Sunday, May 13, 2012

Minis: Jodi Thomas, Catherine Lundoff + Links


Happy Mother's Day!

This has been a busy week. For my third blogiversary I chose to highlight favorite authors that I have recommended throughout the last three years under different categories --  Historical Romance: Mary Balogh,  Fantasy: Elizabeth Bear, Contemporary Romance: Nora Roberts, Women's Fiction/Romance: Lisa Dale.

However, I didn't want to end the week without posting a couple of those mini impressions I love to feature once in a while. One book is by Jodi Thomas, another favorite author, and the other is by a "new-to-me" LGBTQ author. You all know how much I love discovering new authors and the LGBTQ sub-genre. Here they are:

Just Down the Road (Harmony# 4) by Jodi Thomas

Just Down the Road is the fourth installment in this small town romance series by Jodi Thomas. I'm loving it because Ms. Thomas has a knack for drawing characters with qualities that the reader can connect with easily. That applies to characters that take center stage, as well as to those that play secondary roles within any given book.

In this particular installment Jodi Thomas focuses on loses and finding love and hope. There is one very satisfying romance featuring a man who lost his love of life when he lost his wife to cancer, but unexpectedly finds new hope and a second chance at love through the love of an orphaned child and renewed passion when he falls for a woman who has lost her sense of self by trying to please others. Then there are other story lines, one highlighting a much loved young couple going through changes, loss and strife, now finally settling into some sort of understanding, and the other an older couple dealing with doubts and unexpected surprises.

In the meantime, secondary characters gain depth as Thomas highlights strengths, flaws and vulnerabilities. As a result when or if a time comes for these characters to take central stage they will be just as dear to the readers as they seem to be to their families and friends in Harmony. That's a kind of magic. The kind of magic that makes this quiet small town romance series a winner for me. (Contemporary Romance)Grade B+

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Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff

In Silver MoonCatherine Lundoff weaves a fantasy set in a small town where only a few women are called by magic to change into werewolves when menopausal symptoms flare up. This book's premise is what sold it to me.

The story's central character is a woman of a "certain age" going through multiple changes in her life, including menopause. At first glance it might seem as if equating those biological changes with the werewolf theme is dramatic, but in fact I found it to be both creative and on target. Change. Through the theme of change, Lundoff also focuses on other issues that affect women during this time in their lives. She adds insightful touches such as the "invisibility factor"* that women experience after they reach a "certain age," which ties in quite well with the issue of those same women being abandoned or dismissed by husbands or partners (like yesterday's news) for younger women.

I mentioned above that the story is about change, but in the end it's really about either fighting those changes or embracing them gracefully when the inevitable time comes. Lundoff serves this fantasy dish with a scoop of hope. While the main character in her story goes through that roller coaster, the other women show the final result: accepting change doesn't mean you have to give up love or sexuality, instead there is much to gain, lots to offer and still great things to come in the future.

I read Silver Moon from a female's perspective, but this book is categorized as a lesbian fantasy. As such, and if you read this book from a concrete or literal point of view, I would say that it is high on the fantasy/paranormal with lots of action, with amusing and insightful moments (at least they were amusing and insightful to me), and quite low on the romance. A quick, enjoyable read. (LGBT - Lesbian Fantasy)Grade B

*(If you don't know what the "invisibility factor" means, you haven't turned 50 yet. It's when people, this applies to men and women, stop seeing you as a "woman," and in fact you become almost, if not totally, invisible.) 

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Finally, I would like to provide you today with links to free downloads for short stories by two favorite authors:

Cheryl St. John - Harlequin Historical: In case you haven't read it yet, here's a link to Cheryl's website where you can download the prequel to the Irish Bride's Trilogy. The first book, The Wedding Journey by Cheryl St. John is available now. I have it in my TBR and hope to read and review it soon. :)

Alex Jeffers - LGBT Gay Fantasy: Additionally, there is also a free download available here for "Firooz and His Brother," a short story that will be included in Alex Jeffers' upcoming release You Will Meet A Stranger Far From Home: Wonder Stories. I read it and loved it... wonder story indeed.

Thank you all for coming by to celebrate this week with me!

4 comments:

  1. Great week of celebration, Hils! Happy Blogiversary again and Happy Mother's Day!!

    and yay on your mini of Just Down the Road. I've been looking forward to it and I'm just happy you're enjoying the series!! Glad this book was a winner for you too :P

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    1. Thank you, Nath. :)

      I'm loving the Harmony series. This book was really enjoyable, I loved the main romance and the really all the story lines. I'm in on this series for a while, I think. :)

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  2. Oh, I missed your Blogiversary! Happy Belated Blogiversary Hils!!!

    Also hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day. :)

    Thanks for the link for the Cheryl St. John read. I also have The Wedding Journey on the TBR pile so I'll be sure to read the prequel.

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    1. Thank you, Leslie!

      I haven't read the prequel to The Wedding Journey by St. John or the book yet, but I plan to read both at once. It's nice that she wrote a free story to bind the trilogy. :)

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