Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Post Mar 16-24

Delayed a bit by my week of illness, here is this week's reading post:

The Western Wizard by Mickey Zucker Reichert
Sequel to The Last of the Renshai.  The Western Wizard was a thrilling novel about war, loyalty, king-building, prophecy and the search for the Western Wizard's successor.  I found it to be a very enjoyable read in which I also found myself invested in the fate of the characters.  Some of the character interactions were a bit rough and there were places where the emotional narrative was given too much tell as opposed to show.  However it didn't really affect my enjoyment of the book.  There was one exchange between the Eastern Wizard and Colby that really made me laugh:

'Colby studied the Eastern Wizard. "I guess we'll find you useful after all."

Now Shadimar grinned broadly. "If you had just confessed that at the beginning of our discussion, we could have finished long ago.  What is it with warriors that makes them jabber endlessly without saying anything?"

"Warriors?"  Amused by the role reversal, Colbey laughed.  He indulged Shadimar's whimsy for the sake of the joke.  "Maybe.  Just maybe, I'm practicing to be a Wizard." (575).'

Soulless by Gail Carriger
This Victorian Steampunk alternate history with its supernatural elements is a delightfully fun and silly read.  The novel begins with the spinster protagonist taking on a vampire armed with a parasol and a hair stick.  Once the vampire is dead her largest regret is the destruction of the treacle tart.  From there Alexia Tarabotti is drawn into a series of events that rapidly gain in momentum.  I love the way that werewolves and vampires have been folded into the normal workings of society complete with their own government agency.  I absolutely loved the detail that went into creating the characters: the flamboyant Lord Akeldama, the commanding Lord Maccon and the terrible fashion sense of Miss Hisselpenny.  This was a lovely read the whole way through and I definitely spent most of the book giggling. I can't wait to read Changeless!

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
This time around Stephanie Plum is out hunting 80-year-old man Eddie DeChooch who keeps managing to get away from her and Lula.  There's a pair of strange men hanging around demanding progress updates on DeChooch.  Highlights of this book: crazy wedding planning, the return of Stephanie's sister Valerie, the destruction of at least one more car, and Bounty hunting with Vinnie.  This book was not one of my favorites.  It didn't have the same energy as previous books and it just wasn't as fun.

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
This one definitely made up for my disappointment in book seven...Stephanie is recruited by a neighbor to look into a missing mother and child.  This leads to Stephanie being harassed by the missing woman's landlord, Abruzzi, who definitely beats book one villain Ramirez in the creepy department.  Abruzzi develops a fondness for sending men in masks to harass Stephanie.  Those scenes are hilarious especially when Grandma Mazur and Stephanie's mother get involved.  I loved how Joe showed up every time there was an incident involving Stephanie.  The plucky sidekick for this novel was overeager lawyer Albert Kloughn.  Highlights include: Another episode of bounty hunting with Vinnie, and Stephanie feeding the geese.  Car Count: 2 Stolen then recovered, 3 Blown-up.  This was another delightful addition to the series.

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
This was the first of a between the numbers side series to the Stephanie Plum books.  In this book a minor supernatural element is introduced into the story- people with super powers.  Stephanie is introduced to Diesel who is the super-powered equivalent of a bounty hunter who offers his help in finding Stephanie's Failed-to Appear knowing that his own target won't be far away.  Set at Christmas time Stephanie's FTA is a toy-maker with a workshop filled with "little people" dressed as elves...very angry elves, prompting a return appearance by Randy Briggs.  At first, the introduction of the supernatural element was a bit off-putting since it was out of the initial parameters of very normal New Jersey.  However, the same hijinks and hilarity that make the main series fun are running wild and rampant through the side series as well.

Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
Diesel returns and he has Stephanie's current FTA, Annie.  Diesel is protecting Annie from another super-powered man and has promised to take care of her clients that have come to her for relationship advice.  Stephanie agrees to help play relationship expert. The clients range from a lovesick vet to a busy mother of four to the shy butcher to the blushing virgin.  Highlight: Watching Porn with the Virgin, Grandma Mazur, and Lula.  The bounty hunting plot line was kind of lifeless but the matchmaking plot line definitely made up for it.  It made for a nice light afternoon read.

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
Another adventure with the mysterious Diesel.  This book takes the cast on the road to Atlantic city when Grandma Mazur finds a bag of cash and makes a break for it.  Stephanie is close behind with Lula and Connie.  It turns out that Grandma Mazur acquired the bag from a Super-powered man that is Diesel's current target.  Highlights: Lula's distraction in the casino, the Midget sized RV, rescuing the racehorse, and crashing an Armored Truck into Ranger's gate. This installment of the series definitely made me giggle.  Highly entertaining!

Dead to Rights by J.A. Jance
The next installment of the Joanna Brady mysteries.  The book opens with a powerful opening scene of a deliriously happy couple torn apart on their wedding anniversary when a drunk driver kills the wife.  Fast forward a year and the husband is out in front of the Vet Clinic owned by the driver protesting and handing out MADD flyers.  The driver is later murdered and the suspect on hand is the husband.  Despite much pressure to the contrary, Sheriff Joanna Brady insists on hunting for answers in an ever tangled web of lies and deception.  I really enjoyed this book.  I like the way things don't magically become easy for Joanna once she is Sheriff and that there are the very real little office power struggles going on.  The interactions between Joanna and her daughter, Jenny, are absolutely fantastic. I think they are perfect for a young girl who lost her father violently and now her mother has gone into law enforcement as well.  Not only does Jance capture their shifting family dynamic as they adjust to being two instead of three but she also captures how Jenny is adjusting to the change in career for her mother, shifting between pride and fear and anger.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book!

Currently Reading:
I Loved Jesus in the Night: Teresa of Calcutta- A Secret Revealed by Paul Murray
A biography of sort about Mother Teresa dealing especially with her struggles with faith and doubt and feelings of abandonment.  Some interesting insights but a dry read.

Spellwright by Blake Charlton
I'm a few chapters in and I'm definitely fascinated by the unique magic system.  I can't wait to have time to read more.

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