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22nd September 2007
Review: The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
Title: : The Unsung Hero
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Genre: contemporary romance
Synopsis: After a near-fatal head injury, navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying
glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls
for help, the navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate,
last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist
team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit
teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton-the sweet "girl next door" who has grown into a remarkable
woman. The town's infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one
final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance
to save the day . . .
The Good: I'd heard a lot about Suzanne Brockmann's books about navy S.E.A.L's, and I wasn't sure I was going to like the idea of military romance, but I was pleasantly surprised. Brockmann's characterization is wonderful, and she weaves multiple plot threads seamlessly. What I especially liked was that the characters here felt like real people, not just romance novel caricatures. I could relate to them, and I got the sense that Tom and Kelly both had lives and interests and people that they cared about other than each other. They also talked like normal people do, having the same mistakes and miscommunications that we all face in relationships. Nothing here was blown out of proportion, and I felt convinced by the ending. Also, the secondary romances were well-done, and in the case of Tom's niece Mallory and David, a geeky artist who wants her to pose for a graphic novel he's drawing, were even a little more compelling than the primary storyline.
The Bad: I didn't really have all that many quibbles. I thought the end was a tad rushed, and I never really got a sense of urgency from the suspence thread. But that's a minor quibble and a personal preference, mostly. Also, there was a scene in which David tries to get a romance-reading Mallory to try Heinlein, which pulled me out of the story because I was trying to imagine what Heinlein book he would have recced to her. I never did come up with an answer to that which satisfied me.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this and will be reading future Brockmann books.
20th September 2007
You know you totally want to order some of : this
Link is not worksafe.
17th September 2007
: Robert Jordan dies
Well, since I told myself I wouldn't reat WoT until he was done writing it, I guess Mr. Jordan and I weren't meant to be.
Also, I am a horrible person for thinking that it won't be long before this news causes Jordan fans to start wanksploding.
14th September 2007
Review: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward
Title: : Lover Eternal
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: vampire romance
Summary: This second installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood features Rhage, a vampire with movie star good looks and a literal beast inside him, who falls in love with Mary Luce, a woman who is dying of leukemia.
The Good: This book was cruising along happily until about chapter 48 or so, and I was loving it. Rhage is a fun character, the type of romance novel hero who appeals to me. I loved how he managed to not creep me out at all with his interest in Mary, and I was fascinated by the struggles he had to endure with his inner beast. And though I've read reviews where people have complained that Mary's not a strong character, I liked her a lot. I empathized with her, and I thought her reactions were mostly realistic. Also, for the most part, the subplots in this one were juggled nicely. I am especially intrigued by John, a young vampire we get introduced to, and I can't wait to read more about him. Also, Ward succeeded in making me want to read Zsadist's book, although I'm annoyed that she succeeded too well. And in this book, we get into the head of one of her villains, which I liked quite a bit, since there was no redeeming the guy but I could see what had gone wrong with him and I felt sad that he'd ended up in the position he was in.
The Bad: Mostly, like I said, this was very good. Then we got to the end. I hated the end. It resolved the main romance (albeit with the aid of the Scribe Virgin, who I actively hated in this book), but there were a couple of plot threads left dangling, clearly in an attempt to make me pant for the third book. I really didn't like how Ward manipulated me, and thus I've decided this is deserving of a B+ rather than the A I was going to give it.
Also, though Ward does do a little better with her villains, about halfway through the book, I found myself hoping a Lesser would show up named Mr. T. Because that would amuse me.
9th September 2007
Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Title: : Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical romance
Plot: Jessica Trent meets the Marquess of Dain when she's trying to rescue her silly brother from the debts he's gotten himself into. Sparks fly between Jessica and Dain, and, after a series of events, they marry, after which Jessica must try to heal Dain's wounded soul.
Thoughts: The readers over at All About Romance
have rated this book as the 1 best romance of all time, so I was expecting something excellent. And while I didn't find the story perfect, and probably ended up liking it less because of the fact that it's been heavily hyped, I really did enjoy it. Jessica is a sensible, practical woman who doesn't let anyone, most especially Dain, push her around. She's practical and smart, and I loved that about her. Dain, in the meantime, is actually the sensitive, emotional one, and I loved his struggles to come to terms with his past and his feelings for Jessica. The banter between them is sizzling, and the sexual tension is squirm-in-your-chair intense.
My only real nitpick about this book was that I wish Chase had drawn the secondary characters a bit better. They felt a little like members of stock character central casting. My only other gripe was that Jessica says she's discussed sex in rather a lot of detail with her eccentric grandmother. At that point I shook my head and raised my eyebrows, because no, I don't see that. My grandma is the last person I'd ever talk about sex with.
But apart from that, the story is wonderful, and I would probably read more Chase.
31st August 2007
I've been trying to space out my readings of the Vorkosigan series, because I know myself and know that even I become cynical and irritated if I read too many books by the same author in close proximity. (Long time readers of this blog are no doubt gasping in astonishment. Cynical? Me? About books? Parish the thought! :
Anyway, the Vorkosigan books haven't let me down, and they keep getting better and better. At the moment I am less than halfway through Brothers in Arms
, which I will probably finish this weekend despite my best efforts to savor it. I love vulnerable, slightly angsty Miles, wondering if he's really going crazy. And I love his relationship with Elli Quinn. Actually, I just love Miles and his thoughts on women, period.
And speaking of the women in Miles's life, man, do I ever lurve me some Elli Quinn. I love that she is in love with the person she thinks Miles is rather than who he actually is. I also like that she just... randomly fires off rocket launchers when they're necessary. And all of the moments where I laughed out loud so far in the book have been from lines of Elli's. Of course, the part of me that is silly and repressed really wants to know if she will ever find someone as extremely cool as she is with whom to spend her life.
Heh, Elli Quinn, imo, is a good example of a strong female character. She's kick-ass, snarky, and also very feminine and sexy. I totes want to be her when I grow up.
Doubtless, I will have more to say the more I read, so I'll just stop here.
29th August 2007
Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Title: : Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: young adult, paranormal romance
Summary: Bella moves from Phoenix and her flighty mom to Forks, Washington, where her dad's the police chief. There she meets the mysterious and inegmatic Edward Cullen, who turns Bella's life upside down.( Read more... )
My thoughts on the Lol Meme
...Um, I don't have any? I was (still am, actually, if I could remember to post more than once every blue moon) in an RPG with a memer. But mostly I just don't get it. I've left one comment there, basically saying, "Look at me, u guyz! I'm on teh meme!" But it seemed like a huge time suck that I didn't want to deal with. :
Not that anyone cares, but thoughts on the meme really are all over my flist tonight. So I hope I at least passed the essay portion of the exam and can go back to scouring the Internets for hot girl-on-girl pr0n.
Current Mood: Candy-Coated
28th August 2007
Review: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
Title: : Fool Moon
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Summary ganked from Wikipedia: Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead
variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional
wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up
any kind of work — magical or mundane.
But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that
requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise. A brutally mutilated corpse.
Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon.
Take three guesses — and the first two don't count...
The Good:Once I got past the first bit, which was kind of slow, the book picked up and simply never let up until it was done. Butcher also draws wonderfully vivid characters. John Marcone, for example, is fascinating, and even though I regularly want to slap Murphy, I love her, despite her flaws, which especially come through in this book. I also like Butcher's descriptions of the way magic works in his universe. It's all very logical. And there's some nice setup for stuff that will probably come up in future books.
Oh, and I liked that Butcher isn't afraid to kill off characters, and I was fearing for some of my favorites there for a while.
The Bad: It seemed like in the first book, the tone was a bit lighter. This one was pretty grim, and I actually hit a point where I had to stop reading because I couldn't deal with the violence. There were a few moments of relaxation, but it felt like poor Harry got hit with one thing after another with no real room to breathe. I also wish Butcher would have tied up some of the loose ends. I'd have liked to learn more about Tera's backstory, for example. And, as I may have mentioned, it took a bit for this one to get going, which is why it's not quite an A book for me.
Final Thoughts: I am definitely intrigued enough to read the next book in this series. Also, I've been on the Internet too long, because one of the things I thought after finishing this book was, 'Man, if there isn't shipping wank in Dresden Files fandom, why not?'
Anyway, definitely I recommend this one. B+.
Cross-posted from my LJ: :
So I was looking at a list of student clubs at JCCC
and ran across the following:
The Twice Honorable Association of Collegiate Opportunists (T.H.A.C.O.)
The association will create and foster friendships though activities which combine
storytelling, strategy and overcoming intellectual challenges. They will also participate
in recreational games involving skill and imagination designed to broaden mindsets
of members and promote acceptance of diverse peoples and viewpoints.
Advisor: Omar Conrad, ext. 3495
Makes the club sound so... wholesome, and totally not like an excuse to play D&D. Although I wonder if anyone still uses the term Thac0 anymore.
25th August 2007
Review: Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
Title: : Dark Desire
Author: Christine Feehan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Plot summary yoinked from The Barns and Noble website: The stranger silently summons her from across the continents, across the seas. He
whispers of eternal torment, of endless hunger...of dark, dangerous desires. And
somehow American surgeon Shea O'Halloran can feel his anguish, sense his haunting
aloneness, and she aches to heal him, to heal herself. Drawn to the far Carpathian
mountains, Shea finds a ravaged, raging man, a being like no other. And her soul
trembles. For in his burning eyes, his icy heart, she recognizes the beloved stranger
who's already become part of her. This imperious Carpathian male compels Shea to
his side. But is she to be his healer...or his prey? His victim...or his mate? Is
he luring her into madness...or will his dark desire make her whole?
The Good: This one actually started out pretty engagingly. Shea is a brilliant surgeon who's had a pretty shitty existance because her mother was depressed and withdrawn and actually didn't give a shit about her. But during her medical school days one night, she experiences intense pain... which later turns out to have been caused by Jacques, the brother of Mikhail from the previous Carpathian book. Other stuff happens, and Shea ends up setting Jacques free from where he was being held captive, and begins the slow process of healing him physically and mentally.
Had the book continued in that vain, I'd have loved it.;.. Maybe not unreservedly, but still... it would have sufficed. Jacques's high-handed, uber-alpha, male Carpathian behavior didn't bother me very much in this case, because he had been rather brutally tortured and it was natural for him to be slightly insane. I'd have liked for him to have had to struggle more with his rage and his insanity than he in fact did. I also liked some of the sequel bait Feehan brings up--for example, Julian sounds like my kind of guy, all sarcastic smug self-0assurance.
The Bad: Well, there were the villains, who pretty much did everything but twirl their moustaches. And there was a plot twist that any reader with a modicum of intelligence will pick up on years before it is actually introduced. Also, this book contains Gregory. The dark one. The most emo of all Carpathian males. I am sure that ember_myst
will probably want to smack me, but, really , if I were a Carpathian male, the mere thought of Gregory would have my inner beast hurrying to the surface so I could choke a bitch. Also, I should mention that mostly, Feehan sucks at introducing the sequel baits. Mostly, except for Gregory who I loathe and Julian who intrigues me, the rest of the male Carpathians seem to all come from the same mold and the same area in central casting.
Final Thoughts: This story had a lot of potential. Too bad it mostly didn't live up to said potential. C for this one.
Current Mood: *thud*
Current Music: John Denver - Whispering Jessie
24th August 2007
Crossposted to my LJ: :
So I'm riding home from school today with the crotchetty old bus driver I like, as opposed to the bitch who confuses me by stopping before I expect her to, and we have the following conversation.
Him: ""So... What's that thing you're listening to? Is that a GPS thing?"
Me: "No. It's a CD player."
Him: "Hmmm, really?" *Launches into a story about some other blind woman he used to take places.
I am still trying to puzzle out how you get GPS unit out of CD player. But at least I found his befuddlement charming rather than irritating.
Also, in the Amazon reviews for the book I'm reading, I keep reading that people think the author handles her villains particularly well, and that they present a real threat to the protagonists. Mostly I agreed up until the point where one of the villains started maniacally laughing.
Which was yet another moment when I wished I weren't riding a bus and had something to physically throw at a wall.
23rd August 2007
I just remembered...
I have a sockpuppet account on JF. I've only ever made one comment using it, and that was several years ago. IIRC, I was making a joke, nobody'd turned off account creation yet, and, well, I just thought I was being clever. :
I am trying to decide if I should turn the account over to a JF n00b. Or maybe I should just use it to fangirl myself, and then, when questioned about it, tell people a bizarre story about how the sock puppet is really my cousin's nanny.
Naturally, the best way to make this decision is with a poll.Poll #274 Give me advice, internets!
Open to: All
, results viewable to: All
I have a random sockpuppet JF account. What should I do with it?
I posted a huge long rant on my LJ about a girl in my Social Problems class and how much I dislike her. I thought about crossposting, then realized that I'd rather keep the srs bzns to my LJ. But my post basically said, "STFU you stupid entitled h0r." :
In other news, I cannot wait until I finish the books on this MP3 CD that I've been taking with me to class. This was the CD of books I'd started but hadn't finished for one reason or another, with a random Harry Dresden and Miles Vorkosigan novel thrown in so I don't get bored. At the moment, my goal is to finish Christine Feehan's Dark Desire
by the end of the week so that I can move on to something less sucktacular.
Also, I really hope Harry Dresden eventually stops whining. Because in the first five chapters of Fool Moon
he has done a lot of that, and I just don't want Harry to be freaking emo.
Current Mood: Navel-Gazing
21st August 2007
Man, my social work major is totally going to make me difficult to live with if I decide to actually get back into real creative writing again, which I would like to do. Example: I have this strange desire to write feminist urban fantasy. Which could either really kick ass, or possibly it could just be the most didactic thing ever.
19th August 2007
Review: Lady Slings the Booze by Spider Robinson
Title: : Lady Slings the Booze
Author: Spider Robinson
Genre: Science fiction
Summary: Joe Quigley is a detective, although his employer continues to compare him to "that
guy in the Pink Panther movies." Nonetheless, he sends Quigley over to the notorious
interplanetary bordello run by Lady Sally, wife of time-traveling bartender Mike
Callahan. But like Callahan's Place, the staff and clientele of Lady Sally's might
be called on to save the world--with Quigley's help.
The Good: There are a lot of things I like about these books, things I consistently like. Mostly, they consist of the walk-on characters. Dr. Kate, Lady Sally's physician, seems like a nifty lady. And I am always charmed by Ralph, the talking German shepherd. Also, Lady Sally's place and Callahan's would be really nice places to hang out. Robinson's also a decent storyteller, and there were several moments when I held my breath in horror and anticipation, and even this cranky reader was surprised by one of his plkot choices.
The Bad: Well, the first part of the book is a wonderful, rollicking mystery. Then it's like Spider decided, "Eh, I'm tired of this. Let's write something else." And he pulled together the second half, which was just a complete mess. I hated reading his thoughts on nuclear disarmament, I hated the fact that Nikola Tesla, a real historical person, wound up just... randomly showing up in the book, and God, I was tired of Spider's thoughts on sexual politics.
All of that could just be me, though, because I do get disappointed when writers who can turn out wonderful books end up writing complete and utter crap.
Final Thoughts: I might read the next one in this series, because I really do want to know where Robinson thinks he's going, but I'm pretty sure I'm mostly done with the Callahan universe.
17th August 2007
Oh, something else I forgot
: Lady Slings the Booze
by Spider Robinson is now officially worthy of being thrown across the room. Because the plot got around to pacifist terrorists.
I didn't really need Spider Robinson's thoughts on yaoi (by which I mean nuclear disarmament) either.
15th August 2007
Am I the only one who doesn't think : Tod Goldberg
is especially funny? I also wouldn't read his books. Mostly because they sound sort of self-important, not unlike the author. But then, I am discovering that most writer/bloggers annoy the crap out of me, so maybe it's not just Tod.
Anyway, am I a humorless harpy with no taste?
Also, I have a headache and today's BPAL
arrival really sucked hardcore. Which did not help with the headache.
Dear Spider Robinson, :
Why is it that I can get so engrossed in one of your books that I get a little sad inside when the bus comes to a stop and I have to stop reading, yet when I think about what you have actually written, I want to smack you?
My main gripe, aside from the fact that you would love to be in a manwich between Robert Heinlein and John D. MacDonald is that there are very few writers who can pull off subtle references to their previous works without sounding like a wanker. You? Completely fail.
Also, you would be a lot funnier if you didn't try so hard. As it is, most of the time when your characters start trying to be funny, I want to reach through the book and strangle you, just to make my head stop hurting.
I really wish I could hate you, though, dammit. Because then I'd feel less guilty about mocking you.
Still faithfully reading,bardsong
13th August 2007
Getting to know you meme
Because I am a sheep. :
1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current
favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Or your favorite breed of tropical
fish/kind of bug/breed of dog. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. Update your LJ JF with the answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.( The answers so far )
ETA: More answers, now from sashenka( Behind here again )
11th August 2007
Anyone want to create me an insanejournal account so I can join the cool kids? I'll give you virtual cookies. I'd do it myself, but they have the silly spamblocker thing set up and no workaround for those of us who can't see the pretty pretty pictures.
Current Mood: Bitch Slapped
10th August 2007
Review: The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Title: : The Bloody Sun
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Genre: science Fiction
Plot Summary: Jeff Kerwin arrived on Earth at age 12 after spending his childhood in an orphanage
on Darkover. Now he feels the need to return to Darkover to explore his heritage.
My Thoughts: I'd have loved this book unreservedly at fifteen. There's a lot of high drama, character emo, forbidden love, etc. And for the most part, I actually did enjoy this book. The problem was that it was extremely easy to put the book down and forget about it. Which I did. Several times.
Also, as I mentioned earlier
, I hated the romance, which I thought was incredibly forced, not to mention just this side of squicky, and I still think Jeff Kerwin should have wound up with Auster, one of the other major characters, because that would have been a lot more interesting to read about.
That said, the edition of the book I read featured a short story called "To Keep The Oath", which describes the Renunciates, or Free Amazons, and that short story worked well for me on many different levels.
So, because I loved the concept of the Renunciates and loved the story about them, and because I'm feeling generous today, I'll give this book a C+ grade. I'll probably read more Darkover books because Bradley has me intrigued, but I'm definitely going to finish some other stuff first.
Various thoughts on yaoi
I went up to my college campus to learn the route to my classes because, as some of you might not be aware, I am totally blind, and did not want to wander around like an idiot. I am home now, and my feet hurt, and I have a headache. :
Also, I do not think that I will ever be a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books. I am reading The Bloody Sun> because I was told it is a really good starting place, and I just really want to smack the protagonist until he gets over his emo.
( More thoughts behind a spoiler cut )
8th August 2007
Deep thoughts for today
- Third time's the charm on being able to post to multiple journals.
- People should really own their shit. If you say some wanky things, right out in public, deleting them really won't convince people you aren't an asshole. It will instead convince people that you are a coward as well.
- I got an unexpected $30 coming to me because I gave my roommate an extra wireless adapter so she could access the Internets. It turns out that I require an MP3 CD player in order to get the most out of my commuter reading. The fact that I am deeply concerned about what to read on a 45-minute bus ride instead of, say, OMGhowamIgoingtopassthesedamnclasses probably doesn't say very much good about me, but there it is.