Tag Archives: Katie MacAlister

Why I Need a Time Machine

We all have them, books we know are coming, which we can’t help longing for, though we know we’ll be waiting. There are a few that I’m dying for, that I can’t wait to get, and some which I’ve even pre-ordered. I’ve gone so far as to sketch my plan for stealing the TARDIS so I can get all of these books now, instead of having to wait.

1. Pegasus by Robin McKinley (Out November 2, 2010)

It was announced a while ago, and I’ve been reading bits and pieces about it on her blog. I even made the mistake of reading the three-chapter teaser she’s released, which made the wait all the worse, because I can’t wait to find out what’s next. And to make it more painful, she’s gone and warned us it will be a cliffhanger! Will that stop me from devouring it the day I get my hands on it and lamenting about the wait for part 2? No, it will not. Despite the warning, I will be a silly girl who reads her pre-ordered book the day it arrives and freaks out when she hits the cliffhanger she was warned about in advance.

2. Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce (Out February 22, 2011)

I haven’t heard a lot about this one, but I grew up reading Tortall, and I haven’t not-loved a single book. Sure, I’ve loved some less than others (the Trickster pair, for example. Alianne was a little too Mary-Sue for me), but I know I’ll love this book, too. I love short stories, I love Tortall, and all the memories it evokes. A lot of my love-affair with Tortallan books is that I have memories of sitting with my friends (in bedrooms, on porches, in yards, on busses, in classrooms reading beneath the desks, to name a few places) and enjoying her books, and giggling together about how great they were and how cool it would be if we, too could speak to animals.

3. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Out Mid-2011?)

There’s no cover picture yet, and the publishing date keeps getting pushed back, and I’m agonizing over the chance to read more. I mean, I’ve even stooped to reading Beka Cooper fanfiction, which concerns me a little, because it takes a lot for me to hit that point. That being said, it’s the last book in Beka’s series, so it makes me a bit sad, though I’m sure I’ll love it. Oh but the anticipation is so agonizingly sweet.

4. River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Out January 25, 2011)

Mercy Thompson is back again (in the sixth installment, actually), still tattooed and sexy on her cover. (Which as I think I’ve said before, is funny to me because she’s not into provocative dress, and her only tattoo is the paw print.) Anyway, Mercy finally gets to meet some of her own kind, as they work together to defeat an evil thing from the river. I don’t know a lot of the details yet, but that’s fine by me, as Patricia Briggs hasn’t disappointed me yet. Interested? I’ve reviewed Moon Called, the first book in this series. I’d suggest this series to anyone who likes werewolves, ass-kicking females, and romance.

5. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance (Out June 2011)

There are two parallel series set in one universe– Dorina Basarab and Cassandra Palmer move within the same world, and know many of the same people without knowing each other really– and the next book announced in their world is Hunt the Moon, which is distant enough that there is not yet a cover. I can’t wait to read it, because I love the way Karen Chance manages to make her vampires both human and inhuman.

6. The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons by Katie MacAlister (Out… ?)

If Katie’s trend holds, she’ll be releasing her book in November. I devoured all of her Dragon Septs books, back to back until there were no more to read. It will be exciting when this comes out (though it may be a while.) Thanks to silly facebook hijinks (that is, from the Baltic and Jim pages) I know a few plot points, but not a lot. The story revolves around Baltic and Ysolde, the Light Dragons. Someone dies. There is drama and intrigue and Ysolde wants to know about Baltic’s past. No more is known until the official blurb is released. As it is, this cover art is “subject to change,” but I get the feeling the only thing changing will be the tag-line (if it changes at all). (Thanks to Cover Lover for the image)

That’s all I’ve got for this issue of “Books I can’t wait for, and am making plans to steal the TARDIS so I can read NOW!” What books are you looking forward to?

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My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (Anthology)

Elrod, P.N. My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (2008). 358 Pages. St Martin’s Griffin. $13.95

I like trade paperbacks, they’re big, and they feel solid when you hold them. However, they’re tough on my style (what little there is) because while most of my purses are chosen for their ability to carry a book, mass market paperbacks are more common, and fit into more of my purses more easily. I checked this book out well over a month ago, and have been slowly reading it, trying to get through it, and wondering why it was so very difficult to read. I’ve decided that it is because of its format, and the fact that it is so very hard to fit it into my purse, so I haven’t been taking it to work for lunch-time reading.

Anyway, this is a very solid volume with a lot of stories that I really enjoyed. I sort of wish I’d read My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding first, but this was an impulse grab from a bookshelf, so I didn’t realize there was another volume in this set. (Though it’s hardly a prequel/sequel pair, as most of the stories are unique from the first volume, though I hesitate to call them stand-alones.) Continue reading

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Hard Day’s Knight

MacAlister, Katie. Hard Day’s Knight (2005). 344 Pages. Signet. $6.99

Hot men in tights and armor, women in bust-enhancing bodices, swords, horses, the world’s largest renaissance faire, and an international jousting tournament form the backdrop for Hard Day’s Knight. I love Faires, and enjoyed reading about them, especially because despite the increasing summer heat, I’m still cooler and more relaxed enjoying them in book form than wandering around in dry, dusty heat and longing for winter.

Anyway, Pepper Marsh is our newest heroine; she’s curvy, she’s sassy, and she’s wicked in bed.* The unemployed, single Pepper is more than willing to come to a Faire with her cousin CJ (especially when promised hot men in tights), and is even willing to work as a Harlot for a wench’s guild. Unfortunately for Pepper, things at the Faire don’t go exactly as she planned. Behemoth– the cat she is watching– does not like to behave, and leads Pepper straight into the path of two handsome men on very large horses (one of whom nearly runs her down, while the other “saves” her). We are introduced to Farrell– a blonde-haired blue-eyed drool-worthy knight– and Walker — the black-haired grey-eyed anti-hero. There is a long, bitter rivalry between the two which is about to overflow into a battle for Pepper’s heart.

Walker is a strong, distant hero with a sad past that haunts him, and is very much the center of the story (despite the fact that it is actually about Pepper, nearly everything revolves around Walker and his past). He’s not the hero you expect, and his past is not what you think it is. He and Pepper work well together, despite being seeming opposites. They both force each other to confront ghosts of their past, and they grow together.

As usual with Katie Mac, you find yourself laughing aloud a lot, there are several very steamy scenes, and there is a lot of drama. Two people who are seemingly too different find a way to work together, and the book itself really draws you in.

The Quick Version:

The setting really works for the story in this case; the faire gives it a concrete setting, the jousting gives it a solid future, and the characters do seem to grow (at least a little bit) from beginning to end. Toward the end of the book, there’s just a little too much “misunderstanding” to really leave me happy. I found myself wondering what the hell was going on, and not really sure what the characters were thinking. It was enjoyable, and I did tear through it like I do with all the other Katie MacAlister books I’ve read. As much as I like the Faire setting though, this book only gets a 3; it’s good, but not brilliant.

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* Unlike a few of the heroines, she’s not much of a babbler, which was nice.

This book is part of the Local Library Reading Challenge!

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Blow Me Down

MacAlister, Katie. Blow Me Down (2005). 359 Pages. Signet. $6.99

I said it last night; Katie MacAlister is dangerous. I started reading Blow Me Down this afternoon, and found that I could not put it down  until I finished it a few hours ago. My unfortunate boyfriend tried to speak to me once or twice, and found himself glared and/or growled at until he gave up. It was another of those books-I-grabbed-from-the-library-on-impulse, and I’m glad I did.

Anyway, Blow Me Down is about Amy, the incredibly organized, mildly neurotic, financial analyst. She’s divorced, and has a sixteen year-old daughter. I’m not usually a fan of “real life” in my romance. Divorce brings back bad memories, and relates to unpleasant experiences, and frequently makes it all-too-easy for characters to wallow. Katie’s characters have never fallen victim to that particular sort of wallowing, and even when they have been divorced, it’s never the center of their personality, and is really not one of their hangups.

Oh, right. So Amy the divorced, organized, neurotic financial analyst and mother of one techno-geek teenage girl finds herself playing her daughter’s new Virtual Reality beta in the middle of a storm. She’s zapped by lightning, and wakes up on a pirate island. Amy is a strange woman who finds herself organizing the finances of an entire brothel in an effort to set up retirement plans for computer-controlled-pirate-prostitutes. Of course, she meets Black Corbin, a man who is feared on the island of Turtle’s Back, and unfortunately for Amy, their attraction to each other is mutual and immediate. However, all is not easy, or as it seems in this pirate game.

Something has gone horribly wrong in this Virtual Reality setup. It’s a truly immersive game with cutting-edge technology which renders everything in such a way that you truly do experience the game’s events*. You can smell the privies, and feel the breeze on your face, or the kisses of an attractive pirate. However, there is no longer any way out. Corbin, Amy and Holder are trapped, and have to find a way to escape the game before anything else goes wrong.

The swashbuckling begins here. And boy oh boy is it some pirate-astic swashbuckling. And adventuring, and some hot and sweaty romance scenes.

The end is… not surprising, but that’s OK, because it was an enjoyable book.

The Quick Version:

As usual, I really enjoyed the book. I started it, and several hours later I realized just how much time had disappeared between when I started reading and when I finally put it down. I really enjoyed this one, and had no trouble suspending my disbelief. The trouble I did have, however was with the fact that I had the story figured out within the first couple chapters. It gets a 4.5/5, because I liked it a lot, but it’s predictable.

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* One of the reviews I glanced at suggested that this was a plot problem. I’m a little concerned about people who read romance novels looking for realism.

This book is part of the Local Library Reading Challenge!

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Improper English

MacAlister, Katie. Improper English (2003). 369 Pages. Love Spell. $6.99

The trouble with Katie MacAlister is that when I start reading one of her books, I cannot put it down. I really and truly cannot bring myself to part with her books until I’ve finished them, and when they are a part of a series, I keep tearing through until I get to the end, and then I still want more.

This became increasingly problematic when I realized I had reached the end of the Dragon Septs series*, and I found myself wondering what the heck to read. Then, in the mail came a package. A book I had traded for had finally arrived, Improper English sat there taunting me, begging to be read. So I obliged, and found myself a day later, bemused, realizing I had lost yet another day and having finished yet another Katie MacAlister book.

Improper English is a lot like many of Katie’s other books; Alix, our (American) heroine, is insecure and flawed, more than a little neurotic, and prone to what I can only think of as verbal diarrhea. They prattle, they blather, they babble, they go on and on and on, and all I want is for them to just shut up already. I’m big on flawed characters, it makes them interesting, and it makes them likable. It’s the babbling I’m not big on. However, despite my annoyance, despite the fact that I sometimes just want to gag a character and move on with the plot, I genuinely enjoy her books. They’re good, they make you laugh, they make you sigh, they drag you in and have you yearning for more, all of which is great. It’s just the babbling that gets me.

Anyway, Improper English is about Alix, a neurotic, insecure babbler who has lived under her mother’s thumb for 29 years. She has left a string of failures in her wake, and is hoping to succeed with just one thing; a novel. Her mother has agreed to finance a flat in London for a month on the condition that should Alix’s novel fail, she will move back  to America and take care of her elderly grandmother without complaint. This seems fine to Alix, how hard can writing a novel really be?**

Alix’s landlady is the enviably perfect and poised Isabella, who represents just about everything Alix thinks she wants to be. She’s beautiful, prim, proper, and delicate. She knows scores of handsome, available men, and even offers to set Alix up with someone who is perfect for her. When Alix arrives for dinner at Isabella’s, she finds Alexander and Karl, only to be disappointed when Isabella says that Karl the Dentist is Alix’s perfect match. In fact, Karl is charming and considerate, and an all-around stand-up guy. It is, unfortunately, Alex whom Alix finds herself drawn to.***

As I have said so many times before, knowing this is a romance novel, we come in with certain expectations. They are met and exceeded. Alix’s romance is enthralling, you find yourself drawn in, and alternately horrified by what she has just said, worried about her stupidity, gasping at what she just did, steaming up your glasses over the next page, and laughing aloud immediately after. Adding to all of this is the story of Alix writing her book, and the excerpts which start each chapter. They are so bad they are funny, and all I can think is that Katie must have had a great time writing them.

The Quick Version:

Considering that this is one of Katie MacAlister’s first books, it makes sense that it’s not as polished as her later work. It is still incredibly fun to read, and I truly did enjoy it immensely. It gets a 4/5 because it really was good, even if Alix was annoying.

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* And by end, I mean the latest book published, which came out earlier this month, and which represents the “end” only in that I can’t read the next one until it’s been written.

** Those of us who have attempted NaNoWriMo have got at least a vague sort of grasp on just how difficult novels can be.

*** I would make fun of the name thing, but I dated a guy named Aaron.

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This book is part of the Into the Wild Book Challenge. It’s ready to go, and will be released Memorial Day Weekend at Fanime Con! Hopefully it will find its home soon!

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Love in the Time of Dragons

MacAlister, Katie. Love in the Time of Dragons (2010). 331 Pages. Signet. $7.99

The Light Dragons: Book One || Dragons Universe Book Eight

Please be aware that though this is the first book in a new series, it is not a stand-alone, and the following may contain spoilers for the preceding books.

Tully Sullivan is Dr. Kostich’s apprentice, a mage-in-training who got dragged into the Dragon’s conflict at the end of Me and My Shadow. Except, she’s not a mage. Five weeks after she first arrives at Drake and Aisling’s house, she wakes up as a guest in Gabriel’s London house. She has no idea what has happened, and does not understand why everyone seems to be insisting that she is Ysolde de Bouchier, Baltic’s mate. But Tully doesn’t remember this– in fact, she doesn’t remember much at all. What she does know is that she has vivid dreams, yearly fugues, and a son (named Brom) who must be very worried about her.

Unfortunately for Tully, nobody is able to wait for her to come to terms with Ysolde. As Baltic’s mate, she is responsible for his crimes, and she is brought to the sárkány to face the charges. However, it is only a matter of time before Baltic figures out she’s back. Ysolde is his mate, and she was dead. Once he finds her, things will never be the same for her again.

The drama which has been building, all the intrigue which has left us wondering as we’ve read the last seven books has hit a crescendo with this book. Questions are (at least in part) answered, while yet more arise. By the end of the book (which is somehow shocking and expected simultaneously) you’re questioning nearly everything which the characters have taken for granted thus far.

The wait for the next book is going to be killer.

The Quick Version:

The drama which characterized the segment about Gabriel and May remains, but things have gotten funnier again. Ysolde and Baltic have that love/hate thing going on that makes things firey and fantastic. There is also something that is just so charming about a domineering dragon, and his willingness to do anything for his mate. I’m dying for the next book, which will be quite some time in coming, since this book was released on May 4, 2010. The book was fantastic, and scores a 5/5.

Please be aware, this is not a stand-alone book.

I know you’ll want to read it, so get it off Amazon or from Swaptree.

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Me and My Shadow

MacAlister, Katie. Me and My Shadow (2009). 352 Pages. Signet. $7.99

The Silver Dragons: Book Three || Dragons Universe Book Seven

This is certainly not the last Dragons book– Love in the Time of Dragons is the next book — but it is the last book about Gabriel and May. Much like with Aisling and Drake before, their series might be over, but they are not gone.

Kostya continues to petition the weir for recognition of the Black Dragon sept. Cyrene continues insisting that she is Kostya’s mate. Drake’s mother is an evil, obnoxious woman. Aisling has given “full custody” of Jim to May for the remainder of her pregnancy– which means that Jim will continue being loud and obnoxious and Not. Funny.*Something weird is going on with Sally. Magoth has been unleashed on the mortal realm (and is still obnoxious). And so on and so forth.

The only thing which really concludes in this book is May and Gabriel’s romance; they really and truly are committed to each other, and have found their personal happily-ever-after. Oh, and Aisling has finally given birth.** However, May has finally found herself- in more than one sense- and her relationship with Gabriel has strengthened in such a way that it will last through their immortality.

Things get more and more complicated with Baltic. He’s basically the center of everything, and we know next-to-nothing about him. Hopefully this is not the case in Love in the Time of Dragons, because I believe it is his chest decorating the cover. I should be reviewing that by this time tomorrow, with the way I inhale these.

The Series as a Whole:

May and Gabriel manage to be different from Aisling and Drake while following the same basic plot; Girl has some powers. Boy notices girl, Girl notices boy. Girl gains lots of powers and complicates life. Boy does not run away from incredibly powerful, complicated girl. Boy and Girl overcome obstacles, and live happily ever after. But then, aside from the powers point, that’s really ever romance novel ever, and who really reads them expecting something original? The fact is, seven books in, I still enjoyed the set enough that I want to read the eighth. The series scores a perfect 10 of 10.

The Quick Version:

This book makes a good end to the rest of the Silver Dragons novels, though as stated repeatedly, the overall plot of the Dragons universe is not done. I did enjoy it, and I did actually laugh aloud a couple times. As a whole though, this series is less funny than the Aisling Grey series, which works, because the dramatic and action-oriented plot has become much more significant than the slapstick humor of the first portion. There are still scenes where I laughed– I snorted out loud while I was sneakily trying to read this book at work (and was so busted by a customer).  It gets a 4.5/5, because I really did enjoy it, even if some of it made me cringe.

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* I have not thought Jim was funny more than once or twice the entire series. In seven books I have laughed at him maybe twice. He is not a good character. He is annoying, and needs to go away.

** She’s been pregnant through four books now. It’s about damned time.

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