Tuesday, March 31, 2009

About the lack of reviewing...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 39
I have three books ready to be reviewed. I've been finishing up a manuscript that I am sending out this week so look for new reviews the first week of April.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Review: Consort of a Conqueror

Saturday, February 14, 2009 0
Consort of a Conqueror

By Alexandra Adams

Published by Carnal Desires Publishing.

Hot sex, intrique, imperial conquests, the backdrop of a military campaign... oh, and did I mention hot sex? Consort of a Conqueror by Alexandra Adams delivers a boatload of pretty much everything and the kitchen sink in this steamy book that really uses a classic plot device: the main characters love each other but have their heads up their butt for whatever reason and are unable to talk to each other about how they feel - something that everyone can identify with.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it: I have trouble reading romance novels. This is surprising since I love a good romantic movie and I personally believe the final scene of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where Holly kisses Paul in the rain is probably one of the most iconic romantic scenes in movie history. (just below Burt Lancaster kissing Deborah Kerr on the beach in "From Here to Eternity" and Clark Gable kissing Vivian Leigh at the door of the plantation in "Gone with the Wind")

You'd think I'd be all over romantic fiction, right? Know what? I'd likely be a voracious reader of the genre if authors would focus on the concept of "less is more" and leave something for the imagination. In a world of books where strong female protagonists are screwing everything from shapeshifting succubus vampire sexpot werewolf dudes from the fifth dimension of hell to necromancing serial killers who hang out at gay bars, it's nice to read a book that is actually about, everyone say it now... love.

Seriously, about 90% of what's out there right now is poorly written housewife porn where somehow between screwing everyone and his dog, the heroine learns something about a new found power and suddenly we're onto book four of the series where the heroine screws everyone and his dog, this time with a BDSM theme. (This author uses kinky sex as a plot device instead of, you know, a plot.)

Well, Consort of a Conqueror defies the stereotypes and delivers a number of tightly written hot moments where the words "gleaming shaft" and "everlasting love purse" aren't used at all. Imagine my surprise!

Here's the book in a nutshell:

Prince Rupert of Estravia (I kept thinking Erik Estrada as I read this over and over...) is married to Rohais who only agreed to marry Rupert to keep all hell from breaking loose since ol' Rupert has laid siege to Fernoye. (Star Wars reference here: this would be the same thing as if Princess Leia was forced to marry Grand Moff Tarkin to keep him from blowing up Alderaan with the death star.)

He thinks she doesn't believe in love, clearly he does and while they have great amounts of fantastic whoopee making, each is dead wrong about the other. Behind this classic case of "we could really be a great couple if we actually talked to each other about how we really feel", treachery is afoot! (Really, how could there not be treachery where there are places with names like "Lanesenau, Berencia and by God, the Free City of Meisenstricht?). Prince Fernand intends to storm the aformentioned free city and Rupert meets this vile act by, you guessed it, declaring war.

Will the lovers actually admit they love each? Will Meisenstricht become an enslaved city under that nasty Prince Fernand? What further dangers await after the smoke clears? All will be revealed as you turn the pages, (or click your mouse, as I did) and I won't tell you the ending other than to say that both parties finally get their heads out of their butts, but there's room for a sequel.

Good points: strong character development, good dialogue and steamy sex where the guy isn't hung like John Holmes and the author doesn't keep reminding us that the hero has a massive schlong.

Bad points: a bit too much happening in the background and it kind of distracted from the heart of the matter: heroine and hero realizing they love each other. (That said, I am still scratching my head as to why the heroine would fall in love with a guy who basically threatened to lay siege to her homeland. I suspect most emancipated women of the twenty-first century would have trouble visualizing themselves agreeing to marry someone who was effectively blackmailing them.)

Overall, a well written book that has strong characterization, good sex that doesn't make you feel like you got some on you, and the promise of true love conquering all, even if the heroine herself was conquered into loving her conqueror.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: Shadow Of The Antlered Bird

Thursday, January 22, 2009 1
Shadow of the Antlered Bird

By David Sklar

Published by Drollerie Press

Who DOESN’T want to read a book about a guy being hunted by his own shadow? You’re thinking -“Sweet, this is going to be one creepy book!” Imagine your surprise when you find it is written entirely in present tense with a literary quality about as far removed from conventional fantasy novels as you can get.

This is no easy feat for a writer on the best of days. David Sklar assembles a one hundred and sixty two page novel that pulls the reader into a dreamlike world encompassing parts of real life California, New York City and a whack of other places in between. How does he do it? Beats the heck out of me! (God, nothing worse than writer envy...)

There’s a rhythmic, almost hypnotic cadence to Sklar's storytelling (and I think it’s got everything to do with present tense) that drives what is really a simple story about being on the run and growing up. Oh, and there’s the business about this nasty shadow who wants you out of the picture: Where should you run? Moreover, how do you stop a shadow bent on ending you?

The main characters are friends Tam and April – and guess which of the two is a human/elf half breed being chased all over hell’s half-acre by the aforementioned mean-ass shadow with a knot in its face? Well, I’m not going to tell you because I’m in therapy over the hideous birth sequence where the shadow rips apart its mother in the most graphic way imaginable. How graphic? Well, if you’re contemplating becoming a mother, skip that page. Trust me on this.

There’s magic. There’s a hunt. There’s the timeless quality of those classic fantasy elements blended into modern America in a way that I’ve not seen in other urban fantasy novels. (The last genre-fiction novel I’d read that came close to being literary fiction was Robert R. McCammon’s beautifully written, “Boy’s Life”.)

Very simply, David Sklar has transformed an urban fantasy story into literary fiction, it’s that well written. It’s also a very surprising book that could easily fall into the realm of speculative fiction, except that Sklar's writing is so strong, his settings so crisp - it's hard to call this novel urban fantasy when the market is flooded with books about vampires, wizards, shapeshifters and necromancers. It is urban fantasy, and it isn't. It is speculative fiction, but it's not. If anything, Sklar morphed his book into performance art (not the WTF kind, either) and then morphed it into something that reminds me of how Leonard Cohen grabs you by the brain and forces you to ponder the meaning of his poems, or the lyrical quality of his songs. Sklar bends the formulaic rules we generally associate with fantasy books – some of the chapters are only a couple of paragraphs in length!

Because of this, it’s a solid read that you really must pay attention to at the very beginning because the first handful of pages establish the fantasy elements which are carried throughout the book.

Overall, this is a very well-written book that defies the cookie cutter approach we find in most genre-fiction novels. David Sklar is a gifted writer who isn’t afraid to take the rules, kick them to the curb and invent his own. Five out of five stars f0r daring to be different!

Upcoming Reviews (Oh Yeah, We Talkin' Romance Baby!!)

Consort of a Conqueror by Alexandra Adams
Published by Carnal Desires Publishing

Hooo hooo hooo!! What's this?
Rupert, Prince of Estravia, besieges the capital of Fernoye, and weds Princess Rohais, who agrees to marry Rupert solely to prevent bloodshed. When the pair belatedly discovers that each holds a mistaken view of the other, both spouses come to enjoy hotly sensual, exceedingly passionate bouts of lovemaking. Because Rupert fears that this Princess raised by two cynical Princes doesn’t believe in romantic love, and Rohais assumes that Rupert regards love as an illusion harbored by silly women, neither will admit to loving the other ardently.
Hijinks ensue... you just know it.

Love Heals All Pain by Melissa Miller
Published by Hearts On Fire Books
A strong woman, Rachel Connors faces the possibility of breast cancer. Scared and alone, she keeps her fears to herself. Going home to Tennessee for the holidays for the first time in years, Rachel meets Kyle Landers.

Kyle has decided from the start to not like Rachel. Her absence has been hard on her parents - two loving people who took Kyle under their wing when he had no one. But is his anger misplaced? Is there more to Rachel Connors than he first thought?

Overcoming a rocky beginning, Kyle and Rachel fall in love. But will it last? Can love prevail against the trials they will face?

Get it together Kyle. Burn up the farm with your red hot love.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Upcoming Review: Shadow of the Antlered Bird

Sunday, January 18, 2009 0

I'll be reviewing "Shadow of the Antlered Bird" by David Sklar and published by Drollerie Press.

It’s not too hard to flee the nest and learn how to spread your wings… unless your mother is made of magic…and she dies giving birth to your shadow…who wants to kill you and take your place.

In Shadow of the Antlered Bird, Tam discovers that it’s not as easy to run away from his past as he might think, and sometimes when you make a mistake, the consequences are beyond your imagination

I've read two other e-books from Drollerie Press and aside from their fantastic cover art (which is, in my opinion, the best cover art out of any e-book publisher) Drollerie and their growing stable of authors put out some solid material.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Friday, January 16, 2009 0
The almighty first review (along with links to the publisher, information on where you can buy it and my two or three cents) will be posted on February 2, 2009.

God willing, my eyes will not bleed. Oh well, there's hope.

UPDATE: First review should be up sometime next weekend(January 24-25th)
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