Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: Daughters of Persephone

Dear Bratty Friends,

I read Daughters of Persephone 1-4 by Julia Barrett over the last two weekends. I promised her a review, and here it is!

Book 1 "Exile" is where the tale begins. The 69-page novella tells the story of Aja, the first of four women we meet in the series. She comes from a legendary family line and there is much back story included in the book that shows the extensive world building the author did for the series.

The plot starts with the forced landing of a space vessel and a rather sick captain, but the story is really about the relationship between him and the ship's passenger Aja - and her many powers, which are always leading the story in new directions. In this case, straight into the events of Book # 2, “Return.”

In Return we meet the second sister, Ennat, and the third, Tem, but this book is really Ennat’s love story. Tem has to wait until Book # 4! This book doesn’t dwell on the world building as much as Exile, so that is a plus, but there are some similarities.

Both novellas share the same arch nemesis, who finally meets his end in book 2.

Both include a love story between one of these Sisters “of the Blood” and their chosen mates.

Both involve the build up to a battle that takes place at the end of book 2.

But the build up in these two novellas doesn’t end with a bang in book 2, it ends on more of a side note, or to be more precise, a flashback in an epilogue. That indicates to me that the writer chose to focus more on the love stories in these two works rather than on the external conflicts directly.

In Book 3, “Reborn,” the author shifts the story to a different time period, and tells the story of Issa, who is a descendent of the ladies we met in books 1 & 2. Buy far the longest of the four works, at 95 pages total, the story reaches far and wide, pulling in characters from different times and adding a whole new twist to the bloodline – a new kind of “sista” who’s not a sister at all! A good surprise.

We also see more of Tem and the many other secondary characters that inhabit these worlds, as well as a new adversary – one that is dispatched in this novella and doesn’t hang around for book # 4, unlike the villain in 1 and 2.

But we do see a repeat of the author’s same quick style of dispatching the final external conflict scene. The couple have a quick rescue and reunite, and then flee the scene, leaving some tension previously built up in the story unresolved – not for them of course, but for the reader.

Which brings me to Book # 4, "Red Demon." This was perhaps my favorite of the series and it tells Tem’s love story. It’s the shortest one too - just 46 pages - but I felt more for sympathy for Tem’s character by then. She’d already been through so much – and then to get a good spanking on top of it! Well, I'm sure you can imagine how that might end! :)

And while the story mainly centers on internal character conflicts, it doesn’t leave any external ones hanging, so to speak, so all the ends are tied neatly together.

Over all, I credit the author with doing extensive work on world building, keeping the story line straight (which is hard to do when it involves time travel!) and good use of the secondary characters and their story lines to add quite a bit to the series. She was also consistent in her love scenes and made use of similar “bonding” type rituals across all four books, which is helpful so as not to confuse readers with how it all works. *grin* The works are also not erotica nor do they read like it, so that is also in their favor IMO. 

But if I could hit the “do-over” button, I’d have the author go back, expand the works to full-length size so she had more room to spare, and give us the full force of those final battle scenes. Why? 

Because IMO I think it’s almost a necessity of the Science Fiction Romance genre that we get not only the love story, but some of the ugly parts too. Strong female characters. Bad bad guys. High stakes. Battles to the death. They don’t have to be glorified battles, but they do need to be included, I think. That, and some good smexin’ as well of course. That’s SFR in a nutshell for me!

But if other readers wish to avoid what at times can be the more violent parts in SFR, I certainly understand that. So if that's the case for you, please don't hesitate to pick up Barrett’s works and give them a try!

Four novellas, four love stories, same world, and it will keep you reading for a few days at least, I promise.

Happy reading!


P.S. You can buy the entire series here:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Buy this book!

Gambit by Kim Knox

Captain Chae Beyon is a hustler, a mercenary pilot, a wounded woman who prefers her men to be easily thrown aside.

Daned Traern is a first-caste Ladaian bound by tradition and DNA to protect his race. He's willing to align himself with the hot space captain if she'll transport him home in time to ensure the right candidate is crowned—and thus prevent a bloody war.

Disguised as Chae's sex toy, Daned is erotically bound to her through living gold, alien tech designed to increase pleasure. When he frees himself, their passion only increases...but succumbing to temptation will bind them together—permanently.

But there's more at stake than their needs. As Chae is dragged into a world of insane princes and sentient stones, hired killers hound them across the quadrant.

And then, as only her lousy luck would have it, Chae must choose between the good of the galaxy and her own heart...

It's available from Carina Press here 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Contest! A Contest!

Dear Bratty Friends,

I don't think you want to miss the latest contest over the The Bookshelf Muse blog. What is the Bookshelf Muse blog? Well, if you haven't seen it, it is a repository of useful writing information that no budding author can really do without.

The Prizes offered are -

General Drawing:

5-First Page critiques
2-First Chapter critiques

Special Drawing Challenge

a three month mentorship program with the author that includes the following items.

What the mentorship will entail:

--A three month partnership where the mentor will help you in any manner they can toward stronger writing, publication, increasing your online platform and helping you with agenting questions/search

--Help with building or improving your query (if needed)

--A full read of your manuscript, offering advice on improvements and helping to brainstorm solutions if desired.

--An in depth look at your web presence and suggestions to hone your blog, increase followings and make suggestions with other social media to strengthen your online exposure

--Emails to answer any questions you have about writing, blogging, getting an agent, leaving an agent or how the agent relationship works

--General support!

Here's what you do to enter......

If you'd like to enter for the General Drawing, you MUST be a Follower (new or old) and leave a comment on the blog.

If you wish to also enter for the mentorship draw, you MUST be a follower (new or old) AND fill out the form attached on the blog.

Note: Good luck!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm putting this here...

Just because I like it, and I always forget the name, which makes it hard to find.

And BTW, this site says that a remake of the original film is in the works!

"Its been awhile since we reported anything about the James Cameron produced remake ofThe Fantastic Voyage, and now that things are starting to take shape on the film, which is to be shot in 3D. We can now reveal that Paul Greengrass is in negotiations to direct the film."


Fantastic Voyage Plot

A plot that involves characters being shrunk to enter someone's body. Usually animated. Travel is often via submarine and scuba variants. Lighting is rarely a problem. Often has a time limit parameter, and at least one scene of just barely squeezing through a stomach opening as it closes.

See also Incredible Shrinking Man. If there are normal-size invaders inside a a giant's body, then you haveSwallowed Whole. Curiously, giant bodies tend to be filled with large open spaces for movement and even extended travel within, even if one was swallowed.

Named for the granddaddy of them all, a movie co-starring Raquel Welch, which also spawned its own Animated Adaptation. An episode with this plot will usually use a homage to or parody of said name.

Nine times out of ten an episode with this plot will have the title "Journey to the Center of (Person's name or noun referring to said person)".
Not to be confused with the funkarific song by Lakeside.

Compare and contast with Journey To The Center Of The MindGhost In The Machine, and Animate Body Parts. If somebody's body just happens to be the Adventure Town this week, you're probably just flying a Womb Level.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I've read 'em all!

Dear Bratty Friends,

I have now read all of the last 6 in my TBR list on the Sony eReader.

The three I read last were:

Risking Eternity
Solar Skies

The first two on the list - Risking Eternity and Everlong, both dealt with demon characters and both had a bit of realism to them, although fanciful in nature. Risking Eternity had some tense moments, as did Everlong. Risking Eternity had M/M angel kissing, but Everlong had a nearly-rabid sister and lots of sexual build-up. All in all, I don't know why I waited so dang long to read Everlong since I must have had it a while. Risking Eternity is one of my most recent purchases, since it just came out earlier this year.

Solar Skies, the SFR, also had some tense moments. The space-opera kept things going along at a good clip until the end.

Now that I'm through with those, I'm reading:

I'm also reading books about frogs - all kinds of frogs, toads, newts and snakes to be exact - and gleaning what I can from them for my sci-fi novel. These mild-mannered amphibians have some pretty wild reproductive habits! I'm sure I can come up with something for my frog peeps.

More later,


Monday, September 6, 2010

Is Consciousness Necessary?

I am really enjoying Margaret Carter's thread on the Alien Romances blog.

Her last post dealt with animal minds, this one with human sentience.

She writes:

"How do we know people other than ourselves aren't mindless androids like the zombies in Jacquette's article? How do we know they have conscious minds? We assume they do because they have the same body and brain structures we do and display the same outward signs of thinking and feeling. So we accept that they probably have inner lives similar to ours. In the absence of telepathy, though, we have no proof of this hypothesis. We have to accept the consciousness of other people on faith"

She also writes about the relative stupidity of the conscious part of the mind - we only use roughly 10% of it or so or so they say - and the innate intelligence of the subconscious and often overlooked part of the mind that could do just fine, thank you, without our interference.

"Suffice to say that, at least under routine conditions, consciousness does little beyond taking memos from the vastly richer subconscious environment, rubber-stamping them, and taking the credit for itself. In fact, the nonconscious mind usually works so well on its own that it actually employs a gatekeeper in the anterious cingulate cortex to do nothing but prevent the conscious self from interfering in daily operations. (If the rest of your brain were conscious, it would probably regard you as the pointy-haired boss from DILBERT.)"

I do love the subject of the mind, being all Psych student and all, but more than that, the Buddhist/Yogi/Hindu in me always sees gets a tingle up the spine and an suppresses a giggle at the sheer simplicity of it all.

The link to her latest post is here:

alien romances: Is Consciousness Necessary?:

Enjoy all!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I did it!

At long last, I read Salome by Sunrise by Inez Kelley. I stayed up late, didn't take a shower, and ignored my bladder the whole time, but at last I accomplished what I set out to do.

I've now read books #9, 10, and 13 in my TBR pile, and while the siren song of some more M/M lovin' is calling my name, I will resist and press on.

Perhaps because of that, I'll read #12 next.

LB, you're up!