Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn

This is book six in the Kitty Norville series.

Premise: Kitty is in trouble again. We left her in book five discovering that the Band of Tiamat wasn't going to back down. Joined by her husband, Ben, and the cast of a paranormal investigation television show, Kitty must uncover what the mysterious and fiery menace is that is after her.

I enjoyed this book more than the previous novel. The action seemed more well paced and there were twists and turns that I didn't expect. With every novel, Kitty becomes more of a real person. Vaughn has done a marvelous job fleshing her out. The dominance issues within the pack as well as those in her marriage lend to making Kitty more accessible to readers. The Paranormal PI crew irked me a little. Tina was just too damned convenient and Jules was too wishy-washy. One minute Jules was a skeptic, the next he was completely buying the story. At least, that's how it seemed to me.

I look forward to the next book. Hopefully Cormac will make more of an appearance. I still can't exactly get over the cruel twist that landed Kitty with Ben instead of Cormac.

If you like urban fantasy, werewolves, the supernatural, and/or spunky female main characters, you really ought to give the Kitty books a try.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison

This book was sent to me by the lovely simon_saysuk.

The Thirteen Treasures is about a girl named Tanya and her ability to see faeries. She is forced to stay with her grandmother in a moldering old house surrounded by woods that are rife with faeries and magic. There isn't much I can say about the details without giving too much away.

At first I was disappointed with this book. It sounded so much like a Holly Black (author of Tithe and The Spiderwick Chronicles) ripoff that I wasn't sure I'd be able to read it objectively. And then I began to see hints of Raymond Feist's Faerie Tale. That's when it occurred to me that the realm of Faerie is going to sound similar no matter what book one reads. Once I accepted that I began to enjoy the book for itself. I'm fairly certain that the book is meant for young audiences (young adult, I mean). Near the end there are twists and turns that I didn't see coming and made the overall story much more enjoyable. However, the end seemed rushed, forced, cut off almost. I know there is meant to be a sequel so that is probably the rational behind the abrupt ending. I look forward to reading the next book when it comes out. I'd like to think it will continue with Red rather than Tanya.

When this book comes out in paperback in the United States, I'm going to buy it as a birthday gift for my oldest niece. I think she'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

This is the fifth book in a series.

As I just gushed about this series in a previous post, I will skip the redundancy and get straight to the summary. Eloise is staying at Selwick Hall with Colin for a week. While there she delves deeper into the archives, meets up with some of the locals, and speculates about Colin's job. Meanwhile in 1803, Charlotte Lansdowne is reunited with her distant cousin Robert - the erstwhile Duke of Dovedale. Each seeks to untangle their own mysteries that are ultimately pieces of the same plot.

Let me just say, for being an installment of the Pink Carnation series, I was disappointed that the Pink Carnation never made an appearance. I found the Big Bad to be a bit of a let down. The story leading up to the climax was fun, but the villain himself was unconvincing. This book seemed more interested in relationships than in spies. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the book - as I knew I would. Now I must contrive to wait as patiently as I can for the next book to be published.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig

This is the fourth book in the "Pink" series.

These books are one of my guilty pleasures. They make me grin from ear to ear and laugh out loud. I earn funny looks and tart commentary from my husband when I read a novel by Lauren Willig. And I'm okay with that, because these books are worth it all.

In this book we follow Eloise and Colin as they embark on their first date and encounter a villain from Colin's past. Meanwhile, Mary Allsworthy is set up to be recruited by the Black Tulip as his latest petal. She and Lord Vaughn match wit and will against each other and the notorious spy and overcome a specter from Vaughn's shadowy past as well.

There's a twist at the end that I can honestly tell you I didn't see coming. The commentary at the end of the novel suggests that this installment in the "Pink" series isn't as lighthearted as previous books. I didn't notice so much. I found Willig's characters sassy as ever and could easily place myself in Mary's shoes.

Next up is The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, which I look forward to reading just as soon as my youngest Imp settles down for a nap.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich

While browsing at Borders one day I came across this book and read the first twenty pages or so. I meant to remember it, but I guess it was lost in the labyrinth that is my mind. Many months later I encountered another book by Dietrich that sounded interesting but decided that I should start with this one. So I checked it out from the library and here I am.

Ethan Gage is an American who accompanies Napoleon to Egypt as a specialist. He has a strange medallion that all who see it seem to desire. Along the way he picks up an odd assortment of friends and enemies. In the end he must solve the mystery of the pyramids and save the world.

Overall, this book was excellent. I really enjoyed the story and the math. Specifically, though, I could have done without all the military detail. For a large part of the book I was literally trudging through Napoleon's army praying for the end. There is a sequel to this book and I look forward to reading it - after I've knocked down some more of my to-be-read shelving unit.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Travels of Marco Polo

Dear gods in heaven save me. This book was like having dental surgery preformed for fun. Never before have I dreaded picking up a book to read. This version was edited by Manuel Komroff with illustrations by Witold Gordon. Let me tell you right now that the pictures were the best part. Red, white, and nearly black block prints. Yes, this book was torture.

There were a few chapters that were mildly interesting. I picked this book up because I knew that Marco Polo mentioned The Old Man in the Mountain (of assassin fame). I'm somewhat fascinated by the Crusades and the "Assassins" so I thought I'd give it a spin. The majority of this book is as follows "[region] is under the dominion of the Great Khan. There are many plants and animals. The people are unremarkable." It just got so very old. I can only read about the mundane battles of various Tartars for so many pages before my brain cells begin to die.

I would not recommend this book. To anyone. Ever.

Okay, I'm over-exaggerating. I just found this book remarkably dull. Perhaps another version would have been more enjoyable. Also, who thought to publish a book about someone's travels with no map?