Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Before Sunrise by Diana Palmer

Dear god did I feel slimey after I finished this. I had this book on my shelf as a freebie for years. It talked about a murder mystery on a Native American reservation and the young anthropologist who helps the FBI on the case. What I didn't realize...it was a Harlequin Romance...blechh.

The story begins with Phoebe graduating from college. Her graduation is attended by a federal prosecutor she became close with previously when she helped him on a case. Jeremiah is older than she, dark, intense and mysterious (of course). Three years down the road we find Phoebe working at a museum. Having sworn off men because of the heartbreak she experienced she lives a quiet life. She receives a call from a man claiming to have found a major anthrolopolgical breakthrough but he can't talk at the moment. He is found dead later. This bring her back in contact with Jeremiah as he comes to investigate. Having joined the FBI at some point in the past 3 years.

The biggest problem I have with romance novels is they can't decide what they want to be. This one has a real plot and a not completely ridiculous mystery but much like a musical or a porn movie everything must stop for the all important love story. There is sex but it's not good. The author does avoid the usual purple prose that is typically in these things (her heaving mounds, his flaming loins etc.) but the dialogue during the sex acts is stilted and odd. I happen to enjoy good erotica but this doesn't even try to get that right. All in all not a good read for me.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Daja's Book - Circle of Magic book 3

This is the third book in the Circle of Magic series. My whole family reads this series. It's a great deal of fun. It's written for the young adult market but it works well as a straight fantasy that adults can enjoy as well.

Daja is one of the four mages who each of the Circle of Magic books are about. Her magical gifts involve metal and flame. She can control both. She is an outcast from her people as she was the only survivor of the boat wreck that killed her entire family. Her tribe, called Traders, believe this means she carries bad luck. While traveling with her friends and teachers she encounters a caravan of Traders. When one of them sees a piece of organic metalwork that Daja has created the Traders have to find a way around her exile to negotiate a purchase with her. This contact reminds Daja of how much she misses her people.

This is a fun series. Quick, light and an easy read. The characters are engaging and their inner turmoil is explored in interesting ways. It's not great literature but it is damn good fantasy. I enjoyed this nearly as much as the first book. I look forward to the fourth.