Well, the resolution to update more often than once every five books went to hell in the proverbial handbasket.
I read The Goblin Tower by L. Sprague DeCamp. It's... very silly in just the way I like fantasy to be. It smells ever so faintly of Conan, and I found myself describing it to the boyfriend by saying "Conan is to Hercules as this guy is to Theseus", by which I meant that the main character of The Goblin Tower manages to survive with a bit more use of brains than brawn, but that you could easily insert him into Conan's world or Conan into his world and they'd fit just perfectly. This guy, whose name I forget because I can't ever remember characters' names, happened to become king of a country that kills its king every five years. He manages to escape from the axe at the very last minute with the help of his otherwise generally useless sorcerer friend, to whom he now owes a favor, and they trek across their world avoiding death at every turn. It's apparently the first in a series, but it stands alone just fine.
Then I finally buckled down and finished The Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon by Gideon Defoe. I'd been keeping it as a purse book for months (to read during unexpected waits at doctors' offices or mechanics') before replacing it with something I was more interested in and forgetting it. The Pirates! books lend themselves better to slow reading than fast, and best of all to being read out loud. This one continues their trend of hilarious randomness. In this, The Pirate Captain gets fed up with piracy and decides he wants to be a beekeeper instead. True to form, he buys a deed off of Black Bellamy, his nemesis, and goes off to Elba which, he is told, will be perfect for raising bees. Little does he suspect that Napoleon is also in exile there and Napoleon is just as much a vain idiot as The Pirate Captain. Slapping fights ensue.
Then it was Shield by Poul Anderson. I find I like Mr. Anderson's shorter novels far more than his longer ones. This one was about medium but just fine. It's the story of a guy who is in possession of a personal force field. The government, and other governments, find out about it and he is forced to go on the lam to keep them from killing him or taking the shield by force.
Then it was Scavenger Hunt by Christopher Pike. I was obsessed with Pike books when I was about thirteen and recently picked up a pile of them at the library's ten cent paperback sale in hopes of rediscovering the awesome. I'd been disappointed by the two I'd read earlier but this one stood up a bit better to my memory. It's about a group of teens sent off on a scavenger hunt that turns out to be evil. It's not high-class literature by any means, but it's fun.
And last I read Fever by Robin Cook, which I absolutely hated. The story itself is well written enough and plenty gripping, but the main character, a father/scientist/doctor who finds out his daughter has a particularly awful form of leukemia, is such a terrible person that I really couldn't overlook it. He spends all of his time stomping about and screaming at people that don't deserve to be screamed at. He hits his wife. He hits his son. He makes things absolutely impossible for absolutely everybody, he takes his son's college tuition and spends it on lab mice, and rather than his wife leaving him and his daughter dying, he manages to, completely luckily, save her life at the very last minute and, surprise, they're all a big happy family again. Things like this happen, of course, bad people get lucky breaks, but I hated the guy so much that I couldn't enjoy the book.
(91/100 Odds of making it = slim)
Title: Death In Kashmir
Author: M. M. Kaye
Page Count: 256
Synopsis/Thoughts: Note: I stole the synopsis from Goodreads, because I'm too lazy to do one of my own right now. When young Sarah Parrish takes a skiing vacation to Gulmarg, a resort nestled in the mountains above the fabled Vale of Kashmir, she anticipates an entertaining but uneventful stay. But when she discovers that the deaths of two in her party are the reuslt of foul play, she finds herself entrusted with a mission of unforseen importance. And when she leaves the ski slopes for the Waterwitch, a private houseboat on the placid shores of the Dal Lake near Srinagar, she discovers to her horror that the killer will stop at nothing to prevent Sarah from piecing the puzzle together.
I really liked this mystery set in India at the end of British Raj. In addition to being a suspenseful murder mystery with an ending I didn't predict, it is an all-around well written book. The author spent much of her life in India, and it shows in the vivid descriptions of the scenery, which I found to be captivating. They made me wish I could see the places I was reading about! The characters are well-drawn, and there is a touch of romance as well, though not so much as to be overbearing. All in all this was a very enjoyable read and I plan on picking up the others in the series.
It irritates me to no end that the local Borders and Barnes & Noble doesn't carry Mike Resnick's books; I'm sure that they have their reasons, but if they're going to service their customer, then they should be ordering this. It just shows the stupidity of having some regional district manager ordering, instead of someone at the store, who speaks to people everyday about what they like, and why.
Anyway, that rant out of the way, I finished reading Mike Resnick's new novel, Starship: Flagship, set in his Birthright universe. It held together nicely, and was a quick, fun read, as were the several prior books in this particular series. Very readable.
Odd thing: Amazon says that the book is supposed to be released on 12/22. I used a gift card I'd gotten to order from them, and the book showed up in just a couple of days. Mistake? Well, I enjoyed it, in any case.