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Monday, April 28, 2003

BITTER WATERS by Wen Spencer, another good one
 <-- check out at Amazon

Well, nothing in this series will beat the first in terms of the sheer creativity of how suspensefully the mystery of Ukiah was revealed to the reader. BITTER WATERS was pretty good, though. In the last one, Ukiah reclaimed his memories of his Native American past. In BITTER WATERS, he's back in Pittsburgh and immediately becomes involved in a missing infants case and learns of a cult with an interest in him. And, yes, he dies again in this one.

As much I enjoyed the story, I have a big complaint: There is no Palpable Romantic Tension between Ukiah and Indigo. Since the first book, the romance has been the weakest part of the series. Where are the sparks? This is most disappointing, especially since we saw more of Indigo in this BITTER WATERS. Here's a case of a series where I wouldn't mind the love interest biting the dust in favor of someone new.

Ukiah's son, on the other hand, is just too, too cute. It's great catching up with all the other important people in Ukiah's life, as well. The mystery plot was too gruesome for my taste, but held my interest throughout. There is a big, deliberately dangling, eyebrow-raising plot point that will need to be resolved in future books. BITTER WATERS was notable for introducing a strong fantasy/spiritual aspect to the previously (I thought) pure science fiction world. Recommended.--Preeti


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Sunday, April 27, 2003

CLUB DEAD, another good one by Charlaine Harris

check out at Amazon -->

CLUB DEAD starts off with Sookie learning that Bill is missing, is in serious trouble, has been unfaithful to her, and is planning to dump her. Yowza! She decides she has to save him anyway, and travels to Mississippi with an escort and an entree from a local werewolf named Alcide.

This rough patch in Bill and Sookie's relationship makes CLUB DEAD very much a middle book in a series. Much more than in the previous two books, I was left at the end with a feeling of only getting an intermediate resolution to the story (meaning the immediate problem at hand was resolved, but the bigger relationship and power struggle issues were left tantalizingly unanswered.) Since JW (I think it was) has ranted in the past about Charlaine Harris killing off the heroine's lover in one of her earlier mystery series, I was kept on an unsure footing while reading CLUB DEAD. I mean, Harris is offering Sookie a smorgasboard of sexy men besides Bill. :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, however, despite hating to see it end where it did.--Preeti


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Sequel to Holly Black's TITHE, more
I wish I had more time to visit authors' Web sites. Reading Holly Black's blog reveals that she's posted an untitled vignette of an encounter between Kaye and Roiben soon after the events of TITHE. What a tease it is! What excited me more is knowing that a sequel to TITHE is envisioned, even if it won't happen soon.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman's next book, a prequel to A RED HEART OF MEMORIES and PAST THE SIZE OF DREAMING, is to be a young adult novel. It's about "how the kids and the ghost got together back when the kids were thirteen of fourteen." This info from Sam, who had it from NKH's newsgroup.

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Saturday, April 26, 2003

More on CERULEAN SINS, this time positive!
 <-- check out at Amazon

I also read CERULEAN SINS. I enjoyed it a lot. Unlike many here, I do not care if Anita has a heram. But then again, I am in the please kill Richard camp - I find his continual refusal to deal with being a werewolf and his putting them in dangerous situations to be beyond irritating. I do think that one of the reasons I do not find some of the stuff particuarily jarring is because I noticed the trend of Anita turning into a kind of super hero early on and just have enjoyed it partly because it is so over the top. I actually find it a little more strange that she is still so uptight about some aspects of her sexuality than I find it odd that she keeps developing her magical powers. She dominates Nathaniel and he gets off on it but they are not having sex? She engages in some very sexual behavior with others, but there has been no penetration so it is not sex? Oh, please, buy a clue....--Shelley

I've never been real pleased about how many lovers she has though realize the ardeur isn't giving her a lot of choice.... Jean-Claude has turned out to be pretty darn understanding with her, and though that takes some of his scariness away, at this point that's ok. He deserves her total love but I think she's going to try to change. Though that love scene, when the ardeur was on her but he had just woken up and didn't have enough blood in turn off. The picture in my mind just grossed me out. :-( I know I'm not an erotica fan, although I have been getting used to a lot of it, but that was just too much!!...

Now that I've done all my complaining, I enjoyed this book more than the last one and still had trouble putting it down. I'm still hooked and will continue seeing what happens. I actually enjoyed most of it!! Lots of action and variety in the plot. I would recommend it, though it's not for everyone. As for it being over the always was and that never bothered me. --Linda

[full version...]

Posted by Preeti [Link]


Check it out at Amazon. -->

Finally got to Patricia Briggs' DRAGON BONES and DRAGON BLOOD. Loved them. Ward was a great character to follow and I really found Oreg interesting. I also liked the fact that although the books are linked, they stand on their own merits. Ward's romance with Tisala was wonderful also. I would love to see another book in this series - especially one with a lot of Oreg.--Shelley

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

DRAGON BLOOD -- Edith's comments
 <-- Check it out at Amazon.

Definite recommend. Ward was simply the most endearing, lovely hero. Strong, but gentle, with a terrific sense of humor. I had a distinctly queasy moment since the book starts with a torture scene, but Briggs has such a light touch with those I can handle it. At one of the panels at ConJose Lois McMaster Bujold said that when you're writing torture scenes you have to turn the volume waaaaay down. Something that would normally take six pages must be covered in a paragraph or you can lose your reader (i.e., someone like me). It was an "a-ha" moment for me. Made me realize that Briggs has quite a few torture scenes in her books but I still enjoy them because she does them correctly.--Edith

[more DRAGON BLOOD...]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Laurell K. Hamilton Interview
This week's Science Fiction Weekly has an interview with "vampire writer" Laurell K. Hamilton. In the interview she talks about her two different series, dark sexuality, and what draws her to vampires.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Preeti's opinion of CERULEAN SINS

check out at Amazon -->

In CERULEAN SINS, Anita has to protect her paranormal friends from a threat from Jean-Claude's past, a group of visiting vampires that includes the head of his line. Plus there are some grisly murders for her to solve. The two plots join up for a satisfying conclusion.

And yet I feel that CERULEAN SINS is another step in the decline of the Anita Blake series. I had to laugh when Anita added another couple of notches to her bed-post. Also when she goes on and on about how dangerous and cold she is. This self-deceiving character is living in a wish-fulfillment fantasy world. Which wouldn't be so bad if LKH was playing Anita for the irony, but increasingly it seems that LKH is dead serious about having the reader buy into Anita's delusions. Anita lives in a world where her sexuality and power trump that of everyone's around her. It's so over-the-top and self-indulgent. This lack of believable world-building wouldn't be so frustrating if I hadn't loved the earlier books so much.

I still read the book in one sitting--not many writers can touch her for her page-turning stories--but spent much of my time responding in disbelief at the way this series continues to go. Even though the Anita Blake books seems to be a cash cow for LKH, I would love to see it wrapped up quickly before it becomes more of a joke.

Anyone else read CERULEAN SINS yet? I know this series is really polarizing fans who were united in their enthusiasm when it first began. You have only to read earlier comments about the Anita Blake books on this blog to see proof of the divided opinions.--Preeti

Posted by Preeti [Link]

THE TOMORROW LOG -- Edith's take
 <-- Check it out at Amazon.

Finally read THE TOMORROW LOG and enjoyed it. There were several surprising and enjoyable plot twists. The Witness for the Telios was a marvelous understated character and the spiders were very appealing. Miller and Lee are terrific at creating interesting characters. Wouldn't mind reading more adventures set in this world.--Edith


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Friday, April 18, 2003

Meisha Merlin News

From the newsletter of small press publisher Meisha Merlin:

We've signed contracts with Michelle West, author of the "Sun Sword" series, for a new short story collection. Michelle wrote the introduction for our Tanya Huff collection WHAT HO, MAGIC!, and after catching up with her at World Con, decided to do a collection together. What will be included in the collection is still to be determined, as is the title. She will turn in a manuscript later this year; pub date is tentatively set for early 2005 (possibly late 2004).

P. C. Hodgell: Pat's fans will be excited that learn that she has now delivered to us the first four chapters of the new Jame novel! The writing is progressing well, and Pat is finding ways to devote even more time to it. Good things are in store!

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Margaret Mahy's ALCHEMY -- Preeti's opinion

check out at Amazon -->

If you liked Margaret Mahy's wonderful classic, THE CHANGEOVER, you should like ALCHEMY, too. In fact, it seemed like an echo of THE CHANGEOVER. It's about a popular New Zealand high schooler who is blackmailed by a teacher into taking an interest in one of the unpopular girls in his class. He immediately discovers that there's much more to her than the dull facade she presents at school. He becomes fascinated by her. Transformed in the process. Alchemy, both literally and figuratively, is the core of the book.

I really liked ALCHEMY while at the same time finding it not as richly textured as THE CHANGEOVER. Mahy is a terrific writer, though. Definitely on the "literary" end of the spectrum while being completely accessible. Recommended.--Preeti

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Monday, April 14, 2003

THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN by S.D. Tower -- JW's impression
 <--check out at Amazon

I should've loved THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN. I did love the storyline, but the execution was somehow flat. An unwanted orphan is "adopted" and sent to school with other girls of similar background. Upon adulthood, she is sent by her benefactress to spy upon, and ultimately assist in the assassination of, a cruel usurper. Only problem is, she begins to like the guy. And then to love him. As I said, it sounded like a great story, and it could have been. But somehow it wasn't. The characters never became alive for me; the emotions never became real. I'd say this one was a disappointment; not horrible, but not particularly wonderful either.--JW

[more on S.D. Tower's THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN...]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Holly Black's TITHE -- JW's impression

check out at Amazon-->

I really loved the characters (especially Roiben) but the plot of TITHE didn't really grab me, so I guess I'd say I liked it, didn't love it. I found myself skimming to scenes between the h/h, and not caring all that much about what else was going on.--JW

[more on Holly Black's TITHE...]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Sunday, April 13, 2003

ANGELICA by Sharon Shinn--three views
 <-- Check it out at Amazon.

Recommended, though it took me a while to get into it. I wonder if it was because I didn't have enough time to read, so was reading in bits and pieces? That doesn't always work. When I finally had a bit more time, it was much better. Definitely a romance, and somewhat in the slower, older style of romance books.--Lori

I liked this one quite a bit as well. Anyone who liked the other books in the series should like this one as well, though it didn't have nearly the impact ARCHANGEL had on me.--JW

I also got a chance to read ANGELICA and I'd give it a mild recommendation. Not only did it take a while to get into, I also thought the book a bit too long. I hated the hero's sister--what an obnoxious self-centered spoiled brat. I didn't quite buy into her transformation, either. And there were two plot points I did have quibbles with:

1) I thought it HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a spaceship would need human intervention to shoot down another spaceship.

2) Just because the spaceship was shot down doesn't mean more of them won't come to take the planet.

And why did it take so long for people with such superior technology to take over the planet?? And the way they went about it. Not really credible.

I did like Susannah and Gaaron although I wished they'd solved their differences before the last page.--Edith

[more on ANGELICA...]
[more on ARCHANGEL...]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Thursday, April 10, 2003

April 2003 Locus

April is the first ever Locus "special supplement" -- Locus Looks At Horror. Along with the usual columns, it has a feature on Horror including recommending reading, an interview of Ramsey Campbell, and contributions from various Horror writers and editors.

Of particular interest to RomSF readers:
- Anne McCaffrey will be making a very rare convention appearance at this year's Dragon*Con. McCaffrey's health and an "extreme sensitivity to let lag" means she is rarely seen outside Ireland.
- Jane Yolen declined an invitation from Mrs. George W. Bush to read to kids at the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn due to prior commitments. (You go, Jane!)
- Deanna Durgin will write a Mage Knight novel for WizKids, to be published by Del Rey. Josepha Sherman is also contracted to write a Mage Knight novel.
- Nancy Holder & Nancy Kilpatrick will edit an as-yet-unnamed "Goth" anthology for Roc.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

New Luna editor interviewed

E-zine Crescent Blues has the first interview of Mary-Theresa Hussey from Harlequin Books and editor of the newly announced Luna Books romantic SF imprint. Hussey sounds enthusiastic and knowledgable on her subject. It does appear as if the imprint will be confined to Fantasy, with a particular focus on traditional and historical Fantasy.

Here's an excerpt--
"What led you to accept the post as editor of this new line? Did you have a prior interest in fantasy?
I've been a long-time fan of science fiction and fantasy and have always talked about the possibility of Harlequin doing more with these themes. I worked on some of the Shadows titles, and as senior editor for Silhouette Romance worked on the "Soulmates" thematic stories that had paranormal elements. So I was delighted by this opportunity to move into the "real" fantasy market with authors I have always enjoyed. I'm a fan of a broad range of sf/fantasy -- along with the authors mentioned above, I never miss the next [Lois McMasters] Bujold, [David] Eddings, [Sharon] Miller/[Steve] Lee, [Robin] McKinley, [Tanya] Huff, [Elizabeth] Moon, [Anne] Bishop, Foster, Charles deLint, Bunch/Cole, [David] Weber, [David] Duncan, [Julie] Czernada, David, [Terry] Goodkind, [Doranne] Durgin, [Patricia A.] McKillip, [Laurell K.] Hamilton, and so many others! Vivid characterization, world-building, imagination and compelling writing can cross all boundaries."

Go to Crescent Blues for the full article.

Posted by rebekah [Link]


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