Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

Zoe's father was an advisor to the king, but he fell out of favor and was exiled from court. Zoe has lived with him in a small village for years. After a long illness, her father passes away. A few days later a man from the capital arrives. He says the king has chosen Zoe to be his fifth wife. Lost in grief, Zoe goes with the man. Once they arrive in the capital, Zoe runs away. She starts living along the river's edge where a community of squatters camp. Slowly she begins to recover from her grief. As she adapts to her new circumstances she begins to learn that her father kept many secrets from her. As she uncovers the truth, she will gain a place in society and discover her own unique powers.

One of the things I love about Sharon Shinn is how fully developed her worlds and characters are. Troubled Waters is no exception. The culture is rich and vibrant, the characters are complex, and the story is fascinating. The political intrigue is masterfully done. There are layers and layers of secrets and motivations that kept me engrossed. All in all, another fantastic story by Sharon Shinn.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mystery, Mayhem, and Dragons

I love books with dragons, so the cover of Obert Skye's Pillage just reached out and grabbed me. The dragons weren't as prominent as the cover lead me to believe, but it was a fun read anyway. When Beck Phillip's mother dies he is sent to live with an uncle he has never met. When he arrives he discovers a crumbling mansion, grumpy caretakers, and an uncle that never comes down from the attic. He is strongly warned to stay out of the back yard, supposedly because it's so overgrown that it's dangerous. Beck has never been very good at following orders, so he goes exploring. The secrets he discovers will change his life forever.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Here There be Adventure!

Often what makes or breaks a book is the main character. Some characters are placeholders, put there for things to happen to. But some leap off the page in three dimensions, tearing through the story, knocking other characters on their rear, and staying with you long after you turn the last page. One of my favorite examples of this is the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer, well worth reading for history buffs, sailor wannabes, and anybody who likes a ripping good yarn.

Bloody Jack starts out the first book as Mary Faber, a clever urchin from the streets of 1804 London who sees the chance to better herself. So what if that chance takes the form of pretending to be a boy named Jack aboard one of His Majesty's naval warships? She's not going to let a little thing like gender stand in her way.

Over the eight books in the series, she gets in all manner of trouble, including piracy, kidnapping, sailing down the Mississippi, treasure hunting, all the while remaining faithful (well, mostly) to her beloved Jaimy, a fellow sailor on her first ship.

Jacky is a delight and a pain both. She's impulsive, often thoughtless, even more often stubborn. But she's also warm-hearted, generous, clever, and daring, and she will steal your heart.

Then hold it for ransom.

--Maureen K.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Time Traveling Incident

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Abby's life is going according to plan, she's dating the boy next door, she plans to be college roommates with her best friend, and her parents are throwing the same bowling birthday party for her that they always do. If life lacks a little adventure or spontaneity, well at least she knows what to expect from life. Then Dante joins their school. He's a foreign exchange student from Italy. Abby finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. The more she gets to know him, the more mysteries she discovers. For one, time literally stops when she is around him. Then he disappears for days at a time. Who is Dante and what is he hiding?

This story is a little slow to get started, but it's worth it. It has a little bit of everything mystery, romance, time travel, and lots of surprises. There are lots of Italian phrases sprinkled through the story to give it an unique feel.