October 2006: Book Reviews

This is an archive of my shorter book reviews and notes, which historically have been posted over at the 50 Book Challenge on LiveJournal, but which I’m starting to move over here. I’m posting them with altered date-stamps, but they might show up in my LiveJournal cross-post anyway. Bear with me, please.

Note: Many of these books also have full reviews available in the book review podcast (RSS).


I listened to the audibook (unabridged) of Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. It was very good, especially in the audiobook version, where all the accents of all the international players in the story can really shine, and whatever Spanish misspellings have been noted (in reviews and such) are unnoticeable.

#57: The Flame Is Love, by Barbara Cartland A romance novel set in turn-of-the-century New York/Paris/London, about a rich heiress seeking love and finding, well….. To say it’s a bit silly would be to forget that it’s a Barbara Cartland romance novel, and therefore much silliness can be excused. Moochable through BookMooch.


Another romance novel, this time set in a nebulous time period with spies and such in London– appears to be Regency, but with little actual Regency references, and lacking in the big obligatory clothing porn scene. Also moochable.


The first in the series His Dark Materials, which has been recommended to me. I’m still trying to figure out why, although it does have that certain dark fantasy feel to it that I like in videogames like Planescape: Torment and Alice, and posted on BookMooch as well.


An enjoyable little mystery novel, in which I periodically wondered if the romantic subplot would ever go anywhere, but having accidentally read the first chapter of the next in the series, I kind of knew it wouldn’t.


I felt cruelly gypped by this book. The cover claims it’s highly erotic and romantic, and it’s a book about an incubus, for crying out loud. So when the story actually finally gets to the sex scene? It cuts away, with a trite one-liner. *growl* When one is looking for a fantasy novel with erotic elements and an incubus, one is actually looking for a book that has some sex in it, dangit! Especially since the rest of the story is a little too muddy to carry on its own.


First in the Stephanie Plum series. I’m officially hooked.


Third in the Francesca Cahill mystery series. They’re okay, but I’m not super-impressed yet.


I read Lamb recently and loved it. Fluke isn’t as good– probably because environmentalism isn’t as serious as religion, and therefore has less inherent comedy.


It was odd, but I kept mentally comparing this book to The Lovely Bones, perhaps because they were both about a murdered girl.


Standard Grisham fare, though it took him a darn long time getting into the protagonist’s head. Also, a complete lack of follow-up when it came to the biggest threat to the protag.


This book has been passed around my family. Seriously. My step-mom, a non-reader, bought it on vacation, read it, and gave it to my dad. My dad read it and passed it to my grandmother. Who read it and handed it off to my uncle. Who read it, then gave it to his wife. Meanwhile, I’ve heard about this book since August and have been waiting for it to come out in paperback so I can afford to buy it. While I was on my trip this week, my aunt says “oh, I forgot to give Bud (my dad) his book back so he can return it to Kim! (my step-mom)” I look up. “Wait– which book?” “The one with the dog….” I leaped up. “OMG, give it to me and I’ll return it after I read it! SQUEEEE!” Okay, that’s not a literal translation, but it’s close. I read it yesterday morning while waiting at the Logan airport. I came down sick yesterday morning, but the sniffles and tears were not just from my stuffy nose.


A book about a man’s journey through the non-Interstate portions of America, a lot of American history. More than a bit of literature. Quite a bit of self-indulgent musings, but the interviews with the people he talks to are fascinating, and he does live simply all through the trip. I read this on the plane, after my fever had spiked to 100 degrees, which was lovely on a 5+ hour plane ride. So I have to admit, I had to skim parts of the book, as I couldn’t always concentrate with the jackhammer in my skull, the dizzy feelings, and the steel pokers ramming into my kneecaps.