Every so often, I share what I’ve been reading or seeing at the movies. So here are my latest reviews.

AVATAR (Film Review)

Several words come to mind to describe this film: Awesome. Revolutionary. Mind-Blowing. The story itself is nothing new. Technologically advanced militants seek to exploit unskilled natives who live close to nature and worship spirits of the land. It’s environmentalists versus developers. Warriors versus innocents. Foreign invaders versus Native Americans. The parallels to Pocohontas are clear. What’s different is the amazing 3-D technology, the film making, the fantastic world building that makes you feel you are on this planet with these people. Amazing creatures. Floating mountains. Beautiful lush greenery. Fearsome beasts. Willowy seeds from the spirit tree. The Home Tree reminded me of the Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or the great World Tree in Norse mythology. The blue-skinned natives, created through special effects, look wonderfully real as does the world they live in. But why must the military commander in sf/f always want to kill the poor natives or the friendly aliens? Can’t we make a genre movie without stereotypes? At least the story has heart, and you feel the triumphs and sorrows of the characters, but it’s really the feeling of being in this wondrous place that will stick in your mind when you leave the theater.

WHEN IN ROME (Film Review)

Movies have been done before when a person tosses a coin in a magic fountain and wishes for love, except in this story, the roles are reversed. A girl takes coins from a fountain on a lark and becomes the object of love for several wacko suitors. The only man she wants is charmingly real, but is his affection true or is it inspired by the magic spell? She has to return each coin to the man who tossed it in to undo the enchantment. Will she be able to give back the coin to the man she loves?

THE SLAYER by Cindy Dees (Paranormal Time Travel Romance)

Tessa Marconi jumps back in time to the Persian Empire to recover a stone fragment that will help mankind in its quest to reach the stars. But opposed to her is court wizard Rustam, who turns out to be a Centauri agent sent to stop her. Rustam’s duty is clear, but his heart is captured by the lovely woman who possesses the ability to soar with him into space every time they make love. He understands the significance of this latent talent Tessa harbors, and it just might bring about their doom. An unusual twist on the time travel theme.

THE NUDE by Dorothy McFalls (Regency Romance)

Widowed Lady Mercer has always harbored a secret crush on the artist known as Dionysus, until a nude portrait of her shows up at an affair of the ton. With her reputation in tatters, Elsbeth accepts an invitation to a house party from Nigel, Marquess of Edgeware. For some mysterious reason of his own, Nigel insists on repairing her standing in society. As she is drawn to the kind man, she realizes someone is trying to kill him. Is it Dionysus, the reclusive artist whose identity no one knows? His cousin Charlie who stands to inherit his estate? Or his trusted friend George who might be involved in smuggling? The Nude is a good murder mystery in addition to a worthy and engaging historical romance. It kept me guessing whodunit until the end.

DESIRE UNTAMED by Pamela Palmer (Paranormal Romance)

Kara MacAllister’s life changes abruptly when her ailing mother dies, abnormal creatures attack her, and a powerful stranger abducts her. Lyon says she’s destined to become the Radiant and save his alien race. Seduced by his sensuality, she opens herself to the possibility that she’s an immortal like him and his brethren, the so-called Feral Warriors, protectors of Earth and foe to an evil demon trying to rise again. She must assume her powers if her people and Lyon’s are to survive. But there’s one thing he neglected to tell her, and that’s the men’s shape shifting ability. Can she help him regain his animal form while taming the beast within? Imaginative world building, likeable heroine, and a unique premise. 

BEGUILED by Maureen Child (Paranormal Romance)

Artist Maggie Donovan has only recently become Queen of the Fae. She’s not too happy about this development especially when Fae Warrior Culhane pushes her to assume the throne. She likes her life in California just fine, at least until the former evil queen Mab escapes and Maggie’s niece is kidnapped and demons attack. Her peace shattered, Maggie has no choice except to accept her destiny along with the warrior who captured her heart. A delightful read.

KRIS LONGKNIFE: UNDAUNTED by Mike Shepherd (Science Fiction)

Princess and Lieutenant Kristine Longknife activates a political maelstrom when she brings onboard her explorer ship an Iteeche Imperial Representative. Why does the member of an enemy race want to meet with her grandpa, King Ray? Ron, the taciturn official, won’t say, except that the grave matter concerns both their peoples. This meeting opens up a can of worms that King Ray is reluctant to expose, so instead he sends Kris on an out of the way mission to Texarkana to quell the flames of political unrest. Kris, with the Iteeche entourage aboard, meets more resistance than expected, but with her usual panache she accomplishes her task. Returning home, she only has to convince her superiors to listen to what the Iteeche have to say. Great setup for a sequel.