Saturday, March 01, 2008

February Books

Because I ended up reading so many this last month, I’ve decided to put them in the order of my preference (A+’s down to C’s), rather than the order in which I actually read them.
I know it’s weird to just group all the books I read in a month, but I seem to be able to keep track better that way. I generally haven’t processed the book enough if I immediately post about it, and if I try and do it weekly I get massively far behind. Monthly seems to give me enough time to process the books, and enough time to actually get it all together. Sometimes after a week I discover I enjoyed the book way more than I thought originally. A book I read and thought was merely okay might just stick with me, and I’ll keep thinking and thinking about it and what it all meant… It’s nice to give them a little more of a chance than to be tossed aside rudely. So, monthly really seems to work best for me.
Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn A+++
I loved this one! The finale to her Thirteen Houses saga and I’m terribly sad to see it conclude. Her books are so satisfying. Like an excellent meal eaten with friends and finished with a favorite dessert.
I love these characters! They’ve become friends who I cheered for and for whom I wanted good things to happen to… I loved seeing the situations work out and the bad guys get what they deserved. I loved seeing the good guys end up with the dreams they never even knew they had…

Mystic & Rider, The Thirteen Houses, Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn A+
First, second & third in her Twelve Houses Saga. After reading the finale I decided to go back and read the whole series. I enjoy these so much. She is a talented storyteller. Excellent characters & details. Interesting world.

The Spiderwick Chronicles, 2-5
by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black A
These are fun! I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. Kind of an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type adventure. Three kids discover a world of fairies, sprites, goblins and are drawn in… Charm, wonder and a good dose of kids dealing with a deadbeat dad. Fun and quick reads.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Care & Feeding of Sprites by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black A
Pictures and silliness. A quick and enjoyable read. After careful consideration I think I would enjoy keeping & caring for a Thicket Sprite.

Monster by Frank Peretti A
Really enjoyed this. Kind of a sci-fi/mystery/thriller. Good fiction with Christian touches- Kind of Michael Chricton/ James Patterson. A little too much story in the middle, I think… But otherwise excellent. He's been thinking about evolution lately- Interesting thoughts, too.

Rattlesnake Crossing by J.A. Jance A
My favorite Joanna Brady mystery so far…

Outlaw Mountain by J.A. Jance A
A re-read. I wanted to read all the Brady mysteries in the correct order, so I went ahead and read this one again. Very good mystery.

Devil’s Claw
by J.A. Jance A-
The eighth in her Joanna Brady series. Not as good as some of her others, but still quite a good mystery.

Exit Wounds by J.A. Jance A
The ninth in her Joanna Brady series. Very good. Brady’s dealing with her re-election as sheriff, family problems, protesters, a cult, and a serial killer.

Trial by Fury by J.A. Jance A
The third story in the J.P. Beaumont series. A black coach is lynched, hung and found in a dumpster. Who did it? A well-told, convoluted and interesting mystery

Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer A
From the jacket: "Thousands of years ago, fairies and humans fought a great battle for the magical island of Ireland. When it became clear that they could not win, all of the fairies moved belowground- except for the 8th family, the demons. Rather than surrender, they used a magical time spell to take their colony out of time and into Limbo. There they have lived for decades, preparing to exact their violent revenge on humans"…
The fifth in the AF series. Enjoyed this very much. I like watching Artemis grow up and deal with caring about people…

The Killing Game by Iris Johansen A
The second in her Eve Duncan forensic sculptor series. I enjoyed this one much more than her first- A good forensic mystery. Interesting situation and characters.

The Search by Iris Johansen A
HaHA! I found a Johansen with a bit of charm! Amazing. This tale revolves around a woman & her dog and the man who gets them in trouble. Sarah and her dog, Monty share a special relationship (yes, one or both of them is telepathic) and they use it to help others through Search and Rescue. They’re called in to horrible situations like the Oklahoma City bombing or South American earthquakes to find & rescue victims. Logan, a wealthy ex-con/tycoon, needs her to rescue one of his medical researchers from an evil rival. Evil spies, traitors, and vengeance are mixed up with a huge helping of love (also, rather a surprise from Johansen- Lust, rather than love seems to be her primary story vehicle) to create a tale worth reading.

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison B+
Second in her Rachel Hunter bounty hunter series. Sprites, vampires, werewolves, demons, bad mo-jo. Good urban magic tale.

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison B+
Third in her Rachel Hunter bounty hunter series. Sadly, her stories are becoming more polished and less fun…

Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy B+
I didn’t think this one was as good as her Walker Papers series; however, I did enjoy it quite a bit. Urban fantasy: gargoyles, vampires, dragons, djinns and selkies in the heart of New York.

The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen B+
The first in her Eve Duncan, forensic anthropologist series. I haven’t read much Johansen, but my mom thought I might like her Eve Duncan series. I’m not sure… It started out interesting but ended up going political which I found annoying- about a murdered president and the man substituted for him. Ten years ago, Duncan lost her daughter to a serial killer… She became a forensic artist to help deal with the stress and to help other parents find their missing children. I like the Duncan character, but this book is so convoluted and involved with politics…

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult B
I’ve seen a lot of Picoult’s work and they’re always on the bestseller lists, so I thought I’d try a couple. This one’s much better than the other one I tried- Picture Perfect. Much, much better. Apparently, her thing is writing stories about headline events: date rapes, school shootings, sports guys doing drugs… Remember the old ‘after-school special’? That’s the kind of thing Picoult writes. This one was about a 14 year old who’s date-raped by her 17 year old boy-friend. Except it’s not really about the rape itself or the situation that caused it- the story’s about the aftermath and how it affects their families & friends and the small town they live in. The boy is a hockey hero and known by everyone, while she’s a faceless freshman.
The book is told primarily through the eyes of the father of the girl, which makes for an interesting tale. The father is an up and coming comic book writer/artist and there are pages from his comic book spread through the book- I liked that part. The comic idea is interesting and it reinforces what’s happening in the story.

The Big Over Easy, A Nursery Crimes Mystery by Jasper Fforde B
This was HARD to get into. Even though I enjoy the Thursday Next books, The Big Over Easy dragged. A confusing mystery with almost too many convolutions… If you don’t enjoy British/Welsh humor, BOE is just plain odd. Humor is SUCH a cultural thing- so few jokes cross over. Plus, this is literary humor, so you’ve got to be familiar with your nursery rhymes: Solomon Grundy, Jack Spratt, Tom Tom the Piper’s Son, Mary Mary quite contrary, Humpty Dumpty, Georgy Porgy… These are all MAIN characters in Fforde’s world. Before jumping into this one better brush up on your Mother Goose, and get into a European mood…

Body of Lies by Iris Johansen C
Another of the Eve Duncan forensic sculptor books. I liked her characters, but this one went all political, too. There’s this cabal with members from secret groups like the freemasons and they run the world… And the good guys are trying to get rid of them, but there’s more going on. Anyway, that’s what the book is about and it’s merely okay.

The Red Heart of Jade by Marjorie M. Liu C
This is the third book in the Dirk & Steele Detective agency series. Kind of a disappointment. Yes, she’s a young writer, but this one had some odd jumps and lapses, and was confusing in rather important parts, such as the climactic moment.
(Also, sidenote: Beth found the first one of these on a library shelf so neither of realized the only place to find them is in the romance section of Barnes & Noble- right between an illustration of a pirate ripping open the bodice of some dazed-looking blonde and another one of a muscle-bound cowboy dressed only in jeans, boots and a hat standing in an open field… I’m not sure we would have ever picked up the first one if we’d known…)

The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen C
I wish Johansen’s books had a little more charm or wonder… They seem fairly hard and cold to me. I guess that’s the way a lot of people view the world though. It seems to me that Stephen King’s books have more charm than Johansen’s…
Anyway, this is a Cinderella sort of tale. Plain Jane is in a terrible accident, gets whisked away and through the magic of plastic reconstructive surgery becomes a mind-boggling Helen of Troy. There’s evil spies, vengeance, lust and adventure galore. I’m sure it’s a good book. I’m just not sure it was my cup of tea.

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult C
Somebody tell me why this woman has had so many bestsellers?! This book was lousy, clichéd and sad… Domestic violence, famous husband, wife too scared to leave… I’ve read this before and it was told better. I just kept thinking it would get better, but it didn’t.

The Haunting of Josie by Kay Hooper D
One of her first books- a romance with paranormal touches. Not very good. Probably shouldn’t have been republished. At least I liked the main character.

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