Thursday, May 31, 2007
Probably the best thing about HEIR TO THE EMPIRE is that it's so multi-dimensional that my husband and I can both enjoy it.
The story goes that it's five years after RETURN OF THE JEDI. Han and Leia are married and expecting their twins. Luke is continuing his Jedi growth. And they're all working hard to build the New Republic while keeping remnants of the old Empire at bay.
A mysterious new foe arises. This is the part my husband likes. He thinks Thrawn is just awesome - super intelligent, super confident. Like the boy in 101 DALMATIONS said, "It's not hatred that matters. It's the desire to annihilate!" I thought he was great too, but I wasn't gripped like HH was.
Thrawn and an old dark Jedi join forces. Thrawn promises the Dark Jedi to get Luke and Leia and Leia's unborn twins for him. The Dark Jedi wants to turn them all to the Dark Side of the Force and train them to do his will. Luke goes to investigate things. After two failed attempts to abduct pregnant Leia, Han hides her on the Wookie homeworld.
By the way, the Wookie homeworld is just sooooo cool! Loved it.
Meanwhile, Luke gets captured and comes face-to-face with a hot young woman who inexplicibly hates his guts and wants to kill him. She works for Thrawn though, which makes it tough to find an excuse to off him right away.
I'll leave the storytelling off right there. I don't want to spoil it for you. This is a three-book story, so don't expect things to be tied up neatly at the end of this one.
Besides what I mentioned above, I also learned about one of the big obstacles for any author writing in an established franchise like STAR WARS. The characters are so well-established by the movies that they easily overwhelm any new characters brought. An author really has to know his or her stuff and put the work into creating the new characters or they get lost in the shuffle and the reader is left frustrated. Also, the established characters are so well-loved that the author must keep them the center of the story, or the readers will be especially ticked off. I think Timothy Zahn is called the Dean of the Expanded Star Wars Universe because he accomplishes these tasks so well.
Happy reading, All. The next book in the series comes up next Thursday.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Edit to Add: I just noticed they've rated their novels differently in regards to Heat Level. For example, they gave STAR KING an R rating whereas I put at Sensual (probably equivalant to a PG on their scale.) Strange, isn't it? I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I liked STAR KING better than they did.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Released December 2004
Antholigies can be quite fun to read, and 'Tell It To The Marines' is definitely fun!
In the first story, 'Hot Conflict', Mary Grace Heyward is a wedding planner. She is kidnapped during the vow renewal ceremony she planned for her older sister and her husband, the U.S. Ambassador to Panama. Coming to the rescue is Gunnery Sergeant David James "DJ" McAllister - his history with Mare makes him the perfect person to rescue her.
In the second story, 'Hot Landing Zone', Dr, Katherine Collier has been kidnapped by terrorists right off the streets of Hong Kong, where she had been attending a conference to discuss a formula she had create that had the potential to be used as a chemical weapon. Gunnery Sergeant Jake Mackenzie and his team have been dispatched to rescue the female scientist, and eliminate the terrorist cell that has her.
The third story 'Hot Target', introduces us to Samantha Previn - American Peace Corps volunteer. She is in Columbia inoculating the inhabitants of various small villages from disease. Unknown to her, the American and Colombian governments are getting ready to jointly sweep the region for drug runners, and Gunnery Sergeant Rick Cahill and his team have been sent to pull her out before she gets caught in the crossfire.
All three stories were action-packed, and Ms. Fetzer relies on her experiences with the Marines (Dad was a Marine, she has a retired Marine for a husband, and a son in the Corps) to deliver very realistic details of what it's like for these three Marines to be deployed on such dangerous missions.
As all three stories are short, I am not giving anything else away - you will have to read them to find out what happens! The heat level in all three stories was very sensual, but necessary.
Ms. Fetzer has a fun website you can visit at www.amyjfetzer.com
Friday, May 25, 2007
P.S. This does NOT mean I'm working on my Star Wars novel! It's done in my head and that's enough for now. I don't care what the Old Hag says!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This all inspired today's commentary, Science for Girls & Other Smart People. The reason I love science, science fiction, and science fiction romance is because it empowers the reader. In magical stories, the reader might think, "Oh, I wish I could do that!" In science fiction, the reader can believe, "I WILL do that!" Yet, even today in this country girls are socialized away from pursuing education and careers in science and the mathematics. At about the Middle Grade level, the pressure is on to mold them into creatures solely for the selfish use of others. The human heart needs love. If a girl doesn't get a healthy love from family, friends, and mentors, she can fall prey.
There is something we can do. We can empower girls and young women all over the world with a strong belief in their own value and worth and rights as human beings. We can do that in many ways. One way is through science. (check out the book featured above)
Quick, can you name a science fiction novel with a 12 year old girl as the protagonist? Why do you suppose that is?
Women Science Fiction and Science Fiction Romance authors sometimes puzzle over their small ranks. Here's my suggestion: band together and support an organization which encourages girls in science and math. Girls who love science love science fiction and grow up to love Science Fiction Romance. Yet, social pressure weeds them out before they ever get a chance to enjoy your novels. ;)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey
Released June 1990
There’s a saying about this author. You’ve probably heard it. “Everybody loves a Lindsey.”
Well, I certainly do, and this book is the reason why. I tend to like my romances set in space, or in the future, but they still need to be somewhat believable. If a sci-fi romance starts talking over my head, I lose interest quickly. With ‘Warrior’s Woman’ Ms. Lindsey did exactly what I love ~ blended my love of sci-fi with my love for romance into a story that made me laugh, made me sigh, and even made me mad at spots. I have since re-read this novel at least a dozen times.
‘Warrior’s Woman’ tells the tale of Tedra De Arr, a Sec 1 operative on the planet Krystan. There is an invasion of her government’s ruling body by a race of warriors, and they overcome the security on the planet with ridiculous ease. Tedra flees off-world to try and find a species that can help her free her people. When she lands on a planet inhabited by warriors who are eerily similar to the warriors that invaded her planet, she meets Challen Ly-San-Ter. To say sparks fly would be the understatement of the decade.
At times, reading any type of romance novel, you run the risk of a simpering heroine who is only strong for the first few pages until she meets her hero, and then, all of a sudden, she loses her spine. Thankfully, Tedra keeps hers intact the entire novel, which is a good thing. Challen can be very overbearing and stubborn. It takes a lot of patience on both the main character’s parts to come to an understanding. Ultimately, they both discover that they are the perfect match for each other, and join forces.
The interaction between two such strong individuals could have spun out of control, but Ms. Lindsey deftly tells their story without compromising her storytelling, which I love. The heat level is very sensual, but as both characters are destined to be together, the love scenes were definitely appropriate to the story.
If you like your romance with a futuristic twist, you will love this one. And if you really love it, it this is the first of a three-novel arc so you can continue to read about this couple. Ms. Lindsey does not have an official website, but you can find a full list of her novels on http://www.amazon.com
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I was totally floored when Michelle offered to have an advanced copy of NEFERTITI sent to me! Whoa, yes! This review is of that copy. The rest of you will have to wait until it comes out in hardcover on July 10th and, no, I will NOT be hawking mine on eBay!
NEFERTITI is told from the viewpoint of her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, also called 'Mutny' by her family. The story starts with the untimely death of Pharoah's eldest and beloved son, Tuthmosis. Along with a few others, Mutny fears the death was hastened by the ambitious younger son, Amunhotep. Nefertiti isn't too concerned with all this. Even at age 15, she has ambitions of her own. She's beautiful, dazzlingly clevor, and the daughter of a princess. She's in a good position to become queen. Two years younger and born of a different mother, Mutny is very close to her sister with just a few stabs of jealousy mixed in.
The marriage takes place and Nefertiti meets her first challenge head-on. Amunhotep has a first wife of whom he is fond. This threatens her elevation to queen. Ancient Egyptians afforded more rights and freedoms to women than other cultures of the time. Still, what Nefertiti does is rather audacious.
If you're wary of historicals, let me reassure you that Michelle does an excellent job conveying the fact that human nature is timeless. Nefertiti is like a high school cheerleader going after the captain of the football team to raise her social status. The huge difference is that 17 year old Amunhotep will be king of one of the most powerful nations of his time.
Nefertiti does have a conscious and that is her family. They're truly altruistic even when she gets carried away with the trappings of her position. From my point of view, it's this consciousness and loyalty that enables Nefertiti to be the power behind the Throne by the end.
Nefertiti's not an annoying witch. She is a beautifully flawed human being.
Amunhotep ascends the Throne a while after the wedding and his ambitions kick into full gear. To the shock of most, he does away with the traditional gods of Egypt and replaces them with the worship of one god, Aten, the image of the sun. He changes his name to Akhenaten and Nefertiti manages to keep him away from the other wife most of the time. Nevertheless, while Nefertiti proceeds to pop out one baby girl after the other, the other wife ends up with two sons. Meanwhile, Akhenaten's impatient and obsessive building of his own monuments, palaces, and a new capital city saps the national treasury and takes the army away from defending the borders. Rebellion brews.
I totally got into Mutny's heart. Power has a way of putting a person under threat, surrounded by people who can't be trusted. Nefertiti knows that people talk to Mutny because she's a good listener, and she's loyal. Nefertiti clings to Mutny to the point of becoming possessive. Mutny's no doormat though.
I wish I could tell you more, but then I'd ruin the suspense. The magic Michelle works with NEFERTITI is in the way she conveys the humanity we can all relate to. And she does it without falling back on the crutch of using a contemporary voice which ruins so many otherwise good historicals these days.
You don't need to know anything about Ancient Egypt to enjoy this novel. Michelle does a wonderful job of transporting the reader back in time so you can see and smell everything, and without being too wordy about it.
NEFERTITI is historical fiction first, but it does have romance. Again, Michelle makes that all feel real. The focus is on the emotions and everything is well-developed and well-balanced.
NEFERTITI A Novel by Michelle Moran is due out July 10th, but you can pre-order it from Amazon. com right now.
Monday, May 14, 2007
All American Girl revolves around Samantha Madison, a high school sophomore in Washington DC. Sam is the dreaded middle child, with a gorgeous, cheerleader older sister, and a genius younger one. She’s the artsy type, sketching celebrity portraits to make some extra money, and dyes her entire wardrobe black because she is “mourning for our generation, who clearly do not care about anything except what’s going to happen on Friends next week.”
When her parents are told by the evil older sister (Lucy) that Sam is selling sketches of teen heart-throbs with her clients, instead of doing her German homework, she has to take mandatory art lessons. At her first lesson, Sam is deeply offended when she’s told she doesn’t draw what she sees. To make a political statement, Sam skips her next class, and happens to save the president of the United States from an assassination attempt.
Suddenly, Sam is in the middle of a media whirlwind, the most popular girl in school, and in way over her head. But the most surprising thing of all is that David, the cute, funny guy from her art lessons is actually the president’s son.
David gives Sam some weird indigestion (or maybe it was her burrito that made her stomach queasy), but Sam is in love with her sister’s artsy boyfriend Jack. I mean, how could she not be? They were obviously meant for each other: he liked her pants that one time, they painted the same plywood street lamp when working on their high school’s production of ‘Hello Dolly’, and her sister doesn’t even know anything about art, like Sam does.
But when Sam takes David to her first popular kid party, (to make Jack jealous) Jack actually does get a little jealous. David is hurt by his role as ‘bait’ and he and Sam stop speaking.
In the end, it takes Sam’s genius little sister to help her realize what should have been obvious, as well as a kind gesture by Lucy.
All American Girl is, honestly, one of my favorite books. Meg Cabot is a great teen author, and her website (http://www.megcabot.com/) is very chic, and I highly recommend checking it out.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Released July, 2003
I first discovered Christine Feehan through a co-worker who knew I loved vampire/romance stories. Christine Feehan writes the 'Dark' series, but she also started the Drake Sisters stories. The Drake sisters are a family of seven sisters, all with magical powers. 'Magic in the Wind' was the first. It is a short-story in the anthology 'Lover Beware'.
'Magic in the Wind' tells the tale of the oldest sister, Sarah. She is a security expert, and she has been hired to return home and protect Damon Wilder. Damon used to be a defense contractor until he and his assistant were kidnapped and tortured for state secrets. The bad guys got away as the FBI found where they were being held, but not before his assistant was killed. He retired to Sea Haven, hoping to throw off the scent of the bad guys.
A bit of background info of the Drake sisters. Each is destined to fall in love, in order from oldest to youngest. The gate at the front of their home will not allow anyone in except family and friends, unless it is the destined love of one of the sisters.
I love the interaction between Sarah and Damon, but I also loved the interaction between the sisters. Ms. Feehan knows how to weave the family dynamic into this love story very well, and you end up loving the characters. The heat level between Sarah and Damon is very sensual, but as this is a story about Sarah finding her soul-mate, it is entirely appropriate to the story.
There are now 4 stories told of the Drake sisters, and you can read about them on the author's website at http://www.christinefeehan.com/
She has a wonderfully informative website, and you will have fun navigating through it as you learn a little about the author and her stories.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Anyway, this is half-comment, half review.
I did get to a used bookstore. When I saw FINDERS KEEPERS by Linnea Sinclair there, I snatched it right up. Her novels are tough to keep in stock in Alaska, probably because we're surrounded by military bases full of powerful women who need a little more in their romance novels.
Personal taste is a funny thing and we've all got it. GAMES OF COMMAND is my favorite Linnea Sinclair novel of all time. As a result, all her novels are judged against that one in my caffeine-addicted brain. On the other hand, I don't judge her novels against the likes of Susan Grant or any of the other authors I love. Not-favorite authors are cannon fodder though. I once read a novel very similar to FINDERS KEEPERS by an author who shall remain nameless outside hushed whispers in back alleys. Naturally, I rushed to Linnea's side, furious that someone would copy her! Then, I had to remind myself it was probably only a coincidence because the two were released within just a couple months. Still, what edged me into Linnea's camp? Most of the time, it's hard to say why I like one novel and not another. In this case, it's the multi-dimensional characters I can empathize with.
FINDERS KEEPERS is about independent starfreighter captain, Trilby Elliot, who rescues a hottie who turns out to be a Zafharin military officer. She expects him to be an absolute jerk. After the initial shock wears off, he treats her with respect. Their attraction is immediate, but their different lives make her believe it's impossible. But, then, Trilby's got a friend to rescue and the bad guys start hunting them. Love blossoms, heh-heh, among the laser blasts and by the end I'm wondering, "Gee, I wonder what their kid would be like?"
Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to see if my husband knows what yav cheron means.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
This week’s Oldie but Goodie is…..
by Susan Krinard
Released August 1995
I love a good sci-fi/fantasy romance novel. I especially love the ones that take place on a world embroiled in conflict. When done correctly, the conflict acts to enhance the story, and strengthen the bond between the two main protagonists. And it does these things while sucking you into the story without you ever knowing it.
Star-Crossed accomplishes that in spades. Set on an alien world inhabited by both Humans and a race called the Kalians, Lady Ariane Burke-Marchand is in love with Rook Galloway. She is a human teenager, and her love is unreturned by the slightly older man, a Kalian.
During an uprising on their planet, Rook is believed to have murdered Ariane’s brother, and is arrested for murder – soon to be sentenced to like on the harshest prison-planet in the galaxy. But there is another, sinister plot happening behind the scenes – and the death of Ariane’s brother was only the beginning.
Fast forward eight years, and Ariane travels to the prison planet to get answers on what really happened the night her brother died. She is getting married in three weeks, and she wants the final chapters of that part of her life closed forever.
Which would have worked out just fine, had Rook not escaped and taken Ariane hostage - desperate to clear his name of a crime he still maintains he did not commit.
This book captured my interest immediately. The world-building in this novel is absolutely wonderful, and the different civilizations created for this story were fantastic. Another thing you will enjoy when you read this book is the way the author seams together several plot lines into one cohesive story. There was never a moment when I was scratching my head because I couldn’t follow the action or the story. Without wanting to give anything away, you will know who the bad guy is fairly soon, but this only adds to the dramatic element of the book. The love scenes in this book are highly sensual, and appropriate to the storyline.
You can visit the author’s website at http://www.susankrinard.com/.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
TRIALS AND TRIBBLE-ATIONS by Diane Carey was a novel based on a Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode which was written by Ira Steven Behr, Hans Beimler, and Robert Hewitt Wolfe based on an original Star Trek episode entitled 'The Trouble with Tribbles' which was written by David Gerrold. Confused? I sure am! A huge part of Diane Carey's brilliance is in her ability to write a novel like this in the first place. Don't think for an instant this is easy just because the story's already there! I've tried writing stories using characters created by someone else. It's incredibly difficult and frustrating! I had to accept that I'm not suited for it at all. Not only does Diane Carey do it, but she does it extremely well.
The story of TRIALS AND TRIBBLE-ATIONS starts on Deep Space Nine with the arrival of temporal investigators who want to know why Captain Benjamin Sisco (the sexiest voice in the Star Trek universe) took the starship Defiant back in time. Captain Sisco proceeds to tell how a Klingon disguised as a human used the Bajoran Orb of Time to take them back in time. This rascal, Arne Darvin, meant to murder Captain James T. Kirk in revenge for humiliating him decades before.
Darvin plants a bomb in a tribble. The DS9 crew must find it before it can explode and kill one of the most influential men in history. Hilarity ensues as the tribbles consume grain and breed with speed that would drive a bunny rabbit insane with jealousy. In the strictest sense, there is no romance in this story. But, uh, Jadzia Dax does get the hots for Mr. Spock. And Dr. McCoy. With her appetite, it's no wonder she eventually marries a Klingon!
As for a Happily Ever After ending, again, it's not in the strict traditional sense. But, if you're a Trekkie, you'll probably agree that another romp with the tribbles and knowing they get the chance to re-populate their species after being exterminated by the Klingons makes for a very happy ending indeed.
Diane Carey has written a bunch of novels, several of which are set in the Star Trek universe. You can grab any one of them off the shelf at a bookstore and feel confident you're getting a good read.