Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Julia London 'The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount'

Merry Christmas fellow readers. Did everyone know that Viscount is pronounced 'vykount'? Am I the only cretin who thought you said the 's' in there? I was in line to check out while shopping with my Mom a few days ago and telling her how this book was rather tedious and she leans over and whispers 'vykount.' I replied, 'What?' And she looked embarrassed for me, as only a mother can and repeated herself. Well, who knew? (Apparently everyone, as my engineering spouse confirmed later.)

Enough about me, about the book. Determinedly mediocre. I liked Phoebe, I even liked Will despite his taking advantage of a servant in his house. But the fact that Phoebe continues to pretend to be a seamstress after they become involved is just too silly to be believed. From then I had a hard time caring about these guys. The sexual tension is fine and the writing isn't terrible.

Historical Romance 2007: 2 of 5 viscounts.

Image details: a viscount coronet courtesy of wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Erin McCarthy ' My Immortal'

It wasn't completely horrible, but nearly so. Marley is a school teacher who spends two months in retreat at a monastery then leaves for New Orleans to find her ne're do well sister whose disappeared. Damien is a selfish arrogant 18th Century plantation owner who struck a deal with a demon to live forever. He regretted that decision pretty quickly but is required to encourage sin in humans as his price of his bondage.

So the scene is set for sex parties that nice little Marley gets to wander through while she looks for her sister and gets to know Damien. I haven't really read any erotica, a growing expansion of the romance genre, but I find this author's use of it's settings, at the same time painting female characters who like sex as bad, rather heavy handed. The overt morality as well as the use of the sexual deviance as titillation are to me, disingenuous. And let's not even get into the set up of Damien's punishment by his demon master. This plot device is so weak when Damien was freed from servitude, I could only think, WTF?

I guess I should have figured out that this wasn't going to be stellar when I felt the incredible urge to peek ahead a couple hundred pages.

Paranormal Contemporary Romance 2007: 1 out of 5 swampy plantations.

Friday, December 14, 2007

C.L. Wilson 'Lady of Light and Shadow'

When was the last time you read a series book and the second was better than the first? Yeah, excuse my squeeing silliness, but this book was delightful. It's pretty clear that some publisher convinced the author to split what was one book into two, but with publishing dates of Sept and Nov. I can live with that. This story deserves to make as much money as possible.

Is this a literary masterpiece? No it's not Atonement, but really if you like fantasy novels and like them even better when their is great love involved, and don't mind some hot sex wrapped in, these are the two books you MUSTread. I really don't re-read books and I immediately started over after finishing it. I just don't want it to end.

C.L. Wilson, I hope to goddess you are writing your little heart out right now!

Fantasy Romance 2007: 5 fold weaves all glowing bright.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

C.L. Wilson 'Lord of the Fading Lands'

I'm a sucker for fantasy novels, have been ever since I read The Blue Sword in seventh grade so it won't be too surprising when I say, I FRIGGIN' LOVED THIS BOOK. It's got everything you could want in a fantasy, a heroine whose plain and lanky and raised by a woodcutters family. She suffered seizures as a child so she's been avoided and made fun of most of her life. A hero who's mythic, the last Fey king who still can change into a Tairen (a large flying black leopard no less). He sees her in a magic crystal because she is the only one who can save the Fey from dying out. And then there are his cadre of leather wearing, knife throwing stoic warriors whom our heroine wins over with her inherent goodness. Oh this is better than Ben & Jerry's!

If you have ever liked a fantasy novel, read this one. It's a pure delight.

As an aside, this is the first romance/fantasy that I have come across that could fall into the much complained about category of 'not ending each book with a clear happily ever after in order to continue the story into a series.' I have the second book, Lady of Light and Shadows, so the To Be Continued, didn't piss me off too much. I'll let you know if the ending of the second book (since the third is not out yet) annoys me.

Fantasy Romance 2007: 5 out of 5 tairen souls.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tracy Anne Warren ‘My Fair Mistress’

This book is innocuous enough but nothing to write home about. The beginning was promising; the hero tries to scare some sense into her with an outrageous proposal that she settle her brother’s debt to him by becoming his mistress. It doesn’t hurt that he’s drop dead gorgeous; anything to save the family after all; so she agrees. He is shocked but not willing to back out and it doesn’t hurt that she’s drop dead gorgeous.

But then the book falls into a very familiar pattern. Evil guy killed his one true love years ago. He decides that he must protect heroine by breaking up with her so the same doesn’t happen to her. He pretends he’s bored, she is devastated. Then she turns up pregnant, she decides not to tell him since he doesn’t love her; he finds out and is horrified that she hates him so much she would have a baby out of wedlock to avoid him, yada, yada, yada. Going into labor while being saved from evil guy, yikes, this is what people make fun of when they think of romance novels.

The writing is good, the sex is hot but the plot is beyond pedestrian. I might try this author again some day, but not too soon.

Historical Romance 2007: 2 of 5 stars.

Friday, December 7, 2007

JK Rowling 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

I profusely apologize for the long lull. If I haven't lost your readership already I'll try to do better in the future. I decided I needed to preview the fifth book of Harry Potter before my eight year old dove into it.

I've always liked young adult literature, especially fantasy stuff and when I read the first Harry Potter eight years ago I wasn't impressed. The characters were flat and the writing pedestrian. So I turned away from the series until my daughter picked them up this summer. I followed her progress through books 1-3 then tried to keep her from going on with the vague thought that they might get too adult for her as the characters get older. When she ignored me and sailed through book 4 I figured I had to put my money where my mouth was and actually read book 5 if I was going to have some reason to tell her she couldn't.

So these books are damn long. I still have some of the same reservations about the characters being static but I will admit, this lady can sure write a page turning plot. An author that pulls me through over 800 pages that I didn't really want to read, that's impressive. I quite enjoyed the story by the end and decided that my oldest could probably handle it. She seems to be less affected by scary scenes in the book form than she is by movies so I gave her the go.

I think it's particularly interesting that she put aside the awesome Susan Cooper book, "Over Sea, Under Stone' in order to jump back into the Harry Potter books. She just couldn't get through it. That sort of sums up Harry Potter for me so far. Enjoyable, not sophisticated or nuanced like a truly good YA book. I guess it's sort of like the difference between romance and good fiction. And I of all people, know the value of a good trashy romance novel.