December 2007: 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).


Regency romance novel.


A book that is probably better as stand-up sets. Seemed to be the kind of thing where you’re expecting the speaker to *do* something or have a certain cadence that isn’t there when reading on paper.


Also Regency romance novel. This one was mildly entertaining because the hero was stranded on a deserted island for 5 years before returning to England.


A lively Victorian-era mystery novel starring Amelia Peabody.


One of the Royal Four romance novels– fun, and with a LOT of sensual passages cribbed from the heroine’s own romance-novel-like writings.


A series of very short articles poking fun at daily life. Would be a lot better if read out loud in a British accent, because the cadence is off when I read it just in my head.


A reread, started just before November this year, and completed in mid-December. I stupidly left my copy on the kitchen counter, then stupidly put the cat’s leaking water bowl on it, and so now my copy of this great book for writers is ruined with water damage. I shall have to replace it someday.


Top Secret U.S.S.A. Book 1, by Tom DE HAVEN

I saw this book in the library when I was about 15 years old. I thought it looked interesting, but since I was chronically unable to read and return library books in a timely manner, I was not permitted to check them out very often. Now (18 years later) I decided I really wanted to track it down, so after much searching, I found it through It’s a novel about a teenaged boy who lives in an oppressive, “secure” version of America. It’s only book 1, so the author spends a lot of time on groundwork for the setting, but I thought it was good for a YA novel (my expectations are lower for books for younger audiences). There were some parts, particularly early in the book, that dragged, but they did so in a way that was reminiscent of how a typical high school day can drag on.


The title novella is an interesting vampire story. The remaining short stories run the gamut from predictable killer dolls (written before they became a cliche), to some really clever horror pieces.


Sex-and-espionage romance novel. I got it on recommendation from somewhere, and it was all right. Not stupendous, but a good, quick read.


Unabridged audiobook, and a good listen, particularly when doing other tasks (like knitting under deadline).

Of course, now the race is on– can I finish 5 more books between now and December 31? Pressure’s on! 😀


I got this as a reviewer copy, and must say, it’s a short, but effective book about how to change your behavior. It’s targeted towards health-related behaviors, but could be used for any behavior you wanted to change. What I liked about this book was that it really emphasized using all five strategies– my breakdown (in the never-ending quest for fewer pounds) is always in the monitoring/journaling aspect, though that leads to breakdowns elsewhere. An additional The book is a little “thin” when it comes to ideas for how to implement the strategies. For example, you’re supposed to recruit a support team, but then once you have a support team, what should you do with them? You’re supposed to Treat yourself for staying on track, but with what? If your goal is weight loss, chances are you’ve been using calorie-laden goodness to “treat” yourself for other goals and achievements. The book doesn’t really help transition you into changing your reward system from one thing to something healthier, and that, I think, would be a good addition. The book is otherwise a good look at how to change behavior– it doesn’t get too much into the whys, the psychology, and only provides specific strategies for a few common scenarios (smoking, weight loss, exercise).


Regency-era romance novel about a couple who meet in a snowstorm, have a wild and short-lived affair, then find themselves unable to stop thinking of each other once they’ve parted.


Fun murder mystery with bass fishermen. Set less than 50 miles from where I’m staying.


I do love the Stephanie Plum books. Spunky!


A Regency romance in the more traditional sense (in which the manners are important, the society is important, the world doesn’t entirely revolve around the hero and heroine….) It’s not a short book, but I picked it because romance novels tend to be quick reads for me, and I really, really wanted to reach 100 this year.


Next year, I will just stick to a nice goal of 50 books, and will try to add in some more broccoli.


I don’t know why I didn’t log this one before– I read it in September. Very good– I really enjoyed it.