Monday, December 5, 2011

fall reads

A shorter list than usual, I didn't have as much time for reading this quarter. That or there were some long ones in there.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner - Four women, strangers all involved in the conception and gestation, are brought together over the birth of a baby.

Mortal Fear by Robin Cook – a doctor whose patients suddenly start dying after passing a complete physical is contacted by a researcher who says he made an important discovery, that it's already being used and that someone wants to kill him and then the guy starts hemorrhaging right in front of the doctor and dies. The doctor sets out to discover what that important discovery was and in the process learns what is killing his patients.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory - back to the Tudors. This is the next book in the series after The Other Boleyn Girl so I've read it out of sequence. It's told in the first person by three different women, Anne of Cleves (Henry's fourth wife), Jane Boleyn (sister-in-law to Queen Anne Boleyn and lady in waiting), and 15 year old Katherine Howard who becomes Henry's fifth wife. It covers his marriages to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard.

The Ruins by Scott Smith – this is a sort of horror tale. I guess that's how you'd classify it. Four young adults go to Cancun between college and graduate school. They meet other young adults from Germany and Greece and get involved in a search for one German's brother who has gone off in search of a woman he met at a bar who is on an archeological dig in the Mayan jungle. Instead they become the inadvertent victims of an age old 'horror' kept contained by a tribe of Mayans.

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card – a little sci-fi tale. Have I mentioned I'm a big sci-fi fan? We've read most of what Orson Scott Card has written. He's a very good storyteller and his books tend to run in series. The first book of his that I read was Ender's Game. Afterwards I gave it to my son, who was about 12-14 at the time, and it, along with More Than Humanby Theodore Sturgeon helped hook him into the world of reading. Anyway, back to the story. A modern tale of ancient 'gods'. The gods throughout the history of Earth have actually been from a different planet where the people have talents and powers working with the elements of nature, one of which was the power to open gates between the worlds capable of transporting you instantaneously from planet to planet that heals all wounds and illnesses and strengthens powers. About 900 years ago, the gates between worlds were closed stranding the 'families' on Earth or Westin and gate mages are not allowed to live. Now a new gate mage has been born on earth and gone undiscovered til he was 14 and forced to flee his family. As the gate mage learns his way in the world outside the family compound and learns how to use his power he discovers there is someone on the Westin end determined to keep all gates closed. This is the first of a series of novels about this character and this concept of the sister worlds.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See – another by the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which I enjoyed a lot. Two sisters living in Shanghai come of age in the late 1930s China. Being the modern girls they are in a 'cosmopolitan' city, they model for artists that illustrate calendars. Their family is wealthy enough for them to be unconcerned and spoiled and then their lives change dramatically when their father tells them he has gambled away their fortune and he has offered them as brides in exchange for his debt. He has, in otherwords, arranged their marriages. This event coincides with the invasion from Japan and their world changes as they make their way to Los Angeles and start new lives. It's a very good read not only about the historical and political times but also about the close sister relationship and the strength of women.

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich –The continuing adventures of Stephanie Plumb, bounty hunter. I guess it's been long enough since I read one because the last one didn't make me laugh so much, maybe because I don't think her car got demolished. What's up with that, right? This one though, made me laugh several times. And I hear they are making a movie and it's the first book, which I never actually read. I met Stephanie in the second book and kept going. But I'm not too pleased about the cast selections.

Dreams Of Joy by Lisa See – the sequel to Shanghai Girls or, rather, the continuation as this one takes up where the other left off. Joy, the daughter of the sisters, learns the true tale of her parentage and family in the US at the end of the previous book. She runs away to China, enamored of Mao's Revolution, to find her birth father and help build a China for the people. She finds herself trapped in a small village where the ugly side of the cultural revolution slowly reveals itself.

Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – fantasy fiction, the first of four books (though my sister tells me there is a fifth one coming out). Iron age feudal system alternate world. Most of the action takes place on two continents joined by a narrow section of land but some of the story and characters are on a third, separate continent. Summer lasts for years as does winter and the story unfolds as summer is coming to an end. The seven kingdoms had been united 300 years or so previous by a king and his army, a refugee from some disaster on the other continent and that royal line was overthrown some 40 years previous to the beginning of this story. This book is about palace intrigues between the 'great' houses (families) in the south and the coming of winter in the north with mysterious things happening beyond the Wall, the northernmost point of the kingdom, where a group of men patrol to protect the world from the 'Others'. The tale is told from the point of view of different characters, adults and children, males and females. Although there are a lot of strong female characters, it is still a world where women are subservient and, for the most part, powerless with the exception of one 14 year old woman on the other continent. Its a good story with good characters and I don't want to give too much of it away. It would be nice, though, if, for once, a man could conceive of a world where women are not subservient and powerless but equal to men. When I finished this one I immediately picked up the next.


  1. Ah, your taste runs the gamut. Good stuff.

  2. Good timing this, as I am trying to figure out what books to take to Mexico.
    I just finished listening to Smokin' Seventeen on audio. Lulu was a hoot.
    I'm thinking Game of Thrones might be a real good book to put on a Kindle for a vacation. Do you think?

  3. Hmm - I might have to check out The Lost Gate - that sounds really intersting.

    I'm glad to hear that you liked the Evanovich one - I've been getting jaded (I'm starting to be annoyed on Lula's behalf about her sterotyping). Maybe I'll give it a chance too.

  4. I just listened to The Help. I tend to run a little behind, I listen while I sew or cook and rely on the local library for material. Loved this book. Being a child of the south, I could do the voices so well it was a little scary ....

  5. Wow, you've read more than me, that's for sure. I've never read any of the Stephanie Plumb books and have seen so much about them. I'll have to give one a try.

  6. I haven't read any of these. Cool.

  7. Thanks for the reading list! I will have too pick a couple of them up!

  8. Funny. I was just wondering what other people are reading and here you are all serendipitous like. I buy all my books at the Goodwill and saw Game of Thrones there the other day, a couple of them actually. Now I'm hoping they'll still be there tomorrow. I didn't buy them because I have a hard time with most fantasy and the new sci-fi stuff.

    I just finished "Where the Heart Is"--kind of good but not a must read.

  9. I like what Bug said about the stereotyping in the Plum series. I have read them all and could pretty much write them at this point they are so predictable, but I like that this one made you laugh. Maybe I will see if the library has it.

    I haven't read anything in a long time, which isn't like me. Thanks for the list. I will choose a few. :)

  10. I have been reading low, all I get done is reports at work. I need to get back in the swing of things.

  11. My daughter keeps recommending Game of Thrones ... and I keep seeing the Boelyn series - will try both.

  12. I'm jazzed that you're into the George R.R. Martin books! I'm in the second book which I'll admit I'm not enjoying as much. Political strife, lots of battles, etc. Who cares?

    I DO care about Dany and her baby dragons and also wonder about whatever the hell is going on north of the wall.

    Totally intriguing!

    You're a really prolific reader. I'm impressed.

  13. Game of Thrones we have watched on TV- love it- it is perfect! Little wonder that women are subservient- it's the history of women- I understand it- we are good at it...subservient but very clever and able to make Mr. MAN think that he came up with the ideas- fragile male egos , you understand....must make peace with them - we are so much smarter!!!

  14. That looks like a lot of reading to me! I tend to stick with the sci-fi/fantasy genre, especially young-adult audience writing. I bought the full set of four of the Game of Thrones series, but don't want to start unless I have some significant free time, as I'm likely to hole up and devour them.

  15. I finally got around to downloading the audio version of The Lost Gate. I like it a lot! I'm excited to have a new series to plug into. Thanks!


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