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Saturday, August 30, 2003


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This story strongly reminded me of the sleeping beauty fairy tale. A black sheep daughter of the family, reviled by her father for being a wizard, shows up uninvited to the family home a day before her younger sister's wedding. Kyra does go on to sabotage her sister's wedding in a number of magical ways, but her seeming villainy disguises a desperate attempt to save her sister's life.

I'm not sure I liked Kyra, but she is interesting. She has a strong personality and a defiantly individual sense of style. But I also found her abrasive at times. The person in the story who actually seems to understand Kyra, to see beyond prejudice, is her sister's groom. Spens, a merchant and the mayor's son, also surprises you by not being as stolid as he first appears. I liked this pairing a lot. And even though I knew the ending was HEA courtesy of all your previous comments, it was still quite suspenseful due to the fact Hambly had placed some real believable obstacles in the Kyra and Spens' way.--Preeti

P.S.-I love the striking Don Maitz cover art.


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Two August Re-Releases: Shinn + Lee/Miller

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Two books re-released this August have previously been talked about by us. Comments about Sharon Shinn's first published novel, THE SHAPECHANGER'S WIFE, ranged from enthusiastic ("sensual and beautifully drawn" and "lyrical and haunting") to dismissive ("just didn't grab me" and "couldn't get into this one.") Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's I DARE, however, was well-received by all who read it. I, alas, was one of the non-readers. I DARE relies on the reader remembering events and characters from the earlier books. My memory wasn't up to the challenge.

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Thursday, August 28, 2003


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Like Shelley, I thought BLADE DANCER was pretty good. I didn't expect much from the book, perhaps because of the cover. (Is it meant to draw in more male readers?) The story inside was immediately engaging, though. A one-sitting read. S.L. Viehl, as usual, keeps you on your toes by peppering the story with surprise revelations. "You think you know? You don't know."

Jory is a professional athlete summarily exiled from xenophobic Terra when she's discovered to be only half-human. She and her sh*t-eating attitude hit outer space. Her immediate goal is to track down the other half-breeds--like her--born to a group of Jorenian women who'd been kidnapped and sold as slaves a couple of dozen years ago.

She finds all of them still living on the planet Joren, but only one is half-human/half-Jorenian like her. (And how neat, he's a gorgeous male! they share the same father? Oh, the delicious angst.) The rest are almost like a group of comic book superheroes--one is winged, one is a crystalline telepath/telekinetic, one gives off electrical shocks, etc. These so-called Children of Honor have had enough of being second-class citizens on Joren. They throw their lot in with Jory in order to avenge their mothers and improve their social status.... Jory is the key to her adopted siblings overcoming past wounds and growing closer together as a family. Well, except for Kol. There's more than brotherly love developing in that direction.

The plot perhaps couldn't bear too much scrutiny, and things are resolved perhaps too tidily, but the story was fun and emotionally satisfying enough to recommend.--Preeti

[ more Blade Dancer ]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Deborah Smith and Elizabeth Kerner Books Delayed

Deborah Smith's second mermaid book, TWO IF BY SEA, was supposed to come out in July but hasn't appeared yet. When contacted, publisher Bellebooks said the following:
"We hope the author will be able to deliver a manuscript for the second book, TWO IF BY SEA, this fall and we'll put it out as soon as possible after that. Most likely spring. Deborah Smith is a popular writer and we have to share her time with her other publisher--Little Brown. Her latest book from them--SWEET HUSH is available now. And, of course, we've just released SUMMER IN MOSSY CREEK, the third in the Mossy Creek series, in which Deb has a novella."
--Read our conflicting thoughts about Smith's ALICE AT HEART

According to Elizabeth Kerner's website, REDEEEMING THE LOST has been rescheduled to a tentative release date of June 04. The author admits she's a slow writer. :)
--Kerner's Tale of Lanen Kaeler so far:

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Monday, August 25, 2003

 <-- pre-order at Amazon

To the astonishment and tentative delight of her fans, Robin McKinley's upcoming book is a vampire novel! McKinley is more known for her wonderful retellings of classic fairy tales, like BEAUTY and SPINDLE'S END, and other traditional Fantasy like BLUE SWORD. SUNSHINE, coming out in October, is about a young girl who is positive she will be a vampire's midnight snack, and is surprised the next morning to not only be alive but in the company of a vampire that needs her help. Fantasy master Neil Gaiman describes it as such: "A gripping, funny, page-turning pretty much perfect work of magical literature that exists more or less at the unlikely crossroads of Chocolat, Interview With a Vampire, Misery and the tale of Beauty and the Beast." You can read an excerpt from SUNSHINE (an intriguingly ominous title for a vampire novel) on McKinley's website.

Read what we thought about some of her other books ...


Posted by rebekah @ 11:24 AM ET [Link]

Friday, August 22, 2003

Susan Sizemore and Julie Czerneda -- Leila's Recent Reads
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Laws of the Blood series -- Susan Sizemore

Please put me down as a very firm recommend for the entire Laws of the Blood series. I like the hard-edged style, this sort of effortless post-modern irony that can depict the most gruesome deeds as a comedy routine. COMPANIONS was my favorite, but the entire vampire world Sizemore created, with their laws, history and politics, makes for interesting reading.--Leila

[ Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 ]

check out at Amazon-->

TIES OF POWER -- Julie E. Czerneda

I've finished the second book of Czerneda's "Clan" universe, TIES OF POWER, and am almost finished with the third. Our hero & heroine--Sira and Morgan--are separated for most of these two. I'm riveted by the action and the various alien cultures (truly original stuff) and their relationship to the M'Hir, this unknown space that exists on mental power & talent. As Preeti mentioned, the Drapsk steal the show.--Leila

[ Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 ]

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Upcoming Robb and other news

From Publisher's Weekly:
  • REMEMBER WHEN by Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb (September release)
    "A perfect marriage of sensuality and suspense, this sparkling new offering from Roberts and her alter ego, Robb, takes readers first to the quaint burg of Angel's Gap, Md., and then to New York City, 56 years in the future. A multimillion-dollar diamond heist connects the two halves."

    Recent fantasy sales, from Publisher's Lunch:

  • K.J. Bishop's first novel THE ETCHED CITY, a literary fantasy following the unusual path of two former assassins, with a dreamlike narrative and organic cityscapes "drawing comparisons to the likes of China Mieville, Jorge Luis Borges, and Italo Calvino," to Bantam Spectra.
  • Emma Holly's three sexy new vampire stories, continuing in the vein of CATCHING MIDNIGHT and HUNTING MIDNIGHT to Berkley/Jove.
  • Dawn Cook's THE DECOY PRINCESS and an untitled fantasy novel, to Berkley.

    Posted by rebekah [Link]

    Sunday, August 17, 2003

    S.L. Viehl's BLADE DANCER -- "Definite Recommend"

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    I finished S.L. Viehl's BLADE DANCER earlier this week and really enjoyed it. It has a couple of things that make it appealing to SFR readers. First, there is a romance. It does not take up a lot of the action, but is definitely integral to the plot. Second, this is a very relationship driven novel on all levels, as well as fast-moving sci/fi adventure.

    BLADE DANCER is about Jory Rask, a famous athlete on earth, who is deported when the authorities discover that she is half human and half Jorenian. She has a mission of sorts, from her mother, and travels to Joren to find the other half-breed children -- the group her mother calls the children of honor. The first part of the adventure is just getting to Joren. Then she ends up with the job of gathering together some very different individuals, telling them some home truths and letting them join her in the second part of her mission.

    The book revolves around both the action scenes, which take place in a very rugged "training" environment, and around the relationships Jory develops with the six other children of honor. For me this was a definite recommend.

    P.S.--While the story takes place in the same universe as the Stardoc novels and at roughly the same time, it is not a tie-in; this book was written to be a stand-alone novel.--Shelley

    [STARDOC, Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 ]

    Posted by Preeti [Link]

    Saturday, August 16, 2003

    First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain
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    Karigan, the heroine, has returned to being a Green Rider after spending a year following the events of the previous book trying to fit back in to her merchant family. Soon afterwards Sinister Things begin to happen; the Riders' magic is behaving erratically, and not all of the damage done to the realm (in GREEN RIDER) can be repaired.

    The characters are lively, especially Karigan. She's young and overwhelmed, yet she manages to deal with events without being either stunningly competent or too stupid to live. The plot is dense and generally fast-paced, although parts do drag and the book could have used some pruning. While none of the settings or themes are particularly original (Britain's mining the usual vein of high fantasy tropes), the Green Riders are well drawn and most of her villains actually have a touch of menace to them.

    Romance doesn't play much part in the events of this book. Near the end, though, Karigan realizes that her feelings for someone approach love. There are, of course, obstacles in the way, and I'm sure that any subsequent book will cover her relationships in more detail.

    I think one of the greatest reasons people find these books refreshing is that Britain doesn't end them on a cliffhanger. All the major plot strands are tied up, while still leaving (obviously) room for sequels. In these days of doorstopper fantasies and gazillion-volume series, that's unusual enough to garner a lot of positive attention.

    In short, while not a fantasy classic, this is a decent, entertaining read. In terms of our system I'd call it a mild recommend. I'll look for the next book in the series (which might take a while, given the 5-year gap between these books), but I'll take it out from the library or wait for pb rather than buy it in hardcover.--Danielle

    Posted by Preeti [Link]

    Monday, August 4, 2003

    JW's Recent Reads--Berg, Huff

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    SONG OF THE BEAST -- Carol Berg

    I enjoyed the story, but the romance (such as there was) was lackluster in the extreme. BTW, I've only read the first book in her trilogy -- and enjoyed it -- what's the verdict on the entire trilogy? I've got the books, but haven't pushed myself to invest the time & effort into them yet.

    LONG HOT SUMMONING -- Tanya Huff

    I enjoyed this one, particularly the cats and the humor, but there was too many POVs for my liking; it made me lose interest somewhat as it kept switching around.


    Posted by Preeti [Link]

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