January 24, 2007
The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts
Since in earlier entries on the UGLi book blog I had seen positive reviews of Nora Robert’s novels, I decided to try one of her trilogies. I enjoyed “The Circle Trilogy” which consists of “Morrigan’s Cross,” “Dance of the Gods,” and “Valley of Silence.” The story starts in Ireland, nearly 1000 years ago, when the goddess Morrigan tells sorcerer Hoyt to bring together a circle of six – a sorcerer, a witch, a warrior, a scholar, a shape shifter, and a lost soul – to prepare for an epic battle of good against evil to save humankind. Thanks to time portals, magic, and the help of the gods, the story moves to modern day New York and Ireland to pick up the rest of the “circle.” The story finishes up in the ancient Celtic world of Geall where the six and an army of Geallians fight Lilith and her army of vampires, demons, and a sorcerer who specializes in black magic. The plot is pretty much as expected: the members derive strength and power from the friendship and love that develops as they train and bond, the six divide into three couples (so each volume has a love story), and there are smaller battles and setbacks along the way to the big battle in the end. This trilogy is good, escapist fare.
Morrigan’s Cross: ISBN: 0-515-14165-8
Dance of the Gods: ISBN: 0-515-14166-6
Valley of Silence: ISBN: 0-515-14167-4
December 04, 2006
"Breakup Babe: a novel" by Rebecca Agiewich
What could be more fun in terms of contemporary chick lit than a story about a smart young woman who, when dumped by her boyfriend "Loser," starts a blog about the adventures of Breakup Babe which chronicles her post-dumping exploits with various HBIBs (hot but inappropriate boys)? That's what I thought when I first picked up this book, but I had a much harder time getting through it. Although there are many witty quips, funny exploits and clever ideas within (the personification of General Celexa, and two alter egos - Needy Girl and Sensible Girl - being one of the most notable, entertaining quirks) the book as a whole didn't engage me and draw me along.
It's a decent book as far as chick lit goes, and worth wading through to the ending which is the strongest part of the story, but there are more stellar examples available if you're looking for something in this genre.
September 18, 2006
"How Opal Metha Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" by Kaavya Viswanathan
When I saw this on the shelf, I couldn't resist. This is that book written by a Harvard sophomore that was splashed all over the New York Times a while back, not because of its quality but because she got a huge advance on the publication and then was busted for plagiarising most of the contents.
As a chick lit piece, it's pretty good. Anyone who has seen the movie "Mean Girls" will recognize a lot of the plot. Opal is not straight off the boat from Africa, as in the film. Instead she's lived her entire life executing a plan designed to get her into Harvard. She's stunned when she's turned down for early admissions when she can't answer the question, "what do you do for fun?" The rest of the book chronicles her attempts to transform from studious unknown to glamorous and popular wild child. Overall, it's a fun read. Too bad it's also basically stolen goods.
September 08, 2006
"Definitely Dead" by Charlain Harris
Harris' 6th book in this series featuring Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid extraordinaire, is just as satisfying as its predecessors. If you've never read any of this series, I would highly recommend starting at the beginning with "Dead Until Dark." You can read this book as a stand-alone and still find it a good read, but the story is much richer and more amusing if you have all of the background from the previous books.
In this "episode" Sookie, a telepath, gets involved in a plot to throw over the vampire queen of Louisiana, starts dating the were-tiger Quinn, and manages to navigate kidnap plots, murder attempts and fancy dress balls with her usual mixture of down-home common sense, humor and style.
This series is a great read. It's definitely not your usual vampire novel; more a mix of mystery, romance and comedy that keeps you turning the pages. It's a great change of pace from academic or business reading - just plain fun.