March 2008: Book Reviews


I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. First, the story is told in flashbacks– one chapter or scene in the “present” as John Adams is inaugurated as president, followed by a chapter set in the past, at the beginning of George Washington’s relationship with Martha. But it’s all tell, not enough show, and lots of passive writing. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a love story or a history novel, but I felt it kind of failed at both. I usually like Clark’s stories, but this one just…. lacked teeth. [Read this as paperback.]


Speaking of teeth…. wow. The bloodshed factor in this novel must surely be only matched by the virtual bloodshed of fans furious at only getting half the story. I personally wouldn’t care, except that I suspect the next book, if it comes out in this century, will be disappointing, because Martin will now have to go back and tell the same timeline from different viewpoints. Hopefully, he will do better with that than other novelists who have tried. If anyone can do it, though, I think he can (or take eternity in trying!) [Read this on the Sony Reader, in Sony Reader format, as purchased from the Sony ebook store.]


The Reformed Rake, by Elizabeth Chater

Eep. I don’t really know what to do with a romance novel like this. The hero and heroine are attracted and happy from the outset, the author completely avoided writing the sex scenes, the little conflicts that come up are minor, they’re both perfectly matched by being utterly immature with each other… what’s to say about it? Oh, and there are external conflicts that magically crop up in the final chapter…. it was not a very good romance novel, to be honest. And, then…. well, it’s clear that this book wasn’t edited very well. Either there was a voice recognition error, or there was a global search and replace in the last phase of editing. Every instance of the phrase “of her” has been changed to “other.” So you have things like “he loved the soft gurgle other laughter” (yes, her laugh is described as a “gurgle,” which makes me hope she’s choking, but that’s neither here nor there….) Since this is published as an ebook, there is no excuse for the typo/error remaining after the first readers have read it and, hopefully, commented on the problem. Is it possible no one has mentioned it? The first “other” doesn’t show up until a few chapters in– I suppose it’s possible that no one else was able to get past the first three chapters. [Read on eBookwise ebook reader, in ebookwise format, as purchased from the Filament Book Club ebook store.]


Mmmm! Mounties and romance! And no really annoying clichés in the sex scenes! And yummy sex scenes! And love that develops over time, with conflict that’s both internal and external! All the things I love in a romance novel, with superior editing, to boot! I chose this one because it’s highly rated and also because, if I’m going to read about military men or law enforcement, I also want them to have a softer side– and The Surgeon is one of Bridges’ Mounties books, in which the hero is also the company doctor. I liked the draw of that, and found both the hero and the heroine interesting and loveable. [Read on the Amazon Kindle, in Kindle format, as purchased from’s Kindle store.]

Why am I mentioning the readers and formats? Mainly, I wonder if I like a book better if it’s on a particular device or not. Some formats are easier to read on some devices, and some devices are just harder to read in general. I want to know if that impacts how much I enjoy the book or not. This month, I happened to read DRM’ed books on each of their proprietary readers, which gives a decent baseline for comparison.