Saturday, August 30, 2008

Catching up


Right, so I had every intention of posting when I came back from Mass, but then I started my new job as a runner in a bookstore and have been completely drained of energy every day. I had no idea how exhausting it was to be on my feet for eight hours; my legs and feet are going to hate me by the time this job ends. But, pain aside, I like it. It's a fun, fast, hectic job, but I get to spend it surrounded by books and I get to climb on shelves.

As for books though, I've got five to post about, one of which is Hunter's Prayer. I found it last night at B&N, after searching two other stores for it.

Post are going to have to wait though...I have some long-overdue editing work to finish up. Before I go though, I wanted to point out that Carl's R.I.P. Challenge is starting up (thanks, Danielle, for posting that) and that they're going to be releasing a movie version of Blindness by Jose Saramago. I'm not sure how I feel about this; the book was very interesting, if disturbing and I think that some of that might be lost in a movie version.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So, Hunter's Prayer doesn't come out for another eight days, but I did find Steelflower on the shelves, which almost makes up for it. I've been waiting to read this book for ages now; I had to wait until it came out in print, since I'm not a fan of e-books.

Kaia Steelflower has lived by her skills and her sword for the past eleven years, ever since her house threw her out for not having any magical ability. She doesn't care, though, really, she gets by just fine on her own. Well, she did, until she picked the wrong person's pocket and ended up with a flawed necklace, a gigantic barbarian, hordes of assassins, and a prince from her homeland; none of whom will leave her alone. It's going to take more than her sword to get her out of this one, and even that's if she's lucky.

Kaia is one of the blessed people--others call them elves, a term they hate--and at the age of five underwent the ritual testing for power. Every member of the blessed people have power, so when Kaia unexpectedly fails the test, she's shunned. At sixteen, she leaves with nothing but the sword on her back and sets off to make her own path with the outsiders. She's got herself convinced that she's not lonely, she doesn't need her people, the G'mai, or any power to survive. It's a long, lonely road that Kaia walks, but she isn't willing to leave it. Instead, she gets forced off it when the barbarian, whose pocket she picked, decides to tag along with her after she saves his life in two different fights. Unable to get rid of him, she's even more stunned when Darik shows up, chasing the necklace that she stole.

It seems that Darik has been using the necklace to find his twinmate, something that every G'mai must find if they want to survive. Kaia had always believed she was exempt from this, since she had no power anyway. But Darik, having found his twinmate, isn't willing to take no for an answer, and Kaia finds herself the leader of this ever-growing band.

It's a pretty engaging story, with an interesting group of characters. Everyone has issues they're trying to work through, none more than Kaia, and we get bits and pieces of everyone's pasts as the story goes along. This first book ends on a small cliffhanger, and although Saintcrow hasn't written the sequel, she's made noises on her blog about doing so. I really hope she does. I'd love to see more of Kaia and Darik and the rest of the group. (By the end, there are four more people tagging along. Kaia isn't exactly happy about that.)

And THAT ends the Olympic mini-challenge for me. Now, I'm off to Worcester, MA, for a bridal shower.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Victory of Eagles

OK, so I have this thing about hardcover books; I tend not to buy them if they're part of a series that, prior to this book, has been coming out in paperback. I just don't like the way it looks on my shelves. This in turn is a problem for me, because then I have to wait for the book to come out in paperback before I can buy it. Thank God for public libraries, or I'd still be waiting to read A Victory of Eagles, by Naomi Novik.

Starting out just after the previous book, we find Temeraire stuck in the breeding grounds in Scotland, while Laurence is held, waiting his execution, in the brig. Both are miserable because of their situation and the separation they're going through. Temeraire at least has the other dragons in the breeding grounds to talk to--some of whom he finds quite intelligent and interested in the same sort of things that he is--while Laurence is despised by everyone for his "treason." Napoleon's breeching of England's shores--destroying a good chunk of England's Navy--changes that, as the men in charge realize that they need a dragon with Temeraire's skills right now and that Laurence is the only man who can captain him.

What they hadn't planned on though was Temeraire deciding he'd had enough of the whole waiting around thing; he convinces the other dragons in the breeding ground to fly out with him, and naming himself Commodore Temeraire, goes off to fight the French Army. (It doesn't hurt that the dragons are tired of the French stealing their cows, either.) It's only by a timely rescue that Laurence and Temeraire are able to find each other; Temeraire believing that Laurence is dead, while Laurence has been unable to find the band of dragons.

It's not a bad story; most of the usual characters are included, although there wasn't enough of Lily, Maximus, or Emily Roland for me. The bond between the three dragons is one of my favorite parts of this series and while it was there in this book, I was expecting more. (If you don't remember from the first book, the three dragons become quite good friends and make a pact that they will come whenever needed to protect the others' captains. Maximus does bring it up, "whispering" to Laurence that they haven't forgotten their pact, much to the dismay of Maximus's crew.) There also wasn't a whole lot with Emily in the book; I really enjoy reading about her, since it's through her that we see how the Corps, as a whole, works. All of the other captains have grown up in the system, Laurence and Temeraire are both stumbling their way through it, but Emily is currently in the system.

There's plenty of action and brilliant fights, although Laurence's ongoing depression--through most of the book--really started to wear on me. I understand why he feels the way he does, but he cuts everyone off, including Temeraire, and goes on to make horrible decisions. There was also way to much of Iskierka; she's so annoying to me and I really want someone to just smash her. She even manages to get herself kidnapped and then tries to play it off.

Out of the five books in this series, I have to say that this one and the previous one were my least favorite. I have high hopes for the sixth book--our duo will be off, pretty much on their own--and hopefully that'll bring some of the spark back for me.

This pretty much ends the Olympic Reading Challenge for me--unless B&N has Hunter's Prayer--and I'm mostly satisfied with it. Four books isn't so bad.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Congratulations, Michael Phelps, on more gold medals than anyone else.

Congratulations, Natalie Coughlin, on more medals than any other US women.

Congratulations, Dana Torres, on getting the silver. And they said you were too old.

Congratulations, Constantina Tomescu, of Romania, for winning the women's marathon. And they said you were too old.

Congratulations to everyone; you made it to the Olympics and I'm so very proud and happy for you all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lazy days of summer

Being unemployed is almost like being a kid again during summer break.  Wake up late, snack throughout the day, spend some time outside, and read, read, read.  Eventually though, even I got bored with that, which is probably why my mother would send me to do something for awhile.  I guess that urge to do something has stuck, because starting next week summer will be over for me.  Yup, that's right, I found myself a (temporary) job at a bookstore as a runner.  

It should keep me occupied.

But, in the meantime, I still have oodles of time on my hand and two, that's right, two books to review.

Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs, is a follow up to her short story in On the Prowl, entitled The Alpha and The Omega. It introduced us to Charles, Mercy's second-oldest foster brother, and Anna, a submissive werewolf in a Chicago pack.  Recognizing Alan MacKenzie (the boy from the first Mercy book, Moon Called), Anna realizes what happened to him was her Alpha's fault, so she calls Bran, who in turn sends Charles to investigate.  I don't want to give too much of that story's plot away (although once I start reviewing Cry Wolf you'll probably get the gist of it), but Anna and Charles end up somewhat together.  Charles is all about claiming her as his mate, but Anna went through a lot at the hands of her former pack and she's not all that sure about Charles.

(Now, if anyone has read the Mercy series, this story is set at the end of the first book, when the whole Gerry & Carter Wallace things happens.  Samuel is back for the funeral, Bran is grieving for his friend, and over in Spokane, Adam is still dealing with Mercy. (Heh.) If you haven't read the series, well, some of the side plots might not make sense, but that's OK.)

Now, in Cry Wolf, we find Anna with Charles in Montana, where Anna is trying to come to grips with everything (she's not submissive, she's an Omega, Charles's wolf has claimed her as his mate, and Anna's wolf feels the same way) and it's a bit overwhelming.  Then there's Charles, who is still seriously injured and trying to heal himself while making Anna feel comfortable. The funeral the next day doesn't help matters; Anna's thrust into a new pack that's both grieving and angry at their recent losses and not ready to welcome anyone, much less a new female.  The attentions of Asil, a Spanish wolf somewhere around Bran's age, don't help matters between Charles and Anna, as Asil tries to flirt with Anna as well as get under Charles' skin.  

There's also the troubling rumors of a rouge werewolf up in the hills; the first sighting was written off, but the second missing body can't be ignored and Charles and Anna are sent out to find out what's going on.  They end up dealing with more than anyone thought; someone old, insane, and with powers that threaten not just the pack, but every wolf in North America.  

It was an excellent story and I'm really hoping that we get another book featuring Charles and Anna, although not at the expense of Mercy!

The second book I finished was The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett.  From the back:

A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a sightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man named Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime.  These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammet's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted generations of readers.

What more can I say?  Sam Spade is exactly what I pictured him to be, a tough, sly, gritty man, stereotyped in every black and white film I've ever seen, who cares about nothing and no one but himself.  When a recent case, brought to them by a crying redhead, ends up being the reason his partner is killed, Spade takes it upon himself to figure out the why and the who.  Everyone involved has a secret they'd kill for and everyone, everyone is lying.  Spade doesn't seem to care though, letting them tell their lies and hide their secrets, while calmly picking the whole thing apart.  I won't tell you that it's a happy story, and there's no happy ending here, but there is a satisfying one and this won't be the last book by Hammett that I read.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hmm, doesn't this look like fun

Granted, I'm starting three days behind everyone else, but this Olympic mini-challengeby Annie looks like a lot of fun.

First seen on Marg's site, the challenge is as follows:

So you want to support your country this Olympics but the extent of your sporting expertise is running from bookstore to bookstore searching for the latest Philippa Gregory novel? Well then do I have a challenge for you!

For the entire period of the Olympic Games (08 August 08 till 24 August 08) I'll be hosting a unique mini-challenge. It's country against country in the battle to prove your reading patriatism. The ultimate prize will be awarded to the individual who earns the most gold medals - a US $20 Gift Voucher. The runner up will receive a $5 Gift Voucher. Both 1st and 2nd place will also receive a special 'winner' badge to place on their blog.
How it Works...

1) You are to read as many books possible written by authors from your own country during the period the Olympics are on. The genre and length of the books will be up to you.
2) Each time you finish a book, post your name, country, blog address, book title and author as a comment on the bottom of this post. That will earn yourself and your country a silver medal. If you do all the above plus post a link to your review of the book you earn yourself and your country a gold medal.
3) A running country medal tally will be kept down the right hand side of this blog as well as the individual currently topping the leader board.
4) To win the Amazon Gift Voucher, you must be a gold medal winner (ie you must have submitted a review).
5) I don't mind if you've read the books before or were half-way through when the challenge started either.

Granted, I'm a bit behind the curve, but seeing as how I'm UNEMPLOYED and therefore have OODLES OF TIME on my hands, well, if I can't manage a book a day, I will have to hang my head in shame.

And luckily, I just finished a book today, Devil's Due by Rachel Caine, author of the Weather Warden series.  Romance/supernatural/fiction, and it's 290 pages long.

Now, Devil's Due is a sequel to Devil's Bargain, a book I haven't read. The public library here in Brooklyn doesn't have a copy and I didn't really have the urge to buy it. Luckily in this case, since Devil's Due isn't a book I plan to read again.

From the author's website:

Everything you do matters.

Lucia Garza opened a detective agency with Jazz Callender, and discovered a whole new, eerie world of precognition, coincidence, and chaos. There's a chance that Lucia and Jazz can escape their fate, but it's risky. They need people they can trust ... but can Lucia trust Jazz's old partner, Ben McCarthy? Or is he working for the other side?

Worse ... is their side really the right one?

Now, while I might be missing some things--due to not reading the first book--what happens is this: Lucia and her partner Jazz get these little red envelopes with a note inside that they absolutely, without fail, have to follow. Or else. Or else people die. Or else people don't die. Or else they die. You see the dilemma they're in? They started their detective agency with the help of a secret benefactor; all the cash they need in exchange for doing whatever the little red envelopes say to do. Only things start going sideways when Lucia realizes that Ben McCarthy's, Jazz's old partner and a man who's just had his triple homicide conviction overturned (due to some oh-so-timely evidence showing up), isn't as innocent as he seems. Meanwhile, Jazz's lover is still working for the Cross Society (that's the society that's funded the agency) and Lucia is really starting to think that no one is safe to trust, not even Jazz.

Without giving away the entire plot, the main thing is that the Cross Society and the Eidolon Corporation were founded by a psychic who can see all the probable futures that each one of us has...and every probable future that comes about after we make a decision. And so on. It's enough to drive a sane person nuts. And so the Corporation, and then the society, were founded to try and control the future. Starting out with the best of intentions--to save lives, etc.,--things quickly start going the other way, which is when Lucia and Jazz get drawn into the mix. The Cross Society has "seen" that they're important, so they get them involved. As it turns out, Lucia is a bit more special then most; it's imperative that she be kept alive, although no one is willing to tell her why.

There were a lot of plot holes in this story, and I don't think it's because I hadn't read the previous book. Lucia's past is hinted at a lot, but we're never actually told what she used to do for a living. Nor or we told why she did those things or why she got out, although that is hinted. There is also a scene in the last third of the book that makes my stomach crawl and I'm so angry that Lucia is, at the end, all fine and dandy with it. However, Lucia does have all the makings of being an awesome character. She's rich, with a dubious background, well-dressed at all times, and knows a great deal about hurting people by hand or with a weapon. I mean, it's hard to dislike the woman who takes out the valet because she sees something shiny in his hand.

And the ending of the book is left completely open for a follow up, but there aren't any more central characters to write about. And that irks me, because I'd love to see more of Gregory, with or without Lucia. Yeah, she and Ben are OK together (you did see that coming, right?), but I think she and Gregory would be a whole lot more fun, especially since he also has a rather dubious background. Of course, he's evil and mean and hurt Lucia at one point (and I'm not in favor of that!), but still, way more chemistry between them.

Because again, I'm too busy watching the Olympics to read

ETA: In light of my next post, this title is clearly a blatant lie.

Stolen from Danielle at A Work In Progress, the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century

Let's see how well I do:

Allingham, Margery. The Tiger in the Smoke
Ambler, Eric. A Coffin for Dimitrios
Armstrong, Charlotte. A Dram of Poison
Atherton, Nancy. Aunt Dimity's Death
Ball, John. In the Heat of the Night
Barnard, Robert. Death by Sheer Torture
Barr, Nevada. Track of the Cat
Blake, Nicholas. The Beast Must Die
Block, Lawrence. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes
Brand, Christianna. Green for Danger
Brown, Frederic. The Fabulous Clipjoint
Buchan, John. The 39 Steps
Burke, James Lee. Black Cherry Blues
Cain, James M.. The Postman Always Rings Twice
Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman
Carr, John Dickson. The Three Coffins
Caudwell, Sarah. Thus Was Adonis Murdered
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Connelly, Michael. The Concrete Blonde
Constantine, K.C.. The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes
Crais, Robert. The Monkey's Raincoat
Crispin, Edmund. The Moving Toyshop
Crombie, Deborah. Dreaming of the Bones
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss
Dickinson, Peter. The Yellow Room Conspiracy
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca
Dunning, John. Booked to Die
Elkins, Aaron. Old Bones
Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money
Finney, Jack. Time and Again
Ford, G.M.. Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?
Francis, Dick. Whip Hand
Fremlin, Celia. The Hours Before Dawn
George, Elizabeth. A Great Deliverance
Gilbert, Michael. Smallbone Deceased
Grafton, Sue. "A" is for Alibi
Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger's Drift
Grimes, Martha. The Man With the Load of Mischief
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs
Hiaasen, Carl. Tourist Season
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Hill, Reginald. On Beulah Height
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time
Himes, Chester. Cotton Comes to Harlem
Innes, Michael. Hamlet, Revenge
James, P.D.. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Kellerman, Faye. The Ritual Bath
Kellerman, Jonathan. When the Bough Breaks
King, Laurie. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Langton, Jane. Dark Nantucket Noon
le Carre, John. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
Lehane, Dennie. Darkness, Take My Hand
Leonard, Elmore. Get Shorty
Lochte, Dick. Sleeping Dog
Lovesey, Peter. Rough Cider
MacDonald, John D.. The Deep Blue Good-by
MacDonald, Philip. The List of Adrian Messenger
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill
Maron, Margaret. Bootlegger's Daughter
Marsh, Ngaio. Death of a Peer
McBain, Ed. Sadie When She Died
McClure, James. The Sunday Hangman
McCrumb, Sharyn. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
Millar, Margaret. Stranger in My Grave
Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress
Muller, Marcia. Edwin of the Iron Shoes
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel
O'Connell, Carol. Mallory's Oracle
Padgett, Abigail. Child of Silence
Paretsky, Sara. Deadlock
Parker, Robert. Looking for Rachel Wallace
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas
Perry, Thomas. Vanishing Act
Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank
Peters, Ellis. One Corpse Too Many
Pronzini, Bill. Blue Lonesome
Queen, Ellery. Cat of Many Tails
Rendell, Ruth. No More Dying Then
Rice, Craig. The Wrong Murder
Rinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase
Robinson, Peter. Blood at the Root
Rosen, Richard. Strike Three You're Dead
Ross, Kate. A Broken Vessel
Rozan, S.J.. Concourse
Sayers, Dorothy. Murder Must Advertise
Sjowall & Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman
Stout, Rex. Some Buried Caesar
Tey, Josephine. Brat Farrar
Thomas, Ross. Chinaman's Chance
Todd, Charles. A Test of Wills
Turow, Scott. Presumed Innocent
Upfield, Arthur. The Sands of Windee
Walters, Minette. The Ice House
White, Randy Wayne. Sanibel Flats
Woolrich, Cornell. I Married a Dead Man

Huh, four. Four five out of one hundred.

How did you do?

What I'm not doing

OK, so I have to confess that I've never been a big fan of watching the Olympic. I just don't enjoy watching sports on TV and while I always watch some of events, it's more of a turn on and watch for ten minutes kind of thing.

But for some unknown reason, I am HOOKED on them this year. I can't stop watching, have no desire to do anything else (like read, buy food, look for a job), and I can't understand why.

Oh, it's men's swimming and Phelps is up. I have to go, you understand, right?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

When I said "tomorrow"

Well, I meant to post the last four one-paragraph reviews, but I was lazy and didn't. Heh.

So, catching up now while I wait to find out which US woman wins the fencing crown...

The Rites of Spring (Break), by Diana Peterfreund is another perfect beach read. Following the previous two books in the Ivy League/Rose & Grave series, we find Amy and the rest of the Diggers (get it, Grave, Diggers? Yeah) on their way to their island off the Florida coast to enjoy their spring break, following a long winter. See, there are these other secret societies and while the Diggers were almost successful in pulling off a heist, Amy was "caught" and then WW3 broke out, all directed at her. But, she gets to go to a semi-private island and it'd would be great if not for three things. One, her mortal enemy from the first book is also at the island; two, someone is trying to hurt/kill/embarrass the Diggers, focusing again on Amy; and three, the guy she loves to hate...yeah, he's there too. And Amy will be damned before she admits she likes how he looks in a pair swimming trunks.

Oh, hey, Zagunis won fencing. Congrats!

The Host, by Stephanie Meyers (yup, two books by this author so far this summer) was much better (in my opinion) than Breaking Dawn, although it took me a while to get into this story. Basically, Earth has been taken over by alien parasites and it's pretty much a done deal before anyone has any idea what's happening. However, some humans realize what's going on and form rebellions; Melanie is one of those rebellious humans, and when she realizes she's been found out, tries to kill herself to protect the others. However, the "souls" as they call themselves, manage to save her and Wanderer is placed inside Mel to try and find out where the others are hiding. Mel is tougher than anyone expects though and Wanderer is forced to share Mel's body and memories with her. I don't want to say much more about this, since that would give away some of the amazing plots in this story, but I will tell you that nothing happens the way you think it will, that Meyers made me cry three times, and that if she doesn't write a sequel to this story (I've heard she will) I will be very mad.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett was hysterically funny. I have a real love-hate relationship with Gaiman (as in I love his children's books and short stories, but don't really like any of his adult novels), so I put off reading this book for the longest time. (I've never read anything by Pratchett, so right now, nothing but love.) If you like dry humor, satirical humor, and British humour, then you're going to love Good Omens. Angels and demons are collaborating together to stop the apocolypse and enjoy a good meal or two, the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse are running around causing havok where ever they go, there are witch(es) and WitchFinders, a book of amazingly true prophecies floating about, and a young boy called Adam, who, as it turns out, is the Anti-Christ. And in seven days he's going to bring about the apocolypse, whether he wants to or not.

Also, there is Dog. I like Dog. Dog is a hell hound. I always wanted one of them as a pet.

Ink Exchange, by Melissa Marr is the sorta-sequel to Wicked Lovely. I say sorta-sequel because it's not, not really, a sequel, but it involves characters from her first book and some of the plot lines from there, so if you haven't read Wicked Lovely first, you might be a bit lost. Or maybe not. Leslie is trying to salvage what she can of her now-horrible life by getting a tattoo. She's spent months looking for just the right one, and it isn't until Rabbit (the tattoo artist) pulls out a book of "special" tattoos that she finds herself called to a particular one. Only what Leslie doesn't know is that this isn't just a tattoo, but an ink exchange, where, at the end of the tattoo Leslie will find herself unwilling bound to Irial, King of the Dark Faries. She's his know, to do with as he wills, and no matter how she feels about it or who she'd rather be with. (Basically, Leslie goes from an admittedly horrible situation into an even worse one, and it's going to be up to her to find the strength to not only survive, but to get herself out of it.)

Ta-da! Only a day later than I'd planned, so it's really a win compared to my previous track record. Now, I think it's time to eat something (hello 12.30) and maybe get ready for the day. It looks nice outside, although it looked nice yesterday and I still got caught in the rain. Brooklyn is turning out to be a lot like Seattle, except for this God-awful humidity.

Also, I totally lied. I haven't started Victory of Eagles yet; instead I'm reading Looking For Trouble by Leslie Cockburn and it's great. It's a memoir from one of the first women to break into "boys-only club" reporting the Third World.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Let's compare this to speed-dating, shall we? I'm going to review the books I liked (from the fifty-one I've read during the most recent hiatus) in a paragraph each.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness (Emma) Orczy was an absolutely wonderful story. Set during the French Revolution, we have a band of Englishmen, led by the Scarlet Pimpernel, who are snatching aristocrats from le guillotine and stealthily sneaking them into England. Citizen Chauvelin, a French spy and sworn enemy of the Scarlet Pimpernel, is tired of looking like a fool each time a French aristocrat is saved; fortunately for him, he stumbles onto a few members of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, one of whom happens to be the very dear brother of Marguerite St. Just, a beautiful French ex-actress, and new bride of Sir Percy Blakeney, an English baron. The marriage is an unhappy one as Sir Percy thinks his wife is rather immoral (she said some things in private that were used to behead two men), while Marguerite couldn't care less what her husband thinks because she believes him to be a brainless idiot. Blackmailed into betraying her husband, Marguerite is forced to choose between saving her brother's life, or sentencing the Scarlet Pimpernel and several French aristocrats to their horribly painful deaths.

Black Ships, by Jo Graham was another great read. A re-telling of The Aeneid, it's from the point-of-view of Gull, daughter of a captured Trojan slave. After she's injured in a chariot accident, Gull is useless as a house or field servant, so her mother takes her to the temple, giving her to the Pythia to serve the Lady of the Dead. It's meant to be however, as Gull begins to have visions, proof that the Lady of the Dead has another purpose for Gull. Becoming Linnea, as Gull is renamed, she is trained in the ways of the Lady and eventually becomes the Pythia herself. It isn't until after she assumes this role that her first vision comes true: black ships on the horizon and they get closer every day. The ships are full of what's left of the free Trojan people, and led by Aeneas, Prince of Troy, they have come to reclaim their stolen kinsmen. Upon meeting them, Pythia is forced to make a decision that will forever alter her fate and that of the people of Troy.

Perfect You, by Elizabeth Scott was almost as good as Bloom, in my opinion. Kate had a pretty decent life going; parents who loved each other, an annoying older brother, and a fantastic best friend. That all changes though, when her father decides to quit his job at a software company and start selling Perfect You vitamins at the mall and when Anne, her best friend, suddenly decides that she wants nothing to do with Kate and starts hanging out with the mean, but oh-so popular girls instead. Everything is horrible, her parents are fighting, Kate has no friends anymore...and yet, well, there's Will. Will, the popular, handsome guy she can't believe likes her. Will, the guy she doesn't want to like, for the aforementioned reasons. Will, who she can't admit to liking because he's Will, but does anyway. Kate has a choice to make: does she let life back in to her life, or does she shut it all out so that nothing can ever hurt her again?

Everyone Worth Knowing, by Lauren Weisberger, was a nice, quick read. The perfect lazy summer afternoon book, when the only ambition you have is to drink down an entire pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade in the shade. Bette's a twenty-something living in New York, working the corporate job she despises, and gossiping with her best friend on their stolen lunch breaks when, after one too many e-mails from her boss, quits her job and decides to live life unemployed. That goes over SO WELL with her family, especially her uncle Will and his lover Simon. Taking her ever-so-lightly in hand, Will gets Bette a job with his old assistant Kelly, who has her own PR firm. Suddenly Bette finds herself being paid to go out at night, drink lots of alcohol, and dance with incredibly hot men. It's only after her own life starts ending up in the gossip blogs that Bette realizes she might need to make a few of which might be dumping the super wealthy, too-gorgeous-to-be-real British boyfriend for the bouncer.

The King's Shield, by Sherwood Smith.
OK, I can't review THIS BOOK in just one paragraph, but since I said I would...
Inda is finally going back home, leaving his once forced-on-him pirate lifestyle, along with Tau and JeJe. He's going back to warn his best friend, the King, of the upcoming Venn attack. Pressed into being the king's shield, Inda is forced into fighting a land battle that he can't win (as he hasn't had any military training since he was a child), except that he has to (because no one else can). There's infighting and lying, personal sacrifice, love, betrayal, a wedding, blood, tears, and pain and again, Sherwood, you made me cry. Anyway, this is a brilliant book, and it's only the third book in the Inda series, so stay tuned for Treason's Shore (and let me tell you that that title is giving me all kinds of ideas), where Sherwood will conclude this amazing story. day, I'm going to have to post about these books, but in sections. Like, in Inda, do Inda's life as a Tevi at the academy, then do his life as a pirate, etc. It's the only way I'm ever going to be able to write about these books coherently...

Night Shift, by Lilith Saintcrow was pretty good. Set in a less gritty setting than her Dante Valentine series, JIll Kismet works the night shift, hunting demons, devils, Traders (with demons), and everything in between. She, and hunters like her, is what protects us from the things that crawl out in the middle of the night. Jill, still reeling from the loss of her one-time mentor and lover, is shoved onto a case that no one can get a handle on. Forced to team up with an FBI were-team and a fresh-off-the-farm were, Jill ends up battling to save not just the city she protects, but the lives of everyone she cares about. It's too bad she looses her own heart in the process. *grins*

Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyers is apparently something of a hot item in the blog world. Personally, while I didn't love everything in this book, I really enjoyed it. I hadn't spent a lot of time deciding where I wanted the story to end (although I did assume that Bella would become a vampire and there would be a run in with the Voltaire) and I didn't let myself get sucked into this fandom (like I did with Harry Potter OMG DON'T YOU DARE PUT HIM WITH HERMIONE! ahem), which might have had something to do with it. Anyway. Bella, freshly engaged to her beloved Edward, has to put together a wedding, survive her honeymoon, and deal with the heart break of her best friend, the werewolf Jacob...and oh yes, survive being turned into a vampire was well.

OK, so I have four books left to review (The Rites of Spring (Break), The Host, Good Omens, and Ink Exchange), but honestly, if I spend one more minutes in front of my computer I might just have to scream. So tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.

When I put my mind to something...

Wow, talk about an unexpectedly-long hiatus!  

When I wrote my last post, I assumed to myself that I'd be back shortly, updating my books list, or posting about something of interest that I'd read, but I clearly that wasn't the case as it's been three months since my last post.  

At least I have a good reason for this hiatus: I've moved.  

Yup, I gave notice in late May and left my job and life in Seattle to take a chance on starting a new one here in New York.  It's only been two weeks since I actually moved, but it's starting to feel like two months.  

I've read fifty-one books in the meantime (thank you little notebook for not getting lost in the move) and I plan to put (slightly-late) reviews up, once I get a bit more organized here. And yes, by organized I mean buy a dresser because this living out of a suitcase is getting old!