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 :)