snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: The Paid Companion
Author: Amanda Quick
Genre: Romantic suspense, historical romance
Setting: Victorian London
Reason for Reading: I wanted the fluff. Give me the fluff!
Pages: 418
Copyright Date: 2004
Cover: Green and gray tones. A boat being paddled through a tunnel. The closed eyes of a statue.
First line: "Arthur Lancaster, Earl of St. Merryn, was sitting in front of a crackling fire in his club, drinking a glass of excellent port and reading a newspaper, when he received word that his fiancee had eloped with another man."
Best part: Despite the many novels I've read by this author, she still has the ability to surprise me.
Worst part: I felt like the main character lost herself in becoming Mrs. Him.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Survivor" by Destiny's Child has some of the heroine's stubborn pluckiness
Grade: C
Recommended for: Fans of steampunk-style romance.
Related Reads: Second Sight and other Arcane Society novels by the same author. I feel they represent a high point in her career.

Elenora Lodge has lost her entire inheritance to her stepfather's creditors. She is forced to seek a position as a paid companion.
Arthur Lancaster wants a sham fiance to keep the marriage-hunters off his back while he concludes important business in London.
These two people bent on satisfying their own goals will soon find that love is the greatest adventure and challenge of all.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Relative Magic
Author: Tanya Huff
Genre: Fantasy anthology
Setting: A mix of contemporary and historical, fictional and real settings.
Reason for Reading: I really like Tanya Huff and this was the only anthology of hers my library system carries.
Pages: 317
Copyright Date: 2003
Cover: A fancifully tattooed Egyptian-looking woman lounges with the attitude of a predator.
First line: "'Mom?' Beth Aswith opened her eyes and stared up at the young woman bending over her."
Best part: The mix of stories was very good.
Worst part: After long exposures Huff gets a little predictable.
Imaginary Theme Song: Something by They Might Be Giants.
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Fans of the author, fans of silly fantasy.
Related Reads: Blood Bank by the same author, anything by Terry Pratchett.

I only have one more book to review from 2009 and then I'll be done! Woot! And they were both chosen on the basis that they were pieces of fluff, so the reviews should be easy too.
snugglekitty: (didja see?)
This year in total I read 144 books. That's a pretty high total for me. That does include graphic novels but it does not include books that I've read before. I'm not going to list them all here, because I like you more than that, but if you want to see every single one, click here.

These books are those I label best. I either feel that they changed me, changed the genre they were written in, or could change the world. "But wait!" you said. "We love your best books of the year, but please, give us overly specific award categories and imaginary theme songs!"* All right, all right. Anything for my loyal readers.

Best comedy of manners masquerading as a mystery. Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Best comic supernatural retelling of an early novel. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - "Living Dead Girl" by White Zombie
Best fairy tale graphic novel for children. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale - "Take the Road" from Never After
Best gay teen superhero story. Hero by Perry Moore - "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross
Best Greek-tragedy-influenced classic noir. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler "One for my Baby, and One for the Road" by Billy Holiday
Best late-life sexual memoir.** A Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska - "F*ck and Run" - Liz Phair
Best sexy pentacle tattoo novel set in Victorian England. Soulless by Gail Carriger - "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston
Best speculative suspense novel. Touchstone by Laurie R King - "Don't Let It Bring You Down," Annie Lenox
Best YA fantasy with a skeleton hero. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy - "You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down," from All Dogs Go to Heaven
Best YA starring a female assassin. Graceling by Kristin Cashore - "Bitterblue" by Cat Stevens

Honorable Mentions

These books earned a grade of B+, which is the high end of the "I love this book and would read it over and over!" category.

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
The Thin Man by Dashiel Hammet
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
No! I don't Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironsides
My Most Excellent Year by Steven Kluger
Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrow
Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos** by Bucky Sinister
The Fox by Sherwood Smith
Dies the Fire by SM Stirling
Gate of the Gods by Martha Wells
The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Tempting Fate by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Want even more best-of goodness? Click here for 2008's best fiction, and here for the best nonfiction.

*All right, so you didn't. But you would have if you had thought of it. Am I right, or am I right?
**This year's notable nonfiction titles. Surprisingly, there were only two - usually it breaks down more evenly.
snugglekitty: (door)
Title: The Grand Sophy
Author: Georgette Heyer
Genre: YA Victorian goodness.
Setting: Various parts of England.
Reason for Reading: December is my least favorite month, so I try to find a book that will make me smile and read a chapter every day.
Pages: 372
Copyright Date: 1950
Cover: A woman in an upsetting hat looks down at her dog. The pair stand in front of a tall green door. She has a basket of flowers in her hands.
First line: "The butler, recognizing her ladyship's only surviving brother at a glance, as he afterwards informed his less percipient subordinates, favoured Sir Horace with a low bow, and took it upon himself to say that my lady, although not at home to less nearly-connected persons, would be happy to see him."
Best part: Oh, the tangled, funny web we weave.
Worst part: Parts of the book struck me as racist.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Hello Dolly!" by Louis Armstrong
Grade: B+
Recommended for: Those who enjoy fictional romantic tangles with a lot of complications and silliness.
Related Reads: Cotillion by the same author. Romances under the pen name Amanda Quick are pleasingly similar, but with more explicit sex and violence.

Sophy's careless father has sent her to stay with her London cousins while he enjoys a trip to Brazil. He hopes his sister will find her a husband while he's gone. But all is not well at Berkeley Square. The father Lord Ombersley spends as much time away from home as possible. The eldest son Charles is bullying everyone in the house, and engaged to a bluestocking girl as well. The beautiful daughter Cecilia is in love with a poet. They haven't counted on Sophy, though - or her plan to set things right.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Soulless: A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves, and Parasols
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate/Alexia Tarabotti #1
Genre: Victorian fantasy
Setting: An alternate Victorian England.
Reason for Reading: How could I not read a book with that subtitle?
Pages: 373, including an interview with the author and a sneak peak at book # 2, Changeless
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A woman walks through a square. She is carrying a parasol with visible gears, and wears a fancy tophat, a magenta suit, and a surly expression.
First line: "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening."
Best part: This book is truly original.
Worst part: As so often happens, the bad guys make only a stupid token effort to get the heroine on their side. "We'd love you to help us but if you don't we're going to terrible things to us and you can't stop us!" is actually not such a great recruitment statement.
Imaginary Theme Song: The sass and attitude of "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston suits Alexia quite well.
Grade: A
Recommended for: Any fans of steampunk, the sexy pentacle tattoo genre, romantic fantasy, or the truly original.
Related Reads: The Marriage Spell by MaryJo Putney. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Greene.

Normally I don't use the cover summary, but this is too good to resist:

"Alex Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.
First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"

I LOVED this book. It might be the best I've read all year. It's got something for everyone. Give it a try.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Rose: My Life in Service
Author: Rosina Harrison
Genre: Historical autobiography.
Setting: England, 1899 to 1964
Reason for Reading: It was recommended to me because I am interested in domestic service.
Pages: 237
Copyright Date: 1975
Cover: A shaded black and white drawing of a woman in a hat and coat standing in front of a mansion.
First line: "Although this book is about domestic service it is also about people, and apart from myself about one person in particular: Nancy, Lady Astor."
Best part: The intricate details of the running of the household were so fascinating.
Worst part: This is so different from the way that people expect to be treated nowadays. Lady Astor was incredibly mean to Rose and hardly paid her anything. Rose hardly had any life of her own.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles
Grade: C
Recommended for: Anyone who really wants to learn about the older traditions of domestic service. Anyone with an interest in the decadent life that nobles used to enjoy.
Related Reads: That's a tough one honestly. I don't read much in the way of autobiography and this is one of the first books I've found on old-school domestic service. I'll have to think about it.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: The Season
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical YA.
Setting: Regency England.
Reason for Reading: I thought it was the first book in the Luxe series. I may have been wrong about that.
Pages: 336
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: Three girls in daring Empire gowns. The blond one wears pink, with rose gloves. The darker one wears yellow with white gloves (not a good choice I'm afraid) and the third is in deep blue with matching gloves, in complete disregard of the fact that she has red hair.
First line: "The rain fell steadily on the rocks marking the edge of the Essex countryside, where the land fell in sheer cliffs to a frigid winter sea." I initially typed the first noun of that sentence as "train," which made it a lot funnier.
Best part: I enjoy the trio of friends at the center of the book.
Worst part: It didn't feel Regency. It felt like Gossip Girl in a corset. Well-brought up noble girls of this time period do not talk about their undergarments in mixed company or wear makeup without creating scandal.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Love Cats" by the Cure is about right
Grade: C
Recommended for: Anyone wishing to get lost in the clothing, dancing, and flirtation of a London Season.
Related Reads: Sorcery and Cecilia by Wrede and Stevermer is a much better book. Second Sight by Amanda Quick is slightly more adult but has a more engaging heroine.
snugglekitty: (cradle tree)
Title: Bar None: A Novel of Chilling Suspense, Apocalyptic Beauty, and Fine Ales
Author: Tim Lebbon
Genre: Science fiction, postapocalyptic fiction.
Setting: The UK, after things go badly wrong.
Reason for Reading: I've been on a postapocalyptic kick recently. I'm sure you already noticed.
Pages: 193
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: Looks like a green guy floating in a glass of beer. He's wearing black pants and a white dress shirt.
First line: "Six months after the end of the world, the air up here is amazingly clear."
Best part: I really enjoyed the imagery.
Worst part: Some of the narrative is a little incoherent.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Sine Language" by Crystal Method
Grade: C
Recommended for: Beer fans. Seriously, I would have enjoyed this book so much more if I had been able to relate to the evocative descriptions of beer.
Related Reads: Dies the Fire, of course, and Here Be Dragons too. It has a really different tone from those, though, maybe a bit more like Beat the Reaper with less violence.

Read more... )
snugglekitty: (dragon reading)
Title: Dragon Lovers
Editor: None is listed, which frustrates me. Someone chose these stories, and moreover, they did quite a good job doing so. I would like to find more stories this editor has chosen but I have no way of doing so.
Genre: Fantasy romance.
Setting: We have the mystical kingdom of Saragonda, New Mexico in the present day, medieval England, and colonial Japan.
Reason for Reading: Sometimes you want to read something fluffy.
Pages: 375
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A woman in a fur-lined gown stares off the cover. If it really is cold out, her shoulders and bosom are going to catch a chil. There is a stone castle in the distance behind her.
First line: "'Being the Sacrifical Virgin Princess of Saragond stinks.'"
Best part: I liked all four of the stories in the book!
Worst part: Some of the dragons were a bit more, er, involved in the lovemaking than I was really pleased about.
Imaginary Theme Song: Dragon by Tori Amos
Grade: B-
Recommended for: People that love dragons. Anyone who likes the combination of fantasy and romance.
Related Reads: The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney, To Weave a Web of Magic by Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Patricia A. McKillip, and Sharon Shinn, His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik.
snugglekitty: (incognito)
Title: Italian for Beginners
Author: Kristin Harmel
Genre: Chick lit
Setting: The US of A and Italy, present day.
Reason for Reading: I was greedily perusing the new Cambridge Main Branch New Book Section and took everything that appealed to me.
Pages: 372
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A woman who looks like Audrey Hepburn in the back of a Vespa. Her arms are around a guy. Due to unfortunate placement of the library barcode I can't see his face, but I'm guessing he's an Italian hunk.
First line: “It all began with a wedding.”
Best part: You know how sometimes you want to read about Somebody Else's Problems? Problems that you are pretty sure you're not going to have? Well, I'm never going to be the older never-married sister at her younger sister's wedding, not in this lifetime anyway.
Worst part: I felt the book relied too heavily upon the movie Roman Holiday, which I suspect may have been spoiled for me thereby. My second least favorite thing is my usual complaint with chicklit: it was hard to respect the protagonist due to her many dumb choices.
Imaginary Theme Song: “Breakfast at Tiffany's.” Please note I don't actually like that song.
Grade: C-.
Recommended for: Those who have already seen the movie Roman Holiday and thus will not be spoiled by it.
Related Reads: “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. “Fear of Flying” by Erica Jong.
snugglekitty: (snake tattoo)
Title: Homecoming
Author: Patricia Briggs and David Lawrence.
Artists: Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo.
Series: Mercy Thompson graphic novel series #1
Genre: Sexy pentacle tattoo, graphic novel.
Setting: Seattle in a dark world.
Reason for Reading: I enjoy Ms. Briggs.
Pages: 112
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A woman with more tattoos and accessories than clothing walks among wolves whose eyes glow golden. A warehouse, a chainlink fence and a telephone pole stand behind her.
First panel: Image of a full moon over a desolate landscape. A small yellow text box reads, "Go for... a run... I thought."
Best part: I actually especially enjoyed the interview between Briggs and Lawrence. It gave new dimensions to my understanding of the book and also seeing how a fantasy story gets adapted into a graphic novel.
Worst part: I didn't love the Francis Tsai portrayal of Mercy. Very sexual and not very badass. It talked about this in the interview a bit which helped me to understand why the art looked different in certain chapters.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue
Grade: C+
Recommended for: This would be a decent introduction to the series for those who haven't been sure they wanted to commit. Hardcore Briggs fans will already be reading it.
Related Reads: Moon Called and Cry Wolf by the same author. Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Daughters of a Coral Dawn
Author: Katherine V. Forrest
Series: First in a trilogy. As far as I can tell the trilogy doesn't have its own name.
Genre: GLBT, sci fi, feminist.
Setting: Earth and other planets in the 2100's.
Reason for Reading: It won the Lambda award and it was sitting on a table at the library. Good combination.
Pages: 226
Copyright Date: 1984
Cover: A woodcutting of the face of a woman. Her eyes are colored with coral, as is the landscape behind her.
First line: "The idea to smuggle Mother off Verna III came to Father when Jed Peterman fell down a hill of keteraw and proceeded to smother in a pile of mutherac, managing to do this in spite of all his training and thorough briefings on the planet's topography."
Best part: Parts of it were very, very funny.
Worst part: I felt the author made things a little too easy on herself with the book's central conflict.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Testimony" by Holly Near
Grade: C+ - I think it's a great piece for the time, but it does show its age.
Recommended for: You mean I'm the only one that tries to read every book that wins the Lambda sci fi award? Actually, I think anyone interested in feminist sci fi would find this book interesting.
Related Reads: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin, Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley (a later winner of the same award), Ammonite by Niccola Griffith.
snugglekitty: (seer)
Title: The Game Beyond
Author: Melissa Scott
Genre: Science fiction
Setting: A galactic empire far in the future.
Reason for Reading: Uh, hello? It was a Melissa Scott book. One I had never even heard of, in fact.
Pages: 350, including an interesting nonfiction essay by CJ Cherryh on the future of conflict.
Copyright Date: 1984
Cover: A guy in romanesque robes and wearing a golden laurel wreath sits on a golden throne. He's looking at his console. There are spaceships all around.
First line: "The ambassador's shuttle swung high over the Palace compound, waiting for permission to land."
Best part: I enjoyed the societal conventions about warfare. It reminded me of the Compact in MZB's Darkover books.
Worst part: Scott, I know you love the VR. But fighting for the throne... with videogames? Come now.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay
Grade: C
Recommended for: Fans of "game of throne" type epics written on a galactic stage. Those interested in the idea of martial codes of honor.
Related Reads: The Dark Tower by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Burning Bright by Melissa Scott. The Prince Roger series by David Weber and John Ringo.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Small Favor
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Dresden Files: #10 (It's amazing how this series flies by.)
Genre: Fantasy mystery. ("Fantastic mystery" makes it sound like they're really great. They are really great but what I mean is that there are vampires, werewolves, drugs that give you psychic powers, demons, and other supernatural complications.)
Setting: Chicago in the modern day, with a dark otherworldly feel. A bit like a Chicago version of the Buffyverse, but with creepier vampires.
Reason for Reading: I found it on a shelf at the library, and went, "Isn't this the book I read the first chapter of and then had to return?" It was, but it was no longer a new release. Ironically, I read it in two days anyhow.
Pages: 423, which includes a few pages of shilling for the Alera series.
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A man in a long black duster and a very nice drover's hat holds a gun in his left hand and a glowing staff in his right. There is a low-burning fire in front of him and a wall behind him.
First line: "Winter came early that year; it should have been a tip-off."
Best part: I liked the further development of some of the plot pieces from Death Masks, which was one I really liked.
Worst part: Things have gotten more and more complicated and more and more difficult for Dresden. After a while it gets hard to keep track of everything and starts to feel like more of the same.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Deeper and Deeper" by Madonna (though I am more referring to piles of shit than falling in love)
Grade: C
Recommended for: Those who have read the previous nine books. Maybe it goes without saying but by this point there is a LOT of backstory.
Related Reads: Storm Front, first book in the series. (Just in case there's anyone left in the whole world who likes this genre but hasn't started the series yet. I'm not totally convinced that's true.) The Furies of Calderon, first in Butcher's epic fantasy series. Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis.
snugglekitty: (barefoot)
Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: YA fantasy
Setting: Principally a graveyard in the present day. Big surprise there, I know.
Reason for Reading: I basically read everything Gaiman writes.
Pages: 307
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A tombstone with an angel on it, against a blue background.
First line: "Rattle his bones/ Over the stones/ It's only a pauper/ Who nobody owns"
Best part: It was really sweet.
Worst part: It was over too quickly.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Graveyard" by Tori Amos
Grade: B
Recommended for: Gaiman addicts like myself, fans of ghost stories.
Related Reads: Stardust by the same author. Charmed by Diana Wynne Jones. I'm trying to remember the name of a book I enjoyed as a teenager about a girl who was friends with a ghost, but unfortunately I can't remember it.

I hear that the title of this book comes from Kipling's The Jungle Book. Kipling wrote a book about a boy growing up in the jungle, raised by animals. Gaiman wrote a book about a boy growing up in the graveyard, raised by ghosts. Nobody Owens has loving parents, a mysterious guardian, and a special power - the Freedom of the Graveyard, which lets him see ghosts and work small magics. But he is not content with the small world he knows. What will he put at risk when he begins to explore the boundaries of the permissible?

I think this book is very charming, and not in a smarmy way. In a Gaiman way. If you are friends with an older child that loves weird stuff, get them this book. They'll be delighted.
snugglekitty: (sanctuary)
Title: Bobby's Girl
Author: JD Austin
Reason for Reading: I saw the cover and thought it looked adorable.
Pages: 268
Copyright Date: 2001
Cover: Set up to look like a puzzle. Two pieces show an attractive blond woman in highwaisted blue jeans and a cropped red tank top. She is wearing red plastic bangles and her arm is oddly stiff. On the other side of her body, she is an alien, slightly sallow with a flat face, wearing a military uniform and holding a gun. An alien city is behind her.
First line: "From the Desk of the Premier of Dalyi: MOST SECRET."
Best part: It just cracked me up.
Worst part: I felt the author was indulging in a bit of Mary Sue. An ordinary guy who just happened to become an award-winning movie director, who sweeps an alien off her feet? And everyone begs him to play BOTH starring roles in his new movie? Come now.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Beverly Hills" by Weezer
Grade: C
Recommended for: You know how sometimes you don't want anything serious? You want to read a trashy novel? Here it is.
Related Reads: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre, The Stars Down Under by Sandra McDonald, Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair.

Okay, so the alien rebel princess flees to Earth to be safe from the invading oppressor forces. She's been surgically altered so she looks just like us only cuter and with bigger tits. Of course her spaceship would come to land right next to the car of the world's friendliest rich retired couple. Of course they would take this strange woman babbling in an alien language into their home, no questions asked. And naturally, they have a son who is a world-famous movie director whose script manager just eloped with a celebrity. Do I really need to keep going? Because believe me, I could.

This book is very silly but kind of endearing. It's worth a read, especially if you can get it from your local library.
snugglekitty: (bookcase)
Title: On the Edge
Author: Ilona Andrews(pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews).
Series: None so far, but I hope they'll write sequels!
Genre: This book gently straddles the line between "sexy pentacle tattoo" and contemporary fantasy.
Setting: Present day, in "the Edge," a rural area in between the domain of magic and the domain of science.
Reason for Reading: A loan from [livejournal.com profile] trouble4hire. Also, she and I have been enjoying their other series, featuring such titles as Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Beats You Up and Steals Your Lunch Money, and my personal favorite, Magic Drops an Anvil On You From a Great Height.*
Pages: 326
Copyright Date: October 2009
Cover: A girl stands in front of a red pickup truck. She wears boots, jeans, and a denim jacket. She holds a shotgun with casual confidence. A naked male torso and face is in the upper left, seemingly unrelated to the rest of the picture.
First line: "'Rosie!' Grandpa's bellow shook the foundation of the house."
Best part: The minor characters were beautifully articulated.
Worst part: I found the love interest overbearing in a way that I felt was unfair to the main character.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Anyone who would like to see some country grit along with the ever-popular urban fantasy. Anyone who is interested in crossing the line between urban fantasy and sexy pentacle tattoo to see what the other side is like.
Related Reads: Magic Bites by the same author, The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman

Those on the Edge can never truly fit in, not with the world of magic (the Weird) or the world of science (the Broken). But for Rose Drayton matters are even worse. She is an outsider even within the tiny suspicious community of Edgers, by virtue of magical power she should not be able to wield - but does. Resented by her neighbors, used by her employers, seen as a broodmare by the powerful nobility of the Weird, she's never had a normal date or enough money to do more than just scrape by. All she has is the weight of her responsibilities, and the promise of a better life for her younger brothers. But when a handsome and powerful stranger comes to town, even her strange magical talent may not be enough to protect what's hers...

I really enjoyed this book. I actually liked it better than the Magic Pushes You Down An Elevator Shaft* books. The characters were very believable and I enjoyed the world-building. I'd love to see a sequel. With all that being said, it frustrated me deeply that the main character was coerced into a magically binding oath. That hit my unfairness button squarely. Still, I think this is a good contribution to the genre.

*Yes, I'm kidding, but wouldn't those be great titles?
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Until the Real Thing Comes Along
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Chicklit
Reason for Reading: It was in a box of free books. For me, it doesn't take much more than that.
Pages: 241, plus an interview with the author and a reader's guide (somehow, those seem most common in books that I don't love. It's tragic really.)
Copyright Date: 1999
Cover: Baby feet sticking up from a white blanket. The title and author are embossed in gold letters.
First line: "This is how you play the house game: Go for a drive to somewhere you've never been before."
Best part: The book had some moments of real sweetness, and the protagonist grew a lot.
Worst part: She's in love with her gay best friend? Playah, please.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette
Grade: C
Recommended for: Those that like chicklit and/or real estate.
Related Reads: The Beach House by Jane Green, Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, No! I don't Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironsides.
snugglekitty: (lioness)
Title: Hunting Ground
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Charles and Anna, book 2. This series is a spin-off from Mercy Thompson.
Genre: Sexy pentacle tattoo.
Reason for Reading: I loved the first book in this series, Alpha and Omega, as well as the preceding novella.
Pages: 286
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A sad-faced woman leans against a large wolf with glowing eyes. When you look at her more closely, you notice that her eyes are amber and her nails are almost claws.
First line: "She observed him from her chosen cover, as she'd done twice before."
Best part: I really enjoyed seeing Anna grow through the course of this book.
Worst part: I found some aspects of the plot a bit predictable.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Whenever You're Ready" - by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Grade: B
Recommended for: Anyone who'd like a fantasy-oriented take on trauma recovery.
Related Reads: Alpha and Omega, first book in the series. Saber and Shadow by SM Sterling and Shirley Meier.

A short excerpt. )

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