Sunday, February 01, 2009

January Reads

Finally, I got to go to the library! I had to wait until I could carry my books. LOL! The one thing about having back surgery is that I haven't been able to lift much- I felt pretty silly. For a while I couldn't even set the table, 'cuz 4 large dinner plates were too heavey, and forget grocery shopping...
Anyway, I finally got to go to the library and I found so many wonderful books this time.
Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon A+
Lots of short stories by Moon- Loved this book- Read it in two days.
Only one bad one in the entire bunch, and I think if I was into World War II alternative history stuff, I’d love that one. I’m not, and I read a couple of pages and skipped it. I just don’t know enough about the Navy, warships, and WWII to appreciate an alternative version. I enjoy Emoon’s stories so much- her characters are full-bodied and believable, and her situations are genuinely interesting.

Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce A+
From the jacket: Four years have passed since Evvy left the streets of Chammur to begin her training as a stone mage. At fourteen, she’s unhappy to be on a new journey with her mentor, prickly green mage Rosethorn, who has been called to the Battle Islands to determine why the plants and animals there are dying. Evvy’s job is to listen and learn, but she can’t just keep quiet and do nothing. With the help of Luvo, the living stone heart of a mountain, Evvy uncovers an important clue. Now, with the island on the brink of disaster, it’s up to Evvy to halt sheer destruction.
Superb YA fantasy. This is a followup for her Circle of Magic books. Evvy was found by Briar, one of the original four and then her magical training is entrusted to Rosethorn. Loved this Coming-of-Age story. Evvy is such a bristly, stubborn character- I think I relate to her too much... One of my favorite Pierce novels and that’s saying a lot since I love her characters, worlds, and take on life.
The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold A+
Book 3 in The Sharing Knife saga. The continuing story of Fawn and Dag as they attempt to blend their two completely different worlds (he's a magical Lakewalker & she's a 'mundane' farmer). I love her characters, and she has created a truly fascinating & believable world. There's a touch of romance, but the focus is the adventure. One of those delightful books where you are completely satisfied at the end, but wish it didn’t end...
Foundation by Mercedes Lackey A+
YAY! Book one of a new Valdemar series- The Collegium Chronicles! Takes the Valdemar story back to when the Collegia schools are first founded, and explores how that took place... Intriguing characters, an interesting mystery, delightful magic and classic fantasy.

The Nobodies by N.E. Bode A+
A section of the forward:
This book promises weird surprises! Multiple jujitsu-like plot twists! A girl whose braids turn into snakes!
Light YA fantasy. The second in the Anybody Series. Very fun and Silly. A blend of The Wizard of Oz books and Harry Potter. A mystery to solve and magic galore.
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines A+
From the back:
You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after.." Guess what? It’s not true. Life in never-never land isn’t all sweetness and light. Cinderella- whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas)- does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.
But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia- otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty- comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessing make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.
That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her own very Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.
Can the three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?
LOVED this. A light & dark tale... Has very fun characters and situations, but touches on some very evil things. Turns the fairy-tale conventions upside down. Good humor, but some serious themes... Interesting, believable and strong characters.
The Time Garden by Edward Eager A
Excellent YA. Fun light fantasy. 4 children embark on a variety of time adventures aided by a garden of magic thyme. A delightful story, in the vein of Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
The Sisters Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley A
From the back:
For Sabrina & Daphne Grimm, life hasn’t been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother- a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.
Very Fun YA. Another one of the Battle of the Books books, which I didn’t know until I went to check it out... Fractured fairy-tale mystery and mayhem.

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon A
From the cover:
Robert McCammon, author of the best-sellers Boy's Life and Gone South, returns to the forefront of American fiction with Speaks the Nightbird.
Is there a witch in Carolina in 1699? The people of the town of Fount Royal think so. Her name is Rachel; she's foreign, beautiful, and brave--no wonder so many people hate her.
Comes a traveling magistrate to hold a witch trial, and his clerk, Matthew. The evidence spells doom for Rachel: witch's tools are found in her home, she will not speak the Lord's Prayer, and witnesses swear they've seen her commit unspeakable acts with the Devil himself.
But Matthew hears the call of the nightbird. He wonders--is there any such thing as witchcraft? If Rachel can fly through the night on wings of evil, why hasn't she escaped from the town gaol?
And the town itself--who murdered Rachel's husband? How did the ratcatcher learn to hypnotize his prey? Who stands to gain if the witch is burned?
God and Satan are indeed at war in Fount Royal, and even the innocent are not safe.
An early colonial America tale of passion and witchcraft. Loved this convoluted mystery. A heavy story, but the ending is satisfying and the journey is intriguing.

Shakespeare’s Trollop by Charlaine Harris A
The next Lily Bard mystery. Follows cleaning lady Lily’s discovery of yet another body and her determination to discover what happened. Fun mystery.

Last Look by Mariah Stewart A
From the cover:
News that the body of a recently murdered prostitute has been identified as Shannon Randall stuns the FBI, particularly special agent Dorsey Collins. Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Eric Louis Beale was convicted and later executed for Shannon’s murder- and the agent in charge of the case was Dorsey’s father. Now Dorsey is determined to find out where her father’s investigation went wrong, what part he played in the death of an innocent man, and where Shannon has been all this time.
Excellent mystery. Compelling characters. Although I’d figured out some parts, I had no idea exactly what had happened, and was surprised.
Last Words by Mariah Stewart A
Another excellent mystery. Murder, mayhem plus FBI agents.
Blood Brothers, The Hollow, and The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts B+
The sign of 7 trilogy. Re-read the first two so that I could remember everything for the last one. I’m glad I know what happened, I’m glad they defeated the evil demon thing, and I’m glad the trilogy is over. The last book starts out much more slowly than the other two, but clicks in about half-way through. Not her best trilogy.
Warrior Princesses edited by Elizabeth Scarborough B
Short stories. Some good, some bad...
Help! I’m drowning In Debt by Dr. Bill Maier C
I wanted an easy answer! :) I guess that’s not possible. Lots of facts, and straightforward help. Quick read.

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