desertvixen: (sweet valley high)
So I picked up this chicklit title in the Kindle Big Deal (which is going downhill and fast, IMO) called Must Love Otters.  Sounds promising.  I love otters.

Until in the first chapter, the author writes something that should have been my clue to put the book down.

Panty Tarantula - as in a woman's unshaved pubic area.

Run away now.

I read on for awhile, but it didn't get any better.

DV
desertvixen: (thorny)
 Just finished Thankless in Death, JD Robb's newest.  General verdict is that it's not as great as some of the best books, but a solid outing.
Spoilery details under cut )
All in all, worth the read.

DV
desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)

 The going-over of the collection is complete, and I have the book catalog up to date.

 1686 books.  (This does not count books in to-be-read pile or books belonging to the MV.)

 9 bookcases (not counting the three shelf one in MV's room).

 I don't have a book addiction, what makes you ask?

 Notable reads of the latest period:

Apocalypse by Nur/Burgess, looking at the role of seismic disturbances during the end of the Bronze Age and the role they may have played in ending it.  While I'm not a big pre-history person, the idea that earthquakes contributed seems pretty reasonable - at least as reasonable as the whole Sea Peoples theory. 

Mission of Honor was already reviewed here.

Murder on Lexington Avenue by Victoria Thompson - not a bad mystery, but she needs to stop talking about the UST between her protagonists and show us.  Three pages of UST in a book isn't enough, thanks much.

Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers was an enjoyable read.  A little dishy, but not overly so, and he did a decent job of tying it in with other events.

We Two: Victoria and Albert by Gillian Gill was an interesting look at that particular marriage, and the sculpting of their joint image, both by them and by others.  The notes section is insanely detailed. 

DV
desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)

 I finished it today.  The non-spoiler version - not her best, but better than Diplomatic Immunity


 Here's my take, under a cut for spoilers.
Cryoburn Review, Heavy on the Spoilers )

 DV (picking the less appropriate, but less spoilery icon)

 
desertvixen: (initial D)

Hi, my name is Danielle and I’m a recovering Anita Blake addict.

Like many, I really enjoyed the adventures of Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner.  I liked the petite, feminist, ass-kicking, vampire-staking heroine who spoke to us in the first person, so you could more completely grasp how screwed up some of the situations and people were.  I liked dark, seductive, intense Jean-Claude.  I liked the police procedural aspect, the others on the squad, the setup of a society in which vampires, werewolves (and wererats, weretigers, wereleopards, etc), walked among us, the little hints she dropped of the wider world she imagined.

Up until about The Killing Dance (book 6), things went pretty well – tension was brought up, problems and relationships were introduced, and the Jean-Claude – Anita – Richard tug-of-war was keeping things good and dramatic.  Things came to a head, somewhat, in book 6 – Anita couldn’t choose Richard, so she chose Jean-Claude (and the sex was HOT).  Then, the sex-and-violence level started going up a bit too much, and at Obsidian Butterfly (book 9), a lot of people called it quits.

Since then, many of us have had ups and downs with the books.  Narcissus in Chains and Incubus Dreams were pretty low points, but the books in general suffered from too much sex, and not enough plot.  Aside from having too much sex, it wasn’t even well-written sex, and had a touch of “author working out her issues” to it.

However, I’m here in Iraq and the PX bookstore doesn’t have a whole lot to choose from.  I can always hit Amazon and B&N.com (and I do, believe me) but I miss the whole part where you browse through books, and find what you want.

The last couple have been iffy, and I’ve heard conflicting reviews about Blood Noir.  I decided to give it a chance.

My overall verdict: The book reminded me of when I used to enjoy reading Anita Blake.  Not completely back to the beginning, but I did not feel like it was a waste of time or money.

Specifics:

-- Jason says what I think a lot of Anita Blake readers have thought – “The ardeur is the perfect excuse to never have to say you’re sorry.”  LKH has used the ardeur exactly like this, to give her the deus ex machina to write Anita into the sex scenes while ignoring the way she had built Anita up in the beginning.  Characters can change, but rather than do so in a fashion that would have allowed plot development, LKH slapped the ardeur into the story. 

-- I liked the parts where Anita was bitching about always being seen as a girlfriend, or about her sex life always taking center stage – but at the same time, I wanted to tell LKH that it’s all HER fault.  She’s the one who’s made it all about the sex.  It was like seeing the old Anita peek through, and I think a lot of us would like her back.

-- Am I the only one who misses Edward?

-- I did guess that there was a reason Jason was such a lookalike for the twins before we found out at the end of the book.  I was also waiting for there to be something more for the Summerland connection, because it seemed like she was building up to something, and it really didn’t go anywhere.  It felt like she was trying to imply that there was more than just a little inbreeding in the Promise gene pool.

-- The drunk fiancée at the door – priceless.

-- The sex in this one was actually hot. No weird multi-partner sex scenes (on screen, at least), and as a bonus in my book, no really descriptive more-detail-than-I-wanted-about-LKH-and-her-sexual-tastes fellatio scenes.  I admit, I’ve always been a fan of Jason – the flirt who can be counted on when things get crazy.  He actually reminds me a little of Joe Hardy.

-- Could we please stop describing Anita’s fashion sense – or lack thereof?  And how she needs the men in her life to dress her properly?

-- Why am I not surprised that there is a vampire strip club in Las Vegas?

-- As a native of Las Vegas, I about died laughing over the fact that there is a white were-tiger clan in Las Vegas.  Were-tigers would certainly have been an addition to Siegfried and Roy’s act.

-- White were-tiger strippers in Las Vegas.  Cue more laughter.  I’m sort of curious to read the next one, which takes place in Vegas, and sort of horrified wondering what she has done to my hometown.

-- Am I the only one who feels like Richard is a self-pitying selfish jerk?  He has issues, but they ALL have issues, and he’s the one most likely to get others in the group killed.  The whole thing about Anita’s anger being passed to Richard and that’s why he’s been such a jerk didn’t really ring for me.  And now he has to get used to the ardeur?  Just great. 

-- More on Richard.  I can’t feel sorry for him anymore.  He wants to be miserable – or at least, he doesn’t want to NOT be miserable enough to work at it.  He wants to blame Anita for being practical, for not depending on him because she knows there’s a lot of times she can’t.  Richard’s not good at making a decision when there isn’t a good choice to pick from, while Anita does well when the situation has just gone to hell.  It’s not that things don’t bother her, but she does what has to be done, and then tries to clean things up.  Richard wants to call her a coldhearted bitch (and does) because it makes him feel righteous.  I thought we would get lucky and she’d shoot him, but no. 

-- The Summerland twin marrying the vampire’s wife, I did not see.  That Anita was getting used, I did see.  I hope something nasty happens to Chuck.

-- Richard does love her, I get that – but it’s an unhealthy love.  She can’t be what he wants, can’t fit within the constraints he wants his wife/lover to fit.  He wants to take care of her, but she doesn’t need him to do it the way he does it.  The bit with Richard and the ardeur – I just don’t know how much of that was Richard, and how much was the ardeur.  He wants her to be happy the way he wants her to be happy, not the way Anita wants to be happy.  Jean-Claude, on the other hand, accepts Anita the way she is, even when she causes a problem.  Hmm, which one should she pick?

-- I do think LKH sums up things pretty well here for Anita: Sometimes it’s not the light in a person that you fall in love with, but the dark.  Sometimes it’s not the optimist you need, but another pessimist to walk beside you and know, absolutely know, that the sound in the dark is a monster and it really is as bad as you think.  Did that sound hopeless?  It didn’t feel hopeless.  It felt – real.

So, Anita Blake is back on the reading list, but not on the buying in hardcover list.  Maybe the checking out from the library list.

 DV (who needs to get a reading icon for DW)
 

desertvixen: (initial D)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (by Seth Grahame-Smith)

As spoofs go, this one isn’t bad.  I didn’t feel like it was a waste of paper, but I’ll be leaving my copy on a bookshelf here in Iraq – not something I care to keep.  It delivered on what it advertised, and I'm pretty sure no one bought this for the serious plot or redeeming literary value.

1.      It has zombies, in scores.  I had to giggle a little at the idea of calling them “unmentionables”, but wondered if it was a deliberate choice.

2.      It has a weird Asian-martial-arts subtheme.  (Yes, they could have called it Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and NINJAS.)  I could have done without it – I mean, surely the sisters Bennet could have been schooled in some English ways to kill the undead?  There are muskets and such, as well.

3.      Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a zombie slayer.  Like, a famous one.  I must admit, the idea of a duel to the death between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth does spice things up, but unfortunately Elizabeth lets her live.  However, her character is intact enough to be snobby about where she was trained versus how the sisters were trained.

4.      The Charlotte Lucas subplot (getting the zombie plague, and SEEMINGLY NO ONE NOTICES.  Except Elizabeth, and Lady Catherine, who’s experimenting on her with some anti-zombie serum that only delays Charlotte’s collapse) actually made me sad.   I mean, Charlotte’s situation is bad enough – she’s a twenty-seven year old spinster (quite on the shelf) with no prospect for escape from her parents’ house other than marrying Mr. Collins.  And then, she doesn’t even get to snack on Mr. Collins’ brains.  (I know, probably impossible.)  He hangs himself, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.  It was rather sad, and didn’t play well for me.

5.      Zombies do not get Mr. Collins or Lydia or Mrs. Bennett or Caroline Bingley – clearly, no justice here.

6.      There’s an unhealthy fascination with vomiting and soiling oneself.  Played for a laugh, didn’t get one from me.

7.      The male-reproductive-organ jokes were a little better, probably because they weren’t as overplayed.  Several references to Mr. Darcy’s balls (as in MUSKET balls, as well as during the infamous exchange at the ball at Netherfield), as well as describing “that most English part” of the men.

8.      The Lydia/Wickham bit was much better in the original.

9.      Mary Bennet does better for herself in this book.

  The absolute best part for me?  The “reading questions” at the end.  I have to admit, I think the whole idea of including “critical reading questions” at the end of something that isn’t a textbook annoys me.  If you’re going to discuss a book, just discuss it.  Talk about what characters you liked, and which scenes made you really FEEL something, rather than what theme you think the author is trying to invoke.  Talk about why you can’t put the book down, or why you rushed out and bought everything the author had written.

 These ones are funny.  They’re as much a part of the spoof as the rest of the book.  Like question #7, Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?  (Okay, I think a lot of us have asked ourselves THAT one.)

 All in all, not bad – but not worth space in the collection, either.

 DV

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