More Than Magic
by Kathleen Nance, ISBN # 0505522993
I very much liked this book. There are not many genie/Djinn books on the market these days, and coming across this gem was priceless.
Isis is a perfume store owner, who makes her own perfumes and aromatherapy using her own nose and knowledge of herbs and flowers. She has also battled dyslexia her whole life, losing her first business when her ex-husband challenged her in court that she obviously couldn't have run the business with such sloppy notes (because of her dyslexia). Darius is a djinni, and a very powerful one at that. It is fated that he must marry a mortal woman to become the most powerful, but he has no intention of marrying. A disguised enemy gives Isis a charm that will call a djinni to her to give her a special scent, or more specifically Darius, to bind him to her forever. Before she finishes the charm, however, Darius feels its pull and rushes to stop it. He recognizes she is the one who is his destiny, the one who will tip the balance of power for him. He did not count on falling in love with her, however.
I love djinn romances, and Kathleen Nance definitely does a good job with them!! I am very impressed with this one. The hero and heroine have a lot of depth to them, both with personality traits and foibles they must work through. The love story was definitely prominent and very touching. Isis was wonderful, very down to earth, likeable, and well drawn, as was Darius (albeit with more magic). The whole plot was very plausible within the parameters of the story and people, and all in all a very good premise. Kathleen Nance delivers in this book, and as a reviewer and reader I would have to give this two emphatic thumbs up!
Stranger At The Wedding
by Barbara Hambly, ISBN # 0345380975
Retail $5.99, 1994
I read my first Barbara Hambly book long years ago, Dragonsbane, and fell in love with it. I loved the writing style and the story itself...then forgot what the author's name was!!! Years upon years later, I'm perusing the local used book stores and I find the book I'd loved for so long, and this time I take note of the author: Barbara Hambly. This book, while it didn't feature any dragons, was definitely very good and comes highly recommended for those who like magic and character driven plots.
Kyra is having trouble with her spells. Even when she does the little ones, something goes horribly wrong with them, and it's starting to make her nervous. When she has a dream that her sister Alix, who is about to be married, will be killed the night after her wedding she springs into action. This means heading back home, and facing memories and people she would just rather forget about. Her father has always been staunchly against her becoming a wizard, going so far as to practically disown her. Her mother is a scatterbrained wife; her sister, whom she loves, is worrying over the wedding; and there's a man who is off-limits that Kyra is starting to have feelings for. On top of all this, she's trying to find the magical wards or runes that signify the death spell, which she is absolutely certain is what will kill her sister.
The plotline, pace, and movement of the story were all very good. There wasn't as much action in this story as one might expect - no great fight scenes, no escalating wars, but there is an undead villain. :) The story itself, while it can be intense at times, runs parallel to Kyra's trying to live with the way her family and friends sometimes treat her. Then there's the romance. This is the kind of romance I like, when the heroine thinks lowly of the hero at the beginning yet you can see the way the two fall in love. I really liked the way the author had the heroine making fun of all those sappy love songs, yet realizing in the end that that is what she is feeling. Her reactions will bring a smile to your face.
Not the most action packed book, but definitely a very good book. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good magic and wizard story, with a good romance to boot. :-)
by Elizabeth Hayden, ISBN # 0812570812
This book is the breakout novel by the author, her debut. I picked it up because all over it I saw rave after rave from authors and magazines whose views I trust. I thought, Hey, if this many people liked it, it MUST be good. I braved the $8 price, gritting my teeth a bit about how inflated the prices have become nowadays, and started reading the book.
To give you a clue about first impressions: whenever I find a book that's incredible, awe-inspiring, I can read it in less than a day. This one took me a week.
Rhapsody is your common ex-stripper with an old client obsessed over her. A very powerful old client. She possesses the talent of Naming, in which she can use her voice and Talent to rename someone or something, making them into what she imagines them to be. The client, though, just wants her for her body. Anyway, she's running from his goons and races smack dab into two fearsome men, who she "adopts" as her brothers and reNames one. In doing so, she broke the tie this man had with a demon controlling him, but what does he do? Kidnaps her. Next, we have nearly 100 pages of them going through the earth, following the roots of a sacred tree and finding more out about themselves. When they emerge on the other side, they come to find out that their world is 14 centuries behind them, and they're in a future world with no way out except to forge a new life for themselves.
To be honest, the book wasn't bad. It was just...different. It felt stifling to me to have the focus be on the same three characters throughout the book; there weren't scenes hopping from one "group" to another, just this one. Another thing that REALLY bugged me is that these characters were "perfect". Rhapsody was this beautiful woman (granted, with a perfectly horrible past) who had this wonderful talent that just made her more beautiful. We have an assassin, Achmed, who is in perfect tune to people's heartbeats and can kill as easily as cutting pie, and when he loses that talent he gets another one. And Grunthor is, well, Grunthor; I liked his wise-cracking character the most, always joking with Rhapsody that she would make a nice dinner for him, if a little on the spare side.
The scenery and imagery was great, but we didn't really get any idea of the world at large, probably due to the fact that we were limited to what this group alone saw. Maybe the next book will be better, as the group is splitting up. In the end there's a tie-in to the beginning, or what seems like a tie-in, when a mysterious figure Ashe comes in who can killed as "perfectly" as Achmed. I don't know, the book just smacked too much of perfection to me without really building a real world. And 100 pages of the group travelling underground, along a big ROOT. Rhapsody's fears and all got old after page 25, but it kept on going.
I think I'd give this book a 5 on a scale of 10. It just never really captured my attention, and I feel a little put out that the ending was such that now I'm going to HAVE to read the next book to get the 'romance'. I just hope it's better.
Cupid: The Bewildering Bequest
by JM Jeffries, ISBN # 1-893896-06-4
Retail $6.80, published March 2000
Jason is on his way to Miss Eulalie's funeral in a rainstorm when he stops
to help an old man his wife with a flat tire. The old man pays him for the
help with a pure gold coin, although Jason tries to refuse the old man
insists. The old man says it will bring Jason luck as long as he kept it
Unknown to Jason the old man and woman are actually Cupid and his mother
Venus, Greek gods. The book does not explain why, but Cupid is on probation
for something and picks Jason to help, in order to regain his reputation.
Now that Cupid has given Jason the gold coin he must find a soul mate for him.
Not only does Cupid have to contend with the fact that Jason's ex-wife
Serena took him for a ride during their marriage and divorce, which left
Jason no trust what-so-ever when it came to women. He has to contend with
Venus being very moody and somewhat self-centered.
Cupid decides to match up Merrill Prescott, Miss Eulalie's lawyer and
Jason, Miss Eulalie's handyman and someone she took in when he was down on
his luck. This doesn't look like an easy job, with Jason's history with
women and Merrill's cynic views of people in general. To help the process
Venus adjusts Miss Eulalie's will a little. The original will left her
millions to Psyche's Folly, Miss Eulalie's dog, with custody going to Jason.
Venus adjusted it to say that Jason and Merrill are to share custody, and
live in the same house as parents to Psyche's Folly. This leaves Jason and
Merrill in the situation of living in the same house together. Merrill and
Jason are to establish a animal shelter as well as to use the millions to
care for Psyche's Folly.
There is the added problem of Miss Eulalie's neice Belle Boyd Bidwell
Beaumont and nephew Jefferson Davis Butler Bidwell, both of whom are greedy
and expect to receive the bulk of the estate. When they find out they are
only left with $10,000 they are both angry and threaten to contest on
grounds of Miss Eulalie's sanity. Both the niece and nephew come up with
different schemes in order to try and get what they think is their fair
share of the estate. There also is an even bigger problem, the fact that
Jupiter head god and father and grandfather to Venus and Cupid has ruled no
more interfering with humans. Unknown to Venus and Cupid Jupiter the
philandering husband of Juno has plans on Merrill himself. This leaves for
quite a few problems and obstacles for Venus and Cupid.
I personally like reading stories about or having to do with the Roman and
Greek gods. I thought this was a humorous look at the life of the gods and
problems the have. My only reservations to this book was I would have liked
to see Jupiter get what he deserved, and for Juno to catch him cheating. I
also felt there were a few unanswered questions. I did however like the
fact that Venus had Miss Eulalie's spirit involved in the endeavor.
Copyright 1999 by Carol Castellanos
by Maggie Shayne, ISBN # 0515124079
Three hundred years ago, Raven St. James was accused of witchcraft... Only one man tried to free her from the hangman's noose--Duncan, the town minister, who died trying to save her. Three hundred years later, the accused witch still lives and longs for her love... At last, after centuries of loneliness, Raven has found her precious Duncan. But as he awakens to the passion of his past life, so too does the evil that tore them apart. Now Raven and Duncan must prove their love for all eternity...
I don't see too many witch romances these days, but this one was very good. The characters had depth, and I could feel everything that happened to the hero and heroine. They were portrayed very realistically and with a lot of care. Someone said that Maggie Shayne poured her heart out into this book, that it was like a child to her. I can certainly see that the results were absolutely marvelous.
If you liked Maggie Shayne's previous books, I recommend this to you. Even if you didn't, this is an extremely good book and worth the time to read. If you're into paranormals, good writing, and a very good story, pick this one up! :-)
by Maggie Shayne, ISBN # 0380787474
Sweethearts since childhood, Annie and Richard shared on unparalleled love filled with tenderness, passion and joy. Until the tragic day Richard vanished--presumed dead after a terrible car accident--leaving his adoring wife pregnant and alone, and holding on to the shattered pieces of her broken world. But Richard is not gone--for magic claimed him before death could.
This is almost an angel romance, yet...not quite. Annie thought she'd lost Richard, her husband and lover and father of her unborn child, in a truck crash when he'd sacrificed himself to save a busload of children. Almost eight months after his death, however, she opens her door and sees her husband yet again -- but everyone else sees a dark haired stranger instead of the golden haired Richard! Apparently, just before his truck exploded, Richard was snatched away by magic to be turned into a White Knight, to fight against evil and the demons. He has returned to protect Annie and her baby, but without his memories of their love together. He is now just Ren, a very powerful White Knight. Annie refuses to believe this man is not her husband, however, and tries desperately to restore his memories of their life before, all the while running from an enemy determined to do away with Annie's baby, and if necessary Annie herself.
by PhyllisAnn Welsh, ISBN # 0-9668209-0-8
Fantasy writer Korrene Greenwood doesn't know whether or not she's going insane. The hero of her newest book seems to be always in her mind and in her dreams, but the real clincher comes when he suddenly appears to her in reality. Certain her therapist is right, that she is going insane, Korrene decides it might be best to destroy the manuscript. When the hero Rendolin shows up in the middle of this and claims she's committing genocide by destroying the book, she argues that it is her creation, therefore not real and it's her choice to uncreate. What she gets in return is a one-way ticket to her make believe world that looks and feels very real.
Rendolin is the High Priest for the Sea elves, a dwindling race on the verge of extinction. They haven't been able to produce any full elf offspring for a very long time, and their god has instructed Rendolin he must Bind with a human woman to strengthen the bloodlines. Rendolin is reluctant, having grown up with the mindset that elves are superior in all ways to humans and to mix blood was wrong. Yet even though in the beginning he loathes his duty to his god, he comes to love the confused woman from Earth even as war and chaos threatens to erupt around them.
This is by far the best ebook I've read so far. I honestly think if Ms. Welsh had tried out for a paperback publisher she could have done very well for herself. The characters were well done, and the heroine was strong which is something I've noticed lacking in any type of romance. The author did, however, fall back onto The Big Misunderstanding concept, which can truly annoy me. She used it, actually, quite a few times, but the characters managed to work it out, and stay strong in the process. I would have loved to have seen more of the world, but alas it takes place only on an island. The world-building itself was well done though.
I'm very interested in the next book of the series, featuring the warrior woman Feenix. I loved her character in this one, and I'm hoping she gets as good a story as Kory (the heroine of this one) certainly did. Two big thumbs up for this ebook; this is a book I would definitely consider reading again, and most likely printing out for future use. It's available at Starlight Writer Publications and is $3.95 for download, $9.95 for the CD. If you decide to get it, VERY happy reading! :-)
by Katherine Greyle, ISBN # 1-57343-022-6
Jane Deerfield is having a bad millennia. Sucked forward in time two centuries after a cataclysmic nuclear event obliterated most of the planet, she's soon on a mission to keep the survivors from repeating mankind's mistakes. Trapped in a magical world, she never planned on falling in love with the one man who would plunge humanity back into war.
King Daken's people are in danger of extinction by the murdering Tarveen. Desperate, he seeks an army from the Elven Lord. Jane's sudden appearance becomes more than a distraction when she gets appointed to his position on the Elven Lord's ruling council, then votes against his army. Now she's in the way, and nothing will stop Daken.
Having only heard of this book through word of mouth, and hearing great reviews of it, I was definitely intrigued. I was a little disappointed, however, when I found that I couldn't find it in any bookstores (not that I had a very wide selection to choose from, being in a small town). Never fear, I thought to myself, I'll just order by phone from the publisher. I'd never done that before (I've ordered online, but never talking to anybody), so I thought, What the heck, I'll give it a try!
Honestly, I'm glad I did. The lady who took my call was actually one of the actual editors for the publishers, which is Lionhearted Publishers, and was super nice. Apparently, the publishing house is small, and intends to stay that way to give better customer and client service, and yes they definitely give wonderful service. I ended up buying two books from them, both highly recommended, and loved them both.
ORACLE is definitely a must read for anybody who love that heady combination of science fiction, fantasy, and a good romance. It has everything: elves, magic, machines, love, well plotted out villains, and a twist that I'd never thought of before. Think of a high fantasy book on the level of JV Jones' THE BARBED COIL with a much bigger romance element in the storyline.
There was only one part of the story that keeps me from giving this book a perfect rating; fortunately, that part happens quickly and is soon over. And while it in no way detracts from the story itself, it kind of cast a shadow on the heroine for a little while. But don't let this little mention stop you from getting the book; I'd hate to think that I made people miss out on such a wonderful novel simply because I mentioned the one small, miniscule naughty part!
Overall, this was a great book. I don't think it's the kind of book one must read, or that it will become a great classic, but it's extremely good and at the top of the subgenre.
A Wizard Scorned
by Patricia White, ISBN # 1-58200-021-2
Retail $3.50 for download, $5.00 for disk
I have to say I'm impressed with this book. It's one of the better fantasy romance ebooks on the market. Jane is a vice president of a Fortune 500 company - a no nonesense woman who has worked hard to get where she is and isn't one to believe in such fripperies as wizards and magic. When her secretary Maggie turns in her notice, however, saying she's accompanying a magician named Will to a magical land as a "mail order" bride, Jane is furious that someone would try to take advantage of her innocent secretary. Intending to warn this so-called magician not to try his tricks on Maggie, she accompanies the secretary to the man and inadvertently gets between a wizard dispute and winds up separated from the woman, stuck in a brothel! Jane is not happy about that; she manages to sidestep the men who are eager for the new "whore" and find Will, and the two narrowly escape. They meet up with Will's "familiar", Sorjourner, a large cat that was once a man, and Jane suddenly has to fight an unfamiliar longing. The man inside the cat seems to call to her, expressing an emptiness only she can help, and it seems Jane has no control over her love. Sorjourner tries to keep her from loving him, but it doesn't seem to have any use. Meanwhile, Will is desperately trying to get back the brides that Cordelia, a jealous angry witch, stole from him.
If that confused you, there's a better synopsis on the Hard Shell page. :)
Definite recommendation here. Hands down. This ebook won the Sapphire award, and I can certainly see why. I *loved* it. It had everything I liked, from nonstop action, magic, a shapechanger, love, a very determined, tough heroine, and most importantly a HEA (happily ever after) ending. It's fantasy romance at its best. I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.