book log 2015 – February

Yes, I am slow at my book log, which is why some of these have only brief comments…

7) Cecilia Tan — The Siren and the Sword
Previously reviewed. I liked it a lot, enough to buy the series box set when it came out recently.
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Kobo

8) Doranna Durgin – Barrenlands
Reviewed earlier this week. A short fantasy novel offering an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.
http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/barrenlands/
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/barrenlands

9) Helena Newbury – Dance for Me

Natasha’s a ballet student who uses dance as one of her ways of coping with her demons, not always successfully. Darrell’s an engineering genius who designs weapon delivery systems as a way of coping with _his_ demons. Darrell’s stuck on his latest design, and then finds inspiration in watching a ballerina dance – so much so that he hires Natasha to dance for him privately at his workshop. They fall for one another, but they’re very damaged people and the road will be hard, even without someone deliberately trying to break the relationship up before it really gets started. Cue much angst before the happy ending. That happy ending acknowledges that True Love doesn’t magically fix everything, and Natasha and Darrell have a long way to go before their demons are vanquished. That the characters recognise this make it much more believable that they really will make it work in the long run.

This wasn’t a bad read, but it did need rather a lot of willing suspension of disbelief regarding a lone genius being allowed to work on a a secret defence contract in his garage. It also leans heavily on the Evil Brit trope for the plot’s antagonist; which doubtless appeals to many not-British readers, but was merely irritating to me. I’m glad I read it and would happily read the next, but I’m not desperate to rush out and buy it.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

10) Mindy Klasky – Perfect Pitch (The Diamond Brides series Book 1)

Contemporary romance starting with a baseball star who is unwise enough to publicly sneer at the local beauty queen, only to find that a) this is bad PR with the team’s supporters and his manager is not amused, b) the beauty queen is no dumb blonde, and she’s not amused either. They soon realise there’s more to both of them than meets the public eye, but they’re also very much in the public eye, and Samantha’s contest contract includes a morality clause…

A pleasant enough read. Currently on offer as a start-of-series freebie.

http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/perfect-pitch/
Amazon US
Amazon UK
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/perfect-pitch-1

11) Margery Allingham – A Cargo of Eagles (audiobook)
Abridged audiobook of the last Campion novel, read by Phillip Franks. Enjoyable, and as usual with this series of Hachette abridged CD sets, can be enjoyed even if you aren’t already familair with the novel.
Amazon UK

12) Ashley Gardner — The Hanover Square Affair
First in a Regency-set mystery series. Excellent historical mystery, and on my list of series to pursue when I’ve made some headway on Mount TBR. Currently free as a series promo.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-hanover-square-affair

Deals from Courtney Milan

BookBub alerted me to the fact that Courtney Milan has a 99c/99p deal on the first book in her Turner series, so I wandered over to Amazon to have a look, and found a number of other deals on her books. In particular, the Brothers Sinister series is in an enhanced box set for £6.50. This is the Victorian romance series I was raving about last year, because it features strong women characters, many of whom are scientists, without handwaving away the problems they would have faced. If you understand why I was Kermit-flailing when I read the dedication to Rosalind Franklin in one of the later books, you’ll probably enjoy these. It’s m/f, but there is an acknowledgement of m/m and f/f (and again, historically realistic about the need for secrecy, rather than pure fantasy), with one of the background romances for a secondary character in a later book being f/f. One of the side-story novellas is an interracial romance between an Irishman and a Black British woman. And alphole heroes are Not Welcome.

Book 1 in the Brothers Sinister series is currently free (it’s isn’t always, but Milan does regular introductory deals for her series).

Books 1 and 3 in the Turner series are currently 95p at Amazon UK, and the box set is around £4.70. Given how much I enjoyed the Brothers Sinister, I’m just going to go for the boxed set rather than trying the starter first.

Amazon UK:
The Brothers Sinister: The Complete Boxed Set
The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister Book 1)
Unveiled (A Turner Series Book 1)
The Turner Series (An Enhanced Box Set)
author page

Author page at Amazon US:
Courtney Milan at Amazon US

Amazon Australia (hi, SallyMN :-)
http://www.amazon.com.au/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=courtney+milan

Author page at Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Courtney%20Milan%20&ac=1&acp=courtney%20mil

Book log 2015: 9) Helena Newbury – Dance for Me

Natasha’s a ballet student who uses dance as one of her ways of coping with her demons, not always successfully. Darrell’s an engineering genius who designs weapon delivery systems as a way of coping with _his_ demons. Darrell’s stuck on his latest design, and then finds inspiration in watching a ballerina dance – so much so that he hires Natasha to dance for him privately at his workshop. They fall for one another, but they’re very damaged people and the road will be hard, even without someone deliberately trying to break the relationship up before it really gets started. Cue much angst before the happy ending. That happy ending acknowledges that True Love doesn’t magically fix everything, and Natasha and Darrell have a long way to go before their demons are vanquished. That the characters recognise this make it much more believable that they really will make it work in the long run.

This wasn’t a bad read, but it did need rather a lot of willing suspension of disbelief regarding a lone genius being allowed to work on a a secret defence contract in his garage. It also leans heavily on the Evil Brit trope for the plot’s antagonist; which doubtless appeals to many not-British readers, but was merely irritating to me. I’m glad I read it and would happily read the next, but I’m not desperate to rush out and buy it.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book log 2015: 8) Doranna Durgin – Barrenlands

Prequel fantasy novel which works well as a standalone. The Barrenlands of the title are a magical wasteland that forms an almost impassable border territory between two countries. But where there is a border, there will be crossings, and people who make a living bringing things across that border, whether it is with or without the blessing of the governments concerned. Ehran, head of the King’s Guard, will end up tangling with it more than once in his quest first to find the murderers of his beloved king, and then to find and dispose of the family of the king’s brother. He’s been sent on the latter mission supposedly to prevent the exile trying to seize the throne from the king’s young son, a mission he rightly sees as a means of getting him out of the way of an unknown traitor within the court.

Some nice world-building here, with appealing characters and a worthwhile mystery. It’s obvious from the first who the villain is, because Ehren’s not stupid and already has his suspicions. But means and motive are another matter, and untangling those make for an entertaining story. A short novel offering an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/barrenlands/
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/barrenlands

New website and news

[livejournal.com profile] waveney has been poking around in the back end of the server for me, and I now have access to WordPress on my site. I’ve spent the last couple of days starting to build a new mobile-friendly website, and a good thing too, because this morning my publisher emailed me to say that tomorrow Nice Tie will be the Daily Deal at ARe, with 50% off. With any luck this will result in traffic, and I will even have a mobile-friendly top level page to point them at. Unfortunately it won’t be the landing page *just* yet, as I’m still building the thing, so I’ve had to be content with putting a link front and centre on the old site.

Testing would be appreciated… Also, I’m doing an overhaul in general, so if there is anything you’ve had a burning desire to see on my site, let me know. If it’s a sensible suggestion, I’ll consider how to incorporate it. If it’s not sensible, I’m sure it will amuse everyone else to read about your burning desire in the comments.

Book Log: Mr Bingo – Hate Mail: the Definitive Collection

I had far too much fun backing random “that looks interesting/amusing” publishing projects on Kickstarter a few months ago, and the fruits are now falling into my letterbox. Yesterday’s was this:

Hilariously obscene collection of Mr Bingo’s favourites from his Hate Mail project – pay good money to a professional artist to have him draw a lovingly rendered insult on the back of an item from his collection of vintage postcards, and post it to you. Having done nearly a thousand of these, he then launched a Kickstarter to publish his favourites as a high quality art book. Whether or not you enjoy the contents depends very much on your sense of humour, but if it is your sort of thing, here it is in a physical object that’s a work of art in itself. It’s printed on heavy art paper, Smyth-sewn, clothbound casing, and tastefully stamped in gold foil with the title on the spine and a line drawing on the front cover reflecting the contents. That line drawing being of an octopus putting two fingers up at the world with all eight legs…