Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some Book Commentary

Sorry it's taken so long for me to find something to talk about. It's been crazy with trying to keep up with all the tasks in my life and most of my thoughts, stray or otherwise, have gone into my writing and might have warranted a mention on my Live Journal, which is where I put my writing thoughts.

That said, I've been collecting not so much book reviews as notes about the various books I've been reading. Here there are. Not exhaustive by any means, but all spoiler free as far as I can tell :). I hope you enjoy.

Pretty Woman by Fern Michaels

(Acquired: friend)

This is an uplifting book about changing your life yourself and not depending on anyone else to do it for you. It was a good read.

i see you by Holly Lisle

(Acquired: grocery store)

This book is not a romance in my definition of them particularly, but a great story. I had many of the pieces to the mystery (some even the characters didn't catch though that was plausible), but didn't have the answer. I don't know if it's because my ability to pick up all the clues is failing, or because all the pieces aren't present to help people like me get the answer before everyone else. Though I can usually see the answer, it didn't bug me that I couldn't. The story is enjoyable without the answer, in part because there's more to it than just the mystery, though the fact that Dia's life is on the line is a primary concern.

I can't explain why I would say it isn't a romance without spoilers, but let's just say things happen that I can't get my head around in a romance. However, I do have to say that the label on the spine is Onyx Novel, not Onyx Romance, Romantic Suspense, or whatever. Even the back blurb focuses more on the terror than the couple, another clue :). That said, there is a love story buried in amongst the thriller plot for our enjoyment. And the romance sub-thread has one of the most amusing lines in it for me. If you've been reading along here, you'll already know how I detest the trend toward excitement-based relationships as opposed to those that the characters have to work at. Well, Dia thinks, "She would be able to see if it was him she was in love with, and not just the fact that he was keeping her safe from a nut who was trying to kill her." Yep. That's exactly my problem with romantic suspense. That the character sees the same issue is just precious :).

Anyway, I read this book because I know Holly's writing and enjoy how she creates characters and makes them come to life on the page. Considering how quickly I devoured i see you in my spare moments, many of which were stolen when I had other, "better," things to do, I'd have to say she succeeded :). Oh, and this is the first book ever I've had that came from a supermarket. My husband bought it for me at the local Smiths.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

(Acquired: Bookcrossing)

Does the fact that I'm craving hiking more than ever, that I want to walk the Appalachian Trail myself, offer any clue? This book is a cross between an irreverent look at the hiking culture and a history/environmental lesson. Harsh, no holds barred descriptions of both the people he met and his own reactions are interspersed with descriptions both of the history of the trail (including politics, bureaucracy, and environmental decision making) and of the trail itself. This book reveals just how difficult this trip is and how easy the concept, and the reality, can suck someone in.

Dragon America by Mike Resnick

(Acquired: family)

This is an interesting, enjoyable story, but it also felt a bit episodic. The events were absorbing, as were the characters. However, the two didn't seem to intersect. As a reader, it was more like reading about Paul Bunyan than actually being there. I saw the trouble they were in and could sympathize with it, but didn't feel it. This may be in part because of the novella format where there isn't enough word count to add in all the layers. I've read others of Resnick's books and I don't generally have this issue so I'm guessing this is the format he was given. To my mind, there was easily enough material for a full-fledged novel.

Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy

(Acquired: bookstore)

This book ends in the very worst possible way ;). With a note that I have to wait another year for the next one. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I was stunned with the suck-in, don't-let-go quality of C.E. Murphy's first novel, Urban Shaman. This one is no less true to that feeling. As I read, extremely quickly for me, I was both eager to find out what happened next and hating myself for not slowing down, lingering more, making the time between now and the end farther away. I was surprised at how much of the story the back blurb reveals, but I don't generally read the back so I didn't read it until I'd already gotten past what it talked about. Did I know something wasn't quite right? Well, besides the fact that without a crisis it wouldn't have been much of a novel, yes, the seeds were there. I didn't have all the pieces in front of me by the time of the great reveal, but I had enough and was twitchy about others so that it was satisfying rather than coming out of nowhere. Ultimately, both story and voice work for me. And yes, *grumble, grumble*, I will be waiting however many months are left until the end of the book message is true :).