Friday, July 31, 2009

Books Read in July '09

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns (A)
Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1
by Geoff Johns (A)
Atlantis Awakening by Alyssa Day (B)
What She Wants by Lynsay Sands (dnf)
"Paradise" by Meljean Brook (from Wild Thing anthology) (B)
Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Brockmann (A)
"Wild Hearts in Atlantis" by Alyssa Day (from Wild Thing anthology) (B)
Dark Embrace by Brenda Joyce (B+)
Dark Rival by Brenda Joyce (B+)
Dark Seduction by Brenda Joyce (B+)
The Frasers: Clay by Ana Leigh (A)
A Match Made in Hell by Terri Garey (B+)
Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day (B)
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (A-)
Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley (B)
Because Your Vampire Said So by Michele Bardsley (B)
Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire by Michele Bardsley (B+)
I'm the Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley (B+)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (A)
Deep in the Heart by Sharon Sala (B)
Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge (A)
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (B+)
The Gamble by LaVyrle Spencer (A-)
That Camden Summer by LaVyrle Spencer (A)
The Trouble With Paradise by Jill Shalvis (B+)
Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi (B+)
Burn by Linda Howard (C)
The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews (B-)
Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas (B)
The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout (B)
Undone by Rachel Caine (B+)
No Ordinary Man by Suzanne Brockmann (C)
Taylor's Temptation by Suzanne Brockmann (B+)
Black Hills by Nora Roberts (dnf)
Something Shady by Pamela Morsi (B)
Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr (B)
Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson (dnf)
A Heart Speaks by LaVyrle Spencer (B)
Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (A)
The Dream of the Stone by Christine Askounis (A-)
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (A)
Too Far Gone by Marliss Melton (B)
Don't Let Go by Marliss Melton (C+)
Montana Creeds: Tyler by Linda Lael Miller (B)
Montana Creeds: Dylan by Linda Lael Miller (B)
Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller (B+)
Kiss Me While I Sleep by Linda Howard (C+)
All the Queen's Men by Linda Howard (A)
Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson (C+)

(July total: 45*, 2009 total: 270)
*novellas from one book count as one, "dnf" don't count at all

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Obviously, we are under construction here at my book diary. Not sure why I started this today because redoing a blog is such a pain. I'm not even sure if this is the template I'll stick with but I do like it so we'll see.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

So last night we watched the animated movie Green Lantern: First Flight, the latest installment from WarnerPremiere and it was pretty good. They screwed with the story lines of the beginning of Hal Jordan's induction into the Green Lantern Corps but it wasn't enough to get either of us upset. I didn't read comics until I met my husband and lately? I'm so far behind I can't remember what happened last in the buildup to Blackest Night but after watching that movie I'm picking Green Lantern up again. I know, I know, I don't already have enough to read, right? Well, Geoff Johns has been writing some awesome stuff these past few years and Green Lantern is his best work so far. The Husband was nice enough too to root through the piles of comics laying around to find all the issues I need so I expect to be spending Saturday working my way through two years of GL books. Can't wait :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Playing catch-up

I don't usually do "reviews" this way, but since my book choices have been eclectic lately I figured I might as well round 'em all up at once. Here goes...also, spoilers ahead!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I have no idea how that author managed to keep track of everything that happened in this book but he did an awesome job. A few things though...Reading blurbs on amazon and the like before I picked up this book gave me the picture of a guy and female autistic hacker type as his sidekick. When they "revealed" that the hacker is actually a hacker, well, the characters seemed to be much more affected than I was. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was written in 2002 and maybe the title of "hacker" was a little different then. The "hacker," Lisbeth Salander, was such an interesting character and I can't wait to see how she deals with Mikael Blomkvist in the next book. Also, changing the title from Men Who Hate Women may certainly have been the smart choice when it came to marketing and all that rot but in my humble opinion, was the proper title. Some of the crimes described were absolutely horrific and were beyond anything I had read before. Having said that, the crimes aren't what this book is really about and if you like intriguing books that grab you from the start, look no further. Grade: A

Michele Bardsley's Broken Heart, Oklahoma series: A big surprise. I'm not sure why I started collecting these books. Before I knew it, I had the first four sitting on my bookshelf. They were not what I expected, let me tell you. I just figured they were related but uninvolved romances based on vampires in a OK town. They actually were strongly connected and focus on a town of supernaturals. Vampires and werewolves basically bought a town that was dying and made it into a place where "parakind" can live in peace. Well, sort of. It starts when eleven single parents are turned into vampires all in one night. The Consortium (the vamps and wolfies) help these poor folks with their transition since they are the ones who are partially responsible for the murderous rampage of one of their members. This series puts an interesting twist on the origin of vampires that I don't think I've seen before. Grade: B/B+

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge: From the start this series starter sounded more interesting to me than Pure Blood, Kittredge's werewolves series. Street Magic in set in London and involves a cop and a long-lost sorcerer from her past. Pete Caldecott was infatuated with Jack Winter as a teenager. He sang in a punk band and was her older sister's boyfriend. One night Jack took Pete to a crypt and performed some magic that ended up with Pete thinking Jack was dead. Actually, she blocked out what happened that night and went on with her life, grieving for Jack. Ten years later, she finds out he's alive, he's a heroin addict, and he hates her guts. Pete's investigating the kidnapping of children throughout London and Jack becomes her ace-in-the-hole. Okay, I liked this book. I, too, need a time machine so I can go forth into the future and read to my heart's delight. There were some questions that arose while I was reading it but they weren't that important. Can't wait for Demon Bound, the next Pete and Jack book, to come out so that it might answer some of my questions. Grade: A

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong: As good if not better than the first one, The Summoning. Chloe Saunders discovers that she and many other kids her age were lab rats. The Edison Group, a nefarious number of adults, attempted to breed children that had, hmm, adjusted dna. When their powers manifest they are sent to the group home, Lyle House, that most of the action in The Summoning occurred. This time, Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori are on the run after discovering that the Edison Group is murdering the kids they decide are failures. Chloe is a necromancer, Derek is a werewolf, and Simon and Tori are witches. Chloe and Derek get closer but not close enough but it's nice how Armstrong hasn't totally paired all the characters off into couples but it does seem obvious which way they will go in the end. Make sense? Probably not :) Grade: A

It does seem that I give out A grades quite a bit, doesn't it? I'm not really that deep when it comes to criticizing books. Don't get me wrong - I like what I like but I'm not going to tear up a book just for being an easy read. A comparison: I really don't like critics who only like fancy films or books that are considered literature instead of fiction. Don't rip something to shreds without keeping in perspective what you should expect. I always respected reviews that came from Roger Ebert for movies; if he likes something, it's good. Even if it's Eddie Murphy instead of some Miramax-type indie film (I like Eddie Murphy too, sometimes). There's no pretension there. So yes, many people would consider paranormal romances to be beneath them and would grade them accordingly. That's unfair and I don't do it. If I like something, it gets a good grade. Period.

A new feature this month...My Favorite Book of the Month. July's book is Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill. This book rocked!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday, 20 July 2009

Well, I'm halfway through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I've been reading it since Saturday I think, and obviously it isn't a quick read. It's the first of three books written by Stieg Larsson and translated from its original Swedish. This has been a fascinating book even though I'm not at all familiar with Sweden other than where in the world it might be. I'm not ignorant of world geography but I definitely don't know where each country is exactly located. Anyway, this book is like four books rolled into one: (quoted from the front jacket flap) "A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue." I'm not going to even attempt to try to explain the plot in this book, there's just too much going on. The next book in the series, The Girl Who Played With Fire, is released on July 28. has the third one, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, to be out on October 31, 2009 in paperback but don't hold your breath for that one. Do read the first one (at least) as it's been highly entertaining and it doesn't feel as if it lost anything in translation.

Another interesting book I read lately was The Summoning, the first in a new YA series by Kelley Armstrong. Not sure why I picked that one either but after reading it, I am anxious to get my hands on the next one, The Awakening. I have no idea when the third one is released though. Next year probably. The Summoning wasn't as juvenile as a lot of YA novels seem to me to be and Kelley Armstrong is a good writer but I don't particularly like her Women of the Underworld(?) series (except for Bitten). Exit Strategy was also good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lost in Austen

There have been some very awesome programs that have come out of the BBC within the last few years and this one may be my favorite. Lost in Austen is about a young woman named Amanda Price who lives in present day London and loves the book Pride and Prejudice. Adores, more like. She fantasizes about Mr. Darcy and knows the story totally by heart. One night after arguing with her jerkoff boyfriend, she finds Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom. Once she decides she hasn't lost her wits, she ends up trading places with Elizabeth: she replaces Lizzie in the book while Lizzie lives in 21st century London. Amanda's goal is to make sure that the story/book ends up as it's supposed to, with all the proper marriages taking place. That, of course, doesn't happen and Amanda discovers that Mr. Darcy isn't all he's cracked up to be. Jemima Rooper as Amanda Price is fantastic. Elliot Cowan was so good as Mr. Darcy (loved the wet shirt scene). Oh hell, everybody was brilliant and after I watched it, I bought it (I had rented it from Netflix). It's three hours of regency wonderfulness. The only bad thing about this show is that it's finished.

Undone by Rachel Caine

I had kinda given up on Rachel Caine's books a while back. I still have the last two Morganville Vampires books to read but I was burned out on the Weather Wardens. I couldn't have cared less about Joanne Baldwin and David, her big bag djinn. (It probably wasn't a good idea to read the lot of them all at once.) Well, I'm rethinking that attitude now that I've read Undone. It's in the Weather Wardens' universe and is centered around a djinn, Cassiel, that has been stripped of her powers, cast out of her existence and made human. Joanne, David, and Lewis also show up in this one, along with a few other familiars. Cassiel has to learn how to be human and is partnered with an earth warden named Manny. Cassiel becomes attached to Manny and his family, his five-year-old daughter in particular. Cassiel reminded me a lot of Q, the numero uno pain-in-the-ass of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise. The episode I'm thinking of in particular is the one where Q is kicked out of the Q Continuum for being a bad omnipotent boy. Cassiel wasn't kicked out for being bad but she had a good reason for disobeying her superior. Anyway, I liked this book. Now I have to wait until Groundhog Day for the next one to appear :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

I've been trying to write more lately. I get these ideas that pop into my head during my day and when I sit at the computer to put it down, everything worth writing about runs away in the spirit of Monty Python. If you're a fan of Monty, you'll get it, otherwise you're screwed. It's very irritating and not very productive. It's a good thing I don't get paid to do this :)

I just tried to pick up MaryJanice Davidson's Queen Betsy series where I left off, Undead and Unreturnable. I was maybe 80 pages in when I realized why I had stopped reading them: I don't like Betsy. Or Sinclair. Betsy thinks the world revolves around her and Sinclair is just obnoxious. This makes me sad because I loved the first book, Undead and Unwed. It was the funniest thing I had read in a very long time and I laughed out loud many times while reading it. It's not funny anymore. I bought 4-6 brand new and now I don't want to read them. I've decided to let Betsy rest a little longer before I give her another shot. As is the cases for most readers, my mood totally dictates what I read, when I read. I'm also allergic to anything that reminds me of school. That's why I'm not into nonfiction (usually).

I read The Dream of the Stone by Christina Askounis the other day and really enjoyed it. It was a modern version of Alice in Wonderland with a twist. The book is actually close to twenty years old but the publisher decided to revive it in 2007 (I think). Transporting mirrors, allegorical references to Alice in Wonderland itself, and interesting characters made it a very entertaining fairy tale, if not a little sad. If you like books like A Wrinkle in Time, give it a shot.

I also caught up with two Linda Howard books that had been screaming at me from my bookshelf. All the Queen's Men featured John Medina, a character who had a cameo in Kill and Tell, a novel set in New Orleans. Here's a blurb about Queen's Men from amazon:

CIA agent John Medina and electronics expert Niemi Burdock share a violent past: the two were part of a covert operation that went tragically wrong, resulting in the death of several people. Now, five years later, their paths cross again and John, whose love for Niemi has only grown over time, is determined to keep her in his life for good. Having spent the intervening five years living a solitary, staid existence--due to feelings of guilt over the ill-fated operation--Niemi is somewhat reluctant to reenter the shadowy world she once inhabited. Still, she can't resist the lure and excitement of danger when John asks her to join him on his latest mission to discover the origins of a deadly new explosive already in use by terrorists.

Concocting a plan to reveal the source of the explosive, the two enter into a dangerous masquerade, walking a tightrope between safety and death, while passion boils beneath the surface. Unaware of John's feelings, Niemi fights her physical response to the legendary agent as her emotions, in frozen limbo for the last five years, thaw with astonishing speed.

All the Queen's Men was fantastic and Howard at her best. It was unexpected - Howard is a staple in my book diet but she's usually a little more frivolous. Which is where Kiss Me While I Sleep comes in. I'm not sure why this book is listed as #3 in the John Medina series because he's not in it. At all. His name is mentioned maybe once. Anyway, here's a partial excerpt of the product description, again from amazon:

It’s a job that makes a killing. Efficient, professional, and without apology, Lily Mansfield is a hired assassin, working as a contract agent for the CIA. Her targets are the powerful and corrupt, those who can’t be touched by the law.

Now, after nineteen years of service, Lily has been drawn into a dangerous game that hasn’t been sanctioned, seeking vengeance for her own reasons. Each move bolder than the next, she is compromising her superiors, drawing unwanted attention, and endangering her very life. Though stress and shock have made her feel somewhat invincible and a little cocky, Lily knows that she too can be taken out in an instant. And if it’s her time, so be it. She intends to go down fighting.

A CIA agent himself, Lucas Swain recognizes the signs of trauma in the line of fire. His orders: either bring her in or bring her down. Yet he too is drawn into the game with Lily Mansfield, dancing on a tightrope as he tries to avoid a major international incident while still battling a tenacious foe who is dogging their every step. Keeping laser focus on the task at hand while vigilantly watching her back, Mansfield never sees the lethal peril that lies directly in her path . . . and how loyalty has a price.

Now, this wasn't a bad story. It was a bad read though. I had tried it a few years ago and didn't finish. Reading All the Queen's Men gave me hope so I gave it another shot and was bored again. I don't think Lily meets Lucas until halfway through the book and the bad guy is taken out behind-the-scenes by neither of the main characters! Ugh. I think I'll be getting her new book, Burn, from the library tomorrow and haven't the slightest idea what it's about. Hope it's better than this one.

One more thing...Some Girls Bite rocked. This is related to one of the post ideas I've been working on, but when I started thinking about it I couldn't figure out what my point would have been, so I've dropped the idea. Some Girls Bite wasn't just a good vampire book, it was a good read period. I loved Merit, our protagonist, her friends, her love interest, everything. The only thing to complain about it that the next one doesn't come out until October. The ironic thing about this book is...Merit doesn't bite :)