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Thursday, May 29, 2003

Shelley's Recent Reads -- Harris, Huff, Armstrong
CLUB DEAD by Charlaine Harris
I enjoyed this a lot, but it is very much a middle book in a series. It was very fast paced as far as the action went, but definitely left a lot up in the air as far as the relationships. If you are impatient with loose ends, read this one close to the release of the next book.

I loved Tanya Huff's LONG HOT SUMMONING. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Hell is back and can be found at a mall near you... As funny as these SUMMONING books are, they also manage to have a great sense of adventure. Even while you're laughing, the mission the heroines are on remains suspenseful, which is a nice trick. Huff is one of those authors I wish could write super fast. I love so many of her different series I want to see books in all of them.

STOLEN by Kelley Armstrong
I really enjoyed STOLEN a lot. Not a SFR, but lots of good action and I enjoy Elena's voice. I am looking forward to Armstrong's next novel about Paige, but I also hope she someday circles back to the werewolves--even the secondary werewolf characters in STOLEN were fairly interesting.


[Kelley Armstrong's first book, BITTEN]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Kim Antieau's COYOTE COWGIRL -- magic, food, family

check out at Amazon --

I remember Kim Antieau's THE JIGSAW WOMAN as being a good story, but spoiled by the preachiness. Hew new one, COYOTE COWGIRL, is heaps better. The style is Southwestern-flavored magical realism. The story is of an ugly duckling and her family dynamics. It's a great read, quirky and magical, no qualifications needed. Antieau's passion for progressive causes is toned to merge well with the characters and story. (As an aside, if you like Nina Kiriki Hoffman's books, you might also like COYOTE COWGIRL.)

Jeanne Les Flambeaux is the untalented one in her restaurant-owning family full of people with culinary skills. Beyond that, she's weird. As a child, she imagined the family heirloom skull and scepter talked to her. In the present day, when her loser lover steals the jeweled scepter from the family safe she left open, Jeanne is determined to track him down to recover it before her family has one more reason to think poorly of her. Or, perhaps more accurately, before she has one more reason to think poorly of herself.

Accompanying and guiding her is the left-behind skull, which begins talking to her again. (This is a skull with an attitude; he steals the show.) Making Jeanne uneasy on her road trip is the fact that there have been people disappearing from the area and police suspect a serial killer. Her adventures on the road take her to a couple of other locations. In my mind, the book is about the American Southwest, but the story stretches from Nevada to Mexico.

Besides the talking skull, Jeanne also encounters food magic and mystical, goddess magic. The incredible journey allows her to blossom, find love, and make peace with her family. All the coincidences and threads tie up nicely; the overall feeling I was left with is that everything is connected.

COYOTE COWGIRL is a fast-paced, upbeat read. Stay tuned until the end to read the recipes featured in the story. If any of you prepare them, let me know how they turn out.--Preeti

[Our thoughts on Kim Antieau's THE JIGSAW WOMAN]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Friday, May 16, 2003

Vampire Romance
The first in a projected series of "Vampire Romances" from Susan Sizemore will be I BURN FOR YOU, coming out in October.
More info...

Our thoughts on other Susan Sizemore books:

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Thursday, May 15, 2003


check out at Amazon -->

SONG OF THE BEAST is a standalone novel and SFR.

Aidan MacAllister is a singer and musician who, at the beginning of the book, is released from prison after seventeen years. He was never quite certain why he was imprisoned, but he'd been told if he remained silent for seven years, he would be freed.... His voice scratchy, his hands and back ruined from the way he was treated, Aidan sets out to find a place for himself. Although he does wonder about what happened to him -- he knows it has something to do with the dragons and their riders -- he is more concerned about not bringing attention to himself; he does not want to be recaptured. And there are still people after him....

Lara is the daughter of a family of dragon riders. When she was a child, she discovered the truth about her place in her clan. She and her brother were raised together, and she learned much of what he did, until it came time to learn about the dragons. Women do not ride dragons. So she stole a stone that was used to control the dragons, and, a few years later, she stole one of the dragons. She was badly injured during that flight, and she was rescued by the race which also contacted Aidan and eventually came to his rescue....

The story is built around the question of the true nature of the dragons, and how they came to be in the position they were in. I thought it was an original treatment of something that seems in many ways to be familiar. The bonds between dragon rider and dragon are not the kind that we've seen from Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey (well, not dragons in that case)....

Although I'm not always keen on first person -- and when Lara took over the story for a while, I kept wanting Aidan back -- I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I'm not sure if I loved it as much as her first book, possibly because that was in third person and introduced me to a new author, but I definitely recommend this one.--Lori


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Vampires on the small and large screens
Vampire fans might enjoy Janet Miller's A Minor Compendium of Vampires, a comparison and contrast of literary vampires. Future revisions of the article might have to include Mrs. Mina Murray Harker of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Mrs. Harker is "a courageous lady of impeccable breeding, undaunted by an unfortunate incident in her past" -- being turned into a vampire by Dracula himself. In the forthcoming movie, Miss Murray is playing by the intense Peta Wilson (from the tv show Nikita).

Read what we said about some of our favorite vampire books --
[Tanya Huff's Blood Series]

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Monday, May 12, 2003

BITTER WATERS by Wen Spencer
 <-- check out at Amazon

BITTER WATERS is an excellent book. Lots of action. (And Ukiah's son is cute.) There are new dangers coming to the fore and there's clearly trouble ahead.

I see what you mean about Ukiah's relationship with Indigo. They are an odd couple. Things happened so fast for them in the first book and we've never been able to see the relationship grow. Indigo wasn't in the second book, TAINTED TRAIL, and most of the time when you see her in BITTER WATERS, it's when Ukiah calls her and updates her on information on the search for his son. They might have gotten together two times? When Ukiah thinks about Indigo, he obviously feels he loves her. But you never get her thoughts, which really hinders things since she's such a tough cookie that she doesn't seem to show her feelings outwardly. So you don't feel much zing between them; you are just told they are in love, thanks to Ukiah. Hope Wen Spencer starts letting us see Indigo's point of view a little; we've seen more of Sam's. But I still enjoyed this a lot (though not quite as much as the first two) and give it a recommend.--Linda


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Sunday, May 11, 2003

May 2003 Locus

Some news culled from the latest Locus:
-Philip Pullman sold LYRA'S OXFORD to David Fickling Books. It's an illustrated book which includes a new short story, "Lyra and the Birds," which serves as a bridge between the "His Dark Materials" trilogy and the upcoming THE BOOK OF DUST.
-Laurell K. Hamilton sold two new "Merry Gentry" novels to Transworld.
-Jim Butcher sold three books in new epic fantasy series "Codex Alera," beginning with THE FURIES OF CALDERON, to Ace.
-Alan F. Troop sold books three and four in his "Dragon DelaSangre" series to Roc.
-Sherwood Smith sold two untitled adult fantasies to DAW.
-Anne Lesley Groell, writing as "Kate Brallier," sold paranormal romantic suspense novel SEAL ISLAND to Anna Genoese at Tor.
-Lee Killough's KILLER KARMA, a mystery with a ghost detective, went to Meisha Merlin.
-Charlaine Harris sold UK rights to the first three "Sookie Stackhouse" novels to Orbit.
-Michelle West turned in THE RIVEN SHIELD, fifth in her "Sun Sword" series, to DAW.
-Barb & JC Hendee delivered THIEF OF LIVES, sequel to DHAMPIR, to Jennifer Heddle at Roc. DHAMPIR, published in January, was on its third printing as of March.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Saturday, May 10, 2003

CLUB DEAD--Linda's take
 <-- check out at Amazon

Although I still enjoyed Charlaine Harris' CLUB DEAD a lot, I am sooo disappointed in Bill. I do so like Sookie. Don't know if I want Sookie and Bill to get back together or not. I kept hoping to hear his explanation for what he did, but that never happened.

I both liked and didn't like the ending. I liked the decision Sookie made concering Bill, but it certainly leaves us uncertain about her love life. Oh well. I still recommend CLUB DEAD. :-) --Linda

[Book 3, CLUB DEAD]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Friday, May 9, 2003

First authors slated for Tor Paranormal Romance Line
The first book in the new Tor Paranormal Romance line will be a shapeshifter novel by Constance Day O'Flannery. Tor has also bought books from Ann Lawrence, Susan Kearney, and Patricia Simpson. Expected launch is in the second half of 2004.

The Tor editor, Anna Genoese, is a romance reader. Romance is supposed to be a parallel plot; there should be something else that's not dependent on the romance. Genoese defines paranormal as anything supernatural, and it should be a large part of what is happening. (Weird, spooky, but also SFnal.)

I would be much more optimistic for the line if the first authors were SF writers. Tor is a long-time SF powerhouse and with this approach, they are quickly going to lose any cross-over readers from their SF imprint. The readership they appear to be going after are the Paranormal Romance readers, who tend to be Romance readers who are resistant to strong Fantasy or Science Fiction themes and structure. Ah well. Maybe the other new RomSF lines will be for me.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Tanya Huff's LONG HOT SUMMONING -- more, more, more

check out at Amazon -->

Heavens, it's been a long time since I've read an SFR! However, Tanya Huff's third volume of her Keepers series, LONG HOT SUMMONING, just came out.

I have to say that I have really enjoyed the first two books in this series. Her characters are engrossing and the dialogue hysterical. (When was the last time you got a belly-laugh over HELL?) This third book is no exception.

The story is focused around the newest active Keeper in the family, Diana. Her older sister Claire, Claire's boyfriend Dean, the unrespective cats Austin and Sam, as well as King Arthur, a few Egyptian deities, elves, trolls, a magic mirror, a reanimated Mummy, and assorted humans help propel this story from start to finish. I didn't want to put down the book to go to sleep, so I stayed up annoying my husband and sister (the Shelley on this list) with gales of laughter until I had wrung every last word from this wonderful story.

Now, of course, this morning I am laying around tired and weary with ink smudges all over, and my one thought is "WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT?!?".--Marjorie


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Wen Spencer's TINKER
TINKER Just posted on the Wen Spencer site is the cover for TINKER, which is coming out in November 2003 from Baen Books. The cover is from great SF artist Bob Eggleton.

Book blurb:
"Inventor, girl genius Tinker lives in a near-future Pittsburgh which now exists mostly in the land of the elves. She runs her salvage business, pays her taxes, and tries to keep the local ambient level of magic down with gadgets of her own design. When a pack of wargs chase an Elven noble into her scrap yard, life as she knows it takes a serious detour. Tinker finds herself taking on the Elfin court, the NSA, the Elfin Interdimensional Agency, technology smugglers and a college-minded Xenobiologist as she tries to stay focused on what’s really important – her first date. Armed with an intelligence the size of a planet, steel toed boots, and a junk yard dog attitude, Tinker is ready to kick butt to get her first kiss."

See our thoughts on other Wen Spencers --

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Susan Krinard News
In her recent newsletter, Susan Krinard says she's written a "true crossover" sf and romance novel. KINSMAN'S OATH should see publication around May or June of 2004. She's shopping around a straight fantasy series as well, which will have some romance. Fans of Krinard's werewolf books, don't worry! She apparently still has more of those in the pipeline. This is great news, Krinard being one of the better writers of fantasy/futuristic/paranormal romances. (By the way, have you seen her painting of Val Con and Miri over at and Preeti

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Cool vampire/werewolf/romance movie: UNDERWORLD
Hey, heads up on an intriguing September movie. UNDERWORLD appears to have vampires, werewolves, and romance. From the trailer, the look of the movie appears to be THE MATRIX meets DARK CITY. Very slick, very cool. Very weird to see Kate Beckinsale as a kick-ass action heroine.

"UNDERWORLD reimagines Vampires as a secretive clan of modern, aristocratic sophisticates whose mortal enemies are the Lycans (werewolves), a shrewd gang of street thugs who prowl the city's underbelly. The balance of power is upset when a beautiful young Vampire and a nascent Lycan--deadly rivals for centuries--fall in love. Len Wiseman directs Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman in a fast-paced, modern-day tale of deadly action, ruthless intrigue and forbidden love, all set against the backdrop of an ancient feud between the two tribes in a timeless, Gothic metropolis."

Posted by Preeti [Link]

THE TOMORROW LOG--Isabel's take
 <-- check out at Amazon

Another library book I finished recently is THE TOMORROW LOG. I enjoyed it quite a bit while reading and finished it in one sitting. Is it a rather short novel or did the action move at a fast enough clip that it just felt short? It's been a fortnight since I returned the book and now I find that the details have faded and I don't have any desire to reread bits here and there--the sure sign that a book has made an impression. It's all rather disappointing since I feel that I ought to love Lee and Miller, they've been compared to Heyer quite a bit, and I was hoping this book would inspire me to dive into the Liaden books.--Isabel


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Robin McKinley & Peter Dickinson's WATER--good stuff

check out at Amazon -->

There is a direct correlation between the stories I liked in WATER: TALES OF ELEMENTAL SPIRITS, by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, and how much romance there was in them. This means that I enjoyed The Sea-King's Son, Kraken, and A Pool in the Desert the most.[...] Generally, I liked McKinley's stories better than Peter Dickinson's. Except for Kraken, I found his contributions didn't really interest me.

To my shame, I haven't been able to get through Robin McKinley's ROSE DAUGHTER or SPINDLE'S END despite multiple tries, so am feeling a strong sense of rediscovery from reading WATER. I wonder if we can expect to see collections themed around other elements?--Preeti

I did borrow WATER from the library last year and even finished it. I do seem to recall that WATER was pleasant enough. I breezed through McKinley's contributions but had to use a little force to finish Dickinson's stories. However, none of McKinley's short stories are of the same caliber as her best books (some of my all time favourites) and it's not a collection that I see myself rereading over time although I will acquire a paperback copy sometime.—Isabel

[see our thoughts on ROSE DAUGHTER] and [SPINDLE'S END]

Posted by Preeti [Link]


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