Sunday, February 3, 2013


Sometimes I run into a wall with my reading. I keep starting books but never finishing them. Nothing holds my attention. When this happens the best cure is to revisit an old favorite. Its like hanging out with your best friend when you're really not in the mood to meet new people. Outlander is the book I revisit the most. The thing I find funny about Outlander is how it birthed a whole genre of crappy romance books behind it, none of them touch at all upon what makes this book so wonderful. They just take the hot Scottish warrior in a kilt trappings and put it on a romance novel plot. At its heart Outlander is an historical novel about the times of the Jacobite Risings in Scotland. It uses time travel as a plot device because when the author, Diana Gabaldon, started writing the book the female lead didn't talk or behave as she would have in that time. To solve the problem she made her more modern which helps give us an entryway to the times. It definitely has romantic elements and tons of hot sex scenes but as they are between a husband and wife that doesn't make it fit the mold of a typical romance either. Its about love, loyalty, politics, survival and family. It fits no genre really but the relationship between Jaime and Claire is the one many of us yearn for, partners who love each other, trust each other and fight to the death (literally) for each other. This is my favorite book and interesting my father's as well although we discovered it completely separately. It's not for everyone. Some romance readers don't like it because its too historical, fantasy readers don't like it because the time travel is just a means to an end not a major plot point and fans of historical novels find the romantic, sexual and fantasy elements of it not to their liking. Those who love it like me, however, adore it and all its sequels. It rises to the level of obsession for many of us. Now if only the author could write faster dammit!

New Year Old Blog

I'm trying to get back into writing. I've missed it greatly in the last few years. I do get a post done on my co-run blog, Borderline Savage on occasion but mostly I don't write much of anything. As part of my goals for the new year I want to start giving myself more venues to write. This way whatever I want to talk about I have a place to do it. This brings us to my old book blog. The idea was to write a bit about each book I read. Reviews I guess but maybe just thoughts or reactions. Nothing formal just whatever I am moved to say about them. It's really just an exercise for me but maybe you'll find out about something you'll enjoy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Blood Books Vol 1 - Blood Price/Blood Trail

I picked up this book because I was enamored of the new Lifetime series, Blood Ties which is based on this series. I figured if I like the series I would love the books. I was right.

Victoria Nelson is a former cop turned PI. She suffers from a degenerative eye disease which is slowly sapping her of sight. She is nearly completely blind at night. It was due to this that she had to leave the force. In the first book, Blood Price, she witnesses a murder, albeit hazily. The victim's girlfriend hires her to prove it was a vampire. Vicky doesn't go in much for the supernatural but she's looking for a chance to prove to her former colleagues that she is still capable of catching the bad guy so she takes the case. As she unravels the mystery, she discovers that it is not a vampire but a demon who committed the crime and in fact has continued taking victims. In fact the only vampire she finds is a very charismatic, charming and handsome one, named Henry Fitzroy. They team up to stop the demon and have some fun along the way.

In the second book Blood Trail. Henry asks for Vicky's help to find out who is trying to decimate a family of werewolves who just happen to be good friends of Henry's. They team up again to stop the murderer while Vicky ponders this new turn her life has taken. The chemistry between her and Henry comes to a boil in this one and secrets are revealed to her former partner and lover Mike Cellucci.

I love these books. They are fun and don't take themselves too seriously. They also eschew much of the superstitions involving vampires and other creatures. For example Henry is a good Catholic and wears a cross. He can also be seen in a mirror. It's an interesting way to ground these creatures of fantasy in a more realistic world. The pairing of the night blind detective and the creature of the night works well. As they each cover their own place in their investigations. I highly recommend them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Before Sunrise by Diana Palmer

Dear god did I feel slimey after I finished this. I had this book on my shelf as a freebie for years. It talked about a murder mystery on a Native American reservation and the young anthropologist who helps the FBI on the case. What I didn't was a Harlequin Romance...blechh.

The story begins with Phoebe graduating from college. Her graduation is attended by a federal prosecutor she became close with previously when she helped him on a case. Jeremiah is older than she, dark, intense and mysterious (of course). Three years down the road we find Phoebe working at a museum. Having sworn off men because of the heartbreak she experienced she lives a quiet life. She receives a call from a man claiming to have found a major anthrolopolgical breakthrough but he can't talk at the moment. He is found dead later. This bring her back in contact with Jeremiah as he comes to investigate. Having joined the FBI at some point in the past 3 years.

The biggest problem I have with romance novels is they can't decide what they want to be. This one has a real plot and a not completely ridiculous mystery but much like a musical or a porn movie everything must stop for the all important love story. There is sex but it's not good. The author does avoid the usual purple prose that is typically in these things (her heaving mounds, his flaming loins etc.) but the dialogue during the sex acts is stilted and odd. I happen to enjoy good erotica but this doesn't even try to get that right. All in all not a good read for me.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Daja's Book - Circle of Magic book 3

This is the third book in the Circle of Magic series. My whole family reads this series. It's a great deal of fun. It's written for the young adult market but it works well as a straight fantasy that adults can enjoy as well.

Daja is one of the four mages who each of the Circle of Magic books are about. Her magical gifts involve metal and flame. She can control both. She is an outcast from her people as she was the only survivor of the boat wreck that killed her entire family. Her tribe, called Traders, believe this means she carries bad luck. While traveling with her friends and teachers she encounters a caravan of Traders. When one of them sees a piece of organic metalwork that Daja has created the Traders have to find a way around her exile to negotiate a purchase with her. This contact reminds Daja of how much she misses her people.

This is a fun series. Quick, light and an easy read. The characters are engaging and their inner turmoil is explored in interesting ways. It's not great literature but it is damn good fantasy. I enjoyed this nearly as much as the first book. I look forward to the fourth.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Sisters Mortland by Sally Beauman

It's taken me awhile to write my review of this book. It's very difficult to categorize or even summarize for that matter. It takes a number of unexpected turns and frankly I wasn't sure I liked it while I was in the middle of it. By the end however it was a very satisfying read.

The Sisters Mortland is actually the title of a painting of three sisters. A painter comes to do their portrait one summer and it there that that story begins. We meet the sisters one by one. There is Julia who is seemingly the stereotypical "pretty one", Finn the "brainy one" and Maisy the "odd one". Maisy is the narrator of the first third of the book but as you get to the next section you find she is not exactly what she seemed to be. The bulk of the story is told by Dan, the Roma boy, who in his way loves them all.

The story is for the most part tragic but it is told well and doesn't get mired in the darkness of it's story. I was put off by some of the intial turns but I couldn't put it down which to me is always the mark of a good book. The author only gives you enough information to keep you moving along. Letting the story unfold slowly. In the end the biggest secret of the book was the least expected and in my opinion the most real. It seemed as if there was some horrible dark thing that would explain all the events leading up to the end but the secret revealed was a very commonplace one. This made a somewhat ethereal story come back down to earth.

I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I'm not much of a Stephen King fan anymore. I loved his early stuff, Carrie, 'Salem's Lot and of course The Stand. The Stand is in fact on my top 10 books of all time. Occasionally however I will still pick up a King book. Even more occasionally he'll still entertain me.

Cell starts the action right away. Our hero Clay just got a great offer from a large comic house to publish his comic. He is ecstatic and can't wait to get back home to Maine to share the news with his son and estranged wife. He decides to stop at a truck for some ice cream and all hell breaks loose. Basically some kind of pulse is sent through all cell phones so anyone who is talking on one immediately becomes a violent savage creature. I'll spare you the gory details but it's pretty nasty. The book then becomes a survival story with Clay picking up traveling buddies as he makes his way home. Even though he has no idea if there is a home to go to.

Initially I was put off by this book. It seemed so much of a Stand retread but the one thing I have always said is that King may not be a great writer but he is a master storyteller. This book proves that. At some point this weekend I realized I didn't want to put it down. I was dying to see what happens next. In true King style there are no real explanations for what happened, only theories bandied about by the survivors. This is not a flaw however, it's frankly farely realistic. In this type of scenerio the chances of ever knowing what caused the change would be slim at best. The ending was left somewhat up in the air but I didn't find it unsatisfying. It just left me to decide how I wanted things to turn out.

All in all a very good read.