Tuesday, June 30, 2009

KING'S DAUGHTERS by Nathalie Mallet on the way!

My ARC's on the way. As you may remember, Miss Mallet's first book PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE was my very favoritest book last year. Here's her website to learn more- http://www.nathaliemallet.com/ Awesome cover art, hmm? Maybe it's the bear, you know, and me being an Arctic Princess myself.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Detective Inspector Chen Series - Liz Williams

It's Summer. Time for a get-a-way to someplace warm and exotic.

OK, so we all can't take off and go to Tahiti, or even Florida, or Virginia Beach, but we can travel through books. Liz Williams' wonderful Detective Inspector Chen Novels make for a great reading vacation.

The series is set in Singapore Three a sprawling city in an alternative near future. Creatures from Chinese folklore walk the streets rubbing elbows with traditional grandmothers, and urban techno-punks. Heaven, Earth, and Hell are linked by next generation cell phones, and with the right paperwork business tycoons travel between the levels of reality. Det. Insp. Wei Chen is a detective who can summon ghosts, while investigating why the ghost of a wealthy industrialist's daughter has not shown up for her appointment in Heaven, Chen is pared with Seneschal Zhu Irzh, a vice cop from Hell, literally. He's a demon, but honest and honorable in his own way, and somewhat cursed with a conscience. Chen is middle aged and hard working, he has spent his professional life dedicated to a goddess, he does not rock the boat or break rules, except for marrying a beautiful young demon who he helped escape an arranged marriage in Hell. Needless to say that complicates things when her former fiancee and her family seem to bee connected with the missing ghost.

All this takes place in Snake Agent. In the other two books the plot thickens, a goddess goes mad, two nice young ghosts have a son, who might not be all he seems, Chen, and Zhu Irzh, and Celestial Warrior, who looks like a fragile, young girl, get sent on a fact-finding misson to Hell complications insure and various adventures take place. Oh and there are Dragons. Williams books are Urban Fantasies, but without the cliches that often make the sub genre feel stale these days. She does a wonderful job of realizing Singapore Three, and it's mirror city in Hell. Williams makes her readers feel like they have been to the city, from the small stifling hot go-downs and street markets to the glittering homes and offices of the super-rich business and industrial elite to Chen's house boat docked on the edge of the City's crowded harbor. Hell is run by powerful ministries, War, Epidemics, Lust etc. Upper Class demons, and souls who's family did not follow the proper ceremonies, or pay the right fees to get then into heaven live lives much like folks on earth , the lower levels are full of mindless horrors and hungry ghosts. Heaven is perfect, peach scented and maybe just a touch boring, for those not ready to become Celestial beings.

Chen, Zhu Irzh are great characters. The supporting cast is also wonderful. There is Chen's sweet demon wife Inari, her pet tea pot badger. Robin Yuan, is a wage slave at Paugeng, a powerful multi-national parmacutical company and Mhara , a timid young demon being used as a lab rat in Paugeng's research diversion. Jhai Tserai, is the Paugeng heiress, a brilliant business woman, murder suspect, not all the she seems and possibly Zhu Irzh's soul mate. Mrs. Pa is an elderly widow raising the grandson because her daughter's ghost didn't want him growing up in Hell. Mai a young woman sent to Hell by mistake when she died of cholera at age three.

So, if you can't get away the usual way to some place exotic this summer you can't go wrong diving into a books and taking a visit to Singapore Three.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Authors, a Good Example of the Importance of Promotional Variety

http://fantasydebut.blogspot.com/2009/06/debut-showcase-amazon-ink.html Pop on over and be sure to read the comments. The point of it is what makes one reader gag upon seeing your book on the shelf will make another reader squeee with delight, but the gagging reader might love your book just as much or more, given the chance.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Fantasy Debut' Celebrates Anniversary with Giveaways!

My esteemed Blog Buddy, Tia, is celebrating the second anniversary of her glorious book review blog, The Fantasy Debut, this week. Several publishers are helping by giving away goodies, like new books. Pop on over and enjoy the fun! http://enduringromance.blogspot.com

Heather at 'Romancing the Blog' Today

http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/2009/06/07/risk-or-no-risk/ Heather, moderator of The Galaxy Express, is the guest blogger today. You go, Heather!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yunaleska's New Book Review Blog

Hey, no one person can find all the great books for you. So, pop on over and check it out!
Also, if you scroll down this blog you'll find a list of links to lots of other sources for great stories.

New Book Review Blog for Middle Grade Fiction

My daughter has launched her own book review blog, strictly moderated by her Fierce Alaskan Mama, of course. She's committed to posting a new review each Thursday. Here's the link-

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ONLY A DUKE WILL DO by Sabrina Jeffries

Due to the characters in my latest manuscript not co-operating with the plot I set up for them, and to bad luck with my random romance novel choices, I was in a bit of a pickle. I needed a book to review.

So I traipsed into Target (I actually do traipse, just because I'm staring at 40 in a few years doesn't mean my traipsing days are behind me). I looked at every single historical romance on the shelves. Read back copy to find out what the marketers thought the book was about. Then I read the first chapter to find out what the book REALLY was about. Couldn't find one to tickle my fancy.

I picked up Only A Duke Will Do by Sabrina Jeffries. Yes, there were two more titles by her but this one appealed to me. I started reading it (right there in Target) and it gripped me. Sounded familiar but then I average a romance novel a day, they all sound familiar. Checked the copyright. 'This Pocket Books paperback edition May 2009.' Well, that is last month, isn't it? I knew I didn't read it last month. I plunked down my not-so-hard-earned money and went home.

Half way through enjoying the novel (and I DID very much enjoy it), I said to myself 'I KNOW I read this book before.' Sabrina Jeffries has some unique characters and the outwardly cool, politically bent, honesty challenged Duke Of Foxwood is one of the best she's ever created. I checked the copyright page again. 'Copyright 2006 by Deborah Gonzales.' Dang it! Tricked! Rummaging through my receipts, not only have I read this book before but I've bought it before.

Perhaps it was fate. Perhaps I was supposed to review this book. Perhaps there's a reader out there (maybe you) needing this book at this specific time. The world works in mysterious ways and as I'm not one to fight fate, here goes...

Years ago, Simon Tremaine, the ambitious Duke Of Foxwood, agreed to 'distract' the King's illegitimate daughter Louisa North by flirting with her. In exchange for this heinous duty (she's witty and gorgeous and wealthy), the King was to support his political career. Instead, the flirting went a tad bit too far and Simon got banished to India. It wasn't a bad banishment as far as banishments go. He was made Governor-General and ended up a hero.

Now he's back in England, determined to become Prime Minister and ignore the still single Louisa. That's challenging to do. The sparks fly instantly between the two of them. Then the King approaches him. He'll make the Prime Minister thing happen for Simon if he marries Louisa and stops her prison reform work. Wonderful. Simon can have everything he ever wanted.

Except that Louisa has been tricked by Simon once and is determined not to be a fool again. She is also, having seen her half sister die giving birth, determined to never marry. She's a Regency society miss. Birth control talk only happened amongst bordello working girls. If you were married, you got pregnant, especially if the man was a virile Duke looking for an heir.

Yep, despite the pastel cover, this is no frothy read. Childbirth was often a killer back then. Not many Regency romances address this (not romantic, I guess). Politics was also a hot button. And then there's the ethics challenged hero. We find out why he manipulates and schemes but these are still not attributes of your normal romance hero. It takes great skill for an author to make such a hero heroic. Luckily, Sabrina Jeffries has that skill.

Sabrina Jeffries has a zillion other books. You can read about them at http://www.sabrinajeffries.com/ This is my favorite though (thus far).