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.


Jeane said...

Sometimes the short reviews are the most interesting to me. Your description of Black Ships has me intrigued.

hayden said...

Black Ships was a really great story. Lots of drama and history mixed into a wonderful tale. I definitely recommend it!