This book is a much smoother read than the previous one I read, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. As in that book, Nora Bonesteel figures prominently....moreThis book is a much smoother read than the previous one I read, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. As in that book, Nora Bonesteel figures prominently. The Appalachias were much less of a character than they were in HBD, though still beautifully described.
I enjoyed being in the same world previously created, and some of the characters in the periphery were recognizable as more major characters from that previous book. (less)
This one was a little tame for me, and in comparison to other books I've read by this author, I was a little puzzled. Turns out it was published in 19...moreThis one was a little tame for me, and in comparison to other books I've read by this author, I was a little puzzled. Turns out it was published in 1992, which then made it all make sense.
I was not comfortable with the chatty first-person dialogue - it seemed overly wordy in some areas, though that could be the character. Some people can just flat talk, can't they? Maybe I won't read any more of these librarian mysteries, if the books are always written first-person. There are plenty enough other books by this author to keep me entertained for a long time to come.
The mystery was resolved in the last few pages in a rather anticlimactic fashion that was a bit disappointing. It did all make sense, though, and it wasn't just abruptly over, so that's a plus.(less)
Deputy US Marshal Juliet Longstreet gets in a jam, and with the help of a "friend" (probably met in a previous book) she comes out on top. Lots of dra...moreDeputy US Marshal Juliet Longstreet gets in a jam, and with the help of a "friend" (probably met in a previous book) she comes out on top. Lots of drama and action, family moments, and a little bit of human romance.
I can nearly always count on Nora Roberts to write a good book, so if I see something that even remotely sounds interesting, I can pick it up without...moreI can nearly always count on Nora Roberts to write a good book, so if I see something that even remotely sounds interesting, I can pick it up without hesitation.
Three Fates is that good, solid book. It has seven or eight main characters, and each is well-written. Of course, the three fates as a collective are a character in and of themselves. Each character, or set of characters, is given an opportunity to be on top so the reader gets to know them.
Because of the number of main characters, and the chance each got to be up front, when I finished the book, I actually felt like it was a bit too short. So much was put into characterizing that the last few chapters of mostly action weren't really enough for me. Some of the personal advances seemed wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. I must note that I enjoyed reading the book, and while I was reading, this too much, too fast didn't feel that way. It's only on reflection afterwards that it seems that way.
I liked the characters (the ones I was supposed to like, anyway), even the peripheral ones. I'd like to read more about the core family characters, whether back in Ireland on their home turf, or on travels related to the job, in the case of Jack and Rebecca. I'd like for Ms. Roberts to find a way to work the cop and the Greek Tycoon into the background of another book or two. The cop might even be able to carry a book on his own (with a female companion, obviously - this is Nora Roberts).
Bottom line - I enjoyed it and it was a good use of my reading time.
I read the hardcover version of this book, and I don't remember where I got it. I do know that I paid for it, so I got nothing out of this except the pleasure of reading a good book. (less)
Judging from the state of the book, I probably got this at a secondhand store or a library discards sale. I didn't get it for free.
Night Play confused...moreJudging from the state of the book, I probably got this at a secondhand store or a library discards sale. I didn't get it for free.
Night Play confused me for about the first 80% of it, but most particularly the first chapter. I'd read the first chapter before, and it was in the middle of a book, not the beginning. I kept reading, knowing that it was a different book, and hoping to get unconfused. Eventually, like in the last couple of chapters, I did finally figure it out.
Eureka! I was reading the series of events from the other brother's point of view. Boy, did I feel dumb when I realized why I was confused.
This book had its fair share of romance and action, but it just wasn't as compelling as I usually find Sherrilyn Kenyon's books to be. The sex was OK, but not the make-ya-squirm good I've come to expect from Ms. Kenyon (In one book, the two main characters don't even have sex until near the end of the book, but the interactions they do have are fine examples of unresolved sexual tension.). The characters were mere shadows of themselves, even the ones I already know from reading other books in the Dark-Hunter universe.
The heroine, Bride, was a solid size 18, with self-esteem issues galore, just as many of us with size dramas are. Vane, the brother in question, was naturally a magnetic, powerful, sexy, hot, etc. magical wolfman, with a tight end and washboard abs and cruise ships full of money. Bride's self-esteem issues were magically borne away on the wind when she realized that Vane wanted her, all of her, as she was, and not some skinny chick who was "more sexy." I know that in the first glows of newfound love, self-esteem issues sometimes seem to disappear, but really, they don't. They just take a back seat. Knowing that your man finds you sexy doesn't mean that you still don't wonder what other people think of you. In Bride's case, she found out exactly what her sister thought of her, for instance.
To be honest, though, I think the book could have been better if size was not an issue in the first place. I know that I despair of ever reading good books written with heroines who are more than a size 14. There are some out there, but they are few and far between. The best ones are written by women who have actually been there and come back from the trip. Queen Latifah, who is a very sexy large woman, probably hasn't always been as comfortable in her skin as she is now, and I bet it wasn't easy to find her true self among the garbage. But I digress. In this case, such an issue was made of Bride's size and her emotional baggage that the "easy fix" was a letdown.
Vane is just too perfect, perhaps more so than other heroes in Ms. Kenyon's book, and maybe because his perfection was described at so much length by Bride herself, in her thoughts and conversations, as comparisons to her own "shortcomings." As the hero of the book, Vane should have been easier to peg, but his characterization is pretty shallow in this book. I actually prefer the Vane I got to know in the book where his brother, Fang, finds his own mate. In this one, so much of his time is spent agonizing over whether or not Bride can understand his world, hiding his magic from her, calling in favors to protect her when she doesn't even know she needs protecting, pretending to be someone else (his wolf persona) so that he can be close to her without scaring her, etc., that I never really got to know HIM at all, just what he can do. He's too perfect for words (ok, weak and unintended pun), and as such, not really appealing to me.
So, though I did enjoy reading how Vane and Bride met, I didn't enjoy it as much as I "should" have enjoyed it, considering Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote it and considering that she's one of my favorite paranormal authors. This could easily have been written into the other book, as an alternating viewpoint kind of thing, though the characterization flaws would have stuck out like a pimple on your nose. (less)
This was one of four or five books that I started the year with, all reading at the same time, in different spots in my home. Once I got past the firs...moreThis was one of four or five books that I started the year with, all reading at the same time, in different spots in my home. Once I got past the first chapter or two, I felt compelled to finish this, to the exclusion of others.
Songmaster is set in a world with Earth, but significantly different from the world we know. Earth is both the armpit of the universe and the home of the Emperor of Everything. What a dichotomy! Earth is a government of continents, not countries, and the US is divided into Western and Eastern America. Some American nameplaces are familiar, and a few references are made to other recognizable places on Earth.
Communication at its best is done by Singers, and Singers are trained in the Songhouse on Tew, which is a planet. People still talk, but Singing communicates at a subconscious or subsonic level and affects people's feelings, attitudes, actions. Frankly, I'd hate to live in a world where I could not sing (I CAN sing, but you really don't want to have to listen to it), even to myself. In this world, only Singers can sing (unless you are very small and don't know better), and you can only become a Singer by being raised in the Songhouse.
OK, enough about that.
The book follows main character Ansett, a supremely gifted Singer, from his beginning as he is separated from his mother, to his death, and slightly beyond, in vignettes, some longer, some shorter. Details are never glossed over, but neither are unimportant things included. I don't need to know the minutiae of his life, endlessly recycled, to know that three years have passed. You understand?
At times I found myself identifying with Ansett. He was by turns pampered and abused, praised and vilified. I was able to get into his skin, so to speak, and memories would scamper across my mind, much too quickly to be conscious, but passing through and leaving food for contemplation. Reading this was similar to reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein many years ago. I find myself mentally chewing on something days after reading, and learning things about myself I did not know.
Orson Scott Card is famous for his Ender books in particular. I've read Ender's Game, which left me glad I'd read it, though I was confused throughout. I've tried reading other Orson Scott Card books and been unable to get into them. Without a doubt, he has a way with words, and sometimes, my brain is just not ready for that train yet.
If you've liked other Orson Scott Card books, I recommend this one without reservation. If you've never tried an Orson Scott Card book, this might be a good one to start with.
P.S. Others have tagged this gay fantasy or gay romance, and though it does exist in this book, it's mentioned in passing, in a chapter or two, definitely not part of the main plot. If you're not into that, this shouldn't discourage you from reading this book, and if you are, just remember, it's a very small part of Ansett's life. Personally, I loved that it was so casually a part of the background, and not overthought. (less)
I count on Maggie Shayne to give me a thriller with hot sex scenes thrown in. Some of the book was a bit cliched, and I still enjoyed reading it.
Dawn...moreI count on Maggie Shayne to give me a thriller with hot sex scenes thrown in. Some of the book was a bit cliched, and I still enjoyed reading it.
Dawn is a specialty mechanic in California. Bryan is her former high school sweetheart back home in Vermont.
Off-duty cop Bryan finds a dead body in his bed - apparently killed by a copycat of the Shadow Falls Strangler, said Strangler having recently died in prison.
Dawn's mom, now married to Bryan's dad, calls Dawn to come home for moral support. She hems and she haws, but eventually she returns home, as we know she must, because Bryan is a primary suspect.
Bryan and Dawn's reunion is by turns tense and easy, as they fall into the old habits of friendship. Over the course of the murder investigation, Bryan and Dawn remember why they were in love, confront relationship ghosts and go on the lam together when the Strangler strikes again.
They run their own investigation while they're on the run, thanks to the original police reports on the Strangler, which Bryan happened to have in his garage before the copycat struck.
And so, thrilling action ensues and some romance is to be had, old friends are rediscovered and new friends are found in unlikely places.
What I didn't like: I met the killer in the first few pages of the book, and I knew who he was the minute he stepped onstage. When I turned out to be right, I was deeply disappointed, because this sort of foreshadowing, for lack of a better word, falls short of Shayne's best. I knew what the "witness" twist was very shortly after said witness was first discussed when reading a police report. The sex scenes were tame in comparison to what I know Ms. Shayne can write.
What I did like: The friendship of Dawn and Bryan was fairly realistic. It moved tensely from the first re-meeting, when both parties remembered their mutual attraction, to the culmination of their story, with a supercorny but appropriate to the relationship resolution. Shayne avoided the too-easy love at second sight immediate rebonding that some storytellers insist on using.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read. It wasn't the best of Maggie Shayne's books, and it definitely was not even close to being among the worst books I've read. (less)
J.D. Robb's Possession in Death - Eve finds herself compelled more than is usual to stand for the dead.
I LOVE Nora Roberts' alter-pen-ego J.D. Robb an...moreJ.D. Robb's Possession in Death - Eve finds herself compelled more than is usual to stand for the dead.
I LOVE Nora Roberts' alter-pen-ego J.D. Robb and her In Death books. I love the near-future she's created, I love the regular characters, many of whom make an appearance in this short. I love the relationships these characters have created, which evolve over time, ebbing and flowing with the vagaries of life in the 2050s and 2060s. I love that she just pitches right in to the story without worrying about explaining every single thing about the Eve-verse. A frequent visitor to the 2060s will note a few nods to long-time readers. A first-time visitor won't be put off by inside jokes she doesn't get. Possession in Death is a perfectly-sized bite of Eve Dallas' universe. And that's all I'm gonna say.
Mary Blayney's The Other Side of the Coin - that sparkly little coin with a mind of its own weaves a little more magic into some mischief. An earl and his countess get to know each other (and each other's friends) a whole lot better than they imagined was possible.
This is a funny and intriguing look at life in another century, and the relationships between husbands and wives.
Patricia Gaffney's The Dancing Ghost - a ghost draws a very early paranormal investigator and a forward-thinking woman into a partnership to prevent a house from selling.
This particular story failed to capture my attention. It's the longest of the five stories in this collection, and the two main characters just never gelled for me. They seemed vaguely out of character, not comfortable in their own skins. I just can't explain it better than that.
Ruth Ryan Langan's Almost Heaven - a couple watch their son and daughter cope with the aftermath of the parents' unexpected death.
Almost Heaven was a short and sweet glimpse into the stopoff between dying and going into the light and the desires of good parents to see their offspring happy. Ted and Vanessa devise a plan to find the right Mr Right for their daughter, who's already engaged to another man. It was the tiniest bit convenient how the right ghosts kept showing up to help them at the right moment, but cute and enjoyable, nonetheless.
Mary Kay McComas' Never Too Late to Love - a grown woman with lots of better things to do has to visit her deceased mother's last home herself to find out why no one can clean it out.
M.J., who uses those initials so no one, but no one, finds out her given name, is extremely put out to have to make the trip from Alexandria to Loudon County to unlock the house her mother died in. How hard can it be to get a few things out for shipping, give away the rest and demolish the eyesore? She gets into the house, only to find that the house has its own ideas about what's going to happen to it.
This is a funny and touching little romp with the demons of MJ's relationship with her mother, and her memories of her mother's sisters. Along the way, she meets a little boy who gets really put out when his father won't let him go to the house next door to visit the lady who bakes apple pies. She thereby meets little boy's father, who doesn't pay any attention to MJ's bitchy attitude. The ending is sweet, not a bit sappy, and leaves room for the imagination to take the story farther (or for the author to do so), and is true to the personalities of both people.
Stories ranged from about 70 pages to just at 100 pages, so it was easy to put the book down to do something else that needed to be done without stopping in the middle of a good read. That's one of the things I love about these story collections. Another is that while I get a taste of familiar universes (I almost always get a book with an In Death story), there's nothing plot-impacting about them. I can miss them if I don't find them without fearing I'm missing a birth or death or planet exploding. When I do find them, I can place them anywhere in the universe, no matter what year is mentioned.
This book was a gift from my Amazon wishlist. (less)