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New Book Reviews

 

Well, I’ve been busy reading but not blogging…

Here are my latest reviews:

Disenchanted & Co. by Lynn ViehlDisenchanted & Co. by Lynn Viehl

 

The Book Stops Here by Ian SansomThe Book Stops Here by Ian Sansom

 

Takedown Twenty by Janet EvanovichTakedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

 

The Trial by Franz KafkaThe Trial by Franz Kafka

By the End of 2010 Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The X Factor by Andre Norton
Something from the Nightside by Simon Green
Blood Rites by Barry Nazarian
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop by Otto Penzler

By the End of 2010 Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The X Factor by Andre Norton
Something from the Nightside by Simon Green
Blood Rites by Barry Nazarian
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop by Otto Penzler

Hmmm, so far I’ve taken off three books – and added on three more. I mentioned Side Jobs already. It will be the last on my list to read. But I forgot about my book club book, so it has to be on this list. We’re reading Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien. I know it should be quick. I also was sent Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop by Otto Penzler to review. I had agreed to take it a couple weeks ago. I try to read the ones I’ve agreed to take fairly quickly. Besides that, I’m looking forward to it. The short story authors look good. Sigh, I probably won’t make the challenge…

By the End of 2010 Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The X Factor by Andre Norton
Something from the Nightside by Simon Green
Blood Rites by Barry Nazarian

Today I picked up my copy of Jim Butcher’s Side Jobs. If I get to it, great, but I’m not adding it to this challenge list. I’m not surprised the two first books were Nora Roberts’ novels. They are both parts of a series that I read immediately. Hopefully, the first Connie Willis novel, Black Out will be next.

By the End of 2010 Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The X Factor by Andre Norton
Something from the Nightside by Simon Green
Blood Rites by Barry Nazarian

One down, twelve to go…

Rest of the Year Challenge

 

A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet EvanovichSizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Waters Rising by Sherri Tepper
Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

The common factor here? All of these were published this year. All of them now sit on Mt. Bookpile. I really should read them before the end of the year. (I still have 2 or 3 from 2009 to read, too, but hey…)

Plus I want to pick up the final Bride Quartet book by Nora Roberts, Happy Ever After and read it. Then there are the three older books I bought specifically on recommendation (rather than browsing used book stores and picking up what looked good). I’d like to read those, too. Thirteen books – all in paper, not audio or e-book. I probably should quit borrowing library books for a month or so.

The Spellman Files

 

Have you read any of the Spellmans series? If you haven’t found this cozy, hysterically funny mystery series, you’ve got to check it out – especially if you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. (And yes, I’ve said this before.)

Isabel Spellman’s whole family is – strange? weird? unpredictable? They are a family of private investigators (except for the older brother, David, who is a lawyer). While they take care of their clients, they spy on each other as well. If you haven’t read these, run to your nearest library and check out the first one, The Spellman Files.

After I finished the marvelous Physics of the Impossible Friday evening, I picked up the final book in the Spellman series, The Spellmans Strike Again. Despite the fact the family was coming here today for dinner and the house cleaning I had to do, I still tore right through this book.

By now the narrative style Lisa Lutz uses in these books is no longer new. Yet it’s still fresh and I still found myself laughing out loud at the family’s antics. These books are family friendly reading – no bad language, no questionable bedroom scenes, no violence. I’ve recommended these books from my mother-in-law and my mother to my youngest daughter and anyone who can read at this easy adult level. Age doesn’t matter – although you might not want precocious younger teens reading these. They’ll get lots of ideas to disrupt everyone’s life.

I’m sorry the stories are ending, yet they end in a good way. Everything is tied up as well as life ever lets up tie up our stories. Thanks, Ms. Lutz, for these great books.

999 Challenge

 

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottThis month’s books were once again across the spectrum of genres and writing styles. I read 10 books this month for the challenge, putting me nicely past the half way mark. That’s a good place to be at the end of June. I have caught up from my vacation in April.

For years I’ve been meaning to read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It certainly wasn’t what I expected. But now I can’t tell you what I did expect beforehand. As a kid I remember the comic strip Prince Valiant in our paper, and I think I had Ivanhoe mixed up with that. I wasn’t expecting Robin Hood, Prince John, or Richard the Lion Hearted. The language, too, threw me. Scott made his characters sound like Shakespeare. It’s a book of daring do, heraldry, good versus evil, and the white hats always win. While the future isn’t all rosy, it is for the main characters in the book, as expected. I’m glad I finally got to it.

The newest Dresden book was also finished this month – Turn Coat by Jim Butcher. I’ve already written about it this month. Now, sigh, I have to wait another year for the next installment (I hope I live as long as Butcher does so I can read all of these…)

I probably had the most fun with The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block. The one I liked the least overall was A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz. The one that bothered me the most was Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I was glad to add to my series mysteries with Voices by Arnaldur Indridason, When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh, and Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. The schmaltz award for the month goes to Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (no surprise). To round out the month, I picked up Edgar Allen Poe and lived in his macabre world for a while – which reminded me why I don’t read him very often.

Reading wise it was a good month. We’ll see how July goes…

999 and Alps Vacation Challenge – February Report

 

Promises in Death by J.D. RobbNow I have 14 books read for the 999 challenge. If I stay on this track I’ll finish nicely in December. I’m currently reading the new J.D. Robb that came out this week, Promises in Death, so that will add another one in my 2009 reads.

Actually, 2009 books won’t be hard. I walked into Mysterious Galaxy today to purchase Promises and Among the Mad, the new Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear. While there I found three other books I want/need to buy – Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (2008, not 2009), The Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, and Horizon, the 4th Sharing Knife novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. But I couldn’t afford 5 books at full price, so I only bought the 2 today. I’ll get the others at Mysterious Galaxy later…

The 999 Challenge is on target. I’m not so sure about the Alps vacation target. I only have another 5 weeks and haven’t any clues for Heidelberg, the Alps, or Lucerne. I’ll use Among the Mad for London even if it takes place 75 years ago. I’ll look for translations, if I can, to further both challenges at once. We’ll see…