Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday News!

Linnea Sinclair has a book trailer out for her July release, SHADES OF DARK. Click on the link to view. Also, this will go into the Enduring Romance Book Trailers.
Authors, if you have a trailer for a book we've reviewed here or will be reviewing her, send it to us! We'll post it in the Tuesday News and place it on http://enduringromancebooktrailers.blogspot.com/

ARMED & MAGICAL hits the bookshelves today!

We had a blast at the Cyber-Launch Book Party. Scroll down to Thursday, April 24th to read all about that. The party's in the comment section. Darth Vader lopped off a mummy's a head, which the Tribbles proceeded to play toss back and forth between themselves, and I dumped Brandy on Gandolf's head. At least the kitchen didn't blow up this time. Owlfish won the drawing for ARMED & MAGICAL goodies - congratulations!


That's it for this Tuesday, Blog Buds, unless something comes in before the end of the day and I have time to post it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

GRIMSPACE by Ann Aguirre

*This review was graciously provided by Sara J. She also posts reviews on her home blog, Jumpdrives & Cantrips http://www.sfjohnson.rtsquad.org/wordpress/ She's the girl to contact if you have a novel needing a review which is any flavor of Science Fiction or Fantasy.*
I'm curious to know how the name Grimspace came about. While the title obviously comes from the name of the space humans with special J-genes "jump" into to traverse the universe, it fails to capture the joy and addictive ecstasy jumpers get from grimspace itself. Be aware that Ann Aguirre's debut science fiction novel pulls romance into the fore, though its romantic nature doesn't displace any action. The romantic overtones aren't a shock considering Aguirre has written romantic fiction in the past under a different name.
Grimspace is a change from the run of the mill space opera, though, in its tone and perspective. It uses first person present tense narration that brings a kick in the pants along with it, pushing the action into the forefront. It also puts the focus directly onto Sirantha Jax, who is a heroine with loads of attitude.
We first meet Jax right before she's about to escape from a psych unit with the help of mysterious man March. With her lover and former co-pilot dead, Jax must now make a run for it and make the first jump she has made since that time with a pilot she has never met or bonded to. Soon we're introduced to the ship's crew, who want Jax to start a rogue training program for other jumpers so their rebel group can reduce the monopoly her former employers, the Farwan Corp., have on space transport. To do that, they have to find other people with the J-gene. Along the way, Jax must deal with herself, her relationship with her telepathic co-pilot March, save a sentient baby lizard, escape a pirate space-station breeding programme, and dodge an extremely polite shape-shifting bounty hunter.
For a novel like this to succeed, it really requires a likable main character, and Sirantha Jax is that. She's strong, and someone who acts with loyalty and caring despite herself. And she's the longest living jumper out there, which speaks to her stubborn nature. I didn't believe the psychosis that the character kept proclaiming (read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar or even Sarah Monette's Mélusine if you want crazy done convincingly) and wondered if this was a symptom of Jax's lack of self-knowledge. Her relationship with March overlaps with her grief from losing her last love, and their relationship grows with each argumentative exchange, fraught with physical attraction and their need for each other. Aguirre's use of Jax's voice is almost mesmerizing at times, and is what makes the novel speed forward so quickly.
And I'm aware of his hands on the controls as I never have been. I could almost fly the ship if I had to, because we're not him and me, we're…we, and then I sense his astonishment, sharing my mind's eye as we gaze outward to grimspace.Maybe I gave him some sense of it before, but this time, he sees completely and I know he does: the glory, the colors, and the almost-manifest monsters that writhe along the hull. The Folly ploughs through liquid fire; the world without is a conflagration of possibility, ideas and dreams barely conceived and waiting to be given form.But March and yes, it's the March-me spinning my mind's eye away from the beacon. He's doing it and I didn't even know this was possible. He's trying to show me—Shit. There's a ship coming up fast behind us (p. 148).

Grimspace was clearly designed as a "non-stop thrill ride" of action and romance, and Aguirre accomplishes that goal very well. Its rapid plot turnover helped make my nit-picky science-oriented self back off from the book's logical inconsistencies. Most notably, a swamp planet that had planet-wide seasonal change and an ice planet with an unsustainable ecosystem without humans--who were not native to it (and seem to willingly live there despite creatures that go crazy at the scent of ANY human blood). Though there is speculation here, it's more of the social type than the hard-science type, so don't wrack your brain too hard.
The speed of plot elements hit a wall in the last third of the novel: the story moved too fast, and pulled too much in at once while eliminating some characters in not-so-meaningful ways. The media broadcast moment at the end struck me as too simple a solution, and something that Farwan conceded to far too easily. I have to say that the last couple of paragraphs just smacked me in the face with a corniness that seemed out of character for the novel as a whole and really disappointed me.
That said, the book takes an interesting spin on feminine-masculine power relationships, both in relationships between characters and in the societies that Jax and her fellow crew visit. "Mother Mary" is the expletive of choice, which ties into the reproductive politics explored, and the idea of exploiting women for their reproductive power. Though religion remains a mostly unexplored depth for Sirantha, she dips in her toe. It seemed to me as though later volumes have the potential to go somewhere very interesting with themes of genetic and reproductive politics entering the fray, especially if religion is bound into it all.
Ann Aguirre's Grimspace is the kind of book that you can kick back with and enjoy the ride, as long as you don't think too hard about it. It's got enough humour and action to preoccupy you for a few enjoyable evenings, and its sequel, Wanderlust, is due to hit shelves in August 2008, with two more books in the series currently contracted. I'm looking forward to them. .
Heat level: sensual, Gore o' meter: violent.
Aguirre, Ann. Grimspace. New York: Ace Books, 2008. 326 pages. $7.99 (Canadian), paperback.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cyber-Launch Book Party for ARMED & MAGICAL

This is it! Welcome to the Cyber-Launch Book Party for Lisa Shearin's second Fantasy novel, ARMED & MAGICAL! Do be careful. The goblins look like Chippendale dancers, but they do have fangs. Also, the trolls are a little cranky at having to get up so early this morning.

Lisa's in a bit of a jam, which Susan Grant once told me is called 'Deadline Hell.' So, I swiped a Lisa Shearin interview from her page at Penguin. If you want to read my review of ARMED & MAGICAL, click on Lisa Shearin's name in the directory. All things Lisa Shearin can be found there! ARMED & MAGICAL hits the bookstores Tuesday, April 29th.


Now, sit back and enjoy the Penguin interview:

A Q&A with Lisa Shearin, author of Armed and Magical

Armed & Magical is set in a traditional fantasy world, replete with elves and goblins. But what's so refreshing about your novel is the first person narrator, Raine Benares, an elven sorceress. Raine has *attitude*! Why did you decide to put a heroine with contemporary sensibilities in a Tolkien-esque world of swords, horses, and magic?

Anyone looking at my bookshelves can see that I love genre fiction: fantasy, detective, action adventure, mystery, romantic comedy, crime capers, and political thrillers. I think that over the years they all just sort of merged in my head and Raine Benares and her world was the result. I simply wrote the type of books I wanted to read, but couldn't quite find. Well, that and Raine didn't give me a choice.

Mixing contemporary sensibilities with traditional fantasy was a hard line to walk. I resisted doing it for as long as I could, but I finally gave in. Raine's voice just wouldn't be forced into traditional “fantasy speak,” and third-person was out of the question—Raine let me know that in no uncertain terms from day one. Once I started writing in first-person, I immediately found her voice, and I really knew I was on to something when my other characters started coming out of the woodwork as if they heard their cue to come on stage.
Armed & Magical also has a romantic element, with Raine juggling the attentions of Mychael, a handsome elven spellsinger, and Tam, a sexy goblin. I think we've all seen Orlando Bloom as Legolas enough to understand the appeal of an elf, but a goblin is an unusual choice for a love interest. Can you tell us more about your goblins? How are they different from the traditional ones?

I wanted to do something different with my elves and goblins. I have two finished manuscripts in my office closet that I consider practice books for what I'm writing now. In those books, I went with the more traditional idea of elves. In fact, the character that eventually became Raine was an elf princess, of all things. Knowing Raine now, I look back on that and it cracks me up. When I started writing Magic Lost, Trouble Found, I decided that not only should Raine be non-royal, she should be from a family of criminals, and she has to work for a living. No hoity-toity elves for me (at least not for Raine and her cousin Phaelan). However, there will be a hoity-toity, pure-blood, high-elf mage in Armed & Magical, named Carnades Silvanus.

And as to my goblins—most of the goblins in books that I'd read were short, gnarled, and had a bad case of post-nasal drip. Again, I wanted to do something different. I asked myself why couldn't goblins be gorgeous? Why couldn't they be tall, lean, silvery skinned, and wicked sexy? And while I was at it, I thought fangs and long black hair would be a nice touch. (Heck, they don't call it “fantasy” for nothing.) My goblins are just your basic dark-eyed, smooth-talking, dangerous bad boys who you probably wouldn't take home to meet the parents.
You and your husband are members of a fencing club; no doubt this real world experience is very helpful when writing novels set in a place where swordplay is the norm! How has your knowledge of fencing made its way into the books? Do you and your husband block out fight scenes together?

Since I've begun writing Raine's adventures, unfortunately I haven't had the time to get back into the fencing gym. But I have five years of fencing experience to fall back on (my Olympic weapons of choice are the foil and epee). And while I was working on the manuscript that would become Magic Lost, Trouble Found, I took private rapier and dagger lessons, and took a lot of notes for future book use. My fencing coach, Wes Caudill, helped me block out the fight scene in the first chapter of Magic Lost, Trouble Found, and is always available for any and all of my combat-related questions.

Like Raine, I like to be creative in my fighting style. Though unlike Raine, I've never used a rose bush branch as an offhand weapon. I prefer the more traditional offhand weapons: a dagger, a second rapier (fighting with a pair of rapiers is also known as a “case” of rapiers or Florentine style), a dueling cloak (though I never quite got the hang of that), but what was just too much fun was a rapier and a bullwhip. Yep, you heard me right. Believe me, nothing distracts an opponent like a six-foot whip wrapping around their blade. Hmmm, a bullwhip. That sounds like a weapon Raine would like.
Going back to Armed & Magical, can you give us any hints about what's next for Raine Benares?

The action in Armed & Magical picks up a week after Magic Lost, Trouble Found ends. Needless to say, Raine isn't going to catch up on her sleep anytime soon. By the end of page three, Raine's already got big problems—an assassination attempt on the archmagus, an encounter with an enemy from her past, and an entirely too public display of her Saghred-enhanced powers. Later, Tam has not one, but two, deep dark secrets from his past that he'd rather keep buried. (Of course they don't stay that way.) Piaras is now a Conclave college student studying spellsinging, and that voice of his attracts way too much of the wrong kind of attention. Mychael has his hands full with Raine, and with trying to keep her from falling prey to the darkest side of the Saghred. Let the fun continue!


*End of Penguin Interview*


Lisa just got back from the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburg. Here she is at her table-

Doesn't she look hot in red? Bet her husband thought so! To learn more about Lisa and her books, pop over to http://www.lisashearin.com/


On with the party! I got into a major fight with my Happy Helpers, Junior (redhead) and Angelica (Kick-Butt Heroine-in-Training) over music. Naturally, I wanted Weird Al and his hit single, Weasel-Stomping Day.


However, I was shouted down and now Soulja Boy is in the party room, rocking out. I hope they don't mind getting yanked into an alternate reality. Be sure to click on the link below to watch their music video and buy their album! They really are awesome!

And now I shall wave my fairy wand and zap you through the Transdimensional Vortex Chamber! Watch your step and please be respectful of my younger friends (the under-18 crowd.) Remember, if you want to be entered into the drawing for signed copies of MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND and ARMED & MAGICAL, and related goodies, your comment must be linked to a working email. Thank

Cyber-Launch Party Starts at 6 a.m. Alaska Time Today!

The Party's in Full Swing! Please find it in the comment section of the above Cyber-Launch entry. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BABY, I'M YOURS by Karen Templeton

I'm posting my review today because Lisa Shearin's Cyber-Launch Book Party is on Thursday, my usual review day. I didn't want it to overwhelm BABY, I'M YOURS.
I don't much like novels set in contemporary America. I've always preferred stories which take me far and away. However, there are a few exceptions. The novels of Karen Templeton are one of those exceptions. She consistantly puts out excellent Contemporary Romance. The characters are always living, breathing, sufficiently screwed-up to be interesting, but not so screwed up that I can't root for them. The plots are always intriguing and the story is always well-organized and well-told without a word out of place. I read across all genres, except Horror and Erotica, and I know I can always count on Karen Templeton to deliver a feel-good, keep-me-reading story with a well-deserved, believable Happily Ever After at the end.
Kevin's a recovered drug addict determined to right past wrongs. He'd been involved with Robyn, a fellow druggee. They weren't exactly deeply in love and committed to Happily Ever After. It was more of a Misery-Loves-Company-Relationship. It ended badly and Kevin's determined to apologize so he can move on with his drug-free life with a clear conscious. However, when he shows up on her doorstop, he receives the tragic news that Robyn never came clean and ended up dead. Her father, Victor, and sister seem about as guilt-ridden about failing to help Robyn as he is. But, the shockwaves haven't even begun to settle when Robyn's sister, Julianna, over-rides her father's wishes by informing Keven that he's a dad.
Victor and Julianna had forcibly put Robyn into rehab when they learned she was pregnant and so Baby Pippa was born healthy. Afterwards, Robyn went into a tailspin and died, but I've already told you that. Victor and Julianna have been caring for Pippa since birth and absolutely adore her. Victor doesn't want to lose Pippa after losing his daughter and he's afraid Kevin's not as clean as he claims, but Julianna believes Kevin has a right to prove himself. She also believes Pippa has the need for a great dad and, therefore, a need for Kevin to prove himself too. The grown-ups agree that Kevin should move in for a month to reassure Victor and Julianna that Pippa will be in good hands with a great dad.
Juliana starts the story devestated by her sister's death and also by the death of her first husband and clinging to Pippa for dear life. There's nothing like a baby to keep hope alive. So, it's no surprise when she starts falling for the baby's dad. Meanwhile, poor Victor is worried sick she'll get hurt. The family's been rocked by more than enough tragedy.
You all know how much I adore babies. I used to be a professional nanny and am now a mommy. Back when I was single 'Excellent Dad Potential' was Priority One is selecting my future husband. If I hadn't found HH first, I probably would have married a single dad. So, you can just imagine how much I love Romance novels with babies in them. The other great thing about BABY, I'M YOURS is that Karen Templeton is a mommy too. The difference between an author writing babies who's never had a baby and an author writing babies who's had babies of her own is staggering. The baby is not an appendage in BABY, I'M YOURS. She's a vital part of the story and she's so real I could smell the baby poo all the way up here in Alaska.
Karen Templeton has an extensive backlist, so if you like BABY, I'M YOURS you'd better pop over to her website and check out her other books. http://karentempleton.com/ You might also like SWEET SENSATION by Gwyneth Bolton or any novel by Kara Lennox.
The Heat Level of this novel is Sensual.

Tuesday News

A lot of authors are just getting home from the Romantic Times Convention and I think they had a blast. For the most entertaining account, pop over to http://www.rebelsofromance.com/
We've never reviewed their novels here, at least not yet, but these ladies have a gift for book promotion!Jill Sorenson received her first box of copies of her first novel, DANGEROUS TO TOUCH. How exciting for her! I believe it's Robyn who's reviewing that one here soon.
Tia over at http://fantasydebut.blogspot.com/ is reviewing Lisa Shearin's debut novel, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND today in preparation for the release of Ms. Shearin's second novel, ARMED & MAGICAL, next week.
We're throwing a Cyber-Launch Book Party right here this coming Thursday, April 24th for ARMED & MAGICAL. The party will run from 6 a.m. Alaska Time through 7 p.m., that one day only. Be there and watch out for Junior. She's a little cranky these days because it's her turn to clean the trolls' restroom.
That's it for this week, unless I find something else throughout the course of today and have time to post it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Glory Girls by Linda Bleser

GLORY GIRLS chronicles the lives of the Glory sisters- once child members of a family lounge act in the Catskill mountain resorts. Andrea, Bethany, and Chelsea have grown up with memories both wistful and resentful of their performing childhood, their beautiful mother who died too soon, and the father who deserted them to bury his grief in a bottle.

The eldest, Andrea, has allowed the bitterness to make her hard and cold. Her choice to become an attorney was less about a love for the law than a desire to be in control through power and money. Chelsea, the baby, has stayed in show business and craves the attention adoring crowds give her. But the main point of view in the book is from Bethany, the dutiful middle child who stays in the background and always takes the safest way.

The story begins when the sisters learn of their father, Alexander’s, impending marriage to a Las Vegas showgirl half his age. Though he’s been sober ten years, each of his daughters has unresolved issues about his emotional abandonment after their mother’s death. He wants them to accept his fiancée, Tara, but they aren’t too receptive. Bethany and Chelsea are still loyal to their mother; Andrea is worried that a gold-digger will take their inheritance. The girls were raised, primarily, by his mother, their grandmother Rosemarie. Granny Ro is nearing the end of her life. She owns the Catskill hotel where the girls grew up performing, and Alexander wants to reopen the place to showcase Tara. Granny Ro has changed her will to give the sisters ownership of the place, and Andrea sees a way to burn the memories of her childhood and punish her father by selling it to developers who will more than likely tear it down. Bethany, though, wants to restore their homestead and perhaps, their family.

Bethany has stayed in a passionless, empty marriage. Her three children factored big in that decision, but she honestly doesn’t believe she deserves more. She doesn’t like to make waves. Now 40, she is looking back over her life and realizing that she is still young enough to dream. Chelsea introduces her to Dr. Ken Lanigan, a self-help counselor who fires both her imagination and her libido. She comes to the conclusion that she is indeed worthy of more than she’s got, and slowly she goes for it. The restoration of her resort is paralleled with the restoration of her family and her own soul, and she finds the strength to fight for it.

Bethany’s journey resounded with me, as just about any woman who is nearing the empty-nest stage can attest. Although my own marriage is happy, I knew exactly what Bethany was going through. Her children don’t need her the way they used to, and now she’s facing the end of what has been the main focus of her life. New ideas and new people have awakened things in her long buried, and it is both exciting and frightening. Linda Bleser has richly drawn characters in an iconic setting, and I enjoyed seeing Bethany find her worth.

There are only two things I could take issue with- Tara, the showgirl fiancée, is a little too nice to be believed. She’s tough, but there’s no edge to her. Anyone in a cut throat profession that calls for nightly nudity for that many years is going to have some not-so-nice characteristics.

The second- the book simply isn’t long enough. Some ends are tied up rather neatly, with Andrea’s and Chelsea’s romances, the relationship with their father, and we don’t really see any reactions from Bethany’s teenage sons to her profound life changes. Each sister could ideally have her own book (that’s of course my wish, but not my call) and I would liked to have seen deeper explorations before the resolution. All in all, I suppose a reader wanting more isn’t a bad thing.

There’s no sex, but certain graphic words are thrown in casual, girl’s night out conversation. Some themes in GLORY GIRLS reminded me of an another good book, THE OCEAN BETWEEN US by Susan Wiggs. Thanks, Linda!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Passover Special: MRS. KATZ AND TUSH by Patricia Polacco

Jewish Passover begins at Sundown today. This event commemorates God delivering the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. It's called 'Passover' because the angel of death passed over the Jews whose faith compelled them to mark their doors with lamb's blood as instructed.
One our favorite children's books is MRS. KATZ AND TUSH by Patricia Polacco. It's no work at all for me to tell you all about it because I've read it a bazillion times. In fact, Ms. Polacco is one of my favorite authors of any genre. http://www.patriciapolacco.com/
Mrs. Katz is an old woman who lives in an apartment building. Her husband has died and they never had any children. She had immigrated with her husband from Poland, like a lot of Jews did around World War II. She's terribly lonely and is befriended by a young African American boy, Larnell, who also lives in the building. They share a special bond because both Jews and African Americans were once enslaved and brought to foreign countries. Though free, they remain in the minority.
Larnell brings a kitten to Mrs. Katz. No one else wanted the kitten because it's a scrawny, ugly little runt. But, Mrs. Katz and Larnell love the kitten. The kitten has no tail, only her bare tush, and so Mrs. Katz names her Tush. The story progresses to the end when Larnell is a grown man bringing his wife and children to visit their honorary Bubby ('Grandma.')
MRS. KATZ AND TUSH has been featured on the award-winning show, Reading Rainbow, which is hosted by LeVar Burton (best known as Commander Geordi LeForg on Star Trek: The Next Generation.) In this episode, LeVar visits his own honorary Bubby and helps her prepare a traditional Passover meal. Here is the link to the Reading Rainbow book index:
Bring MRS. KATZ AND TUSH home to the children in your life and take time to remember the struggle and joy of finding freedom on this special day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Silver Compass

I am fortunate enough to get to read an advanced readers copy of The Silver Compass. First, I should say that I love Holly Kennedy. Her blog is warm and funny and interesting and I highly encourage you to check it out! And her writing lives up to the hype. ;)

She's very skilled at weaving sentences that are at the same time beautiful on their own account, and yet don't slow the book down or get in the way of the plot - which is really fascinating in The Silver Compass.

It opens with a 17 year old Ellis attempting suicide by jumping off a bridge. And you feel all of the agony with her. It's not over wrought, or flip, just moving and convincing. From there, the story launches into a grown up Ellis with her own teenage daughter returning to her small town in Montana. She's just survived the death of her husband, well, barely survived. And she's bringing her daughter home to get start over.

Kennedy weaves lots of questions into the book about Louie, the man who saved her from drowning so long ago, about her father who suddenly reappears, about the silver compass with the engravings on the back... I'll let you read and find the answers!

If you enjoy The Silver Compass, check out Souvenier by blog buddy Therese Fowler and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday News, Part Two

Patricia Wood made the short list for the 2008 Orange Prize. Congratulations!


Good morning, Blog Buds! Lisa Shearin had an exciting week. Her debut novel, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND has been nominated for the Compton Crook Award for the best debut SciFi/Fantasy novel of the year. Congratulations!
Also having to do with that busy girl, Lisa, we're throwing a Cyber-Launch Book Party right here on Thursday, April 24th for her new release, ARMED & MAGICAL. *All day for that day only.* Be here and watch out for the goblins. They may look like Chippendale dancers-

- but they've still got fangs!

Linda Gerber is giving away Advanced Readers' Copies of her next release, DEATH BY BIKINI, as well as a really cute bikini charm bracelet. Pop over to her site to check it out. http://lindagerber.blogspot.com/ I reviewed two of Linda's books last year, NOW AND ZEN and FINNISH LINE.
That's all I've got for this week, unless more news comes in throughout today and I have time to post it. Authors and authors associates, if you have news and wanted it posted, please email me or post bullitin on MySpace.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

GOBLIN QUEST by Jim C. Hines

If you've been corrupted by Lisa Shearin's novels, the first thing you've got to do to appreciate GOBLIN QUEST is to get her idea of what goblins are out of your head. I mean, sure, her goblins are hot. They look like Chippendale dancers with fangs, but Lisa's a girl and we girls like that sort of thing.


Jim C. Hines is a guy and he has a different sense of humor. His goblin, Jig, is like a blue Yoda with a massive inferiority complex. And fangs.


I'm not picky. I like both kinds of goblins.


Jig's a goblin and not a very good one, by goblin standards. Even though he survived his adulthood test of finding his way home through the underground tunnels alive, he starts the story still doing a goblin-kid job - stirring the muck-pots. He's considered too stupid to patrol the outer tunnels for annoying adventurers. He's also the runt of the litter and assumed to not be of much help in a fight. Of course, this is tough for him to figure out since, as far as he can tell, goblin battle tactics consist of all the goblins charging in at once, usually while drunk, and getting themselves killed. Jig spends most of his time tending the scorching muck-pots with his pet fire-spider, Smudge, on his head and avoiding the bigger goblins.


Then, one day Jig is stunned at being chosen to go on patrol. He figures out pretty quickly he's been chosen to flush out adventurers so the big goblins can sit back and get drunk. He expects to be troll-fodder by nightfall. Those annoying adventurers - elves, humans, dwarves, wizards - they're always hunting for rings and amulets and they're much better fighters. So, off Jig goes, assumingly to his immediate doom.


Well, he gets the doom part right. Unfortunately, the adventurers off the whole goblin patrol and take him along on their quest as a guide. So, it's a delayed doom as far as he can tell.


Now, if you're thinking 'Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring,' you need to get over it right now. These adventurers seek a magical rod, but it's not to save the world. It's so Barius can prove he's a studmuffin to his parents so he can be king, even though he doesn't stand a bunny's chance in Mount Doom because he's got a lot of brothers. Barius is a roguish warrior, but he's no Aragorn. He spends most of his time whining and spatting with his brother, the wizard Ryslind. Yes, there's a dwarf, probably the most level-headed of the lot and maybe the only with a sense of honor. The elf is a girl they picked up after she tried to pick-pocket them. Unlike Legoles, Riana couldn't hit the broad side of a cave-troll with anything. If they were all in a boat, I'd say they were on the Voyage of the Damned. But, they're crawling through tunnels by hobgoblin territory and getting sucked down whirlpools into the Necromancer's domain.


And did I tell you about the carrion-worms? They're about the size of your forearm and feed on dead flesh. Of course, the deeper down you go into the tunnels and caves, the bigger and less picky they get about their food.


So, who's going to off the Necromancer? And don't forget about that doggone dragon. There's always got to be one and, of course, he thinks he's the bomb. I'm telling you, going on quests for magical objects ain't what used to be.
There's no nookie in this novel. I'd rate it as Violent on the Gore O' Meter, but nothing about it gave me nightmares.

GOBLIN QUEST is the first of a trilogy. The second is GOBLIN HERO. The third, GOBLIN WAR, has my favorite cover art of the three.

If you like GOBLIN QUEST, of course you'll want all three books. You may also like MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND by Lisa Shearin and THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday News, Part Deaux

Well, I'm back from my hot, HOT date with HH to celebrate our anniversary and if you're a Mom too I'm sure you'll appreciate what we did. We went shopping - for ME! Yes, I got to try on clothes without my little cave-babies climbing all over me and running around and squeeling. It was very exciting and I was actually able to buy clothes which fit, and HH was very happy for me. When you've been married as long as we have, Romance takes on a whole new meaning. ;)
Anyway, I was researching Time Travel Romances last night and I was exploring a site and I realized I'd never told y'all about it. Things slip through the cracks in my head if I don't write them down in my day planner, yanno.
If you're a Romance reader, pop over to http://www.allromancewriters.com/ for a treasure chest of novels. You can find just about anything you're looking for there. They will sort out novels based on subgenre, theme, archetypes, time periods, and so on.
If you're a Romance author, I recommend you pop over and make sure you're listed. It doesn't appear to be automatic.
That's it. Must go do writing-type work now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday News

Good morning, Blog Buds. Not a whole lot of news today. You all might want to pop over to Lisa Shearin's blog. She's got a bunch of things going on in preparation for the release of her second novel, ARMED & MAGICAL, on the 29th of this month.http://www.lisashearin.com/blog She contests and prizes and all sorts of nifty things. We'll be throwing her a Cyber-Launch Book Party here on the 24th for that day only. If you want to join the lunacy, pop in at some point that day. If you don't know what kind of lunacy I'm talking about, click on 'Cyber-Launch Book Parties' in the directory. Scroll down to the last one we threw for Lisa. She still holds the record for the number of commenters, although I think Linnea Sinclair holds the record for actual visitors. You know, my brain just doesn't process or hold on to numbers well.
I'm reading GOBLIN QUEST by Jim C. Hines right now and it's a real hoot.
I was going to read NETHERWOOD by Michele Lang next, but GOBLIN QUEST wouldn't share any brain cells with it.

Then, I realized I needed something a little more closer to home for my next review. I've decided to review BABY, I'M YOURS by Karen Templeton next. Sigh. So many books, so little time. I wish I could read and review all of them right NOW!

That's it, unless more news comes in today and I have time to post it. I'm going on a hot date with HH today to celebrate our anniversary, so don't count on it!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sunday's Oldies but Goodies...


Today, I have to veer off my normal course.

Every Sunday, I try to introduce ya'll to authors you may or may not have heard of, normally by way of an older publication of theirs, in the hopes you will eventually like the author as much as I do. :0)

Normally, I leave non-fiction in the capable hands of others, because it is just not a genre I generally enjoy.

Then I heard of this book. I had to buy it, and I am glad I did.

This week's review?

Released July, 2007

I had the great fortune to watch a webcast at work with this author (She spoke at our home office in San Antonio) and one of the soldiers whose story she chronicled in this book, Marine Captain Vernice "Junk" Armour.

I listened with great interest as the author, Kirsten Holmstedt, discuss what it was like interviewing these brave ladies, many of whom left kids and husbands behind, and what they felt when they were in the thick of gunfire, be it on the ground or in the air.

The webcast really piqued my interest, so I actually went right to the bookstore after work that day and bought the book.

Immediately, I was sucked in by the way Ms. Holmstedt told the stories of her soldiers. Each injected with a bit of humor, some matter-of-fact retelling by some soldiers watching their comrades die in battle, and yet others describe what it was like to be wounded in battle - some of these women losing limbs, but never losing sight of their mission.

Each soldier's story is like a vignette into her life - at once tense, sad, funny, even ironic. And while I know we each have our own opinions about the 'war' that technically isn't a war (at least, according to my President it isn't) - this book really brings home the struggles, triumphs, and sorrows of the women currently serving in the American Armed Forces overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Captain Vernice "Junk" Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot in the military, fought in Iraq.

Captain Armour, for instance, spoke of an instance when she was given the go-ahead to fire on a group of insurgents that had a small platoon pinned down, their ammo running out....

But I will let you read her story for yourself.

I am sorely tempted to delve into each soldier's story, but I would rather you take the time to pick this novel up at the bookstore or the library.

I cannot put into adequate words what reading this book did for putting my life into proper perspective, and for giving me a new found respect for members of the military.

Read it. You will be profoundly moved, and profoundly glad you did.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Bridal Quest by Candace Camp

First off, big thank you to Kimber An for inviting me to join the ever expanding Enduring Romance team. I'm excited about it. Why? Because I love, love, love romance. Any excuse to talk about it is a-ok with me.

Despite averaging about a novel a day, I can count the number of romance novels on my keeper shelf on my fingers. That's why I am thrilled and a bit shocked to be adding one already in 2008.

That novel is, of course, The Bridal Quest by Candace Camp.

The story doesn't sound all that special. A lady, having grown up with an abusive brute of a father, swears never to marry. A lord, having been abandoned on the streets, tries to leave behind his working class life and fit in with high society. To do that, he is looking for a wife.

Been there, done that, right?

Wrong. Every time my brain went on auto-read, Candace Camp gave it a jolt of the unexpected. Sure, Gideon, the hero has the ability to do real damage to any baddies but he also has a wicked sense of humor, constantly teasing his rather dour relatives. Sure, the heroine's sister-in-law is predictably selfish but she also parts with a prized possession to help the heroine.

And what I love most of all about The Bridal Quest is that I UNDERSTAND the immediate attraction between Gideon and the heroine Irene. It goes far past the flimsy physical explanation most romances give. Gideon is the only eligible noble to have seen Irene's not-so-dear departed father at his worst. Irene is likely the only eligible lady to have met Gideon first in his working class environment. They don't have to pretend with each other. They are comfortable. They show their true selves. They fall in love.

There are so many questions to be answered. What happened to Gideon's mother? Why didn't his father look for him? Who is the mysterious Dora? What is going on between the Duke and the matchmaker?

This book is the second in a series, the first being The Marriage Wager, but each book can be read alone. I know. I read The Bridal Quest first. The heat rating is sensual.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday News

Linnea Sinclair's been nominated for another Rita.
This award is the highest honor put out by the Romance Writers of America. She won her first for GABRIEL'S GHOST which I reviewed here last month. I'll review the sequel, SHADES OF DARK the second week in May. This second Rita nomination is for GAMES OF COMMAND which I reviewed and Cyber-Launched a year ago. It now has two covers, the old one-
and the new one-
I prefer the old one. I wonder if Linnea will have an acceptance speech prepared this time?


Kudos to Ciara Gold! Her electronically published Fantasy novel, A NOBLE SACRIFICE won the Eppie and has now garnered enough interest to be published in print form. I'll be reviewing A NOBLE SACRIFICE this summer. Her next novel ONCE JILTED was just released.
Ann Aguirre has just finished negotiations for two new novels, DOUBLEBLIND and KILLBOX. Sara J. will be reviewing her first novel, GRIMSPACE here towards the end of this month.

Oh, I should announce well in advance that we're throwing a Cyber-Launch Book Party to celebrate the release of ARMED & MAGICAL by Lisa Shearin on April 24th. Unlike Cyber-Launch Parties before, this will be for ONE DAY ONLY. So, if you want to attend, be here April 24th. All Cyber-Launch Parties from now will be for one day only.

Okay, one last thing before Tuesday ends. I think I should continue telling you about books I would read and review if I had the time or if the authors didn't need help from puny little me. ARCs and book sent to me by authors and author associates take priority over novels I obtain myself and I'm already booked solid for 2008. News Flash! I almost paid money to obtain a book today!

And I may still do it. My younger friends, especially Urbie, have told me about Eva Ibbotson for over a year and I still have not gotten to read any of her books. A SONG FOR SUMMER is just out in paperback and looks to be a riveting tale. 'Dear Author' gave rave reviews to one of Ms. Ibbotson's previous novels, A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS. This author has been around for a while and has a hefty backlist.


In fact, I've witnessed an explosion of excellent Historical/Fantasy lately. One of them, THE RED QUEEN'S DAUGHTER, I've been lucky enough to receive as an ARC. I'll review it in May. My younger friends tell me the novels of Libba Bray are also excellent. I did try A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, but it started out kind of stereotypical teenish. I dropped it. My younger friends tell me it gets better and turns out to be excellent. These Historical/Fantasy novels are marketed to teens, so you'll have to look in the Young Adult section.

Just, just one more! Holly Kennedy just released her third novel, THE SILVER COMPASS. She generously sent the ARC to me and then I got bogged down in a time crunch. Mystery Robin will be reviewing it in May, I think, so pop back in on her day.
That's all I've got for this week. Authors and Authors' Associates, if you have news, email me or post it as a bullitin on MySpace and I'll put it in the Tuesday News here. The MySpace option is your best bet, because you won't just be telling me (providing we're Friends). You'll be telling all your Friends there too.