A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

You know what I miss? Part II

So I thought I was going to only have two posts. The plan being two books in each post. Well, it seems I like to blather on once I get going. It turns out I'm going to have three. What's weird is that I usually only review when the book moves me in some significant way. None of these really qualify on that score, but I felt like some book talk so here's the next review.

HEART DANCE (excerpt) by Robin D. Owens is the sixth installment of Owens' Celtan Heart Mate series. I think it was about a year ago I was hanging out at Sarah McCarty's Yahoo group and Sarah mentioned something about liking Ms. Owens' Heart Mate books. That sent me looking and I'm glad I did.

Obviously when you see the words Heart Mate you know that the books are going to have elements of the whole soul mate thing. To be sure the books do have a sort of pre-destiny to the relationships. However, the H/H in the books are seeking their Heart Mates as something to be treasured. It's not a foregone conclusion that everyone will have a Heart Mate or be able to find their Heart Mate. There are plenty of matches and marriages that are carefully made for monetary or dynastic connections.

These books are set in a future where everyone has some sort of 'flair' or innate gift like a sixth sense. What sort of flair and the degree of its power vary widely. For the most part flair is passed on genetically. So the power and degree of gifts can skip generations or be enhanced by whomever you marry and make babies with.

This isn't a bad book. Unfortunately it too was a very predictable. I found myself not caring enough about Dufleur Thyme (guess what her flair is) and the matchmaker Saille D'Willow. In fact I was impatient with Dufleur. Ms. Owens usually writes very strong women (very!) and Dufleur needed more spine in my opinion. This is also the first time I felt that one of the books relied a bit too much on the reader knowledge from previous books. I think any of the other five books could be read on their own. If you haven't read any of the other books, don't let this one be your first. Go find HEART MATE (excerpt) the first one in the series and a RITA winner.

It does help to read the books in order as the world does expand as the series goes on. However, the individual books, except for this one, are all very strong by themselves. There wasn't as strong a conflict in this book as the others. No major obstacle for the H/H to overcome in order to be together. No class, money, or illegal background that causes them to be apart. I found myself wondering what the big hold up was. Yes, DuFleur thinks she has to keep her experiments with time secret, but I never got a sense of what she had to lose if she was discovered. She didn't have much to begin with. Saille is a nice guy who is ready to marry, settle down and start a family. What's not to like? Get together already.

I do have one BIG bone to pick which Ms. Owens likely has no control or say over.

Why did this book have to be released trade sized? All the others are MM paperbacks. Now this one doesn't fit with all the other books in the series AND it was double the cost of the others.

Here's my open letter to Berkley Sensation:

Dear Berkley Sensation,
I can only think of one reason a publisher would release the sixth book in a series in trade size and that's to rob the readers who are following the series. That's right
Berkley. You are no more than a low life bandit holding us up for TWICE the price for this installment than the other books were. This book was $14 at Borders. The most expensive of the other MM paperbacks in the series was $6.99. Was this more story? A better book? Or, are you just trying to make an extra buck from the loyal readers who will suffer the price in order to buy the book? Shame on you.
Robbed Reader

One might argue that I participate in the robbery by buying the book, but c'mon that's what the publisher is 'banking' on isn't it, that the reader won't want to wait and will purchase the trade sized book at the higher price? *exhale* I get it. I do. But, I sure don't like it.

Will I be buying the next Heart Mate book? You betcha. The problems here and the slow pacing weren't enough to put me off this otherwise very good series. The books in order are: HEART MATE, HEART THIEF, HEART DUEL, HEART CHOICE, HEART QUEST and HEART DANCE.

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Anonymous Kay Webb Harrison said...

I also enjoy this series; I read HeartMate, then Heart Choice, Heart Thief, Heart Duel and Heart Quest. I agree that reading the books in order is preferable, but that each of these can stand on their own. The world, Celta, and the characters Owens has created are very real to me. The FAM animals add just the right amount of comic relief.

Maybe Duffleur kept her research secret because of what happened to and with her father, and because of her mother's negative attitude.

I also agree about the change from mass market to trade. I will wait for the mass market version to arrive.

Happy Reading!

12:10 PM PDT  
Anonymous Sarah McCarty said...

Oh Rats! I was saving this one as my reward for finishing up Running Wild. I've really worked my butt off so I wanted a kick butt book to enjoy. Guess I'll shuffle my reward pile. *sigh*

1:57 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori said...

I so relate, Rosie. I wrote a post about releasing the last in a series in hardcover. Hate it! Trade size amounts to the same thing. $$$$.

4:47 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Kay, I really like this series and was surprised how light and fluffy this book (meaning content) was compared to the others. I hope it's just an aberration because I saw on her website there will be a new Heart book next July.

BTW, thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll visit again.

Sarah, I was just disappointed that it wasn't as substantial as the previous books. However, as a reader of the series, you don't want to skip reading it either.

Lori, the trade pb cost still would have bugged me but probably not as much if I hadn't been disappointed in this particular book. What bothers me most is this book might get noticed because of its size. For some people it might be their first purchase of Ms. Owens work. They'll be paying all that money and it isn't (imo) even the best book in the series. Not fair to the reader and certainly not fair to Ms. Owens.

5:04 PM PDT  

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