As you may have noticed in the past, I have a love/hate relationship with Laurell K. Hamilton‘s work, particularly with her Anita Blake books. She is capable of amazing storytelling and truly human expression of love and the challenges of complicated relationships, as well as rollicking sex scenes and well crafted mysteries. She does not always deliver on that promise, but in , she has.
|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
My public library hasn’t seen me much lately, mostly because I’ve been using their ebook service rather than walking the half mile to the brick and mortar building. Some comments, and then the list of books with brief ratings/reviews.
|Cover via Amazon|
Darcys & the Bingleys: Pride and Prejudice Continues (Marsha Altman) One of the good Austenalia books. I really liked the way the Darcy and Bingley families evolve in this author’s imaginations, and she did a good job of getting into Austen’s voice. ****
|Cover via Amazon|
|Cover of The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)|
The Iron Fey Series [The Iron King, Winter's Passage, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, Summer's Crossing, The Iron Knight] (Julie Kagawa) If you love fantasy, particularly YA fantasy, you will love this. It has elements of the classical mixed with elements of the new and fresh. I only hope that Kagawa gets around to giving the Trickster his own book (and his own true love). *****
Abby Knight has a flower shop, a sprained ankle, a hunky fiance who may be called back to active duty soon, and a bit of a problem. You see, hunky fiance has a friend by the name of Vlad. From Romania. And since Vlad has shown up in town rumors of vampirism are flying everywhere. And there’s that murder by exsanguination.
Sometimes you want to read something deep and spiritual and thought provoking, and sometimes you want to read the literary equivalent of cotton candy. Night of the Living Dandelion: A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins is sweet, sticky, gloriously goofy rainbow colored literary cotton candy.
Is it an urban fantasy or isn’t it? If I told you, it’d be a spoiler. So I won’t. It is a mystery with a hint of romance and a cast of interesting if somewhat predictably middle class and white characters. And there are lots of potential murderers, too. And guardian teenagers. Teenaged girls with vivid imaginations and a thing for fangs.
Definitely a nice book for curling up on a crisp day near the fire or under an electric blanket. And don’t forget the cotton candy.
- Blown Dandilions (dianereedwiter.wordpress.com)
- Color Theory: Soften Your Spring Wardrobe With Lilac Hues (fabsugar.com)
- DIY Cotton Candy Machine of the Day (cheezburger.com)
It is said that the most segregated hour of the week in the United States is the hour when people go worship the deity of their choice. I would contend that the bookshelf is perhaps the most segregated place in America. And it’s a damned shame. Midnight is a historical romance written for African Americans that I strongly suggest White readers ‘cross the aisle’ to read.
I have read most of the great and ‘crossover’ African American writers, and am aware of their rich and powerful literary tradition. Too often, though, fiction that is not written as a ‘great novel’, such as genre fiction, gets stacked separately, and not marketed to middle aged blonde women like me.
Such was the case with Midnight by Beverly Jenkins. It’s a historical romance set in and around Boston in the early days of the American Revolution, and the main characters are pulled out of the free Black working and middle class of the time. I picked it up in my latest library haul because I really liked the cover art and because far too little historical romance is set in that time period.
Cover of Darcy’s Story
I have to admit that when I first started reading ‘Darcy’s Story’ by Janet Alymer, I was trying hard to dislike it. I’ve gotten kind of snobbish about my Austenalia, and coming off of Elizabeth Aston’s Writing Jane Austen, Ms. Alymer had a high bar to win my approval.
Also, I didn’t like the cover. I mean, look at it. We are given a headless crotch shot of Darcy with a bunch of purple detailing. Really? I mean REALLY?
|Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsley|
Alice in Wonderland 2010: This is not your mother’s or grandmother’s Alice in Wonderland, but I think Lewis Carroll would have soundly approved. I’m kind of torn about how to review this. You see, I had to watch it three times to decide what to say about it.
One of the reasons I took up knitting is that I have a ton of nervous energy and an absolute inability to sit still for any length of time without a book in my hand. So in social situations, and when I’m watching TV or movies with the family, knitting helps keep me from “wandering away” and finding a book to read. Sucks to be an introvert sometimes.
Anyhow, I missed Buffy the Vampire Slayeron the first go-round, though I had seen the movie starring Kristy Swanson in the theater. Throughout most of the 1990′s and early 2000′s, I didn’t have cable TV, and my schedule conflicted with being able to sit down and watch it. I watched bits and pieces in re-runs, but it was pretty clear early on that Buffy had a very complex plot with a long arc, and I would be missing out if I didn’t catch it from the beginning.
I live with three male persons. Buffy had been categorized in their heads pretty early on as “girl stuff” (mumble, mumble, rant, patriarchy, mumble), so as we had really only one functioning television for a very long time, and I made my stand on Gilmore Girls (I caught it at the beginning, and loved it until the last season when they lost their best writer). So Buffy had to wait.
Netflix streaming video has been an amazing source of stuff I would otherwise never find, ever since it came out. First, I watched it on my computer, then turned it on with each video game system (we’re up to four televisions now with three latest gen video systems) as it became available. Now, so long as the wireless network holds, each of us can watch something different whenever we want.
I had a fairly severe viral infection early last summer and was home most of the week trying to get well. I started watching Buffy in bed, knitting socks (not the), and was hooked by halfway through the first episode.
Over the course of the next eight months or so, I have slowly worked my way through the entire series, sometimes in binges of half a season a day, sometimes, a single episode every few weeks, adding in Angelwhen I came to that point in the Buffy-verse.
Buffy is great to knit to. It is silly at times (it is silly a lot, actually — that is kind of the point), but smart and full of all kinds of female empowerment and tear jerking and excellent acting and brilliant character development. Watching the characters grow from young kids to young adults, watching them cope with the real life horrors of life in addition to various and sundry monsters, never failed to entertain.
This post isn’t about Angel really, but yes, I love Angel, too. The character is a brilliant self-parody of the Paladin type, and Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia is an example of extremely well written growth of a character in a character that could easily have been one-dimensional.
One warning. If you’re going to watch Buffy while knitting, when you get to the Hush episode in season 4 (major spoilers at the link), you need to set down your knitting and watch closely. You cannot watch this episode with one eye on your lace pattern. Joss Whedon will tick you off, killing off characters you love (as he does in every series he writes, dang him), but you will forgive him. Mostly. And you’ll have a sweater, maybe two, a couple of scarves, some mittens, and maybe a hat or two to show for it.