Wendy: If you won the lottery, you’d…quit your job? Buy the car of your dreams, something sleek and red? Tell the nice fellow in the Saks’ shoe department that you want those obscenely expensive shoes—the ones you’ve heretofore not dared to breathe on—in every color they come in? Finally pay off your students loans? Be the sort of person who travels at the drop of a hat, is willing to pay scalper prices for front row center tickets, is mentioned in the paper for their philanthropy? In short, would you leave your old life behind for a new one?
HelenKay: The real-life and well-known feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys started in the late 1800s over a stolen hog. That battle officially ended a few years back with reunion of the descendants. In The Chase Is On, the idea of family feud lives on in Atlanta between the Westmorelands and the Grahams. Here, stolen recipes stand in for stolen livestock. There’s no bloodshed, but there is plenty of baking. The fight falls to the grandchildren – Chase Westmoreland and Jessica Claiborne – to continue. They just have to figure out they are enemies first.
Wendy: In the preface to The Portrait of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde suggested that art’s aim should be to reveal the art while concealing the artist. What filter should then be between a writer and her story? What then, is on the page: the person or the product? In the case of fiction that features an author as the protagonist the lines are hopelessly blurred, obliterated even. The fourth wall is removed and it becomes impossible to see the work as separate from the work’s creator. Instead of being enveloped by the world set on the page, the image of the writer at work overwhelms and the precious cocoon fiction creates is lost.
Do you have any idea how many different flowers there are in the known universe? A lot. Bear this in mind as we explore Christine Feehan’s Night Game.
The new episode in Feehan’s “GhostWalker” series comes “specially designed for comfortable reading.” Other things designed for my comfort are feminine hygiene products. Comfort is one of those elastic words designed to mask a product’s real function – if one were to rely on advertising alone, the true purpose of these products would be lost. This particular book was no more or no less comfortable than any other book I’m reading. It does cost more, drawing me to conclude that comfort means pricy.
This comfortable read tells the story of Iris “Flame” Johnson (quick: guess the color of her hair!) and Raoul “Gator” Fontenot. Yes, the names appeared just like that in the text. This tick carried on far too long; I got it on the first page.
HelenKay: No lions. No tigers. No bears. Just one pretty kitty – Kitty Norville, to be exact. She’s a D.J., host of the wildly successful The Midnight Hour radio show and a werewolf. A submissive in her pack, Kitty leads the show in this smart and snappy fantasy by Carrie Vaughn.
Wendy: What if the average chick lit protagonist, some young woman making her way in the city, battling her job, her family, and men, headed out for a trip to Jimmy Choo, to be followed by party drinks with her girlfriends and found herself instead in the plot of an average category romance? Does the chick lit protagonist then toe the romance heroine line? Or, does the change of genre obscure the predictability of the plot? In Imaginary Men, Anjali Banerjee pushes her modern single gal protagonist, Lina Ray, to tell the lie of all category romance lies, “I’m engaged,” when there isn’t a man in sight. However, unlike category romance, Banerjee manages to show the reader all the cards she holds without ever tipping her hand.
HelenKay: Ever wondered what happened to the quiet boy who sat in the back row in homeroom then moved away during the Summer? What about the cute guy who lived down the block and transferred to another school when his parents got divorced? Imagine what could have happened if you forgot about him, but he didn’t forget about you. That is the theory behind Off The Record, a chick lit offering about growing up without growing stagnant that falls short of the zip and promise of it’s clever premise.
WENDY: Hero. Heroine. Bestiality. Happily Ever After. One of these things is not like the others. Care to guess which one? Dawn Thompson’s The Ravencliff Bride has a hero — shape-shifter Nicholas Walraven — a heroine Sara — a Happily Ever After — and while it doesn’t have scenes of bestiality, the idea of that beast is unleashed to hover and provide uncomfortable moments in what is, otherwise, an uninspired romance.
HelenKay: Martin Kowalski lives in a world where vampires outnumber humans. The undead are frozen in time. Simple everyday items like cereal are sold on Ebay as nostalgic treasures. Canned human food now substitutes for dog food. Toilets are used as planters. Humans hide. A good time to be a vampire. Not so great to be anything else. Of course, there really is nothing else. That’s part of the problem.