Monday, July 31, 2017
Penn Cage #2
I tried. I made it 70% of the way through this book before calling it a day. I really wanted to like it. I wasn't counting on another joyful find like the Armand Gamache books, but I was hoping to at least like the guy. Sadly, it didn't happen.
I found this book to be filled with what I have come to understand as white man privilege, I guess. All I know is that I found the tone of the book to be racist, both overtly and subtext as well as misogynistic. For the latter, there is just too much what I might call Marty-Sueism having to do with the man in his 40s being beguiled, seduced, attracted to the sensual, not as innocent as she looks, 17 year old school girl. Poor, helpless men. *eyeroll*
And the portrayal of black people in this book? SO very stereotypical in every way. The only thing we're missing is the wise, loyal black housekeeper who basically brought up the children. But then I checked some info on the first book in the series and it looks like she was murdered then. These are attitudes I would expect to find in a book about the 1950s south and while things maybe haven't changed a lot down there since then - I don't expect the upright hero of the book to have those attitudes.
I just did not like the way this book was making me feel. I found myself making that ... "Huh? What?" face on more than one occasion. It felt ugly.
I hate DNFing a book, it feels like a failure, but I have to remember, it's the book's failure, not mine. I have book 3 in my e-TBR pile, but I don't know if I'll ever get to it.
I am disappointed.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
San Andreas Shifters - Book 1
Make no mistake about this book, it's a romance, a sexy, sex-filled romance pure and simple. Yeah, there are a lot of paranormal/shifter elements, but it's basically the story of a werewolf and a mage who fall for each other and can't keep their hands (and all other body parts) off each other.
This is Gail Carriger, author of The Parasol Protectorate among other things, writing as G.L. Carriger, and it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I was expecting more paranormal/shifter story and less hot and sexytimes in the sheets.
I liked the paranormal/shifter premise of the story and I loved the pack and it's history and I would have loved more of this and a little less of the sexytimes. It was sex all the time. All. The. Time. Okay, maybe not all, but a really good portion. There was a plot in that both MCs had to get their shit together and figure out how to work together as they are 'fated' to be. I will admit to being a little disappointed by that.
There were also times that I found the constant sexual bantering to be a bit much. A bit too frat-boy. Carriger's style is easy to read, but be warned there are a lot of italics. Lot's of inner snide comments. *LOL*
In the end, I enjoyed my read even though I was a bit disappointed when it didn't match up with my expectations. I'll continue with the series, but it won't be an auto-buy for me.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Olympus Bound - Book One
A paranormal mystery/thriller with a dollop of romance, The Immortals was a fun read and a good introduction to the series, I think. Since I was a little girl, elementary school little, I've been fascinated with Greek mythology, so this author and her books were a cool find for me.
We follow the heroine, Selene DaSilva who is, in fact, Artemis, goddess of the hunt, forests, hills, the moon, archery and a ton of other things. It's modern day and the gods of Greek mythology have gone through The Diaspora and are now living as part of human society. Artemis, in her latest guise as Selene, with her faithful hound Hippolyta at her side, is a protector of women, sort of a hit person for abused women.
There's a particularly gruesome murder that Selene stumbles across to start the excitement and that brings her to meet Theo, the professor of mythology who is particularly knowledgeable about his chosen subject.
I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the chase and how Selene came to understand a lot of things about herself and her family. I really liked how Theo grew into the hero of the story and I especially liked hi sense of humour and wry observations. I liked the members of Selene's 'family' that we got to meet - well, most of them. And I liked their present-day premise. I loved Hippo, Selene's wonderful hound (I pictured a huge Irish Wolfhound in my reader's eye) and I loved Theo's friend Gabriella.
Were there things that I could have liked more? Maybe. I'm not a huge paranormal fan though, so the fact that I'm pleased I got Book 2 on sale a couple of weeks ago is HUGE! *LOL* I think The Immortals is a good summer read. :)
Sunday, July 16, 2017
The Bourbon Kings - Book One
Holy potboiler, Batman! The combination of insomnia and a book that was written to be breezed through made this book a quick read. J.R. Ward is known for her Dark Brotherhood books that people have been raving about for years. (I have the first one and yet to read it - but it's in paperback, not ebook, so I'm less inclined to just pick it up.) This book is the first in a family dynasty epic, romance, mystery, soap opera trilogy. Well, unless she decides it needs to go further.
For me, the most interesting character in this saga is the eldest brother, Edward. He's had terrible things happen to him and he's really mostly a shell of a man when we meet him, but I couldn't tear my reading eyes from him. Broken, beaten and more, scarred and ill - the man is a conundrum. :)
The heroine of this tale, Lizzie King, is the head horticulturist at the estate of the uber-wealthy bourbon barons, the Bradfords. And she has history with the youngest son, Lane. I alternated between enjoying her independent self and rolling my eyes at her silliness. I wanted to pinch her, hard, more than once.
Much of the book, the characters, the setting, the feel of the thing is cliché, but it's enjoyable! The writing is okay - Ward writes for the present, lots of pop culture references that will be out of date in another 10 or less years and those inner dialogue asides that almost but not quite break the fourth wall.
I'm going to read the next book, but I will most definitely wait until it goes on sale. I may even check out that Dark Brotherhood book I have up in the bookcase.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache - Book 12
And Louise Penny hits it out of the park once again. I cannot tell you how much I adore her characters and her stories and her insight into the human mind and all the messy emotions that roil within.
Yes, there's a murder mystery in the story, but Gamache stories are SO SO much more than just a murder mystery. It's the motives, the whys, the reasons that people do what they do, are who they are and the choices that we all make.
When I finish one of Louise Penny's books, I always feel so inadequate when writing up my thoughts. All I can say aside from professing my love for the characters old and new, the familiar locations in which the stories are set, the puzzlement of the mystery and how it manages to affect the denizens of Three Pines, and the easy yet deep way the books are written is that I wish there were a ton more to read. This is the 12th book in and I haven't felt once that I was reading a retread of what had come before. Armand et all always have something to teach me. Some surprise, some twist, some truth I hadn't seen.
I think I spent the last 20 or so pages of the book wiping tears away. Rip my heart out, Louise! Rip it right out! *LOL*
I am sad because I have no Gamache books left to read. I'd been hoarding this last one for the longest time. The next one, #13, comes out at the end of August but I find the $16 price tag a bit rich for my budget right now. But as SOON as I can, I'll be adding it to the library, anxious to read of what's next in the lives of my favourite members of the Sureté du Quebec.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
The Draconis Memoria - Book 1
I loved this book! Yes, it seemed to take a while for me to read, I have no idea why, but I absolutely loved it. :)
The Waking Fire is a wonderful mix of dragon fantasy, steampunk, military and adventure and some magic thrown in for good measure. Sounds like quite the jumble, but it works spectacularly well, IMO.
The three main characters, whose POVs we follow throughout the book, are very different - a small-time street criminal, a lady spy and and upright, honourable Navy man - but they all have one thing in common that I'm not sure I can describe well enough. But it's got to do with conscience, honour, selflessness (this is a maybe)... I don't know bit they all have this 'it' factor. And they're all likable while having recognisable flaws, which I find very, very important.
The world that Ryan has created is familiar yet different. There is some incredible world-building here and it's fascinating - even though there were a few parts when I found the descriptive passages a tad tedious. That's probably what kept this from a 5 star read for me.
A word about the dragons. They're different from most of the dragons we read about in fantasy and I feel like we've only scratched the surface in this book one of the series. I don't know how many books it's projected to be, but let me tell you, I can't wait to get my hands on the second book when it gets down to a reasonable price! Definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. :)
Sunday, July 2, 2017
The Band - Book 1
This book was highly recommended throughout the fantasy book blogosphere over the winter - it was published in February - and I think it's the author's first book. Anyway, I quite enjoyed it!
Kings of the Wyld is one one of the new flavours of fantasy, mixing grimdark with humour with epic and of course, magic. It's the tale of a group, a band if you will, of aging warriors/adventurers/mercenaries teaming up together for one last mission. I saw the book described as Lord of the Rings meets Guardians of the Galaxy and you know, that description works!
I actually loved all the characters. The main character is Clay Cooper and I think he really was my favourite. Or maybe it was Ganelon... hell, I really loved them all. Cranky old men whose bones creak and crack, who reminisce about the old days but can still get the job done. The banter and the quips that fly back and forth between them worked very well and brought me to laughter on more than one occasion. The narrative also, at times, would take on a humourous aside that I also appreciated.
Rollicking is a word that's been used to describe Kings of the Wyld and it's a perfect word for it. The tale is a complete one even if it seems to be the first in the series. The story of the band, Saga, has come to an end even though we're going to see familiar characters in other books it seems. And that's okay. It's perfect, as a matter of fact!
A good, fun read!