Reading Raves: Author recommendations

Ranting & raving is something I do periodically on this blog. Look for the “rants and raves” category for past rants and raves.

You know what I love? When an author has a page on their website devoted to recommendations. I’m not saying that this is something all authors should do, but it sure is nice. It caters to my nosiness – what books do you like in the genres you write? Peering at someone’s bookshelves is similar – I want to know what you read, but to have a list of recommendations – I can find out what your favorites are. If I find myself agreeing to an author’s picks I’m inclined to try them out if I’ve never read their books before. I also like how it gives me yet another place to find new-to-me books (as if there aren’t enough places).

The Winter of Enchantment

I have tried out some books based on author’s recommendations on their websites. Sherwood Smith is why I  tried Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Neil Gaiman is why I read The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria  Walker (I read the book before I had a book blog, so the review is only on paperbackswap and goodreads – Goodreads). I  thought The Winter of Enchantment was very lovely imagewise, only OK plotwise, but I’m glad I read it. And  Greensleeves I recommend heartily, but it’s sadly out of print and not cheap to find used online.

Here are some Author Recommendations:

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1) Nine Coaches Waiting His Dark Materials Trilogy: "Northern Lights", "Subtle Knife", "Amber Spyglass"

Kristin Cashore recommends Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Cynthia Voigt’s Novels of the Kingdom, Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia books, Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting, and others.

The Blue Sword The Changeling Sea The Warrior's Apprentice

Rachel Neumeier recommends 14 books including The Changeling Sea, by Patricia McKillip, The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley, Cukoo’s Egg, by CJ Cherryh, The Warrior’s Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold, and A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb

Song of Scarabaeus In the Company of Others Foreigner

In 2009, Linnea Sinclair recommended in her fan forums Sara Creasy’s Song of Scarabaeus, Julie Czernada’s In the Company of Others, and C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series and I’ve put those all on my to-read-one-day list.

Howl's Moving Castle The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising Sequence) Madeleine's A Wrinkle (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Paperback - May 1, 2007))

Holly Black‘s Suggested Reading List has Lloyd Alexander, Madeleine L’ Engle, Mary Stewart, Peter Beagle, Tanith Lee, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones,and Michael Moorcock on it, to name a few (she’s also yet another one who recommends Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia books)

Riddle-Master The Westing Game [WESTING GAME] Red as Blood or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer

Shannon Hale has a lovely long list of recommendations on her website. So many. I love it. She recommends gems like Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy, by Patricia McKillip, and Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, by Tanith Lee. (I must say I like her husband’s recs at the bottom of her list too).

Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book Nine Layers of Sky Mr. Impossible

Ann Aguirre sometimes posts about books she loved on her blog, and I pay attention. She’s recommended Diana Pharaoh Francis’ Bitter Night, and Liz William’s Nine Layers of Sky, both on my TBR, as well as Jeri Smith-Ready and intriguing romances with idiot heroes.

The Once and Future King Devil's Cub Moominsummer Madness   [MOOMINSUMMER MADNESS] [Paperback]

Garth Nix also wrote a long list of recommendations (ah, quite delightful), called “Books Remembered: An Alphabetical Remembrance“.  He also has The Winter of Enchantment listed, along with Georgette Heyer, Tove Jansson, Ursula Le Guin and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King (which really should be required reading).

Dull Boy Make Me Yours (Harlequin Blaze) Beastly

Diana Peterfreund is really an author I should be reading since Angie keeps recommending her books and Angie tends to be right (How annoying. Gives my TBR pile grief). This thought is backed up with recommendations that look good, like in her post “Why isn’t Everyone reading…?” where she recommends Sarah Cross’ Dull Boy, Betina Krahn, and oh there it is (again!), the Attolia books. I think she also shares my opinion on retellings (basically I ♥ them mucho).

I know I’ve seen more lists on author’s websites, but let’s stop there. Are there lists that you recommend I look at? Do tell!

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Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair

Rebels and Lovers
Linnea Sinclair

Linnea Sinclair was kind enough to send me an eARC of her newest book in the Dock Five Universe, Rebels and Lovers.

The Dock Five Universe series so far:
1. Gabriel’s Ghost (reviewed here: https://i2.wp.com/i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gif, with addendum here:https://i2.wp.com/i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gif)
2. Shades of Dark (reviewed here:https://i2.wp.com/i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gif)
3. Hope’s Folly (reviewed here:https://i2.wp.com/i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttps://i0.wp.com/i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg)
4. Rebels and Lovers

******* Warning: VERY MILD SPOILER about Philip Guthrie FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS (although I think this book can be read without reading them) ******

The Premise: In Hope’s Folly, the focus was on Admiral Philip Guthrie, a commander of rebel forces of the Alliance. Now the focus on one of his brothers: Devin. Devin Guthrie is the youngest Guthrie brother, and the quiet, numbers crunching, computer guru. He’s had a crush on Makaiden Griggs for years, but she was married and in his family’s employ as a captain of one of their many private ships. And in the aftermath of his brother’s defection from the Empire, Devin is being pushed to marry someone the family approves of. When Devin’s nephew Trip, heir to the Guthrie empire goes missing, Devin takes action to find him and in the process Devin and Makaiden cross paths once more.

My Thoughts: This is a book that stands enough on it’s own that I think you will be OK reading it without reading the first three books. Past characters make very small cameos or are talked about while they are off-screen, but aren’t the vital to the story. I think that Sinclair does enough explaining in the first few chapters that a reader will have the basics – that the Guthries are a wealthy family with lots of holdings and with a second son who has rebelled against the current regime. Although that does color Devin’s current situation, the focus is squarely on Devin and his problems, and since he’s a character who hasn’t really shown up till now, you don’t need to have read past books.

The book is action packed as Makaiden, Devin, and Barthol, a long time Guthrie employee with an Imp-Sec background protect Trip and try to discover who is behind the security breaches on the Guthrie properties and the murder of Trip’s bodyguard. The world building in this book is what I expect from Sinclair now – it’s seamless. She makes it look easy and believable. The action too is well paced.  It’s a game of chase as Devin and friends stay ahead of whoever is following them, while trying to learn as much as possible why the bad guys are so interested in Trip. I had my guess who was behind their problems but I was perplexed as to why until the end. The surprising accomplice was also something I suspected but I saw in the review I’m linking below that it was unexpected to others.

In Rebels and Lovers we get a closer view of the Guthrie family than we ever had before. Details about the family dynamics and holdings come to light. I didn’t know that the patriarch, J.M. had such power over his children, or what roles each of his sons had in the family company. It was interesting to find out what Guthries had similar traits and how they got along with each other.

Since I have a soft spot for geeks, I liked Devin’s character. He’s not comfortable in social situations, but he’s good at his job as a senior analyst at his firm. His geekiness does not mean he’s weak or incapable. The only big problem he has is knowing how to tell Makaiden that she means something to him.

Devin thinks that Makaiden is married and in love with her husband Kiler. When Kiler was fired from the Guthrie employ, she left with him.  Meanwhile Makaiden believes that her low beginnings would repel Devin an the rest of his family. This is where all the romantic conflict stems. I understood Devin’s point of view, but I got a little tired of Makaiden being so easy to jump to conclusions before talking to Devin about her fears. I’m not sure if this is very healthy. She often spends time assuming how Devin will feel and acts based on these assumptions. I was expecting the two of them to resolve this issue by the time the book ended so I was surprised they never really do. Maybe their talk happened off the page, or suddenly became a non issue after they survive near death in the climax. The ending threw me a little because it felt rushed after the rest of the book. It was a summarized version of things tidily and quickly wrapped up and I wanted more than what I got.

This book comes out March 23

Overall: It felt like classic Linnea Sinclair so it was what I expected and wanted to read. A straightforward science fiction romance, with the emphasis on a relationship amid action packed space opera. No frills added. Despite wishing the ending wasn’t so abrupt, I enjoyed this one.

Buy: Amazon | Powells

Cover comment: Whoever did the cover for this book did try to get models that looked like the characters. Devin has glasses and Makaiden has short blond hair. Not too bad..

Other reviews:
Jace Scribbles (conversational review) – 4 to 4.5 out of 5 (I found myself agreeing more than disagreeing with this review)

Book trailer:

Giveaway winner! and new covers of books I want

OK, should have posted this earlier but I’m never sure where the time goes some days. The winner of the two paranormal ARCs is

SCOTT!!


Congratulations! I’m sending you an email to let you know you won too, and the books will be going out next week. 🙂


In other news I’ve been updating my Wishlists (2009 and 2010), and I was happy to find that Linnea Sinclair’s Rebels and Lovers, which has a March 2010 release date has a cover.  (Yayyyyy!!!). This is another book in the Dock Five universe, and it focuses on another Guthrie brother who hasn’t really been in the picture until now. Here’s the blurb from Sinclair’s website:

Rebels and Lovers
Linnea Sinclair

“OUT OF OPTIONS…Devin Guthrie can’t forget Captain Makaiden Griggs even though it’s been two years since she was in his family’s employ. A Guthrie does not fall in love with a mere shuttle pilot. Going against his wealthy family’s wishes isn’t an option—not with the Empire in political upheaval, much of it caused by Devin’s renegade older brother, Admiral Philip Guthrie. The Guthries must solidify their standing—financially, politically and socially—or risk losing it all. But when the Guthrie heir—Devin’s nineteen-year old nephew— goes missing, Devin’s loyalty to his family’s values is put to the test. And suddenly the unthinkable becomes the only option available: Devin must break the rules and risk allying himself with the one woman he could never forget—and was forbidden to love.”

YES. More space opera romance please. *claps gleefully*

Mind Games
Carolyn Crane


And this one has been floating about all week, but I’m still going to post it – Carolyn Crane’s Mind Games, which is coming out March 2010 as well. She has a great blog called The Thrillionth Page where she writes about some of the things she loves in books shes reading. I’m looking forward to her book just based on how much I like her blog. This is a first book of a planned trilogy, and we won’t have to wait long for the second book, which will come out in September 2010.

Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Hope's Folly
Linnea Sinclair
Hope’s Folly is the third book in the Dock Five universe. First two books focus on hero and heroine Gabriel Ross Sullivan and Chasidah Bergren as they expose a corrupt empire and go on the run together. They are:

The premise: In Hope’s Folly, Chaz’s ex-husband Admiral Philip Guthrie, who has converted to the side of the Rebel Alliance, is starting duties on a newly minted ship – Hope’s Folly. Actually, this new ship is an old clunker but beggars can’t be choosers. Philip must command the ship with a new, bare-bones crew, and when one calamity follows another it’s hard to tell if it’s because Hope’s Folly is barely held together with chewing gum and duct tape, or because of deliberate sabotage. In the meantime, one of his new crew is someone Philip is attracted to – Rya Bennton. She’s the daughter of his dead friend, Cory Bennton, a death Philip feels directly responsible for, but Rya doesn’t know about his role in her father’s death.

My Thoughts: I think you MAY be able to get away with reading this book without reading Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark if you just understand that our hero and heroine are ex-Fleet and now rebels fighting against a corrupt Empire. They are also fighting against the Farosians who have their own agenda against the Empire (they support another – Sheldon Blaine,  for the thrown, but have no problem with capturing key rebels like Philip to use as collateral to free Blaine from the prison planet Moabar). I did a decent breakdown of enemy factions in my Shades of Dark review if you need reminding.

This book has about equal parts romance and intruigue/action (trying to discover if there’s an enemy aboard ship while fighting off attackers and keeping it running). The reader discovers before Rya who is responsible for some of the problems on the ship, but there’s a good reason for this (the clue is while she’s off page), so she makes believable mistakes.  I liked the action because it proved how good both of them were at their jobs – Philip as the Admiral of the ship and Rya as security. They have to work together and in the meantime they discover how much in they have common – particularly when it comes to guns (their gun conversations were too cute).

Of course another thing they have in common is Rya’s father – Cory Bennton, an officer who Philip respected who was killed by the Empire because of close ties to Philip. Philip considers himself responsible and now worries about what Cory would think about Philip’s interest in Rya. Rya on the other hand remembers meeting Philip when she was 9 and he 25. She was crushing on him then. Even now, she thinks of Philip as her “long-long always-forever dream hero” but isn’t sure how serious he is about her, which made me laugh because meanwhile Philip’s imagining her dad killing him and isn’t sure how serious she is about him.

Overall: As usual, pure escapist fun that I have come to expect from this author. Either this or Shades of Dark could be my favorite on of the Dock five series, I haven’t decided yet (I liked Shades of Dark for it’s dark bits and Hope’s Folly for it’s light ones). I was interested to see how Philip would be portrayed when he got his own book – turns out he’s learned to trust his instincts over “the rules” and has become better for it. I really liked Rya’s character too, possibly one of my favorite Sinclair heroines – a tall, strong-minded, amazonian woman with a penchant for guns – really liked her.

News: I just peered at Linnea Sinclair’s website and there’s a fourth book under way with the working title Tracking Trouble! Yay! Looks like the protagonist will be Philip Guthrie’s younger brother Devin. From her website:

“OUT OF OPTIONS…Devin Guthrie can’t forget Captain Makaiden Griggs even though it’s been two years since she was in his family’s employ. A Guthrie does not fall in love with a mere shuttle pilot. Going against his wealthy family’s wishes isn’t an option—not with the Empire in political upheaval, much of it caused by Devin’s renegade older brother, Admiral Philip Guthrie. The Guthries must solidify their standing—financially, politically and socially—or risk losing it all. But when the Guthrie heir—Devin’s nineteen-year old nephew— goes missing, Devin’s loyalty to his family’s values is put to the test. And suddenly the unthinkable becomes the only option available: Devin must break the rules and risk allying himself with the one woman he could never forget—and was forbidden to love.”

Best of 2008 and New Year’s Resolution for 2009

A lot of people are posting a year end post for 2008. It's nice to see people looking back at the books they read for the year and picking out their favorite reads, and it's interesting to see what they picked. I thought it would be a good thing to try myself because with it recorded, I can look back in later years and see what my tastes were like.

Out of a total of 77 books read this year, very few got into my best list, but book ratings are highly subjective.  I just went with my gut and rated them according to how I felt about the book as soon as I finished reading them. These lists are compiled from ratings I put down in my private notes.

All the links to my reviews here are to my Livejournal.

The Books that Blew Me Away  – These books are those I gave top marks to when I first read them. It's a very hard list to get onto because I have to feel like I'm falling in love and cannot be parted from the book for it to get on this list. Only three got on it this year.

Books that Came Close to Blowing Me Away – These came very close to getting top marks from me. This is a personal thing, but the books above I would put down and then obssessively think about when I could pick them up again. The books below, I didn't feel as consumed by the book, but still felt really impressed by them.

  • Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (my review)
  • Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (I need to review this when I have the book in my hands)
  • The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (review coming soon)

Books I Really Liked/ Keepers. These each had several moments where I loved the book and overall I think these are books that deserve to be loved and read by others, but for some reason or other these didn't get into the top 7. I still consider these keepers, and all these authors are pretty much autobuys/ must read backlist authors. There are 19 of these books this year (Linnea Sinclair's name comes up a lot here, I was reading her backlist in 2008):

  • The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford, Bk 1) by Kelley Armstrong (my review)
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (my review)
  • Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy (my review)
  • Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Bk 1) by Patricia Briggs (my review)
  • Easy Freedom by Liz Berry (my review)
  • Jinx by Jennifer Estep (my review)
  • Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair (my review pt 1, pt 2)
  • The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (my review)
  • The Nanny by Melissa Nathan (my review)
  • Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, Bk 1) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (my review)
  • Burndive by Karin Lowachee (my review)
  • An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly, Bk 3) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • The Decoy Princess and Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook (my review)

 

And for my New Year's Resolution – it's the same resolution as last year , to read 100 books.

  • 2006 – 103 books
  • 2007 - 99 books
  • 2008 – 77 books
  • 2009 – let's get it back up to 100!!

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Contests up the Wazoo

EVERYONE seems to be giving away things this week! If you surf around, most of the group blogs seem to have something for the holiday season. Here are some of the ones I thought were interesting:

1) Books on Board is giving away a red Sony eReader.. Man, I would love to have an eReader but the price seems way too much for me right now to justify it or even ask for it as a gift. Especially since I don't read many ebooks right now. If I won one, that wouldn't be too bad. To enter you have to write a short essay about why you like reading ebooks and books on board, or you can link about the contest. Details here.

2) AustenBlog has a signed copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. I've reviewed this book here (LJ) and here (vox) and I do recommend it for Austen fans. Info on that contest is here.

3) Ann Aguirre (one of my favorite authors right now) is giving away a few books on her blog. They all run until this Sunday at midnight. I've entered a couple:

4) Linnea Sinclair (another fav) has Hope's Folly swag over at The Book Smuggler's blog. I am looking forward to Hope's Folly coming out soon. Information on the book and the contests are over on the blog – link is here.

5) Jeri Smith Ready is over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance blog and giving away the winner's choice of an Aspect of Crow book. This is a good series I'm in the middle of right now. My review of Eyes of Crow is here (LJ) and here (vox)

6) Finally Paperback writer is still giving away prizes every day on her blog. Prizes vary. She put up a free ebook on there for everyone today.

 

OK I'm tired now. 🙂

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Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

Shades of Dark
Linnea Sinclair

This cover continues the "couple in the middle of space" theme that all Sinclair's books have now. I noticed that there is nothing on the cover to let the reader know that this is the continuation of the story that started in Gabriel's Ghost. That information is inside in the acknowledgements, and not everyone reads those. I know this isn't the author's fault, so why is this, publishers? I don't see how this can help but antagonize people who don't know and buy a book to find that it's book 2.

This review may have spoilers for Gabriel's Ghost.

My review of that is here – livejournal | vox.

Shades of Dark does pick up right after Gabriel's Ghost leaves off - Chasidah Bergren, ex-Fleet officer and her lover Gabriel Ross Sullivan are fugitives trying to clear their name and fight a corrupt Empire. There is some backstory explained at the beginning, but I hadn't read Gabriel's Ghost in a while so even I had problems remembering who was who just from the names. It took me a little bit to get back into the world, but throughout the book I still couldn't remember all the enemy factions – Darius Tage and Hayden Burke, Sheldon Blaine and the Farosians.. so it's worth making a little chart:

Enemies:

1. Darius Tage – bigwig in the Empire, xenophobe who is willing to breed jukors (mindless killing beasts) to have a weapon against the Ragkiril (usually Stolorths with telepathic powers, but Gabriel is a human one). In cahoots with Burke, has Emperor Prew's ear, and has been manipulating him to his own ends and destabilize the Admiral's Council (which controls the Fleet).

2. Hayden Burke – Sully's cousin. Playboy, in cahoots with Tage. Interested in discounting anything Sully does for their family's sizeable inheritances, wants power, also involved in breeding jukors.

3. Sheldon Blaine – claims he is the rightful heir to the emperor's throne (currently held by Emperor Prew). Is imprisoned in the planet Moabar, where Chaz was sent to at the beginning of Gabriel's Ghost. He is supported by a small group of Farosians.

4. The Farosians – Terrorists. A small faction on the side of Blaine, who want to free him from capitivity and take over the Empire. Call themselves Sheldon Blaine's Justice Wardens.

5. The Emperor/The Fleet – Because of the mechanisms of Tage and Burke, Sully and Chaz are considered terrorists and are on the run. Anyone on their side is on the wrong side of the law, dispite the powers being corrupt.

6. Purity Englarians – fanactical faction of Englarians who follow Abbot Eng's teachings and believe Takas are to be "guided" by humans and Stoloroths hated – and all Ragkiril's should be killed. A big problem for Sully and Chaz in the first book.

7. Mutunious crewmembers – Certain members of Sully's crew are not happy that there is a Stoloroth on board (Ren), who they think is a Ragkiril. A possible enemy within.

 

Do you see? How this is complicated? There's a lot of things going on despite much of the story taking place on Sully's spacecruiser, the Boru Karn. The book isn't short – 410 pages because of all the things going on. And besides all the intruige and incidents that happen in space because of their enemies and because they are wanted people, Sully and Chaz are also dealing with Sully's gifts as a Ragkiril. This is a darker story due to this. Sully has so much power, a power he feels is growing and which could corrupt him. Actually, it made the love story more complicated and interesting because of what Sully is going through. Now he and Chaz are ky'sara and ky'sal, they have to learn about it as they go along. Pushing matters further along, they meet Del, an exiled Stoloroth prince who wants to teach Sully, but who makes Chaz uncomfortable (I found him really creepy and sexual harassment sprang to mind).

Anyway, overall, I think this is a darker toned book that Sinclair's previous ones. I prefer the lighter stories, but this was more realistic because of the dark parts. There are a couple of shockers in here regarding some decisions Chaz makes in order to do the right thing. No spoilers, but things got really interesting in the last 30 or so pages. I didn't find the book as uncomfortable a read as some reviewers did, but I was disturbed by some things. The more I think about that, the more I liked this being part of the story.

It also felt like there were two distinct parts of the book that both focus on problems that are related to Sully's gift, like there were two big plots revolving around certain enemies, and because of them Sully is forced to deal with his Ragkiril nature. Once one major plotline was done with, the other one started, but both involved the darkness that comes with Sully's power. The only problem I had was that this book was pretty long, and there were lulls in the action. It that had to happen, but those parts felt slow to me. From the other reviews I see, I'm the only one who noticed though.

ETA: ALSO I noticed a lot more sex scenes in this book than any prior Sinclair novel. FYI.

This story continues in Hope's Folly, which is out in February 2009. It will focus on Chaz's ex-husband Admiral Philip Guthrie as he heads ex-Fleet, now-rebel forces in combat against the current Fleet. There's a teaser for this at the end of Shades of Dark, and it looks good.

Other reviews:

Ramblings on Romance

The Book Smugglers

Jace Scribbles

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My first giveaway!

It's eight days to my wedding – which is on 08/08/08. To make everyone participate in the mix of anticipation and dread (haha), I've decided to have a giveaway. If things go well with this, I'm probably going to continue. I've given books to people before, just not in any kind of contest, but I enjoy entering other people's giveaways, so let's spread the fun.

Prize

1. $20 dollar e-certificate to Barnes and Noble (I figure this makes things a bit easier for non-US participants)

2. Your choice of a paperback book from one of the authors in the list below. It has to be currently in print (you can ask for Wanderlust too, just expect to wait a bit until it comes out in order to get it). 

Some authors in urban fantasy/futuristic/space opera that tickle me

Linnea Sinclair

Wen Spencer

Ann Aguirre

Ilona Andrews

Patricia Briggs

Eve Kenin

Michelle Sagara

Jocelynn Drake

What you have to do

Just comment with your name here on vox or on my LJ (janicu.livejournal.com) by midnight EST on 08/08/08. Anyone on the planet who amazon/bn ships to can enter. If you spread the word and post a link of where you spread the word, you get two entries in this contest (cause – this blog has um… about 5 readers).

I'll probably be recovering from the wedding so likely won't pick winners till 8/11/08. I'll try to be earlier. We'll see how it goes.

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Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair

Quick review cause I'm feeling quite lazy:

I had a giftcard burning in my pocket so even though I have a 129 book TBR pile, I went out and bought yet another Linnea Sinclair book.

This is my 5th Linnea Sinclar book and I think I'm beginning to see trends besides the spaceships and action. Not sure how I missed it, but often the couple has to prevent an intergalactic war, and one person is hiding some secret about their true nature or identity from the other. Hmm. Doesn't seem to get old though.

In this case Gillaine Davré is hiding the fact that she's a Raheiran from her love interest Admiral Rynan Makarian, a Khalaran. The Raheiran's are a more technologically advanced race with psychic abilities try not to interfere much with the development of other races. About 342 years ago Gilliane fought against her ancient enemies the Melandans, and was thrown into a time-warp which made her appear in the present where she learns the Khalarans have turned her into a goddess. She is horrified to learn that she is worshipped and that even Ryan is a follower. Things get even more complicated when she learns that not all the Melandans were vanquished and she may have to fight against them again.

There were a few amusing moments throughout the book which kept it pretty light, and a lot of other characters in the space station where the book takes place, which kept things interesting.  I'm beginning to see these books as a guaranteed good time. Totally fun to get into. I think I'm a space opera addict. Seriously. I also like how most of them are readable as stand alones, because I seem to be going through a lot of series books.

Out of the rest of the Linnea Sinclair books I've read so far, this was in the top 3, I liked Gillie's spunkiness and irreverance compared to Rynan's seriousness. Their interaction was good.  noticed that Rynan has the same problem that Theo from The Down Home Zombie Blues had – trying to protect his woman when she can probably handle things better herself, and this caused some problems.

According to a review in Amazon, this is the far future sequel to Wintertide, a fantasy novel which I haven't read yet.

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The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair

The Down Home Zombie Blues
Linnea Sinclair

Yes I AM reading all the books Linnea Sinclair has ever written. This is the newest one – came out end of last year. And it's about zombies. Unintentional – but I've read three books with zombies in them this year! This is one, then there's Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry, and finally – Dead Sexy by Tate Hallaway (which I have to review on here). Are zombies becoming a trend? I thoughtfully stroke my chin.

So basically – what I usually think about Sinclair's books - lasers, spaceships, sci-fi, action fun stuff which I seem to love right now. Space opera, yay! This is totally that. Oh and kissing, as you see on the cover.

In this book the zombies are this alien hybrid created in a lab – half machine, half tenticle-y animal, they move in a pack, guided by the zombie leader (C-Prime), they jump out of portals and suck out people's lifeforces by clamping onto their heads with a big  tentacle (braiiinnn). I was a bit confused about the mechanics of the lifeforce-sucking until I figured out they used the tentacles. Liked the alien-zombie angle. Anyway, Jorie Mikkalah is a Guardian Force commander trying to kill all the zombies on the "nil" planet Earth, while Theo Petrakos is a divorced cop who gets caught up in the crossfire, eventually joining up with the Guardians to help save the planet.

I had a good time reading this. There were some interesting dynamics in here (a love triangle and some bad exes), and there wasn't a silly misunderstanding between the two characters – no silly drama, just a real worry about how they are literally from different worlds. I liked the romance (but my favorite is still Games of Command), and it was balanced well with the plot of the zombie invasion problem. I liked how the language differences were overcome (Jorie realizes that English is like the alien language of Vekran) and they do kind of get to know each other as they improve their communications. Still, I was a bit disappointed to find out that some Vekrans were stranded near Earth at some point, because *I* wanted a tongue in cheek reference to the movie "Galaxy Quest". Theo jokingly mentions warp speed and Jorie asks him how he knows what that is and I totally thought of "Galaxy Quest"! But it was not meant to be.

I also liked how Jorie is independent and can take care of herself – she's better what she does than any other guy in the story, so thing that nagged at me was how often Theo would try to save her. He'd throw himself at her while they were shooting in order to get her away from some tentacle. But he's the zombie-killing novice, not her. Yes, he loves her and wants to protect her, but I thought it would be cooler if he didn't feel the need to be all "I am man and shall save you my woman!!". He should be all: "Oh look at her killing things, I'm so proud" and just watch her back, no throwing himself at her to shove her from harm's way. At least she saves him too, but she sensibly shoots things instead of shoving him. Other nit – Jorie thinks to herself about other women who haven't snapped up Theo and wonders if they are "blind and unsexed" like three times at least throughout the book. Nothing against the phrase, but it's unique enough that I noticed when it was reused.

I need to buy more Sinclair books but I must hold myself back because of the TBR. I also want Ann Agguire's Grimspace because it's supposed to be in this genre. I went to B&N and it wasn't there!! WHY.

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