Life's hard.

It's even harder when you're stupid.

John Wayne

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich ★★★☆☆

Wicked Business (Lizzy & Diesel, #2)

Evanovich is starting to renew my faith in her!
Fiction – Mystery – Urban Fantasy
299 pages
Publication Date:  January 1st 2012
Lizzy & Diesel #2

The Luxria Stone, believed to contain the power of lust, surfaces with the murder of English professor Gilbert Reedy, and Diesel and Lizzy are hot on its trail.  Racing against Wulf and a new mysterious player to get to the stone first Lizzy and Diesel follow clues from a book of nineteenth-century sonnets in Prof. Reedy’s collection guiding them through historic Boston.  Pilfering churches, historic residences, creating public disturbances and ultimately navigating their way through creepy catacombs Lizzy and Diesel’s chaotic and outlandish journey creates unexpected and high cost results for more than one person.

It was a bit of a slow start and the writing was a little choppy, but this novel was a marked improvement on Wicked Appetite, with a more thought out plot line and better pacing of action and suspense.  My buy in was a lot higher this time, meaning I actually cared somewhat about what happened.  I felt more connected to the characters and found the sequence of events able to hold my attention.  Wulf is starting to become a more fleshed out character and I enjoyed the different dynamic in the group of characters when a new more potent villain was introduced.  Over all I am much happier and the Lizzy & Diesel series has won a sort of reprieve.  With some reservation I plan on reading the next book- with tempered hopes of it improving even more- instead of abandoning the series like I planned if I didn’t see enough progress.

ISBN  0345527771 (ISBN13: 9780345527776)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs ★★★★☆

This book more than kept up its side of the contract.
Fiction – Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
288 pages
Publication Date:  January 1st 2006
Mercy Thompson #1

When the half-starved kid Mercy Thompson was trying to protect ends up on her front porch dead, and her next door neighbor Adam Hauptman, the local werewolf pack’s Alpha, is on the brink of death from the same attack Mercy knows she can no longer stay on the fringe of the supernatural world.  Pulled back in she is forced to return to the werewolf community, that raised her and rejected her, for help opening up old wounds that never healed properly.  

Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1)Okay to start out with the cover is a little ridiculous, but it does serve to grab your attention and as a child of the marketing age I can only fault it so much.  Please do not hold this against Moon Called, try instead to treat it as quirk of the series.

This book was easy to like and I quickly fell into the rhythm of the story from page one.  Briggs unravels this fascinating story at just the right speed to keep me interested, but not overwhelmed with detail and mythology.  I found myself pulled into Mercy’s world without really knowing when I agreed to fully enter it.  I mean I know when you start a book there is almost a contractual agreement between reader and story, but it is really so much easier when I can like something without a huge effort on my part.  The caliber of this story is higher than usual for this genre as well as the main character, Mercy.  Mercy Thompson is independent, intelligent strong, but reasonable, and not perfect.  I like the Tri-Cities as a location out of the norm, and appreciate the Washington State flavor Briggs adds to the story (whoo hoo for the Northwest, holla). 

The plot was fun to follow as well as the emotional journey, with an excellent balance between the two.  The politics between species and even within the hierarchies of the species were interesting and I can’t wait to further understand Mercy’s world.

PS  I have been reading the rest of the series and I have to say I like them more than the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Sure it’s missing the element of horrific fun, but I personally prefer the story construction, mythology and Mercy.  Oh, and don’t worry the parade of ridiculous covers continues.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth ★★★★☆

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

What would your choice be?
Fiction – YA –Dystopia
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
487 pages
Publication Date:  April 28th 2011
Divergent Book #1
Literary awards: ALA Teens' Top Ten Nominee (2012), Children's Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), DABWAHA Romance Tournament for Best Young Adult Romance (2012), Goodreads Choice for Favorite Book of 2011 and for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011)

Beatrice Prior lives in divided society where each faction holds a particular virtue above all others.  Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).   At the age of sixteen each person takes a test and then must decide which faction they wish to join and support.  Torn between her own desires and choosing the faction of her family, she must decide where she belongs and she hopes the test will help her make the decision.  But Beatrice’s results are both unique and deadly beyond her understanding.  With no help from the test, and told to keep the results a secret, she makes a choice that is even surprising to her. 

Renaming herself, Tris, she throws herself wholeheartedly into the competitive initiation trying to live up to the life and future she has chosen.  But Tris’ perfect world is unraveling around her and the conflicts between the factions are intensifying.  Tris’ greatest secret may have the power to save if it doesn’t get her killed first.

Okay I admit I am a writing style snob as any of you can attest to if you’ve read my posts.  I have very definite ideas of what I like and if you gave me a description of writing as straight forward and no frills I would immediately and passionately dislike it until my better sense of fairness caught up with me.  But in Divergent the straight forward style is a virtue.  I immediately took to this book from page one.  The writing was raw and not real big on detail, but the action and emotion was so absorbing I didn’t even notice and had no time to critique the writing with my usual vim and vigor. 

I had this book for about two weeks before I started it.  I was really nervous about reading another depressing dystopia book, but I shouldn’t have been.  Roth was cunning little spider weaving her web around me and reeling me in page by page, development by development.  I became so enthralled with the story as I read I really hated putting it down to go to sleep.  Sleep at that point seemed a waste of time compared to what was happening to Tris.  I fell in love with Tris and connected with her from page one.  Her vulnerability and yearning coupled with her strength was something I could identify with.  I felt like I could really understand her and her motivations.

Veronica Roth is a true talent.  Divergent was polished, deliberate and refined and all the more amazing for being a first book.  Roth has a real understanding of character development, storytelling and creation of a book world.  I see great things in her future and know this will not be the only series she does.  Now all I have to do is track down Insurgent, because my library doesn’t have it!

ISBN 0062024027 (ISBN13: 9780062024022)