snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-08-03 09:30 am

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

Title: Face the Fire
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: Three Sisters Trilogy book three
Genre: Fantastic romance
Setting: Once again, Three Sisters Island.
Reason for Reading: I enjoyed the first two and Mia was my favorite character so I wanted to see how things worked out for her.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 358
Copyright Date: 2002
Cover: A woman stands on a seaside cliff. She stretches her hands out to the lightning in the distance.
First line: "It had been more than ten years since he’d stood on the island."
Epigraph: "O love! O fire! once he drew / With one long kiss my whole soul through /
My lips; as sunlight drinketh dew."
—ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Themes: Sisterhood, pregnancy, witches, war between the sexes, first love.
Best part: I like how much Mia enjoys her life without a man.
Worst part: This had a thing I hate about some romance novels, where there's not much consent. At several points Mia tells Sam that he can't touch her, and he doesn't respect that limit. I also don't find the model of "We fight all the time, so we must be perfect for each other!" very convincing most of the time.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Just a Girl" by No Doubt
Grade: C. It was really a let-down after the first two books.
Recommended for: Bah. If you must have the conclusion then you'll read it.
Related Reads: Same as before - Dance Upon the Air and Northern Light by the same author and Running Hot by Jayne Krentz.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-08-03 09:20 am

Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Title: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank
Author: Phil and Kaja Foglio
Series: Girl Genius, volume 1
Genre: Comic book, webcomic.
Setting: A steampunk Europe that never was.
Reason for Reading: I read and enjoy the webcomic.
Finished In: Hours
Pages: 96
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A blond woman in a green vest and skirt holds a tiny dancing automaton.
First line: "This is a story about Science. Or Magic. Or possibly both."
Themes: Steampunk, machines, academia.
Best part: I enjoyed reading this in paper format.
Worst part: I didn't see much that seemed brand-new to me.
Imaginary Theme Song: The Wagnerian Ring Cycle seems appropriate somehow.
Grade: B+. It's good but not much new for dedicated readers of the web version.
Recommended for: ... those dedicated readers of the web version.
Related Reads: The comic itself.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-07-31 05:06 pm

Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers

Title: Hangman's Holiday
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers
Series: Lord Peter Wimsey, in theory. In practice, four of the stories are about Wimsey, six are about traveling salesman Montague Egg, and the final two are stand-alones. I found that a let-down.
Genre: Classic mystery, anthology.
Setting: Varies, but all in or before the 1930's.
Reason for Reading: I am on a mystery kick.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 288
Copyright Date: 1933
Cover: Plain bright yellow, with the title and the author's name.
First line: "The little man with the cow-lick seemed so absorbed in the book that Wimsey had not the heart to claim his property, but, drawing up the other arm-chair and placing his drink within easy reach, did his best to entertain himself with the Dunlop Book, which graced, as usual, one of the tables in the lounge."
Themes: "There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this!" Marriage, family, books.
Best part: I enjoyed the LPW stories.
Worst part: I hated Montague Egg, traveling wine salesman, with a fiery passion.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Danse Macabre"
Grade: C-
Recommended for: Honestly, if I had it to do again I would just read the four Wimsey stories. So, if you don't mind reading just part of a book...?
Related Reads: Strong Poison is still my favorite in this series.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-07-31 01:17 pm

Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts

Title: Heaven and Earth
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: Three sisters trilogy
Genre: Fantastic romance (NOT sexy pentacle tattoo!)
Setting: Three Sisters Island, off the coast of Massachusetts.
Reason for Reading: I liked the first book, Dance Upon the Air, a lot.
Finished In: Days
Pages: According to amazon.com, it's 368. Pagination doesn't seem to correspond terribly well on my ebook reader though.
Copyright Date: 2003
Cover: Just a picture of a capsized boat.
First line: "Sand, frosted with cold, crunched under her feet as she ran along the curving shore."
Epigraph: "Swift as a shadow, short as any dream; / Brief as the lightning in the collied night, / That in a spleen unfolds both heaven and earth, / And ere a man hath power to say "Behold!" / The jaws of darkness do devour it up: / So quick bright things come to confusion."
Themes: Witches, magic, law enforcement, romance, islands, family, self-acceptance.
Best part: I liked the character of Mac, the paranormal investigator who is Ripley's love interest. (Though I can't help but notice a common theme in Nora's male leads - Zack, Mac, Jack, and Sam in the four books of hers I've read. One of these things is not like the other ones... )
Worst part: The "villain" in this didn't convince me much.
Imaginary Theme Song: "She Blinded Me With Science"
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Fans of the series and the author, who will read it anyway.
Related Reads: Dance Upon the Air, first book in the series, and Northern Light by the same author. Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz. I know, same as I suggested for the last one in the series. Sorry about that.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-06-20 10:47 am

Women of Marvel

Title: Women of Marvel
Editor: Jennifer Grunwald. There should be an umlaut over the "u" but I don't know how to do that.
Genre: Superheros, anthology, origin stories, graphic novel.
Included Pieces Avengers #221, Uncanny X-Men #151-152, Amazing Spider-Man #86, Ms. Marvel #1, The Cat #1, Dazzler #1, and Shanna, the She Devil #1.
Reason for Reading: A loan from [personal profile] intuitionist.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 223
Copyright Date: 2006
Cover: Pink background, with smiling spandex-clad buxom ladies, leaping, lurking, swinging, flying...
First panel: "Beware... the Black Widow!" Shows SpiderMan swinging along, saying he's wiped out from a fight. The Black Widow is lurking and watching him.
Themes: Injustice, origins, feminism, sexism, spandex, animals.
Best piece: I found the Ms. Marvel intro really interesting, probably my favorite of the ones I hadn't read before.
Worst piece: Shanna the She Devil. So many issues I hardly know where to begin.
Imaginary Theme Song: The Wonder Woman theme song. A little cheesy, a little sexist, but with its heart in the right place.
Grade: B
Recommended for: Female comic book appreciators. That sounds dirtier than it is.
Related Reads: Hothead Paisan by Diane DiMassa. Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-06-20 10:40 am

Keeping it Real by Justina Robson

Title: Keeping it Real
Author: Justina Robson
Series: Quantum Gravity #1 (Dumb series name, in my opinion.)
Genre: It's got cyborgs, demons, and elves. You tell me.
Setting: Mostly Otopia - that's the new name for Earth, but don't ask me why.
Reason for Reading: The cover made me giggle.
Finished In: Weeks
Pages: 333
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A fierce-looking woman in black latex with red hair. An elf stands behind her. It looks computer-generated and is odd on the white background.
First line: "The story of how The No Shows got signed was one of those legends that seem completely manufactured by the celebrity press." (Actually, the first chapter describing that may have been my favorite part of the book.)
Themes: Rock music, drugs, magic, fate, mental enslavement.
Best part: The main character is pretty badass.
Worst part: The story didn't go much of anywhere. All of this stuff was set up and not resolved. I mean, I realize there's a sequel... but that's actually not the approach that makes me want to read a sequel.
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Anyone who is entertained by elves and rock and roll mixing.
Related Reads: Gossamer Axe by Gael Baudino, War for the Oaks by Emma Bull.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-06-15 06:49 pm

Masques by Patricia Briggs

Title: Masques
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Aralorn book one
Genre: Fantasy
Setting: A few fantasy kingdoms.
Reason for Reading: I heard good things about the sequel Wolfsbane. Of course, at that point I didn't realize that Masques was Briggs' first book ever and only lightly edited...
Finished In: Weeks
Pages: 306, including a sneak preview of Wolfsbane
Copyright Date: 1993
Cover: A girl in an underbust corset and a white shirt holds a sword in her right hand. Her left hand rests on a large black wolf with yellow eyes. Or is it just a big dog?
First line: "The wolf stumbled from the cave, knowing that someone was searching for him and he couldn't protect himself this time."
Themes: Abuse, slaves, shapeshifting.
Best part: It was interesting to see some of the origins of Briggs' themes.
Worst part: This book needed a LOT more editing than it got.
Imaginary Theme Song: Definitely something in the filk genre.
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Hardcore Briggs fan.
Related Reads: Zodiac by Neal Stephenson.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-06-01 10:11 am
Entry tags:

Ash by Malinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Series: There is a prequel out now (Huntress) but I don't know what the series is called collectively, if anything.
Genre: YA, fantasy, fairy tale retellings.
Setting: A kingdom where magic may be dying out.
Reason for Reading: This book was so critically acclaimed in YA circles that I couldn't NOT read it.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 264
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: Another beautiful cover. A girl in a petticoat and bodice lies curled up on the grassy earth, in lovely sepia tones. The word Ash covers her skirt in fuschia. Up top is the line "The fairy tale you remember."
First line: "Aisling's mother died at midsummer."
Themes: Cinderella, hunting, fey folk, abuse, royalty, dysfunctional stepfamilies.
Best part: I loved the small fairy tales inset into the larger text.
Worst part: In some ways the ending seemed too easy.
Imaginary Theme Song: "White Horse" by Taylor Swift is the obvious choice.
Grade: B+. A really wonderful book but I'm not sure it's a genre-changer.
Recommended for: Anyone interested in fairy tale retellings or LGBT young adult fiction.
Related Reads: Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner, Hero by Perry Moore, Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-04-23 12:05 am
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In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor 5) by David Weber et al

Title: In Fire Forged
Author: David Weber
Series: Worlds of Honor #5. These are the anthologies spun off from the Honor Harrington series, she is not always a major character in them.
Genre: Space opera, anthology.
Setting: The Manticoran Empire, the People's Republic of Haven, the Silesian Confederacy - made-up stellar empires.
Reason for Reading: Boredom.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 336
Copyright Date: 2011
Cover: A woman with a blaster leaping down the corridor of a spaceship.
Themes: Kidnapping, religious fanaticism, intrigue, spaceships, telepathic cats.
Best part: I loved the first story, "Ruthless" by Jane Lindskold.
Worst part: I am just not the type to appreciate essays on the design of imaginary spaceships, though I realize after a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] gentlescholar that such people do, in fact, exist.
Imaginary Theme Song: Let's Dance by David Bowie
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Actually, this wouldn't be a bad introduction to the Honor Harrington series, for those who are not yet sure they want to commit to reading 15 volumes.
Related Reads: On Basilisk Station by David Weber, Crown of Slaves by David Weber and Eric Flint.
snugglekitty: (bee safe)
2011-04-22 05:00 pm
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Children of Men by PD James

Title: Children of Men
Author: PD James
Genre: Science fiction. All of James' other titles are mysteries.
Setting: England in 2021.
Reason for Reading: I saw the movie and liked it a few years back.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 241
Copyright Date: 1992
Cover: A closeup in blue of a child in the womb, eyes open. Rather creepy actually.
First line: "Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty-five years, two months, and twelve days."
Themes: Infertility, end of the world, death of a child, betrayal, dysfunctional families. (Yeah, it's a cheery one all right.)
Best part: For such a short book it is very dense and intense.
Worst part: It was even bleaker than the movie.
Imaginary Theme Song: Ruby Tuesday - though it wasn't in the book it was very important in the movie, and yes, I know some people will think that's a dumb reason.
Grade: B
Recommended for: Folks interested in different models of the world ending in literature.
Related Reads: Dies the Fire by SM Stirling, A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by the same author.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-04-20 09:37 am
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When the Tide Rises by David Drake

Title: When the Tide Rises
Author: David Drake
Series: RCN (that's Republic of Cinnabar Navy to you wogs!*) book 6
Genre: Space opera
Setting: The Bagarian cluster, a troubled outpost of the Republic of Cinnabar.
Reason for Reading: These books are like reassuring candy to me. I'd like to collect the whole series.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 486, plus an excerpt from In the Stormy Red Sky.
Copyright Date: 2008. Sadly, I am catching up to Drake - I can read them much faster than he can write them.
Cover: Adele and Daniel at the console. The tilt suggests the craft they are in is plummeting to earth.
First line: "Commander Daniel Leary sipped whiskey from a glass with the Quenzer monogram as he surveyed his fellow guests; he held his lips in a neutral smile."
Epigraph: "When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark / And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark / But when the tide rises and sharks are around / His voice has a timid and tremulous sound." - Lewis Carroll
Themes: Spaceships, space navy, alcohol, espionage, loyalty, love triangles.
Best part: I enjoyed the introduction of new character Rene Cazelet.
Worst part: The books are starting to blur together a bit, which is likely my fault for reading them too close together.
Imaginary Theme Song: A bawdy vaudeville tune.
Grade: C
Recommended for: Fans of the series, who would read it anyway.
Related Reads: With the Lightnings, first book in the series. Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

*"Wogs" is a word that gets used a lot in the book for planetary colonials, non-citizens of any race. I'd never use it in real life.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-04-20 09:23 am
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Mother of Winter by Barbara Hambly

Title: Mother of Winter
Author: Barbara Hambly
Series: Darwath, book 4
Genre: High fantasy with alternate worlds stuff (though here it only manifests in that the two main characters are originally from SoCal).
Setting: The magical kingdom of Darwath, where an ice age is in progress and the war with the Dark nearly destroyed civilization.
Reason for Reading: I enjoyed the first three books when I read them.
Finished In: Weeks, mostly because it was packed in a box and I couldn't find it when I wanted to pick it up again.
Pages: 323
Copyright Date: 1996
Cover: A woman holding a bowl. Blue lines of light emanate from it. She has blue filigree tattoos on her arms and bald head.
First line: "In the moonstone dawn, the lone rider dismounted at the top of the steps, passed through the black square open eye where the doors would one day be, and halted on the edge of the shadowed abyss."
Themes: Evolution, mutation, betrayal, religious intolerance, food, and a few more things I won't mention for spoilers.
Best part: The villain/problem in this book I actually found much more compelling than I did the Dark. Creepier and also easier to understand.
Worst part: At several points and with some of the problems the characters faced, I found myself wondering "Why don't they go back to California, which they are able to do, and get the stuff they need and come back with it?"
Imaginary Theme Song: Hey, ho, nobody home.
Grade: C
Recommended for: Fans of the series will want to see what happens to Gil and Rudy after their last adventure.
Related Reads: The Coming of the Dark by the same author.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-04-15 04:11 pm
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In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz

Title: In Too Deep
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Looking Glass Trilogy, book one (part of the endless and decent Arcane Society series)
Genre: Romance with fantasy elements.
Setting: A secluded small town in Northern California.
Reason for Reading: I was stressed out by my move and needed some distraction.
Finished In: Hours
Pages: 339
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A manly chest bared to the breeze. Its face is cut off but probably not important - right? A house on a cliff, with a green sea in the background.
Favorite passage: "Isabella's effect on him could only be described in terms of alchemy, he thought. She was the fire that transmuted the cold iron inside him into gold. With her he could look into the heart of chaos and glimpse the ultimate goal of the ancient art, the Philosopher's Stone." (p 215) This quote made me laugh out loud. In another part of the book, during a difficult conversation Our Hero compares Isabella's effect on his brain to that of a "stealthy cyberattack." I think Ms. Krentz needs a new ghostwriter.
Themes: Cults, conspiracies, antique clocks, secret societies, psychic ability, romance.
Best part: Very diverting.
Worst part: The language. We either need a better ghostwriter or a new editor.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis.
Grade: C-. It's in that "bad enough to be funny" sweet spot.
Recommended for: Fans of romantic suspense.
Related Reads: Second Sight and Running Hot by the same author.

This book further explores the relationship between Isabella Valdez and Fallon Jones introduced briefly in a previous AS novel. I am not sure which one because at this point there are eleven. I am glad they caught on because I really enjoy them, though they may lack literary merit.

I did notice a passage in this one about how sex must be controlled by society's rules, otherwise it's too dangerous. Did Krentz' husband have an affair?
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-04-15 03:52 pm
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City of Bones by Martha Wells

Title: City of Bones
Author: Martha Wells
Genre: Fantasy
Setting: The desert city of Charisat, in the steampunk era, with magic.
Reason for Reading: I read it because I love Martha Wells, I read it NOW because [livejournal.com profile] yunafonfabre lent me her copy.
Finished In: Weeks, maybe a week and a half because I slowed myself down on purpose.
Pages: 356
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A shining city rising out of desert landscape. A lit procession is walking toward it.
First line: "Somewhere else, in a land shadowed by age and death, a man readies himself to look into the future for what may be the last time."
Themes: Friendship, madness, learning, outsiders.
Best part: I liked reading a fantasy with a nonhuman protagonist. Furthermore, I loved that he wasn't a dragon, unicorn, or talking horse, but rather a desert marsupial that was NOT cute.
Worst part: It lacked, in my opinion, the humor of many of Wells' works.
Imaginary Theme Song: Marco Polo by Lorenna McKennit
Grade: C+. I liked it a lot.
Recommended for: Fans of stories of desert magic.
Related Reads: The Element of Fire by the same author. Arabesque edited by Susan Shwartz.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-04-03 10:03 am
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Unshapely Things by Mark del Franco

Title: Unshapely Things
Author: Mark Del Franco
Series: Connor Gray book one
Genre: Urban fantasy.
Setting: The Weird part of Boston - a modern Boston with fairies, wizards, and things that go bump in the night.
Reason for Reading: It was a suggestion from my friend and former sweetie [livejournal.com profile] trouble4hire.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 305
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A man crouching in an alley. Lightning is striking behind him and some mystical graffiti is on the concrete.
Epigraph*: "The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told." - WB Yeats
Trigger Warnings: Abdution, imprisonment, losing all your magical powers and having to go back to the beginning.
Best part: Somehow it manages to be original, which is amazing considering the subject matter.
Worst part: Well, the main character is kind of a recovered jerk, and many of the descriptions of his past jerkiness made me wince a little.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Fool in the Rain" by Led Zeppelin.
Grade: C+. Quite good but not an instant re-read.
Recommended for: People who want to read actual urban fantasy, not just Sexy Pentacle Tattoo, with a male protagonist. You laugh, but it's not all that common!
Related Reads: Night Life by Rob Thurman (though actually this is much better than that). Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. The Painted Boy by Charles de Lint.

Connor Grey is a washout. Once the lead wizard in the Guild, the world's most powerful magical organization, he lost his superstar status in a magical battle. Where he used to lead the class, now he hangs on to his last few powers by a thread. But when fairy prostitutes turn up dead in a series of ritual killings and no one seems to care, Connor won't be able to help getting involved - even though the stakes are higher than he can imagine.

*The quote at the beginning of a book. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso for helping me remember the term.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-03-31 12:58 pm
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In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith

Title: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Series: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Genre: Mystery.
Setting: Botswana.
Reason for Reading: I wanted something cheerful.
Finished In: Hours.
Pages: 256
Copyright Date: 2006
Cover: Brightly colored pants hang on a clothesline in front of a bush house.
First line: "Mma Ramotswe was sitting alone in her favourite cafe, on the end of the shopping centre at the Gaborone end of Tlokweng Road."
Best part: This book made me smile. I also liked the introduction of a new character.
Worst part: I believe there was a plot inconsistency with a previous book, something Mma Ramotswe said she didn't know that she had in fact known in the first book.
Imaginary Theme Song: "All Things Just Keep Gettin' Better" - though an acoustic version would be more suitable.
Grade: C+.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. New readers should start with book 1.
Related Reads: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by the same author. Agnes and the Hit Man by Bob Meyer and Jennifer Crusie. Miss Melville Regrets by Evelyn E. Smith.
snugglekitty: (books not bombs)
2011-03-28 01:27 pm
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The Drowning City by Amanda Downum

Title: The Drowning City
Author: Amanda Downum
Series: Necromancer Chronicles, Book One
Genre: Fantasy.
Setting: The jungle city of Symir, under the yoke of imperialism. Magic, wealth, and swords rule the land.
Reason for Reading: I saw some really great reviews of the sequel.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 370, including some extras.
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A veiled woman draped in black, carrying many weapons. Jungle trees are behind her. Cover blurbs from Jacqueline Carey and Elizabeth Bear - those would likely have sold me on the book if I wasn't already planning to read it.
First line: "Symir. The Drowning City. An exile, perhaps, but at least it was an interesting one."
Trigger Warnings: Some beatings, one intentional disabling, some controlling mom stuff, some cultural repression stuff.*
Best part: Wow, this is an original book. Diamonds trapping lost souls? A pariah caste of necromancers? I loved it.
Worst part: The ending was actually pretty bleak. Nobody really makes it out of the book unscathed.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Anja" by Karsh Kale captures a bit of the exotic feel of the book.
Grade: B-. I loved the book but don't have to read it again right now.
Recommended for: I suggest this for anyone interested in colonial resistance themes or necromancy.
Related Reads: Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce.

*I've been seeing this used as a category in other reviews recently and thought it was worth picking up. Now, many triggers are non-obvious to people who don't have them and this can't be exhaustive but I'm going to try to mention things that I think would be likely to upset some folks. If I decide I don't like that, I may switch to using a list of themes instead. What do you think of that? Sound off in the comments.
snugglekitty: (Default)
2011-03-26 03:57 pm
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Midnight Crystal by Jayne Ann Krentz

Title: Midnight Crystal
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Dreamlight Trilogy book three. The Dreamlight Trilogy is part of the Arcane Society series.
Genre: Paranormal romance. Not SPT - this is actual romance.
Setting: The planet of Harmony, which I'm said to say is not one of Ms. Krentz's best ideas.
Reason for Reading: I read the first two books, which I liked a lot.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 406, including two previews for other books in the series.
Copyright Date: September 2010.
Cover: A woman on a motorcycle. She is in danger of getting road rash on much of the upper half of her body other than the few inches covered by her fingerless gloves. Her lower half is protected by jeans.
First line: "The lady from Jones & Jones looked very good in black leather."
Best part: Fast-paced and fluffy.
Worst part: I saw the twist far in advance.
Imaginary Theme Song: The Jetsons theme song.
Grade: C+.
Recommended for: It's hard for me to recommend this book to many. It's a weird little crossover between two long-running series and it's not going to appeal to many, even though I liked it.
Related Reads: Second Sight and After Dark by the same author.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
2011-03-24 09:29 am
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The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunits edited by Mike Ashley

Title: The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunits
Editor: Mike Ashley
Series: "The Mammoth Book of...", including The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, The Mammoth Book of Groaners, The Mammoth Book of Tasteless Lists, and The Mammoth Book of Cheese Doodles. (Kidding. Only the middle book is truly in the series.)
Genre: Anthology, mystery, historical fiction.
Setting: The 20's, mostly in the US and Europe.
Reason for Reading: I found out this book existed and thought it would be awesome.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 534
Copyright Date: 2004, but the stories were published anytime since the 20s.
Cover: A flapper in thigh highs and pearls raises her hands. Is she dancing, or is it a stickup? A man with a gun is behind her.
First line: "Are You a Free Thinker? Whether or not, Come to the Greenwich Village Feather Ball Costume Dance Given by Writers and Artists of Greenwich Village. Webster Hall, 11st St, near Third Avenue. Admission: In Costume $1, Without Costume $2."
Best part: This is a really well-edited anthology. In addition to the stories being well-chosen, the blurbs at the beginning of the stories are quite illuminating, saying why the editor chose each one and what other works the author has created.
Favorite Stories:"Timor Mortis" by Annette Meyers, "Thoroughly Modern Millinery" by Marilyn Todd, "The Day of Two Cars" by Gillian Linscott, "Putting Crime Over" by Hubert Footner, and "Without Fire" by Tom Holt.
Worst part: When the stories were bad, they were really bad. One tried to involve practically every celebrity of the time period, another was a parody of a detective I'd never heard of.
Imaginary Theme Song: The Charleston
Grade: B-, mostly because the stories have so much breadth and variation in tone and themes that I didn't like all of them. On the other hand, that suggests that this book will appeal to a wide audience. Many of the stories I didn't like just because they were bleak.
Recommended for: Mystery buffs should definitely give it a look.
Related Reads: Touchstone by Laurie R King, Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett.