Tag Archives: book review

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (Gentlemen Bastards #2)

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First of all, I have never enjoyed an audio book as much as this one. At least half a star is for that alone. The story was quite the exciting romp through the world of the Gentleman Bastards. I don’t know how to say much without spoiling the book for people, but suffice it to say that if you enjoyed The Lies of Locke Lamora you will most likely enjoy Red Seas Under Red Skies. Jean & Locke are definitely up to no good and it doesn’t always work out for them. Still, to paraphrase one of Jean’s more memorable lines, they’re the biggest, baddest motherfuckers in the room.

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Death Comes to Pemberley by JP.D. James

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

P.D. James, I loved The Children of Men. I even bought a copy of it to write a paper comparing it to another book for no other reason than that I found it that fascinating and intriguing. I’ve enjoyed the other books of yours I read. You are, or sadly were, an author for whom I have great respect. I just want to know, what happened with Death Comes to Pemberley?

I think I could have liked this book. I found the premise interesting and I have a long-running adoration of Pride and Prejudice. This though? This was tawdry. It went for sensationalism in a way Austen would find anathema. The characters were shadows, the plot was both weak and made me sad, and the book left me feeling irritable for days. Months later the primary thought I have about this is, “Damn authors, get off my lawn!” I even created a shelf with that name.

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The Terror by Dan Simmons, Read by John Lee

The TerrorThe Terror by Dan Simmons
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this book would have waited from being finished in February to being reviewed in July even had my year not been inhumanely busy. Despite the disgustingly hot weather, I have goose bumps thinking about it.

The Terror is taken from the name one half of a pair of ships sent on an Arctic expedition at some point when reinforcement technology for ice breaking ships still involved the types of wood used in conjunction with some iron. Near the beginning a character thinks to himself that the number of awards given to the returning commanders of these expeditions seems to be higher the more lives are lost. I’m inclined to agree.

This book was dark, dirty, and above all cold. To steal from the inimitable karen’s review, “oh my god, let me never get scurvy.” There are many things I could add to that list. I have no idea how realistic it may be, but the descriptions of the conditions experienced by the people on those ships make me wish I could forget hearing them.

Sadly, I feel the same way about much of the element of this book that throws it into the fantasy heap. It somehow went from a scary thing that could have been made frightening to a rather campy and eventually lame rehashing of a mythology that I suspect is nowhere near as simplistic as it seems. The last 10 or so chapters could have been left off the book. More HMS Terror and less of the Terror would have made this a far better book.

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Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files #2)

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
I enjoyed Fool Moon more than I did Storm Front, which I definitely enjoyed. Harry was still stupidly overprotective of other people in a way which put them in more danger than they would have been otherwise, but at least there was less “omg, the wimmenz, they need protecting and coddling” bullshit. I also found the story more interesting. Where the first book bounced around in a way that I found confusing at times, the pace of the second was pretty good. The audio is also great. I recommend listening to these. I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #13: Standalone)

Small Gods (Discworld, #13)Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
I don’t even know how to express just how much I loved Small Gods. I really, really, really enjoyed reading this. Sure, that may have been because my boyfriend’s great love of turtles has rubbed off on me. It may have been a devious glee at the thought of a petulant little god who never considered that he should do anything for his believers. The great library and the hilarious stereotype of the philosophers in Ephebe certainly didn’t hurt. Nor did the penguin. Or the history monk. Vorbis was creepy as hell, which added a slight touch of reality. Seriously, go read this. Now. Go!

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Harry Potter #7)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was better than Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Coming from me, that pretty much falls into the “damning with faint praise” category. There were some parts of this book I really enjoyed, especially some of the character development with the Weasley kids. Overall though…well, if you don’t mind obscenities or spoilers, my complete thoughts are in the rant below.
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Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #3)

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Magic Strikes is my favorite of the Kate Daniels novels to date. I chalk this up to really liking Derek’s and Dali’s characters. Derek in particular gained more dimension in this installment. Dali was really funny, while also plucky. At risk of spoilers, all I am going to say is that there are gladiator games and Kate & Curran end up on opposing sides of an issue in a much more concrete way than they have before. Simon also receives an interesting treatment. Overall, I enjoyed this read quite a bit.

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Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #1)

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

A friend highly recommended this, so another friend & I decided to buddy read it. I have to say, I enjoyed it, although there were definite flaws, hence the 3.5 rating. To get them out of the way first, the flaws: too much talk about badassery at the beginning of the book but not enough actual ass kicking and far, far too much talk about her braid and lack of beauty. I don’t care what she looks like, damn it. *sigh* Losing argument, I know. As for the things I enjoyed: the fact that she seemed to slightly change her mind about some other people but not drastically, the fact that she’s not even remotely invincible, and the fact that she fucked up the relationship with the doctor rather than it being revealed that he’s just drastically inferior to Curran, speaking of whom, does not sound like a lion in the books so why is he a lion on the covers?

If you even remotely like urban fantasy with female leads, give this a shot. It’s neither steampunk nor a romance.

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Favorites Friday: The White Hotel

The White HotelThe White Hotel by D.M. Thomas

Surreal and beautiful. A fantastic book that combines prose and poetry in an intoxicating mixture. Set in a resort style hotel we see people going about a wealthy holiday with seemingly no awareness that the world is changing around them. As the book builds and swirls, however, the enormity of the times and realization that something is wrong becomes inescapable. I am forever indebted to the friend who first gave this to me. Reading it was a thoroughly inspiring and enjoyable experience.

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Lists: Best Books Read in 2011 – # 1

Best Books Read in 2011

1. Room by Emma Donoghue

Not many authors can write well from a child’s point of view, especially when writing for an adult audience. In Room, Emma Donoghue does precisely that. She conveys a haunting tale with beauty and wonder and terror. I was skeptical when I picked up this book. After putting it down seven months ago, I still think of it regularly. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Original Review

2. The Christ-Haunted Landscape by Susan Ketchin
3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett