Pandora’s Box: The Last Hour of Gann

The Last Hour of GannWendy Clyde here. Dabney Grinnan and I are discussing R. Lee Smith’s The Last Hour of Gann, which was released in September.

While Dabney had read Ms. Smith, this is my first book by her and I was very pleasantly surprised by the book’s quality and complexity. When Dabney suggested we have a Pandora’s Box discussion I leapt at the chance, because The Last Hour of Gann is a thought-provoking, emotional book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. It’s difficult to provide a brief synopsis for such an epic book, but the basic premise is the story of an earth woman, Amber Bierce, who, seeking to leave her bleak life on Earth behind, signs on for interplanetary colonization, dragging her reluctant sister along. Their ship crashes on an alien planet with thousands of human lives lost. Chances for the few survivors to flourish are slim to none until the party meets with an indigenous lizard-man, the warrior-priest Uyane Meoraq. Meoraq is on a religious pilgrimage when he encounters the flat-faced, soft-skinned humans. Deciding that there are lessons to be learned from this alien species he agrees to help them survive and allows them to travel with him to the temple he’s seeking. He finds Amber the most intriguing of all the humans and the two soon develop a friendship that deepens into attraction.

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Pandora’s Box: Run to You by Rachel Gibson

runtoyou Today Haley and Jenna have fan favorite Rachel Gibson up in Pandora’s Box with her latest release, Run to You Here’s the basic set-up: Former Marine turned security professional Beau Junger agrees to do his buddy Vince a favor – drive to Miami and locate Stella Leon and let her know that her half-sister is looking for her. What he doesn’t promise to do is to embark on a road trip with Stella from Miami to Amarillo, Texas. As they make their way across the south, Beau and Stella drive each other crazy, but in the very best of ways.

Note: This discussion may contain some slight spoilers

JENNA So, Haley, this is my first ever Pandora’s Box, and I can’t think of an author I’d rather read than Rachel Gibson.

HALEY Same here! I have really loved her hockey-based books – and I don’t even like hockey that much.

JENNA Well, I’m a huge hockey fan and both my husband and son are hockey players, so her hockey books are right up my alley. But I’ve also enjoyed her other titles. Run to You doesn’t feature any hockey stars, but it still has one of her larger than life heroes. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: Soul of Kandrith

soulofkandrith Last month we were talking about historical fiction in Pandora’s Box, but this month we turn to the realm of fantasy romance. This month we’re doing a Pandora’s Box discussion on Soul of Kandrith, conclusion of the Kandrith duology by Nicole Luiken.

Sara had once been a great lady, daughter of the Primus of the Republic of Temboria. She still has her legendary beauty but lost her soul in an epic battle to save Kandrith, a nation that serves as sanctuary to runaway slaves. Her beloved Lance is a healer of the goddess Loma, a user of the slave magic which demands great personal sacrifice. While he is able to heal any affliction of the body the creation of a soul is beyond his powers. The two are traveling through Kandrith, hoping that familiar places and faces will restore Sara to her former self. However, instead of help they find fear, and in place of friendship they most often encounter hostility. Sara is a frightening shell of the woman she once was, zombie-like in her lack of emotions, but ruthless when it comes to defending herself and Lance. She has also become addicted to pain, since it seems to be the one thing she can feel. Lance’s devotion to the shadow of the woman he once loved concerns his family but there is little they can do to separate them.

When Lance is charged by his sister, the ruler of Kandrith, with a mission to encourage a budding rebellion within the territory of Gotia, it is with the hope that he will leave Sara behind. Instead, the two embark on the dangerous journey together, with uncertainty facing them along every step of the way. Will they be able to perform the mission and gain Sara a soul?

Note: This discussion may contain some slight spoilers. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: Garden of Stones

gardenofstones This month, we’re jumping into Pandora’s Box with Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield Here’s a bit about the plot: On the surface, fourteen year old Lucy Takeda seems to have a charmed life. Her father Renjiro is the well-respected owner of a prosperous business packaging and shipping dried apricots worldwide. Her mother Miyako is revered for her breathtaking beauty and elegance. And Lucy looks just like her mother. Their home is one of the nicest in the community. Still life is not always serene. Miyako is delicate and suffers from mood swings, spending some days in her darkened room, and then others with a surplus of energy. The high energy days, though, almost always end with Miyako in tears, as Lucy’s elderly father tries to comfort her.

But with the war, the pattern of Lucy’s life is changing. For the first time, her status as a wealthy man’s daughter doesn’t prevent her from being judged by the color of skin and slant of her eyes. Teachers bypass her for class positions, and friends ignore her presence. But nothing prepares her for the changes in her life on December 7, 1941. In a little over two hours, Japanese bombers almost destroy America’s navy and air force plus kill two thousand citizens and injure over a thousand. After the attack, Americans of Japanese ancestry are viewed with suspicion and distrust. Within weeks, Lucy and her mother are ripped from their home, and sent to Manzanar War Relocation Camp, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California’s Owens Valley. Conditions there are harsh and dismal but Lucy’s spirits are buoyed by her youthful optimism.

Maggie has talked often about War World II stories, so as soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Since Maggie is more familiar with this time period, I asked if she would like to do a Pandora’s Box together. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: Shadow Woman

Imagine if you woke up one morning and the face in the mirror did not belong to you. How would you react to that? For Lizette Henry, the thought that all is not as it should be triggers violent headaches and bouts of vomiting. When she makes the obligatory call to tell her boss she’s ill, she gets another surprise. Her boss mentions that Lizette hasn’t been sick for the whole three years she has worked for her. Lizette thought she had worked there for five years. Slowly, she realizes that she is missing two years of memories.

Even as Lizzie becomes aware of her missing memories, she realizes she has instincts she has no business having. For example, she has the certain knowledge that her cell phone is being used to spy on her. Slowly she becomes aware of a whole host of things that seem out of place: her unnaturally quiet life style, the neighbor who pays too much attention to her, her growing sense that she is being watched wherever she goes. Small changes in her routine seem to be a trigger to have people start following her. Is she slowly going crazy? Or are people really out to get her?

For Xavier, it has been three long years of waiting to see if Lizzie ever woke up. Now she is doing so and some small part of him hopes the wake up will be complete, that she will remember him. And yet he realizes that her returning memory could actually cause a much darker outcome. For the return of her memory will mean the activation of their enemies. And that could mean the end of them both. Sound intriguing? Then follow Leigh and Maggie into Pandora’s Box to see what they thought of Shadow Woman, Linda Howard’s latest release. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: A Lady Never Lies

ladyneverlies And Pandora’s Box is back again! This time around, Blythe Barnhill and Jean Wan are taking on a European historical by debut author Juliana Grey. In A Lady Never Lies, Lady Morley has fled to Italy to escape creditors and there she meets inventor Phineas “Finn” Burke. Each of the two, and their traveling companions, are staying in a remote castle in Tuscany. With an unusual setting and a backstory involving the invention of motorcars, this book stood out among recent historical romance offerings.

Blythe: I chose A Lady Never Lies by debut author Juliana Gray for two reasons: 1) she was a brand new European Historical author I’d never tried and 2) I happened to have two copies on hand. Well, from my end, it was a happy accident. I really loved the book. I had no idea that it was set in 1890 – in Italy, no less – and featured a hero who designed electric cars. I am predisposed to like novelty, so this suited me down to the ground. Then I ended up liking the hero and heroine as well. But what did you think?
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Pandora’s Box: Faithful to Laura

faithfullaura As always, the Pandora’s Box discussion may contain some slight spoilers of the book.

We’re back with another Pandora’s Box, this time featuring Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller. This is the second book in her Middlefield Family Series, which deals with families in an Amish community in Middlefield, OH, and it’s an August 2012 release. Amish romances are a hot trend right now in the Inspirational market and keep getting press, so we thought it would be fun to try one out and get two reactions. This time around, Lynn Spencer and Maggie Boyd are stepping into the box.

The book begins with Laura Stutzman sleepwalking to the place where she had been the victim of a vicious attack. We learn that some time prior, Laura had followed Mark King, a man whom she believed she would marry, from Kentucky to Ohio, mindful of how she had enabled him to rob her family of their hard earned savings. Mark’s response to her questions of why had been a horrible barn fire that left Laura scarred not just on her face but deep within her heart. Her faith is in shambles and all she can dwell on is revenge. Her need to repay her parents for their loss leads her to accept a position at a local Amish carpentry shop.

Sawyer Thompson has lived among the Amish ever since his parents died. Now grown, he must either commit to the church and the Amish way of life or leave to live in the Yankee world. He finds himself completely uncertain as to what decision he should make. He loves working at his adoptive father’s carpentry shop, loves his adopted family and extended Amish community but feels drawn to the world in which he was born as well. He also finds himself interested in the new girl at the shop, wanting to help her heal from her recent hurts. And he finds that healing her helps him as well.

Then an unexpected visitor from Sawyer’s past comes back into his life. This guest seems strangely determined to destroy all that Sawyer has cherished the last several years, his budding relationship with Laura included. Will he and Laura be able to move beyond what yesterday holds? Or will the shadows of the past chase them into the future?
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