The positive points: I enjoyed the skill with which Carolyn Rosewood drew me into the story. From the first page, with its Mardi Gras parade and attemp...moreThe positive points: I enjoyed the skill with which Carolyn Rosewood drew me into the story. From the first page, with its Mardi Gras parade and attempted capture of the heroine, I was interested. I wanted to know what happened next. I also appreciated that I did not have to have read the previous installment in her series to understand and enjoy this one. The sex scenes were steamy; each one was hot without being repetitive, which was quite a feat considering the proportion of the novella which was taken up with the sex. The plot had just enough twists to keep it interesting without overburdening the novella. Do not assume, however, this book, despite its angels-and-demons motif, to follow standard Christian mythology.
The negative points: There were not many because Carolyn Rosewood writes in a smooth, readable style, well-suited to her subject matter. The biggest drawback for me was the rushing of the romance between Jahi and Dagon. It was not precisely a "love-at-first-sight" romance, despite the physical attraction so clearly present on both sides. Had it been a full love-at-first-sight, that would have been different. As it was, however, the love which grew up between Dagon and Jahi was not given, in my opinion, sufficient scope or time. This is a necessary constraint of the novella form, though, and not something I could legitimately hold against the otherwise extremely well-executed story.(less)
“My dear, there is nothing, nothing, more sexy than this.” This line, in Chapter Two, says everything I want to say about this book, Black Carnival, w...more“My dear, there is nothing, nothing, more sexy than this.” This line, in Chapter Two, says everything I want to say about this book, Black Carnival, which is Ms. Wyvern's debut novel. Welcome to Cydonia, a colonized planet far from the core worlds, and its major city, NeuVenedig, built in the style of old Venice. But if you think this is a science fiction story, think again! This is the story of Ivory Blake, a stifled artist who needed an exciting get-away, and that's just what she gets. In this first-person narrative, Ivory is hired for a job off-planet, a gig where her artistic skills can be put to good use beyond the sterile landscaping company she works for, and that's where the fun begins. Fun? Yes, fun – not only with hot, creative sex scenes but also with the way Ms. Wyvern uses words. If Ivory is an artist, then the author is her muse, inspiring her to paint vivid scenes in gripping exposition that leave the reader with no question about what her first dinner on the new planet tastes like, how classic paintings are altered into tasteful erotica, or what the colony of NeuVenedig looks, smells, and sounds like. Ms. Wyvern doesn't just write words; she paints with them. Ivory finds herself smack in the middle of the Black Carnival, an near-endless masque of night revels that continues until the sun comes up – which it doesn't for several weeks. There's one perk of this new planet: Ivory can enjoy herself to her heart's contentment. She may have been shy to start with, but she opens up to all the sexual possibilities that the Carnival and its merrymaking sex aficionados have to offer. And the reader is along for the ride – a wild, erotic ride without inhibitions and without shame. But the problem is that Ivory falls in love with Lune, and she realizes that it is not the pleasures of the Carnival, per se, that she wants but rather this handsome and exotic Sand-Rider. Lune is from an artificially-bred race, not quite human, and Ivory finds that she is not allowed to be with Lune outside of the Carnival. His breed is not allowed in the cities, and humans are not allowed out. Black Carnival is light on plot, but that's not a bad thing. Ms. Wyvern writes beautiful prose, descriptive set-pieces that show the reader the world and all that is in it – including the people and their amorous encounters. For people tired of reading the same banal dialogue and seeing the same stereotypical characters popping up again and again (like me!), Black Carnival is a refreshing change. I didn't just read this book; I lived every scene with Ivory. That's how good Ms. Wyvern's writing is! I highly recommend this book.(less)
The positive points: The romance was fiery, showcasing the wildness of both the hero and the heroine. Their physical attraction was clear, and Georgia...moreThe positive points: The romance was fiery, showcasing the wildness of both the hero and the heroine. Their physical attraction was clear, and Georgia Fox's descriptions of their sex were varied and vivid, with period-appropriate terminology which added to the atmosphere. The pacing was strong, and the book did not flag. The ending was satisfying, with Deorwynn well-settled into her new life, enjoying her new love. The growth of Guy was equally enjoyable, and his behavior was consistent and believable, given his established personality.
The negative points: There were not many, as Georgia Fox's style is easy and polished, her command of her characters strong and good. The largest difficulty was in the anachronistic behavior of the hero. A fear of "settling down" in marriage would not have been a feeling that a Norman of the period would have.(less)
The positive points: D.F. Krieger writes with skill and clarity. Her descriptions evoke the emotions appropriate to the scenes. The heroine, Sarah, and...moreThe positive points: D.F. Krieger writes with skill and clarity. Her descriptions evoke the emotions appropriate to the scenes. The heroine, Sarah, and her soldier-husband, Colten, are both fleshed out thoroughly, despite the constraints of the short story format. The sex scenes are both realistic and steamy. The happily-ever-after is satisfactory, and there is no possible doubt about their suitability for each other or for their future life together.
The negative points: The actual writing, aside from more typos than a short story ought to have, left little to be desired. D.F. Krieger has easy command of her words. It was the complete lack of plot which was the issue with this story. The entire piece was a denouement. There was neither rising nor falling action. Rather, it was merely the picture of a couple riding off into the sunset together.(less)
The positive points: The plot was strong, the pacing quick without being confusing, and the descriptions of Tantoret, the prison planet, were memorable...moreThe positive points: The plot was strong, the pacing quick without being confusing, and the descriptions of Tantoret, the prison planet, were memorable. The story permeated each page; despite long conversations between the two heroes, each episode served to further not only their relationship, but the plot. The romance augments an already interesting tale. Jamie Craig is a skillful writer, and the setting was sufficiently detailed to follow the intricacies of the interplanetary politics that had bearing upon the central romance.
The negative points: There were very few indeed. The point-of-view shifts focused too often on minor characters other than the heroes. This detracted from the otherwise tight focus of the novel. It did not, however, by any means ruin the experience.(less)
I've heard from many people saying Fanny Price is a weak woman. Really? Are we reading the same book? She might possibly be Austen's strongest heroine...moreI've heard from many people saying Fanny Price is a weak woman. Really? Are we reading the same book? She might possibly be Austen's strongest heroine. Just because she is meek doesn't mean she weak.(less)
A book that makes me proud to be American, to hail from a country where books such as this are written. Steinbeck makes the Salinas Valley a character...moreA book that makes me proud to be American, to hail from a country where books such as this are written. Steinbeck makes the Salinas Valley a character in and of itself, and the characters of Lee and Samuel stay with you long after the book is over. So much profound wisdom in simple language.(less)