What I’m Reading 3.0

30 Nov

Well, that’s been quite the couple of weeks. Feeling the buildup towards Christmas at work, and then I go and get a virus that gave me labyrinthitis, which knocked me off my feet for a week. Fun! I hope your late November was brighter than mine. On the plus side I turned 26, and got a Kindle, which will enable me to read more!

Completed books:

Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Tortall and Other Lands
Star by Star
Little Brother
Lies
Want to Play?
Star by Star
Heist Society

What I’ve been reading since:

'Dark Journey' by Elaine Cunningham Dark Journey by Elaine Cunningham continues the New Jedi Order series, and follows the progress of Han and Leia’s daughter, Jaina, as she deals with the loss of her brothers in Star by Star. It’s quite hard going if you’re a fan of the Solo kids – if you read the Star Wars extended universe novels you’ve basically seen the three children grow up, and now one is dead, one is missing (presumed by Jaina to be dead), and the third one is veering heavily towards the dark side out of grief.

At this point in the series I’m like ‘yeesh, these people have had more than 20 years of war, give them a break already!’ but this book doesn’t do that, although by the end of the novel we see Jaina finding some measure of relief as she starts to curb her desire for vengeance.

Rebel Dream by Aaron AllstonEnemy Lines I: Rebel Dream sees the forming of a new government after the collapse of the capital planet of the New Republic. This new government dislikes the Jedi, and doesn’t expect to win the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, and only care about buying time so they can save their own planets, so they plan to sacrifice our heroes to buy that time. Aaron Allston is one of my favourite of the Star Wars writers – he plays with a couple of X-Wing squadrons as well as with the main characters, and he continues the focus on Jaina Solo, who has moved away from the dark side to a more fatalistic view, expecting to die in battle like her brother(s) and distancing herself from her loved ones.

Live Bait by PJ TracyLive Bait by PJ Tracy is the second of the awesome Monkeewrench novels. Detectives Magozzi and Rolseth, with some help from their friends from Monkeewrench, investigate the deaths of several elderly people in suburban Minneapolis, leading them into a tale of vigilanteism (is that even a word?) and revenge dating back to WWII. Have I mentioned that I love Patricia and Traci Lambrecht? I have such a big writer crush on them. This novel continues the character development from Want to Play? with much more warmth and humour than one traditionally gets from a thriller. So much love for these books.

Dead Run by PJ Tracy is the third Monkeewrench novel. Grace and Annie from Monkeewrench and their friend Sharon who saved Grace’s life in Want to Play? are driving cross country to consultant with a sheriff department in Wisconsin when their car breaks down. Now they are trapped in a small town called Four Corners, where all the people are dead and some sort of army is patrolling the streets. Their menfolk (lol) rush to rescue them as they rush to rescue themselves, and suddenly the whole thing becomes so much bigger than just Four Corners. This book scared the crap out of me the first time I read it. Seriously, READ THESE. Or I’ll punch you in the nose. Deal?

Snow Blind by PJ Tracy Snow Blind by PJ Tracy is the fourth Monkeewrench novel. Someone’s killing cops and hiding them in snowmen – is it a serial killer or something murkier? This novel explores vigilanteism and domestic violence, and the utter creepiness of being alone in the dark.

This one’s spooky and thought provoking, and a little heartbreaking.

Play to Kill by PJ TracyPlay to Kill by PJ Tracy (Shoot to Thrill in the US, where they have stupid names for stuff :-p) is the fifth, and so far last, of the Monkeewrench novels. I think it’s my least favourite – I even managed to put it down once. Someone is putting videos of their murders on Youtube. The Monkeewrench crew team up with FBI agent John Smith and their friends Detectives Magozzi and Rolseth to try and save the day, but when the whole of Minneapolis is threatened, can they solve the murders in time?

I desperately want more of these!

Ok, something different.

Looking for Alaska by John GreenLooking for Alaska by John Green – I’m reading this along with Mark at http://www.markreads.net. So far we’re following this kid Miles who’s just started at a new boarding school in Alabama where he’s met this girl called Alaska that he’s fallen in love with. So far I’m really enjoying this – there’s a sort of ferocious celebration of intelligence in it which I adore – but I have no idea what it’s ultimately about! The blurb isn’t giving much away, and I hadn’t even heard of John Green until the day a week or so ago when Mark announced he would be reading this in between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I probably won’t keep you informed about whether I like this, so why don’t you read along with Mark too? I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is the first of the Southern Vampire books, more popularly known as the True Blood novels. I have a guilty love for trashy vampire fiction, and though it’s pretty well written, you can’t get much trashier than the True Blood books. There’s a lot of humour to them though, and they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is something I’m always a fan of. Sookie Stackhouse is a small town waitress in rural Louisiana, who just happens to be telepathic. Her boring life becomes a lot more interesting when she befriends and then falls in love with local vampire Bill Compton.

Harris’ world is quite detailed, and it’s something not done before as far as I know – a world where vampires have come ‘out of the coffin’ as it were, due to a Japanese invention of sythesised blood. If you don’t mind borderline porn, it’s an enjoyable read that doesn’t overtax your brain.

Moon Child by J R Rain is the fourth and so far last of the American Vampire series that I think are only available for Kindle. Samantha Moon is a soccer mom who has been a vampire for about six years, and in this novel her seven year old son is dying – she only has one way to save him. She must work as quickly as possible to find a way to reverse his vampirism, but another, far older vampire is out to stop her.

This series is way better than it sounds, and it’s dirt cheap for Kindle – if you have one, or if you have the Kindle app on your phone, I really recommend it.

The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper is the first of the Dark Is Rising sequence for children. Simon, Jane and Barney are on holiday in Cornwall with their parents and the mysterious Great Uncle Merry, when they blunder upon an ancient map. Before they know it, they are on a quest, racing against the forces of the Dark to find the ancient Grail. I love these books. These are my childhood. When I went to Cornwall for the first time about four years ago, everything just reminded me of this novel – it’s a bit old fashioned now, but at the same time it’s timeless. I hope my children will read it one day.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is the second in the sequence. Will thinks he is just an ordinary boy, but on his eleventh birthday he is called into his power as the last of the Old Ones, destined to fight the Dark for the fate of humanity. He must collect six signs. From here on in the books follow this verse, which I was obsessed with as a child (approximate, from memory!)

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back,
Three from the Circle, three from the track.
Wood, bronze, iron, water, fire, stone,
Five shall return and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long,
Wood from the burning, stone out of song,
Fire from the candle ring, water from the thaw,
Six signs the Circle and the Grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold,
Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old.
Power from the Greenwitch, lost beneath the sea,
All shall find the Light at last, silver on the tree.

It’s basically an epic battle of good vs evil, all fought in a quintessentially British way. Plus if you get my version, it’s all purdy.

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce  is the third and last of the Beka Cooper trilogy. Beka and her partner Tunstall and scent hound Achoo are called on to help when the crown prince of Tortall, four year old Gareth, is kidnapped.

This. Is. Amazing.

But before I talk about that, join me in freaking out about this:

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER NECK? SERIOUSLY! IS THIS THE EXCORCIST OR SOMETHING? AAAAARGH!

Ahem. Anyway. This may well be my very favourite Tamora Pierce novel ever, which is really saying something. I got stuck in about a third of the way through, and couldn’t go to bed before I’d finished at 3.25am. I was very tired the next day. #firstworldproblems

I think that’s everything! That was pretty epic.

So, finished books as of 30/11/11:

Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Tortall and Other Lands
Star by Star
Little Brother
Lies
Want to Play?
Star by Star
Heist Society
Dark Journey
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
Live Bait
Dead Run
Snow Blind
Play to Kill
Over Sea, Under Stone
Mastiff

So, that’s 45 days, 16 books.
Currently still reading:

The Dark is Rising
Dead Until Dark
Moon Child
Looking for Alaska

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