Elmore Leonard said: I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances ''full of rape and adverbs.''

Monday, 19 July 2010

3 (more) REASONS I LOVE...

... Meljean Brook's Guardian series

1. They're long

I really feel I get my money's worth with this series. Each book is really dense - but in a good way! It's not often that more is actually more, but it certainly is in this case. There's action and plot and romance on every page and I love every minute of it. Hurrah for 400+ pages of goodness.

2. You have to concentrate

None of that lazy page skimming. If you want to know what's going on, and why, you have to read actively. Otherwise… it's go back 5 pages and start again. It's nice when a book makes you work.

3. Characters

I've said it before, but I really like Brook's characters. How they are all so carefully drawn and unique. No two central romances are the same so every new book is fresh and appealing in its own right. And I think Demon Blood was one of my favourites because Rosalia and Deacon are so screwed up.

(bonus) 4. Covers

The last two covers have been awesome.

Mini plea to the Interweb:

To spare me having to send a girlish, fan-ish email to the author (okay, I'll probably do that anyway), does anyone know who the next two books will be about? I know there are two books and a novella left in the series, and I imagine Michael and Taylor will feature in the final… but what about the remaining two?

Also, also… doesn't it sound like an awfully long time to wait for the end of the series? 2012?!

Also, despite loving the Guardian world and all that urban fantasy, I'm quite excited about the new steampunk series (The Iron Duke) and will add it to the list of books I'm looking forward to in 2010.

Sunday, 30 May 2010


... Much like a virgin heroine on her wedding night, I am all aflutter. I have Dead in the Family in my hands and it is hugely exciting. (Okay, I'll stop there.)


I have concerns. Is it just me or is Harris paving the way for Sookie and Sam? The last two books in the series, which I devoured back to back over two sleepless nights, were dropping some rather heavy hints.

Who did Sookie think of when she lay close to death? Whose good opinion does she value above all others? Who can she always depend on without qualification?

Sam! Boring, lame, SAM!

Gah! I guess it's obvious that I'm not a fan. And I suppose I should add that if I were somehow controlling Harris, Eric Northman, Sookie's super-hot-and-sexy-and-slightly-evil-vampire-lover, would be on every other page...

So it fills me with concern to find this on the blurb:
Just about the only bright spot in her life - besides the fact that she is, after all, still alive - is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman.
(emphasis mine)

This doesn't bode well. I am filled with foreboding.

Yet also excited. New Sookie Stackhouse. Woo.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Earlier in the year, I made a list of all the romances I was looking forward to, my must-reads for 2010. Below is a sample:

  • April: Patience, by Lisa Valdez
  • May 4: Dead in the Family, by Charlaine Harris
  • May 25: Married by Morning, Lisa Kleypas
  • June 29: Love in the Afternoon, Lisa Kleypas
  • June 1: The Time Weaver, by Shana Abe
  • June 1: Dreamveil, Lynn Viehl
  • July 6: Demon Blood, Meljean Brook
  • August 1: Last Night's Scandal, Loretta Chase
  • August 31: Demon From the Dark, Kresley Cole
  • October 5: The Iron Duke, Meljean Brook
(I know! If someone had told me a year ago that Lisa Kleypas would author the only historicals I'd enjoy reading, I would have laughed them out of town.)

ANYWAY, long story short, it sucks to be British for the avid romance reader. Not only do I have to wait a whole month longer for the latest Sookie Stackhouse (agony!) but the two Kleypas romances are due out in October and December! As The Book Depository helpfully points out, that's 144 days between me and Leo Hathaway.

My pain doesn't end there. Should I choose to spend my hard earned pennies shipping the books over from the US, I get crappy floral covers that give me no aesthetic joy. By waiting the interminable 144 days, I get the much nicer UK edition.

Sophie's choice, people!

Sunday, 11 April 2010



When Patience came through the post this morning, it was quite literally the culmination of 5 years of waiting.

Seriously! I remember reading its predecessor Passion at university. Which was quite some time ago.

What I remember about Passion was the aggressively purple prose, all that humping behind the scenes at the Great Exhibition and – despite everything I say that might indicate otherwise– how much I enjoyed it.

So I looked up Patience (there was quite a titillating excerpt at the end of Passion). And waited for its release. And waited.

And waited.

I know, it’s a bit of joke, but it’s great Valdez got her groove back. And whether or not Patience lives up to the great weight of expectation I’m still glad I’ve got the chance to read it. Finally.

Sunday, 31 January 2010


I’ve just finished the latest two Guardian novels in two sleep deprived days and CANNOT WAIT for the next installment. Literally, I have sat down and calculated the days to July 6th.

There are a lot of days, people.

So I don’t think I’m going to review the books, per se. That would be too hard a task for this lazy blogger. The one thing everyone will tell you about The Guardian series (lovers and detractors alike) is how very complex and detailed the plotting is, sometimes even convoluted and perplexing.

Instead I think I’ll tell you what I like about the series overall and hope that if anyone hasn’t given this talented, witty and imaginative author a go, they might now.

Mythic Arc and Scope

There’s an immense scope to the series. We’re talking Demons, Angels, Heaven, Hell. The fate of the world hanging in the balance. It’s all very Epic. Whilst I think the series lost it’s way a little in Demon Night, Brooks ratchets up the stakes to suitably apocalyptic levels in Demon Bound and Demon Forged, so that by the end of the latter I was as involved in the on-going story as the self-contained romance between the principal characters.

Similarly, Brook is as comfortable taking us into her magical realms (be it the heavenly Cealum or the hellish Chaos) as Regency England or the medieval world. As a reader, this keeps each story fresh and intriguing.


Oh, where to begin? The characterisation is crazy good. I think this might be what I love best about the entire series, how very beautifully Brook draws her characters, so that each is as distinct from the next, and unusually unique within the romance genre to boot. Characters like Colin and Savi and Alice and Irena are so wonderfully fresh to me, like brand new people I want to know better.

In Demon Bound, Alice Grey comes to life in an incredibly rich and detailed way, right down to her unsettling walk. I love how every little physical detail about her contributes to my understanding of her character. It’s very impressive.


Despite all the action, multiple plotlines and insane amounts of adventure, Brook never stints on the romance, with her hero and heroine firmly front and centre of the action, their relationship and conflicts thoroughly explored. Brook is not a demure writer (thank God), but it’s to her credit that the romance I liked best (in Demon Bound, between Jake and Alice) was also the most chaste. When a writer can do that, she’s nailed it.

As a side note, the two weakest romances were Charlie and Drifter (Demon Night) and Irena and Alejandro (Demon Forged). The former just didn’t work for me, but the latter… I think they were the victims of too much happening elsewhere. In future books, Brook will have to maintain a careful balance between her protagonists and the on-going story, which is getting more interesting.

According to her website, Brook says she has mapped the series into eight full -length novels, which is GOOD, because I really, really want to know how it ends. She also has a new series out this year, which is BAD because it means fewer and far between Guardian books…. Less selfishly, I’d be interested to try something different because I think Brook is talented and imaginative writer.

So what are you waiting for? Get thee to a bookshop!

Otherwise, feel free to discuss the burning issues of the day: can Deacon be redeemed? What’s up with Taylor and Michael, was the conflict between Irena and Alejandro too flimsy? Will Becca get a book? Will Khavi??

Does anyone have an advanced copy of Demon Blood?

Sidebar: Although this was not a review by any stretch, the series overall merits an A