Princeps’ Fury, by Jim Butcher (23 August — 25 August)

More Codex Alera! I really do love this series.

So let’s see. This book picks up not too long after the last book. The Canim are on their way home with Tavi, except that when they get there, there’s not much home left, because the vord are back, and have taken over some ridiculously large portion of the Canim lands, which are themselves ridiculously large. Yaaay.

Meanwhile, back in Alera, the vord are back! Yaaay. This is sort of good, because the Citizens stop bickering about the First Lord for a while, but bad because, you know, there are lots of people dying. It’s also bad because the vord have figured out how to furycraft. Lame. There are a couple stories here — Bernard and Amara go off to do some skulking and figure out things like where the queen is and how the vord are getting around; Isana goes north to negotiate a truce between Alera and the Icemen, a fight which has been going on apparently needlessly for years.

I was a bit miffed with this book because the story doesn’t get all neatly wrapped up as it does in the other books. I mean, all of the storylines I described above are completed, but the overarching battle isn’t done yet. It’s not a big deal, but I’m glad the next book comes out in a couple months! Except then I’m caught up with the series and will have to start waiting for books again! Oh no! I’m gonna go cry in a corner now… or just read some more books…

Rating: 7/10

See also:
[your link here]

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (13 August)

-contented sigh- I love this book. You should, too. Go read it, now.

What? That’s not enough information, you say? Well. Fine.

I first read this book three years ago while in New Zealand and had to tear myself away from the pages to go hang out with people in Auckland, which is one of my favorite places in the world, so… yeah. I’d been wanting to re-read it for awhile, but I worried it wouldn’t hold up to a second reading, but then the movie was coming out and other people were reading it and I really wanted to read it again so I did! And it held up just fine.

This is a giant sappy love story about a girl called Clare who meets her future husband, Henry when she’s six and he’s thirty-six. But Henry doesn’t meet Clare until he’s twenty-eight and she is twenty. Right. Because Henry randomly travels through time, going to seemingly arbitrary wheres and whens. The story flows mostly chronologically through Clare’s life, with brief jaunts elsewhen here and there, and describes Henry and Clare’s meetings and courtship and attempts (successful and failed) to be a normal couple.

It’s really sweet and made me cry a whole bunch at three in the morning while I was finishing it, even though I knew what was going to happen, even though everyone and his brother knows what’s going to happen, which I think is a strong point of the novel. Or I’m just a big ol’ sap. Or both. You never know.

Rating: 10/10
(Summer Lovin’ Challenge)

See also:
The Soul of the Reviewer
book-a-rama

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

The Weatherman’s Daughters, by Richard Hoyt (5 May — 11 May)

Um. Well. Maybe I should learn to read the flap more closely. I picked this one up at the library because of its interesting title and the image on its cover — fish raining down. I looked at the flap. “Two daughters of a Portland weatherman have been killed for no apparent reason and John Denson and his Native American partner, Willie Sees the Night, are called from their remote cabins on Whorehouse Meadow in the Cascade Mountains to help. But for once Denson is stumped—this is a trail he can’t seem to follow.”

Okay, cool, right? Murder, interesting-sounding detective, let’s go! And the first part of the book is cool like that. Denson is out driving when a waterspout causes a rain of salmon; when he pulls off to take some photos and video, he finds a dying body whose last words are “Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle ther. Gurgle, gurgle, ister. Gurgle, gurgle ill gurgle.” Yeah.

So then, there’s some stuff about the ethics of releasing the salmon storm video, and then eventually we get back to the mystery at hand, and then someone else is dead, oh no!, and then Denson goes on some acid-tripping spirit walk and meets his creator (no really, he meets Richard Hoyt at his house in the Phillipines) and something about owls, and then there’s an exotic dancer and a militia and then more killing. I kept going because I really did want to know who killed the weatherman’s daughters, but then the mystery got “solved” and I still don’t really understand what happened. Blast.

And if I had just read the rest of the flap, wherein the out-of-body flying and exotic dancers, and bear gall bladders are mentioned, I might not have picked it up and wasted that week of reading. Oh well.

Rating: 4/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2003, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

Out, by Natsuo Kirino (11 January — 14 January)

Out was an optional novel for the class on mystery novels I took last spring, but I read something else instead. After reading it, I can definitely see why it would be on a class syllabus, though I’m not sure it can really be called a mystery.

The book follows the stories of four women — one who kills her husband and the three who end up disposing of the body. All four of them are intent on covering up the crime, and it seems they will when another suspect turns up, one who has a murder on his record already. The mystery, as it were, is whether or not these women will get caught. It’s a distinct possibility throughout, what with detectives asking questions and certain of the women just being generally stupid. It’s more of a thriller, really, and the story really picks up steam near the end when all the carefully laid plans start falling apart.

Kirino lets you see scenes from the point of view of all of the characters, sort of rewinding the tape and starting over so you can see what’s really going on. It’s a good story-telling device, but it started getting tedious after a bit when I just wanted the story to get a move on, already.

Rating: 6/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2003, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde (22 November — 25 November)

The Well of Lost Plots is the third book in the wonderful Thursday Next series in which our hero, Thursday, vanquishes foes who seek to upend literature.

The previous book focused on time travelling; this one is mostly about book travelling. Thursday has entered the world of Jurisfiction, those in charge of policing the fiction shelves both published and in progress, and is at the same time taking a respite from the Goliath Corporation who are still out to get her. She and her pregnant tummy are hiding out in an unpublished book called Caversham Heights until Thursday can figure out how to get her husband back — if she can remember him.

Yeah, it’s pretty much that confusing. Thursday is also out to solve the mystery of several dead and missing Jurisfiction agents and requite the love of two generic characters. I love it.

It wasn’t quite up to the standard of the first two books — a little too much babying of the reader with unnecessary repetition, and also a few too many typos! — but it was definitely intriguing enough (along with those two books) to cause me to move the next book, Something Rotten up to my new current read. Then I’m going to have to take a break from all the alternate universe-ing, I think. 😀

Rating: 7/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2003)

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo (3 August)

I saw a trailer for a movie based on this book when I went to see WALL-E. It looked adorable, and I like an adorable story. This book definitely fit the bill.

There’s this mouse, Despereaux, who lives in a castle and doesn’t act like a mouse − he can read, he likes music, and he’s not at all afraid of humans. When he is caught at the foot of the king, the other mice send him off to the dungeon to be eaten by rats. We follow the mouse for a while, then move on to a rat, the princess, a serving girl, and various other players in the huge series of coincidences that makes up this story. It’s very cute, but the author tries a bit too hard to be Lemony Snicket with a couple of definitions and a lot of talking to the reader and I have to say that Daniel Handler did it much better.

Rating: 5/10

A Fractured Truth, by Caroline Slate (12 June − 14 June)

At the beginning of the story, this chick Grace is out of jail on parole after 7 years served for the murder, and she’s trying to readjust to life — including e-mail, because this book was published in 2003. There are some fishy things about Grace’s life before this event: her father is killed or possibly has just gone missing, he was involved with some loan sharks and some iffy money practices, her husband caused her business to go bankrupt… it’s not a good time. She’s also now being followed around by a reporter that wants to write the “true” story of her husband, which Grace doesn’t even know because he was basically a pathological liar. This is a pretty good novel — the conceit of a liar’s history is neat, and I definitely wanted to find out why Grace killed her husband (it’s revealed at the end of the book, no worries), so it went fast.

Rating: 7/10