Sunday, January 31, 2010

January '10 Book Review

Shiver- Maggie Stiefvater- A story about a girl who is in love with a werewolf. I thought it started off really, really well. Then I thought it got a little boring. Then things started to pick up again and then it just kind of…ended. I was left going “Uh? What? You’re ending here? Really?” The continuing trend of uninvolved parenting in young adult novels also shows up here and really is starting to concern me. But all that aside, there is some truly beautiful writing in these pages. There’s a sequel coming out this summer so maybe there will be some answers found there.

Dead Witch Walking- Kim Harrison- The first in her Rachel Morgan series. This was billed (somewhere…again, I can’t recall where I read this) as a witch bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum with a spellbook, and I really, really understand that reference. When I started this book, I wasn’t that into it. I thought it was a little boring but it loosened up and became pretty amusing and enjoyable. I look forward to reading the others in this series.

Hamlet- John Marsden- This was an interested book. It’s a young adult prose version of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet has long been my absolute favorite Shakespeare work so it caught my attention at the library. Some parts were quite excellent. Some parts were, I guess, less so. During the reading, I found myself pondering whether I would teach this book in a school setting, as a way to make this play more accessible to kids. But as someone who successfully taught the full, unabridged play to several groups of adolescent delinquents, I can’t say that I would. I might use parts of it to supplement the reading of the play though. Mardsen uses Horatio and Ophelia in interesting ways that you don’t get by reading just the play. So, overall, interesting, but only so much.

The Queen's Man- Sharon Kay Penman- This is one of those books I like to read at least once a year. I love the main character, Justin de Quincy. He’s a good guy.

Cruel As The Grave- Sharon Kay Penman- You can't possibly be surprised.

Dragon's Lair- Sharon Kay Penman- The third Justin de Quincy novel. I think this may be my favorite of the three, probably because Justin goes to Wales and has adventures with Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, another historical figure I find to be rather awesome.

The Prince of Darkness- Sharon Kay Penman- The fourth and final Justin de Quincy novel. I really do hope Penman gets to write more Justin novels because I really do love to read them.

Heat Wave- Richard Castle (or whatever Ghostwriter did the actual work)- This is a promotional tie in for the show “Castle” which I watch because I Adore Nathan Fillion. The problem was, for me, that it reads like an episode of Castle. Plus, there were a lot of plug for Disney related things and the ME’s name changed from Lauren to Laura on one page part way through and then back again. There were some other errors too. So it wasn’t, by any means, a great book, but at least I don’t feel stupider for having read it. Or maybe I am but I’m too dumb to know better.

Echo In The Bone- Diana Gabaldon- The latest in the Outlander series. This book has left me pissed off. She gets all these people and all these storylines and then she ends it the way she does, with little to no resolution and we’re supposed to just what, exactly? Sit around and wait for the next installment? It sucks! Sucks, sucks, sucks. I said in a review of one of her previous books that everyone should go around singing the “It’s A Small World” song because out of all these countries and time periods and whatever and all these people and everything, she keeps running into the same damn ones. I suspend a lot of disbelief when I read her books but generally there’s some kind of resolution by the end and this time, there was none. None, zip, zero, zilch, and it’s not cool, Diana Gabaldon, not cool at all. People who are reading this book have read the other six books and will read the books to follow. You didn’t have to Not End It the way you did. You could have thrown us a bone and we would have stuck around for the next book. We just would have been less pissy about it. Probably.

The Judas Goat- Robert B. Parker- As you’ve probably already heard, Parker passed away recently. This has spurred me to go back and reread some of my favorite Spenser novels, starting with this one, where Spenser becomes a bounty hunter in Merry Old England. Hawk shows up and the two jetset around Europe, ending up in Montreal. Filled with a lot of classic scenes and one liners.

Looking For Rachel Wallace- Robert B. Parker- This has long been one of my favorites. I absolutely love the scene where Spenser meets Rachel for the first time.

11 Books Down....89 To Go!

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