It’s been two weeks since I posted, which is the longest amount of time I’ve let pass since I started this blog. Basically I had one really hellish week at work, and then I left for a four day trip to Phoenix to visit my family, which was lovely (and “lovely” is a word I don’t use often or lightly).
I returned home with a suntan (thank you, 80 degree weather) and a not-so-lovely case of the flu. The 24 hour bug that my three- and five- year old nieces caught had me in bed for 3 days. But I’m back to the land of the living and will spare you all the gory details. Next year, I get a flu shot.
I really missed blogging while I was sick, but couldn’t think clearly enough to write. I read a lot though! So here’s what I’ve been up to in reading the last few weeks.
Last week, I was trying to read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin for my science fiction book club. I loved the first chapter, but the book is definitely a “think piece”. Meaning lots of interesting ideas but nothing happens. I just can’t spend time on books where nothing happens, because in my opinion it’s very possible to write a book that has interesting philosophical and sociological implications and yet still has a good story and interesting characters.
So I gave up on the Women of Science Fiction book club. Sorry ladies. I switched over to Robert Sawyer’s WWW.Watch instead and was much happier. This is the second in the series and a much better book. Not as good as his Hominids trilogy but a book I enjoyed.
Then I read Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, in anticipation of her new release, River Marked. I love, love, love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. If you like urban fantasy at all, pick up Moon Called. Briggs also writes traditional fantasy that’s really good, but Mercy Thompson is just one of my favorite fictional characters.
When Silver Borne came out last year I was a little disappointed. It was good, just not as good. Not “waiting a year for a book” good. I wanted it to be twice as long, at least. Do you ever wait for a book and then know you’ll be disappointed, just because it has to end and then you have to wait another year for the next one? Silver Borne was much better on second read without all that pressure. Of the series it has the weakest fantasy story but still terrific on character development.
River Marked did not disappoint. It’s much slower-paced than the others which didn’t bother me. In fact usually too many things happen too fast in her books. I’ll write a review of this book soon, but really, if you haven’t read this series and you like urban fantasy at all, give it a try. These are not books you should read out of order. Briggs is all about her characters, they are incredibly real and detailed and their relationships develop with each book in the series. If you wanted to like Twilight but couldn’t get past the awful writing and the horribly passive heroine, and you want something a little more grown up, and a lot less gushy romance, these are your books. If you like The Dresden Files or the Kate Daniels books I think you would like Mercy Thompson. There, that’s my sell.
Anyway, River Marked totally lived up to my very high expectations, which made me very happy. One cool thing about the book is it was set in an area my husband and I visited last year, the Columbia Gorge between Washington and Oregon. She actually sets the story in some very small towns we visited like Hood River, so that made for fun reading.
What didn’t make me happy? Patricia Briggs signs books almost exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. She occasionally makes her way to the Southwest. But last week, for the release of this book, she came to my corner of the woods, Arlington, Virginia — the same night I was on a plane heading to Phoenix. Arggh.
Truth is, I don’t love book signings. I don’t want to stand in a long line, buy a hardback I don’t want (I read it on the Kindle), and then have two seconds to gush like an idiot to someone I really admire. But I wouldn’t have minded the chance to tell her how much I love her books, and appreciate her writing. And maybe she read some of the book or talked about her inspiration for the story. But oh well.
I’m not sure what I think of the cover art. It’s better for books 3-5. I don’t love this one. This skin-baring, boob-thrusting Mercy is really incompatible with the character. I’ve recommended book 1 (Moon Called) to friends and had them say the cheesy cover turned them off. The Kate Daniels books are even worse. What do you think? Does bad cover art turn you off? Obviously with a Kindle you get to bypass that whole process.
What else am I reading? I’m finishing up an anthology of short stories called Songs of Love and Death (short stories being perfect for my attention span while sick). The theme of these mostly fantasy short stories is frustrated love, whether from death, time travel, war, etc. I bought it for Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn and Diana Gabaldon, but also enjoyed contributions from Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle and Linnea Sinclair. This will be a fun review to write since there are so many different stories to cover; there were definitely a few I didn’t care for.
Now I’m on The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and next up I’m excited about Jasper Fforde’s new Thursday Next novel, One of Our Thursdays is Missing.
So that’s all I have to report. I have a lot of reviews to catch up on.
Hope everyone is healthy and enjoying their weekend. Spring is coming, and it’s about time.