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 Tor.com 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 Tor.com 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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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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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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