Sunday, July 20, 2014


Jaded (Walkers Ford, #2)Jaded by Anne Calhoun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I would like this novel, but I didn't think I would love it.

I loved it.

Jaded is set in a small town in the upper Midwest, and while I enjoyed the story about the quiet librarian and the hot police chief (even they acknowledge this is a cliche), what really made me love it was the library. It's no secret that I'm on my local public library foundation, that I've been involved in library renovations, and that I believe 100% that public libraries are needed in the 21st century as community centers, places where people of all ages and all backgrounds come together for a vast array of services.

I'm also a tutor in a literacy program, and I know how much it means to invest your time in a child from a home without access to books, bedtime stories and college dreams. While I can't guarantee a happy ending in life like I can in my books, it gave me a great deal of pleasure to read about the characters in Jaded earning their HEA.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review--Valour and Vanity

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story has it all! Pirates, nuns, puppeteers, romance of the married variety, intrigue, Lord Byron, and a caper straight out of The Sting.

Valour and Vanity is an excellent continuation of the story of Vincent and Jane, married English glamourists, working now on advancing their craft among glassmakers in Italy. The trouble begins when they're set upon by pirates and Vincent is injured, and it only gets worse from there. Robinette Kowal is skilled at maintaining the interest and tension in a couple after the initial courtship phrase reaches its conclusion. She shows that happily ever after is only for fairy tales, and true romance requires work and effort. The setting may be a fantasy Regency Europe, but the characters seem very real, as are their problems.

Sure to be enjoyed by fans of the series, and a treat for readers new to the Glamourist Histories (though I'd recommend any reader start with book 1 to get the full experience).

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

While I was away...

I've been mostly absent this week because my son came home for a few days. Having the adult offspring return to the nest doesn't happen often, so I took full advantage of the opportunity to spend time with him.

I'm also getting ready for Loncon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention in London in August. More on this as my schedule is finalized.

In the meantime, just read among yourselves. There are plenty of good books out there, including some piratecentric romances that will go well with your summer suntan lotion and beach lounging. Don't take my word for it! Check out the reviews at Amazon and Goodreads.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review--Vixen in Velvet

Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers, #3)Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best Loretta Chase novel I've read in ages, and that's saying something because she's _always_ good. I loved this book, the characters, the fabric porn, all of it. Every time I think of the line "I was busy!" it makes me smile.

Chase fans will love it, others new to her writing should check it out.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Review--A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil WarA World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent history of a little known aspect of the US Civil War, the role played by Britain. Their cotton mills depended on shipments from the south, but the anti-slavery sentiment was strong and had powerful backers. Brits fought on both sides of the American conflict, and this is a valuable book for anyone writing novels with an Anglo-American setting during the 19th c.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Review--Sniper's Honor

Sniper's Honor (Bob Lee Swagger, #9)Sniper's Honor by Stephen Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was once in a conversation that went, "If Jack Reacher and John Rain were in a fight, who would you bet on?"

"I'd bet on Bob Lee Swagger to take them both out at a distance," I said.

Bob Lee is the man. That is all. If you haven't read the books, start with Point of Impact and take it from there.

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Review--Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you're a science fiction fan, sometimes, if you're fortunate, you come across a novel that reminds you of the "sense of wonder" that first attracted you to SF, the worldbuilding and characterization that was different, and strange, and made you think.

Ancillary Justice gave me that "sense of wonder". Breq is a warrior, a soldier who once upon a time was a space ship and many bodied "ancillaries", animate, once human tools used by the spaceship to carry out tasks.

Now Breq is alone, and wants revenge and justice. Her (all the characters are female pronoun, including the men) quest brings her together with a drug addict she knew a thousand years ago--literally--and as Breq tries to dry her out, for whatever purpose, the question is raised: What does it mean to be human?

While the first third may confuse some readers, that's intentional and unavoidable, and the last two thirds pick up steam and carry you along to a fascinating conclusion, and the seeds of novel #2.

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