Showing posts from July, 2014

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan, now in paper!

Today is release day for the paperback edition of A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing as an ARC earlier this year. I gave it five stars:
"It's cliched to say 'I couldn't put it down!', but that's how I felt about A Dangerous Fiction. Rogan brings an insider's keen view, pulling the reader into the New York publishing milieu with all of its jealousies, intrigue, excitement and larger-than-life personalities. At the heart of the story is a woman's need to uncover the truths about her own life, even as she's the target of malevolent foes she can't identify. Danger, suspense, romance and the deep bonds of friendship--A Dangerous Fiction has it all.
(Disclaimer--I received an advance review copy of this novel from the publisher)"
I also had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Barbara in advance of today's release:

Q: Why does the New York literary scene make a good setting for a murder myst…

My Schedule for Loncon3--World Science Fiction Convention in London

I have my final schedule for Loncon3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London, UK. You can read my con bio here, and I'm looking forward to jetting across the pond and seeing old friends, as well as meeting new ones. There's a nifty app to help you schedule your time at Loncon, and you can download it in iPhone or Android formats.
Where there's an (M) next to my name, I'm the moderator for that item.  I'll also be doing a reading from either The Pirate's Secret Baby or the WIP [Mattie's Book]. Don't forget, The Pirate's Secret Baby, along with all my previous novels, can be purchased from Amazon Kindle UK, as well as at NOOK, Kobo and other ebook dealers. Paper editions are available in the US.
I'll be out and about at the con as a fan as well as a programme participant. If you see me, please come up to me and say "Hi!" Worldcon is no place to be shy, we're there to see friends and fans!

Teen Romance

Friday 15:00 - 16:30,…


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 earni…

Review--Valour and Vanity

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…

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.

Review--Vixen in Velvet

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.

View all my reviews

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 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.

View all my reviews

Review--Sniper's Honor

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.

View all my reviews

Review--Ancillary Justice

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 ste…

Happy Fourth of July!

“It is brave of you to uproot yourself and come to a new land, Mrs.
Stephenson,” Roberts said.
“My goodness.” Amanda looked at the captain and thought about it
for a moment. “I never considered myself a brave person, Captain
Roberts. I am excited about seeing a new country. And America is
wonderful, a land of freedom and great opportunities! Mr. Freneau’s
poetry says it so well! ‘Honor to those who first designed, this chain of
States to bless mankind.’”--Captain Sinister's Lady
The Fourth of July is just a date on the calendar in other countries, but in the United States of America it's Independence Day, a day celebrated with fireworks, music, patriotic speeches and, if you're in this part of the country, plenty of cool, refreshing watermelon (usually followed by a seed-spitting contest).
Do like Amanda Stephenson does in Captain Sinister's Lady, embrace the concepts that made our country great, while always working vigilantly to make out country even better.

Review--Skin Game

Skin Game by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm always impressed with an author who can bring his A game to a series after 15 books, but Butcher continues to satisfy with The Dresden Files.

Harry's still the Winter Knight, serving Queen Mab, and when she gives him a near possible assignment he has no choice but to follow orders, despite being teamed up with some extremely dangerous and evil associates.

The references to comic books, film, TV, and popular culture fly fast and furious in the snappy dialogue, and many of Harry's old friends and foes show up for the action.

The only issue I had was one that probably doesn't bother 95% of the readers,the theology of Harry's universe. If certain religious artifacts can only be wielded by people who believe in faith and free will, like Murphy, what happens if a good person is an atheist, or comes from a religious tradition that doesn't believe in faith and/or free will?

It is a puzzlement.

Be that as it may, the seri…

Happy Canada Day!

“England’s a big place all right, but not as big as it would like to be.
Couple a years back they was all fired up over there ’bout Canada
rebellin’ and the U.S. givin’ them an assist. There was English ships
burned on the border lakes, and it looked like war all over again.”
....“But the threat of war with England is past! Why, even I know that
Sir Robert Peel has been working to maintain more cordial relations
between the two nations!”
“Well, now, if that’s so, darlin’,” said Washburn softly, “then why
is some English lord and ship owner bringin’ in counterfeit banknotes,
which are sure as hell goin’ to stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble if he’s
She didn’t know the answer to that, but she knew there were some
hard-line politicians in England who still saw the United States, or parts
of it, as territory to be regained. Sir Edmund Whitehead was one of the
most vocal in this camp, insisting that a strong Canada and a British
presence on the American continent would help check the growth of …