Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No Book Review This Month

I had fully intended to review Zoe Archer's Warrior this month, but circumstances conspired against it. Most of yesterday was spent at the Nissan dealer buying a new 2011 Altima Hybrid. :D

My apologies to all my Book Review Club friends. My review of Warrior will appear in January. For this month's reviews, click on the graphic below.

Happy Holidays!


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steampunking at A Slice of Orange

I wrote a fairly long post on steampunk for A Slice of Orange. Check it out if you get a chance.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review Club: His Majesty's Dragon

by Naomi Novik

This fascinating book is a combination of fantasy, alternative history (set during the Regency) and military adventure which I just learned from the Steampunk Timeline is called Flintlock Fantasy.

The hero, Will Laurence, is a naval captain would finds an unhatched dragon egg in a French ship he captures. When the dragon hatches, Will is the only he'll let put a harness on him. In one moment, Will's life takes a turn to the weird. He now has to give up his naval career for a lifetime in the dragon Aerial Corps, a rather unconventional rag-tag group without the prestige of the Royal Navy. Will is a perfect Regency hero: brave, honorable and heroic, if a little starchy. The Aerial Corps takes care of that last trait pretty quickly though.

I never thought I'd fall in love with a dragon, but Temeraire is a delight: intelligent, sensitive and utterly charming. In a sense this is a love story between a man and his dragon. Will refers to Temeraire as "my dear" and Temeraire gets very upset when someone tries to separate him from Will. And you really don't want to get Temeraire upset. Trust me on that.

His Majesty's Dragon is the first of a six-book series. I've already read the second book, Throne of Jade, and hope to get to the rest next year. Novik's website has a wiki section where you can find information on The World of Temeraire including information on the Aerial Corps and the various breeds of dragons found in the books.

If you're looking for a fun read, you can't go wrong with this series.


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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review Club: And Tango Makes Three

This year, for Banned Books week, I read a controversial children's picture book.

And Tango Makes Three

by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell,
illus. by Henry Cole
NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c. 2005

At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.

This is a very sweet book based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins at New York's Central Park zoo, who acted like a couple, built a nest and tried to hatch a rock. When one of the female penguins laid two eggs, a zookeeper took one of the eggs and put it in Roy and Silo's nest. (Previously, the female and her partner had never been able to raise more than one egg at a time.) But Roy and Silo were up to the job. They took turns sitting on the nest to keep the egg warm, and when it hatched, they took care of Tango, feeding her and teaching her to swim. The book ends with the three of them as a happy family.

After the book was published, one of the male penguins dumped the other for a female, so I guess he was really bi. Who knows? They're penguins!

Believe it or not, the ALA lists this book as the most challenged book of 2006, 2007 & 2008 and the most banned book of 2009, because of the gay penguin theme. Frankly, I think both sides of the debate are reading a little too much into it. It seems to me that penguins come from a very harsh ecosystem, and obviously both male and female penguins are hard-wired to protect and nurture their young to ensure survival of the species.

In any case, it's a sweet, heartwarming story, with delightful artwork. And honestly, what is cuter than a penguin?


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Banned Books Blog at Slice of Orange

I'm blogging today at A Slice of Orange on the ALA's upcoming Banned Books Week.

I haven't read my challenged children's books yet, but hope to post a review once I do.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review Club: The Fourth Turning

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy

by William Strauss and Neil Howe
New York: Broadway Books, 1997

Almost twenty years ago I read Strauss and Howe's first book Generations: The History of America's Future which tells the story of America through the cycles of generations. In that book they identified a repeating cycle of four different generational archetypes they called Prophet, Nomad, Hero and Artist. The Prophets are the idealists, Nomad are reactive, Heroes civic minded and Artist are adaptive.

As the generational drama plays out, the country goes through a cycle of four types of periods: a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling and finally a Crisis. Each period is ushered in by a "turning" when our culture, and sometimes our politics and economy, get turned in a different direction.

The Fourth Turning was published in 1997, and I wish I'd read it then, but I finally bought it for my Kindle and read it. The final chapters predict much of what we're going through right now, including the current economic crisis. It also goes into more detail about the generations involved in the current "saeculum", a Latin word used by the Romans to refer to the human life cycle. These generations include:

- G.I. (Hero) generation (Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation) born 1901-1924

- Silent (Artist) generation (Nixon's Silent Majority) born 1925-1942

- Baby Boom (Prophet) generation born 1943-1960 (their cut-off point, others extend the Baby Boom to 1961-1964)

- Thirteenth (Nomad) generation (the self-described Gen-X) born 1961-1981

- Millennial (Hero) generation (also called Gen Y) born 1982 - app. 2000

- New Silent (artist) generation born 2001-

Their thesis is that we live through 80-100 cycles of history with visibly repeating patterns, and both books make a persuasive case for that view of history. I think there's something to be said for cyclical time rather than linear time, but maybe that's because I've studied astrology and have no bias against the concept of cycles. Linear time assumes that things will always progress and get better, and to some extent that's true in science and technology, but a study of history shows that something always happens to disrupt the "best laid plans of mice and men".

I found the book quite fascinating. I just wish they'd write a new edition to bring us up to date, but everything is in such turmoil now, it's hard to see what's going to happen. I don't think anyone will argue that we're not in a Crisis period. The question is, how bad will it get before things get better? Since every previous Crisis period they describe ended in some form of "total war", e.g. the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Great Depression/WWII period, I'm feeling a little nervous.

Still, I recommend the read for anyone interested in American history. The concept of generational differences may also be of some interest to writers of historical fiction.


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Monday, August 16, 2010

Blogging at A Slice of Orange

Today I'm blogging at A Slice of Orange on choosing an e-book reader. Drop by and leave a comment if you have a chance.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review Club: Lessons In French

by Laura Kinsale
Regency romance, Source Books, 2010

Laura Kinsale has long been one of my favorite romance authors, so I was thrilled to see she had a new book out earlier this year. I bought the Kindle version right away. I was a little surprised to see that it was lighter fare than the books I'd loved in the past, full of angst and flawed characters. But I found Lessons In French to be quite delightful.

Lady Calista's quiet rural life is upset by the return of a neighbor's scapegrace son and her first love. Trev, le duc de Monceaux, aka Thibault LeBlanc, is on the run after being convicted of forgery, but pardoned on the condition he leave the country. His mother is ill and he wants to visit her. When he meets Callie again, he finds that his desire for her is unabated.

I loved both characters. Callie is shy and awkward in company, but intelligent, competent and independent-minded. She has a romantic streak, however, that Trev can always trigger. Trev is a bit of scoundrel, but with a noble streak and Robin Hood tendencies. I've always loved Laura Kinsale's books, so I grabbed this one right away. It's probably her lightest romance, with lots of amusing bits, esp. involving Callie's prize bull Hubert. Trev's mother is also quite funny, with a dry sense of humor. If you like Georgette Heyer, you just might enjoy some Lessons In French!


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ask-the-Librarian Blog: LA Public

I'm blogging today at LL-Publications blog, my semi-monthly Ask-the-Librarian post. This month it's on Los Angeles Public Library, my first in a Famous Libraries series. Pop on over if you have time.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Review Club: Soul Survivor

by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, with Ken Gross
Grand Central Publishing, 2009

This is the story of a little boy with verifiable past life memories, and it's mindboggling. James Leininger started having intense, screaming nightmares when he was two years old. His parents, Bruce & Andrea, didn't know what to do to make the nightmares stop, but they paid attention and realized that he was screaming, night after night: Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can't get out! When they asked him who the little man was, he said 'me'.

Even at age two, James was obsessed with airplanes and strangely knowledgeable about them. The details he came up with about the doomed pilot were eerie: his name was also James, he'd flown Corsairs, and his ship was the Natoma. He even identified a crew member by name. Bruce went online (this started in 2000, so the web wasn't as sophisticated as it is now) and started to look for answers to what his son was saying. He learned there was a WWII aircraft carrier in the Pacific theater called the Natoma Bay. It took a lot of searching and digging, but they were able to verify everything James said. The paperback copy I bought has photos of the ship and some of the men who served on it as well as pictures of James and his drawings.

At first the book reads like a paranormal detective story. As the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, it becomes an emotional and spiritual journey for James's parents and for the reader. Bruce, a devout Christian, fought hard against the idea that his son was remembering a past life, so we get the skeptic's point of view. Bruce became an expert on the Natoma Bay, even attending the annual reunions and getting to know the vets and their surviving family members. But in the end, it was all about James. The ending is very emotional and heart-warming.

This is just an amazing story about a remarkable little boy, his loving and determined parents and the veterans and family of the Natoma Bay. If you already believe in reincarnation, this book will reinforce those beliefs. If not, it will give you something to think about. We may never be able to prove reincarnation one way or another, but James's memories provide compelling evidence for the theory of past lives. In any case, his story will touch your heart and soul.


Note: If any of this sounds familiar, you may have seen the story that aired on ABC's Prime Time on April 15, 2004. You can view it here:

Related article: Child Psychiatrist Says Past-Life Memories Not So Uncommon in Kids

Related books (all available from

Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child by Carol Bowman, Bantam, 1998

Life Before Life: Children's Memories of Previous Lives by Dr. Jim Tucker, St. Martin's Press, 2008

Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives by Tom Shroder, Simon and Schuster, 1999, pbk 2001

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review Club: Kushiel's Mercy

Kushiel's Mercy
by Jacqueline Carey
Adult Fantasy

This is the last of Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series and the third book narrated by Imriel de la Courcel. A prince of the blood of Terre d'Ange and son of the traitoress Melisande Shahrizai, Imriel made his debut in the series in Kushiel's Avatar, book 3 in the series. In books 4 & 5 (Kushiel's Scion & Kushiel's Justice), he fell in love with his cousin Sidonie, the heir to the throne. Because of his mother, half the realm doesn't approve of the match, including the queen. To test his loyalty, she makes it a condition of her blessing on the union that Imri find his mother and return her to Terre D'Ange for execution.

The story wasn't what I expected because another player enters the scene: Astegal of Carthage, a general out to conquer the known world. He uses a magical spell to convince Sidonie, and all of the capital city of Terre d'Ange, that she's in love with him. Imriel has been incapacitated by a spy sent by his mother. After a month of raving lunacy, he awakes to discover that his world has been turned upside down. Now instead of bringing his mother to justice, he has to save the woman he loves.

A fascinating part of the story occurs when Imriel is put under a glamour type of spell so he can appear to be someone else. It's the only way he can go to Carthage and not be recognized. But for it to work he has to believe himself to be Leander Maignard, at least for a time.

I was very impressed with the way Carey developed Imriel's character, from an angry and frightened ten-year-old to a young man willing to sacrifice for his lady love and for his country. He really earned his happy ending. I enjoyed the book a lot, and it ended with everything in the series brought full circle. This really is a wonderful series. If you like epic fantasy with dollops of sex and romance, and don't mind the occasional BDSM scene, this is the series for you.


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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review Club: Duality by Renee Wildes

By Renee Wildes
Guardians of the Light, Book 1
Published by: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Dara Khan Androcles is a human healer, or so she thinks, until a demon invades her world and her foster father is killed in battle. The last thing he asks her to do is to save a wounded warrior who came to his aid. Dara doesn't realize that her abilities come from her natural mother's dragon heritage.

Disguised as a human, Loren ta Cedric, Elven prince and Lady's Champion, fought against the army of the demon-possessed conqueror Jalad. After being wounded, Loren can no longer keep up the illusion, esp. when he is able to heal himself in minutes. It's even more difficult when Hani-ena, his Elven war-mare, shows up in a very bad temper after he left her behind.

Loren recognizes Dara as his life-mate, but duty must come first and they part. But when she is imprisoned by Jalad, Loren finds a way to come to her aid. Working together, they plan to defeat the demon.

I discovered this book when it became a finalist in EPIC's annual e-book contest, and I really enjoyed it. It's a combination of fantasy and romance. I would say more fantasy than romance, but a fantasy fan might disagree. Dara is a fiery heroine, and I enjoyed watching her transition from feisty, almost-ordinary human to fire-wielding dragon queen. Loren is a noble but conflicted hero. The secondary characters add a lot, esp. Loren's tart-tongued but loyal war mare, Hani-ena. (They communicate telepathically and she offers a fair bit of comic relief.)

I love Samhain's product warnings:
Warning: Contains patricide; noble self-sacrifice; one bad-ass, demon-possessed despot; a bad-tempered dragon; and a water mage who likes to “rain” on her husband’s parade—literally. Downside: A quest for a magic book (written in blood) that nobody wants, and a talking war mare with the warm, fuzzy voice of Judy Densch. [sic] Upside: Serious ass-kicking. Be prepared to learn to curse, cry and laugh—in Elvish.

You gotta love a publishing house with a sense of humor.

I liked Duality enough to read Hedda's Sword, Book 2 in the series, immediately afterward. It was good, too, but I liked Duality better.

Both books are available as e-books and in print as trade size paperbacks. I bought and read the Kindle versions. Wildes books are also available at and

Recommended for fans of fantasy romance.


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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PROMO: Erotica Giveaway

I'm offering my annual Erotica Stay-At-Home Conference Bag giveaway featuring trade paperbacks, assorted promo items and candy. Go to my website for details on how to win:

Linda aka Lyndi Lamont

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blogging at A Slice of Orange

Today I'm blogging at my RWA Chapter's blog A Slice of Orange on the subject of the Aries New Moon. I haven't done any astrology posts in a long time, so this was kind of fun.

At my Lyndi Lamont blog, I'm still periodically posting about my Tarot card picks, though the card of the day has pretty quickly turned into the card of the week, if I'm lucky.

Yesterday I posted about the Magician card, a good one for a writer to know.

Linda / Lyndi

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review Club: Betty Zane by Zane Grey

Self published in 1903, this sweeping historical novel is the story of Grey's ancestors and their role in the siege of Fort Henry (now Wheeling, West Virginia), the last battle of the American Revolution. Betty was the youngest of the Zanes and the only girl. She played a decisive role in the outcome of the siege when she ran from the blockhouse to her brother's cabin and back with much-needed gunpowder. High-spirited and impulsive, she may be the model for the "feisty" historical heroine. The book tells the story of her courtship by young Alfred Clarke but the course of true love doesn't go smoothly. It also details the story of Betty's brother Isaac who spent many years in Indian captivity and was beloved of a Huron princess.

The Macmillan paperback blurb says: Inspired by the life and adventures of his own great-great grandmother,Betty Zane was Zane Grey's first novel and launched his career as a master writer of rousing frontier and Western adventures.

This isn't entirely correct since Grey himself says that he was descended from Ebenezer Zane, Betty's oldest brother. That makes her his great great aunt. (Not sure how many greats.)

I bought one of the inexpensive e-book versions for the Kindle, and though there were some transcription errors, I enjoyed it a lot. It's still a ripping good story with some very exciting scenes. Characterization is good and the country is described in loving detail. Reminiscent of The Last of the Mohicans, but with a happy ending.

Here's one of the early hardback covers:

Zane Grey is widely considered the father of the Western novel. He was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1872 and died on Catalina Island in 1939. According to Western Author David Whitehead, his Westerns were the most historically accurate. Whitehead's overview of the genre is quite interesting.

Betty Zane is still available in paperback as well as e-book format and you might find a copy at your local library.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review Club: The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood
Middle Grade Fiction

Summary: A young orphan boy is ordered by his master to infiltrate Shakespeare's acting troupe in order to steal the script of "Hamlet," but he discovers instead the meaning of friendship and loyalty.

This is the first book in a trilogy about Widge, an orphan boy from Yorkshire who was apprenticed at the age of seven. His first master, a physician and clergyman who is not above stealing other vicar's sermons, teaches him a form of shorthand called Charactery. After much effort and not a few beatings, Widge becomes proficient at the method and is sent to a different church every Sunday to transcribe the sermons.

When Widge is fourteen, a man named Falconer shows up asking about charactery. After he learns that Widge is the only person proficient at Charactery, he buys Widge's apprenticeship and drags him off to Leister where he meets his new master, the mysterious Simon Bass. Bass sends Widge off to London in the company of Falconer to steal the text of Hamlet. But Widge gets so caught up in the play, he forgets to transcribe parts of it. On a subsequent trip to the theater, Falconer sneaks him inside where he can hear better, but he's spotted and chased. In the process of escaping, he loses his tablet with his play notes. Terrified of Falconer, he returns and is caught. Not wanting to admit his true purpose, he claims he wants to be an actor, too, and is taken into the troupe.

For the first time in his short life, Widge has found friends and a family, but the menacing Falconer lurks without. Widge doesn't want to betray the only people he cares about, but what choice does he have?

This is a terrific historical novel with a sympathetic hero. The period details ring true and the inside look at Shakespeare's world is fascinating. I love the way Blackwood takes Widge from a hapless orphan concerned only with his own survival to a young man struggling with right and wrong. I think boys and girls will both enjoy the book and there's enough action to keep the boys interested.

The two sequels are SHAKESPEARE'S SCRIBE & SHAKESPEARE'S SPY, which I look forward to reading.


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Friday, January 29, 2010

Feeling Stupid

I just discovered that Blogger had put some legitimate anonymous comments in with the spam in my dashboard, so my apologies to all whose comments didn't appear until now. Now I'll know to check it regularly.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hanson-Roberts Deck / 9 of Pentacles

I'm still drawing a tarot card per day, well, most days at Lyndi's Love Notes. Today's card is from the Hanson-Roberts mini deck. As I noted in my other post, this is a very handy tool for traveling as it's small enough to fit in purse or briefcase. Click on the above link to read the entire blog post.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tarot Card of the Day

I decided to try drawing a tarot card each day, partly to familiarize myself with my tarot decks and partly to spark my creativity. I'll be posting them at Lyndi's Love Notes which gives the added benefit of keeping my website updated on a regular basis.

I won't promise to do this every day, but I'm going to do my best. The first card was the lovely Art Nouveau Two of Wands.

Linda / Lyndi

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review Club: Tarot For Writers

I've been a bit blocked lately, so when I did my annual holiday order from Amazon, I added a copy of Kenner's Tarot For Writers for myself along with the Quantum Tarot Deck.

Kenner's book is divided into three sections: Tarot 101, The Writer's Tarot, and A Writer's Guide to Tarot Cards.

Section One covers the basics, including classic card layouts.

The second section provides suggestions for using the cards to help in characterization, storylines, setting and description, and breaking writer's block.

In the third section, Kenner gives a detailed description of each card including keywords, myth and legend, literary archetypes and writing prompts.

You don't have to know a lot about tarot cards, or even believe in them, to make use of this book to get your creative juices flowing. You do, however, have to have access to a tarot deck.

I've really enjoyed browsing through the book and plan to use some of the suggested techniques in plotting my next story. I'd recommend the book to any writer interested in trying an unconventional method to spark creativity.

Linda / Lyndi

Author's website:

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