08 October 2010

Review: Open Country, by Kaki Warner

I highly recommend this Western romance set in the late 1800s in the New Mexico Territory, even if you're not keen on Westerns. Open Country got such great reviews that I figured I'd give it a try, especially since the heroine is a nurse. (I love historical romances with a medical element to them.)

The heroine is in some serious danger and meets the hero following a train wreck in which he's badly injured. Both H/H are believable, well-written characters with major hurdles to face. Though I loved the way Hank and Molly interacted, some of the best scenes involve Hank's exchanges with his brother. Warner really gets the way brothers interact, alternating affectionate jabs with smart-ass comments. She has a gift for dialogue, something that contributes to the page-turning pace.

Though the H/H ruminate a bit--Warner makes them both sufficiently introspective to pack some real feeling into the story--she handles it with the ease of a pro, achieving that hard-to-find balance between thought and action.

As an example--Hank works out his indecision and frustration by cutting a stack of wood. You don't hear what's going on in his head. Instead, Warner does take you into the minds of characters watching from the window--their concern for Hank makes his distress palpable. You can almost hear that ax slamming into a log as Hank lets out his anger and gets his head on straight.

Even if you don't think you'd enjoy a Western, you might want to give Open Country a try. I plan to go back and read Pieces of Sky, the first book in the three-part series, as soon as I get the chance.

06 October 2010

October Reading List

October is looking like a great month for books, so I thought I'd share my TBR list:

Scoundrel, by Zoe Archer (Victorian-set HR with magic and adventure)
(I reviewed the first book, Warrior, last month; Scoundrel has a great $5.59 ebook price)

Emily and the Dark Angel, by Jo Beverley (Regency trad rerelease)
The publisher has priced this ebook ridiculously high at $9.99 [snort of annoyance]

The Iron Duke, by Meljean Brook (steampunk romance)
This book has garnered a ton of ebuzz; I haven't read any steampunk, but this may be where I start.

Twice the Novice, by Debra Glass (historical erotic romance set in Bavaria)

Gambit, by Kim Knox (space opera romance--what's not to like? Plus, Carina Press is offering a big discount)

Trial by Desire, by Courtney Milan (Regency-set HR)
Incidentally, Courtney makes very clever comments at Dear Author, especially on legal issues

Dark Road to Darjeeling, by Deanna Raybourn (Victorian-set historical mystery with a dash of romance)

And coming later this year:

Marry Me, by Jo Goodman (coming in December; I'll read anything Jo Goodman writes, even Westerns)

The Admiral's Penniless Bride, by Carla Kelly (coming in January 2011, which is so far away!)

The Unmasking of a Lady, by Emily May (Regency coming in November; I've loved all of Emily May's Regencies, as well as her fantasies, written as Emily Gee)

03 October 2010

Censorship Is Alive and Well in Texas

Young adult books have long been the target of aspiring censors, but "shattering the space-time continuum" to ban books before they've been published really takes mind-control to new lows. Chris Sims, of Comics Alliance, is the source of that great quote. He discusses an array of doubtlessly [cue heavy sarcasm] well-intentioned book bans from across the country, including a California school district attempt to . . . wait for it . . . ban the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

I am not kidding. You'd think that if they were going to ban dictionaries, they'd start with the mother of them all, the Oxford English Dictionary. Let me assure you that, as an author of erotic romance, I can say from personal, uh, research, that the OED has some very naughty words in it. Regrettably, the accompanying etymology and  tenth-century literary examples tend to drain all prurience from said naughty words. But I digress . . .

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy books were reportedly banned (again, even before the last one was published) for reasons of sexual content and "nudity." Now, just for the record, I consider nudity to be a visual kinda thing. So, all I can say is that Mead must be one helluva writer. And I hope she enjoys increased sales as a result of all this censorship nonsense.