April 25th, 2020

Book 27 - 2018

Book 27: Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich - 305 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie's name is on the killer's list. Short on time to find the murderer, Stephanie is also under pressure from family and friends to choose between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie's mom wants her to dump them both for a former high school football star who's just returned to town. Stephanie's sidekick, Lula, suggests a red-hot boudoir "bake-off." And Joe's old-world grandmother gives Stephanie "the eye," which may mean that it's time to get out of town. With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie's life looks like it's about to go up in smoke.

Another quick read, partly due to the repetitiveness, partly due to the simple plot. I'd worked out half a book before Stephanie who the bad guy was (it was sooo obvious!). A huge amount of exposition in the last ten pages was also a little frustrating given the nonsense that happens in the first 200 pages. Nonetheless, its a nice light read, perfect for the 4 hour flight I read most of it on!

27 / 50 books. 54% done!

8393 / 15000 pages. 56% done!

Currently reading:
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- Record of a Spaceborn Few
by Becky Chambers - 358 pages
- Artemis
by Andy Weir - 305 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- Patriot Games
by Tom Clancy - 616 pages

Book #19: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Number of pages: 478

This is a book that I read almost a decade ago, and reviewed here:https://gavluvsga.livejournal.com/1034913.html

Reading it again, I had forgotten about the opening chapters, which felt a bit like Moby Dick, which a hunt for what is believed to be a giant narwhal, which turns out to be Captain Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus.

A book set on board a submarine does not feel like science-fiction by today's standards, but back in the 19th Century, when this book was written, it definitely feels years ahead of its time; I noticed reading this that, some 150 or so years before apps such as Uber existed, Captain Nemo was able to summon the Nautilus by sending it a telegram.

I enjoyed reading this again; Captain Nemo is a fascinating character, as it's hard to tell whether he's meant to be good or bad, and I found it easy to forget the Professor Arronax, Conseil and Ned Land were prisoners on board the Nautilus, unable to leave.

My favourite parts of the book were the descriptions of sea life; I wasn't sure if any of it had any basis in fact, or just came from Jules Verne's imagination, and also their visit to the mythical sunken city of Atlantis. The book also contained a large number of footnotes, explaining some background into Verne and his sources, and even showing plot holes in the narrative.

I'm very glad that some friends bought me a nice hardback copy of this book for my birthday, which was the reason I decided to re-read it; this is definitely something that I could return to, again and again.

Next book: Map Addict (Mike Parker)
Giles and books

Books 24-25

Chronicles of the Last Liturian: Book 1 - The Diary of Oliver LeeChronicles of the Last Liturian: Book 1 - The Diary of Oliver Lee by Kenneth Rogers Jr.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got this book from the author at Rathacon. It has an interesting premise, a young boy has stumbled upon a used book store that the members of his family know vaguely but have never been in. They're not even sure if it's open in their small town but that it's been there for a long time. He's been working up his nerve to go inside for a while.

Once there he's given the titular diary of Oliver Lee. The boy begins to read the diary and it has an interesting set up. Oliver has become a figure of legend, something people have taken to calling a Liturian. He possesses the ability to write people's stories. They come to him in dreams (waking or sleeping) and once the story is out of him, Oliver tried to find the people to give them their stories. The ones in the diary are the ones he couldn't give back.

The rest of the book are these stories. To be honest there is a feel that these were stories the author had written and didn't know what else to do with them and came up with this frame work for them which is kind of a cool idea. There doesn't seem to be much of a thematic thread to them but most of them are about life and our choices. That said I'm also not a giant fan of contemporary fiction which is what these are.

Still it was an enjoyable short book.

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Who Slays the Wicked (Sebastian St. Cyr, #14)Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those series I just love. Harris rarely disappoints with these characters. It would have gotten five stars except for a few things that bugged me. I'm really hoping this doesn't fall into the same trap Perry's books did (for me it's a problem, maybe not for you) where more and more of the politics of the times start working in. Certainly Hero's father (Sebastian's so-not-biggest fan) is cousin to the King so there will be some of it. Last book was a bit too political for me. This one was much less so but there is some of it but it wasn't overbearing, having to do with the Russians trying to keep an Anglo-Dutch alliance from happening and of course Napoleon and the war. The other thing that bothered me was a lot of repetition (I'll get into that as I go).

Ashworth, the villain of the past book, is now dead, leaving Sebastian's young niece, Stephanie as a potential killer in spite of being in another of Ashworth's estates with their newborn twins. Ashworth was a sadist who loved gambling and sleeping with as many women as possible, from the high born to street whores the younger the better. He and his friends had been killing children for fun in previous books but were politically untouchable.

No one is sad to see Ashworth dead, except maybe his father and his friend Felix Page. Stephanie was glad to see him dead and Sebastian even more happy about it with the exception of the fact that Stephanie is a very good suspect especially when rumors about her and the twins come to light. It is for her sake that he investigates at all.

So many people want Ashworth dead, Sebastian has his hands full, especially when the Russian princesses, including one who also likes BDSM games (not that they were called that in those days) are linked to Ashworth both sexually and with the political games they are playing. More bodies begin piling up and the King wants this solved because Ashworth is high born (and again all the politics involved).

I always enjoy Sebastian and Hero (who spends the novel investigating the poorest of the poor, the night soil men, the pure finder and rag and bone men which helps Sebastian with clues from people no one even notices). I did get tired of every chapter him worrying that he couldn't clear Stephanie, so much repetition there. Other than that, I truly enjoyed it and can't wait to dive into the next book.

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