29 January 2011

Review: My Lord and Spymaster, by Joanna Bourne

I've been saving this book. Whenever I'm taking a look at my shelves, wondering what to read next, I've paused, then passed it by. A Jo Bourne book is sort of like a piece of really good chocolate--you need to save it for when you really need it.

I eventually gave in, in part because there's a future book on the horizon. Granted, it's not for TEN MORE MONTHS (November 2011), which is a painfully long time to wait, especially since Black Hawk is Adrian's story. Anyway, back to the review...

Spymaster is, as you've probably guessed, about spies. Yay! Regency-era spies, which are the best kind. Some romance readers like space pirates (I'm not thinking of anyone in particular, mind you), some readers like Navy SEALS. I like spies. Clever, intriguing, good-with-their-hands spies. Who carry knives in their boots and pick locks and think of breaking and entering as a good evening's entertainment.

The Spymaster plot revolves around Jess Whitby, who is a shipping heiress and accounting genius with an interesting history, to put it mildly. Her father has been accused of espionage and she'll do whatever it takes to prove his innocence. She hires Doyle (from The Forbidden Rose) as a thug and attempts to entrap Our Hero, Sebastian. Killing and death ensue.

There is also a ferret.

He is not a particularly friendly ferret and he and Sebastian develop what proves to be a very stormy relationship. Just in case you're unfamiliar with ferret behavior and want to be assured of accuracy, let me tell you that Jo Bourne knows a thing or two about ferrets. She is also very good at depicting male attitudes toward the favored pets of females--a sort of amazement coupled with forbearance.

Just in case I haven't been clear--I loved this book. While my favorite of Jo Bourne's three spy romances remains The Spymaster's Lady, My Lord and Spymaster is a superb read. Pick it up if you like historicals, Regency-set or spy romance. You'll be counting the days until the next release, just like I am. For an excerpt of Spymaster, click here.

23 January 2011

Review: Song of Scarabaeus, by Sara Creasy

Loved this book and can't wait for the next installment, Children of Scarabaeus, scheduled for release in March (you can read the first chapter here). While Song has created a buzz among SFR readers, it isn't really a romance, though there are certainly romantic elements. Creasy sets up readers in this first book for what promises to be a multi-book adventure in which the H/H's relationship develops gradually.

Finn, the hero, is the strong silent type--enigmatic and intriguing (he cover artist for the book did a great job with him). Finn and Edie, the heroine, are tied together by a "leash" that will cause Finn's head to explode if he gets too far from Edie. Amazing plot device--wish I'd thought of it.

This book will totally do it for you if you like SF with biotech elements and evolutionary biology. There are a couple of amazing chapters in which Finn and Edie try to survive on a planet gone adaptively haywire. I was totally glued to the pages and actually tried to read while getting dressed for work.

SFR readers should be sure to get in on what promises to be an amazing series. Though Edie isn't as kick-ass as Jax from Ann Aguirre's Grimspace, I suspect that Creasy is going to go places with her character and I definitely want to be along for the ride.

17 January 2011

Books to Watch for

It's 4:30 PM, completely dark and we have several inches of snow. And I'm thinking about some of the incredible books coming out in the next few months that will help me get through the Alaska winter:

Children of Scarabaeus, by Sara Creasy (March 2011)
This is SFR and I'm hoping it's as good as her first book was, Song of Scarabaeus. If you're into SFR and haven't started this series yet, get going!

The Sentinel Mage, by Emily Gee (25 January 2011)
I'm a fan of Emily Gee's fantasy books. She's got a great imagination and creates sympathetic, believable characters. She's also an underappreciated author, IMHO.

Dangerous in Diamonds, by Madeline Hunter (26 April 2011)
Regency-set historical romance by an author who consistently writes great romance. This is Castleford's story, if you've been following the Blooms series. I can't wait to see Daphne bring him around to love. And sobriety, of course.

And a quick sample of my TBR pile:

Countess by Christmas, by Annie Burrows (new-to-me author)

First Lord's Fury, by Jim Butcher (superb fantasy)

Killbox, by Ann Aguirre (the continuing SFR saga of my favorite alien-ass-kicking heroine)

The Heir, by Grace Burrowes (another new-to-me historical romance author)