rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
December Books 11) Bulletproof Princess, by Vicki Hinze
I could not finish this "romantic thriller": I was unengaged by the characters, irritated by a large amount of infodumping early on, and finally repelled by the repeated conspicuous name-dropping of expensive brand names.

December Books 12) Witch Blood by Anya Bast
I bounced off this romantic fantasy a few chapters in: there was too much info-dumping, the romance/erotic scenes were a bit too cheesy for my taste, and I found myself irritated by the spelling of magick. Some books I can forgive faux-archaic spellings, but there wasn't enough in this to keep me reading.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This book has a neat trick of splitting the narrative between Lucas, a young warlock, and Hope, a half-demon attracted to chaos. To pay off a favour to Benicio Cortez, Hope agrees to go undercover in a gang of young supernaturals threatening the Cabals: this will bring her all the chaos she desires, perhaps too much so. Lucas's relationship with his father Benicio develops further, and he and Paige get sucked further into the Cabal setup. Shades of grey all round.
rmc28: (books2010)
Elena is pregnant but gets talked into helping to steal an old scroll related to Jack the Ripper. By accident she opens a portal to Victorian London and suddenly disease is threatening Toronto and people are disappearing. Elena and the other werewolves try to close the portal, with the help of Jamie Vegas and a local vampire, Zoe, who stole the scroll in the first place. Zoe is considerably more engaging than Cassandra, and openly gay too, though sadly she just gets to flirt.
rmc28: (books2010)
This is a good introduction to keeping hens, briefly covering all the practical aspects and ending with a handy list of breeds and their characteristics. It's a useful starting point for deciding if you want to keep hens at all, especially for outlining the level of work involved, but I would not want to rely on it as my sole manual for hen keeping. Luckily there are some useful pointers for further reading/research at the end.
rmc28: (books2010)
The stakes rise in this 4th book of 6 with murder, kidnapping and a huge surveillance consipiracy being uncovered. The werecat interpride politics are getting very nasty with Faythe's family directly threatened. A huge revelation leaves this book ending on a cliffhanger.
rmc28: (books2010)
Paige & Lucas get involved in a Cabal case because children are being kidnapped and killed. Another kind of magic is introduced in the person of celebrity necromancer Jaime Vegas. Elena and the other werewolves return in minor roles, along with Cassandra the vampire, who we begin to view with slightly more sympathy. Paige's own confidence and ability grow considerably during the book.
rmc28: (books2010)
3 linked short romances about three sisters adopted into different families, with romances taking up most of the plot. In the first, the revelation about the adoption when the protagonists's mother falls ill forms most of the alt. plot; the second alt. plot is about the protagonist's panic attacks and how she manages her life so no-one notices, with a bit of propaganda on the side about gifted children. Useful portrayal of chronic illness and mental illness in one go, though I suspect depression is a bit less easy to portray sexily; also the panic attacks are a bit too conveniently "healed" at the end when the birth family are reunited. Third alt. plot is about water rights conflict and the revelation as an adult of being adopted.

The stories are all a bit lightweight but between them they cover a range of adoption outcomes: known adoptee in loving family; known adoptee cared for less well; child discovering only at adulthood they were adopted.
rmc28: (books2010)
Sweet and silly romance about a fundraising events organiser who happens to be a practicing white witch, and the injured hockey-player son of the trust fund who is persuaded to turn the fortunes of the charity trust around. Home for foster boys, and fairly early on it becomes obvious who the couple will adopt when they get together. There's also some very lightweight spookiness with crows and family legends.
rmc28: (books2010)
An British Indian woman goes to India for a huge family wedding, managing to combine the trip with work on a documentary about a nearby spiritual retreat with a new-found reputation for miracles. I quite enjoyed it but felt a bit uncomfortable at the very stereotypical Indian family dynamics and characteristics, which feel worse coming from (I assume) a white British author.

The book touches only briefly on Priya's reaction to being in India - a scene in which we are told, rather than shown, her feelings of being a foreigner in her "homeland". Far more internal dialogue is spent on the various men in her life and her mother's nagging, because after all this is first and foremost a romance. The plot is very larger-than-life Bollywood (even Priya notices this, in between angsting over men and her career) and I think every character is slightly exaggerated and stereotypical. Perhaps it's just a stylistic choice.
rmc28: (books2010)
This book leads straight into the resolution of the previous book's cliffhanger. Shane's father has come to vampire-run Morganville to kill the vampires who run it, and he's not too bothered about who gets hurt along the way. The black and white, vampires bad & humans good view of the world fades into shades of grey. Our protagonist Claire risks her life several times, gets kidnapped and beaten up by her college enemy Monica, and finds herself with awful choices. When all is apparently resolved, the book ends with another revelation/cliff-hanger.

cut for discussion of rape )
rmc28: (books2010)
Paige's life falls apart when Savannah's half-demon father tries to take custody, and a series of harassing actions undermine her status in the coven and her home town. We learn a great deal more about witch politics and the Cabal, with the werewolves who dominated the first two books barely even mentioned.
rmc28: (books2010)
This is a fascinating account of the coalition negotiations in May of this year, put together from interviews with key players on all sides. It is structured chronologically: a chapter on Preparations, then a chapter for each day (Friday 7th May to Tuesday 11 May), ending with the acceptance by LibDems of the coalition agreement, and the appointment of a new Cabinet. A Postscript provides a longer-term view of the implications of the coalition for all parties and the country.

The author, though a serving Conservative MP, has made a good effort to report rather than opine, and to distinguish between the two (he gets most opinionated in the Postscript). He has the advantage of telling a story which is intrinsically exciting. It's filled with quotes and little details: texts flying back and forth between and across party lines, biscuits and coffees in the negotiating rooms, aides running back and forth hand-delivering draft documents, culture clashes and back-channel communications.

As well as the basics of what-happened-when, it serves as a good example of selective memory and spin, with different people telling things different ways. Accounts of meetings between Conservatives and LibDems are generally in agreement, accounts of meetings between Labour and LibDems often diverge, especially the accounts of the three meetings between each party's negotiation teams. This of course mirrors the relative leakiness of each set of negotiations at the time, with Lib-Con negotiations staying tightly under wraps, while Lib-Lab talks were being briefed against almost from the start.

On the Lib-Lab talks, Mandelson, Balls, et al insist Labour were being constructive and the LibDems sabotaged the talks by being arrogant and pushy, strongly suggesting the negotiating team were ideologically opposed to Labour. Laws, Alexander et al insist they were constructive, Labour were ill-prepared, divided, and not taking negotiations seriously. Of course the spin is to the benefit of current party positions, and possibly even reflects internal party jockeying. Where you can't reconcile two versions, I think it has to come down to who you are more inclined to believe.

I can't help thinking that the very serious, prepared approach of the Conservatives may have led the LibDem team to expect something similar from Labour, and act accordingly. I can see how that could be taken as being arrogant and pushy by an unprepared team which had expected LibDems to want to support Labour. The Conservative decision to take the LibDems seriously didn't just benefit their own negotiations: it set a bar which the Labour team just couldn't meet. The LibDems had a negotiating team appointed by Nick Clegg in late 2009; Osborne put together a "just in case" Conservative team about 2 weeks before the election; meanwhile Ed Balls found out there was a Labour negotiating team and he was in it late on Saturday morning, with the first secret meeting at 3pm that day.

Though generally well-written and accessible, the book has a few flaws. Sometimes information is repeated within the same page, occasionally even the same paragraph. There's a lot of dwelling on the merits and flaws of the statements released by each party, especially on the Friday, but no text of these statements to refer to. An appendix of the public statements and speeches would have been invaluable to provide context. Though the author has tried to remain neutral, his opinions do leak out: most of his critical comments are for Gordon Brown, with a few digs at Nick Clegg. I failed to notice any criticism of David Cameron at all, or indeed any Conservatives.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm catching up on the remaining "why you are awesome" comments (yes you can leave more). The hardest part is not finding nice things to say, but words to say it in that are a step up from "Squee! You are lovely!"

It occurred to me that one reason I've really enjoyed this particular exercise is that being able to focus entirely on positive things is a rare treat. My job is a mixture of fixing broken things & reviewing other people's work to find the flaws; housework is essentially finding the things that need fixing; political and current affairs discussion is so far from positive it's not actually funny any more. Don't get me wrong, I get deep satisfaction from fixing/improving things, but it's refreshing to focus entirely on the positive.

Also on the topic of finding words, I've started adding reviews to books as I mark them as read on LibraryThing. They're posted here, with a tag of books2010. I'm a bit ambivalent about them really, and the first batch I posted backdated to the completion date of the book, which had the useful side-effect of hiding them from everyone's Reading page. [livejournal.com profile] fanf is encouraging me to be less shy about them, so I've stopped backdating.
rmc28: (books2010)
I enjoyed this fast-paced drama about an exorcist based in London, often recognisable London. A complicated plot, involving souls, demons, obsessive zombies and crime memorabilia.
rmc28: (books2010)
This is a 2-in-1 Mills & Boon which I think [livejournal.com profile] nassus left with me.

The Family Plan is a great combination of highly-unlikely events, even more so than usual for Mills & Boon, in very much the modern world (there's even reference to Facebook!).Read more... ) I noted in passing that the book handles consent very well: she says "let go of me", he lets go immediately.

By contrast, The Boss's Proposal would have been a nice little romance but is spoiled by the appalling nature of the relationship and interactions: consent: ur doin it rong ) For some reason, I thought Mills & Boon had stopped doing forced-seduction storylines, but I was obviously wrong. I should probably write and complain.

Profile

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

October 2017

M T W T F S S
       1
23 45 67 8
91011121314 15
16171819 202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 2017-10-22 17:27
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios