Showing posts from January, 2016


Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner from Ms. Jenkins, highlighting the lives of African-Americans in the old west. Rhine Fontaine is light enough to pass, a situation that's helped the former slave move through Nevada society, amassing property and wealth. But his commitment to living in the white world is tested when he meets Eddy, a black woman making her way through pluck, determination and her talents in front of the cookstove.

Jenkins brings the west to life while shining a light on a part of American history too often neglected in the books and in popular culture. Forbidden will please her legion of loyal fans, and attract new readers as well.

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Review--Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston)

Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you get tired of dukes and billionaires and vampires and you want to read a story about people who lead ordinary lives, but can still have extraordinary love stories. If so, you'll enjoy Listen to the Moon as much as I did.

This is another "Lively St. Lemeston" Regency by Rose Lerner, set in a small town in the English countryside rather than an exotic locale (like London[g]). John Toogood is a "gentleman's gentleman", a valet laid off and unable to find a new employer after he annoyed a powerful woman. Sukey Grimes is a maid-of-all-work, who catches John's eye with her plucky attitude and saucy smile, but he knows they could never make a go of it, because even in the servants hierarchy they're at opposite poles.

But then an opportunity comes along which could benefit both Sukey and John, and suddenly they're seeing each other in a different light.

Fans of Bate and Anna from Down…

My Boskone 53 Schedule

It's that time of year, time for this Florida girl to dig out the snowboots and heavy weather gear, 'cause I'm going to Boston!

Not much could convince me to travel from Florida to Boston in February, but it's worth it. #Boskone is the longest running science fiction and fantasy convention in New England, a weekend filled with books, film, art, music, gaming and bid parties. You can go to  to register, and follow the news at their Twitter feed or Facebook page. I'm confident if we get snowed in, again, there will be enough party supplies that we won't have to draw lots to see who goes in the cook-pot. Actually, the Westin Waterfront has done an excellent job in past years coping with the occasional blizzard and a hotel full of science fiction fans. Kudos to them, and thank you for keeping the bar and restaurants well stocked.

Here's my schedule. The (M) means I'm moderating that panel, and I look forward to seeing you at Boskone53:


Review--The Theory of Death (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, #23)

The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part of what I've enjoyed with this series, ever since The Ritual Bath, is watching the characters grow and age in real time. Now Peter's semi-retired, and he and Rina have left LA for upstate New York, so they can be closer to their grown children and grandchildren.

Even so, murder has a way of following them, and while their small college town may seem more suited to a "cozy" mystery than LAPD cases, there's still plenty of blood and gore.

New characters are introduced (and return), and there's an outing with the entire family, so fans will feel like they're settling in for a comfortable reunion. Best of all, the murder had me guessing up to the end whodunnit, which is really the best part of all with a long running series.

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Review--Caliban's War (Expanse, #2)

Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous story, great characters who come to life on the page, everything you want in a long, involved, complex space opera. Can't wait to read the next one!

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Review--Frisk Me (New York's Finest, #1)

Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked the romance, but it was one of those situations where knowing the business under discussion made me itchy. Each time the heroine talked about her three hour feel-good special being her ticket to the anchor desk, it made me squirm.

The Superbowl gets three hours. Presidential inaugurations get three hours. Documentaries like "Making a Murderer" get three hours. But a piece on a heroic cop who saves a kid from drowning? Uh uh.

I was a TV news producer, radio news director and station owner in a different life. Now, if her piece had been a three hour expose of corruption, _that_ I'd believe, but puff pieces don't cut it. Aside from all of that, it was an entertaining story, but it didn't rock my world, and I just couldn't find that sweet spot where I could suspend my disbelief.

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Review--Six-Gun Snow White

Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Completely different retelling of the Snow White story, with a heroine who's not snow white, a wicked step mom who's got her own issues, seven interesting not-dwarvish characters and an old West setting that gives it a new twist.

The language is evocative of Huckleberry Finn, and the story combines elements of American and First Nations mythology along with the classic fairy tale. Especially recommended to readers who're looking for more diversity in their sf & fantasy.

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Review--Evening Storm

Evening Storm by Anne Calhoun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the last story it was stationary porn. This time, it's lingerie porn. These books are making me lust, not for the hunky guys (wonderful as they are), but for the plot devices!

All that being said, Calhoun does a superb job building a sense of place and setting a scene, key components in good erotic romance. Evening Storm is about the owner of an exclusive lingerie shop in New York's Garment District, the kind of design studio where you can drop thousands on a corset ensemble. One day a Wall Street wolf brings his super-model date to be outfitted and the sparks fly. The story unfolds in Scheherazade-style with the telling of erotic encounters to titillate the senses, proving once again the most erotic parts of our bodies can be our brains.

This is a wonderful series, and I look forward to reading the next one.

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Review--Forty Thieves

Forty Thieves by Thomas Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thomas Perry is one of my favorite mystery authors, and Forty Thieves is an excellent example of why he's on my auto-read list. It's a stand alone novel about a husband & wife detective team, both retired from the LAPD, and their path intersects with a husband & wife assassin team during a murder investigation.

It's said too many cooks spoil the broth, but in this case, too many thieves are complicating the investigation. One of the things I loved about the book is the detective team, Sid and Veronica Abel, are in their 50s. As Ronnie points out, part of what makes them so successful is gray-haired, middle aged women are invisible to society, especially to men. She's an example to us all of how to be grown up and still kick-ass and take names.

If you've never read Thomas Perry, one of his stand-alone books is an excellent starting point. Then you get to go on to discovering the Jane Whitehead novels, which…

Review--Jeweled Fire (Elemental Blessings #3)

Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another entry in the Elementals series, this time featuring a heroine who's not a Prime, one of the select few who can control the elements. I liked that. Corene is "sweela", fire-oriented, and her red hair is a giveaway as to her temperament, but she's not super-powerful like the primes.

She's also a princess, but one who's been raised in a family full of secrets and deceit, which prepares her for the foreign court where she's thrown herself into the pool of candidates to be the bride of the heir to the throne.

I liked this book because of its strong female characters, the friendships among the princesses who are not rivals so much as allies, the quiet, capable hero and the court intrigue. It will please Shinn fans, and it's a lovely addition to a series with elaborate and enjoyable theological world-building.

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A Note To My Readers

As some of you have heard, Amber Quill Press will be closing this year. Amber Quill has been my publisher for over 10 years, and I have nothing but praise for them. Without their professionalism and editorial skills, I might not have received so many awards for my books.

What this means for me is I'm going to be re-grouping and figuring out how to keep my backlist available, while getting What the Parrot Saw published. I'm not going away--far from it. You'll still see me reviewing and talking about writing and blogging and doing all the other things I do when I should be writing. It just means a slight hitch in my plans for 2016.

This isn't the first time I've had a publisher fold beneath me, and I've always moved on. I want to thank my loyal readers for sticking with me, and you'll be hearing more about my upcoming books in the future. However, if you've ever thought about buying one of my novels, now is the time to do it while they're still availa…