Saturday, April 28, 2007

Go over to Meljean's!

Author Meljean Brook asked to interview me about the proofreading process! Cool! She's posted it on her site, so if you're interested head on over and take a peek. Learn how my slightly psychotic perfectionism is put to good use, instead of just turning me insane. :)

And you should all put Demon Moon on your to-buy list. It's out in June and is really excellent. It's a paranormal, too, and you know I hardly ever like paranormals. An author who can make me adore a vampire hero (even with my no vampires rule) is one to watch.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hey, she's written a lotta other stuff too!

My copy of Not Quite a Lady came in the mail today. (Yippee!) I was fondling it flipping through it and noticed, first, the ugly stepback. Ugh--that looks painful. Then I noticed the ad card on page ii, where it lists titles by Loretta Chase:
Not Quite a Lady
The Last Hellion
Lord of Scoundrels
And that’s it. HELLO?! She’s written way more books than that---only they weren’t published by Avon. I know that publishers do this, but every time I see it I just think it’s so petty. Oh, no, can’t advertise for another publisher. No matter that they are doing their author no favors by pretending that half their backlist (even books that are still very much in print) doesn’t exist. Especially in this case, as this book is the last in a series, and none of the others are mentioned anywhere. If I were Loretta Chase, I would be upset about it.

At least Avon is reissuing The Last Hellion and Lord of Scoundrels. Though I like my old copy of LoS. It's Patrick Swayze rolling around in a bed of fluorescent flowers and purple foil--what's not to like?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Title: The Raven Prince
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Published: 2006, Warner
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7/10

I am of about six different minds about this book. It's been getting so much hype (lots of awards too) that I think my high expectations are making me overcritical. Please note the double lips icon--yah, it's smokin'. I was surprised by the explicitness of the sex; I expect it in paranormals and a lot of contemps, but this seemed unusually risque for a mainstream historical. It's the trend in all subgenres of romance, I guess.

Young widow Anna Wren is strapped for cash, so she takes a job as secretary to Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham. The earl has trouble keeping secretaries because he has a right nasty temper, but Anna holds out better than he expects. He begins to feel attracted to her but resists because she's a respectable lady and he's engaged. But the lust becomes too much and he decides a little trip to London to scratch his itch is in order. Anna has been feeling the attraction herself and is mad that Edward is going to go off and sate his passion for her on another woman. So she decides to go to the bawdy house in disguise and meet him herself.

This book sat in my TBR for months, despite all the glowing reviews, because this situation just seemed ... tawdry to me. You may all think I am a naive little prude, but the idea of Anna disguising herself and to all intents and purposes becoming a prostitute (even if only for one man) did not spell romance to me. I thought it was going to bother me, and it did. What Anna should have done was tackle Edward before he left and seduced him straight out. She gets all righteous about the fact that men are allowed to have sex outside of marriage and no one cares, so why shouldn't she; but then she goes and does this underhanded, manipulative thing to Edward. It just pissed me off. I was partially mollified by the fact that both the characters are ashamed of the episode, and much of the later action did make me forgive Anna.

There is a lot I loved about the book. The writing is fresh and sparkly; the action scenes were really funny. The characters are not your typical romance stereotypes--she's plain and he's pox-scarred. Both the characters (not just the hero) take positive action toward the HEA, always a good thing. I also loved the raven story that was told in epigraphs at the chapter openers. I often skip over that sort of thing, but the fairy tale was really beautifully told. I didn't see exactly how it was connected to the story, but whatever.

So I enjoyed it, but it wasn't one of those books that I finish and clutch to my chest in happiness. I've been trying to figure out why and the only thing I can come up with is that I just didn't feel terribly invested in the characters.

But I will probably buy the sequel, The Leopard Prince. Maybe its h/h will get me like this set didn't. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I've been shopping again...

Since Kelley Armstrong made the jump to hardcover, I was going to get this from the library and wait to buy it in mass market. But then I noticed that Amazon is selling it for $13.60. Now with free shipping this is a good deal. So I cracked and ordered. Plus Kelley Armstrong will send you a goodie bag if you send her your receipt, which is way decent of her. (Thanks to Nath and Twisted Kingdom for the tip!)

I had to get the new Loretta Chase, obviously.

I had to make my order over $25 to get the free shipping, so I bought Beguilement. I read a library copy in hardcover and really loved it, so I've had my eye on the mass market, which was just released.

And I noticed while roaming Amazon that the cover for Legacy has been posted. Look! It's Dag. Mmmm. Can't wait.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Title: Charlie All Night
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Published: 1996, Mira
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7/10

I am a self-proclaimed Jennifer Crusie fangirl. I thought that I'd read all the books that she has in print, but then I saw this one on someone's blog (can't remember who) and I was like OMG, A CRUSIE I HAVEN'T READ?!!! I don't know how I missed it. Woo hoo!

Radio producer Allie McGuffey is the power behind the station's current star, Mark, who also happens to be Allie's ex-boyfriend. Mark has moved on to another woman and has decided that Allie shouldn't be his producer any more than she should be his girlfriend. So Allie gets the new talent: Charlie Tenniel. Charlie is only in town as a favor to his father, and has no real ambition to make his show a success. Allie has other ideas. In the meantime, Allie decides that a fling with Charlie will help cure her of Mark, only the one-night stand turns into many nights... and maybe more.

I love Crusie's humor--her books always make me laugh my ass off. Charlie All Night doesn't rank with my favorites though. I think her later, longer books are much better. This one felt a little too over-stuffed, like she was trying to cram everything into too short a book. And Crusie's heroines are always seriously competent, intelligent women, but Allie comes off a bit too managing in this one. Like if I knew her in real life, I'd think she was kind of pushy.

Anyway, still lots of laughs here. ;)

What inspires your book cravings?

I've got a post up at Romancing the Blog. So come over and tell us your latest cravings. ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Title: Finders Keepers
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Published: 2005, Bantam
Category: SciFi Romance
Rating: 7.5/10

I liked Games of Command so much, I moved right on to this one. Twin just asked me if this book has a sequel named Losers Weepers. I don't think that'd make a very good romance. LOL.

Trilby Elliot is a independent freight-carrier (like FedEx in space). She's landed on a deserted planet to make some repairs to her trusty, though rickety, spaceship. Her work is interrupted when another ship falls from the sky--a 'Sko fighter plane. Trilby assumes the pilot is dead and goes through the wreckage to see if anything is salvageable. She finds that the pilot is still living and that he isn't 'Sko (they are a non-human sort of life form, who are enemies) but a man. She decides she can't just leave him there to die, so she takes him in. When the man wakes, it turns out that he is Rhis Vanur, an Imperial military officer. He talks Trilby into taking him back to his fleet, and she gets caught up in the events that unfold as they uncover a political/military plot between the 'Sko and an Imperial leader. (Okay, a lot of other stuff happens too, but this is the gist. *g*)

I enjoyed this one just as much as GoC, for the same reason--I loved the combo of romance between truly engaging characters and exciting adventure. The hero/heroine reminded me a lot of those in GoC. Trilby is the scrappy underdog and Rhis is the forbidding, seemingly emotionless military man. Both feel unworthy of love: Trilby as an orphan who has recently been used and left by a womanizer, and Rhis as the unapproachable leader who is alienated from those around him because of his position. I loved seeing them both realize how right they were for each other, and how lucky they felt when they finally accept that their love is mutual.

I think the action and plotting of this book are actually stronger and tighter than GoC. I didn't get confused anywhere, which is always a good sign. ;) So why doesn't it have a higher grade than GoC? Well, Kel-Paten still trumps anything in this book. LOL. Isn't it funny how we will forgive a book nearly any fault if we are in love with one of its characters?

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm alive, really.

Twin and I just got back from a long weekend in VA with our family. 'Twas lovely. Shopping and lots of home cooking--yay! I would write a review this evening, but my RTB column is supposed to be uploaded tonight. Ummm. Topic, topic...I'm sure there's one here in my brain somewhere.

Have you all seen Dear Author's interview with Sarah S. G. Franz and Eric Selinger? Very, very interesting. I want to take Eric's class on popular romance fiction. The best I was able to do in college was a seminar on Jane Austen. I liked it, but it made reading P&P my homework, deeming it all of a sudden work and not play, which did not sit comfortably with me. I think now that I'm not a student I could appreciate it more. ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Scattergories Meme

Nath tagged me! We had this board game when I was a kid--I was never all that good at it. Though it's a lot easier when you're not being timed. ;)

So here are the rules:

Use the 1st letter of your middle name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names,things...NOTHING made up! If you can't think of anything, skip it. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

.....Your Middle Name: Ann

1. Famous singer: Arlo Guthrie
2. 4 letter word: arse
3. Street name: Azalea Dr. (the idyllic little street I grew up on--ahh, suburbia)
4. Color: Aubergine
5. Gifts/presents: Accessories
6. Vehicle: Aston Martin
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Artwork (of the tacky variety)
8. Boy Name: Adam
9. Girl Name: Annabel
10. Movie Title: Amelie
11. Drink: Alcohol
12. Occupation: Author
13. Flower: Aster
14. Celebrity: Anna Nichole Smith
15. Magazine: Archaeology
16. U.S. City: Albuquerque
17. Teams: Completely blank on this one. Not exactly a sports person here.
18. Something Found in a Kitchen: Appliance
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: Attack by neighbor's dog
20. Something You Throw Away: Apple peel
21. Things You Shout: Ack!
22. Cartoon Character: Astro (Wasn't this the dog on the Jetsons? And now I have that theme song in my head. Eek.)
23. Food: Artichokes

Where, oh where, did my sidebar go?

OK, so when I view my blog in IE (at work, hee hee!), the sidebar gets shoved way down below all the posts. And I have no idea why. It didn't used to do that. Maybe the Olive movies are too wide?

It looks fine in Firefox. I'm annoyed. Anyone have any idea how I can fix it?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Title: Games of Command
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Published: 2007, Bantam
Category: SciFi Romance
Rating: 8/10

I picked this book up in the store on a whim because all of a sudden love set in space sounded appealing to me. I have no idea where that whim came from--I don't think I've ever read any SciFi Romance (there's not too much of it out there, is there?). It might have languished in the TBR, but then Rosario reviewed it last week and I was convinced. And hot damn, this book is one great big good time.

Tasha Sebastian is a captain for the U-Cees of the United Coalition. Her people have recently entered into a peace treaty with their former enemy, the Triad. (I never really understood what these groups were--maybe clusters of planets? Some sort of cultural entity.) As part of the new alliance, the two militaries are supposed to start working together, so Tasha is assigned to serve aboard the Triad ship Vax under the command of Admiral Branden Kel-Paten. Tasha isn't particularly excited about this, as she and Kel-Paten have been long-time adversaries. But it turns out that Kel-Paten has been secretly in love with her the whole time. He wants to have her on his ship so that he can finally show her how he feels.

But the problem is that Kel-Paten is a biocybe. Yes, that's right, he's half-robot. Woot! I think I'm with everyone else when I say that Kel-Paten made this book for me. There's lots of action that is very exciting and a secondary romance that is quite nice, but I lurved Kel-Paten. Because of his robot parts, he's not even supposed to really have feelings. Obviously his social skills are seriously lacking, and he has no idea how to engage Tasha in any kind of human interaction--he can't flirt or tease, or anything. It is soooo endearing to see him struggle to get her to see him as something other than a cold machine. And Tasha is a great heroine for him--she's tough and independent. But she also serves as a great foil for him because she is very warm and people person-y. She really doesn't know what to make of it when Kel-Paten's feelings are revealed, and I loved seeing her slowly discover him as a person.

Here I've been talking about the romance, and haven't said a word about the whole SciFi plot, which is a lot of fun. This is a big book and there's a ton going on. The action moves really fast. Maybe too fast--as much as I loved the book, I have to say that some of the action was a little confusing. Especially when they were on HV-One. Maybe I am a bear of very little brain, but when they started talking alternate dimensions, I got lost. And at times there was a lot of backstory that maybe could have been explained a little better.

But that did little to lessen my enjoyment. I went to the bookstore right after and was trolling the romance section and was disappointed to find nothing else by Sinclair. Then I looked in SciFi and did an ooh-ooh-lunge for the two that were there--Finders Keepers and An Accidental Goddess. Yippee!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Bold Ascent--Further Adventures of Olive

Y'all are going to think I have way too much time on my hands. But Twin and I just had too much fun making it. ;)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Title: By Possession
Author: Madeline Hunter
Published: 2000, Bantam
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7.5/10

This is the second book in Hunter's medieival trilogy. I liked By Arrangement so much I moved right on to this one--and it was even better, imo.

Moira Falkner is a bondswoman owned by (or not owned, I don't know the right terminology--owes allegiance to?) Addis de Valence, the lord of the estate who has been off fighting the Crusades for years and is presumed dead. Addis returns to find that half his lands have been claimed by his stepbrother, so he decides he must journey to London to plea his case with the King. Moira is one of the few people he remembers fondly from his time before the Crusades, and he takes comfort from her presence, so he takes her along with him. Moira had loved him from afar from the time she was a child, though she refuses to consider becoming his mistress. The two slowly fall in love, but both know that Addis must marry someone of his own class to stabilize his position politically.

This is very much a star-crossed lovers story, which is always good. The two have legitimately insurmountable obstacles to their being together--I found this refreshing after so many romance novels' rather forced conflicts. And maybe the ending isn't very realistically possible for the time period, but I didn't care. (Did I just give away the ending? Umm, it's a romance novel, I think you could figure it out yourself.)

The first part was maybe a little slow, but the last 2/3 was just excellent. Plenty of action, lovely romance. Really great characters--Addis is rather cynical and damaged, which makes the joy he finds with Moira all the more touching. Moira's dignity, pride, and determination not to be less than she is is admirable.

I've got the last book in the trilogy, By Design, on order. IIRC, the hero in that one is Rhys, a character from this book who I liked quite a lot.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Title: Memory
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Published: 1996, Baen
Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 9/10

This is only the second Miles Vorkosigan adventure I've read. I read A Civil Campaign first because that's the one with his love story in it (and you know I'm a sucker for a love story). So I was a little afraid that the other books in the series (sans romance) would not do much for me. Hoooo boy, I was so wrong.

This book falls sort of in the middle of the series. Miles has achieved military success finally, despite having been born with assorted, serious medical handicaps. I'm a little foggy on this exactly because I haven't read the earlier books, but he's established himself as an undercover agent of some sort. On a recent mission, he was nearly killed (or killed and then brought back to life, actually) and since then he's been having unexplained seizures. He doesn't want to be pulled off duty because of it, so he's been lying to his superiors about them. But then he has one during a rescue mission, and unintentionally hurts the man who he's supposed to be rescuing. Afraid that this will be the end of his military career, he lies on his report, even though he knows it's wrong and it hurts his conscience to do so.

But he's caught out in his lie and his boss, Illyan, has no choice but to put him on medical discharge. Miles, deprived of the career that he has worked so hard for, is completely lost and doesn't know what to do with himself. While Miles is casting about for his identity, Illyan appears to be having some difficulties. He has a chip in his brain that allows him to remember anything he's ever heard or seen (a handy tool for a chief of security). But the thing has started going haywire and nobody knows why. Miles wants to help, as Illyan has been a friend and mentor for years and years, but as a civilian doesn't have much power. Emperor Gregor comes up with a way to give Miles to authority to investigate the problem.

How I did love this book. How I do LOVE Miles. He's just a fascinating character--so flawed and so determined! To see him floundering after being discharged is so sad because you know he's worked many times harder than anyone else to achieve success. He's so honorable and yet he does something dishonorable because he cannot imagine a different sort of life for himself.

This seemed to me like a particularly well-rounded book. Several plotlines go on simultaneously and tons of character development--everything is given the perfect amount of emphasis and it all ties up in this nice, neat tight little package. Very good writing.

And reading these books out of order is kind of fun in a way. Little things that confused me fall into place. But I think now I'm going to go back to the beginning and watch Miles from the start. I ordered Young Miles, which has two novels and a novella packed into one book for $7.99 (what a deal!). :)