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reading, reading, reading….

I have spent the last four days doing nothing but reading books.

It all started simply enough last saturday.  I have been wanting to watch the Twilight movie for a while.  I’ve never read the books, and once I know there is a movie version I prefer to see that first before I read the books.  I saw a commercial reminding me that it was released that day, so I checked my on-demand, and sure enough they had it! So I decided to rent it.

Well it turns out that I totally love it!  Which isn’t all that big of a surprise, I do like the genre after all.  Well after I watched it saturday night I became a little obsessed with it (I tend to do that when I fall in love with something new).  I dreamed about it during the night, and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning.  So I watched it again sunday morning.  Then I spent most of the day doing other things, but all the time it wasn’t far from my thoughts, I kept thinking about this scene or that scene and imagining where the story went from there.  So at the end of the day, when it was still all I could think about, I decided to order the books, and as long as I was at it I ordered the movie and soundtrack as well.  Thanks to my membership to Amazon Prime, which includes free two day shipping, I got them by wednesday.

As soon as I got them late wednesday afternoon I started pouring through the first book (498  pages), which I finished by midnight taking almost no breaks.  Then the next morning (thursday) I started by watching the movie and after that I read the second book New Moon (563 pages), which I finished by early that evening.  I had planned to take a break at that point, catch up on the tv shows I had been tapping and not watching, do the dishes I hadn’t been washing, things like that.  But instead I started the third book, Eclipse (629 pages), right away.  I thought I would just read a little bit until the evening’s tv shows started.  Well it turns out, just like the last two books, I couldn’t put it down.  In fact I had such a hard time putting it down that kept reading and reading, and I ended up staying up all night (which I almost never do, I like my sleep to much!) to finish it about 9am friday morning.  At which point I gave up on the idea that I could distract myself and I started the fourth and final book, Breaking Dawn (the longest at 754 pages), right away.  I spent the rest of the day reading that until I couldn’t keep my eyes focused anymore at about 9pm, and I collapsed into bed.  I then finished the book after about 3 hours of reading this morning (saturday).

I can’t believe that it took me so long to find this series!  I am totally in love with these characters.  And it is so wonderfully written!  I am pretty similar to Bella in a lot of ways, so I could really relate to her.

The last book felt very familiar though.  Almost like I had read it before.  But how could I?  It was just released a few months ago.  Unless I found a sample of it online?  But I remembered big hunks of the book.  Like several chapters in the middle.  I don’t know if it was maybe just my tired brain remembering a similar story or what.  So that was kind of weird.

It was kind of nice that I was able to read all four books back to back.  The one thing I hate about reading book series is waiting for the next book to come out.  But this way I was able to read the whole story from start to finish.  I am so sad that there is no more to the Bella and Edward story.  But I feel like it came to a good end.  Everyone ends up happy.  Isn’t that the way all stories should end?

I also LOVE the soundtrack.  I played it on an endless loop while I read the first book.  It has such great songs, and I love Bella’s Lullaby and the song Never Think by the movie’s star Robert Pattinson.

So you can include me among the countless number of Twilight fans!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2009 in Books

 

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Book Review: 11-12-08

Here’s what I’ve read in the past week:

Children of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 3)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book picks up soon after the last one (Dune Messiah) left off.  Chani died in childbirth, and Paul/Muad’Dib soon after walked into the desert to die.
Now nine years later their twins Leto and Ghanima have grown into two very wise “children”.  They have all the memories of every single ancestor that they have ever had.  That makes them very knowledgeable and very adult, despite their age.  Their aunt Alia was named the Regent of the Empire, and rules in their stead.  But Alia has been tormented by the voices of the lives that she also carries.  She is driven mad by the noise of all of those lives, and begins to act unpredictably and there are rumors that she is possessed.  The twins know that the only way to make things change is to follow what is known as the Golden Path.  The only way they can do this is to get away from all of the control that their aunt has over them.  So they decide that they need to run away.  But soon after they leave they are attacked by two tigers that have been trained to kill them.  After a tussle Ghanima gets knocked unconscious, and wakes to find Leto gone, assumed dead.  She returns to the seitch and resumes life under Alia.
But mean while Leto, who is very much alive, tries to seek out an old village where he believes he can find answers.  On his way he is captured and is fed so much spice that he is sent into a deep trance.  After a long time he comes out of that trance and he knows what he needs to do.  He has found a way to help save all of humanity, but it comes at a great price.
~~  This is a GREAT book.  There is lots of twists and turns, and it all builds up to a fantastic finish.  I love how much detail and realism is given to the ancestral memories.  It is described in such a way that you understand how much of a wonder it is, and at the same time how much responsibility comes with it.
This and the previous book make up the Sci-fi mini-series Children of Dune.  While this deviates from the book a bit, it is a fantastic story.

God Emperor of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 4)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book takes place three thousand years after book 3.  Leto has morphed into a worm shaped creature with only his face, arms and legs that still look human.  The rest of him is a gigantic worm.  After living three thousand years he has gotten very bored by everything.  Nothing is a surprise to anything anymore.  Everything has happened before, probably many times.  He does give himself one selfish demand:  Duncan Idaho.  He has a duplicate of Duncan made every time the previous one dies.  They are the exact duplicate of the original version, with all of his memories.  Over the thousands of years he has had many Duncans, but now that so much time has past the Duncans are having a harder and harder time adjusting to all of the changes that have happened.  After the loss of one Duncan early in the book, he calls another one and begins training him to fill his predecessor’s position. 
There is one thing that does suprise Leto, and that is the arrival of Hwi Noree.  This woman is everything that Leto feels he has been missing.  He quickly falls in love with her.  Even though she doesn’t really love him, she does have a sense of utter devotion to him.  After a time they plan to marry.
Leto knows that he is nearing the end of his life, but he has made a point to not look at when or how his death will actually take place.  Lots of changes are happening very quickly.  There are lots of players, and they all have their own agenda.
~~  This is a very big and complex book.  There is lots of detail and lots of stuff to imagine.  But part of that is what makes it so good.  Even though this series deals with the fantastic, and really stretches the imagination, it brings a sense of realism and makes you just except that all this unbelievable stuff is actually real.

 

I’m now reading the next Dune book Heretics of Dune.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2008 in Book Reviews

 

Book Review: 11-5-08

I really need to start doing these reviews weekly.  They get to long to do every other week.  And I’m also finding that it’s harder to remember the books that I read two weeks ago.  I’ll try to do a report every Tuesday.

Nature of Daughters  by Elizadeth Hetherington
This is a book about a girl named Renata who has a twin sister Rene.  Renata spends most of her free time either alone or with her father, and Rene is almost always with theirmother.  Renata has a hard life.  She is ritually beaten by her mother, almost to the point of death.  She doesn’t really know her twin, even though they share a bedroom.  It is almost like they live separate lives.  Renata with her father, and Rene with her mother.  They only come together for a silent supper, and then they go their separate ways.
But one day everything changes.  The sisters find out that they are more similar then either of them knew.  They both have an odd attraction to death.  They spend a lot of their time thinking about death and killing.  The girls form an alliance and start doing things together, but this causes problems with their mother who wants Rene to have nothing to do with her father or Renata.
~~ I’m so not doing the book justice with that description.  It is a very dark book.  The twins are both aroused by death and killing.  By the end of the book both of the twins have killed someone.  And in the end their father (who has killed several people as well) teaches them how to kill without getting caught.
Even though this is a dark book it is also pretty good.  I don’t know that I would read it again, but it was also very hard to put it down.
This book is by a local author, and I can’t find where to buy her books.

Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, Book 1)  by Charlaine Harris
Harper has a unique ability.  She can “feel” the dead.  She can use this sense to find a body and she can even relive that person’s last moments.  Harper and her brother travel around the country helping people who presume that their loved one has died.  She either finds the body, or if they already have the body she can tell them how that person died.
Harper and her brother travel to a town to work a case where a couple has gone missing.  The man was found dead, but they haven’t been able to find the girl.  The sheriff thinks that the guy killed his girlfriend before he killed himself.  But Harper finds the body of the girl, and it turns out that they were both killed by the same person.  After endless questions from the police Harper and her brother leave that town thinking that their job is done.  But they get called back when the mother of the girlfriend gets killed herself.  Even though they didn’t have anything to do with it they are called back for questioning.  But they find out that someone has it out for them.  Someone is trying to hide a secret, and Harper won’t be able to leave until she finds out who is responsible.
~~ This is a great book.  Again Charlaine does a great job of making the fantastic seem totally possible, and even normal.  The story is unpredictable and fun.  I highly recommend it!

Grave Surprise  (Harper Connelly, Book 2)  by Charlaine Harris
This book continues right after the last one.  Harper and her brother travel to a town where a collage professor is “testing” psychics.  He takes them to a grave site where all the information is known about the occupants.  The psychics are then asked to correctly assess the death of each person.  Harper, of course, has no problem telling exactly how each person died.  But she finds out that one grave has two occupants.  One is the original person, but there is also a second person buried above that one, the body of a little girl.  And it just so happens that Harper was hired to find that little girl several months before.
This again sends Harper and her brother into a situation where they are in over their heads.  It seems that someone pulled them into this situation, they just don’t know who.
~~ This is an even better book then the first one.  There is more mystery, and more plots-within-plots.

The Circle Trilogy  by Nora Roberts
This trilogy is one story that is broken up into three parts.  They all happen in a few months time.  The story revolves around six people. Hoyt, a sorcerer, who has time traveled to the present time from 1000 years in the past.  Cian who is Hoyt’s twin brother, and also a vampire, and has lived for 1000 years.  Glenna is a witch who is living in New York.  Moira is a princess and travels from the world of Geall.  Larkin is Moira’s cousin and also a shape shifter.  And lastly is Blair who is a vampire hunter.
Morrigan’s Cross:  The story starts with Hoyt who is living approximately 1000 years ago.  His brother has just been turned by the vampire Lillith.  Hoyt decides that the only way to avenge his brother is to kill both Lillith and the vampire who used to be his brother.  He goes up agains them both, but almost dies in the proscess.  Soon after he is visited by the goddess Morrigan.  She gives him a great mission.  He is to leave his time and gather a group of six.  These six will fight a battle against an army that Lillith has raised.  So Hoyt leaves his family and travels into the future, and just “happens” to pop out in his brother’s apartment in New York.  Cian thinks that his brother is crazy to think that a goddess actually told him that six people will be able to win a war against an army of vampires.  They quickly meet Glenna, who has also been visited by Morrigan, and was told to seek out Hoyt.  Hoyt convinces both of them that they need to travel to Ireland where the rest of the circle will find them.  They eventually meet up with Moira and Larkin who have traveled from the world of Geall.  They start training to fight what seems like an unwinnable battle.  They are at last joined by Blair who jumps in and tries to kill Cian because she thinks that he is trying to kill them.  During all of this Hoyt and Glenna start falling in love with each other.
Dance of the Gods:  The story continues as the circle of six continue to train for the upcoming battle, which is to take place in Geall.  They have to figure out when to go to Geall, and how they are going to convince the peaceful people there that they need to fight a battle against creatures they don’t even think are real.  Through all this hard work Larkin and Blair find that they are attracted to each other.  Even though Blair resists this, they eventually fall in love.
Valley of Silence:  The six are now in Geall training the people to fight against the much bigger and stronger army of vampires.  Moira, who becomes the queen of Geall, prepares to lead her people into battle.  Lillith has quite a few surprises in store for them, and they are constantly in danger.  Moira and Cian have an attraction that each of them is trying to resist.  But before the battle they give in to each other and their desires.  They both know that there is no way that this relationship will work.  Cian is a vampire who will never age and longs to go back to his own time, and Moira is a queen who can’t leave her people.
The book ends with the battle lead by the circle of six.
~~ This is an AWESOME trilogy.  I really couldn’t put these books down.  Each book has a love story, and it is amusing that the circle members end up parring up with each other.  I believe this is the first time that Nora Roberts has ventured into the paranormal world.  I believe that she does a good job.  She obviously knows how to write a mystery, and it was nice to see that she was able to accurately grasp this new world.  She makes a few mistakes, but they are small ones, and I don’t think most people will notice them.
If you like either Nora Roberts or the fantasy/supernatural world I would highly recommend that you read these.

 

I’m now reading book 3 in the Dune Chronicles.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2008 in Book Reviews

 

Book Review: 10-21-08

Definitely Dead  (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 6) – by Charlaine Harris
Sookie goes to New Orleans to close out her cousin’s apartment after her death.  Or re-death, as Hadley was a vampire and thus already dead.  She finds out that her cousin was the lover of the Queen of Louisiana and she (Hadley) had been quite upset when the Queen got married to the King of Arkansas.  Sookie needs to find out who killed her cousin, and why, before they try to harm someone else.  And in the middle of this there is Quinn, the handsome were-tiger, who is both a great help and a major distraction.
~~ I like this book.  It’s not fantastic, but it is good.  I’m not a big fan of Quinn, but he plays a very good role in this book.  We learn more of the vampire society, which is cool.  And as always Sookie is fun to spend time with.

All Together Dead  (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 7) – by Charlaine Harris
Sookie goes to the vampire summit as the guest of the Queen of Louisiana.  She is there to read the minds of anyone she can so that she can she if someone is plotting to harm the Queen.  Everyone knows there is danger, but no one knows where from.  At every turn there is more plots with in plots.  Sookie wants to have more time to spend with Quinn (who’s company prepared the event), but he is so busy she doesn’t get to see him much.  And we meet back up with Barry, the other telepath from Texas, and he and Sookie have fun playing with their “gift” together.
~~ Ok, from that description you would think that I didn’t like the book much, but in fact it might be my favorite in the series (tied with book #4).  I love Barry, and all that he brings to the story.  There is more on the ever growing list of love interests for Sookie.  And as always there is a mystery to solve.

Cry Wolf  (Alpha & Omega, Book 1) – by Patricia Briggs
This is set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series.  But rather then focusing on Mercy’s pack we are focused on the Marrok’s pack.
Anna meets Charles when he rescues her from a pack that has been abusing her.  She was kept in check by that pack by repeated beatings and many rapes.  But then Charles comes and not only takes her away, but also tells her that he is her mate.  Although the wolf side of her accepts this, the human side of her is still very wary of men and relationships.  She and Charles just barely get home when his father sends him out on a dangerous mission to hunt down a rouge werewolf who has been attacking humans up in the mountains.  Anna decides to go along, and finds herself totally out of her element.  Charles and Anna only know the area that this rouge is in, so they have to search for it.  But they find much more then they ever expected.
~~ This is a fantastic book!  I really liked the Mercy Thompson series, and this one is just as good, if not even better.  I can’t wait for the rest of the books to come out!

Angels Fall – by Nora Roberts
Reese is always running.  She was the sole survivor of a shooting that killed all of her coworkers, and she has developed phobias of just about everything.  She lives in constant fear that someone is going to hurt her again.  This fear keeps her moving from town to town.  But when her car brakes down in the little town of Angels Fist, she has to find work to pay for the repairs.  She just barely gets settled when she sees a murder while hiking on trail.  But the cops find no evidence of a murder.  No body, no evidence, there isn’t even any sign that anybody was at that location.  While she is sure that this really happened, almost everyone seems to doubt that she saw anything.  They think she just had an “episode” and saw something that wasn’t there.  But then strange things start happening.  Her comes home to find her clothes packed.  Or her kitchen supplies in a coat closet.  One day her bathroom is covered with copies of the sketch of the victim.  She knows it is possible that she did all of those things, but she doesn’t remember doing them.  Is she doing these things, or is there someone trying to convince her that she is really crazy?
~~ As always Nora Roberts writes a fantastic book.  Reece is deep and it is wonderful to watch her become a whole person again.  There is a great twist in the end that is totally shocking.
This is also a Lifetime movie.

Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 1) – by Frank Herbert
The planet Dune, or Arrakis, is a desert planet.  It is the only source of the Spice, which is a drug of sorts that gives the taker health and long life, but is also addictive.  Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides, has been given the responsibility of governing this prized planet.  So the whole Atreides household moves to Arrakis.  But soon after their arival the Duke is killed by their enimies, the family Harkonnen, and Paul and his mother must flee into the deep desert to escape the same fate.  The seek refuge amonst the Fremen, the desert dwellers who see Paul as their messiah.  Paul himself is starting to realize that he is different from other people.  He can see into the future.  He can see a dangerous war coming, and he is trying to do all he can to stop it from happening.  The Fremen give him the name Muad’Dib to make him a part of their world.  After several years he becomes a very prominant part of the Fremen society.  Eventually he leads the Fremen to take back the planet from the Harkonnen.
~~ This is an AWESOME book.  There is so much detail that you can really imagne yourself in this world.  All of the characters are interesting, and the stories is almost impossible to put down.
This is both a movie (from the 80’s I think) and the Sci-fi Channel made a mini-series based on this book.  As with most things I saw the mini-series first, and liked it so much I decided to read the book.  If you like this book at all I highly recommend the mini-series (the movie was ok, but the mini-series is great!).

Dune Messiah  (Dune Chronicles, Book 2) – by Frank Herbert
We pick up the story of Paul/Muad’Dib 12 years after the first book.  He is now the Emperor and his army has traveled the universe bringing everyone (or almost everyone) under the rule of Muad’Dib.  The war that he tried so hard to avoid is now a reality.  He tries to find a way to get rid of this godhood that has been given him.  But every road seems to lead to the same result.  He knows the only way out is for him to be gone and for his child to fix the mistakes he made.  But his love, Chani, hasn’t been able to get pregnant.  While many forces are comming together to bring his distruction, Paul tries to stay one step ahead and do what needs to be done.
~~  This is a great continuation of the story.  You really feel the strugle that Paul faces, the fact that he knows the future, but is unable to change it.
This, combined with the next book Children of Dune, is another mini-series from Sci-fi Channel.  I like this mini-series almost better then the first.

 

My next book was loaned to me by a coworker.  It’s called Nature of Daughters.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2008 in Book Reviews

 

Book Review: 10-7-08

I just realized that I didn’t do my weekly book review last week.  It just completely slipped my mind.  So this week’s review will be pretty long to make up for that.

Montana Sky – by Nora Roberts
This is a story about three half-sisters that have never met.  Their father (who owned a very large ranch in montana) has just died and they meet for the first time at his funeral.  They are each quite eager to go back to their own lives and forget the others exist.  But their father had other plans.  In his will he deeds the ranch to all three of his daughters with the stipulation that they must live together on the ranch for one year.  If any of them leave the entire ranch (worth several million) is forfeit.  They all decide to stay.
The oldest, Tess, is a script writer who lived in hollywood and has never done a hard day’s work in her life.  Lily, the middle sister, has been running from her ex-husband who used to beat her, and still thinks of her as his wife.  The youngest, Willa, has lived on the ranch for her entire life and, even though she hated her father, she loves the ranch.
These three half-sisters barely have enough time to start getting used to each other when weird killings start happening on the ranch.  First an animal is found mutilated, then a man is brutally murdered.  Before long everyone on the ranch is scared, and the sisters have to band together to try to save the ranch, and their lives.
~~ This is a great book.  It is divided into the seasons of the year (autumn, winter, spring, summer).  The suspense and mystery is really great.  And each of the sisters have a love interest, which because the sisters are so different their relationships are too.  Tess has Nate who becomes a good bed buddy, Lily finds Adam who helps her feel safe to come out of her shell, and Willa has Ben who she has known her whole life but has always resisted despite a strong pull.  So you end up with the best of all worlds: passionate sex, gentle nurturing, and unrequited love.
The murders are described in pretty vivid detail, so if you are squeamish, either don’t read this or skip over those parts.

Marley and Me– by John Grogan
This is a true story about John and his dog Marley, who he dubbed “The Worst Dog in the World”.  Marley is destructive and unruly, but also incredibly lovable.  We follow the 13 (or so) years of Marley’s life.  We start when John and his wife get Marley as a puppy.  We follow them through puppy problems, kids for John, and several different locations.  The book ends with Marley being a very old dog, and that visit to the vet that nobody wants: that final visit to put him to sleep.
~~  This is beyond great.  Having had a naughty dog myself, I found quite a few familiar things in this book.  You will be rolling on the floor laughing, and go through a kleenex box crying.  This is a great story that will tug at the heartstrings of any animal lover (at least it did for me!).

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 2) – by Charlaine Harris
Sookie, the telepathy, is sent to dallas to use her “gift” to help the local vampires there.  One of their nest has gone missing, and they don’t know by who.  But what she doesn’t know is that their is a traitor in their midst, and she ends up walking into a trap.
~~ This isn’t as good as the first Sookie book, but it isn’t terrible.  It is a good story, has great action, and good plot twists.

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2) – by Patricia Briggs
Mercy gets trapped into dealing with a very dangerous sorcerer-turned-vampire who is killing everything he can get his hands on.  Even though she is told to keep her nose to herself, Mercy finds that she is needed to help bring an end to this creature.  But during all of this her relationship with both Adam and Samuel is coming to a head.  And she is starting to get some strange feelings from the vampire Stefan too.  She knows the men want her, and she doesn’t want to have to choose between them.  But they aren’t going to let her ignore it for long.
~~  A good book, but not fantastic.  I’ve found that second books in a series tend to be only ok, and this one is no exception.

Iron Kissed  (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) – by Patricia Briggs
Mercy’s friend (and former boss) Zee asks her to help him investigate a string of murders that happened on the Fae reservation.  She knows he wouldn’t ask if he didn’t really need her help, so she goes along.  She is asked to sniff around the houses and see if she can identify a single smell that is present in all of them.  She identifies a human guard has been in all the houses she was showed.  She goes home, only to find out the next day that Zee has been arrested for the murder of that guard.  She knows he didn’t do it, but she is getting stonewalled every time she tries to investigate.  The deeper she gets into the investigation the more danger she finds herself in.
Adam and Samuel are not going to let her hover between them any longer.  And everyone is advising her to pick one, and pick one soon.  If she doesn’t, their might be an open war.
~~ This is much better then book two.  We find out some more info about the Fae, and we meet quite a few new Fae.  The relationship between Mercy, Adam and Samuel keeps you on the edge of your seat to know which one she will choose.  SPOILER: (highlight the text to read) but she does choose by the end of the book!  I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Club Dead  (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 3) – by Charlaine Harris
Bill tells Sookie that he needs to go on a secret mission to an undisclosed location, and he has no idea how long he will be gone.  So she is totally surprised when she finds out that he has been kidnapped.  And even worse his “secret mission” was to go see his Sire (the vamp who turned him) who was also his former lover.  And, even worse, was that while there Bill started his relationship back up with her and he had planned to come back and end his relationwhip with Sookie to be with her.  Even though she is mad with Bill, Sookie still decides to go help rescue him.  So with the help of the sexy werewolf Alcide, she makes her way to where Bill was last seen.  And Sookie again finds herself in more trouble then she bargain for.
~~ I love the relationship with Alcide, which just drips with sexual tension.  The story takes turns that you don’t expect to see and has lots of action, which is good.

Dead to the World  (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 4) – by Charlaine Harris
Sookie is dealing with the emotional fallout of the end of her relationship with Bill when one night on her drive home from work she finds Eric running along the side of the road.  Only he doesn’t remember her, in fact he doesn’t remember anything at all.  She brings him home with her because she has no idea what else to do.  She finds out that this Eric is nothing like the old one.  He is sweet, insecure and totally irresistible.  Life with him is so easy.  But time is not on their side as the witch who attacked Eric is starting to cause all sorts of trouble, not just for the vampires, but for the werewolves and shapeshifters too.  They are on the verge of an all out war, and Sookie is right in the middle.  And during all of this her brother Jason goes missing, and no one knows what happened to him, or even if he is still alive.
~~ I love this Eric.  He is still has that sexy factor that he’s had all along, but now there is this gentleness to go along with it too.  Someone who needs to be protected and saved.  I like the way the witches are shown too.  The author is careful to make the distinction that not all witches or wiccans are bad, even though the main “bad guys” are bad witches.  That is a very fine line to walk, but she is able to do it.

Dead as a Doornail  (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 5) – by Charlaine Harris
Sookie is launched head-long into the world of shapeshifters (also called the two-natured).  Her brother, after his abduction of the last book, is now a were-panther, and she continues to see Alcide, who is a werewolf.  But after several two-natured people are shot, including her boss Sam, she finds that the local were-panther group suspects her brother as the shooter.  But it turns out that there is much more to this then just a few accidents.
~~ While this book isn’t bad, it isn’t the best in the series either.  There is nothing “wrong” with it, but it just doesn’t have a lot of a wow factor.

So that’s what I’ve read in the past two weeks.
I’m now reading the next book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2008 in Book Reviews

 

Book Reviews: 9-22-08

Moon Called  (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) – by Patricia Briggs
Mercy is a auto mechanic that also happens to be a shapeshifter.  She can can change shape at will, but she always has to become a coyote.  Once her mother found out, she shipped her off to be raised by a pack of werewolves.  At 16 she left that pack, but she still knows alot about the werewolf community.  She lives in a town where there is a werewolf pack (not the one she grew up in), but she doesn’t have all that much contact with them.  Her neighbour, Adam, is the Alpha (lead male werewolf) of that pack, and she knows the other members of the pack, but they don’t really hang out.  That all changes when a boy comes into her auto shop looking for work.  She can tell that he is a werewolf, and a new on at that, but lets it go since he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it.  Until she stumbles across someone trying to kidnap him.  She saves him, and she quickly calls Adam to help him out and protect him.  But during the night something happens at Adam’s house and she runs over to find several werewolves hurt and dead, and Adam is involved in a very dangerous fight with another werewolf, and Adam isn’t winning.  Mercy kills the other werewolf, but Adam is near death and she needs help.  She ends up taking him to her old pack leader, and once Adam is better, they go back home to find out who set them up.
~~~~ This is an AWESOME book.  The characters are explained in such a way that you feel like you’ve known them forever.  And I love the werewolves.  They are alot more “normal” then most of the stuff you see about werewolves.  It reminds me of the character of Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in that Oz was just a normal human who just happened to have special abilities and could change into a werewolf.  Mercy is a great character, she is strong and stubborn, and I so can’t wait to get the rest of this series so I can read more about her!

Blue Smoke – by Nora Robers
This book happens over a 20 year period.  It starts in 1985 when Reena is 11 and her family pizzeria is gutted by a fire.  A fire that was set on purpose to hurt her and her family.  But while she stands there and watches the fire consume their shop she is strangely drawn to the fire.  She sees how beautiful the fire is and she wants to go in where the firefighters are.
We next meet Reena in the early ’90s (’92 I think).  She is now in college, working hard to get a good education, and she volunteers at the fire station whenever she can.  Her dream is to be a arson investigator.  She meets a boy, Josh, and starts to fall in love with him.  But one night he dies in a fire that is ruled accidental.
We meet her again in ’95 (I think), where she is now a cop on her way to that dream job of arson detective.  She takes the test that all firefighters have to take to be certified.  She doesn’t need this to be an arson investigator, but if she has it she can go into the buildings while they are still on fire and hopefully get more information on who what when were and why.  She still volunteers at the local fire station, and starts a relationship with a guy there.  The plan to have a weekend away to find out how they really feel about each other.  Because they get off work at different times, he heads out the night before to get the place set up.  But on the way he is shot on the side of the road, and then both he and his vehicle are set on fire.  The investigators believe that it was a robbery gone bad, and that the killer just set him on fire to cover his tracks.
The story continues in ’99.  Reena is now a rookie arson detective.  She is good at her job, and she loves it.  She is dating a very successful investment broker, but he is starting to take her for granted.  One night he takes her to a fancy restaurant and tells her that he has gotten a big promotion, but that he has to move to New York.  Reena was starting to think they should end the relationship anyway, so she isn’t all that sad.  But then he proposes, and before she knows it she has a ring on her finger and the waiter is congratulating her.  She waits until they get back home to tell him that her answer is no.  He blows up and ends up hitting her.  She makes him leave her apartment.  But the next morning she is woken by her captain telling her that her (now ex) boyfriend’s car was torched in the wee hours of the morning.  And, nice person that he is, he blames her.
We conclude in 2005 where Reena is now a seasoned investigator.  She doesn’t have much time for men.  She uses them when she needs them, but she doesn’t have relationships.  Until she moves into a house with a neighbor who claims to love her.  Bowen Goodnight has seen her several times over the years, but can never seem to get close enough to talk to her.  The first time was a party she was at with Josh in ’92, then he sees her again in a shopping mall in ’95, and then they stop at the same stoplight in ’99.  Every time he sees her he feels like the music stops, and the whole world fades away.  She is known as “Dream Girl” to his friends.  Even though Reena finds this really weird, she is drawn to him.  But then she starts getting calls from a guy who starts fires just for her.  It is obvious that he is stalking her, as well as leaving little clues at the fires so she knows it’s him.  As this guy escalates her relationship with Bo gets closer.  But as her stalker gets closer, and much more dangerous, she needs to find out who he is before someone she loves gets hurt.
~~~~ I really like this book.  While it is not fantastic, it is a very good story.  Most stories start at one point and then have “flashbacks” to stuff that happend before.  Where as this story takes you through the important stuff so you have a real idea about who Reena is, because you aren’t just “told” the story you live it.  There is also a Lifetime Movie based on this book.  I recommend both the movie and the book.

I’m now reading another Nora Roberts book: Montana Sky.  After that I’ll start on the rest of the Sookie Stackhouse series (I have book 2 and 4-7, but I’m still waiting on book 3).

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2008 in Book Reviews

 

Book Reviews: 9-15-08

Here’s what I read in the last week:

The Titan’s Curse  (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3) – by Rick Riordan
The book starts with Percy and his friends Annabeth and Thalia going to help Grover (again!).  This time Grover has found two new half-bloods and needs their help to get them to the safety of Camp Half-Blood.  But a monster knows about the half-bloods too, and then end up fighting for their lives.  They win, with the help of the goddess Artemis and her group of hunters, but Annabeth gets taken by the monster.  Percy, Thalia and Grover join with two hunters to try to save Annabeth and Artemis (who has disappeared while tracking the monster), but they meet with trouble at every corner.
~~~~ This is a very good sequel to the first book, The Lightning Thief, and much better then the second book, The Sea of Monsters.  We meet new gods, mythic creatures and monsters.  You can tell that the kids are older and smarter then they were in the first two books.  Well worth the read!

Eldest  (Inheritance, Book 2) – Christopher Paolini
This is the sequel to Eragon.  This book is split into three different people/location stories.  The first is about Eragon and Saphira, the second follows the Varden, and the third follows Eragon’s cousin Roran.  The book jumps from one story to the other until the very end where all of those stores converge into one.
Eragon’s story starts almost immediately after the fight at the end of book 1.  Eragon finds himself in the middle of a political situation after the leader of the Varden is killed.  He is pushed to make alliances with both the Varden and the Dwarfs.  Then he starts his journey to the Elves to continue his training.  He finds that he and Saphira have much to learn, and they have to learn it quick, before war brakes out.
The Varden storyline tells us about Nasuada, who is now the leader of the Varden, and her strugles to find her footing as leader, and also prepare them for the war that they all know is comming.  Nasuada makes a bold move and decides to move all of the Varden out of their mountian sanctuary.
The third storyline is about Eragon’s cousin Roran and his hometown of Carvahall.  Left with almost no knowledge of what has happned to Eragon, Roran finds his town attacked by solders and the terrible Ra’zac.  Roran becomes an unexpected leader of Carvahall as they try to fortify the town to keep them safe.  In the midst of the fighting Roran’s fiance gets taken by the Ra’zac.  They are given the altimatum to either give up Roran, or be inslaved.  But Roran has a gutsy idea: to pick up and move the whole town, for everyone to pack up what ever they can carry and try to reach the Varden.
The three storylines converge at the end for the big battle between the Varden and the solders of king Galbatorix.
~~~~ While the three storylines can be frusterating sometimes (they always seem to switch when something important is about to happen!), but in the end it makes for an awesome book.  I love the detail that went into explaining the Elven city of Ellesmera, and I love that we get to know more about Roran, who was only a small character in the first one.  The transformation of both Eragon and Roran from small town boys into powerful leaders is great to see.

Storm Front  (The Dresden Files, Book 1) – by Jim Butcher
This book is about Harry Dresden, who is a wizard.  But rather then the stereotypical wizard who is always in hiding, he has no problem telling everyone that he is a wizard.  He is a private investigator (wizard investigator?) and even has an ad in the phone book.  Harry uses his powers to help both the police and clients who seek his help.
The story begins with Harry being called by his police contact for his help on a murder case where two people are killed by having their hearts ripped out of their chests by magic.  Harry is stunned at the amount of magic that would take, and doesn’t really want to find out how the killer did it.  Harry finds his life threatened by both the mob and magical creatures alike.  He struggles to find out how these killings happen, and more importantly who is doing them.
~~~~ I watched the Sci-fi channel series based on these books (that aired a couple years ago, and only lasted one season), I enjoyed that, so I was pretty sure I’d like the books as well.  It sure didn’t disapoint!  The only thing I didn’t like was how little detail was given about the magical world Harry belongs to.  But then again this is only the first book in a series, so they can’t give away everything, right?  I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

My next book is Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, which is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series.  There is also a spin-off series based on this one, the Alpha and Omega series.  So if I find I like this series I might try that one too.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2008 in Book Reviews