Monday, November 21, 2005

Book 79: Somewhere in Time

TITLE: Somewhere in Time
AUTHOR: Merline Lovelace
STARTED: November 19, 2005
FINISHED: November 20, 2005
PAGES: 248
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Captain Aurora Durant understood that flying was a dangerous occupation.

SUMMARY: [From] Air force pilot Aurora Durant was lucky to be alive. It hadn't been easy to bring her jet down in the bizarre windstorm, but the savvy captain had managed. Now she had to figure out where she'd landed - and when.

Lucius Antonius, senior centurion of the Roman Empire, couldn't believe his incredible fortune. A beautiful woman had literally dropped out of the sky. But before Lucius could claim the willful, impertinent creature, he had to tame her.

Soon Aurora discovered the true test of her spirit wasn't learning to live in a time two thousand years in the past, but resisting the powerful allure of an ancient warrior. Her agenda could only be returning to her own time, and falling for Lucius could make that mission impossible to accomplish.

REASON FOR READING: I like things set in ancient times.

THOUGHTS: This book was so good until the end. Then it went all cliche on me. However, it was quite the welcome distraction from studying. It got me through four years worth of politics classes. I wish the book had been longer and the plot fleshed out. The basic characters and story were great but they needed more depth.

MISCELLANEOUS: Short man skirt... indeed.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: The Duke by Gaelen Foley
RN: Something that will get me through finals week.

Book 78: Rebel Angels

TITLE: Rebel Angels
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
STARTED: November 7, 2005
FINISHED: November 19, 2005
PAGES: 548
GENRE: Fantasy

FIRST SENTENCE: Herein lies the faithful and true account of my last sixty days, by Kartik, brother of Amar, loyal son of the Rakshana, and of the strange visitation I received that has left me wary on this cold Enlish night.

SUMMARY: [From] Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma's visions intensify - visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain.

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls' great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms - or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma's willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother's greatest friend - and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

REASON FOR READING: Rose had it and I wanted it.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book was much better than the first and I enjoyed A Great and Terrible Beauty quite a bit. I thought the characters, plot, and world were much more developed. The extra fleshing out added to the depth of the story and, thus, increased my enjoyment. I actually felt emotionally attached to this story. Gemma and Kartik are great characters. Also, learning the back stories of some of the supporting characters has only added to the book.

I am actively looking forward to the next in the series.

MISCELLANEOUS: Now I'll have to buy my own copy.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): It belongs to Rose's sister...
RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

CR: Somewhere in Time by Merline Lovelace
RN: The Duke by Gaelen Foley

Book 77: Grendel

TITLE: Grendel
AUTHOR: John Gardner
FINISHED: November 9, 2005
PAGES: 174
GENRE: Literature

FIRST SENTENCE: The old ram stands looking down over rockslides, stupidly triumphant.

SUMMARY: [From] The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic "Beowulf," tells his side of the story.

REASON FOR READING: Assigned in ENG 205: The Literature of Fantasy

THOUGHTS: The story was fun and more enjoyable than "Beowulf" but I did not love the way it was written. The writing was too stream of consciousness and scatterbrained for my taste. I felt lost and confused more than once. However, Gardner made me like the characters of "Beowulf" a lot more in this story. I have not idea how that happened but, for some reason, they seemed more alive and real.

MISCELLANEOUS: Oh the analysis I've done...

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Sell back.
RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
RN: Somewhere in Time by Merline Lovelace

Book 76: Sweet Release

TITLE: Sweet Release
AUTHOR: Pamela Clare
STARTED: November 4, 2005
FINISHED: November 7, 2005
PAGES: 374
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Alec Kenleigh tossed back the last of his brandy and savored its heat as it scorched a path to his stomach.

SUMMARY: [From] Though Cassie hated the slave trade, her Virginia plantation demanded the labor, so for five pounds in cash, the convict was hers. Little did she know that Cole Braden had been beaten, abducted and sent to the American colonies as an indentured servant. He must prove his true identity to win his freedom and earn her love.

REASON FOR READING: It came in PBS and I love this author.

THOUGHTS: I don't know what it is about Clare's writing, but I just can't book her books down. Aside from this novel, I've read to others from her and loved them both. This story and the characters were just addictive. She can take a cliched plot and add twists to it that just reinvent the story. It also helps that Clare adds in details most authors wouldn't think about it.

She presents a cliched scene and then enhances it with description. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that had nothing to do with the romance. I love how she shows the characters under "normal" conditions.

MISCELLANEOUS: Believe it or not, but I just may be able to use this book for a paper next semester. I rule.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Keep (at least for the time being)
RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: Grendel by John Gardner
RN: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Book 75: The Elements of Dramatism

TITLE: The Elements of Dramatism
AUTHOR: David Blakesley
STARTED: October 27, 2005
FINISHED: November 6, 2005
PAGES: 212
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: I studied physics, astronomy, and mathematics as an undergraduate student - not ver well, I admit.

SUMMARY: [From] The Elements of Dramatism is the first pragmatic introduction to the work of Kenneth Burke for those interested in communication and language. This brief paperback focuses on the analytical methods Burke coined as dramatism, which has exerted an enormous influence for many years on people interested in the dynamics of human communication and symbol-use in many areas of study, particularly composition and speech communication. Each chapter includes discussions of key concepts in the context of dramatism and rhetoric, extended applications of these concepts to a variety of rhetorical problems and forms (including literature, photography, and film), and clear guidelines for applying these strategies. Longer applications and illustrations of key concepts are accompanied by readings that elaborate them or serve as sources of analysis. The book makes available some of Burke's most important and accessible discussions and applications of dramatism. For those interested in communication and language

REASON FOR READING: Assigned in MDIA 530: The Rhetoric of Propaganda

THOUGHTS: Blah. I struggled to keep my eyes open while reading this one. The only parts I found intriguing were when the author puts Burke's thoughts to use. I could understand and enjoy the book when the information was made relevant to a specific case. Aside for that, this was a dull read.

MISCELLANEOUS: My professor turned this into a powerpoint with mixed results.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Selling back.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: Sweet Release by Pamela Clare
RN: Grendel by John Gardner

Book 74: A Kiss of Shadows

TITLE: A Kiss of Shadows
AUTHOR: Laurell K. Hamilton
STARTED: October 27, 2005
FINISHED: November 3, 2005
PAGES: 468
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Twenty-three stories up and all I could see out the windows was grey smog.

SUMMARY: [From] Here, the world is populated with various magical faerie races along with humans. The most supreme of the fey are the immortal sidhe, so beautiful and powerful they were once worshiped as gods. The fey are not only lusty but incredibly accomplished lovers; those of the royal sidhe bloodline are literally addictively sexy. Full-blooded fey are, for the most part, intolerant of cities, metal and technology. They seldom live for long among humans. Mixed-blood Princess Meredith NicEssus, however, has fled the faerie world to pass for three years as Merry Gentry, a human with some fey blood who works in Los Angeles with a detective agency that specializes in supernatural problems and magical solutions. Suddenly outed as the missing princess and fearing that her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, will kill her, she makes a desperate run aided by her detective pals. The queen does want her, but not in the way Merry expects. Ultimately, Meredith must fulfill the queen's designs for the future of her court, even if it means having to bed the most beautiful studs in the universe. Through constant danger and adventure, Meredith finds herself in a variety of sexual encounters that make it easy to see why her ancestors were so worthy of worship.

REASON FOR READING: Beth (one of my roomies) has been screaming at me to read it for weeks.

THOUGHTS: I was not enthralled with it until the end. In fact, I was bored by it. I thought the world was amazing and the characters interesting, but I was not wowed. Beth kept on telling me it was a fantastic book, but just wasn't seeing it. I can't say why I disliked the first 300 pages, I just did.

The ending, however, gives me hopes for the series. I finally became caught up in the characters and the story. The scene in the bathroom only helped matters.

But, and this is big thing for me, the rest of the series still leaves me worried. I don't like the idea of the male harem. For some reason it disturbs me.

MISCELLANEOUS: I won't buy the rest of the series, but I know Beth will. I will read them on her dime. Or, barring that, PBS them.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): It's going back to Beth.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: The Elements of Dramatism by David Blakesley
RN: Sweet Release by Pamela Clare

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Book 73: The Hobbit

TITLE: The Hobbit
AUTHOR: J.R.R. Tolkein
FINISHED: October 29, 2005
PAGES: 306
GENRE: Fantasy

FIRST SENTENCE: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

SUMMARY: [From] Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.

REASON FOR READING: Assigned in my ENG 205: The Literature of Fantasy class

THOUGHTS: Not bad. I've been afraid of Tolkein for quite some time. I saw the movies and loved them, but for some reason the books daunted me. I hated the animated version of The Hobbit and was scared that I would detest the book. That was not to be. The professor had the reading spread out in such a manner that I actually looked forward to reading the chapters. That does not happen to often.

I thought that the book was a cute story, kind of like a fairy tale for adults. The characters and world that Tolkein creates is absolutely fascinating. In some ways, I'm glad that I hated the movie because it allowed me to be pleasantly surprised by the book.

I now look forward to reading the trilogy.

MISCELLANEOUS: What would you do with a ring that makes you invisible?

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
RN: The Elements of Dramatism by David Blakesley