Archive for the ‘Louise AAR’ Category

Pandora’s Box: Soul of Kandrith

Monday, March 18th, 2013

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. (more…)

The Book Hangover

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

It is two o’clock in the morning. You have work the next morning, and maybe kids that will be up in a few hours and need to get dressed and fed and sent off to school. You should have been asleep hours ago, but the “one more chapter” bug has hit and you have a book you can’t put down. Finally, around 4 am, the book is finished, you have a wad of used Kleenex on the nightstand, your eyes feel like sandpaper, but you have a sense of euphoria at the wonderful book that you have just read. Sounds great right? Yeah – all except for the hangover that you are sure to get the next morning.

The Book Hangover. Have you ever had it? What is it? It is more than just the exhaustion that you have the next day when you stayed up too late reading a good book. That is a part of it. But just like a regular hangover, the headache isn’t the whole package. There is more to the situation. Even two days later, when you are all caught up with sleep, you just can’t wind down and read another book. That is the kicker. (more…)

Developing Paranormal Classifications

Friday, November 16th, 2012

With all the fabulous work going on with AAR’s Special Titles Listings, it has brought up some interesting questions about genre classifications. When the Special Titles Listings were first created over 10 years ago, Alternate Reality was a catchall for any book that didn’t fit into Historical or Contemporary settings. Since then, however, the world of Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, etc. has grown significantly and we thought that some of the questions that came up were a call for some definitive classifications of these areas both for our readers and our reviewers.

If we were to take anything that wasn’t Historical or Contemporary Romance, there are a bunch of terms out there that tend to be used interchangeably and not necessarily consistently. Readers and reviewers all around the web have classified everything from witches and vamps to psi and Time Travel series as Paranormal. And I am not saying that any of them are wrong. In a sense, they are all correct. But that classification is becoming too general for everything that is out there and we are hoping that by making more distinct classifications – with examples – we can make it more “user friendly” going forward. With the examples after each, I have included the series that fits this classification since an author may have multiple series/books with each fitting into different genres After all, most good authors do not write the same thing all the time! (more…)

Pandora’s Box: Magic Unchained

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

magicunchained Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to a new installment of Pandora’s Box! Today Louise VanderVliet and Heather Stanton will be discussing Magic Unchained by Jessica Andersen. This is the seventh Nightkeepers novel, a series based on Mayan legend and the doomsday prophecy of 2012.

In this book, Cara Liu is a winikin, one of a servant class bound to the Nightkeepers, a band of mages tasked with protecting the world from ultimate destruction. Cara has long loved her foster brother Sven, one of the Nightkeepers. Sven though has been traveling the world, never staying put in one place for any length of time. As the December 21 date looms, Sven has returned to Skywatch, the Nightkeepers’ home, to assist them.

Though Cara is resentful of Sven due to the circumstances under which they last parted, she is still powerfully attracted to him. As the Nightkeepers and winikin come under attack from unknown mystical forces, Cara and Sven are brought closer together. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance and her own fate as future leader of the winikin on the line, Cara must find a way to work with Sven and trust him once again.

Please note: The discussion of this book may contain spoilers for the series.

Flirting with the Edge

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Is there a point at which a series author needs to know when to give their fans what they want, when authors put off a book that is past overdue to be written?  When has an author strung the fans along enough for either marketing or “creative” reasons?  I have been asking myself these questions a lot lately.  I am not saying that author’s need to take advice or plot direction from their fans – not at all.  If I could write, I would.  I can’t, so I read.  I want them to come up with the plots, the dialogue, the characters, etc.  That isn’t what I am talking about.  I am talking about a trend that I see that is driving me nutty.  The idea that, within a series, there is a couple that everyone knows is going to come together, but the author keeps putting that book off.  Is there a point at which enough is enough and the author should just write what the fans want and stop stringing them along?

Let me give you a few examples. First off, I like G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series.  There are five books in the series with a few short stories from anthologies, as well.  In the second book, About a Dragon, published November 2008, there was a potential couple that was introduced – Izzy and Eibhear.  Izzy is the hero Briec’s step daughter and Eibhear is his brother.  The two seemed destined to be together from the start.  It is now three books later, at one published a year, and the two are still not together though their story continues to be a subplot.  It is getting frustrating.  I understand that the author may have a big story arc going on in their head, and I am fine with that.  So far, I understand what she felt needed to happen between the two and I can understand.  But to wait four years to write the story that you prep the reader on in another story?  Is that asking too much?  Is this done for artistic reasons or marketing purposes?  That I even have to ask myself that disturbs me.


Series, Series, and More Series

Friday, January 20th, 2012

We have all seen the trend that is happening in Romance novels these days.  The Series.  I can’t even remember the last time that I read a book that wasn’t a part of a series.  Paranormals, fantasy, Regencies – it doesn’t matter the genre, all the books seem to be a part of a series.  For me, that isn’t really a problem.  I like that.  I like that I don’t have to say goodbye to characters that I love and have come to care about after I finish a book.  I like that a younger sibling or a best friend that we like in one book finds their own HEA in the next book.  So this trend hasn’t bothered me all that much.  That is until very recently.

While I have no problem with the trend that all books are a part of a series, I have started to see something that I don’t like.  Usually, I enjoy a good epilogue.  It used to be that the epilogue was a small chapter at the end of the book where we get a chance to peek at the future.   This used to be a place that transcended the “series” chronology and jumped forward a few years and let us know that despite what may be happening is the great story arc of the series, this is what is happening with the couple currently.  A good example of this would be Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward.  At the end of this book, we get an epilogue that takes place 18 months after the book ended and the epilogue is a scene with the main couple, Z and Bella, and it steps out of the chronology of the series and gives a glimpse of the future.  I love these scenes.  They reassure us that all is well with the couple in the future, they reaffirm the HEA, and they satisfy any curiosity of children that may have been born or events that might have played out off page.


And Now For Something Completely Hilarious

Monday, December 19th, 2011

dragonactually I recently read a book for review that I went into with very low expectations. It was a Viking romance called The Norse King’s Daughter by Sandra Hill. Generally, Vikings are not my cup of tea, but I was willing to take a shot at it. As I began reading it, I realized that this was no ordinary Viking novel. It was something different. It was, in fact, right up my alley. It was a book I would classify as a romantic comedy of romance novels and this is one of many I have read and enjoyed recently. Many readers associate romantic comedy with contemporary settings and perhaps Regency-set historicals, but they pop up in other subgenres as well.

I hadn’t expected to enjoy so many of these sorts of books, but that’s exactly what’s been happening to me. Over the summer I stumbled upon a book called Dragon Actually. (more…)

Fantasy + Romance=Bliss

Friday, December 9th, 2011

kurland As a kid, I always loved the idea of a fantasy story. I liked the imagination of a world with elves and faeries where magic was possible. One would think that with this kind of an interest there would have been more than enough to keep me reading. There was the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia. Those stories with their mythical beasts and a battle between good and evil should have been right up my alley. But no matter how hard I tried, I never enjoyed them. I could never get past the first book in each series. For a while, I figured the books were just too mature for me. I assumed that it was me who was in the wrong and that in a few years I would change, and the books would work. These books had an honored place on my bookshelves for many years just waiting for the time to be right, but all that they did was gather dust.