Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wrapping it Up for Christmas

As I was so bad about getting reviews written, it's a little tough to say just how many books I've read by checking the posts here, so I have to rely on my Goodreads account, which says it was 83, quite a bit off my peak numbers, but apparently this may be the "new normal".

The awards:

Best new (to me) author - David B. Coe's Justin Fearsson series
Best Fantasy - Son of the Black Sword by Correia
Best Urban Fantasy - Monster Hunter: Grunge by Ringo and Correia
Best Science Fiction - Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Best Mystery - Commissioner Brunetti stories by Donna Leon (also a new author for me)
Best non-Fiction - Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer

Oddly, I seem to have slipped away from reading science fiction - there were only a few novels of that genre in my pile this year. I need to do better on that, but so many of the greats have passed on, leaving no serious contenders, and most of the new authors have gone political, instead of focusing on telling a good story.

My New Years' resolution will be to write reviews more consistently. As long as RL cooperates...

Happy 2017!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

More vignettes

Explosive Eighteen, by Evanovich, is actually one of the least explosive novels in the series, aside from Lula and Stephanie setting off a warehouse fire with a grenade launcher. Stephanie continues to date both Morelli and Ranger, with predictable fireworks on that front. She shows a bit more mettle here than in most stories, managing to fight off a stalker several times on her own. Another bit of mind candy for these cold winter evenings.

Crimson Death, most recent in the Anita Blake novels (though it took me a long time to get it from the hold list at the library, so for all I know there may be another one written by now), actually manages to get nearly halfway through its 700 pages before the first graphic sex scene, so that was refreshing. What was not refreshing was the relationship discussions that have now replaced bloody action sequences. Anita gets recruited to solve a vampire problem in Ireland, helping out her old friend, Edward, and there really isn't any violence to speak of until after they arrive there. I think the best part of the book is actually the last 100 pages. Anita's powers continue to grow, and I think she and Jean Claude are finally going to get very political. I can't recall if she's used the powers she gained back in Obsidian Butterfly before, but they came into play here, which was pretty cool, and she seems to be slowly learning to deal with what she gained from the Mother of All Darkness bit by bit. Also some new powers gained by her secondary triumvirate with Damian and Nathaniel. The boys are growing up at last.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Time flies

And another month goes by of crazy times.

Read the latest by Bujold, Penric's Mission, which is fun, but too short, and which introduces a love interest into Penric's saga.

More Stephanie Plum novels for light reading, always reliable for a chuckle or two.

Tried Murder in the Place of Anubis, by Linda S. Robinson , as recommended to me by a friend, but found it not all that interesting after all, I'm afraid.

Finished Magic Binds, by Ilona Andrews, which was very engrossing, and kept me up long past my bedtime. It got mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I found it to be one of the better ones in the Kate Daniels series.

Read A Curse on the Land, by Faith Hunter, sequel to Blood of the Earth. Interesting buildup to a rather disappointing finale. Will still read the next book in this series - Hunter's work does have its peaks and valleys.

Created to be God's Friend, by Henry T. Blackaby, was an interesting take on the life of the patriarch Abraham. Gives one hope that we can be used of God despite, or perhaps because of, our faults and failings. I had read his study, Experiencing God, some time ago and found it insightful, so was happy to pick this book up at a garage sale.

One of my finds during my travels had to be read simply because I'd never read anything by the legendary musician, and A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet was reasonably amusing.

Enjoyed a new iteration of Toby Daye, in Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire. A bit of a locked room mystery, solved in only the way that Sir Daye can.

I think I got The Red Queen by Jeb Kinnison recommended to me at According to Hoyt. It may be Kinnison's first novel, and it's a pretty decent read. If he continues to improve his writing as the series moves along, it will be well worth the money. This is what I would consider a "near future" novel, set in a very plausible future when political correctness and progressive policies have gotten a touch out of control, especially on college campuses. A new take on time/dimensional travel, vaguely reminiscent of Tunnel in the Sky, by Heinlein.

That's all I can remember reading in the last several weeks, though there might be more.

Sorry for no in-depth reviewage.