Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Theodore Empress of Byzantium by Charles Diehl

Synpsis: A short biography of Theodora, a courtesan who married an Emperor and reigned with him over most of the civilizad world during the sixth century.

Review: I'm not sure why or when I purchased this book. I'm not sure why, after several years, I suddenly picked it up to read. I'm not sure if it's accurate. But I know this: Theodora was an interesting historical figure and I was intrigued to learn about her. Original written in French, this thin volume was well organized, well written and did not get bogged down in useless prose or jargon. It's a descent little book, if somewhat scarce on facts.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-29-2013
Pages: 200

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Going Out in Style by Daniel Kelley

Synopsis: A collection of short stories about Endings.

Review: This is a tidy, clever, delightful collection of short stories each dealing with the theme of “Ending” – career, life, relationship – even solitary. A fast read the pulled me in from the start, the work explored how people deal with the ending of things in their life. I cannot name my favorite story, as each had a different flavor and each left a different impression on me. Kelley’s work spanned the gambit of emotions – from humor and love to fear, hate and death. He also achieved the delicate balance between easy read and intellectual depth. I would recommend this collection to anyone who wants a deep quick read.
I received this book free as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-27-2013
Pages: eBook

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Homecoming by Anne B. Walsh (ebook)

Synopsis: Kidnapped as a child, Avani's reunion with her parents at 18 is difficult and confusing. Raised as the abused servant of rebelious minor noble, she now finds herself the only child of the Duke and Duchess, who hold power second only to the King. A prophecy decrees she must marry the King or risk the ruination of the Kingdom, but the King is narrow-minded, old, pompous - and determined to banish the all other races except humans. When she finds family and love with those other races, her loyalty is tested. Will Vani stay and fullfill her destiney - or carve her own path?

Review: I'm giving this book four bookmarks, with a caveat (see below)

THE GOOD:
The Idea: Brilliant! I gasped at the ending. It’s clever, intricate, unlike anything I remember reading.
The Plot: Despite a few minor holes, the plot moves the reader along, through action and a well-thought out world. It was a pleasure to visit Ms. Walsh's imagination. She has a knack for creating a unique universe.

THE BAD:
Length: Sweet Baby Jebuz, WAY too long. At 116,000 words (per the author), is far exceeds the industry standard for a YA novel (50,000 to 70,000). Lengthy internal monologues, redundant scenes, stories within the story stretching pages – to quote Strunk and White, Omit Needless Words. And by my count, needless words comprise half this book. The other option – separate the story into two books. The first few chapters, when Vani first comes to the Palace, should be its own story anyway. By not exploring Vani’s reunion with her parents, the emotional climax didn't hold me at all.
Characters: Too many. I understand, due to plot (which I won't spoil), there will be a greater number than normal amount of characters. However, at least 3, maybe 5 could be omitted or combined and the story would be better for it.
Show and Tell: The characters spent more time telling the reader about themselves then showing. It was tedious and made it hard to connect with them. Instead of the character talking to themselves about how other characters are this or that – show me. Show me through action, plot, scene – not internal yammering. I never felt Vani’s relationships because I was told she had them, rarely shown - particularly in the beginning.

THE CONCLUSION: With serious revision, this will be a fantastic book. The structure is there, the world, the concept – it is a solid foundation with a wickedly clever twist. While I cannot recommend this book in its current state, I should be glad to once it undergoes the mentioned edits. My caveat for four bookmarks is this: once fixed, this story might get seven or even eight bookmarks.

I received this book free as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Bookmarks: 4 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-24-2013
Pages: N/A

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis: Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy's secrets are revealed, leaving Winston's trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections. Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy's love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

Review: I enjoyed this story more then the others. The mystery was interesting and I was mostly convinced of their characters love - although they spent as much time as ever lusting over each other instead of loving. The big "twist" was cliched, sadly, and fell pray to the usually "must make it very dramatic" nonsense that makes me eschew modern television. However, I did enjoy watching the main characters resort their relationship and the defeat of the villain was clever. Not a bad read, if you like this sort of thing.

Prude Notes: The same - graphic sex that can be skipped if you are careful. I did and lost nothing from the story.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None
Date Finished: 3-17-2013
Pages: 448

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis: Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors. Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

Review: This was my least favorite of the three I read. The main characters felt shallow, the "horrible things in their past" where meh and the plot twist in the end was obvious. These might be overlooked, but this is a romance - and I never felt it. They spent most of the book lusting over each other and then - bam! - they love each other. Um, what? Not convincing. Sigh.

Bookmarks: 5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-17-2013
Pages: 389

Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins


Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem, a dictatorship that rose from the ruins of North America. As retribution for a failed rebellion 75 years ago, each year, the 12 Districts of Panem must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to the Capitol, where they are forced to fight in a arena until one remains. When Katniss takes the place of her sister as the District 12 tribute, she sets in motion a series of events that burn across the country. In the arena, her act of survival becomes the spark of the rebellion against the Capitol - a fight for freedom that will cost her all she loves, possibly her soul. Can she pay that price or will she lose herself before she makes it to freedom?
 
Review: You'd have to be living in hermit's hut to not know about this book. I don't usually read books of this sort due to the nightmares it can give me. But I finally relented, knowing you can't avoid good literature forever. And it was worth it. Collins write a story that weaves into your heart and never lets go. I haven't words to describe these books, other then go read them. A warning: they are not happy books. People complain the ending is too sorrowful, lacks hope and joy. This is true. Collins did not write a happy story. BUT, this is as it should be. The characters walks through fire, loss, suffering and pain. The ending is true to human nature, true to what would really happen to people who lived this. It's not happy, and it shouldn't be. It should be real. And it is.
 
NOTE: I do not usually review a trilogy together. But this is one story in my mind. I can't separate the books.
 
Bookmarks: 9 of 10
 
Awards: Several, including the California Young Reader Medal, and being Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of the Year" in 2008.
 
Date Finished: 3-17-2013
Pages: aprox. 1,200 for all three books

Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis: Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman. Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask. (from the back of the book)
Review: I purchased this book because it's the author's agent is one I hope to someday have. I make a point to read the agent's work so that I know what she represented. My thoughts on this work are jumbled but I'll try to hash them out.
The good: The mystery portion was well-done with a twisty plot, hidden clues and an excellent finish. She used classic story points:-A little Beauty and the Beast, a little Phantom of the Opera etc. Her characters had depth, flaws, roundness and dimensions.
The bad: Her world-building was mediocre - the paranormal elements didn't always mesh. They seemed disjointed and contrived at times. She lacked humor. A few quips, but nothing laugh out loud. The ugly: The nearly pornographic sex scenes. Most romances have sex scenes, but they are given a few words compared to the relationship development between the characters. This was opposite. Most the main characters interaction was sex, sex, and more sex - so when they finally said "I love you" I was confused. I was never convinced of they had true love. She could take a example for Georgette Heyer (who never had a sex scene at all) or Linnea Sinclair (were the sex is important but sparse) - in those works, it was the way the author conveyed the deep love between the characters that made the book memorable. Callihan seemed unable to do that so just had them screw each other all the time to make up for it.
Now that I've said all that, I will admit after finishing this, I purchase the next two.They're on sale and Callihan has a clear talent for mysteries that drag you in.

Prude Note: Several sex scenes, all can be skipped but one, as it's important to the story. However, this is not a good bood for those who are uncomfortable with graphic sex scenes.
Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-13-2013
Pages: 400

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Synopsis: It was hard enough for Mr. Popper to support himsef, Mrs. Popper, Bill and Janie Popper. The addition of twelve penguins to the family made it impossible to make both ends meet. Then Mr. Popper had a splendid idea - the talented penguins would be a sensation on the stage. And so they were...

Review: I picked this up because it's a Newbery. I read it because a dear friend said it was her favorite book at a child. It is the first Newbery I've read that didn't strike my heart. It's delightful and whimsically and silly - perfect for young children. But I'm still puzzling why it's a Newbery.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: Newbery Honor Book, 1939; Young Reader's Choice Award, 1940

Date Finished: 3-7-2013
Pages: 139

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Barking Mad: A Reginald Spiffington Mystery by Jamieson Ridenhour

Synopsis: The year is 1931. The scene is werewolfishly classic English fare. And tonight the moon hangs as full as a royal pie plate in this inaugural Reginald Spiffington mystery when the none too obsequious playboy, Reggie, sets out for a delectably long weekend at Huffsworthy Hall to assist his dear friend, Moony, in his failing endeavor to take the hand of his lady-love and to partake in the culinary talents of the genius chef running the kitchen. With no one reason more important than the next, he'll be off straight after breakfast. Reggie's itinerary for the weekend turns abruptly less toothsome when he decides to solve the unexpected murder of another of the Hall's guests, a guest whose luggage is secretly packed full of nefarious plans. Soon, all Huffsworthy's inhabitants are potential suspects, including Reggie's saucy, quick-witted love-interest, Mimsy Borogrove. Aided by his invaluable valet, Pelham, and armed only with his knowledge of detective novels and a newly acquired set of keener, canine senses, Reggie sets out to find the killer before another meal falls to ruin. (from the back of the book)

Review: I adored this book! Marvelous, light, funny, thrilling and engaging, I couldn't put it down. It's delightful, full of whimsy, but with depth and emotion, the mystery keen and intriguing. A proper who-dun-it with a dash of romance and chuckles, topped with a twist of wolfy bite. If P.G.Wodehouse and Agatha Christie had a child who wrote werewolf novels, this would be it. I wait, with eagerness, for more!

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-5-2013
Pages: 170

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Deceived by Paul Kemp (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book Two)

Synopsis: A Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords, Darth Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace will transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be but cannot stop becoming, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching. Her name is Aryn Leneer—and the lone Jedi Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. Now she’s going to find out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a novelization of event from the online MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. Darth Malgus razed the Jedi Temple on Coruscant about three years before the game begins. There is a video of the fight between Malgus and Zarrow here. It's called Deceived, same as the novel.
This was an okay book. It's my first Star Wars novel (dispite living with a man who owns all of them - and yes, I do mean ALL of them). I picked it up, along with Revan and Fatal Alliance, because I play SW:TOR and it's my favorite MMORPG of all that I've played. I was hoping this book would flesh-out the bare bones story of this event in the game. It did, kind of. I'm not sure if that was the author's doing or the constraints he was placed under by the game makers. For this reason, I won't blame the author, being that I should read his original work and how it compares to this before passing judgement on his abilities. That beings said, I'd rather they'd gotten some of the other Star Wars writers - like Zahn - to write this story. It was a good story, but it lacked humor, depth, connection to the characters - I'm not sure. I have no particular complaint, just a vague "meh" about the story. I appreciated how the author brought the four classes into the story (if you play SWTOR, you understand this, if not....sorry).
This book will appeal to any Star Wars fan, but I know there are better Star Wars stories out there.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-2-2013
Pages: 352

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair

Synopsis: Independent trader Trilby Elliot is making some not-quite-legal modifications to her starfreighter, when an unexpected visitor falls out of space. Literally. He’s crashed onto the uninhabited planet of Avanar in a crippled ’Sko fighter–the last place you’d expect to find a Zafharin military officer because the ’Sko and the Zafharin have been at war as long as Trilby can remember.

Rhis Vanur is your typically arrogant Zafharin. But to Trilby’s surprise, he doesn’t look down on her or her slapdash ship. Still, Trilby’s learned the hard way that even though she found Rhis, she can’t keep him. She’s just a low-budget jump jockey as far as men like him are concerned. She’s not falling for his offer to help…until Port Rumor reports her best friend missing and Trilby learns that the ’Sko are hunting both her and Rhis. Now they’re in it together for better, for worse–or till death blasts them to oblivion.... (from the back of the book)

Review: I've read almost ever Sinclair book. This is not her best. BUT, it's still a fine read. Her characters didn't have the completeness of later books, but the plot is complex, the world-building is intriguing and it's pace-paced enough to keep the reader's attention. Her Dock Five series and Games of Command are better, but that's too be expected as she matured as a writer. I recommend this to any Sinclair fan, and indeed, anyone looking for science fiction romance.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards:  2001 Sapphire Award; 2003 EPPIE Award, for Fantasy/Science Fiction/Paranormal Romance

Date Finished: 2-20-2013
Pages: 480

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: The Mammoth Book of Futurustic Romance ed. by Trisha Telep

Synopsis: This book is precisely what the title suggests: a collection of short romantic stories with a science fiction / futurist setting, some on Earth, some not.

Review: I purchased this mainly for the Linnea Sinclair stories, as it's the only thing she's published in several years. She contributed two stories. The first was an epilogue of sorts to Games of Command, and it was marvelous to see these two characters again. The second of her stories was new and just as marvelous - combining science fiction with a touch of fantasy and a sweet bit of romance.
As for the rest of the stories, they were the usual grap-bag in an anthology. Several were excellent, but at least two were not good at all, and several were just "meh." At least two sent me looking for more work by the authors and one was repulsive and I didn't enjoy at all. A wide range, I must say. I recommend to anyone interesting in science fiction romance, and a must-buy for Linnea Sinclair fans.

Prude Note: Several of the stories, including Sinclair's, had no sex scene at all, although it is alluded too. At least two had rather graphic scenes and given that's it a short story, it's harder to skip. Most contained your standard romance heavy breathing, nothing graphic but it's clear what's happening.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-19-2017
Pages: 512

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: The Tainted City by Courtney Schaffer (The Shattered Sigils, Book Two)

Synopsis: Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he’s now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran — former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive — does their bidding.
But Kiran isn’t Dev’s only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he can’t reach her in time, and the days are fast slipping away. So when the Council offers Dev freedom in exchange for his and Kiran’s assistance in a clandestine mission to Ninavel, he can’t refuse, no matter how much he distrusts their motives.
Once in Ninavel the mission proves more treacherous than even Dev could have imagined. Betrayed by allies, forced to aid their enemies, he and Kiran must confront the darkest truths of their pasts if they hope to save those they love and survive their return to the Tainted City. (from the back of the book)

Review: I purchased this book two seconds after I put the first one down. The first was good; this one was better. Clever twists, cruel people, love in peril - fantastic. It ended on a cliff-hanger, kind of. The book's story came to an end, but the over-arching story of the trilogy did not. I'm eager for the third story!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-17-2013
Pages: 380

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schaffer (The Shattered Sigils, Book One)

Synopsis: Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel - where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark - into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution - and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet Kiran isn't the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other - or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked up this book for one reason: the author is a mountain climber who managed to work mountain climbing into a fantasy novel. I was not disappointed. This is fantastic read. Characters are well-rounded, with depth and fire and flaws, the world-building has layers and twists and logic and the plot was believable and well-crafted. I highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-15-2013
Pages: 300

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: The Cestus Concern by Mat Nastos

Synopsis: WHO IS MALCOLM WEIR? Waking up in an operating room, much to the surprise of the attending surgeons, Malcolm Weir frantically fights his way out of a secret government installation, located in downtown Los Angeles. Battling through a mass of armed guards and meta-gene operatives, the cyborg warrior realizes he has no memory of how he got there.

The past 11 months are gone.

With a hole in his mind, Weir must retrace his steps for the past year, fighting his way through the nearly endless horde of super powered mercenaries and assassins the government sends after him.

Travel along with Weir, facing some of the most intense action ever put to paper, along with a body count of ridiculous proportions, as he tracks down the secrets trapped in his head.

In the end, Weir must stand alone against a former friend and a squad of the deadliest killers ever created, all to learn the terrifying truth behind Project: Hardwired. (from the online description)

Review:
Read this book. Here’s why:
I picked it up with an attitude of “well, I got it for free, so I better read it and review it”. By page 2, I’d scoffed at least twice and made a snide comment about the rehashed opening (man wakes up in mysterious government facility, not quite human anymore? Please). By chapter 2, I’d commented to the Husband at least 3 times about the prose doused in clich├ęd phrase (green with envy, again?). By chapter 5, I’d laughed out loud once, gasped in surprise twice and tried to guess the mystery by staring off into space for a solid 5 minutes. By chapter 9, I’d sighed over another rehashed plot point, felt bad for the main character (dude could not get a break), found a typo and refused to put the book down long enough to pee (if you can take a phone to the potty, you can take a kindle – am I right?) By chapter 12, I’d been told, by the Husband, to “shut up about how bad the book is because if it’s so bad, why haven’t done anything but read since you came home for work. You didn’t even make dinner!” (Poor man. He’d starve if it weren’t for frozen pizza – which can be made with one hand while reading a kindle). By chapter 15, I read wide-eyed and breathless and by the last chapter, I firmly declared the Cestus Concern to be a marvelous book!
Nastos’s book is a fantastic story. Albeit, one that reads like a comic book, contains cheesy plot devices and somewhat shallow characters.  It’s a B movie – you know it’s bad and that’s why you watch it. Because it’s fun, it’s entertaining, it’s precisely what you want to watch – you don’t get dragged through the emotional ringer or some overinflated Hollywood producer’s world ideology shoved down your gullet or get left at the end going “um, what?”. The hero wins, bad guy loses and you spend the time wishing you could have the nanotech healing or a giant bulldozer or fancy metal arms because – dude, how cool would that be!
In conclusion, I will recommend this to others and I will be purchasing the next in the series!
I received this book free as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-13-2013
Pages: N/A (ebook)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: An Infidel in Paradise by S. J. Laidlaw

Synopsis: Set in Pakistan, this is the story of a teen girl living with her mother and siblings in a diplomatic compound. As if getting used to another new country and set of customs and friends isn't enough, she must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate. (from Amazon)

Review: Laidlaw’s book stirs up the emotions in a spectacular way. Her prose took me through the gambit – laughter, sorrow, anger, wonder, fear, love and finally – hope. She creates real characters, people I feel I might meet one day. She drew a picture of Pakistan both heavy and light, filled with sorrow and joy – which in my limit time in the country, I know to be a true representation of that place. She places a common trauma - the dissolution of a couple’s marriage – into a unique setting – a broiling Islamic nation – and she does it well.
Laidlaw’s prose is surprisingly polished for a first time fiction author, although it retained some roughness of inexperience. However, if this is her first attempt, I shall eagerly await her future endeavors.
I highly recommend this book, in particular anyone with interest in Central Asia.
I received this book free as part of the EarlyReveiwer Program on LibraryThing, in exhcnage for my fair and personal review.

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 2-3-2013
Pages: 320

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

Synopsis: When the irascible Lord Darracott's eldest son dies unexpectedly, the noble family must accept their estranged Yorkshire cousin as heir apparent. They are convinced he will prove to be a sadly vulgar person, but nothing could have prepared the beleaguered family for the arrival of Major Hugo Darracott . His clever and beautiful cousin Anthea is sure there's more to the gentle giant than Hugo's innocent blue eyes and broad Yorkshire brogue would lead one to believe. But even she doesn't guess what he's capable of, until a family crisis arises and only Hugo can preserve the family's honor, leading everybody on a merry chase in the process . . .  (from the back of the book)
Review: Heyer is, of course, a favorite author. I'll read anything by her and I'm assured an enjoyable time. While this wasn't my favorite of her work, it was everything I expected - humorous, warm, charming, intriguing and all that nonsense. If you enjoy Jane Austen or Agatha Christie, you will enjoy this.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 1-28-2013
Pages: 384

Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: The Lady Most Willing....by Julia Quinn, Elosia James and Connie Brockway

Synopsis: Taran Ferguson, laird of his clan, is determined that his ancient (if not so honorable) birthright be secured before he dies. When both his nephews refuse to wed, the old reprobate takes matters into his own hands: he raids a ball and makes off with four likely brides . . .

Miss Marilla Chisholm—the bonniest lass in Scotland, and an heiress to boot.

Miss Fiona Chisholm—her older sister, another fine choice (but for that tiny stain on her reputation).

Lady Cecily Tarleton—true, she's an English beauty, but very, very rich.

Miss Catriona Burns—without name or fortune, clearly someone made a mistake.

Oh, yes. And one very irate duke.

Because somewhere there must be one lady most willing to love a Scottish lord. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this up because 1) It's Julia Quinn and 2) I read the other novel-in-three-parts she wrote and enjoyed it. This was humorous, sweet and slightly beyond the bounds of believability - but then, we don't read romance novels because they are believable, right? A light, easy, warm-fuzzy read, I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to romance novel readers.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 1-9-2013
Pages: 384

Review: Libromancer by Jim C. Hines

Synopsis: Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . . (from the back of the book)

Review: There isn't a lot I can say about this book that will be anything other than the dribble of a rabid fan girl. Hines' created a world that every bibliophile dreams of and he did it was imagination, warmth, humor and adventure. Buy this book. Read it. That's the only way you will understand.
PS: Hines' get serious points for using one of my favorite books of all time as a pivotal plot point.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None (Yet)

Date Finished: 12-31-20132
Pages: 400

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Christmas Stories ed. by Diana Secker Tesdell

Synopsis: A collection of stories revolving around Christmas. Each has a unique flavor, setting, moral and tone. The stories span authors from the past 200 years, including Dickens, Tolstoy, O'Henry etc.

Review: I read this just before Christmas because, well, obviously. I didn't like it. The stories seemed abnormally morose, as if the editor wanted us all depressed for the holidays. I can't recall one that I enjoyed. This is a shame. The book itself is handsome, small and solid, quite pretty. But the stories - eesh. I can handle poignant, bittersweet, even sad - but bleak and meloncholy? Not very Christmas-y to me.

Bookmarks: 4 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 12-17-2012
Pages: 40o

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ramble: Deep Fried Behinds


I'm rather behind on my book reviewing.

Okay, not rather behind. Very Behind. Egregiously Behind. So Behind I'm being lapped....

Yes, that was a NASCAR reference. No, I don't watch it. But I'm related by blood and law to people who do. And no one does Red-Neck Food like a racetrack. Whoa, boy - you need something deep fried that was never intended to be deep fried - a racetrack is the place to find it. 

Where was I? Right, book reviews....

11. That's how many books I've read and not reviewed. Actually, the number is 9 because 2 books I wrote a review of for LibraryThing because they gave me the books free if I wrote a one.

Which is AWESOME! Because...FREE BOOKS! And all you have to do is give an opinion. Which I do anyway. always. about everything.

My third one arrives in a few weeks. YEE-HAW!

Where was I? Right, book reviews...

I'm going to write them. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my....oh, look! New book in the mail. Be right back.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Aquisitions: Gift Cards are the BEST!

I have not been diligent about my Acquisitions posts. Perhaps because I acquire so many books, it is a bit trying to post every time I add a new tome to my collection.

That being said, I'm going to attempt to keep up - as I'm using only gift cards and Christmas money for my year's book buying needs. Of course, when I run out of money there, I'll just pilfer the home coffers for my purchases.

Now, on to the more serious business of my most recent phat lewtz.*

Amazon Gift Card:

Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair

The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer (The Shattered Sigil, Book Two)

The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance ed. by Trisha Telep

Barking Mad: A Reginald Spiffington Mystery by Jamieson Ridenhour

Barnes and Noble Gift Card:
Reven (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book One)

Deceived (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book Two)

Fatal Alliance (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book Three)

Hard Contact (Star Wars: Republic Commando, Book One)

*This horrific spelling is an inside joke. I'm sure all you properly read folk cringed. You'll get over it.