Sunday, November 06, 2011


As I go through these, it's fun for me to guess at time lines based largely on my handwriting.  My handwriting (as opposed to writing and composition skills) is something that I worked very, very hard on in college and for the few years after.  Now I get complimented on it: a far cry from my teachers humiliating me in class.  I guess they never heard of dysgraphia.  

I also don't think I ever intended anyone to ever read these.

The Coffee Trader by David Liss.  Almost exclusively another plot-driven book.  Fortunately, the plot was pretty good.  It was certainly not the most educational piece of historical fiction I've read, but it managed not to be a complete loss, and I've no reason to believe it was historically inaccurate.  I seem to remember being annoyed by fragments, but have no other complaints.  I generally enjoyed it.

Colonization: Aftershocks by Harry Turtledove.  The bad thing with series is that there is little to say about the latter books.  I felt with this one that things were left too open.  There needs to be more.

Colonization: Down to Earth by Harry Turtledove.  Once you figure out who all the characters are (mostly what the 1st book was for), the story becomes quite intriguing, although I still think there are too many characters to properly keep all of them in mind.

Colonization: Second Contact by Harry Turtledove.  It makes me feel stupid, but I can't figure out if this is the 1st or 2nd book in a series.  If the 1st, there is not enough background-- the reader is confused until at least half way through.  If the 2nd, that's ok except that it relies very heavily on the 1st, although many series do that.
The plot was fine, the characters were fine: not spectacular but acceptable.  The aliens, however, were borrowed almost entirely from other reptilian-alien books.  I felt like they were lifted almost perfectly from Sawyer's Quintaglio Trio.  Which was written first?

Come Back to Me by Josie Litton.  Although I would have to classify it as smut, I would also have to say that it was very good.  An historical fiction romance, this book was heavy on plot and light on indecensies.  Although I gather it is the last in a set, it was still good on its own, able to stand up by itself without its predecessors.  I enjoyed it and will be looking for the author's other books.

The only things I disliked were that the title seemed totally unconnected and that the author tried to use, or at least mix in, older idioms that she doesn't have the most perfect handle on.  And there's a preposition.

Confessions of a Deathmaiden by Ruth Francisco.  I enjoyed this book very much.  I don't know how much of the information is true, but it all seems plausible, and that's the important bit.

The plot was very thick, a real challenge at times, but never muddied by the author.  The characters were likable and real.

Although the main character,a  female, was excellently done, other aspects of the writing made me feel the author was a man.  I found that interesting.

Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Gwynneve of Tarbfhlaith; translator: Kate Horsley.  First, I am enraged at the translator: on the back and inside front cover are the typical quotes, but they claim the book to be Horsley's, while she, in a foreword, gives a Translator's Note.  I will do more research, but I believe she is giving herself too much credit.

However, the book was brilliant, written by a woman watching her world change around her.  She came from a time when women were powerful within their homes and communities, and was killed for being a witch, when all she really was, was proud stubborn, and knowledgeable.

She brought up so many questions about religion, as she moved from druid to nun, that are still relevant.

"I would live in a world full of Christ-like humans, but not one full of Christians, may God forgive me." --pg. 164.

The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes by Marcel Theroux.  I was expecting more from this book, although I don't exactly know why.  This midlifer's voyage of self-discovery had a nice writing style and I enjoyed the author and the story, which had a mystery feel.  The conclusion was both anticipated and a surprise-- I felt it coming because of obscure references made by the author, but how the character found out I have no idea: that part was not illustrated.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire.  I enjoy books loosely based on fairy tales.  This story, though, wasn't as good as many.  It seemed like it took the author several chapters to find his stride, pin down his writing style.

Also, it wasn't challenging in any way.  Based on the writing, I would say the audience would be much younger than what some of the content requires.

The Conqueror's Child by Suzy McKee Charnas.  Plot driven and graphic like the others [in the series], it has the potential to raise social questions, but, due to its quick-read-ableness, those questions don't have a real chance to be grasped by the reader, and they certainly aren't dwelt on by the author.  It's not worth the time.

A Creed for the Third Millennium by Colleen McCullough.  Written in 1985 about 2035 (approx.), this dystopia/futuristic novel had some interesting points and ideas.  It isn't realistic for 30 years from now, but maybe further down the road.

The story was pretty good, but I didn't really like the ending: I thought it was out of character.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber.  It struck me as a demented Jane Eyre in a way.  It was rather sexually explicit, but not overly graphic-- just personal, and honest.  I didn't care for the ending and, although I did not like how one of the characters progressed in the last few chapters, it was a plausible and possible character evolution.

I very strongly disliked how the author introduced the book and how he often addressed the reader.  It bothered me to o end.  I don't know if I would go so far as to call this book good, but it was interesting-- intriguing, even.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi.  I was amazed by this book, the 2003 Newbery award winner.  The language was incredible; I would think it had been written for a higher age group.  It was just so incredible.

The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore.  I had a hard time getting into the book at first because it was so similar to the Lord of the Rings, which was the only real fantasy type book I've read till now.  It has humans and elves and dwarves and hobbits (aka halflings).  At the end, the four of them all go off on a trip, so the next book might be interesting.

The writing style was good; easy to follow but not overly simplistic.  There were several battle scenes, but they weren't too bloody.  The story was good, too, suspenseful enough.  The ending was great-- funny, offering both closure and the option for sequels.

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones.  I like this author's writing style.  It's not really timeless, but it's not dated either.  Her plots are good, but she doesn't give enough back story: the reader feels a little lost.

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris.  I'm getting annoyed with the way the story is going, but that's not a big problem.  I'm also annoyed with the writer's low opinion of me and my memory.  I want to see where the story goes, though, so I'll read the next one.

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris.  It becomes apparent that the author has a low opinion of her readers-- she does not expect the reader to remember what happened in previous chapters, much less previous books.

I'm slightly frustrated with the character interaction between the main two.  But that's just a personal opinion: I have no real basis in writing technique for that.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.  I'm really loving this series.  I think the big draw is that the main character is so regular, but everything else is so fantastic.  There is a lot of sex, but it's not overly specific, so it's not bad.  I even love the writing style.

Deadly Cure by William Cutrer and Sandra Glahn.  A sequel to Lethal Harvest, this book was exquisitely similar in all the conventions and nuances of writing.  The story was based and relied some on the previous book, so it could not be read alone, although the first book is not dependent on this one to finish the story.

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.  I really like this book.  Mostly that's due to the fact that it's juvenile lit.  Juvenile books are great in so many ways.  The stories have to be interesting, never letting up.  They can't be all wordy; the words have to be powerful, each one for itself.  The plot is easy, yet not too predictable, because that would inspire boredom.  And happy endings are the only kind allowed.  It's great.
Everyone should read this book.

The Death Committee by Noah Gordon.  With this book, Gordon pulls away from the historical fiction he had been writing with The Physician, Shaman, and The Last Jew.  Eventually, it comes out that the book is set in the 1960s, although only twice does it mention a year, and one is while giving a personal history of one of the characters (born in 1901). There are references to hippies and to various equal rights movements that give the reader a general sense of time, but, ignoring those, the book could be a picture of the present day.

I thought it was good.  Gordon is making his 2 subject stretch for him.

Deception Point by Dan Brown.  This guy is absolutely amazing.  The amount of information alone is staggering, and then he adds plot, great characters, and believability.  When I grow up, I want to be just like him... He's just so good. I can't get over it, each time I read one of his books, I'm still surprised.

And it's not just plot driven.  That may be the best part.

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris.  Although overall I like the book and the series, there are some specifics I disliked.  As often happens later in a series, someone has gotten lazy-- there were several typos.  Second, sexual and sensual encounters have become more graphic, unnecessarily so.  Finally, part of the story is based on a short story, which is not included at the end of the last book or the beginning of this one.  Although all the necessary details are given, I feel like I'm missing something.  It seems inconsiderate on the part of the writer to not give that part of the story, or maybe it's pride or egotism, to think that readers are so fixated as to check her website for such information and then buy the extra book.  The library, of course, doesn't have it.

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