Wednesday, July 7, 2010

10 Books I read in June. Or maybe May.

I didn't write one of these entries last month because I read only about four books in May. I know, I'm such a slacker. Between moving and graduating I didn't have as much free time as I normally do.

My stepmother even told me she was worried about me because I wasn't reading as much as I usually do.

Enough about my nerdy the books!

1.  The Devil in the Junior League, A Novel by Linda Francis Lee

The Devil in the Junior League, A Novel

This book reminded me of a grown-up version of the movie Clueless-- I almost hope that they turn it into a movie.  It's about perfect, fantastic, rich Frede, a woman trying to hire the best lawyer in town for her messy divorce.  He refuses to accept her case unless she agrees to try to get his loud and gaudy wife into the Junior League.  It's fast paced, a bit silly, very southern, but overall tons of fun.

2. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel (Hardcover)

I can't quite decide if I liked this book.

It's a very fast read.  The tone is conversational, told from the point of view of a Pakistani man talking to a nervous American visitor.  You learn this Pakistani man's life story, you come to like him for the most part, and in the end you find out he may be a terrorist.  I think what bothered me is the superficial treatment of some of the more important aspects of terrorism.  The main character never talks about God or religion and some of his antagonistic feelings towards the U.S. are mentioned but not really fully explained.  The writing style is beautifully poetic at times.       

The Bad Mother's Handbook: A Novel

Another chick-lit book.  This one was also fun and well-written.  Set in Britain, it's about three generations of women living under one roof together.  There's the grandmother who is having issues remembering things, the middle-aged mother doing her best with a crappy job and getting frustrated with having to take care of everyone, and the angsty teenager who finds herself pregnant.  One of the best parts is that a man doesn't sweep into their lives and make everything better--the three learn to get along by themselves.

Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel

This is the sequel to "The Spellman Files" that I read a couple of months ago.  This one is equally as good as the first one (something that is pretty rare!).  It's also told in flashblack style as the main character describes the last few months to her defense lawyer.  She's an interesting character, a private detective from a family of private detectives and her insatiable curiosity and paranoia tend to get her in trouble in life. 

Terrier (The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book 1) 

I like Tamora Pierce books.  She writes teen fantasy fiction and I'm a bit surprised her stuff isn't more popular or well known.  All of her books are centered around the kingdom of Tortall--the subject matter and style remind me a bit of Mercedes Lackey but without the cloying self-righteousness.  She's written two series about different lady knights, one about a half-god girl who can talk to animals, and one about a spymaster's daughter.  

This particular series is set several hundred years before the others and deals with a young "Dog" (policeman/woman) who is training in the worst section of town.  It's written as her diary.  Something that may bother some people is that it has a lot of created slang, but it's done quite well so it didn't bother me.   

6. Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)  
Not as bad as "Flirt".  This really was one of her better recent novels except for the fact that Richard decides to drop every single sexual preference (or hang-up, if you want to call it that) that ever defined him as a character.

Laurell K. Hamilton is starting on the Dragonball Z effect.  Bear with me:  This is where authors/creators can't think of anything new for their characters to fight so every conflict starts to get larger and larger and larger until the character is just ridiculously powerful.  My bet is that Anita is going to cause a mass orgasm of every single person on the planet at some point with her "magic". 

Uggggggh.  I get so annoyed thinking about this series.  Anita Blake was a strong, independent woman who could kick butt and take names.  Now she's clingy, needy, and only powerful because of her sex magic.  I know I should just stop reading them but this used to be one of my favorite series, and old habits are hard to break.

7. Horizon (The Sharing Knife, Book 4)  by Lois McMaster Bujold

Horizon (The Sharing Knife, Book 4) 

This is the only re-read I included on the list.  I like this series by Bujold (one of my favorite authors).  My dad does not, he thinks it's too girly.  It's a fantasy series set in an pioneer type place, where two types of people, farmers and "Lakewalkers" (a bit Native Americanish) reside.  Lakewalkers have different magics that allow them to kill the harmful creatures called malices, while farmers mostly are unaware.  Of course, a farmer girl and a Lakewalker fall in love and try and create a new path for the two types of people, going against convention, et cetera et cetera.  While not my favorite series by this author, it's still pretty enjoyable.  The plot usually revolves around a journey with a large fight towards the end, rather than the political intrigues of her other series. 

The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) 

This is the most recent of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books.  Good series, good TV show if you have the chance to watch it.  It's about a lady private detective from Botswana.  The characters are interesting (although predictable), the setting is fantastic, and even the bad guys don't seem terribly bad.  This series won't challenge you but it will be a pleasurable read.  I didn't think this one was quite as great as the others but it was still pretty nice.

9.  Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1) by Rob Thurman

Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1)

I had to start this book twice before I liked it enough to finish it.  Really, only the last few chapters made it worthwhile (twist!  twist!).  There was a lot of stuff going on that didn't make very much sense until the end but it wasn't clear that it was foreshadowing.  It just seemed like sloppy writing and poor character development.

This is a new series by Thurman, about a bar owner named Trixa Iktomi who is searching for something called the Light of Life.  Both demons and angels are also after it, but she's doesn't care about Heaven or Hell--she just wants to use it to buy revenge for her brother's death.

Meh.  Not great, fun ending, but who wants to wait until the last chapter for a book to redeem itself?

10.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

I don't think I've mentioned my obsessive love of Neil Gaiman yet.  I am a fan-girl.  Completely adore him.  I would scratch "I <3 N.G." into my locker if I had a locker.  Or sigh over his poster.  Or write him love sonnets...

Anyway, I liked this book.  It's juvenile fiction (middle school level) with a gory enough first chapter to catch the attention of any kid.  A toddler narrowly escapes being killed by an assassin and wanders into a graveyard, where ghosts decide to raise him.  They name him "Nobody Owens" or Bod for short.  The book details some of his adventures as he grows and as he confronts the man who killed his family.

I will admit that this book is a bit choppy in places.  I would have liked to know more about the Honor Guard and Bod needs a bit more personality--but still a great read. 


  1. Hmm, I'm going to have to look into some of these. Thanks! :-) Tamora Pierce has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered the Lioness Quartet in Jr. High. She provides such wonderful role models for girls. I agree that I've always been confused as to why she isn't more popular. By the way, not all of her books are set in Tortall. She also has the Circle of Magic Quartet, and its sequels the Circle Opens Quartet. These take place in a kingdom called Emelan, and they deal with young elemental mages. Not quite as good as the Tortallian universe, but I love the concept of magic she builds into it.

  2. I forgot about those--I've read them once but it was awhile ago, and I own the other series so it's easy to forget about them. I was at the library the other day and got some Diana Wynne Jones and thought about you!