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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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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