Thursday, August 27, 2009

Singularity's Ring - By Paul Melko

Singularity's Ring is the story of Apollo Papadopulo. Apollo is training to become the captain of the soon to be completed starship Consensus. This is a future where the world is oddly changed from what we know today. The story takes place twenty years after the Exodus, when the vast majority of humans, who lived interfaced with an souped up version of the world wide web know as the Community, vanished. The Community left behind a globe circling space station known as the Ring, and several half finished interstellar space ships. No one knows for sure what happened to them. Were they all vaporized by some accident? Did they create a singularity and ascend to some higher level of being?

The humans who were left after the Exodus rejected living in an all inclusive technological link, but they wanted some of the enhanced data gathering, and problem solving, and intelligence the link provided. To get this they use bioengineering to alter humanity, so that each "person" is a pod made up of more then one individual. Pods use a combination of pheromones, and direct chemical messages passed when they touch special pads on their hands, to think and act as one entity.

Apollo is a quint, a pod of five individuals- Storm. Meda, Quant, Manuel, Moria. Storm is male, he is strong and athletic, Moria is female, she is brilliant, Meda is also female, she is a natural communicator and negotiator, Quant is also female, she lives and breathes math, and Manuel is male, he is dexterous. Each one is a separate human being with their own thoughts and motivations, but they are also part of a whole that is greater than the sum of their parts.

While on a cold weather survival test in the Rockies, that is part of the screening process for the Starship Captain's program, Apollo and several of the other pods are caught in an avalanche. Apollo only survived because of quick thinking on Storm's part, and the possible intervention of a talking Grizzly Bear. Storm's actions also save most of the members of the second pod. Instead of being reward for this Apollo is sent home to the farm where they were raised for a period of enforced rest. When the individual members of the pod compare notes, and start to investigate the accident things don't add up. It looks like the avalanche was deliberately set up to kill or break-up one or more of the pots in the captain's program. No one believes Storm's account of meeting bears who have pod like pheromones and touch pads

Shortly after this Apollo meets Malcom Leto the sole surviving member of the Community. He had been attached to medical equipment that was repairing brain damage when the Singularity happened, and so was left behind. Leto romances and seduces Meda. He convinces her to to prove her love by letting him install a computer port in her head. He has ulterior motives and Meda escapes before he can use her to start to build a new Community.

Various other things happen and Apollo is sent for a few months training on the space station where the starships are being built. This should be their dream come true, but it turns into a disaster. The pod begins to suspect that someone is trying to kill them. The more they learn the more they realize that many things about their life are not what they thought they were. Most pods are made up of two or three individuals. Quints like Apollo are rare and experimental. Apollo may be more experimental than the law allows. Storm may be able to talk to modified animals. Manuel's body has been modified for zero gravity, his feet can also be used as hands, Quint's brain seems to have been changed so she can see and feel paths needed to fly a ship through space. She is also autistic, if she had not been raised in the circle of her pod she would not be able to function on her own. Moria and Meda also have aspects of their personalities that make they unusual.

Apollo is surrounded by questions. Was the accident in the Rockies was planned to set things in motion so they would meet Leto. Does someone wants a pod with the ability to use Community technology so they can access the abandon Ring. Who is tinkering with bear genes to create pods of inteligent Grizzlies and why?

Singularity's Ring is a great read. The universe of the book is fresh and intriguing. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep even the most jaded reader guessing what is going to happen next. The story is told in alternating chapters by the five members of the pod that makes up Apollo Papadopulos so the reader gets to know each one's hopes and fears from the inside. This lets the reader get a feel for what it would be like to be an individual, who is also one part of another person.

This is Melko's first novel, although I believe he has published several pieces of short fiction. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he does next.

Violence - moderate
Sexuality - little to none

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Well, it's better late than never. That's what I always say. I've been trying to get this review out since the book hit the shelves last March. What can I say? My brain was stewed in pregnancy hormones. Anyway, here 'tis.


WARLORD'S DAUGHTER is the second in the Borderlands trilogy. You may remember MOONSTRUCK, which recently garnered a RITA nomination for Best Paranormal Romance. This is Space Opera, Folks. You'll find the Borderlands universe a comfortable hang-out for the likes of Han Solo. Earth is the new kid on the block in this universe. TheDraakan and the Coalition were battling it out for a looong time before the plasma sword-wielding Queen Keira got lucky with a self-proclaimed human prince in MY FAVORITE EARTHLING. Then, peace was declared which Admiral Brit Bander found rather annoying in MOONSTRUCK until she got lucky with a hunky tatooed Draakan dude. Now Wren, the Warlord's Daughter, is on the run and every bounty hunter in the galaxy's turning the place upside down huntinger her down.


Wren's dad was one bad jackass, kind of like Hitler, but with offspring. He kept Wren a secret because it was so humiliating for him to sire a daughter first. Later, he figured she'd make a good gambling prize. So, while she was still just a girl fumbling for her glasses, he paraded her out for the other warlords to bid on.


Aral's dad wasn't a good candidate for the Father of the Year award either. Aral happens to be there with Wren is paraded out. It's love at first sight, but he can't let on or his jackass-dad won't let him have her. As it works out, the two are betrothed but don't see each other again until they grow up.


Shortly after growing up, peace is declared at the Warlord is offed by heroes in a previous novel. Suddenly, everyone who ever hated him is out to punish his daughter for his atrocities, which, of course, is stupid. But, then, violent, angry people aren't known for their intelligence, obviously.


Sabra (Wren's Commando Nanny, woo-hoo!) has protected Wren as best she knew how for as long as she could. When the time comes to hit the road, she takes the hit (kinda like Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, the mentor must die for the student to grow) and Wren is suddenly alone in the galaxy, disguised as a refugee with every Bobo Fett out to get her.


Aral is called upon to hunt down Wren so she can be destroyed, but, of course, he wants to find her for his own reasons.


Meanwhile, Hadley, who served under Admiral Bander in MOONSTRUCK, has command of her own ship. I enjoyed her a lot more in this book, in fact. Her battle simulation was beautifully written and I was quite jealous because I've written space battles and they are dang hard to write. It was also great to read how Admiral Bander was doing. Hadley's been called upon to find the Warlord's Daughter too.


And so Aral does find Wren and all heck breaks loose. He's convinced they're already married. She sees marriage as a prison and with good reason after the way she grew up. Plus, she wants to find a stunning treasure and she wants to find it before the bad guys who are hunting her. Oy, what a mess.


You can always count on a wild ride in the stories of Susan Grant. She's one of the most original storytellers allowed in the New Release aisle. Pop on over to her website to learn more-


P.S. A little birdie (actually, her blog) just told me her next novel, a lady space pirate story, has a title now.
P.S.S. Susan just posted a sneak-peak scene from her lady space pirate novel, SUREBLOOD, on her blog. Pop on over and check it out-

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Return of the 'Sunday Showcase'

Authors and Authors' Associates, we'll be resuming a regular schedule here mid-September now that I'm recovering from childbirth. One of our old features we'll be resuming is the Sunday Showcase. So, if you have news you want to share with the Blogosphere, please email me. Click on my username to visit my profile and you'll find my email there. Or try this- kimberannebulaATyahooDOTcom

I already have news about Michelle Moran's next one, CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER, and some award news from Sandra Worth about her last one, THE KING'S DAUGHTER, lined up.


Of course, my fellow reviewers may post Sunday Showcases too, so if you've been reviewed by them you might want to contact them first. I know K and Mystery Robin are already set to return with regular reviews. Haven't heard back from the rest.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kimber An's To-Be-Reviewed Stack

Kimber An is temporarily not accepting ARCs.
Print Books:
THE MOTION OF THE OCEAN by Janna Cawrse Esarey. This is the first Memoir ever for me, I think.
SET THE DARK ON FIRE by Jill Sorenson. Another Romantic Suspense, I think. I hope Mystery Robin doesn't mind me snagging this one.
SOLD AND SEDUCED by Michelle Styles
ART AND SOUL by Melody Knight
CHASING SHADOWS by Lauren Hope.  Romantic Suspense

Friday, August 14, 2009

THE KING'S DAUGHTERS by Nathalie Mallet

I anxiously waited for this book for months because Ms. Mallet's first book, PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE, was my favorite of 2008. It finally arrived and I read it in between contractions and even took it to the hospital with me when I gave birth, although I was too exhausted to read it while there. And so I finished reading KING'S while nursing. Anyway, it was great adventure story and just what I needed to help me through all that.


Prince Amir is on his way to Sorvinka with Princess Eva, whom he fell in love with in PRINCES. He's planning on asking her father for her hand in marriage. The trip's been rough. They started out with a full entourage of servants and soldiers and gifts and such, but they've been attacked repeatedly along the way. Plus, it's been getting colder and darker the closer they get to Eva's home. Amir's a desert prince and he's not used to that. I live in Alaska, so I've seen people endure their first winter in a cold climate. If they don't adapt, they either die or go back. You've got to be climatized for the cold, but things are even worse for Amir. Sorvinka isn't the wonderful place Eva left when she was brought to the desert to marry the next Sulton, which she didn't do by the way. Besides cold and dark, it's also gotten more violent and hopeless. But, that's not the worse of it for Amir.


Eva's also gotten rather cold. I remember thinking at that point, "What is wrong with this girl? If I was her, I'd be all over Amir like a bad rash!"


So, Amir and Eva and what's left of their stuff and entourage arrive in Sorvinka, only to be treated like invaders. Amir manages to save one eunach servant, Milo. By eunach, yes, I mean he's been deprived of certain male equipment usually thought to be necessary for pleasing a lady. As it turns out, Milo's rather resourceful in that respect and in regards to a cute little kitchen maid, but I digress.


Amir tries to impress the King with gifts and all that, and fails miserably, undoubtedly because Eva failed to explain cultural differences. What a dunderhead! At this point, I was thinking, "Are you sure about this girl? And if you are, maybe you should consider eloping. Vegas is nice this time of year."


During the course of these events, Amir meets Diego who's betrothed to Eva's younger sister and outta his freakin' mind. I love characters who are outta their freakin' minds. I always have at least one each story I write. He also learns the reasons why everyone's on edge. One of Eva's other sisters has been kidnapped. Two more are kidnapped shortly thereafter. Besides landing in a strange country, Amir's landed in the middle of a major mess.


Amir's rather resourceful himself. In PRINCES, he proved himself a talented investigator and so he sets out to learn who's abducting the princesses. Along the way, he learns the Queen, who's been sick for years, is a lot nicer than the King, but her two girlfriends are constantly at each other's throats. One of them likes to stir up potions and she doesn't seem to really know what she's doing. Diego, the prince who's supposedly outta his ever-lovin' mind, is the only one willing to be his friend, so he's got no choice but to take him along on investigations. And Eva's still giving Arctic Princesses a bad name.


Amir keeps hearing about a witch called Baba Yaga. If you know anything about Eastern European mythology, you know she's a popular baddie over there. I couldn't remember much about her, just that. Anyway, Amir and company set out to discover the truth, save the princesses, and prove themselves worthy, while all the other characters twist and turn the plot. At one point, Amir is kissed by a rebel chick and I thought, "Forget Eva! This one's a better kisser!"


I'll always love PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE best, I think. I seem to be that way with other authors too. I always love the first book I read of theirs best. Don't know why. However, Ms. Mallet successfully dragged me this way and that and I didn't figure things out on my own because I was too swept up in it all. As much as I read, I'm rarely surprised by a story. So, when I am surprised by a story, it's a wonderful treat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heather Interviewed at the Love Romance Passion Blog on Science Fiction Romance

My good Blog Buddy, Heather of the Galaxy Express, is at the blog, Love Romance Passion today. Pop on over and learn more about SFR. It's like Green Eggs and Ham. 'You may like it, you will see.'

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HOPE'S FOLLY by Linnea Sinclair & WARLORD'S DAUGHTER by Susan Grant

Okay, Blog Buds, you would not buh-leeve my luck this morning. I went out on first solo outing since Lil Bean was born and I went to the second hand store. For months I've been meaning to read HOPE'S FOLLY and WARLORD'S DAUGHTER, but somewhere in the pregnancy brain-fog it just never happened. Things would clear and then I couldn't find my books anywhere. Then, my brain would fog up again or I'd watch George of the Jungle and get sidetracked, you know. Anyway, I walk into the secondhand store and straight to the book section where I find both of these books! I could not believe my book-junkie luck! In case you're wondering, WARLORD'S DAUGHTER has first dibs on my braincells, but HOPE'S FOLLY would come soon after. Enduring Romance will resume a regular schedule by mid-September with a Sunday Showcase featuring CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran.
Odds are good there will be more "For love of Spock, where the heck did that go?" moments as I get back on track. In the meantime, thank God for Boppy Pillows. What's a Boppy Pillow? Ah, Google it, I'm tired.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Note: Spoiler alert!
This review will talk about a major plot point occurring in Chapter 3. I don't consider it a spoiler (as it occurs early on and is central to the book's plot) but for some reason, the publisher and author have kept it a 'secret.' As I think this secret is more frustrating than enticing, I won't be keeping it so if you'd rather not know the genre of this book, please don't read this review.

I picked up For The Earl's Pleasure in Walmart, read the first chapter, read the last chapter, read historical romance on the spine, and thought to myself 'What a wonderfully written Regency romance.' I bought it, read it, and loved it. The thing is… it is not a wonderfully written Regency romance. It is a wonderfully written Regency/paranormal romance and if readers don't like paranormal romances, they aren't going to like For The Earl's Pleasure. If readers love The Ghost Whisperer (as I do), they are going to LOVE For The Earl's Pleasure.

But the publisher and the author (but mainly, I suspect, the publisher) have decided to surprise readers with one genre when they spent their hard earned money for another. I don't know why they think we'd like that surprise. I love both genres but I buy them while in completely different moods. Sort of like licorice and chocolate. I love both but when I bite into a chocolate, I expect it to taste like chocolate, not licorice. Anything different and I get grumpy.

It is hard to be grumpy with For The Earl's Pleasure though because it is such an entertaining and well written romance. Abigail Smart is the Regency equivalent of The Ghost Whisperer. She sees dead people. All the time. This freaks out those not-as-tolerant Regency folks and she is in constant fear of being sent back to the loony bin. She's been there before and that's left deep scars on her personality (I can only imagine – shivers).

Valerian Rainewood is her nemesis, I mean, love interest. He doesn't believe her. They have that love/hate relationship that so often happens between two alphas (being an alpha married to an alpha, I can vouch for this being real – alphas love nothing better than solid push back). Then after an attack, he can not be seen by anyone else in society other than Abigail. Abigail knows what that means… he's dead, right? But she has trouble accepting that the secret love and not-so-secret torment of her life is gone forever.

If you love The Ghost Whisperer (as I do), you'll love For The Earl's Pleasure. Rainewood, at first, doesn't accept that he is in a ghost-like state. He thinks he's dreaming. And because he thinks he's dreaming, he does and says whatever he wants. This reveals his true feelings, feelings that he normally guards under layers of grumpiness and biting wit. He is not a nicey-nice hero. He says some terrible things. What he says isn't that important. It is what he does, again and again, often secretly, that shows who Rainewood really is.

Abigail is a smart, strong heroine. She is severely broken. Very few people believe her and the few that do wish to fix her. The cures have changed her, making her a bit paranoid and protective. Only when Rainewood is completely at her mercy and unable to harm her (not that he ever would physically), is she able to open up to him. This is a story where the paranormal element isn't added simply for shock value. It is there because these two people can't love without it.

There are some tough moments in For The Earl's Pleasure. The treatments for mentally ill females in Regency days weren't kind. Not at all. There is also one near sexual attack scene and the baddies get quite violent in the end.

I loved For The Earl's Pleasure once I adjusted to what the story really was… a fascinating and deep Regency/paranormal romance.

You can read more about For The Earl's Pleasure and other novels by Anne Mallory at