepherd seems to have left room for future stories. 

PYR published Haven by Joel Shepherd in 2011.

I purchased Haven.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wedding of the Century and Other Stories by Mary Jo Putney, Kristin James, and Charlotte Featherstone

The Wedding of the Century & Other Stories: The Wedding of the Century\Jesse's Wife\Seduced by Starlight
Romance
Wedding of the Century is another recent anthology where the stories have the same theme. In each story the hero has been in love with the heroin for a long time but for some reason had to hide his feelings.
In Wedding of the Century by Mary Jo Putney Justin Aubrey met Sarah Vangelder when he was the second son of a Duke.  Sarah’s Mother was looking higher than a second son so Justin made no moves in Sarah’s direction until his brother died.
Jesse’s Wife by Kristin James is set in the American West.  Jesse is a ranch hand for Amy McCallister’s Father.  It takes something that will destroy Amy’s reputation for Jesse to speak up.
Seduced by Starlight by Charlotte Featherstone has a dashing and notorious rake as the hero.  Jase Markham has loved Blossom for as long as he can remember.  There is just one problem; Blossom is his bother’s fiancĂ©e.  When his brother breaks the engagement Jase can finally make his move.  
All three stories are very satisfying reads.  Each story is set in a different location and time period. Because each story is a novella and not a full length novel Wedding of The Century is a good book for anyone who likes to finish a story in one reading.  If two of the stories sound familiar it may be because both Wedding of the Century and Jesse’s Wife have a 1994 copyright.  Only Seduced by Starlight is copyrighted in 2011. 
I received a free copy of the ARC for Wedding of the Century from Harlequin Books.  Harlequin released Wedding of the Century in 2011.


Giving me a free book does not guarantee a recommendation.  I will not recommend a book if I do not like it. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

It Happened One Season by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern

It Happened One Season
Romance

It Happened One Season is a series of four stories with the same theme by four different authors.  The theme, a younger son must marry and produce an heir because the older brother has only daughters and can have not more children, came from a fan.   The author’s invited fans to submit ideas and the best were put up for a vote.  This theme was the overall favorite and won the vote.

I enjoyed how each author took the theme and made it their own.  While each story had some similarity the actual stories were very different.  I was more familiar with Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh than with Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern.  As it turned out while I liked each story Candice Hern’s was my favorite.

If you like romance and want something a little different pick up It Happened One Season.


I purchased It Happened One Season.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Virgin, The Cat Star Chronicles by Cheryl Brooks


Virgin
Science Fiction Romance

I was surprised when I read that there was another book in the Cat Star Chronicles.  At the end of Hero, the sixth book, I thought the series was at an end but as Cheryl says in Virgin, her publisher said that cats have nine lives and her series should have just as many.  If I had looked closer I would have realized that the following message Jack got in Hero's Epilogue was  setting the stage for future books.

"A woman by the name of Amelyana Grekkor has arrived at Terra Minor in a starship filled with over a hundred Zetithian refugees.  They have been in space for twenty-five years and are requesting permission to land."

Dax was raised on that ship.  He is now a wealthy Starship pilot with his own ship.  When he accepts a passenger he charges only what they can afford to pay.  Ava Karon needs to get away from an abusive man and Dax agrees to take her to her home planet.  Because Dax has never met a woman he wants he is still a virgin. Dax is attracted to Ava but he does not know how to let her know.     Women usually throw themselves at him but Ava does not.  Dax needs help.  Throw in danger, a friend who may or may not help Dax with Ava, and you have a great adventure.

Virgin is a great addition to the Cat Star series.  Again Cheryl Brooks has come up with great hero and a woman who is his match.  With over one hundred Zetithian refugees still out there nine lives may not be enough for this series.

Virgin can be read as a stand-alone but for the most fun start at the beginning with Slave and read in the following order; Warrior, Outcast, Rogue, Fugitive, and Hero.  

Sourcebooks published Virgin by Cheryl Brooks in 2011.

I received an free ARC of Virgin when I attended the Online Book Bloggers Conference.

Giving me a free copy of a book does not guarantee a recommendation.  I only recommend books I like.