Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 52 Book Resolution: a year's reading, part three

A continuation of a year of reading in review. 

24. Anya's Ghost, Vera Borsgol. A great YA graphic novel which deals nicely with both being a teenage girl today and the immigrant experience in a then-and-now sort of way. Anya falls down an abandoned well and meets another girl who fell down the same well ... some eighty years prior.

25. The Demon in Me, Michelle Rowen. Did I even read this book? I have it written down on my list of "books I read" so I must have done so. However I don't recall anything about the novel at this time. Huh.

26. Dark Destiny, Christine Feehan. 2011 brought us the closing of Boarders stores across the country and a great urge for me to spend all the money I carried around in Boarders gift cards. Since this was essentially frivolous, must-spend-now money, I purchased several romance novels that I never would have bought otherwise. I'd heard about Feehan before -- namely that she was a best seller -- so I decided to see what the novels were like. It wasn't until I got home that I realized that this was something like book nine of the series. So I went to the library and tried to read book one, Dark Prince, and I absolutely could not finish it. The damn ditzy heroine doesn't realize that she's essentially been kidnapped and that her "hot vacation fling boyfriend" is manipulating her because he thinks she's dumb, sexy, and utterly incapable of doing anything from walking alone at night to feeding herself, and to this end, he keeps magically making her fall asleep anything she contradicts him. But it's luuuuuuuv. I got disgusted and returned it to the library unfinished. Dark Destiny is a little bit better in the sense that the heroine, Destiny, isn't as cowed or easily manipulated and she'd not immediately secluded from all of her friends and family inside the hero's lair upon first meeting him. Feehan's male characters take "dominating alpha male" to a level that is beyond what I can tolerate.

27. The Bride and the Beast, Tersa Medeiros. The intelligent, overly plump, hardworking if somewhat waspish Gwendolyn is the last virgin of age left in the Highland village of Ballybliss, so when a dragon moves into the old castle, the villagers offer her up as sacrifice -- and aren't the least bit sad to see her go. The dragon, however, doesn't eat her on the spot; he takes her into the castle, locks her in a comfortable tower room and plies her with fine food and as many books as she could possibly crave. This turns into a warm, witty romance that sort of breaks my rule about not liking historical romances.

28. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke. Amazing. The premise (and the ending) was so cool. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and have it turn into any of the melodramatic sci-fi blockbuster movie plots that I'm familiar with, and (blissfully) it never did. The majority of the narrative is precisely described in a manner that is realistically scientific but never dull. And the description was easy to follow -- a real feat when the author is describing reorienting the character's plane of reference in a low- or no-gravity situation. I didn't know if I'd like it -- I'm often leery when approaching things which are considered "canon" or written by the "classic" within any genre -- but I absolutely fell in love with this sci-fi adventure.

29. Accidental Demon Slayer, Angie Fox. There was such great potential here. A demon shows up in Lizzie's toilet bowl on her birthday. Her terrier starts talking. She joins a gang of biker witches against her will/better judgment. The entire novel was fun but not fun enough to get me to read the next book in the series. In premise, tone and set up, it reminded me a lot of a Katie MacAlister novel, but it lacked the storytelling elements that don't just tug on my heartstrings, they wrap themselves around my heartstrings and ensnare my soul. Accordingly, my unensared soul went out and immediately got a Katie MacAlister novel to fill the void.

30. Love in the Time of Dragons, Katie MacAlister. This novel continues on the narrative that threads that started in the Aisling Grey, Guardian series and continued in the Silver Dragon series. Most, if not all, of those series' character make return appearances in this closely tied but separate series that starts to answer the overarching crazy questions of the dragon world: what the hell happened to Baltic and Ysolde? Why'd they die five hundred years ago? Why did the black dragon weyr shatter? And how the hell are they both alive again? Katie MacAlister is an insanely witty writer and has great unique characters that clash brilliantly with each other. And the elements of her narratives, the stories she tells and the way she tells them always manage to hook me. If you find yourself interested in this novel, I highly recommend starting seven books back with the start of the Aisling Grey series,  You Slay Me, because it's a much better way to be introduced to the world.

Highly Recommended