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January 23rd, 2013

#2, 3, 4, 5, 6

A slow relaxing vacation is one of those times when you can get a lot of reading done. For example:

First book I finished was Bodies Politic by David Wishart, a Roman Empire era mystery story dealing with conspiracies to kill the Emperor. Pretty good book, one of a series.

Second was A Clash of Kings, the second book of the Game of Thrones series. I have no idea how this relates to season two of the TV series, but I guess I'll find out when it comes out on DVD in several weeks. I enjoyed it, but it is a bloody saga.

Third was Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom Holt, a British fantasy/comedy author; this book is about how dragons control the Earth's weather, and a clash that includes these flying reptiles, weathermen, and somebody from Australia who owns a chain of newspapers, not that it sounds at all like anyone who really exists. Funny...

Fourth, Libriomancer, a new series about a young member of an ancient order of magicians, founded by Gutenberg, who gain their powers from books...any books. They can pull a blaster from an SF novel, or a magic sword from fantasy, and use them in the Real World. Not perfect, but I liked the premise, and it was an enjoyable read.

Fifth (yes, I said "fifth"), The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe. Now, for most of my reading life, I've enjoyed what might be termed "mash-up" books in which detective drama meets fantasy, such as the Lord Darcy series by Randall Garret, or the Garrett series by Glen Cook. I think there are others, but anyway I came upon one of Bledsoe's books at WorldCon; I'd never heard of him, and reading the cover blurb of that first book I found, I realized that I was looking at a protagonist who's a hard-boiled detective in a fantasy world, and so at the Con I hunted down the four books of the series, and this was book one. It's very good. Let's just leave it at that. Go out and find them. Especially if you know who the authors I mentioned above are. Bledsoe's first book is almost as good as a Darcy book, and better than most of the Garretts. Seek!

I'm well into a couple more books, including the third GRRM GoT book, as well, but not done yet!

20% done with the challenge!

9. Old Devil Moon by Christopher Fowler

This book is a collection of short stories of the macabre nature, reminiscent of Haunted by Palahniuk. Some stories were hard to follow, and I had to re-read a few pages prior to get the hints following up to the twists at the end. Some of the stories were great, some were kind of crappy. I think I rated this one a 3/5 on Goodreads only because of the not-so-good stories, like the chapter with synopses of fake movies, and the chapter about a museum that only opens at night. I found myself reading these simply to get to the next story. And there were some stories I just didn't seem to "get" the meaning of once I got to the end. I found myself thinking "did I miss something?" Re-reading didn't seem to help.

Anyway, because I liked some of the stories so much, I definitely will look for more from this author. Hopefully I won't be so hit and miss. It also makes me want to read more short stories (I've already read short stories by Matheson, King, Palahniuk, and now Fowler).

10. Push by Sapphire (known as Precious on the big screen)

The story is narrated by a girl named Precious, pregnant with the second child by her father. She is determined to learn to read, get her G.E.D., and make a life for her and her children. I found this book much more graphic than the movie. Her accounts of her own childhood sexual abuse were at times disturbing to me, and her vulgar language and bluntness at times made me uncomfortable. But I realize this is what some girls and women deal with everyday. Her story is the story of real girls, though she's fictional. Written in her own words, you see how she gradually transitions to better literacy. There were a few times I was confused though, and didn't catch on to her meanings, such as when she referred to an incest support group as an "insect group". I literally didn't catch onto this until another character in the book corrected her.

So I give this book a 4/5. Not too bad, and a quick read. I read it in about 3-4 hours today.

(Also, I apologize for the Goodreads friend request I posted to this group a few days ago. I meant to post it to another group, but was thinking about this group/books when I did, so posted it here subconsciously. So it was deleted.)

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