Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists

The Romance Writers of America will be announcing the winners of their annual RITA and Golden Heart Awards on July 31st at their conference in Orlando. The RITA recognizes excellence in published romance novels in twelve different categories. Approximately 1000 different books are entered annually. The RITA finalist list is a great place to look for new authors or to find some high quality options if you are considering dabbling in a new subgenre. The Golden Heart Award is for manuscripts that are unpublished and not under contract to be published at the contest deadline; many finalists in this category end up with publishing contracts. I’ll publish the list of winners in both categories when they are announced. Meanwhile, enjoy checking out current and future stars!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading Round Up -- Part II

Death in the Stocks
by Georgette Heyer
Arnold Vereker was an awful man, so his murder results in more shock and speculation than sorrow. Arnold Vereker’s family and heirs are awful in their own way: not at all sorry that he’s gone, not willing to pretend they are, and not at all convinced the police will solve the crime. Heyer was known as the queen of the Regency romance, but her country house mysteries showcase the same meticulous research, depth of characterization, and clever plotting. This is smart, entertaining, and inventive, with engaging, if awful, characters.

Wild Ride
by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Though I am not a huge fan of paranormals, I am a huge fan of Crusie and Mayer and their offbeat blend of romantic-comedy-action-adventure. And I have to admit, the classic amusement park setting really appealed to me, as did the heroine’s occupation – restorer of antique (or just plain old and ratty) carnival and amusement park artifacts. When it turns out that some of those items house some ancient demons, things at Dreamland start getting a little crazy. The twisted humor and cast of eccentric characters are really enjoyable, though I found the romantic element a little slow at times. Overall – this is both fun and entertaining.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reading Round Up

I’ve been trying to work my way through my To Be Read pile, and thus haven’t been on top of reading and reviewing too much romance. Just to make it clear I haven’t been loafing around watching television, here’s a brief look at the books I’ve gotten through in the past several weeks:

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
by Alan Bradley
The further adventures of Flavia de Luce, age 11, passionate chemist and amateur sleuth. When murder once again visits her little village, Flavia takes to the back roads and woods on her trusty bicycle to unearth the truth. Though Flavia is as incorrigible as ever, this novel does not hang together quite as neatly as her first adventure, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Still entertaining and atmospheric, especially for fans of the village or country house murder.

The Burning Lamp
by Amanda Quick
The second book in The Dreamlight Trilogy finds adventurous, crusading Adelaide Pyne coming to the aid of Griffin Winters. Griffin has started hallucinating, and fears he is falling victim to the Winters curse; Adelaide has the skill and the artifact necessary to help him avoid that fate – he hopes. Unfortunately, some shadowy figures from both their pasts would like to get their hands on both the artifact and Adelaide, and they don’t really care who gets hurt in the process. Another solid entry in the light suspense category from Quick, who also writes as Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle. If you are not familiar with the Arcane Society, you will want to start with one of the earlier books.

Death in the Stocks and Wild Ride -- mystery and romance combined...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

July RT Book reviews on the Shelf

The new RT Book Reviews has arrived, with a cover story on Shana Abe, and features on authors Carrie Vaughn, Chevy Stevens, and Eileen Dreyer. Other features include a look at the crossover appeal of teen/young adult books, and an examination of the polygamy as a trending theme in fiction. Working along with the teen fiction article is a Pros on Prose column about writing YA, and a Teen Scene interview with Melissa de la Cruz. Rounding out the issue are the usual Fan Forum columns and more than 250 book reviews.

Monday, June 14, 2010

One heroine, two opinions

Leave Me Breathless
By HelenKay Dimon

Back in April I took this book home, read it pretty quickly, and trotted back to work with every intention of immediately writing a review. It sat on my desk for a few days while I mulled. I just couldn’t decide whether or not I liked it. I usually like Dimon’s work, I finished the book in reasonable time rather than abandoning it, I thought it was suspenseful and well plotted – so what was my issue? The heroine, I decided. I didn’t like her. Well, not much. At least not at the beginning, but I liked her more at the end. See my problem? I liked the overall book, but had to work at liking the heroine, so – to recommend or not to recommend? Did I want to invest in a full review or would I just get irritated with the woman all over again? Then, while in mid-mull, I read a review by Wendy the Super Librarian. Wendy’s review was not only entertaining (they usually are) but helped me reframe my issue. Our heroine, Callie, got a very raw deal from her former employer, the FBI, and has gone into private security work. When we meet her, she comes across as tough, mouthy, and impulsive. In fact, she spends so much time being tough, mouthy and impulsive that I was ready to write her off as unprofessional, phenomenally stupid and (perish the thought) tacky. But I hung with the book because I liked the plot, the pace, and the secondary romance. As the story went on, I warmed up to Callie as she demonstrated a sense of humor and the ability to acknowledge her mistakes and learn from them. She did not become the kind of one note song I detest; the ones that make me want to grab the hero by his lapels and say “See that tough, mouthy, go-it-alone type tacky broad over there? There are bad guys trying to kill her. LET THEM.” Callie has some dimension, so even though she is not the type of heroine I like, I liked her enough to be able to enjoy all the really good elements in the book. If you want to know a little more about the plot, or get a second opinion on Callie, check out Wendy’s review.
Or just stop in and check out the book!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On the Book Cart

Christie Ridgway Crush on You

Joanna Bourne The Forbidden Rose
Shana Galen The Making of a Duchess
Cheryl Holt Taste of Temptation
Sara Lindsey Tempting the Marquess
Debra Mullins Tempting a Proper Lady
Lindsay Townsend A Knight's Enchantment

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On the Book Cart

Tessa Dare One Dance with a Duke
Meredith Duran Wicked Becomes You
Deanne Gist Maid to Match
Sally MacKenzie The Naked Viscount
Anne Mallory Seven Secrets of Seduction
Margaret Mallory Knight of Passion
Kathryn Smith When Marrying a Scoundrel
Kaki Warner Open Country

Christie Craig Shut Up and Kiss Me
Susan Donovan The Night She Got Lucky
Donna Kauffman Some Like It Scot

Cindy Gerard Risk No Secrets

Monica Burns Assassin’s Honor
Gena Showalter The Darkest Passion

Buy Your Beach Books!

The Friends of the Library are having a Mini-Sale!
During the month of June, the large table behind the Reference Desk will be the site of a mini-sale. The Friends are out of storage space and have had to stop taking donations, so come and buy your beach and vacation books and help us free up some room You will find paperback fiction for adults and children, and some hardcover fiction. Whether you like thrillers, romance, suspense, mysteries, or mainstream fiction, you will find some great bargains! So stop by, shop, and support the Friends.