Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung Ok-Lee, By Slanderous Tongues by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, and Blowout in Little Man Flats: And Other Spine-tingling Stories of Murder in the West edited by Billie Sue Mosiman and Martin H. Greenberg.
Ms. Ok-Lee's writing is beautiful in Somebody's Daughter. Her book about a young woman searching for her birth mother in Korea moved me. The characters were wonderful and the ending, while unexpected, suited the novel perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased she did not take the Hollywood approach to adoption. Her novel also addresses being a stranger in a foreign country and what identity means. A powerful story. Highly recommended.
Switching gears to a fantasy novel wasn't very hard after Ms. Ok-Lee's book with By Slanderous Tongues. Ms. Lackey and Ms. Gellis co-wrote this tale beautifully. I didn't know it was a series when I picked up the book. I was looking for novels on Queen Elizabeth I and this one popped up in my search engine. Skeptical at first, I soon warmed to the witty characters and the interesting twist on history, which lends all of the happenings in the royal family to Queen Titania and King Oberon and The Dark and Bright Courts of the fae. They vie for their favored heirs of the royal family to assume the throne of England. I didn't find the plot hard to follow; enough of the back story was explained for this to be read as a stand-alone novel.
From faeries to murder, you can't go wrong with editors Billie Sue Mosiman's and Martin H. Greeburg's Blowout in Little Man Flats: And Other Spine-tingling Stories of Murder in the West. The first story in the collection drew me in and is one of my favorites, When Your Breath Freezes by Kathleen Dougherty. I loved this story about Alaskan nuns! I've never thought of those two words going together, but this story changed my mind. My second favorite in the collection, We Killed Them in the Ratings by J. Michael Straczynski, proves that some people will do anything to keep their television ratings up. (Yes, he created Babylon 5.) Scrimshaw by Brian Garfield has a predictable ending for me, but maybe, I've been mysteries too long; the story is still well written and entertaining, though. Bull and Bear by R.L. Stevens, while very short, delivered an unexpected ending that made me laugh -- saying more will give away the ending, and I enjoyed Clark Howard's Wild Things as well, the story of a man who lives alone in the wilderness and invites a strange woman into his home.
As always, happy reading and happy writing to all!