Archive for the 'General Fiction' Category

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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September 12th 2010


Bad, bad, bad.  Look how long it’s been since I’ve updated.  Eleven friggin’ months.  And the books I’ve read since then!  Holy moly!  Here they are (at least the ones I remembered to record), pretty much in the order in which I read them.  I’d say read them all (except for the ones noted as not worth the time)!  Most are mystery or science fiction or urban fantasy, with a few other categories thrown in for variety.  Like spice.

Wolf Hunting by Jane Lindskold
Wolf’s Blood by Jan Lindskold
A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King
125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson (highly recommended)
To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King
Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn
The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu
Night Work by Laurie R. King
The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King
Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu
Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C. Hines
Promises in Death by J. D. Robb
Queen of Dragons by Shana Abé
The Dream Thief by Shana Abé
The Godmother by Carrie Adams
But I Trusted You by Ann Rule
Death by Inferior Design by Leslie Caine
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Saint City Sinners by Lilith Saintcrow
Power Play by Joseph Finder
Run for Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Hand of Evil by J. A. Vance
The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine
Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
False Premises by Leslie Caine
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (highly recommended)
Death by Inferior Design by Leslie Caine
Manor of Death by Leslie Caine
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
Killed by Clutter by Leslie Caine
Fatal Feng Shui by Leslie Caine
Creative Paint Workshop by Ann Baldwin
The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton (as you will see, I’m rereading this series)
Learning to Stand by Claudia Hall Christian (highly recommended, as are her other books)
C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton
Justice Denied by J. A. Vance
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
Poisoned by Gilt by Leslie Caine
To Hell and Back by Lilith Saintcrow
Blood Sins by Kay Hooper
Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag
Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
The Creative Edge by Mary Todd Beam
E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton
I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton
K is for Killer by Sue Grafton
L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton
N is for Noose by Sue Grafton
O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
Mark of the Demon Diana Rowland
Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine
First Family by David Baldacci
Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
P is for Peril by Sue Grafton
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
Partnership by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball
Poison Sleep by T. A. Pratt
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (if you like True Blood, you should read her books!)
You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
The First 48 by Tim Green
Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister
Stone Kiss by Faye Kellerman
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (American history + vampires = WIN)
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson
The Camel Club by David Baldacci
Holy Smokes by Katie MacAlister
Black Blade Blues by J. A. Pitts (excellent!)
Fatal Cure by Robin Cook (don’t bother)
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
18 Seconds by George D. Shuman
Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills (good,  but not as good as his previous books)
The Final Planet by Andrew M. Greeley
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb
Intervention by Robin Cook (his worse ever – DO NOT READ)
The Arraignment by Steve Martini

I have this plan to update more regularly.  If I commit to once a month, I might just be able to do it.  I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?

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July 1st 2009

Catching Up Again

I’ve been reading a lot.  These are just the ones I can remember reading since my last post.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Spending by Mary Gordon

Tips for Your Home Office by Meredith Gould

Irish Whiskey by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Mist by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Eyes by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Stew by Andrew M. Greeley

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Ergonomic Living: How to create a user-friendly home and office by Gordon Inkeles

How to Plan Perfect Kitchens by Kathleen M. Kiely

The Telling by Ursula K. LeGuin

Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold

Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart by Jane Lindskold

The Dragon of Despair by Jane Lindskold

Wolf Captured by Jane Lindskold

The New Smart Approach to Kitchen Design by Susan Maney

Gone, But Not Forgotten by Phillip Margolin

Body Count by P. D. Martin

Shadow of Power by Steve Martini

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills

Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling

The Last Victim by Kevin O’Brien

Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly

Wool Pets by Lauri Sharp and Kevin Sharp

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Zen Brushwork by Tanchu Terayama, Thomas Judge and John Stevens

Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy

Live Bait by P. J. Tracy

Dead Run by P. J. Tracy

Snow Blind by P. J. Tracy

Abstract and Colour Techniques in Painting by Rolina van Vliet

Critical Conditions by Stephen White

Embracing Encaustic by Linda Womack

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January 9th 2009

Water for Elephants

This book was recommended by my fabulous step-mother-in-law.  I had no idea what it was about when I put it in my Booksfree queue.  I’m delighted to report that it’s well worth reading!

To say that it’s about a 90-something year old man living in a nursing home and reminiscing about his days with the circle would be the bare truth.  And honestly, I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up based on the description… or even the slightly more interesting blurb on the back cover.  After all… how interesting can a circus be?

I’ll admit that I was wrong.  Gruen has created a rich and charming cast of characters in this novel, and has made circus life a three-dimensional tapestry.  Telling the story as flashback memories of an old man brilliant.  The juxtaposition of his current life in the nursing home and the freedom he had in the circus make the story’s ending the only possible one that would be satisfying.

I highly recommend this book!

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September 14th 2008

God’s Debris

I have yet to read anything by Scott Adams that I didn’t love.  God’s Debris is his first non-Dilbert book, and it’s a doozy.  Is it fiction?  Is it non-fiction?  The jacket blurb is almost as good as the book, so I want to share that with you.

Adams describes God’s Debris as a thought experiment wrapped in a story.  It’s designed to make your brain spin around inside your skull.

Imagine that you meet a very old man who — you eventually realize — knows literally everything.  Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life: quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light, psychic phenomenon, and probability — in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense.  What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything?

You may not find the final answer to the Big question inside, but God’s Debris might provide the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read.  The thought experiment is this: try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality.  Share the book with your smart friends.  Then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.

I’m going to pass this book along to some of my smart friends (and then eventually release it through Bookcrossing).  I’ve got a tasty beverage ready and waiting.

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August 18th 2008

The Gospel According to the Son

A long time ago (really long… I was in high school), I read a book called The Memoirs of Jesus Christ by Marcus Harrison.  I loved it!  I lent it to my mother, who also enjoyed reading it.  Instead of returning it to me as I’d requested, she gave it to my father to read.  Apparently, he thought it was sacrilegious and I never saw the book again.  In the intervening 30 years as I searched high and low for another copy of said book, I came across this one by Norman Mailer.  It’s got a similar premise: the gospel written in the first person by Yeshua himself.

(Now that I finally found a copy of Memoirs, I’ll tell you about that after I re-read it.)

Mailer’s book is less detailed and written in a more conversational style, making it easier to read… and faster.  He takes all four gospels and weaves them into a single narrative, noting where the original writers got it wrong or exaggerated.  I found the Jesus of Mailer’s book to be less engaging than Harrison’s… it was harder to really like the character.

Still, if you’re not the sort of person who’s offended by the fictionalization of religious texts, it’s a pretty good book to read over the weekend.

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July 10th 2008

Anansi Boys

Anansi BoysAfter a hideously long hiatus, I am returning to the task of documenting the books I have read.  I have discovered at least four dozen books that I’ve read and not documented here.  Can you believe that?!  (Honestly, I didn’t think it was that many.)

This is only the second book I’ve read by Neil Gaiman (the first being Good Omens, co-authored with Terry Pratchett), and it’s just as delightful as the first.  The local library is closed for renovations… and the main library is a royal pain to get to… but the rest of Gaiman’s books are on my To Be Read list once the Pine Hills branch reopens.


February 19th 2008

Nobody’s Fool

Nobody's FoolFinally!

I have no idea why it took so long to finish reading this book. It’s actually a pretty good book. There are quite a lot of interesting and likable characters, and even some interesting and not so likable characters. But it was like slogging through mud to get it read.

Still… I’d recommend it if you don’t mind spending a bit of time with a book. And now I’m off to release it somewhere, as I promised to do when Bookcrosser Hanrahan-Siudy sent to to me.

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September 19th 2007

The Penelopiad

The PenelopiadThis is a book by Margaret Atwood that managed to sneak into the house (from Zooba, no less). I started reading it at lunch time yesterday and zipped through 65 pages. Like the other books by Atwood that I’ve read (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake) it’s a fascinating look at life from a slightly different point of view… in this case, the story of Odysseus (hero of Homer’s Odyssey) told by his wife, Penelope.

And because it’s another book that found its way into my house, I need to go release another dozen books for Bookcrossing. Jolly good!

Amazon Associate link:
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus

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August 6th 2007

Son of a Witch

Son of a WitchAnother fine book by Gregory Maguire, this is a sequel to Wicked. I’m greatly enjoying the story, but Maguire’s style of writing is hard to plow through. That only means it takes longer to read, so I’ll have it finished up this week instead of last.

I’ve still got a stack of books as tall as me to read, and don’t anticipate ever finishing all the books I want to read since people just keep on writing the good stuff. Guess that means I’ll have to live forever. Yeeha!

Amazon Associate link:
Son of a Witch

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