BOOK & BLOG
August 12, 2008
Books of the Week: Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland and Dead and Loving It by Mary Janice Davidson
This was a week of discarded books. I was cleaning out my shelves for my BFF Paula, who passes the books along to the library when she’s done. Well, most of them. In the process of combing, I went through my huge TBR pile and divided them into mysteries and paranormals, and left the mysteries in one bookcase and the paranormals in another. Since I was in a “no prisoners” mood, I partially read and then discarded three books rather quickly. With such bounty waiting to be read, I wasn’t about to spend time reading a book whose ending I could predict from page forty.
To make myself happy, I re-read MJD’s DEAD AND LOVING IT. This is one of my favorites, and I enjoyed it almost as much the second time around. There are four wonderful stories in this collection, and I love all of them. “Santa Claws” is especially engaging, because the heroine thinks herself plain and plump, and the hero is a very powerful Scottish werewolf who thinks she is delightful. He scorns model-beautiful women to win her attention. What a great fantasy!
Kurland’s book is completely different. Lynn Kurland is billed as a romance writer, but if she is, she’s much more restrained in her content than most other romance writers. In fact, I’d consider her a fantasy writer whose books contain a love element . . . but that’s just me. My point is, if you require explicit sex in your favorite reads, STAR OF THE MORNING isn’t your book. But I’m really having a good time reading it. It’s the story of a kingdom whose magic is eroding, and the warrior woman Morgan, who’s on a quest (unwillingly) to deliver a sword to the king. In the meanwhile, the king is on a quest to find someone to rekindle the magic in his own sword.
Though the king is incredibly handsome, he’s also a jerk, and Morgan’s love interest is not Adhemar, but his brother, whose name I can’t even begin to pronounce. Morgan is a great character, and I’m enjoying the quest more than Kurland’s group is. I don’t have to sleep on the lumpy ground or get shot with arrows, after all, which is the beauty of a quest book.
I finished DEAD AND GONE for the second time this week. The first ending simply sucked, and a late addition to the characters had to be inserted throughout the book, and another character had to be shored up and given more page time . . . oh, decisions, decisions. Maybe the reason I hate to make decisions in everyday life is because I have to make so many professionally. When my dear first readers (Toni Kelner and Dana Cameron) give me the green light, off DEAD AND GONE will go to my editor at Ace, Ginjer Buchanan, and then the book will begin wending its way through the production process. In the meantime, the first version of the book (hopefully) has given the cover artist, Lisa Desimini, enough material to start her magic.
Everywhere I go, I hear comments on the covers. Every now and then, I find a protester who says that the covers look like children’s book cover art and are therefore deceptive, considering the contents of the books. And every now and then, I hear from a reader who says a bookstore put them in the children’s section because of the naïve cover art. But on the whole readers seem to be enthusiastic about the style and quality of Lisa’s work, and I must say that I’m delighted with the covers, myself. The consistent elements do a lot to make the books stand out as a series. I always have a cover framed, and they look very attractive grouped together in my hall. (I’m running out of hall, though.)
This is my shout-out to Lisa, to let her know publicly that I think her covers have done a lot to sell my books.
This coming weekend will be a shopping weekend, which makes it a black mark on my calendar. I love getting new things, but I don’t enjoy the trying-on process. Even now that I’ve lost a lot of weight, I’m still not what I want to see in the mirrors, and it takes a lot of self-bolstering mantra chanting to get me through it. Plus, we have to shop for the Daughter, who holds the title of World’s Worst Shopper. Only Daughter has a small window of shopping tolerance, and you just have to hold your breath and dive in to get the necessary garments purchased before that window closes. I hear other mothers talk about daughters who love to go to the mall, daughters who could try on clothes ALL DAY, daughters who can barely wait to go school shopping or prom shopping. As far as I’m concerned, those are fairy tales. My friend Paula and her daughter will come to act as referees and first aid administrators.
If we come home with no lumps and bruises, all four of us, and we’re all still speaking to each other, that will be a triumph. If the trunk is full, that’s even better.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris