Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Roundup

Well I got festive but not wordy this holiday season cuz I've been busy but I'm never too busy to read. So, on that note... more book fun...

Title: Sugar
Author: Bernice L. McFadden
Publisher: Dutton (2000)

I'm a big McFadden fan and, not surprisingly, this is another great novel. Her characterization and writing are so satisfying and her ability to bring a character right into your heart and mind is amazing. I have no trouble connecting with her characters and feeling something for or about them. Like them or hate them, you can never ignore them. And the ending! Holy damn! I felt wrung dry in the way only a satisfying novel can accomplish. There were some details to the ending that were predictable (and one quite annoying) but it doesn't at all detract from the power of the decisions the characters made.

Favorite line:
Pearl watched him disappear into the crowd and wished that it would swallow and digest him, finally discharging him as the shit she knew he was. 

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Black Hole Sun
Author: David Macinnis Gill
Publisher: HarperCollins (2010)

I picked this one up due to an author I adore mentioning in an interview that she liked it. As I was reading I wanted to call her up and say, "Have you read your books? How can you be familiar with your own books and their superiority and still find this book satisfying?" Ouch! I know, I'm so mean. Anyway, this book definitely didn't do it for me. I liked the fun life on Mars world, the dialogue was pretty snappy, and huge kudos to the author for not being one of those that insists on explaining every tiny detail in minutiae (and with repetition) but I didn't care for the characters (two in particular got the old blood boiling but not in the good way) which rendered the story moot because if I don't care about the characters then I don't care what happens to them.

rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: Make Me Yours
Author: Betina Krahn
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze (2009)

My second attempt at a Harlequin was almost as unsuccessful as my first. I will continue to look elsewhere for my romances.

rating: 2 of 5 stars

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2009)

This is a creative though slightly bland re-invention of the Cinderella story (I know it probably seems weird to use creative and bland in the same sentence but that's truly how I felt at the end). I really liked the world-building and the political/cultural background for the world  but at no point was I really drawn into the story. Ash is a pretty satisfying character to follow and I like her dedication to seeking her own truth and happiness but there wasn't any point at which I was worried about her getting her ending. Lacking in dramatic tension I would say so a book to read more when you don't want your mind stretched. While she didn't live an easy life, as a journey in literature, it all felt too easy. One thing captured so well by the author is the awkward "getting to know you" as you try to date as a young person. Some of the scenes with Ash and the King's Huntress were totally cracking me up in a nostalgic manner as they tried to work out their feelings. I felt this as an adult thinking back on dating in high school but I'd be interested to hear a teen reader's reaction to them. I don't think I even know any teenagers... I will be sure to accost the next one I see out in the wild...

rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Silver Phoenix
Author: Cindy Pon
Publisher: Greenwillow (2009)

This is another one that I liked for the world-building but not as much for the characters and I can't comment on the story because it didn't engage me enough to actually finish the book. I really like historical fiction and so I was quite happy to be reading a book not set in Europe (so so so much historical fiction is in Europe, please bring on new terrain, authors/publishers!) but I just couldn't get into the story or characters. The action wasn't engaging me and the characters were oddly inclined to spill their life stories at the smallest provocation. Example: How are you today? Oh fine, and this is how I have been every previous day of my life... Ok, I exaggerate but that's how it was feeling so I decided to pass on finishing this.

rating: DNF

Title: The Duke's Wager
Author: Edith Layton
Publisher: Signet (1983)

You know, this one really got my brain going and swinging like a ping pong from what I loved to what drove me nuts so I'm gonna save this book for SBD and do an actual review.

rating: stay tuned

On my nightstand:
Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg (joint post coming with lp13)
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Sentry by Robert Crais (lp13 - you rock!!!!)
Death to the BCS by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan

What have you been reading this holiday season?


  1. Another nice wrap-up, Rachel. I love your reasoning for SILVER PHOENIX, btw. I doing a re-read (in audiobook) of the great L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais (in prep for next weekend) and reading (though slowly) EXPIRATION DATE by Duane Swierczynski (who I met last year at the L.A. Times Festival of Books).

    Which brings me to this thought: ever think of coming to L.A. to check out the Festival of Books? This year it's the weekend of April 30 - May 1 and bloggers like Jen Forbus and Pop Culture Nerd gather here. It's a blast. Think about it ;-). Thanks.

  2. lp13 - I don't know Swiercynski, should this be added to my TBR? I also meant to re-read L.A. Requiem for next weekend but still have not managed to get it back from the lendee. I'm hoping to find a copy at the library but with the Sentry coming out soon I expect the backlist will be rented out. We'll see...

    Re book festival, you must have been reading my mind! The hubby and I are huge baseball fans and one of our hobbies is visiting baseball parks (13 down, 17 to go:). We've decided April 2011 is the month of the great SoCal Park Tour and we were just trying to decide which week in April we were going to spend down south. Also, I was going to ask you if any interesting book things were happening in LA in April to help me decide when we should go. Well, your skills continue to amaze in that you were able to answer this before I even asked!!! So now we're planning on the last week in April as our week to go baseballing. We'll hit SD first and then go up to LA to watch Anaheim on Wed, the Dodgers Friday night and then the Book Festival Saturday. Can't imagine the hubby will want to spend a day festing about books but it's a big city so I trust he'll be able to find his own amusement. :) Thanks for the awesomely prescient info! I can't wait to fest it up with other book lovers!