Saturday, May 27, 2006

Book 46: Even Vampires Get the Blues

TITLE: Even Vampires Get the Blues
AUTHOR: Katie MacAlister
STARTED: May 19, 2006
FINISHED: May 23, 2006
PAGES: 359
GENRE: Romance


SUMMARY: [From] Paen Scott is a Dark One: a vampire without a soul. And his mother is about to lose hers too if Paen can't repay a debt to a demon by finding a relic known as the Jilin God in five days.

Half-elf Samantha Cosse may have gotten kicked out of the Order of Diviners, but she's still good at finding things, which is why she just opened her own private investigation agency.

Paen is one of Sam's first clients and the only one to set her elf senses tingling, which makes it pretty much impossible to keep their relationship on a professional level. Sam is convinced that she is Paen’s Beloved - the woman who can give him back his soul... whether he wants it or not.

REASON FOR READING: I *heart* this series.

THOUGHTS: The most recent entry to MacAlister's Dark Ones series was not her best. All the elements were there, but they were not used. I enjoyed the consistency of MacAlister's witty writing, and humor, but I was dismayed at her rushed plot. Once again, this romance novel fell prone to need to put too many characters and details in too few pages. I loved how MacAlister finally brought more of the Otherworld in, but she failed to explain and adapt these new factors to her story.

There were some great scenes (Killer Butterflies!) in this book, I just wish the rest of the novel had lived up to them.

MISCELLANEOUS: Nice turn of play...

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): PBSing after Beth reads it.
RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn
RN: Who knows? Certainly not a book for school. Because I'm done!

Book 45: The Sandman: Endless Nights

TITLE: The Sandman: Endless Nights
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
STARTED: May 15, 2006
FINISHED: May 18, 2006
PAGES: 160
GENRE: Graphic Novel

FIRST SENTENCE:Here, where the darkness closes over me, like canal-water or the grace, I tell this story.

SUMMARY: [From] Featuring the popular characters from the award-winning Sandman series, The Sandman: Endless Nights reveals the legend of the Endless, a family of magical and mythical beings who exist and interact in the real world. Born at the beginning of time, Destiny, Death, Dream, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction are seven brothers and sisters who each lord over their respective realms. In this highly imaginative book that boasts diverse styles of breathtaking art, these seven peculiar and powerful siblings each reveal more about their true-being as they star in their own tales of curiosity and wonder.

REASON FOR READING: It was the final book in the series, and Pete handed it to me.

THOUGHTS: Gaiman continues to amaze me with both is creative imagination and writing. This was, perhaps, one of the most enjoyable reads from the Sandman series. Even the little glimpses at the rest of the Endless was enough to whet my appetite for me. After reading (and loving) "Death in Venice," I was glad to find out that Death has a few spin-off books. I also enjoyed Desire's story. Just something about the way the idea of desire was manipulated in some many ways was phenomenal. Ending the series on Destiny's briefest of epilogues was perfect. It hinted at more, both in and outside of the series.

The best part about this book was the way the style of each artist was tailored to meet the character of the Endless in the chapter.

This was a lovely book, both in writing and image.

MISCELLANEOUS: I wish there were more.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Going back to Pete.
RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: Even Vampires Get the Blues by Katie MacAlister
RN: Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn

Book 44: Beyond the Pale: The Darkwing Chronicles, Book One

TITLE: Beyond the Pale: The Darkwing Chronicles, Book One
AUTHOR: Savannah Russe
STARTED: May 9, 2006
FINISHED: May 13, 2006
PAGES: 295
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: I never wanted to be a spy.

SUMMARY: [From] The government knows that Daphne Urban is a vampire, and they have an ultimatum: spy for them, or be killed. The choice is easy. She can speak 13 languages, has a genius IQ, and has escaped detection for nearly five hundred years-making her perfect for Team Darkwing. Her first mission is to get close to Bonaventure, a shady arms dealer with an unexpected gift for seduction. But when Darius, a darkly sexy vampire slayer, begins chasing her, Darius is torn between desire and duty. For his lithe, young prey is also his ultimate temptation.

REASON FOR READING: It was senior week and I was so busy that I needed to read a book that did not require much concentration.

THOUGHTS: Honestly, I did not like this book very much. That being said, I was almost overly intrigued by the idea of a vampire spy. Plus, the chemistry between the two main characters was just hot. I will try the second book, just because I'm curious. But, the simplistic writing and cardboard characters really does kill the story.

MISCELLANEOUS: I love the title.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Back onto PBS... from whence it came.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman
RN: Even Vampires Get the Blues by Katie MacAlister

Book 43: The Perfect Wife

TITLE: The Perfect Wife
AUTHOR: Victoria Alexander
STARTED: May 2, 2006
FINISHED: May 5, 2006
PAGES: 311
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Awareness teased the corners of his mind.

SUMMARY: [From] An ideal spouse, the Earl of Wyldewood has decided, should be pleasant to look at and agreeable to display on his arm. She should have little effect on his well-ordered life, and little to do with his private pursuit of pleasure. After meeting Sabrina Winfield, he thinks he has found the woman to fit the bill.

REASON FOR READING: It was nearing finals week, and I needed fluff.

THOUGHTS: I've pretty much convinced that Alexander's new books are her best. While this one was fun, it was missing the chemistry of her newer books. As I was reading this, I think I could actually see Alexander maturing as an author. The book got better as it neared the end. Once again, however, too many characters were used in too few pages. When I read a romance I want to focus on one romance. By throwing in the heroine and hero's kids' romance, I just felt whapped over the head.

MISCELLANEOUS: When bad covers attack!

RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe
RN: The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman

Book 42: Petals on the River

TITLE: Petals on the River
AUTHOR: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
STARTED: April 25, 2006
FINISHED: May 1, 2006
PAGES: 547
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: The London Pride chafed against the quay as the currents of a rising nor'easter slowly rocked the vessel on her cables.

SUMMARY: [From] The fiery and outspoken adopted daughter of one of England's most formidable women, Shemaine O'Hearn has made powerful enemies. And now her adversaries have found a way to remove the hot-blooded beauty from her life of privilege: by falsely convicting Shemaine of thievery and sending her in shackles to America, where she is to be sold in indentured servitude to the highest bidder.

In a bustling port city in the colony of Virginia, she becomes the servant of Gage Thornton - a shipbuilder with a young child in need of a nanny. And despite whispered rumors condemning the handsome widower for the untimely death of his wife, Shemaine cannot ignore her desire for this caring, generous and enigmatic stranger who silently aches with his growing need for her - even as grave peril reaches out from across a vast ocean to threaten their flowering love.

REASON FOR READING: I was in the mood.

THOUGHTS: This was typical Woodiwiss. The writing was eloquent but bordered on verbose and flowery. The characters and plot were all very intriguing, but felt a bit flat. I felt as if Woodiwiss fell into a rut of "This is what romance novels look like." There was nothing exceptional about the book. I honestly envisioned a Hallmark made-for-television movie as I read this.

While the book was enjoyable, I only wish that Woodiwiss had used the aura of the time period more.

MISCELLANEOUS: I wish more romance novels were set in colonial America.

RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander
RN: Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe

Book 41: The Dewey Decimal System of Love

TITLE: The Dewey Decimal System of Love
AUTHOR: Josephine Carr
STARTED: April 23, 2005
FINISHED: April 25, 2005
PAGES: 251
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Aleksi Kullio, the new conductor of the Philadelphia Philharmonic, strode onto the concert stage with quick, small steps, like a bow who hadn't learned to match his stride to the new length of his legs.

SUMMARY: [From] Behind a french twist and sensible clothes, forty-year-old librarian Alison Sheffield hides an extravagant nature. But after last night, even her most proper attire can't disguise the signs-the pink cheeks, the extra-poufy hair, the bounce in her step.

Alison Sheffield is in love.

The heart-palpitating, nausea-inducing, silly, inexplicable, absurd and pointless kind of love found in a romance novel. And for once in her life, what Alison needs to know she can’t find in any reference book - she can only live it.

REASON FOR READING: Katie said the book reminded her of me.

THOUGHTS: I spent the first half of this book adjusting to the author's writing style. Once I got past that, this read proved to be enjoyable. Despite my relative enjoyment of the book, it felt "loose" to me. There was too much going on in too few pages. I would have liked to see Carr expand the book and give it more depth. While she does a wonderful job of describing the physical setting and appearance of things, her characterizations and plot are too rushed. She throws in a happy ending between two characters that I would have LOVED to read more about. The leading lady and her boss were very dynamic but only given a cursory position in the book.

MISCELLANEOUS: I loved the epigraphs to each chapter. I may hate the dewey decimal system itself, but it was used quite well in this book.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Keeping (but only because it fits my way of life)
RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: Petals on the River by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
RN: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander