March 6th, 2010

Books 4, 5 & 6 - 2010

Book 4: Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton – 302 pages

Description from
The time has come for Meredith Gentry to put aside her detective work and fulfill her ultimate obligation to the world of Faerie - where her efforts to conceive an heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court are crucial to restoring magic, and life itself, to the Fey kingdom. And though her quest to produce an heir may be full of sensual pleasures, it is also fraught with peril: the shadows of intrigue stalk the royal court, and sabotage lurks at any turn. Merry's cousin schemes and plots, determined to see her fall. But, in the once-dead gardens of the world of faerie, something has re-awakened an all-powerful, malign magic. And Merry's own powers have turned wildly - dangerously - unpredictable. As plots and counterplots are hatched and strategies and subterfuges played out, the destiny of an entire world turns upon the fortunes of Merry Gentry: object of obsession, target of treachery and pawn of uncertain fate.

Do you know what’s funny about this book? It’s the fact that despite enjoying this Merry Gentry book more than many of the others, it actually has no plot. None whatsoever. It is simply designed to move the story from one point (the end of A Stroke of Midnight) to another (the beginning of A Lick of Frost). It is simply a series of events; there is no problem that comes to light at the beginning that needs to be resolved by the end. And yet, whilst I was able to identify this, and the ridiculousness of the fact that Merry had sex with three different men in the space of approximately 2 hours, I still enjoyed this book. These books are an easy read for me; it took me about a week of journeys to and from work on the train to finish it, which is fast for me. I figure this series is my ‘Twilight’: trashy, lazily written, repetitive, but quite the guilty pleasure!

4 / 50 books. 8% done!

1294 / 15000 pages. 9% done!

Book 5: A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton – 342 pages

Description from
You know me. I am Meredith Gentry, princess and heir apparent to the throne in the realm of Faerie; one-time private investigator in the mortal world. To be crowned queen, I must continue the royal bloodline - I must produce an heir. To fail would allow my aunt, Queen Andais, to do what she most desires: to place her twisted son, Cel, upon the throne of Faerie...and kill me. I am surrounded by loyal guards, my best loved - sworn to protect and to love me - yet for all our eager efforts, I remain childless. My sinister Queen and her confederates conspire against me and so my bodyguards and I have slipped back into Los Angeles. But it seems exile is not enough to escape those with dark designs upon us. King Taranis, vain glorious ruler of Faerie's Seelie court, has accused my guards of a heinous crime and asked the mortal authorities to pursue them. If he succeeds, my men will face a hideous fate. I know Taranis' charges are baseless - for his true target is me. He tried to kill me when I was a child. Now I fear his intentions are far more terrifying.

I picked this book up straight after reading Mistral’s Kiss and as I had to catch a plane the next day for work, got to put some substantial time into reading it and reading it quickly. And it was good! This one actually had a plot, which was awesome! Taranis is a nutter, Merry still needs to keep her legs together (she only slept with two guys this time around and they weren’t total strangers – woah!) and the twist with Frost broke my heart even though his constant whining and pouting gets to me (and Merry going on and on about how handsome he is – Twilight much?!?!). His background gave a lot more dimension to his character and I could really see him in my head as the young Frost. I think that’s the one thing that really engages me with this series – I feel like I really I can really imagine what’s going on. I’m not sure if that’s any talent on Hamilton’s part or it’s just because I love the mythology she’s based her story on. Either way, I know I shouldn’t, but I just love these books! They’re like Mills and Boon for fantasy lovers – absolute twaddle but you keep reading them anyway!

5 / 50 books. 10% done!

1636 / 15000 pages. 11% done!

Book 6: Temping Fate by Esther Friesner – 279 pages

Description from
Until she stumbled upon the Divine Relief Temp Agency, Ilana Newhouse was having trouble finding a summer job. But when she reports for her day as a temp Ilana discovers she's temping for the Greek mythological goddesses, the Fates.

I can’t remember where I heard about this book, but I love anything to do with the Greek gods, so of course, I had to get it. And then, I got halfway through reading it, really into it, and found that there was a fault with my copy and half the pages were missing, while other pages had been duplicated. Fail! So, finally, I got a new copy and was able to finish it. And it was good! A bit young but funny. Part of the twist I saw coming, part of it totally took me by surprise. I think this would be more enjoyed by someone (preferably girls) around 14 to 17, but the idea is clever and the characters are engaging. A nice, light little read.

6 / 50 books. 12% done!

1915 / 15000 pages. 13% done!

Currently reading:
- From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology
edited by Lawrence Cahoone – 600 pages
- Next
by Michael Crichton – 540 pages
- The Constant Princess
by Philippa Gregory – 486 pages
- Divine By Blood
by P.C. Cast – 443 pages

And coming up:
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown – 620 pages
- The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls – 341 pages
- Swallowing Darkness
by Laurell K. Hamilton – 365 pages

I am now 514 pages through the Modernism anthology. Yay! Getting there!
Dead Dog Cat


Last night, I finished reading a Fables graphic novel called The Great Fables Crossover, which had been run in three titles two of which had been spinoffs from Fables. I don't think this book is up to the Fables normal quality, and that's that. For example, I'd never read the Literals spinoff, have dumped Jack Horner's spinoff, and also dumped Cinderella's spinoff. So, grumpy old me...
  • cat63

Book 16 for 2010

The Sharing Knife : Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold 348 pages

Even as a huge fan of Bujold's I have to concede that this is probably not her best book. The characters and worldbuilding are intriguing as ever, but the pacing seems a little off - particularly at the beginning of the book when nothing particularly important seems to happen for quite some time. I think the whole thing would have worked rather better had it been a single volume with the previous book, as I seem to recall hearing was the way it was written.

It's almost impossible to say much about the plot without spoilers for the previous book, so the rest goes under a cut :-

Collapse )

bright-sided by shining elephant metadomes

I've actually read 13 books so far this year but I'm too lazy to review all of them right now. So here's the first five. :P

Rating guide:

**** +1, would read again
*** it was certainly better than staring at the wall for hours on end
** well, at least i'm not dumber for having read this
* this shit made me briefly consider that twilight may not be so bad after all

On to the reviews!

Under the Dome by Stephen King *****
I would call this King at his best. I also think it can serve as a really interesting companion novel to The Stand. The premise is completely different, of course, but in both books, the premise is not really the point, anyway. If The Stand is about community-building, Under the Dome is about a community eating itself alive. The Stand's big conflict was a battle between very real -- and very clearly separate -- forces of good and evil; Under the Dome is about the good and evil that lurks within each of us and how easy it is to confuse the two. But don't worry: even though the larger themes may be Very Serious, the book is a helluva lot of fun. There's plenty of suspense, sarcasm, horror, and small woodland creatures being cut in half to satisfy just about anyone.

WARNING: There is a rape scene that is pretty hardcore. If you are triggered by depictions of sexual violence, please be careful.

The Shining by Stephen King ****
I gave this four stars because there were definitely large parts of this that were page-turners -- the parts where I knew something horrible was about to happen, and I couldn't possibly go to sleep with that looming in my mind. Ultimately, though, I found The Shining largely forgettable.

MetaGame by Sam Landstrom ***
HALLELUJAH: the very first free Kindle download that didn't make me want to bash my head repeatedly into a brick wall. This is a VERY weird book. For the 99 cents it now costs, I think it's worth giving a go. More importantly, I think Landstrom could improve to the point of being a really great sci-fi writer. Ze's certainly got plenty of wild ideas.

Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich ****
Ehrenreich is most well-known for Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, but ze's a prolific writer on a variety of topics. In Bright-Sided, ze takes on the "positive thinking" meme that is so prevalent in American culture. I'm a pessimistic cynic and definitely share Ehrenreich's annoyance at people constantly instructing others to "think positive." And, whaddaya know, there's no scientific basis to the idea that positive thinking will lead to positive results. Or, no matter what Joel Osteen tells you, imagining yourself as a rich person will not cause a million dollars to appear in your bank account.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen ****
This is an adorable book. The narration style is one I usually find very annoying and distracting: the real story is about young Jacob Jankowski joining a travelling circus in Depression-era America, but it is interrupted with flashes to the present, where nanogenarian-Jacob is beginning to go senile in a nursing home. The plot is imperfect in many ways -- there is a "big reveal" that is completely unnecessary and really cheapens what could be a great period piece -- but Gruen has done zir homework and we certainly get an uncensored look at circus life during the 30s.
I has a stik

Books #1-10

Hi all. This is my first post to this community. I found out about this place through
bookish. I don't usually think about how many books I read (except sometimes when I keep lists during uni breaks) so I thought it would be fun to try it this year. I've chosen the generic 50 book target as a starting place. Depending on how I go this year, I might up it next year. However, I am a fairly prolific reader, so to make it a bit more challenging for myself I'm only counting NEW books (i.e. books I've never read before) towards my total, and that's all I'll talk about here. For my lists of Manga/Graphic Novels (which I've also decided not to count) and Rereads, see my journal.

OK, that's enough of the boring introductory stuff. Here is my list of the first 10 books I've read. Discussions of/reviews for some of the books are under the cuts.

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. The Princess Diaries 9 by Meg Cabot
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. Spring-Heeled Jack by Philip Pullman
  5. The Princess Diaries 10 by Meg Cabot
  6. Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman
  7. Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote
  8. Lord Sunday by Garth Nix
  9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  10.  Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )

Caleb- snug as a bug!

Book 13: Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4)

Dead to the World (reread)
Charlaine Harris
Fiction; mystery; paranormal romance
291 pages
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

This book is my very favorite (thus far) in the series. It mainly is due to the fact that Eric is my favorite character in the series and I love how the story centered around him. I am really enjoying rereading this series because I am able to pick up on things that I didn't the first time. Plus, it is great to refresh my memory of what happens throughout the series before "True Blood" is back for it's third season!

***Next read: I started reading Dead as a Doornail, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and I am still reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

10 to 12

I have finished three rather different books; an anthropological/zoological look at humans, a classic of English literature, and a young adult Maori book. Book ten was Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape which I first read in high school and so remembered how well written it was, and how clear it explains many aspects of human behaviour. Book eleven was Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and I enjoyed it, though I had the usual irritation of wanting to shout "Get a Job!" when characters were sad that they only had one thousand pounds per year. Well, don't accept it, do something! Anyway, very well written. As I want to teach English next year I had better up my literature knowledge and so in the bid to get to know Maori literature better, I read The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera. It was excellent, and I will make up a lesson plan on the book tomorrow.
I am not doing so well on the page count, as my twelve books only sum up to 2571 pages, only a bit more than 200 pages a book. Ah well, most enjoyable.