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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

The Dispossessed: A Novel (Perennial Classics)When I was a little girl in the 1970s, I discovered science fiction through fantasy. I started with the Hobbit, and then found a few dusty paperbacks to stretch my wings on: Battle for the Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulin, Andre Norton‘s Breed to Come, and then worked my way through the Heinlein juveniles and the Robot series by Asimov. I discovered Madeline L’Engle and Ursula LeGuin and discovered that women wrote science fiction too (I had no idea Andre Norton was a woman).

I watched every Star Trek rerun I could get my hands on, all of the Twilight Zones, the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and even Lost in Space and Land of the Lost when I needed a fix. I watched both the Star Trek animated series and the Planet of the Apes animated series, both on old black and white TVs over the air with help from a rabbit-ear antenna.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Cover of "Swords Of Haven: Hawk and Fisher

Simon R. Green writes tight, fast paced, carefully plotted fiction that treats both its readers and characters as three dimensional human beings. The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher as written in Guards of Haven and Swords of Haven are actually a total of six wonderful novella length noirs set in a fantasy universe.

Each story starts with a detailed account of how miserable a city Haven is, especially the Northend, where Captains Hawk and Fisher of the city Guard patrol. Green carefully describes each character, with Hawk a tall, wiry man in his early thirties beginning to ‘build a belly’, and Fisher a tall, handsome woman in her late twenties with a long braid weighted by a ball hanging to her waist. He points out that they are husband and wife. And then he turns them loose on a situation that is never what it appears to be.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

SEALed with a KissSEALed with a Kiss is simply wonderful.

Why can’t more romance novels be like this?

No, really. Why can’t more romance novels be like this?

SEALed with a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge has solid plotting, without coercion or excessive acts of God, characters that you can really relate to, a child who isn’t just a plot device, a hero you want to invite into your own bed (and life)…

And to top it off she writes with compassion and grace about the difficulties of maintaining a relationship while in a military at war. And she writes knowledgeably about counseling boundaries and the difficulties of using one’s counseling skills in one’s personal life (a difficulty I know well).

A storm is brewing in more senses than one at the beginning of the novel. Navy SEAL Jax Graham’s ex wife has just died, and he is starting to build his relationship anew with his son, Tyler (without much success). While closing up Tyler’s grandmother’s home on the Sound before the hurricane hits, a chance meeting with Pickett Sessoms shows him a glimmer of hope in his quest to be a father to his son.

From here it’s just a matter of overcoming obstacles and getting to know one another before our hero and heroine fall in love, but the obstacles are convincing, and both characters are interesting to get to know.

Genre gets a bad rap because a lot of books get published for the genre market that aren’t ‘up to snuff’ for the general reader market. People who love a particular genre will ignore a lot of flaws to get their fix. Romance has its share of ‘OMG I can’t believe they published that’ books, but SEALed is at the other end of the spectrum, the sort of story that crosses into excellent general fiction.

For romance readers and people who love positive, realistic portrayals of people in the military, this is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it. The library copy I read is badly mangled, testifying to the love this little paperback has endured on its way to my hands. If you’re a romance re-reader, this is a buy and hold book.

 

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

The Winter OakThe sequel to The Summer Country is just as well crafted as its predecessor, the characters as well drawn, the action just as tight and interesting.  One thing I admire in James Hetley’s writing (and want to emulate) is his ability to completely combat stereotypes all the way through his books.  There is nothing rote or ordinary about his books.  He takes old fantasy tropes and makes them his own, and utterly different from anything I have ever read.

I used to be one of those people who would stay up to 3 AM to finish a book on a regular basis.  I had thought I had gotten too old for that.  Nope.  Just hadn’t found the right book.  This book kept me reading until I was done, and disappointed that there are no more in the series (hey, Jim.  Stop staring out your window and wishing for spring and write, already!).

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

 Little Blog on the Prairie“Happiness is a good book and a mug of hot cocoa” — Maureen O’DanuMmmmm, yummy. Thursday, just before the slush storm that ate Kansas City, I went out to buy my husband his birthday presents,and swung by the library before I came home.

I should mention here that “swinging by” the library is a dangerous proposition for a book lover like me. I used to carry a little reusable sack to carry my books, but that was inadequate. I now carry a bright pink over-sized duffel bag, and I generally stuff it full.

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