Monday, December 5, 2011

100 Book Challenge Weeks 2 and 3

Counting 5 Mondays in October, 4 in November, plus today, I should have read 20 books already. I regret to advise I am woefully behind schedule, in reading as well as posting. To make up for not posting, I shall do two weeks simultaneously until I am caught up. To make up for not reading... yikes. Maybe I should find a novelette or two to give me some headway? Would that were possible. My own awareness that I'm cheating me keeps me on the narrow path. It's a rather annoying trait.

Anyway, on to the books...

Book Review #3: Rumor Has It
Author: Jill Mansell
Genre: Modern Romance

What is it about women that we are attracted to the men from whom we should stay far, far away? No surprises then, in this novel, when Tilly cannot resist notorious rake, Jake. (Oh, my, Jake the rake? Groan worthy! I wonder if Ms Mansell saw that one coming when she named her characters?)

Anyway, while Tilly and Jake are the main characters, this modern tale of love, loss, and lunacy actually gives you not one but three love stories. The main one is your standard g-b of the formula; there is a married man/mistress/wife triangle, which results in some marvelous bitchiness, and a wonderful gay man who is still looking for love.   

This story was well written, flowed well, and had the requisite happy ending. Don’t let that distract you, though, this is an excellent read and, if you prefer modern romances, this is the perfect Bed, Book, and Chocolate option for a cold, wet night’s entertainment.

Book Review #4: How to Slay a Dragon
Author: Bill Allen
Genre: Fantasy; Children’s Fiction

Ok, I must have missed something in the write up, because I didn’t realize this was a children’s story. However, by the time I worked it out, I was having so much fun, I had to finish it.

Greg is a normal earth kid, slightly wimpy, scared of the scbool bully, secretly in love with the school babe, who is magicked to Myrth to slay a dragon.

Say what?

Yeah, that’s his reaction too. He decides that this must be a case of mistaken identity and sets out to prove it. However, his traveling companions, Lucky – a boy of his own age who believes that everything that happens to him is the most marvelously good luck, and Nathan, the mystery man who seems know more than he should, believe in the prophecy that brought Greg to Myrth in the first place, and are determined to get him to the dragon’s lair to deliver the requisite coup de grace.

Fortunately for Greg, they meet up with the king’s youngest daughter who believes he is as weak and wimpy as he claims he is, and teams up with him to allow the real dragonslayer of the kingdom to get the glory.

Does he manage to escape his destiny, or is he doomed to be the latest pile of bones at the top of the dragon’s tower?

You’ll have to travel along with Greg as he finds out; facing trolls, witches, strange creatures, and some seriously annoying companions along the way.

The humor is rollicking, the sarcasm is delightful, the adventures are exciting, and the author gets a gold star!

And now...

Twilight:- the end of the day, the period between the setting of the sun and darkness falling.

Twilight Saga:- ... huh?

Yup, I was one of the few who remained blissfully ignorant of the Jacob/Edward rivalry and the ensuing split of adoring fans into “us” and “them”.

However, my friends tired of me not getting the jokes or misunderstanding the memes, so I was dragged from the Dark Ages and given a set of the books.

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Book 1 introduces us to Bella, a 17 year old girl who moves in with her divorced dad when her mother remarries. Bella is apparently really good looking with zero knowledge of the fact, somewhat cynical about life in general, and rather self-contained. She takes over the job of caring for her dad, cooking and cleaning for him, and he tries to work out how to be a father to the daughter he previously only saw for a couple of weeks a year over the summer holidays.

Bella starts the new year at the local high school and meets the normal, average kids that have grown up in this small town. She also meets a boy who immediately attracts her attention, both because of his extreme good looks and his extremely odd behavior. Edward seems to hate her on sight, and she can’t figure out his problem.

As it turns out, his problem is her.

Edward finds her intoxicating, in a somewhat unusual way. You see, Edward is a vampire, and she fills him with an excruciating and exquisite bloodlust. Managing to control his desire to have her for dinner, the two find themselves falling in love.

Despite the difficulties of a disapproving father, jealous schoolboys, and being in love with the undead, Bella discovers that her greatest problem is not being eaten. Not by Edward, but by another vampire who fancies her for a “snack”.

I found this book very easy reading, quick to get through. Bella is 17, so I guess she was in the midst of the standard teenage hormonal turmoil, but I did find it hard to believe that she could have such a mixture of ‘old soul’ wisdom, young naiveté, and such blatant stupidity. There were times when I found myself thinking “Seriously?” Maybe I’m just to old to remember the follies of youth? Dunno.

However, it was not enough to turn me off the book entirely. There have been a plethora of undead-related books and movies just lately, and I’ve got to admit I don’t know if this story was one of the originators of the trend or is riding the coattails of it, but it certainly fits well into the genre. If you like tales of the undead, this one should make you thirsty for more.

(Har har har - very punny. I slay me! Sorry, the pun was unintentional, I only picked it up when I was editing, but figured it could stay if I acknowledged it. *Grin*)

Book Review #6: The Irish Warrior
Author: Kris Kennedy
Genre: Medieval Romance

The land-hungry king of England has turned his greedy eyes to the kingdoms north and west of his country, and Scotland and Ireland are braced for war to defend their freedom.

Senna de Valery is not worried about war. She is more concerned with building her business as a wool merchant and the survival of her ancestral lands threatened by the debts of a drunken, gambling father,  Believing she is being offered sorely needed funding to expand her business, Senna travels to Ireland to do business with the dastardly Rardove. She quickly discovers Rardove’s true intentions as he imprisons her in his castle with an arranged marriage to him set up for the morning. Despite being severely beaten and having had the fingers of one hand broken by Rardove as a lesson in obedience, she concocts an escape plan with a prisoner in the castle’s bowels, the Irish Warrior of the novel’s title.

Finian O’Melaghlin was actually an envoy on behalf of the Irish King unethically prisoned and tortured, his men individually and cruelly killed one by one. Senna is an angel sent just in time to rescue him, and the two manage their Houdini act.

It turns out that Senna is a key figure in the brewing war, the reason for Rardove’s interest in her, and she becomes a pawn in an increasingly dangerous chess game between the three nations.

We are swiftly introduced to the Irish Warrior’s sexual prowess as the two travel across country to a clandestine meeting with a Scottish spy, and then back again to return to the castle of the Irish king. This is definitely an x-rated novel, and the copulating is frequent and frenzied.

There is enough of a plot and enough twists in the tail to keep your interest even if the sex is a little, um, enthusiastic? There were times when I felt that the plot was only a vehicle to move the two main characters from one sex scene to another, there was just so much of it. I’m an advocate of great sex, but seriously? Half the book? Hmmm….

Well, that’s just my opinion and you should read the book and form your own!

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