Chalice by Robin McKinley.
A Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley. Fantasy short story collection.
Covet by J.R. Ward. First in her Fallen Angels series. High quality paranormal smut.
Covet is the first book the J.R.Ward’s new Fallen Angels series. Each novel follows Jim Heron, a man with a mysterious and troubled past who is approached by heavenly agents. They recruit him to be their agent in the final contest between heaven and hell. Seven souls are at stake, each one afflicted with one of the seven deadly sins. In Covet, Vin DiPietro is afflicted with greed. He is a rapacious land developer in the process of buying up and developing pristine tracks of wilderness. Jim must intervene in Vin’s life to save him from damnation.
Jim is opposed by a demon and assisted by two Harley-riding, leather-jacket-wearing fallen angels. He gets additional help from Marie Therese, the romantic heroine. She and Vin share a meaningful look early in the book. and it’s off to the races! Their relationship helps keep the book firmly in the romance vein. We all know how the book is going to end, Vin and Marie Therese get their Happily Ever After. As she is a prostitute, this takes a bit of doing, but what is love without trials and tribulations. The suspense in the book comes on Jim’s side of things. His story and its resolution are far from certain and I will definitely be keeping up with his further adventures.
As this is the first book in the series a fair amount of of the book is concerned with setting up the series. I like the high concept for the novels. Instead of the standard girl meets vampire, vampire gets girl, vampire loses girl, girl gets vampire back and they live sexily ever after plots of her first series the Black Dagger Brotherhood Ward is branching out. I like that she is trying to change up her game and try a different tack. At the same time, the novel is still set in fictional Caldwell, NY, the setting of the the Brotherhood novels. There is significant fan service in the book, with several Brotherhood characters making cameos. As an artist, she is seeking creativity through constraint. I am interested to see how she resolves the series as the purported resolution of the contest that Jim is acting in is the end of humanity’s tenure on the Earth.
P.S. In a lovely and realistic touch, Jim and Marie Therese only ever have safe sex. They are both cognizant of the fact that unprotected sex with someone you’ve known for two days is a bad idea, especially when one of you is a sex worker.
Period of challenge – 11/1/09 – 10/31/10
Number of books to read and review – 52
As of 5/28/10 number of weeks remaining – 22 (~154 days)
Books read – 21
Reviews completed- 13
Number of books remaining to be read- 31 – 1.41 books per week or one book per 4.97 days
Number of reviews remaining to be written and posted – 39 – 1.77 per week or one review per 3.95 days
Any bets? Will I finish? If I do, on what day?
Beloved by Toni Morrison.
Beloved is the story of Sethe, an ex-slave. She has escaped slavery and settled down in her mother in law’s house. The house is haunted and we find over the course of the novel that the poltergeist is the spirit of her daughter Beloved, whom Sethe killed when she though they would be taken back to a life of slavery. Beloved shows up at Sethe’s house one day. The novel is an emotional portrait of Sethe who is scarred by the horrific acts that the deep love for her children drove her to.
I was unimpressed with the book. The prose was almost indecipherable for the first couple of chapters. I could barely make out the plot. I couldn’t tell if Morrison was deliberately trying to confuse the reader or if she just lacked the skill to carry off the writing style she was attempting. After the opening chapters the prose became easier to comprehend but the narrative was completely predictable. The method of Beloved’s death is hinted at for two thirds of the book but I knew immediately what had happened.
My experience of Beloved was tainted by the seminal nature of the book. Before it was published there was no widely available, critically acclaimed novel illustrating the psychological impact of slavery. Because Beloved was so widely acclaimed it has entered the public subconscious. It had nothing new to tell me because its message has so permeated the culture I inhabit. Beloved gets credit for paving the way for serious novels about slavery, for making a huge impact on modern American thought about the experience of slavery for black women. It just doesn’t get credit for being an enjoyable read.
If you call it a saga, I will cut you. Spoilers abound. Continue reading New Moon, Eclipse & Breaking Dawn- Cannonball Read #6, #7 & #9
How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron. A fantastic, smart romance. Lots of super accurate knitting and fiber detail.
Full disclosure. I have been reading Rachael’s blog for several years. This in no way obliges me to like her book. The fact that her book was awesome obliges me to like it.
Shade’s Children by Garth Nix. Sci-fi dystopian young adult thriller.
In Shade’s Children the planet has been taken over by mysterious beings. Every person over the age of 14 at the time of the takeover disappeared and humans are bred, aged 14 years and then become “meat.” The book follows a groups of young rebels who manage to escape captivity and are led by Shade, the last adult human on the planet.
Onward – to spoilers.
The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford. Gleefully sarcastic muckraking expose of the American funeral industrial complex.
I have read books that scared me, made me laugh or made me cry. This is the only book I have ever read that gave me a panic attack.