Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Year in Books



Worth Mah Valuable Time
Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire (F)--The Wicked Witch's side of the story. Prickly and peculiar, Elphaba is a victim of good intentions gone bad.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Men I've Dated, by Shane Bolks (Chick lit)--Contrived and fluffy, and somehow still fun. Star Wars-loving fan girl gets a second chance with the guy she lusted after in high school.

The Unhandsome Prince, by John Moore (F)--Girl kisses a lot of frogs; finds her prince; is disappointed. He's not too thrilled, either.

Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong (F)--After the painful Dime Store Magic, Armstrong and protagonist Page Winterbourne redeem themselves with an action-packed contemporary fantasy.

Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise (R)--Nothing new here; plump girl gets the hunk. But Cruise knows how to build sexual tension without resorting to the usual formulaic, cloying romance plots.

Gil's All Fright Diner, by A. Lee Martinez (F)--Zombie cows. Uh-huh. Zombie cows, you betcha.

The Silver Metal Lover
, by Tanith Lee (SF/R)--A love story set in a futuristic society inhabited by uber-rich, uber-snotty characters. Strong characterization and character development make for a satisfying story.

Iron Council
by China Mielville (F/Steampunk)--His best so far. All the usual elements--The ReMade, Cactus men, etc.--are there, as well as many other fantastic beings. This time, however, I almost liked the protagonists.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (F)--Not Rowling's strongest book; lacks some of the joie de vivre of the early books; time well spent, nonetheless.

The Silver Spoon, by Stacey Klemstein (SF/R)--Fast-paced romantic SF with shades of the old television series "V." Except the aliens aren't actually creepy lizards underneath.

The Carnel Prince, by Greg Keyes (F)--Epic fantasy without the snore and twice the resolution of Goodkind, Jordan, et. al.

Waterborne, by Greg Keyes (F)--Young man from a small village goes on a big adventure. Yeah, it's formulaic, so what? Keyes puts his anthropology background to use and builds a complex world.

Dramacon, by Svetlana Chmakova (Graphic Novel/R)--Girly-girl romance that actually worked for me. Maybe it was the format, but I found it sweet but not cloying and filled with grownup humor.

I Dunno, Good, Bad, Both?

The Good House, by Tananarive Due (H)--Lovely writing and a strong start. Hopelessly repetitious and marred by a Happily Ever After Ending. Hello, I thought this was "horror?"

Old Twentieth, by Joe Haldeman (SF)--Begins with three chapters of exposition, ends with a variation on "It was all a dream." Ugh. But author has a great voice and his vision of the future is fascinating.

Great Authors, Mediocre Books

Dime Store Magic, by Kelley Armstrong (F)--Protagonist Page Winterbourne whines and prostrates herself to a herd of selfish old biddies, her coven, in this beat-head-against-a-wall frustrating book.

Eleven on Top, by Janet Evanovich (M)--A promising new spin on the old formula--Stephanie gets a real job--never goes anywhere because she doesn't really try.

The Good, The Bad and The Undead, by Kim Harrison (F)--Still the cool premise (a tomato retrovirus has decimated much of the human population, opening a niche for paranormal critters), and still with the cute sidekick (Jinks, the pixie), and still desperately seeking some editing.

Dead to The World by Charlaine Harris (F)--In which Harris commits the series author sin of "pulling out every character from previous books," adding a few new ones, and omitting a significant plot. Zzzzz.

Pomp and Circumstance and Snores
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova (H/Lit)--Dracula defanged

Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton (F)--Dragons with hats. Tries to make social commentary, but fails. Read Iron Council or Wicked (above) instead.

Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean (F)--Pretentious, odious protagonist; a fairy tale devoid of fairies. "Hate" is not a strong enough word for how I felt about this book.

Mammoth, by John Varley (SF)--Award winning author writes "Free Willy" with mammoths. "Show don't tell" isn't a guiding principle in this book. Trite, contrivance-heavy plot with cardboard characters.

You Give Love a Bad Name

Night Embrace, by Sherrilyn Kenyon--Retarded heroine who is over-fond of the word "humungous." Hero and heroine are fucking like bunnies by page ten; no sexual tension; rambling plot which is primarily a vehicle for characters and plots in future novels.

Love Bites, by Lynsay Sands--A really neat premise: vampires are from the lost world of Atlantis and are sustained by nano-technology in their blood. Unfortunately, the heroine, who should be smart, she's a pathologist, is a moron; plot is devoid of urgency and heavy on moonlight strolls by the beach.

A Girl's Guide to Vampires, by Katie McAlister--Utterly forgettable. Really, I forget. Idiotic heroine and "kill her now" annoying sidekick travel to Eastern Europe and fuck vampires...or not. Zzzz.

Nerd Gone Wild, by Vicki Lewis Thompson--Cute at times, but never bothers to give the H/H any real obstacles to their relationship. Ultimately boring.

Undead and Unwed, by MaryJanice Davison--Technically one of the best of the lot, probably because it really isn't a happily ever after romance. But plagued by schoolyard humor that relies on reusing the same gag over and over.

Mission: Irresistible, by Lori Wilde--Has a real plot but filled with too many "so obvious can see it coming from space" contrivances. Heroine vacillates between being a functional adult and "Needs supervision."

That's all folks. Read any good books lately?

P.K.

 

Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005