Sunday, July 31, 2005

#49 Full Bloom by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Date Finished: Saturday, July 30, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 stars
I liked this book, though perhaps not quite as much as Full Blast, the 4th book right before this one. Still, a few laugh-out-loud moments and scenes that stay with me for a while and make me chuckle even then is how I determine the mark of a good book, and in that regard, this book certainly did not disappoint. I went through the entire book thinking I knew who the murderer was only to be surprised by a twist ending so I appreciated that.

This book will be starting it's journey as a bookring very shortly... See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more information and reviews.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

#48 Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman

Date Started: Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Date Finished: Tuesday, July 26, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Going in to this book, I was unsure how I'd feel about it. All of the reviews I'd read, and the description itself, kept referring to "The Church" and Christianity stuff. Now, I'm not Christian and never have been, but I know enough about their teachings, and though they've got some good ideas, I am completely at odds with many of their teachings, and some of the things they practice and preach really make me angry, so much so that I tend to avoid books that deal with the subject.

That said, with the exception of the very end of the book, and the fact that many of the characters held various positions in the Church, there really wasn't too much religion in it, which allowed me to enjoy it for what it was.

The book takes place in a universe similar to ours, but different in many ways. Each human, and witches as well, has a personal daemon, an animal of the opposite sex from themselves, who is sort of like their soul, or alter-ago. A human and their daemon cannot be separated from each other by more than a few feet, and to be separated from your daemon can cause certain death. Before they've reached puberty, a child's daemon can change form at will, and will not settle on one particular form until their child has become an adolescent. Lyra's daemon is named Pantalaimon and often takes the form of an ermine, which seems to be his favorite form. When he wishes to appear inconspicuous, he can be a moth, or a mouse, or in a protective mode, even a lion.

Lyra and Pan have spent most of their childhood growing up at Jordon College near London. She's an orphan, or so she's been told that her parents were killed in an accident when she was younger. Though she lives at the college, she's friends with the servant's children, some of the town children, and even children from other colleges. The arrival of the "Gobblers" in town has put fear in the adults and children alike, for the "Gobblers" have been stealing children and bringing them North for secret experiments.

As the story progresses, Lyra discovers some hidden secrets about herself, the Gobblers, and the Northern Lights, and progresses through a number of dangerous adventures on her way to find out what's going on and help to save the children. The ending, though coming to a satisfactory conclusion, is left open to pave the way to the second book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. (I almost gave it an 8 instead of a 7, but the fact that I had to stop and look up some words in the dictionary made me decide to go with the 7.) Plus, at the very end when Lord Asriel and Lyra went into a discussion about "original sin" and quoted a few bible verses, I thought "Oh oh, don't start now!" But it was only in the last 30 pages or so, and it only went on for a few pages and then just became a minor concept again so I was okay with it. However, I'm wondering if leading into the 2nd book, this whole concept of "original sin" (which is one of those things that I have a grudge against) is going to be further explored. I hope not!

(Journal page for this book can be found at

#47 Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews

Date Started: Monday, July 18, 2005
Date Finished: Tuesday, July 19, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 9 stars
I'm so glad I discovered this author. These cozy mysteries are quick reads (I usually get through them in a day or two) with just the right amount of mystery and humor. This is the third book in the Meg Lanslow Mystery series, and though not required that you read them in order, the back stories progress nicer if you do.

In this story, Meg (an ornamental blacksmith), her boyfriend Michael, her brother Rob, and the rest of the extended family and friends are participating in a craft fair/reenactment of the siege of Yorktown, right down to the Colonial dress and all the period pieces. When a murdered entrepreneur, much hated by many of the locals for varying reasons, winds up dead in Meg's booth, her and her friends become the prime suspects by the town's new deputy (NOT a family member unlike most of the other people in town). Meg will stop at nothing to prove the innocence of her and her friends, even if it means stepping on a few toes along the way, including those of the arrogant deputy himself.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes the cozy mystery genre. It's nice light reading, the kind you don't want to put down but doesn't strain your brain with all kinds of police procedurals and stuff. :)

For more reviews and information, refer to the BookCrossing journal page for this book.

#46 Eric (from Rincewind the Wizzard 4-in-1) by Terry Pratchett

Date Started: Friday, July 15, 2005
Date Finished: Monday, July 18, 2005
Another great story from Pratchett, albeit a bit shorter than the others. If anything, it’d qualify more as a short story as I can’t see them really making a book out of something that, at least in hardcover form, was only 93 pages.

#45 Full Blast by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Thursday, July 14, 2005
Date Finished: Friday, July 15, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 8 stars
I liked this one better than the one right before it, Full Speed, perhaps because of the supernatural aspect added by Destiny the Psychic, or maybe because of the talk of aphrodiasiac-laced brownies or sexy lingerie. ;) And a killer that's targeting people responding to the newly added personal ads of Jamie's newspaper. Because of this, Jamie and Max (her silent partner in the paper) find themselves in the middle of the investigation.

I had messaged Faithful-Reader at the beginning of the week for her address, but haven't yet heard back. I plan to wait about a week, in case she's on vacation, and message her again, plus post an ISO message in the forum. If I still haven't heard from her after all that, waiting about 2 weeks, then I'll move on to the next person after her in the list, and send all 3 books together.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

#44 Full Speed by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Date Finished: Thursday, July 14, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 stars
I didn't like this one quite as much as Full Tilt. Like it's predecessor, it was a quick and fun read. The part with the preacher Harlan's sermon seemed to drag on a bit too long. There were a few twists and turns to the mystery, but nothing too exciting. Fortunately, Evanovich's writing can hold even the dullest story together. I liked the dog Fleas, he added a more personal level to the characters. I'm not sure why Jamie is denying and dragging out her attraction to Max though... I mean, get with the program girl! Live for the moment! You've got this gorgeous hunk drooling all over you, and you're dragging your heels because you're wondering if it's the right thing to do?! Whether your feelings for him are just lust?! So what?! This aspect of her character really bugged me, so I was glad to finally see her letting down her resolve in this latest book and stop being such a stick-in-the-mud!

Refer to the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#43 Full Tilt by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Date Finished: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 8 stars
This was a quick but fun read. Billie and Nick are no longer primary characters in these later stories, and they are only referred to briefly, with regards to raising Max from 16 on. This book also contained more of a mystery than Full House, as I believe all of Evanovich's later books do. I believe the next book in the series, Full Speed, picks up where this one leaves off, with Max and Jamie heading to Tennessee to try to find the preacher and get some answers from him about the corruption that was unearthed in Beaumont in Full Tilt.

For more reviews and information, refer to the BookCrossing journal page for this book.

#42 Sourcery (from Rincewind the Wizzard 4-in-1 volume) by Terry Pratchett

Date Started: Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Date Finished: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
I liked this one about as much as I liked the others in the Rincewind sub-series, that is to say, it was pretty good with a few laughs to boot. I like that we're beginning to learn a little more about Rincewind and see a little deeper into his character, and some of the new characters were interesting as well. I hope that Conina appears in later books.

I borrowed this 4-in-1 from the library so there isn't a BookCrossing journal page for it. Instead, see the reviews for Sourcery at for more info about this book. A link to the entire 4-in-1 volume, Rincewind the Wizzard, can be found at the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC).

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

#41 Full House by Janet Evanovich

Date Started: Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Date Finished: Wednesday, July 6, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
This was a really quick read, and a fairly interesting book. I was afraid it'd be all romance with little to no mystery or intrigue, but I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, it can probably only be loosely categorized as a mystery, but probably a cozy mystery.

The main character, Billie, falls for Nick, who's known around town as a sexy womanizer, love 'em and leave 'em type. But in Billie, Nick finds something that he's been missing in his life. This story deals with his struggle as much as hers, in overcoming their hesitancy surrounding their feelings for each other. Nick, because Billie, divorced with 2 children, represents stability and a stark departure from his wild ways. While from Billie's perspective, Nick represents danger, and thinking back to her unfaithful husband, the kind of man who cannot be trusted. The story progresses with both characters working out their feelings toward each other, while in the background, a rash of break-ins and other goings-on are plaguing Billie's neighborhood (which is where the mystery part comes in). The mystery part comes to a head towards the end when the Billie is put in danger by someone she thought she could trust, and of course, Nick arrives to save the day.

In conclusion, I was happy with the way it all turned out, and though not as good as the Stephanie Plum series, I'm interested enough to read the rest of the books in Janet Evanovich's Full series.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more links and information, or if you'd like to request this book from me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

REVIEW: B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton

Date Started: Saturday, July 2, 2005
Date Finished: Monday, July 4, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Somewhat better than the first. I still found the author going into way too much detail on some things, but it didn't seem to aggravate me as much this time, probably because it was more likely things I wanted detail on.

The story was interesting enough to hold my interest, and the murder plot was certainly deceptive enough to keep me guessing through the whole book.

Kinsey Millhome's a tough-as-nails detective, very different from but somewhat reminiscent of the old Anita Blake (before the Ardeur consumed her). Though I was left unsure about this series after the first book, this one has strengthened my decision to want to read all the Kinsey Millhome books. :)

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for additional reviews, links, and information.

View at Amazon

Saturday, July 02, 2005

REVIEW: Red as Blood: Or Tales From the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee

Date Started: Monday, June 6, 2005
Date Finished: Friday, July 1, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

As mentioned, I read these stories in between other books I was reading. I liked some of them better than others. My favorites were the last three: "Wolfland", "Black as Ink", and "Beauty" the best, perhaps as they occurred more in this day and age and I'm not a huge fan of historical stories. And I also thought "The Golden Rope", the one with the Witch and The Prince of Darkness statue, was pretty good too.

I can't say that I could place each of them to a fairy tale myself. The only ones I could do this for were Red as Blood (Snow White), When the Clock Strikes (Cinderella), Wolfland (Little Red Riding Hood), and Beauty (Beauty and the Beast), only 4 of the 9.

Still, I appreciated this book for what it was, and though I didn't like the beginning stories as much, am glad I stuck with it and found the later ones much better.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for additional reviews, links, and information.

View at Amazon

Friday, July 01, 2005

REVIEW: The Light Fantastic (from Rincewind the Wizzard 4-in-1 volume) by Terry Pratchett

Date Started: Saturday, June 25, 2005
Date Finished: Friday, July 1, 2005
My BookCrossing Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I thought Pratchett would've done well to include The Light Fantastic as part of The Colour of Magic instead of as a separate book since it was pretty short and picked up right where The Colour of Magic left off. I read this as part of a 4-in-1 volume entitled Rincewind the Wizzard which I borrowed from the library, and which contains the first 4 books of the the Discworld's Rincewind series: The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, and Eric. (I've still got to read the last two.)

Like I already stated, The Light Fantastic picks up right where The Colour of Magic left off, and completes the tale of Rincewind and Twoflower's travels through the Discworld. A lot of things begun in the first book, and a lot of loose ends, are resolved in this one, and the ending brings the story to a satisfactory close. Following in form to the first book, this one adapts the same Pratchett sense of dry British humour that I enjoyed so much in The Colour of Magic. Overall, an enjoyable read that leaves me looking forward to more of the Discworld.

View The Light Fantastic at Amazon
View Rincewind the Wizzard (compilation) at Amazon