Books I bought today…

… because I couldn’t face the crowds on Oxford Street.  So I decided to spend some time in the bookstores instead.

Four Georgette Heyer crime / mystery novels, reissued by Arrow Books.  What can I say – I’m a sucker for covers.

Dorothy Sayers’ Hangman’s Holiday – a collection of her short crime stories.  I’m starting to get into her books now – possible glom coming on…

Nancy Holder’s Daughter of the Blood – sequel to Daughter of the Flames, which I read the other day.  Briefly, Isabella DeMarco discovered she was Gifted (i.e. she can read stuff from objects, magical strength, etc etc) and that all the baddies were after her.  Urban fantasy set in New York and heroine works as a civilian for NYPD.  Mysterious Frenchman as her umm… mystical guardian (sort of) and an NYPD cop as her boyfriend make up the love interest(s) in this story.  Apart from the fact Ms Holder wrote a few too many conversations in French (which I don’t understand), I liked it enough to buy the second book in this series.  Also, £3.99 – which in my mind means that I can afford it even if I end up hating it!

I would put up pictures but can’t be arsed to do that right now.

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More 2007 books…

Just been looking at my “Coming Soon” personalised recs on Amazon – there are some I’m definitely interested in!

BelladonnaABBelladonna by Anne Bishop – March 2007
I love Anne Bishop’s writing, and this is the second book in her second Ephemera duology.  Ms Bishop is incredibly good at world-building and bringing the story to life.   Read the excerpt from Belladona here.  While I’m eagerly looking forward to this book, I’ve heard that she is writing another book set in her Black Jewels world, which I absolutely love!  Bad news is that it’s not coming out anytime soon, 2008 at the earliest, I believe.

WarlordWarlord by Elizabeth Vaughan – March 2007
Warlord is the third book in Ms Vaughan’s fantasy trilogy (hmmm… I sense a pattern here – where are the stand-alone novels!).  The first (Warprize) starts off the story arc:  the heroine surrenders herself to the enemy to save her people – except it doesn’t turn out to be a sacrifice as such.  The second (Warsworn) continues the tale, but if I remember correctly, both can be read independently.  I’m assuming that Warlord concludes the story, and can’t wait to read it!

VisionsofHeatVisions of Heat by Nalini Singh – March 2007
Ms Singh’s first book set in this world (Slave to Sensation) generated incredible online buzz – mainly due to a blogging experiment carried out by DearAuthor.com.  I was initially sceptical, but finally succumbed to the positive reviews almost everywhere and picked it up.  It was a good read, and I’m glad that it was publicised online, because to be honest, I wouldn’t have given it a second look otherwise in the bookstore – too many paranormal romances out there nowadays and umm… purple covers aren’t quite my thing!

Roll on March!

I’ll be keeping an eye out for their books!

Here’s an interesting new imprint: Juno Books.

Looks as though they’re going after the same market as Luna, i.e. female-focused fantasy / paranormal books.  I’ve come across their name as they’ve picked up Gail Dayton’s third book in her Rose trilogy (first two books published by Luna) – which is great news, because I read the first two and really want to know how it all ends!

Their covers look really good – I’d definitely take a second look if I saw them in a bookstore.  Hmmm… I like Luna covers too, so obviously both these lines know how to appeal to their target market (err… that’d be me, seeing I’m a huge fan of sci-fi / fantasy and romance)!

Looking forward to seeing these books hit the bookshelves!

Rachel Caine update

Rachel Caine’s next book in the Weather Wardens series is called Thin Air and is out in August 2007.

Good news for those of us who don’t like cliffhanger endings – this apparently has a “definitive ending”.  Let’s hope Joanne and David end up together in this one!  Ms Caine also says that she is plotting story arcs over three books, so this is not the end of the series.

ThinAirRachelCaine Here’s the cover art – I like it!  Nice and clean, it fits in well with the other covers in the series.

  

Review – Slow Burn by Julie Garwood

SlowBurn

Julie Garwood was one of my auto-buy authors for years.  I loved her Scottish Highlands books, her medievals, and to a lesser extent, her novels (Regency?  I mean Castles, etc.) set in England and America.  Then she moved to contemporary romance suspense and somehow, her voice, which worked perfectly for me in her historicals, just wasn’t quite right.  I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t love them either.

Slow Burn is her one of her contemporaries, just out in paperback.  Blurb from Amazon.com:

Kate MacKenna doesn’t have a bad bone in her body–or an enemy in the world. A woman who barely knew her father and has just lost her mother, Kate is a loving sister, a savvy business owner, and an unpretentious beauty who radiates kindness. So why are bombs igniting everywhere she goes? The first explosion brings her face-to-face with a handsome Charleston police detective. The second one sends her into the arms of her best friend’s brother–a Boston cop who’s a little too reckless and way too charming for comfort. But Dylan Buchanan won’t let emotion prevent him from doing his job: Someone is trying to kill Kate, and Dylan is the only one standing between her and the monster who wants her dead. For Kate to understand the danger, she must learn all about desire–desire for pleasure, desire for power, and someone’s desire to kill.

What worked for me:

It’s the usual Julie Garwood plot translated into modern settings.  So there are bits I liked (e.g. Kate’s best friend reassuring her on the phone – “…you’ve got an overactive imagination” – and then calling her brother Dylan (yep, the hero) immediately after – “Someone’s trying to kill Kate!”).  Sorry, I do like scenes like that *grin* except I keep on thinking “But this would be so much better as a historical!”.  Ummm… I’ll try to stop going on about that…

I also liked the fact that Dylan and Kate had a bit of a history together (which I suspect was probably described in one of her earlier contemporaries – and which I can’t remember) and I liked their relationship with each other.

What didn’t work for me: 

The plot’s a bit weak and slightly OTT.  Apart from the main plotline surrounding the bomb explosions, there’s also a second plotline which seemed rather irrelevant, to be perfectly honest. 

Being a Garwood novel, you have incredibly altruistic and sweet heroines – this was what I was expecting, so I was okay with that but even so, I had to suspend my disbelief for some sections.  And yes, villains are incredibly err… villain-ish.  It’s all very black and white.

Also, sequel bait!  Kate has two sisters, who just happen to be beautiful and clever – and unfortunately, I wasn’t fascinated enough by this family to look forward to reading more about them.  And I kept on confusing Kate (the heroine) with Kiera (her elder sister) – I wish she hadn’t chosen two names starting with K.  I suppose I just didn’t feel the two of them had distinctive enough voices.

Conclusion

Overall, a so-so read from this author.  Having said that, Ms Garwood’s average is a lot better than many authors’ best – and I’ll still keep buying her contemporary novels, but in paperback, not hardcover (her latest contemporary, Shadow Dance, has just come out – yep, same cast of characters).  Her historicals?  I will certainly keep an eye out for them (she is writing one – hurrah!) and yes, possibly hardcover…

Grade B-

Books I’m looking forward to in 2007

Here’s three to start off with:


AllTogetherDeadAll Together Dead (Charlaine Harris) – May 2007
Love, love, love Sookie Stackhouse and Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire world.  The first chapter is up on Ms Harris’s website if you want to take a look. 

DeadGirlsDanceThe Dead Girls’ Dance: The Morganville Vampires, Book II (Rachel Caine) – April 2007

First got into Rachel Caine’s books through her Weather Warden series (which started off well, but lately seems to have fizzled out – I don’t like cliff-hanger endings!).  This is the second book in her new YA series The Morganville Vampires.  The first, Glass Houses, was promising enough to get me looking forward to the next in the series.

TheMiradorThe Mirador (Sarah Monette) – August 2007
I liked the first book in this series (Melusine), loved the second (The Virtu – excerpts on Sarah Monette’s website) and am looking very forward to the third book in this dark and fascinating series.

My TBR Pile

This are books I own, but haven’t yet gotten around to reading (or finishing):

Wolf Tales (Kate Douglas)
Got this because a post on LLB made me curious enough to pick this up, but have not yet been in the right mood to actually start reading.

Crazy Sweet (Tara Janzen)
Well, I had to get this because I really liked the first couple of books in this Crazy series.  However, the last one wasn’t very good (ummm… what can I say?) and I haven’t managed to persuade myself to open this yet.

Blue Blood: A Debutante Dropout Mystery (Susan McBride)
Picked this up due to a rec from someone somewhere (Amazon perhaps?), am currently on the third or fourth chapter, but it still hasn’t yet grabbed me.  Will keep going though.