June 2007

 

Bad Luck That Really Wasn’t So Bad After All…

I’ve just come home from a couple of days in Melbourne, Australia’s greatest shopping city and the cultural capital of the country. Do I sound a bit flat about my jaunt? Well, yes, I do. Because as I caught a taxi from the train station, I fell over and sprained my ankle. An hour before I was meant to present a workshop on deep point of view and emotional punch. The emotional punch of all that pain was certainly making itself felt by the time I finished my talk!

So instead of swanning around Swanston Street shopping and checking out bookshops and doing all the other lovely things I meant to do when I was away, I spent most of my three days holed up in my hotel room with an icepack on my technicolor foot.

and then he kissed herThe upside of all this (yes, there was an upside) is that I had two romances with me by authors I’d never read before. And they were both fabulous. Isn’t it wonderful when you come across a writer you really like but have never read before and you have all that yummy back list to explore? That definitely counts as one of my favorite things.

The first was And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke. This book has had fantastic reviews all over the place and I’m not surprised. It was just such fun to read. Really lovely characters, a nice story, wonderful writing. The sort of book you read with a smile on your face. It’s set in 1893 and the heroine is a secretary and the hero runs a newspaper. That in itself made it refreshing. I love Regencies, don’t get me wrong. But it was great to read a convincing, heartfelt, charming romance set in a period other than the Regency. It was great to see the characters using typewriters and telephones and dealing with shirtwaists rather than pelisses. If you want a book that leaves you with a nice satisfied sigh (and why would you not?), I highly recommend this one.

the smoke thiefThe second book was absolutely extraordinary. The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe which I’d heard of for quite a while, most recently because a few people had suggested it was similar to Claiming the Courtesan. Having now read it, I don’t think that’s true, although any comparisons are flattering for me because this book is fantastic. It’s a Georgian paranormal featuring people who morph into dragons as the main characters which is cool in itself. I’d actually call it a dark fairytale. It’s beautifully written – I kept stopping to re-read passages just to savor the gorgeous prose. I’ll read it again now I know the story just so I can wallow in how Shana Abe puts words together on a page. The atmosphere is compelling and dark and very intense and I loved the two main characters and lived through their conflict with every heartbeat. That’s something really worth celebrating in a book. If you haven’t read this book and you like paranormals or historicals or just breathtakingly beautiful writing, run out and grab The Smoke Thief.

Oh, and the sprained ankle isn’t obligatory before you read them!