June 17, 2005
Bringing the total to 41

Being sick is good for one thing -- reading. Since falling ill, I've read five books in the times when I'm unable to sleep because I'm busy hacking up a lung.

I've been trying to keep my reading light and fun and things I don't have to chew to hard to get (because honestly, when I'm reading these days, there isn't a lot of brain power to do the chewing!). These five books all fit the bill and were a lot of fun. And this brings me to a 2005 total of 41 so far.

The Hidden Family
Charles Stross
hardcover from Tor, June 2005

I have to be good and not issue spoilers. Suffice to say... better than the first one. And it has an ending, so it is safe to read the two together. The only thing I *will* say? While it *did* end... I still screamed at the ending.

If you don't want to buy hardcover, go get it from the library. *grins* Interlibrary loan if you have to. And enjoy!

Urban Shaman
C.E. Murphy
trade paperback from Luna, June 2005

This is Murphy's first book, and I'm very much looking forward to more from her. I enjoyed this story of a shaman who didn't know she was a shaman, trying to save the world one city at a time (we'll start with Seattle). Because it's a Luna title, I kept looking for who Joanne would hook up with romantically, but honestly, I didn't find that doing that looking stole anything from the story for me.

And I loved the male characters. I can't wait to see more of both Morrison (the boss!) and Gary (the 73 year old AMAZINGLY flirtatious and buff cab driver).

Bet Me
Jennifer Crusie
St. Martin's Paperbacks, August 2004

Oh, I think this is one of my favorite Crusies. I loved the different theories of love, and the way the interwoven love stories flowed. It had a decent bit of meat and tangling, and a good bit of confusion and befuddlement on the part of both male and female leads. If you're a romance fan, pick this up. But then again, Crusie is almost always a winner.

The Royal Treatment
Mary Janice Davidson
Kensington, February 2005

Derik's Bane
Mary Janice Davidson
Berkley Sensation, January 2005

Davidson is also the author of the chick-lit vampire series which began with Undead and Unwed (one of the MOST hysterically funny vampire novels I have EVER read). I think The Royal Treatment is one of her meatiest novels so far, and perhaps the one I've enjoyed overall. The story revolves around Christina, an American in an alternate world where Alaska was never sold to the US and instead became it's own kingdom by revolting against Russia. And King Alexander has decided that this commonor from the US is the perfect bride for his son, David. The story is less romance and more about fitting into a strange world, and the differences between customs, and exploring what royalty in a world that isn't quite ours might be like. And all told in the chick-lit voice and very funny.

Derik's Bane, on the other hand, is the lightest of her pieces so far. I finished it in about an hour last night while I couldn't sleep. This is a werewolf story, and an end of the world story, and a story about how prophecy can be twisted to do the things you want it to do. Fun and silly, and well perfect for when one has a coughing fit and can't sleep despite desperately wanting to.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:30 PM
June 12, 2005
12 More Books (well, 16, but...)

Yes, I'm cranking through the books. Physically, I read 16 books in the last 6 weeks, although I'm choosing to count the Amber novels as only one book. This brings the 2005 total to 36 books read, and we're 5 1/2 months completed. If I can continue at this rate, I will not only smash the goal of 52, but should make my internal goal of 75. Yay!!

Mini-reviews below the cut.

Wizards Ward
Deborah Hale
trade paperback from Luna, April 2004

This was the first Luna novel that I've read which was written by an author from the romance side of the fence, as opposed to the fantasy side of the fence. And it read more like a romance than a fantasy. The plot wasn't as gritty, the twists weren't there. It was fairly straight-forward (I called the twist from the beginning). But that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable. I enjoyed the ride it took me on, even if it was more swan boats than rollercoaster, and I will buy the second one. On the other hand, I will probably recommend this to romance readers, but not to straight fantasy addicts.

The Mountain's Call
Caitlin Brennan
trade paperback from Luna, 2004

Caitlin Brennan is a pseudonym for Judith Tarr, which didn't surprise me entirely since Tarr isn't the sort of style I'd usually think of for Luna. I *loved* this book. It had strength and grittiness and it kept me going. It broke the rules of standard romance novels and worked really well, I thought. This is one of the Lunas I have loaned to my boss and she has loved (Anne Kelleher's Silver's Edge being the other). I'd tell people to go read this. It isn't just a horsey book (although it is, indeed, a horse book).

Hello, Gorgeous!
Mary Janice Davidson
trade paperback from Brava, March 2005

Think Six Million Dollar Man done in the style of chicklit, where the heroine is a brainy ditz and has a bit of a potty mouth. Add romance and snappy dialog and you've got this novel. I didn't like it as much as her Undead series, but it was still a lot of fun.

Nine Princes in Amber
The Guns of Avalon
The Hand of Oberon
Sign of the Unicorn
The Courts of Chaos

Roger Zelazny
ancient paperbacks (available now as The Great Book of Amber)

This is not only a comfort reread, it was a requirement for understanding and setting up more backstory in the Amber DRPG game I run which takes place right after the end of The Courts of Chaos. I didn't try to zip through them quickly, and in fact, I tried to take notes on timeline stuff for my game. Although that failed when I realized it was causing me not to read the books at all!

Anyway, these are always fun for me. Every time I read them, I see things that are dated, things I don't like, and things that make me go WOW Zelazny is amazing. Not everyone likes them, and that's fine. But I always try to share them.

Memory of Fire
The Wreck of Heaven
Gods Old and Dark

Holly Lisle
paperbacks from EOS, May 2002 / April 2003 / April 2005

This isn't a trilogy!!! Argh!!!! I bought these, and read them, and loved them, and got to the end and realized it's the World Gate Series, not a trilogy, and there's still more to come. Argh. *sighs* They're good. I need to go buy more Holly Lisle. And I will definitely buy more of these when they are out.

Dead Beat
Jim Butcher
hardcover from ROC, May 2005

Serious congratulations to Jim for making it into the first edition in hardcover world for his Dresden novels!! So now my books won't match. *sighs* Ah well!

It was well worth the purchase. The Dresden novels are ALWAYS a fun read, and this one was no exception. The world goes on, Dresden advances, and things change. We get in a little deeper this time, and start digging into internal motivations. We learn more about Bob, which I just utterly loved. And the scene with the cloak... OMG just about flattened me. Woohoo!

If you haven't read the Dresden novels yet, why not? Go buy them. The first ones are in paperback. Go. NOW. Buy!!

The Family Trade
Charles Stross
paperback from Tor, May 2005
[looks like the HC date was December 2004]

This has been on the husband's to-buy list for a while, but I wasn't sure. I've heard excellent things about Singularity Sky but wasn't sure it was really my type. Then Paul sent me a copy of The Family Trade and I read the back cover and the intro. And realized it was a Must Read for any Amber DRPG gamer.

And damn, I'm so glad I read it. If every girl in America daydreams about "what if I were adopted and I'm really a princess" then THIS is the book for geeks who daydream "what if I were adopted and I'm really a child of an Amberite". Yes, really. My only concern with the books was that something in the writing style held me distant from the characters. I loved them, and was drawn onwards consistently, and I wanted to know what happened. I was fascinated by the love interest and the intrigue. But I never felt like I was fully in Miriam's head, and that disappointed me. I wanted to have that experience of getting to be her, and getting to be whisked away to this amazing strange scary family like she did. Did it ruin the book for me? Gods no! It was good enough that we picked up book 2 in hardcover yesterday, and I'm already reading it today. And if I'm lucky book 2 will END (unlike book 1, which SO did not end) and then I can tell Kev it's safe to read them. *grins*

Sex and the Single Vampire
Sex, Lies, and Vampires
Katie MacAlister
paperbacks from Lovespell, March 2004 & February 2005

Hard Day's Knight
Katie MacAlister
paperback from Signet Eclipse, January 2005

Why yes, I've gone on a Katie MacAlister kick. This started because my mom emailed me and said "I've never laughed so hard" about reading The Corset Diaries. And then followed up immediately with "do you have more that I can borrow?" I looked at my collection of what I'd already read (You Slay Me, A Girl's Guide to Vampires, and Men in Kilts), and the three still on it left to read and figured, sure, I can read those by the end of June. Not a problem!

Katie's a fun read. I like her Dark Ones, and I like her heroines. I've noticed that sometimes she does use very similar wording and events in her sex scenes (these are romances, of course they have sex! *grins*) which bugs me, but I've also found the newer books to be less like that. I think she's growing. Of the recent three, I think that Hard Day's Knight entertained me the most with it's combination of SCAdian event and RenFaire and all the jousting. It kept me amused, and seemed to have a bit more meat to it in some ways. Not to say that these are much more than really excellent cotton candy in general. ADDICTIVE cotton candy.

Yes, I will buy the ones I don't own. And the YA ones. When I get to it!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:40 PM
June 11, 2005
Of course, we needed more books!

Went over to Maria's and picked up some more books today -- all ones we'd preordered, plus three that sort of leapt onto the pile as I was paying. *whistles innocently*

I really need a vacation of just reading, so I can get caught up!

End in Fire
by Syne Mitchell
paperback from Roc, June 2005

The COmpass Rose
by Gail Dayton
trade paperback from Luna, March 2005

Silver's Bane
by Anne Kelleher
trade paperback from Luna, June 2005

Urban Shaman
by C.E. Murphy
trade paperback from Luna, June 2005
(and the handprint on the cover is eerie)

The Hidden Family
by Charles Stross
hardcover from Tor, June 2005

Dervish Daughter
by Sherri Tepper
paperback from Tor, March 1986
(and yes, now I have all three, in a little pile, together!!!!)

by Kelley Armstrong
paperback from Bantam Spectra, June 2005

Beyond the Pale
by Savannah Russe
paperback from Signet Eclipse, June 2005

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:05 PM