The Friends and Family

BOOK BLOG
 

Sixth page. List starts with the most recent at the top.  Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Carla read: THE CONSCIENCE OF THE KING: HENRY GRESHAM AND THE SHAKESPEARE CONSPIRACY by Martin Stephen
Action-packed historical spy thriller set at the court of King James I/VI, with a plethora of historical conspiracy theories creating murder and mayhem for a Jacobean James Bond. Review.

Carla read: RAD DECISION by James Aach
Gripping thriller set in a fictional nuclear power station in Indiana, USA, in 1986.  Espionage and sabotage threaten disaster at Fairview Station.  The FBI is on the case, but can they identify the spy before he carries out his plan?  And if they fail, can the plant engineers prevent an accident becoming a disaster? Review.

Kay read: SWEET AND DEADLY by Charlaine Harris
Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris in her original novel, recently republished. Catherine Linton has returned to her tiny hometown in rural Mississippi to wait for the murderer of her parents to strike again. She is going to find the killer and bring that person to justice. She figures that she is on the right track when one of her father's employees is found murdered... but what if the killer gets her first? A bit dated (the newspaper where Catherine works still uses typewriters) but still a very engrossing story!

Kay read: THE DOOMSDAY BOOK by Connie Willis
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is classic science fiction novel, which has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. In our future, historians travel back to our past to do their research. A young Oxford undergrad named Kivrin is sent back to the Middles Ages for her research. But a health crisis both of Oxford past and Oxford future, endangers both Kivrin in the past, and her colleagues in the future. And Kivrin is in greater danger than anyone thought possible... a beautiful written and very moving story.

Kay read: THE TELLING by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin is a lovely little science fiction novel. Sutty (born in India and raised in Canada) decides to become a researcher and leave the Earth of her time, which is in tumult from terrorist attacks from religious fanatics. She is sent to the world of Aka, where the new regime has systematically been destroying all traces of its original culture, history, tradition, and literature. But Sutty gets the opportunity to travel to a backwards mountainous region of Aka, and there she encounters the Telling, an oral tradition of the past...

Kay read: THE DIAMOND WARRIORS by David Zindell
The Diamond Warriors by David Zindell is the fourth and final book of his fantasy series called The Ea Cycle. Time is running out - by autumn the dark lord Morjin should have the power to free his master Angra Mainyu from imprisonment on another world, and set him free upon the universe. Valashu Elahad has a few precious months to unite the few free peoples remaining on the world of Ea, and to get their armies marching for a final show down. But Valashu is going to be betrayed by the last person he (or the reader) would expect...

Kay read: THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a classic of feminism and African American literature. I found it to be a very difficult read for many reasons - among them the heavy vernacular the book is written in, another being the disturbing racism and sexism in the book's content (one example being a group of men of color discussing how great it would be to beat up light skinned women because the bruises would show up better!). Just sheer stubbornness kept me going until the end...

Kay read: MAMMOTH by John Varley
Mammoth by John Varley tells the story of a multibillionaire who has interesting hobbies. One day he decides he would like to bring mammoths back into the world. Teams are sent to the Arctic to find mammoth carcasses frozen into the ice, with the idea of recovering good enough genetic material that a mammoth or mammoth/elephant hybrid embryo can be implanted into an elephant womb and be brought to term. But one of the teams finds a mammoth frozen with two humans - and one of the humans is wearing a wrist watch and they have a briefcase... the billionaire will have his hobby and then some...

Kay read: THE LAST COLONY by John Scalzi
The Last Colony by John Scalzi is the third and last book in a trilogy that began with Old Man's War and continued with The Ghost Brigades. John Perry and his beloved second wife are now administrators of a human colony. Because of their military and administrative backgrounds they are picked to start up a new colony - but they are not told that the real purppose of the colonists is to be bait in a deadly trap for enemy alien species. But are those aliens truly enemies? Is there any way for humanity to peacefully coexist in a galaxy filled with other intelligent life forms? Who are the real enemies of mankind? John Perry is put in a terrible place - where he must decide the future and fate of his entire species.

Kay read: ALL TOGETHER DEAD by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris is the seventh book in her Southern Vampire Mysteries. New Orleans has been devastated by hurricane Katrina. This has eroded the power base of that city's vampire Queen... whom Sookie Stackhouse, heroine of the series, and our favorite mind reading bar maid from small town Louisiana, has promised to help out (for a boat load of money) at a big vampire conference and trial. A lot of people (both supernatural and mortal) would like to do damage to the Queen now that she is down and out. Can Sookie survive what could kill one of the most powerful vampires around?

Kay read: JACK KNIFE by Virginia Baker
Jack Knife by Virginia Baker is a wonderful first novel by a very promising writer. This one combines science fiction with crime fiction with mystery, and works on all levels. A scientist and a soldier are sent back to Victorian London from future America to capture and/or eliminate a (literal) mad scientist who had escaped through the portal back into time. While in London, they meet a noble born (younger son) detective, who is investigating a serial killer called Jack the Ripper. To their shock, the cases seem to converge...

Kay read: DRAGONWELL DEAD by Laura Childs
Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs is the eighth book in a series called The Tea Shop Mysteries. Like the others, it is set in a charming tea shop in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina run by Theodosia Browning. This one involves poisoned tea (something unfortunately used too often in this series), rare orchids, charity fund raising, and international finance. I read this series for the charm and atmosphere of both the tea shop, and of Charleston, and both are fully present.

Kay read: THE CHILDREN OF HURIN by J.R.R. Tolkien
A more complete telling of the Tale of Turin, previously published in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. Well worth looking at, however, even if you have read the previous version of it, due to the wonderful art work of Alan Lee. While the color plates are awesome, the pencil drawings are even more so!

Kay read: SHATTERED DANCE by Caitlin Brennan
Shattered Dance by Caitlin Brennan (Judith Tarr) ~ third book of The White Magic Trilogy ~ the enemies of the Empire, failing in warfare, decide to bring down the Empire with more subtle tactics, with magical assassination attempts and by using the Riders and the stallion-gods against the very Empire they serve. Center to their plot is the Rider Valeria, embittered by the loss of the mate she loves...

Kay read: SONG OF UNMAKING by Caitlin Brennan
Song of Unmaking by Caitlin Brennan (Judith Tarr) ~ second book of The White Magic Trilogy ~ Valeria is now accepted by the Riding School, where gods of patterns and time take the shape of white stallions and help determine the future of the Empire. But she and her teacher, First Rider Kerrec, both carry damage from their encounters with enemies of the Empire. Those same enemies, barbarians who follow the Unmaking (which would lead to the destruction of the world), threaten the Empire again. Can two damaged Riders, and the stallion gods who carry them, help the Empire win a deadly war?

Joy read: NIMAUR'S LOSS by Camille Gabor
The father of two magical sisters has lost his magic powers in a duel, and it is up to his daughters to protect his domain. Book One of The Vildecaz Talents has no resolution -- it is the beginning of a story to be published in installments. Review.

Joy read: THE DARK LEGACY by Gail McAbee
The home of young Noah and Holli and their dog Gilbert is filled with strange paintings. Many are portraits of the evil pirate captain who built their house. When they enter the captain's world, their help is enlisted by talking animals. The community of that world is being terrorized by the Captain's foul minions. A very fun children's fantasy read, first in the Crystal Staircase series. **Tied for my most enjoyable YA read this year

Brian read: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID by Bill Bryson
I
t had me in raptures - it's a long time since I've enjoyed any book this much.

Joy read: THE CAT WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE by Lilian Jackson Braun
25th in the
Cat Who mystery series. Thelma Thackery returns to the backwoods town she grew up in, trailing riches and an entourage. The curiosity of James Qwilleran is stimulated by Thelma's background, and by the death of her twin brother, who stayed in Moose County to become a beloved veterinarian. Qwill's cat has an instinct about someone connected with Thelma. Who is making Koko's hackles rise?
   The
Cat Who cozy mysteries have been charming readers for decades. There isn't much suspense in this one, but lots of good feeling.

Joy read: GODS AND LEGIONS by Michael Curtis Ford
I wanted to read this book about Emperor Julian just after the Gore Vidal novel, for comparison. Ford's power and drama impressed me as always, but I disliked his narrator. Ford wanted to show the 4th century Christians' view of Julian, whom they dubbed The Apostate. He also wanted to show his view of such Christians. Review.

Joy read: THE LARK'S LAMENT by Alan Gordon
I got Alan Gordon's latest medieval mystery THE LARK'S LAMENT in the mail yesterday, and put everything I could on hiatus until I finished it. He has changed feet with every book (which makes him something like a centipede, I guess). The charm and family truths in this one are a surprise after the drama, scholarship, and intensity of AN ANTIC DISPOSITION, which was a surprise after the romantic depth of THE WIDOW OF JERUSALEM, etc. No way to tell what the next will be like, except that it appears it will be in Toulouse. And clever. **My most enjoyable historical mystery of the year

Joy read: JULIAN by Gore Vidal
Imagine the horror of newly Christian Rome, immersed in its internecine battles. The new emperor, its most reliable and victorious general Julian, decides to enforce -- gasp -- religious tolerance! Julian's goal is the resurrection of the old gods, driven underground by the establishment of Christianity. I have a long fondness for the Rebel Emperor. His life lends itself perfectly to Gore Vidal's entertaining satire and his crotchety, self-absorbed, idealistic, and utterly human characters. This magnificent read stays magnificent for any number of rereads. **Tied for my most enjoyable historical novel reread of the year

Joy read: THE FALLING DOWN MAN by James M. Lally
Retired undercover soldier Tom (of the many names) hears the old trumpet call of challenge when two well-balanced men commit suicide out of the blue. Then a mole with all the right names and passwords pops up and offers help, but he only creates chaos. What was the operation that no one but The Prince seems to know about, and why did it leave so many bodies behind? Tom's past is best buried, but he needs those memories to untangle a foreign operation with its roots in World War II. I read this spy thriller with enthusiasm. It has human interest and intelligence in addition to skulking thrills. An EPPIE finalist.

Kay read: THE MOUNTAIN'S CALL by Caitlin Brennan
The Mountain's Call by Caitlin Brennan (pen name for Judith Tarr) is the first book in the White Magic Trilogy. In the Empire there is a Mountain where gods of patterns and time live in the form of white stallions. Every year they send out a Call for youngsters to come to the school to try to become Riders. This year, for the first time in a thousand years, they have called a girl...but what the Gods have Called might not be accepted by their servants!

Kay read: THE EA CYCLE by David Zindell
The Lightstone: The Ninth Kingdom/The Silver Sword
The Lord of Lies
The Black Jade

are the first three books of The Ea Cycle, an epic fantasy in its truest sense by David Zindell. I decided on a reread of the first three books (the first one was so long it was split into two volumes in mass market paperback) with the fourth and last book due to be released next month. What sets this series apart is the beauty and high quality of Zindell's writing - it is often more like reading poetry than prose, with its beauty and evocative descriptions.

Kay read: THE HOUSE OF DIES DREAR by Virginia Hamilton
The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton is a YA classic I had never read until now. A little boy leaves the racially segregated back hills of North Carolina with his family for a new life in Ohio, where his father will be a history professor at the local racially integrated college. The family will live in a house belonging to a famous abolitionist - and the house is said to be haunted. The little book shows how far we have come in scenes such as the amazement Thomas feels when he sees both black and white people sitting down to eat together in the same room.

Kay read: THE LION OF MACEDON by David Gemmell
The Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell is a first rate historical fantasy set in ancient Greece in the decades leading up to the birth of Alexander the Great. A seeress sees that the future of Greece depends on the future of one little boy - a half-Spartan & half-Macedonian warrior-to-be named Parmenion. She does everything in her power to shape the boy for his future role - no matter how much pain she causes him. His suffering will make him strong - but will his strength serve good or evil?

Kay read: A CHARMED DEATH by Madelyn Alt
A Charmed Death by Madelyn Alt is the second book in her Bewitching Mystery series. Maggie O'Neill works in a gift shop in a charming small town in Indiana. She is one of the last people to see a customer before the teen aged girl is found dead. Maggie feels that the girl was murdered and is determined to find out who killed her and why.

Kay read: FOR A FEW DEMONS MORE by Kim Harrison
For A Few Demons More by Kim Harrison is the fifth novel in her Rachel Morgan supernatural fantasy/horror series. Rachel Morgan is a witch who lives in the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati in a post-apocalyptic world. In this novel, Rachel tries to find a serial killer, tries to prevent a war between werewolves and vampires, and tries to stay a few steps ahead of drug dealing elves and very dangerous demons.

Kay read: BITSY'S BAIT AND BARBECUE by Pamela Morsi
Bitsy's Bait and Barbecue by Pamela Morsi was a charming novel set in the Ozarks of Missouri. Katy Dodson uses the divorce settlement she receives from her spoiled and immature wealthy ex-husband to buy a B&B on eBay, thinking that the rural atmosphere and small town will be a wholesome place to raise her little son. Her sister Emma comes along to get Katy and little Josh settled in. The sisters are shocked when they learn that, in this case, B&B stands for Bait & BBQ rather than Bed & Breakfast. Katy decides to make a go of it, and an interesting summer with all sorts of additional surprises awaits the sisters.

Kay read: THE GEOGRAPHER'S LIBRARY by Jon Fasman
The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman is a novel of intrigue and suspense. A young reporter for a weekly paper in a small Connecticut town is assigned to write the obituary of a local professor who has mysteriously died. The more Paul digs, the more oddness he finds - and the more connections to eastern Europe, Russia, international conspiracies, and ancient treasures. A little low on action for a novel of its sort, and I could never really suspend my disbelief.

Kay read: SPRIG MUSLIN by Georgette Heyer
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer is a Regency romance novel set in the English countryside. Sir Gareth Ludlow finds a dashing young girl who has run away from home, while he is on his way to propose marriage to a well born woman who has been his friend for many years. He feels that he must take the girl under his wing in order to keep her safe from the many dangers a young girl would face out on her own, but huge complications set in when he must bring her along to the house of his intended and her family. This book was very witty and a lot of fun.

Kay read: LADY OF QUALITY by Georgette Heyer
Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer is a Regency romance set in the city of Bath, England. A beautiful and very wealthy single woman named Annis Wychwood only wants to be as independent as restrictive Regency society will allow her to be. When she becomes entangled in the life of a young runaway heiress, she finds Lucilla's guardian to be the most dangerous of men - someone who does not bore her to tears. Another charmer from Heyer!

Kay read: BLESS ME, ULTIMA by Rudolfo Anaya
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya is a novel of magic realism, set in New Mexico in the 1940's. It combines a wonderful story and beautiful prose in a coming of age story of a six year old boy named Antonio. Pulled in two different directions by the expectations of his parents, Antonio finds the guidance to become himself when an elderly traditional healer named Ultima comes to live with his family and becomes his teacher and mentor.

Joy read: FIVE CHILDREN AND IT by E. Nesbit
Left on their own in the country for several weeks, these children think a wish-giving fairy will be the greatest thing since the wind-up watch. However, they find a little bit of a problem fitting their magical wishes into everyday reality. Nesbit was a great children's fantasy writer a hundred years ago; I reread this to give my brain some relaxation.

Joy read: THE ROAD TO A HANGING by Mike Kearby
The person who was going to review this for me didn't, so it bounced back to me. By not going back and refreshing myself on the first section, I was able to get through the main adventure fairly well. Now a cowboy in Texas, freed slave Free Anderson and his white partner fight back when Free's nemesis Sheriff Jubal Thompson accuses him of a crime Jubal committed. Minus the first part, this is a pretty standard or slightly substandard western, just not for the kids it is billed for. Review pending.

Joy read: TRACES OF DREAMS by Tricia McGill
Romantic family saga stretches over most of the twentieth century. Focuses on the lives of Alicia and then her daughter Sara. Well developed, individual characters, with lots of love and other normal family emotions. When I thought McGill was going to repeat herself, she didn't. When we got to World War II it reminded me of R.F. Delderfield, whose books I have reread many times.

Joy read: FALL FROM GRACE by Sandra Worth
This final book of
The Rose of York trilogy tells the story of most of Richard III's short reign. Warmth and tragedy, a family oriented approach. Review.

Carla read: LAND OF ANGELS by Fay Sampson
In the late 6th century, the Frankish princess Bertha and the timid Roman missionary Augustine bring Christianity to the kingdom of Kent. Review.

Joy read: THE OTHER SIDE OF NOWHERE by Donna McClaire
An aspiring young dress designer buys the sewing machine from hell. From somewhere strange, anyway. High school horror with an entertaining style.
It has since been renamed THE ATTACK OF THE KILLER PROM DRESSES, so that one can see the author's tongue in his cheek. An EPPIE finalist.

Kay read: THE ROAD TO DUNE by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
THE ROAD TO DUNE by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson is a book form of a director's cut dvd. Here are deleted chapters from Dune and Dune Messiah as well as alternate endings, some history, and some original stories from the younger Herbert and Anderson.

Kay read: HUNTERS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
HUNTERS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson is the continuation of the classic science fiction Dune series, as written from the notes and outlines left behind by Frank Herbert. Many of the mysteries from the last two novels are answered here - who are the Honored Matres and where did they come from? What in the seven hells is making these women run for their lives in an orgy of violence from world to world? Is the final climactic battle which will decide forever the fate of the universe on hand?

Kay read: CHAPTERHOUSE: DUNE by Frank Herbert
CHAPTERHOUSE: DUNE by Frank Herbert is the sixth book in his classic Dune series. The Bene Gesserit are facing one of the greatest challenges in thousands of years in surviving the onslaught of the violent Honored Matres. They are preparing a variety of interesting weapons, but time is running out and the fate of all of galactic civilization hangs in the balance. And what is so horrible that these terrifying women are running for their lives away from it?

Kay read: HERETICS OF DUNE by Frank Herbert
HERETICS OF DUNE  by Frank Herbert is the fifth book in his classic Dune science fiction series. Set about 1500 years after God Emperor of Dune, mankind has exploded in a great Scattering - and out in the far reaches of space, a lot of changing has been going on. One group, called the Honored Matres, comes fleeing back to the worlds of the old empire leaving a trail of destruction and death in their wake. These fierce and violent women are terrifying and a huge threat to the survival of civilization - but there must be something even worse out there that they are running from!

Kay read: GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE by Frank Herbert
GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE by Frank Herbert is the fourth book in his classic science fiction Dune series. To me this novel is a retelling of the expulsion of humanity from the Garden of Eden on a galactic scale, with one person being both the Creator and Satan - Leto II, who even has the body of a giant worm and the face of a human, just like Satan in the old religious art. He has created a new sort of human through his breeding programs, and has kept humanity safely bottled up for thousands of years. Now it is time for the new sort of humans to mature and to leave the cradle of the old empire worlds...

Kay read: WHITE FANG by Jack London
WHITE FANG by Jack London is another of his wonderful dog stories set in Alaska and California. Rather than telling of a domestic dog who becomes wild, this one tells of a wild dog who becomes domesticated. 

Kay read: THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London - the classic dog story is every bit as exciting as I remember from my childhood. Buck is a wonderful protagonist and hero, as he goes from pet dog in sunny California to leader of the sled dogs in Alaska to leader of the wild wolves in the wilderness.

Kay read: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton tells of a love triangle among people who have too much money and time on their hands, and not enough meaning in their lives, in the Gilded Age of New York City in the late 1800's. Newland Archer is engaged to young May Welland, when he and his fiance's cousin Ellen Olenska fall deeply in love with each other. The two decide to do the honorable thing, and live separate hollow lives as a result. The anti-Anna Karenina, and shows that the other choice can be just as personally devastating.

Kay read: THE ANDROID'S DREAM by John Scalzi
THE ANDROID'S DREAM by John Scalzi is one of the more quirky and unusual science fiction books I have read in a long time. From the most bizarre (and funny) death I have ever encountered in a book in the first chapter to the quest to find the one sheep of the billions of sheep on Earth who is destined to save the world, this book delighted and entertained me.

Kay read: THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: LADY FRIDAY by Garth Nix
THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: LADY FRIDAY by Garth Nix is the fifth book (of a projected seven) in a fantasy series for older children. Arthur Penhaligon is faced with the challenge of a lifetime, when he becomes the legal heir of the Architect, who created a universe. Arthur's task is to gain control of the Will, divided into seven parts, gain the seven keys of power, and gain control of the House, which is the center of the universe. And he is just an average asthmatic kid with glasses.

Kay read: THE TROUBLE WITH MAGIC by Madelyn Alt
THE TROUBLE WITH MAGIC by Madelyn Alt is a short mystery novel set in a small town in Indiana. Maggie has a horrible dead end job and is delighted to get a job in a nice little gift store - but it turns out that her new boss is a practicing witch, which is unusual in a small and very conservative town. While a friendship quickly grows between the two women, and Maggie learns that she has some sort of empathic abilities, Felicity becomes the chief suspect in a murder investigation.

Kay read: TROUBLING A STAR by Madeleine L'Engle
TROUBLING A STAR by Madeleine L'Engle is another lovely young adult novel following the life and learning and adventures of the young poet Vicky Austin. In this, Vicky is given the gift of a lifetime - a trip to Antarctica, where she becomes endangered and has to learn a lot about politics and environmentalism.

Kay read: A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT by Madeleine L'Engle
A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT by Madeleine L'Engle is a young adult book filled with beauty and wisdom. The Austin family is spending the summer on an island off the coast of New England in the home of the wise and gentle grandfather, who is terminally ill. The young and sensitive poet and heroine of the story, Vicky, is destined to learn about death that summer. What could have been maudlin is very life affirming and beautiful - as graceful as the leap of a dolphin swimming free in the sea.

Kay read: SADDLED WITH TROUBLE by Michelle Scott
SADDLED WITH TROUBLE by Michelle Scott was another short mystery, set mostly on horse ranches in the California desert near Indio, and filled with unpleasant and unsympathetic characters. Another book where I ended up hoping most of the characters would die.

Kay read: MURDER ON ICE by Alina Adams
MURDER ON ICE by Alina Adams is a short murder mystery set in the hoopla surrounding the amateur world figure skating championships. I pretty much hated all of the characters, a bunch of selfish and self absorbed drama queens (of both sexes), and sorry to say, I wished all of them could have died. Pretty much every bad impression I have ever had of the sport was confirmed and expanded upon - someone who is a true fan of the sport might even be grossly offended.

Joy read: JADE TIGER by Jenn Reese
Shan's years growing up in the Jade Circle ended violently with the loss of her mother and almost everything else she depended on. She still had her scholar father and the Jade Tiger, one of the five carved, mystical animals at the heart of the Jade Circle. When Shan grew up it became her duty to find the rest of the animals and restore the Circle. Exciting martial arts sequences combine with obsession, romance, and beautiful art. In a way this is light fantasy, but I had trouble putting it down. Review. **My most enjoyable romance of the year

Joy read: CINCO DE MAYO: WHAT IS EVERYBODY CELEBRATING? by Donald W. Miles
It isn't the Mexican Independence Day, as most people think. The 5th of May is the anniversary of a crucial Mexican victory against the invading French in 1862. Author Miles explores the background, personalities and culture, bringing the threads together to the battle and after it. Miles' wife was Mexican, so she and her family were able to contribute an insider viewpoint and insider research sources to the book. Review.

Joy read: NORTH STAR by Pier Giorgio Pacifici
A centaur loses her tribe and finds another grieving companion. Gaenor has lost his wings and his love. Together they set out to find a mysterious species said to be legend, in the frozen wastes to the north. This new fantasy author writes beautifully and tells a moving story. An EPPIE finalist.

Joy read: HOME TO STAY by Vella Munn
Social worker Kirsten Childers and Joe Red Shadow meet when Joe's nephew Brent needs a home. Joe's Apache heritage is important to him. So are children, so Joe's nephew and Kirsten's daughter help bring them together. Vella Munn has a knack for a primitive atmosphere.

Joy read: SUMMER FLAMES by Vella Munn
Chela James has turned her shoulder on her father and brothers to recreate the life of an ancestor. The pioneer trek of her great-great-grandfather took him across land now owned by Kade Morgan, and Chela needs Kade's help to follow his trail. Kade wants to know if Chela was involved in her father's attempt to log over Kade's forest. Dramatic story of love among the forest fires.

Joy read: A BOY OF ALL TIME by Che Dee
Fantasy for children. Mashu meets the playful tulies, whose leader, Big Tulie, needs Mashu's help. Mashu to the rescue. The tulies have an incurable sense of humor and a propensity for running off in unexpected directions. Besides being an interesting, beautifully written story, the book is an allegory for the value of imagination.

Joy read: HIS LORDSHIP'S DESIRE by Joan Wolf
The Dowager Countess Standish presents three young people to the marriage marts of London: Her son Alex, Earl Standish; her daughter Sarah, and her cousin Diana. It took a while for most of the characters to feel fleshed out, but we got there eventually. Alex and Diana have the most interesting psychologies. Sarah is totally lovable -- her romance is magnetic. I have read disparaging comments about this book, and it is true that it doesn't have the effortless magic of Wolf's Regencies up until a few years ago. That doesn't stop it from having a very interesting plot and an intricate, satisfying dance of partners. Wolf's slump is most Regency writers' unattainable peak.

Kay read: LAST SEEN IN MASSILIA by Steven Saylor
LAST SEEN IN MASSILIA by Steven Saylor is a mystery novel set in ancient Rome and part of the Roma Sub Rosa mystery series. A great civil war has broken out between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. One of the sons of Gordianus has been serving Caesar. Gordianus gets word that his son has been killed in the besieged city of Massilia (today's Marseille). Sneaking into the city, encircled and besieged by Caesar legions, turns out to be the easy part, as Gordianus tries to discover what has become of his beloved son.

Kay read: RUBICON by Steven Saylor
RUBICON by Steven Saylor is a mystery novel set in ancient Rome and is part of the Roma Sub Rosa series. Civil War threatens, as Caesar crosses the Rubicon and marches down Italy with his Legions. Pompey and his followers prepare to flee Rome. Every household seems to be divided and every family torn apart. And in the house of Gordianus the Finder, one of Pompey's favorite young cousins is mysteriously murdered. The vengeful Pompey seizes a family member and orders Gordianus to solve the crime to get his relative back. As the city is engulfed with rumor and fear, Gordianus must find the truth.

Kay read: LADY OF HORSES by Judith Tarr
LADY OF HORSES by Judith Tarr is the third book of the Epona Trilogy, following White Mare's Daughter and Daughter of Lir. This novel is another very enjoyable historical fantasy, set centuries before the other two books, and tells the story of how women came to be priestesses of the Horse Goddess of the steppes.

Kay read: DAUGHTER OF LIR by Judith Tarr
DAUGHTER OF LIR by Judith Tarr is a sequel to White Mare's Daughter. After about 100 years, the peoples of the farm and the horse have assimilated with each other and become one. But further unrest to the east brings a new threat of massive invasion from the steppes - and a great new threat - a horrible new weapon called a chariot. How can a peaceful land be defended against the new hordes - especially when the very religious leaders who guide the people have been suborned to corruption?book_blog7.htm

Kay read: THE WHITE MARE'S DAUGHTER by Judith Tarr
THE WHITE MARE'S DAUGHTER by Judith Tarr is set in prehistory in eastern Europe and inspired by archaeological research in that region. The people of the Asian steppes are horse warriors of great ferocity and renown. The people living to the west are peaceful farmers, who worship the Great Mother. The Horse Goddess inspires her priestess to go westward to warn the farmers about the coming invasion. But how can such a peaceful people repel an invading horde bent on total conquest? Well told and enjoyable story.

Kay read: TROY: LORD OF THE SILVER BOW by David Gemmell
TROY: LORD OF THE SILVER BOW by David Gemmell is a retelling of the matter of the Troy and the Trojan War, set in the years before the actual war, and setting the world and characters, in an interesting and complete story in its own right. The author has done his research, and places Troy in the Hittite Empire and the greater Mediterranean world. The story is filled with wonderful characters such as Odysseus, Aenaes, and Argurios. Very enjoyable!

Kay read: FRAGILE THINGS by Neil Gaiman
FRAGILE THINGS by Neil Gaiman is the award winning author's latest collection of short stories and poetry. The title comes from the way some of the most precious things in the universe such as human hearts and human lives are so fragile and so breakable. Many of the stories either verge into horror, or are pretty far into horror. One of the them, "The Problem of Susan," made my head spin. It is about the character Susan from Lewis's Narnia books. Gaiman always felt it unfair that Susan was excluded from Heaven because she liked lipstick and nylons and going to parties. This is his answer, and a very intentionally disturbing one it is, too!

Kay read: THE DAWN STAR by Catherine Asaro
Sequel to her earlier fantasy novels The Charmed Sphere and The Misty Cliffs. Mel Dawnfield, living far from her family, is struggling to learn her mage powers. Her husband, Cobalt, struggles to hold the thrones he has won through conquest, while his wife does her best to ensure that the lands he won are governed well and gently. She is his one great tie to sanity and goodness. But when people begin to target and threaten her with plots to bring down her warrior husband can he still hold on to that sanity?

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