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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November 1st 2010

October’s Reads

October brought two out-of-town trips… a chorus retreat over a long weekend where fewer than usual books were read, and a week-long work-related training excursion where there was little to do besides read when I wasn’t in class.  But I seem to have been obsessed with doing crossword puzzles this month, so I didn’t wind up reading as many books as I otherwise might have.

Big Jack by J. D. Robb:  Another of the early ones that I missed… this one was right after Peabody made detective.  The bantering between Dallas and Peabody is completely mag, as Peabody or McNabb might say.  And I think this catches me up… I’ve now read all of the Eve Dallas books that have been published.

The Angel by Carla Neggers:  In search of some new authors on PaperbackSwap, I ran across Carla Neggers and requested this book.  It’s well-written and has lots of Irish and Ireland connections.  I liked it enough to request the other books in the series.

Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini: The first in the Paul Madriani series.  It’s not as well put together as some of the later ones, but certainly a good first effort!

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood:  Her latest dystopian novel is easily as good as her previous ones.  There is some overlap of characters between this book and Oryx and Crake, but it’s not necessary to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one.  I am a fan of Atwood, so this one is highly recommended!

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde:  His best so far!  Fforde has created a world where no one can see the full spectrum of color, and some people don’t see color at all.  The social constructs of such a world are fascinating to see laid out before us.  Add to it all a bit of a mystery, young lady who doesn’t exactly follow the rules and a young man who asks too many questions, and you have another book I’ll highly recommend!

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer:  A YA novel whose premise intrigued me.  It’s very well written, and I can see the pre-teen crowd thoroughly enjoying it.

The Widow by Carla Neggers:  This book precedes The Angel and gives the whole story of Detective Abigail Browning.  It’s a good mystery, despite the mushy romantic stuff.  ;)  I’d recommend reading them in the proper order.

Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine:  This is the sixth book in the Morganville Vampires series, and I must say that each one gets better than the previous.  Unlike vampires that sparkle, Rachel Caine’s vampires are downright vicious.  While that doesn’t bode well for the residents of Morganville, Texas, as least it’s doing a good job of washing the bad taste I still have in my mind from those Twilight books that I read last year.

Holly and Homicide by Leslie Caine:  The seventh book in the Domestic Bliss mystery series is just as fun and silly as the previous six books.  People die, crazy stuff happens and the mystery is finally solved.  This sort of thing seems to follow Erin Gilbert around like a plague for the past seven books; no doubt the “curse” will continue.  It’s a fun and quick read, and I recommend the series.

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman: The subtitle of the book is Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them).  Many of the contradictions were not news to me.  The most fascinating part of the book was Ehrman’s discussion of the early days of Christianity, trying to answer the question of how Christianity developed in the first four centuries after Jesus’ death.  As a comparative religion student, I found that discussion even more interesting than the list of contradiction.  This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in looking at the Bible in an historical context.

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October 1st 2010

Wrapping up September

Here’s what I finished reading in the last two weeks of the month.  As always, I’ve got several piled around that I’m half or a third or nine-tenths finished reading.

Born in Death by J. D. Robb: one of the earlier ones I’d missed.  Eve Dallas always catches the bad guys, while exchanging amusing banter with her team and having steamy sex with her husband, who is filthy rich.

Salvation in Death by J. D. Robb: I swear I read this one before, I just can’t find it in any of my lists.  Bad guys kill a bunch of people, one of them winds up dead and Dallas sends the other off-planet for the rest of whatever.  Snark, humor, sex and good police work build another good story!

Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts:  creating art by just getting my emotions out on the page has worked fairly well for me for years.  But lately I’ve been thinking I might create different art if I paid attention to all the rules one learns in art school.  This is not the book to learn from, though.  It really made me feel stupid.  In all of the “notice how this part of the painting grabs your attention” I got really pissed off because that wasn’t the part of the painting that grabbed my interest.  Maybe this book is meant for someone who paints representational art rather than non-representational art.  I’m glad I borrowed this one from the library rather than buying, because I’m one dissatisfied customer here.

Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman

Vegan Express by Nava Atlas: I found a total of four recipes from these two cookbooks that I thought I might try.  I probably won’t try them any time soon, as all the recipes involve using either the stove or the oven, and I’m really not in the mood to cook.  Maybe next month.

When Darkness Falls by James Grippano: There are now (apparently) eight Jack Swytek novels by Grippano.  I’ve read four of them… completely out of order.  That sort of thing usually makes me crazy, but Grippano writes his stories tightly and while there are certainly references to previous books, you don’t need to know what went on back then to enjoy the current novel.  And the Jack Swytek series is definitely enjoyable!

Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton:  Honestly, I don’t know why I keep reading cookbooks.  Yes, the pictures of completed dishes look great… but I hate to cook.  I did find another recipe for Green Split Pea Soup that looks pretty good.  I collect recipes for split pea soup.  I just love it.

Eye of the Beholder by David Ellis: Oh, boy… this one is confusing because it bounces back and forth between 1989 and 2005.  And it’s pretty twisty.  I didn’t see that ending coming.  Well, a couple of things… but not the most important one.  Definitely read this one!

Cop Without a Badge by Charles Kipps:  A true-life story of a confidential informant.  It’s not something I would have found to read if The Offspring had not requested that I pick it up for her at the library.  It was worth the read.

The Simple Secret to Better Painting by Greg Albert: Ah, now this one was much more helpful.  The simple secret isn’t all that profound (don’t make any two intervals the same), but the explanation of the “secret” utilizing all the various aspects of a painting was helpful.  And since the author tended to take everything to a very simple abstract level (black and white or greyscale blobby images), it was really much more useful to me as an abstract painter.  I’ve put this one in my Amazon wish list.

BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker: Oh, very creepy.  And twisty.  If you like creep and twisty, this is one you should read.  On the other hand, if you like rainbows and sunshine, pick something else.

Suite 606 by J. D. Robb: This is a collection of four different novellas.  I only picked it up so I could read J. D. Robb’s Ritual in Death, which was every bit as good as the rest of her stories.  I started reading the others… but lost interest.

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September 12th 2010

Update

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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September 5th 2008

Strangers in Death

Eve doesn’t have much patience for snooty rich women, that’s for sure.  And when one such woman’s husband winds up murdered, she takes an almost instant dislike to said snooty rich woman.

It’s very clever how Robb tied Eve’s case ever so neatly to one of Baxter and Trueheart’s long-outstanding cases.  (And Trueheart… isn’t he just adorable?)  That one, of course, gets solved, too.

There’s not much new happening in the lives of our main characters…  well, Feeney comes down with the mother of all colds and Mavis gets mental with baby coo talk to Bella, but other than that…

Oh wait!  Charles has decided to retire from the rank of licensed companions and asked Louise to marry him.  I guess it’s about time.  I started expecting this to happen a couple of books back.

While not the strongest of Robb’s In Death series, it was still entertaining and has kept me on the lookout for more.

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September 2nd 2008

Three in Death

Oh, yeah… more Eve Dallas!  This one is a collection of three novellas.

Interlude in Death has Eve attending a police conference off-planet.  Naturally, it’s someplace Roarke owns.  It’s a sad tale of what happens when a good cop goes more than a little nuts and starts using the system for his own purposes.  Justice… and Dallas… prevails in the end.

Midnight in Death is all about another encounter with a psycho serial killer.  There sure are a lot of those in New York, aren’t there?  No way I’m going to be living anywhere near there in 2059.  This psycho serial killer escaped from an off-world prison facility.  You’d think that wouldn’t be possible.  Still, Eve gets the bad guy, saving Dr. Mira in the process.

Haunted in Death is about a haunted building that (show some shocked surprise here) Roarke does not own.  Once again, we have a killer who is mentally unstable… and out to get justice for a crime committed 85 years in the past.  Eve steadfastly maintains that there’s no such thing as ghosts.  Hmmm… maybe not.

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August 25th 2008

Creation in Death

Back in the day when Dallas was still a newbie and Feeney was training her to be the righteous cop she is today, they caught a case they weren’t able to solve… another psycho serial killer.  Well, boys and girls, the psycho is back in New York plying his trade once again.

This is the story of a very bad person doing very bad things, and the team that finally brings him to justice.

Well, duh!  OF COURSE, they catch him!  It’s what Dallas does, right?  This time around, Roarke plays a much larger role in the cop side of things.  Rather than his usual gathering of data from his totally excellent home office (I SO want his computer system!), he joins the team down at Cop Central… leaving Summerset to run through data files at home.  Still, it’s good old-fashioned police work that saves the day.

Sadly, Bookcrossing only as one more novel and a collection of novellas available.  I’ll have to read something else.  Gasp.

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August 18th 2008

Portrait in Death

All sorts of fun things are happening in this one! Once again, I’ve gone backwards to a book earlier in the series… prior to Peabody’s rise to detective. In fact, this is the book where Dallas recommends that Peabody take the detectives exam.

And Summerset is off on a three-week vacation! Oops, wait… no he isn’t. Galahad, the trusty household cat, trips him on the stairs on the morning of his departure. A broken leg and wrenched shoulder later, Summerset is ensconced in his quarters with an unbearably perky nurse. Some hilarity ensues when Mavis and Trina show up for a “spa session.” Makes you feel sorry for poor Summerset, even if you don’t like him. (I generally do, but as we all know, Eve does not.)

And a shocking revelation rocks Roarke’s world… it turns out he has family left in Ireland. Not only family, but a large family. And most puzzling to Roarke, they don’t want anything from him. So now he has aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. And a large portion of them come by for a visit in a later book.

What? Oh, the bad guy! Right. Definitely a head case, who will probably wind up in a mental facility rather than a cage.

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August 12th 2008

Survivor in Death

Survivor in DeathI get them two at a time from Booksfree… so you get two in a row.  Sadly, there are only a few more left in my list.

There’s a wonderful Klingon saying: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”  The evildoers in this story really take that maxim to heart.

This is another tear-jerker.  In addition, there was the usual pleasant and sarcastic bantering.  One amazing thing to note: Eve and Summerset actually work together without killing one another.  Well, I should say, they work together without Eve ripping Summerset’s head off.

The funniest part of the book was when Roake said he’d like to have children with Eve.  If you’ve read even one of these books, you’d know Eve would prefer to be faced with an alley full of chemiheads than even think about children.  (So Mavis’ expanding pregnancy is creeping her right out.)

And the main supporting character this time around is a nine-year-old girl.  Let’s just say Dallas is not a mother figure.

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August 9th 2008

Visions in Death

Visions in DeathYes, another Eve Dallas story.  Why?  Because I can’t seem to get enough of them, I guess.

In a previous book (Origin in Death, I think), Robb casually mentions an incident where Peabody had been injured in the line of duty.  This is the book that tells you the whys and wherefores of Peabody’s meet up with violence.

We’ve also got another deranged serial killer on the loose in New York City.  I’m telling you, come 2059, there’s no way I’ll be living anywhere near NYC.  Oh wait… I expect to be into my next lifetime by then.  I sure hope I remember I don’t want to live in NYC.
 

 

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