Wednesday, December 01, 2010


As I was in transit on 1 November and getting into the swing of things at my new job, I never got round to posting the new series of book reviews. So here goes!

Katherine, Anya Seton.

The story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress of John of Gaunt. Seton heavily researched all of her novels before writing and you can clearly see it in her writing. A lot of it, as the introduction says, is Freudian theories applied to their relationship, but for the purposes of the story it works. While I had read Alison Weir's sparkling biography of Swynford previously, I definitely enjoyed the story that Seton told. It fleshed out Katherine in a spectacular way. She's a woman who grows, learns, loves, and lives her life, as best she can in the time period she was born into. Definitely a must read for those who love romantic stories or those who love well written historical fiction.

Silver: My Own Tale As Written By Me With a Goodly Amount of Murder, Edward Chupack.

I was whelmed by this novel. It had such an interesting premise -- it's Long John Silver's rendition of his life, before and after he met Jim Hawkins. There were parts that were vaguely interesting, but I didn't find it as good as the book jacket made it sound.

Storm Front, Jim Butcher.

Book one of the Dresden Files and I was hooked. I was a little annoyed at how Harry had to over explain that he was such a NICE GUY and chivalrous and all that. But it was a cute and enjoyable story with an interesting narrator. So I read the next two books in the series, and accidentally absconded with Candice's copies.

Fool Moon, Jim Butcher.
This was pretty darn good, I kept turning the pages and not sure what was going to happen next except that Harry would get grievously injured. It just ain't right.

Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
The cliffhanger at the end of this book wasn't as intriguing as it should have been, and I saw the major twist coming with the fairy godmother and the vampires at the end. I'll read book four though, as soon as my to-read pile drops

Cleopatra's Daughter, Michelle Moran.

This is the story of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony's children, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. Once I got over the presumptious narrator, who keeps reminding us that she is so smart and all that because she was raised to be a queen at a young age and therefore we can't judge her for being so rational at the age of 13. And the predictable ending of who she ends up with, even if it was historically accurate, was a little over the top. But you know what, I genuinely did end up caring about her, and I set out to read more about Cleopatra Selene. She was an amazing woman in her time, making sure as Queen of Mauretania that her family and culture were not lost.

I think I'd try reading something else of Moran's later on.

Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge, Eleanor Herman.

I read Sex With the Queen and I loved every glorious, gossipy moment of it. So I figured SwK would be just as good, right? Oh it has plenty of gossip, and it's all dirty and devious, like Mme de Montespan getting witches' potions to poison the king with to keep his attention. But I just got so tired of reading about the same four French mistresses. Yes,they were incredibly devious, deadly, and difficult, but I could have used different people. I kept in mind though, Herman wrote this book first. SwtQ came much later and she had access to better material. So if you can only read one, do SwtQ.

Shadow Gate, Kate Elliot.

This world is still as turbulent and crowded with characters. And of course we're introduced to MORE new characters. To be fair, Elliot does kill off a few. And I did enjoy Cornflower's backstory, which was nice although a bit disconcerting. I am a little tired of her making sure that everyone has a TRUE LOVE that they are pursuing or protecting. And I am a little dismayed by what Mai became in the 2nd book. All they keep saying is how good she is at negotiating but we don't see much of it at all in this book. She sits around being rescued by people the entire book. But I look forward to the conclusion.

Heat Wave, Richard Castle.

Anyone who watches the show Castle will enjoy this book. It is a Castle episode in book form! Completely adorable and fluffy and mindless. Just like the show!

A Lion Among Men, Gregory Maguire.

I really didn't care for this book as much as I did Wicked. But it was marginally better than Son of a Witch, even though there was about the same amount of moping. I like where Maguire is headed with this series, but I am not that excited to rush out and get it when it inevitably comes out.

The Electric Church, Jeff Somers.

Set in a post-apocalyptic New York City, this is a dirty, gross, and murderous book. It is dark, gritty, the best type of noir. And yet there's something about this book that I couldn't quite swallow. I don't really know what it was. I think I'll keep reading the series, because seeing Cates become kingpin of NYC is a really intriguing prospect.

Soulless and Changeless, Gail Carriger.

While the author's "about me" irritated me and struck me as pointlessly pretentious, I ignored that and concentrated on the important bits: vampires, werewolves, Victorian London, and steampunk, oh my. These books are delicious, fluffy bits of cute adorable Anglophilia love. And tea. Don't forget Alexia's tea.

Right now I am currently reading the third book in the Parasol Protectorate Series, Blameless.
I started Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and I couldn't get into it. The same for The Queen's Lady, by Barbara Kyle. I'll come back to both when my to-read pile is empty.

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