September 5th 2011

August’s Reads

It took three weeks to read one book!  Ok, part of it was getting back into the roleplaying game, but geez…  Plus, it’s the only book I read all month.  More writing and less reading isn’t all bad, I suppose.

A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands: Except for the ones that sparkle, I generally like vampires, but I had the hardest time getting into this book. And then, it took three weeks to finish it! Since a friend recommended it, I thought I’d read it… but, ok, maybe it’s just me, but it dragged.

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July 4th 2011

July’s Reads

Continuing my obsession with re-watching science fiction shows, I finished Stargate: Atlantis and started in on Stargate: Universe.  I’m up to season four in Star Trek: Deep Space 9.  I’d be farther along if I didn’t have to wait for the Netflix discs… DS9 probably won’t be out for streaming until October, at which point I will be done, done, done with that particular series.  Also, I reconnected with a whole bunch of my roleplaying buddies from CompuServe so… yeah, I spent more time writing than reading this month.

Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson: This is the third book in the Persephone Alcmedi series, wherein she makes great strides in taking up the mantle of the Lustrata. The Fairies are still out to get her… and the vampire Menessos. It’s up to Persephone, as Lustrata, to bring balance back to the world. The book left plenty of loose ends to address in another book, but not so many that I’d feel extraordinarily angry with Robertson if she didn’t write another one (though I hope she does). If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, read this series! (I’ll bet I said that before, didn’t I?)

Unseen by Rachel Caine: I have been remiss in not mentioning the Outcast Season series by Caine.  This is the third book in the series (the first two being Undone and Unknown).  This series is a tangent or companion series to the Weather Warden series.  The star of this series is Cassiel, a former Djinn, who’s been confined to human form by Ashan, leader of the Old Djinn.  Her mission — destroy all of humanity.  It’s too bad Ashan didn’t take into account the fact that turning Cassiel into a human would slowly infuse her with human compassion.  While Joanne Baldwin and others in her series are sometimes mentioned in passing, this series is all about Cassiel’s struggle to accept being human, and to find some other way than total annihilation of the human race to eliminate the evil that threatens to destroy humans, Djinn and the Mother herself.  An excellent series, and you don’t even have to have read any of the Weather Warden books to understand who the players are… another, interestingly, this book ends at a point that’s right about at the middle of the latest Weather Warden book.  Sadly, based on what appears to be her publishing schedule for this series, I’m going to have to wait another six months to read the next one.  Bummer.

Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne: The third (and, I hope, not last) book in the Iron Druid Chronicles has our Druidic hero traveling with a group of unlikely companions all bent on revenge, and killing the Norse thunder god, Thor. Given the stories they tell, Thor clearing deserves whatever he gets. The Morrigan is again predicting doom, but when isn’t she? Other recent events and their consequences are starting to catch up to Atticus, and he’s going to have to relocate once the adventure to thrash Thor has been completed.

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July 1st 2011

June’s Reads

So, I finished Stargate: SG-1… and there are no more episodes of House or The Big Bang Theory or Castle to be watched.  Of course, I’m now watching Stargate: Atlantis and Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (and in regards to that show, I’m still trying to remember why I thought it was so good… because season 1 has not been great).  Anyway, I also read!  And it looks like everything stayed in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Supernatural category this month… definitely reflecting what I was watching on the boob tube.

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde: Jasper Fforde has probably got the most twisted imagination of any author I’ve read. This is his latest in the Bookworld series, in which the written Thursday Next is having difficulties with her co-characters and understudy, and the “real” Thursday Next appears to be… missing. Despite having only 30 minutes for reading at lunchtime during the summer months, and all sorts of obligations, and the Stargate/Star Trek addiction of mine, I polished this one off in about four days.  If I had had the chance, I’d have sat down and read it all in a single day!  I highly recommend you read this one (and it’s possible, I think, to read this without having read the other Bookworld books… but they’re all so good, you really do want to read them all).

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne: What’s not to love about a 2,000+ year old Irish Druid who looks like a college student, has fantastic Celtic knotwork tattoos, and chats telepathically with his Irish wolfhound?  Back in May, one of my favorite authors, John Scalzi, highlighted this book on his blog.  I found the premise and Hearne’s thought process intriguing, so I downloaded the story to my Kindle and finally got around to reading it this month.  It’s probably a good thing I waited a bit because know I want to read the rest of the series… the second book only became available this month, and the third will be out July 7.  Hearne tells an interesting story and sets just the right tone so that it really isn’t all that unbelievable that there’s a 2,000+ year old Druid living in Tempe, Arizona.  It’s not your typical urban fantasy novel, and I highly recommend it.  I just downloaded the second book, and pre-ordered the third!

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris: In this book, the eleventh in the Sookie Stackhouse series (on which the HBO series True Blue is loosely based), Sookie is once again at the center of mayhem.  The Regent of Louisiana is making life difficult for Eric and his vampires, Sookie learns a lot more about her fae side of the family, misfortune seems to be following Sam around, Debbie Pelt’s crazy sister wants Sookie very dead, and on top of it all, Sookie is hosting Tara’s baby shower.  If you’re a fan of the books, you’ll most definitely want to read this one, too.  If everything you know about Bon Temps you learned on HBO, this will confuse you to know end.  That said, read the whole series.  The books and TV show take different paths, but both are very good.  Oooh, that reminds me… better set up the DVR to record True Blood!

Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne: As I said above, I loved the first birth in the series so darn much, I immediately went back to Amazon and downloaded the second book to my Kindle (the third should be ready for download next week). We continue to follow Atticus O’Sullivan in his adventures in Tempe. Some rather nasty, badass witches have come to town, trying to horn in on the local coven’s territory. Not only that, but some Bacchants have come down from Vegas, a fallen angel is snacking on high school students, and a couple of ancient Celtic goddesses are making life more than a litter interesting for our hero. I must say that one of my favorite characters in the book is Oberon, Atticus’ Irish Wolfhound.

A Memory of Wind by Rachel Swirsky: This is a original short (well, short-ish) story. Most of us know the story of Helen of Troy. She left her husband, Menelaus, and went with Paris to Troy. Menelaus, Agamemnon and Odysseus decide to fetch her back, but apparently Artemis is keeping their ships in port because she’s ticked off about something. She says she’ll let the winds blow again so the ships can set sail, under the condition that Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to her. And, being a man, he does. This is Iphingenia’s tale, told as her memories fade and she becomes the wind.

Overtime by Charlie Stross: Another original short story! This one is a little creepy, a little bizarre and a little bit funny. Possibly even more than just a little bit funny.  I haven’t read much by Stross, but based on this little story, I’m definitely going to find more of his works!

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June 1st 2011

May’s Reads

I spent way more time watching House and Stargate SG1 and The Big Bang Theory than I did reading.  Still, I did finish a few (a pathetically few) books this month.

Hallowed Circle by Linda Robertson: This is the second in the Persephone Alcmedi series, and every bit as enjoyable a the first.  She’s a solitary witch who’s been talked into competing for the position of High Priestess of the Cleveland, Ohio, coven.  Those trial and tribulations are a large part of the book, but let’s not forget the werewolves and vampires that return from the first novel.  Oh, and her cantankerous grandmother, who is both annoying as all get-out and oddly likeable.  This book adds in the Fae, as well.  Ah, urban fantasy!  How I love you when you’re well written!

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde: Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall, and it’s up to Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his new partner, Mary Mary, to solve the crime.  Fforde is a genius at taking unlikely characters and ever-so-slightly out-of-kilter settings seem absolutely normal.  I’ve read nearly everyone of his books now (one more Thursday Next and a new one called The Last Dragonslayer that isn’t available at the library yet), and every one of them is extraordinarily fun for this English major turned computer programmer.  If you’ve never read one of Fforde’s books… what are you waiting for?

Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff: Have I mentioned I’m a language buff?  Language and linguistics fascinate me even more than database design.  If you’re interested in language, and particularly cognitive linguistics, this is the book for you!  It’s meant as a guide for Progressives to frame the various issues that are “hot button” topics in our society in ways that are not merely reactionary to the Conservative talking points.  I was vaguely disappointed in the very subtle “us versus them” tone of the book.  Yes, Progressives and Conservatives have basic, fundamental mindsets that cause them to generally take polar opposite stands on a number of issues.  And yes, Lakoff does provide suggestions for ways Progressives and Conservatives can converse without the usual nuclear reactions that seem to happen when people of differing viewpoints try to converse.  If you’re a Progressive, it’s likely you’ll enjoy this book.  If you are Conservative, you should probably skip it.  If you’re somewhere in the middle… well, give it a shot.  I am glad I read the book, but I suspect I might enjoy his more thorough and scholarly book, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning: Not everyone can see the Fae… in fact, it’s a pretty rare talent.  After her sister is murdered, MacKayla Lane leaves her home in a tiny Georgia town and travels to Dublin, Ireland to prod to local police in being more aggressive in the search for Alina’s killer.  There, she learns that not only is she a sidh-seer, but so was her sister… and that’s why she was killed.  Fine urban fantasy made even better by the fact that it’s set in Ireland!  (Have I mentioned that I love all things Irish?)  The next four books in the series are already in my request list at the library!

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May 1st 2011

April’s Reads

More House marathons and I also added a Castle marathon this month, but also remembering to read more at lunchtime.

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter: This is Slaughter’s first book in the Grant County series.  I’d already read the last book in the series (Beyond Reach), but since I read it so long ago, I barely remembered any of the characters.  (But I have NOT forgotten what bad, bad thing Slaughter did in the final book).  This is another one of those books I picked up at the library because it was similar to something else I’d read.  I’d actually completely forgotten that I’d already read a book by Slaughter until I was about half-way through the book and some of the people were seeming somewhat familiar.  It’s definitely worth the read.  As in the last book, the crimes are twisty, the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad… but unlike the final book, there are a number of characters who are neutral, and who could go either way.  Now I feel like I need to read the four other books in this series to find out whether some of these neutral people turn out to be bad guys or good guys.

Space (Creative Painting Series) by Gemma Guasch and Josep Asunción: I really thought I was going to love this book.  I requested it from the library because I thought it might help me paint better paintings.  But what I figured out is that this is a great book if you’re planning out your paintings before you painting.  Or, heck, if you’re planning out your paintings as your painting them.  But I don’t plan anything when I paint.  It’s all kind of go-with-the-flow and very emotional.  So, this book (even though it had a small, very interesting section on abstract paintings) wasn’t as helpful to me as I’d hope.  My disappointment in the book, however, shouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading it.  There is a lot of very, very good technical information packed in there.

The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison: This is Harrison’s sixth book in The Hollows series, in which Rachel is once again fighting bad guys with her partners Jenks and Ivy.  Of course, there are the usual cast of demons, as well.  In this book, a Rachel also has a family reunion and learns some rather interesting family secrets.  If you’ve been following this series (and I’m sure I mentioned that you should), this book reveals more clues about Rachel’s affinity for demon magic.

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison:  The seventh book in The Hollows series brings in a new type of character… a banshee.  Oooh, and banshees are not nice at all.  Also, we finally find out who killed Kisten back in book five, and there are some new and interesting people to populate Rachel’s world.

Queen’s Own FBI Trilogy by Mark Phillips: A zany pulp fiction series about telepaths, teleporters, and spies, and the FBI agent caught up in the middle of it all.  The three stories were each a heck of a lot of fun, and appear to be available only on the Kindle (or for Kindle apps on the myriad devices that support them).  Definitely worth the read… highly amusing!

A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen W. Hawking:  Thought I’d read a serious book for a change, and was absolutely thrilled to have finally read Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.  He explains complex ideas in the field of theoretical physics in a way that anyone can understand.  I didn’t have to try to refresh my memory of calculus or even the high school physics class I took forever ago.  This book is education, entertaining and exceptionally well-written.  Everyone should read this one!

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April 1st 2011

March’s Reads

With the completion of the entire ST:TNG series last month, I spent more time reading this month.  Not that much more time, because this month The Offspring and I started a House marathon.

The Vegan Family Cookbook by Chef Brian P. McCarthy: This is a small book filled with lots of recipes.  Most of them appear to be very simple with not too many ingredients (right up my alley, right?), I only found about a dozen that really appealed to me.  I guess that’s no too bad… there have been cookbooks with more recipes and fewer that I’d actually try to make.

You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! by Lacey Sher and Gail Doherty: This book has about 200 recipes in it, and I found only two that weren’t too onerous for my lazy cooking ways.  That said, if you like to spend time in the kitchen, there are a lot of recipes in here that look pretty yummy.

The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass: Again, another book with lots of yummy-looking recipes, but only two that look easy enough for the lazy cook.

Vegan Cooking for Everyone by Leah Leneman:  There are some really delicious things in this book, but again… I’m too lazy to spend the time to make most of them.  I did grab one recipe, but the rest were just overwhelming.  The thing that annoyed me the most about this book was the font the publisher used for the titles… really, really hard to read.  Who does crap like that?

Raven’s Strike by Patricia Briggs: The second book in the Raven duology, this story follows Seraph the Raven and her family’s adventure to rid the world of The Shadowed.  Fabulous fantasy story, and if you like high fantasy, you need to read this (and the preceding) book!

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue: This is definitely one of the strangest books I’ve read in a long time.  So as not to be all spoilery, I’m just going to quote from the book jacket.  “To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world.  It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn.  There are endless wonders that let loose Jack’s imagination — the snake under Bed that he constructs out of eggshells, the imaginary world projected through the TV, the coziness of Wardrobe below Ma’s clothes, where she tucks him in safely at night in case Old Nick comes.  Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held since she was nineteen — for seven years.  Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in that eleven-by-eleven-foot space.  But Jack’s curiosity is building alongside her own desperation — and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.  Told in the poignant and funny voice of Jack, Room is a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.  It is a shocking, and riveting novel — but always deeply human and always moving.  Room is a place you will never forget.”  It was a tough read in the beginning, but worth the perseverance.  Definitely give this one a try!

200 Projects to Strengthen Your Art Skills by Valerie Colston: This is another of those very handy-to-have books for an artist type.  I tried a couple of the exercises, scanned through the entire book, and immediately placed it on my Amazon wish list.  If you are an artist, or want to practice honing or skills, this is a good book for you!

Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson:  This book is hysterically funny… providing you like Star Trek and have ever been to a Trek convention.  It’s still pretty funny, I think, even if you have just been to any sort of convention or conference.  Since I am a huge Trekkie and have been to many Star Trek conventions in my time, adding zombies to the mix just turns an ordinary run-of-the-mill (to me) weekend into wacky-crazy-fun!  Obviously, if you like Star Trek and/or Zombies, read this book!

Classic Vegetarian Recipes by Jo-Ann Cox (editor): The Spousal Unit brought this book home from work the other day (they were having a book exchange or something) saying, “I was thinking of you!” Bless his little heart, as they say in Texas.  After being married for 12 and a half years, he still can’t remember I hate to cook.  But it is an extremely beautiful book, with mouthwatering pictures.  Sadly, all the recipes either have too many ingredients or would take too much time and effort.  But for someone who enjoys cooking… oh, man!  This book is for you!

The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris:  My friend Ian recommended this book.  I suspect if I didn’t hurt 24/7 from the fibromyalgia, and if the mere thought of eating food first thing in the morning didn’t make me gag, I would actually give this program a try.  But trying to eat 30 grams of protein (as a vegan!) within an hour of getting up is making me a little queasy just thinking about it.  I can manage 10 grams of protein in my morning smoothie… oh but wait!  No fruit either.  NO FRUIT?  Ok, ok, it’s just for a few weeks.  And I already know the exercises (very mild ones) that the author suggests will make me need more drugs, as I’ve tried them.  Well, not the squats because I’d fall over and break my face, but the wall-pushups.  I’d say if your problems are caused by being overweight, or your weight (either over or under) is the only problem you have, have a chat with your doctor about this program and check it out.  It’s not for me, but it could certainly work for other people.

Coyote Rising by Allen Steele:  Just as good as his first one in this series, Steele continues the story of the colonists’ struggle for freedom and independence on the new world of Coyote.  Read the first one, then read this one!

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March 1st 2011

February’s Reads

Winter should mean sitting in the comfy chair, maybe in front of a toasty space heater under a warm blanket, and reading the time away.  The problem with this particular bout of fibromyalgia, all I feel like doing is sitting in the other comfy chair (which, by the way, isn’t always comfy) and watching Star Trek.  Good grief.  I’m embarrassed to say I spent  far more time watching Star Trek: The Next Generation than I did reading.

Coyote: A Novel of Interstellar Exploration by Allen Steele:  John Scalzi merely mentioned this author/series and I figured if John Scalzi likes the book… and I like John Scalzi’s books… then there’s a good chance I would like the book.  Ah ha!  I was correct in my assumption!  It’s a good, solid science fiction story with political intrigue; good, bad and ugly interpersonal relationships; and a writing style that doesn’t let you put the book down.  Well, unless you have to actually work or are depressed and just want to watch some ST:TNG, which is in no way the book’s fault.  And I plan to read the other books in the Coyote series.

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson:  This is from my latest batch of books from Booksfree.  I was updating my queue there, and there were a number of recommendations they presented.  You know… “Hey, we’ve noticed all the books you’ve borrowed from us and think you’d like all of these.”  So I added a few to my queue… this was one of them.  It’s an urban fantasy novel with witches, werewolves and vampires.  The unusual thing about it?  It’s not set in the Pacific Northwest!  Nope  Watch out Ohio… not only do you have John Scalzi, you now have Supernaturals.  (No one has yet been able to prove that John Scalzi isn’t one of them, by the way.)  The bottom line is: if you like urban fantasy, you’ll probably like this book.

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison: I had Booksfree send me this one because I totally love her Hallows series.  This is geared more for the young adult reader, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t it enjoy it too.  I sure did!  In fact, I now need to read the next book in the series.

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February 1st 2011

January’s Reads

Back to work in the new year, and that means most of my reading time is at the office while eating lunch… and on the weekends when I don’t schedule every minute away on other things.  Also, I spent more time than I normally do in front of the TV… I blame Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course.

Raven’s Shadow by Patricia Briggs: The first in a new (to me) fantasy series.  Without Briggs’ skill with creating characters, it could have turned into a fairly ordinary sword and sorcery story, but she manages to create interesting characters who aren’t really like anyone else you’ve ever met.  I’m looking forward to the next book!

Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine: This is the ninth book in the Weather Warden series, and probably the first one with a fairly calm ending.  If Caine wanted to end the series here, it would make a very satisfying conclusion.  However, if she wanted to keep going, that would be a-ok with me!  I do enjoy the adventures of the Wardens and Djinn, especially when they’re working together.

Creative Composition & Design by Pat Dews:  I watched one of Dews’ videos on creating underpaintings (or “starts”), and was completely fascinated by the process.  This book appears to be out of print, but I’m happy that the local library system has a copy for me to borrow.  It’s an interesting book, and I’ve tried out some of her techniques.  If I could find a copy at a reasonable price, I’d probably buy it just to refer back to it on a regular basis.

Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine: Here we have the eighth book in the Morganville Vampire series, wherein our heroes do something new and different… they take a trip to Dallas!  Of course the actual Dallas part of the trip is really just the epilogue of the book.  On the way to Dallas, they get to fight (and — gasp! — save) a bunch of crazy, infected vamps in another town.  Here’s the craziest part of the book… I think I’m actually starting to like Oliver.

Encaustic Workshop by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch:  Holy moly!  I had this book in my Amazon wishlist and got it for Christmas.  I love, love, LOVE this book!  There are dozens of great ideas to add variety to my artwork… not just the encaustics, but mixed media stuff, too.  Woohoo!  Gotta go run to the studio!

The Likeness by Tana French: In this somewhat-sequel to In the Woods, Cassie goes undercover to find a murderer.  But it really isn’t as simple as all that.  French writes incredibly detailed books, and the plot lines are woven together so artfully and tightly that you can’t help but applaud.  The story is fantastic… the writing is some of the best I’ve come across in years.  Also… she makes me want to visit Ireland SO badly.  It’s not often that I’m this impressed with a book (or author) outside the science fiction / fantasy genre.  In other words… go read this book!

The Vegan Scoop by Wheeler Del Torro:  There are times (granted, not often) when I crave a bowl (or half gallon) of really good ice cream.  But since I’m vegan, that’s not easy to find.  Del Torro has been good enough to share some of his experiences and recipes for making gourmet vegan ice cream.  There are a handful that I want right now.  I guess it’s time to replace that old ice cream maker that broke about 15 years ago, huh?  Even if you’re not vegan, these healthier versions of ice cream will get your mouth watering!  If I ate more ice cream than once or twice a year, I’d pick up a copy of this book to have on hand.  As it is, I’ll jot down a few of the ones I know I’d actually make and take the book back to the library.

Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann:  This book contains dozens of recipes that are geared to finicky eaters (i.e., kids) and pack easily in a lunch box for meals on the go.  Don’t let that fool you (as it almost did me)… there are also great breakfast and dinner recipes in here, too.  Though I picked up this book at the library, there are enough recipes in here that are relatively hassle-free that I may pick up a copy for my kitchen.

Vegan Recipes for All Occasions by Tony Weston and Yvonne Bishop: This book was more disappointing than the previous two.  I found only one recipe that I’d probably make more than once… a recipe for baba ganoush (mmmm, I love me some baba ganoush!).  While several of the food items looked really delicious, the recipes were far more complicated than I have patience for.  (I don’t enjoy cooking, so if something takes more than 30 minutes, or makes more than two bowls or pans dirty, it’s too much trouble for me.)  People who actually enjoy cooking would probably be more interested in this book than I was.

TrueBlood and Philosophy by George A. Dunn and Rebecca Housel (editors):  The individual authors in the collection take up the task of explaining various philosophical (classical, ethical, feminist, existential), psychological, sociological and psychological theories in terms of The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlene Harris and the HBO series True Blood.  The book is both entertaining and thought-provoking.  If you’re interested in thinking about the human condition, you’ll enjoy how these authors have tossed vampires, faeries, werewolves and shapeshifters into the mix.

Storm Cycle by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen: This was a fast-paced action-adventure novel, with a bit of Egyptian history tossed in to make it really interesting.  Oh, and there’s some medical mysteries, betrayals and saving-the-world stuff, too.  It’s hard to say much about it without giving away key points.  I certainly enjoyed it!

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January 1st 2011

December’s Reads

December brought 11 extra days off work… not bad.  Of course, it also brought a funeral and visits with out-of-town family, Christmas Eve dinner with in-town family, and the yearly “pig out on a TV show over Christmas break” festival (this year it was Star Trek: The Next Generation).  So not a whole lot of reading got done.

Fade Out by Rachel Caine: This is book eight in the Morganville Vampire series.  Claire and her pals get into — and out of — another scary situation involving vampires.  You can say that about every one of these books, but each one is just as interesting as the last.

Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Here’s what I love about this series… I can get my police procedural fix (I am a Law & Order junkie, after all) and my otherworldly weird things fix all in the same book.  This time, we meet the creepiest vampire ever and some new fae.  Ah, and the walking stick is still following Merry around.

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs: This is book four in the Mercedes Thompson series; each one just gets better and better.

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs:  This is a wee little novella that introduces the concept of the Omega werewolf, and the character of Anna.  Oh yes… I’ve got the library looking for the next book.  I never fail to get thrown by Briggs’ description of the Marrok (the alpha of the all the Alphas) as a kid in his early 20s.

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton: This is the sixth book in the Merry Gentry series, and she’s finally pregnant.  And there were only two sex scenes in this book, which meant there was a lot of action.  I like that.  We also got to see just how bat-shit crazy her uncle — the King of the Seelie Court — is.

Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton:  And the seventh book in the Merry Gentry series… again, with less sex and more action, which is the way I prefer them.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the sex… but if that’s all the story is about, then it isn’t terribly interesting.  So many things happen in this book, it’s like Hamilton was making up for the books that were nothing but sex.  There’s even an fairly happy ending.  Of course, since there’s at least one more book after this, there’s bound to be more unrest ahead of Merry.  Her aunt lost the crown of the Unseelie (it seems Fairie thought Merry should have it, but she gave it back to save Frost… aww, isn’t that sweet?), her psychopathic cousin is dead, but her bat-shit crazy uncle is still around.  Stay tuned for book eight.

Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton:  In the eighth book of the series, Hamilton is back to throwing in a little more sex than is strictly necessary to forward the plot.  However, there was a fairly good plot tracking down a fae serial killer.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs: The fifth (and latest) book in the Mercy Thompson series in which Mercy attempts to return that book she borrowed from the old bookshop owner several books back.  The problem is that there are some really nasty fae type trying to find it, and Mercy has to keep it from them.  Also, the unrest in the pack over Mercy’s inclusion comes to a head.  Hell of a fun ride!

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs: The first full novel in the Alpha and Omega series has Charles and Anna off to find a rogue werewolf in the mountains of Montana.  They find something even worse.

Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton: This is the 17th (and latest) book in the Anita Blake series.  In this one, Anita is off to Las Vegas to hunt down a vampire serial killer and teams up with fellow US Marshalls Ted (Edward), Otto (Olaf) and Bernardo.  She also gets into more trouble with men.  What else is new?  Also?  Marmee Noir has a starring role, as well.

The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage:  Despite the fact that I don’t cook much, sometimes a cookbook catches my eye and I just have to have it.  There are a lot of recipes in here that I plan to try out on my chorus mates at our potluck dinners, and even a few I can try on the family.  There are others that I’d like to try, too… but they make a whole lot more food than one person can reasonably eat.

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December 1st 2010

November’s Reads

The obsession with crosswords seems to have abated slightly, and with the long Thanksgiving weekend I had a little more time to read.  Of course, this month I also caught up on Seasons 2 and 3 of Eureka, watched a whole lot of Law & Order, and performed in two choral concerts, which took time away from reading.  Oooh, look… in December, I have a whole WEEK off!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I had heard from a few people that this was a good book to read, so I thought I’d give it a go.  The first few chapters were slow, but by chapter 4, I was hooked and could barely put it down.  Yes, yes… read it if you like mysteries!

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs: My new friend, Dee, told me about Briggs and said I should start with this book.  Whoa, Nellie!  Why had I not ever heard of Briggs before?  If you like urban fantasy and werewolves, you gotta read this one!

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton:  I’ve read Hamilton’s entire Anita Blake series and have no idea why I haven’t picked up her Mercedes Gentry series before this.  But, again thanks to Dee, I read the whole book in a single day.  Yes.  It was that good.

Kindred in Spirit by J.D. Robb:  Another fine murder mystery featuring NYSP homicide detective Eve Dallas.  I have enjoyed every one of Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas mysteries.  Robb just released another one last week, but then I’ll be all caught up.  That makes me sad, because Eve Dallas has got to be one of my favorite cops in fiction.

Cape Storm by Rachel Caine:  This is the eighth book in Caine’s Weather Warden series.  Again, we find Joanne on the wrong end of the stick, getting beaten and battered while trying to save the world.  She and David do get to finish their wedding vows though… eventually.  If you’ve read the other books in the series, you should read this one, too!  And if you haven’t read the others… what are you waiting for?

In the Woods by Tana French:  Ok, you had me at “Dublin.”  I’m a sucker for anything set in Ireland, and I’m especially pleased when the story turns out to be as good as this one.  You’ve got a psychopath and a murder and and old case of missing (and presumed dead) children all crashing together in Knocknaree, outside Dublin.  It’s a book with precise writing, full of details… so it’s not one to just skim through.  It’s well worth the read, and I’ve got the other two books in the series on my TBR list!

A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton:  The is the second in the Mercedes Gentry series, in which Merry and her band of merry men (heh heh heh) find and do away with some Really Bad Nasty Things.  Also, even more impressive, Merry is learning how to stand up against both the Queen of the Unseelie Court and the King of the Seelie Court.  The next one is waiting for me at the library!

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs: This is the second in the Mercy Thompson series, and every bit as good as the first one.  I’ve already started the next one and the one after that has been requested from the library.  Gads, how I love my library system!

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs:  Book three in the Mercy Thompson series, and they just keep getting better.  I hope book four arrives at the library soon!

Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton: The third book in the Merry Gentry series (the theme this month is obviously urban fantasy).  Paralleling the Anita Blake series, Merry seems to grow more powerful in each book.  This time around, she survives two (or was it three?) assassination attempts and wins a duel with another fae.  What kind of trouble will you get into in the next book?

A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton:  The fourth book in the Merry Gentry series… and Merry is doing some serious work channeling the Goddess.  There was actually a mystery to solve, but they only got halfway done with the solving of it.  It’s interesting how an author can write 366 pages and only cover a couple of days.

Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton: The fifth book in the Merry Gentry series…  Merry brings magic back to the sithen.  I picked this book up at 4pm from the library and finished it around 9pm.  Yes, it’s that good.

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