Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Katie MacAlister

Dear Author

Avon Backlist Titles for June

Avon is another of those publishers that is releasing the backlist titles in digital. The hardworking publicists provided me an awesome summary of the books to share with you. I’ll also keep a searchable/sortable list under the “easy resources” tab that will be updated once a month. Happy shopping.

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HOT & HEAVYbook link by Sandra Hill (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013422 | $6.99 | Lieutenant Ian MacLean leads a team of highly trained Navy SEALs, the toughest, buffest fighting men in the world. But nothing prepares him for Madrene Olgadottir, a woman from a thousand years in the past…   (this book I could not find at Amazon but it does appear to be on sale at Diesel books).

TRULY, MADLY VIKINGbook link by Sandra Hill (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013729 | $6.99 | Maggie McBride is the lucky psychologist who gets to ʺtreatʺ Jorund Ericsson, a man who claims to be a tenth century Viking warrior.

VERY VIRILE VIKINGbook link by Sandra Hill (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013736 | $6.99 | Magnus is a 10th century Viking farmer who, with eleven bothersome children, has taken a vow of celibacy. Angela is a modern-day vineyard owner who yearns for just one child.

WET & WILDbook link by Sandra Hill (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013750 | $6.99 | What happens when a Viking suddenly finds himself in the middle of a Navy SEAL training camp? Trying to woo his superior office the old fashioned way…

DARK CHALLENGEbook link by Christine Feehan (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013309 | $6.99| Julian Savage is always alone, far from his Carpathian kind, alien to even his twin. Until he meets the woman he has sworn to protect….

DARK FIREbook link by Christine Feehan (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013323 | $6.99| Tempest has always been different, but from the moment Darius’ arms closed around her, enveloping her in a sorcerer’s spell, everything changed.

DARK GUARDIANbook link by Christine Feehan (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013330 | $6.99| Jaxon Montgomery is a woman hunted. Trained by the Special Forces, honed by a traumatic childhood, she meets her match in a mysterious stranger who seems more dangerous than any other she has ever known.

DARK LEGENDbook link by Christine Feehan (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013347 | $6.99| He woke with an overwhelming hunger for blood that demanded satisfaction. Francesca Del Ponce was a healer, and though he knew she would be like hot silk in his arms, he feared for her life…andhis soul.

DARK MAGICbook link by Christine Feehan (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013354 | $6.99| Savannah Dubrinsky was a mistress of illusion, but it is Gregori who held her in terrifying thrall. With a dark magic all his own, Gregori-the implacable hunter, the legendary healer, the most powerful of Carpathian males, was her destiny.

TASTE OF CRIMSONbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013286 | $6.99| Los Angeles is no longer the City of Angels; dark things haunt its streets, and the tentative peace between humans, vampires and werewolves teeters on the brink of collapse. If Keeli Maddox is to survive, she must trust a slayer, a betrayer, an enemy.

EYE OF HEAVENbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013378 | $6.99| When Blue, an electrokinetic and a member of the Dirk & Steele detective agency, is sent to Las Vegas to track down his half- brother, he finds himself embroiled in a smuggling plot – and protecting a young beauty who is more than she appears.

THE FIRE KINGbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013392 | $6.99| Like all members of Dirk & Steele, Soria has a gift, and she has been chosen to communicate with Karr, a shape-shifter resurrected after thousands of years.

THE LAST TWILIGHTbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013484 | $6.99| Doctor Rikki Kinn is a virus hunter working in the Congo for the CDC. But when mercenaries attempt to kidnap her, her boss calls in a favor from the men at Dirk & Steele…

THE RED HEART OF JADEbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013576 | $6.99| The grisly murders are just the beginning. Dean Campbell of the Dirk & Steele Detective Agency never suspected that his investigation would lead him to Mirabelle Lee, the childhood sweetheart he'd thought dead.

SHADOW TOUCHbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013620 | $6.99| Elena Baxter, a psychic with a healing touch, has been kidnapped. So has Artur Loginov, an agent for Dirk & Steele who can see into a person’s soul. With help from a pair of shape-shifters, they escape…only to discover a far more sinister plot.

SOUL SONGbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013651 | $6.99| From the ocean's depths rises a creature whose voice is seduction incarnate. He is a prince of the sea, and his survival will depend Kitala, a woman blessed with the gift of music, as well as the ability to forsee the violent deaths of others…

TIGER EYEbook link by Majorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013712 | $6.99| He looks completely out of place in Dela Reese's Beijing hotel room-’like the tragic hero of some epic tale. Yet Dela has danced through the echo of his soul, and she knows this warrior will fullfill her every fantasy.

THE WILD ROADbook link by Marjorie M. Liu (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013781 | $6.99|Lannes is one of a dying race born to protect mankind. And while most see a beautiful man, this illusion is nothing but a prison. But when he finds a woman covered in blood, he will be drawn into a mystery that makes him question all he knows.

A GIRL’S GUIDE TO VAMPIRESbook link by Katie MacAlister (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013408 | $6.99| When Joy is suddenly thrown into a dangerous world where vampires stalk the night, she must untangle the threads involving a serial killer, vampires (both real and pretend), and the handsome, mysterious man who may or may not be what he appears.

SEX AND THE SINGLE VAMPIREbook link by Katie MacAlister (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013606 | $6.99| Dating is hard when you’re nine hundred years old and you’ve used every pick-up line in the book. Forming a lasting relationship is even more difficult when the woman who makes your heart sing sees dead people and likes to play with demons.

SEX, LIES AND VAMPIRESbook link by Katie MacAlister (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013613 | $6.99| Take a charmer named Nell, add a cursed Dark One, and throw them together while unentangling themselves from a knocker who runs a house of ill repute for poltergeists, avoiding death by a vampire, and trying to convince mummies that dead really does mean forever.

LOVE BITES bybook link Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013491 | $6.99| Etienne Argeneau’s three hundred years of bachelorhood were at an end. Rachel Garrett, the beautiful coroner had saved his life. To save hers he would make her immortal.

LOVE IS BLINDbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013507 | $6.99| He'd been warned that Lady Clarissa Crambray was dangerous. Stomping on toes and burning piffles, the beauty was clearly a force with which to be reckoned. But for Adrian Montfort, Earl of Mowbray, this was just the challenge he needed.

THE PERFECT WIFEbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013545 | $6.99| Paen Gerville longed for a lively, well-rounded woman, one whose plump breast would cushion his head after the lonely life of a fighting knight. At first his wife-to-be promised no such delights, but one split bridal gown later, her assets were eye- poppingly apparent and Paen could only anticipated the surprises yet to come on his wedding night

THE RELUCTANT REFORMERbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013583 | $6.99| Everyone knew Lady X. The masked courtesan was reputedly a noblewoman fallen on hard times. What Lord James had not known was that she was Lady Margaret Wentworth – the feisty sister of his best friend, a woman with whom he dare not fall in love.

SINGLE WHITE VAMPIREbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013644 | $6.99| Lucern: Successful biographer of family, books recently categorized as ʺparanormal romance.ʺ Doesn’t like sunbathing, garlicky dinners or religious symbols. Likes old-fashioned values; warm, nice-smelling neck; and plump red lips. Currently unaware he’s seeking a woman to share eternity.

TALL, DARK & HUNGRYbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013705 | $6.99| Terri had flown from England to help plan her cousin’s wedding. The new in-laws offered lodging, but they were a weird bunch. Especially Bastien. Just looking into his eyes, Terri had to admit she was falling for him.

WHAT SHE WANTSbook link by Lynsay Sands (Avon e-book) | On Sale: 6/8/2010 | ISBN 13: 9780062013767 | $6.99| Earl Hugh Dulonget of Hillcrest must marry. But he just insulted his would – be – bride by calling her a peasant! How could he win back her esteem – and her hand?

REVIEW: Steamed by Katie MacAlister

REVIEW: Steamed by Katie MacAlister

Dear Ms. MacAlister,

Katie MacAlister cover image of SteamedI was excited to read Steamed, mostly because I haven’t found a lot of romance authors making a foray into the subgenre of steampunk and I’m always curious to see how worlds develop. It’s also nice to take a break from vampires, weres and futuristic worlds that have a general tendency to be dystopian. Of course, I’d already made a generalization that the book wouldn’t be as dark as many of the other sci/fi paranormals out there simply because it was a steampunk subgenre . I apologize for that in advance.

Jack Fletcher is some sort of computer technician who’s into steampunk goth bands and has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time but somehow ending up looking like a hero. He’s working in his company’s lab when his sister, Hallie, shows up. Hallie is attempting to set Jack up on a blind date with a woman who has similar interestes as he does. While she’s talking to him, she’s shaking a can of liquid helium (why this wasn’t removed from her immediate vicinity is beyond me). Hallie ends up misaligning the lid of the can, causing an explosion and blowing them to Steampunk Land. Kinda like when Dora and Boots end up in Fairytale Land. Now that I think about it, just like that. I wanted to kill Boots for being an idiot and falling for the witch’s bullshit. Just like I wanted to kill Hallie for being such an unforgivable idiot in a lab. The book nearly met the wall at that moment, but since Hallie wasn’t our heroine, I continued to read.

Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain on her maiden voyage, and knows she’s being tested by her crew and has been given a small shipping route until she proves herself to the Corps. The last thing she needs are two stowaways, which could ruin her standing in the Corps, and if she doesn’t handle them correctly, lose the trust and respect she’s trying to earn from her crew. On top of everything, Octavia is a woman with quite a few secrets that she wants to keep from her crew, the stowaways and the Aerocorps.

One of the biggest issues I had with this book is that it’s written in alternating first person, from either Jack or Olivia’s perspective. Chapter breaks  are when  the viewpoint switches, which provides clarity, but first person alternating is probably one of my least favorite ways to read romance.   I feel that this kept me from really getting the chemistry between Jack and Octavia, and there was a serious lack of total physical description other than a few body parts here and there (i.e., Octavia’s red hair and Jack’s eyes are two different colors). I also had issues with both the hero and heroine. Jack is a supposed Quaker who swears, drinks and draws the line at shooting a weapon, but will engage in a fight. I went to a Quaker school, and I know it means more than being a CO, so I found this a bit strange. He’s also a guy who happens to have received a lot of accolades for not a heck of a lot of heroism. He seemed a bit beta, but not capable, adorable beta. Just oblivious beta.

My problems with Octavia are a lot deeper, mostly because the majority of the book is written from her perspective, or at least it felt that way. Octavia doesn’t have a handle on her crew; they swear, make come-ons, question her authority, and blatantly go against orders. Rather than whipping them into shape with a firm but fair hand, she huffs, shrugs, and kinda lets it roll off her back. She has a respectable captaincy in the Aerocorps after 16 years of service, but the feeling I got is that if she couldn’t handle this small shipping run, she’d lose her position. She also has what seem to be an FBI building full of secrets, she’s had liasons with nearly all of the most powerful men in her world, yet she has no standing at all and can’t get anything done on her own. I found that it just didn’t seem to make sense. Then there was this:

“Your mind says no, but your body says yes,” he said, gently, persistently tugging me closer to him.

While this isn’t as bad as “your mouth says no…” it comes pretty damn close. Jack is a borderline letch, and his version of a compliment is not what I find complementary.

Lastly, the steampunk world seems to be an afterthought. Not the steam functionality, or mechanical machines, but rather the actual world. The different (and warring) factions seemed almost cartoonish, making the entire thing feel unstable and very unrealistic. Every time Etienne Briel is mentioned I had an image of Bomb Voyage in my head, rather than Olivier Martinez. Trust me, I kept trying to switch that mental image, but it wasn’t happening. This world wasn’t a punk dystopia, but it didn’t achieve a level of plausiblity at which I could suspend my disbelief and comfortably enter it. C

~ Shuzluva

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