Friday, December 08, 2006

November Book Reviews

Yes, these are late. Apparently, I will never again have these done on time. Oh, well. I do promise these are all books I started and completed during the month of November… Since I’ve been preparing for bazaars and showing up for bazaars and focusing so much energy on my beadwork I just haven’t read all that much lately.

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher -A+
Excellent book. The latest in his urban fantasy series and, in my opinion, the best of them. Good characters, good story, good writing. Fun bits and a quirky sense of humor, plus we get to find out more about the background of this world.

3rd Degree by James Patterson & Allen C. –B+
Enjoyed this one. The latest in his women crime-fighters series, and a good one. His books are never a 100% satisfying read.. They’re a little too real, ya know? I mean, when I read I want the bad guy to get what he deserves, and the good guys to be victorious, and his books are always a little grey- a little muddy…

Young Mutants
A compilation of short stories about mutants, some were good and some weren’t…
Some interesting stories and some thought provoking ones… I admit nothing about this compilation springs to my mind as a “can’t miss reading it” kind of story.

Lady Crymsym by P.N. Elrod –B+
Next one in the vampire P.I. stories set in Chicago right after the prohibition ended. We got some more background in this one. Enjoyed it. Had a good mystery with a unexpected twist ending. I was right in who I thought 'did it', but it was still a surprise...

Lady in the Loch by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough -A+
The surprise of the batch… I’ve never read anything by Scarborough that I’ve been in love with- until now. This was so good! Set in Scotland, and based loosely around the Frankenstein theme… Renaissance medicine, Murders, Ghosts, Gypsies… We know all along who the bad doctor is, and we get to watch the inspector narrow in on the culprit. I'd recommend this to pretty much anybody...

The Candle of Distant Earth by Alan Dean Foster -C
So disappointing. I’m a serious Foster fan- I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written except the Pip and Flinx stuff, and I just really like his writing. He’s prolific, got a great sense of humor, writes a wide variety of fantasy & sci-fi themes… I fell in love with his stuff a LONG time ago with the Spellsinger series- Jon Tom and the Otter (can’t think of his name).. Anyway, this trilogy was lousy- not really worth my time, rather predictable, and rather wordy… Sad.

Drinking Midnight Wine by Simon Green – B
Fantasie & Veritie are two worlds which remain back to back, never fully meeting. One is our present reality (Veritie) while the other remains always just out of sight with only glimpses showing through… Interesting situation & characters. Kind of dull, though… I guess I was really looking for stuff to happen, and it felt like it took forever to get to the point in this book. I liked it, it was just slow… Two of the weirdest moments in the book are potty scenes with the two main characters... Green describes in surprising detail their morning ritual- rather weird, 'cuz it doesn't assist in any story/plot line stuff, and it doesn't really give us more insight into the characters... Was this some kind of weird bet that he couldn't pull these scenes off? What's up?

Beast Master’s Quest by Andre Norton & Lyn M - B
Andre Norton was one of the very first sci-fi/authors I read, and I fell in love with her stuff. Way back in 7th & 8th grade I was devouring her stuff at home, during class, between class, during lunch...
(Side note: Norton died in early 2005. The two great Dames of sci-fi who paved the road for so many women authors have now both passed away- Marion Zimmer Bradley & Andre Norton. The world of sci-fi & fantasy is a better place because of their writing, and a sad one at the loss of these two visionary female writers. I’m okay with you not liking their stuff- even I don’t love everything they wrote, but you’ve got to acknowledge the crucial opportunities they made possible for other women writers in a genre which had previously been male-dominated.)
So, the scoop is that Norton wrote a book called Beast Master way back when. It was one of her best books, and one of my favorites. Excellent characters, good story-line, interesting aliens, believable situation, interesting world… and the animals! I'm a sucker for a book with smart critters, who are the best friends for a lonely guy or gal trying to make it on their own... It’s had TERRIBLE remakes of it made for both movie and tv format. Lyn M. is a friend of Norton’s and worked with her on some continuations of the story, so these books are authorized and approved of by Norton; however, Lyn M. is unable to pull off the strong writing required for a sequel to Norton’s work. So, we get the excellent characters in rather shadowy remakes… I’m glad to know what has happened to Storm and Ho & Hing and all his other friends, but it’s too bad the stories aren’t as strong as Norton’s…

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