goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Author: Alex Gabriel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 300
Date read: February 2017

Superheroes. Evil minions. And one hell of a conflict of interest.

Being related to a supervillain isn't a big deal to Pat West. So what if his mom occasionally tries to take over the world? All Pat wants is to finish university and become an urban designer. That he moonlights as an evil minion sometimes - that's just family tradition.

Then Pat accidentally sleeps with superhero Silver Paladin, otherwise known as reclusive billionaire Nick Andersen. It's a simple misunderstanding. Pat never means to impersonate a prostitute, honest. But soon Pat is in way over his head, and threatening to fall for the worst possible guy.

When Pat's mother returns to bring the world to its knees, Silver Paladin races to stop her... and all of Pat's secrets threaten to blow up in his face. How can Pat reconcile being a minion with wanting a hero? Will Nick's feelings for Pat overcome what keeps them apart? Or will they both lose everything?

I'll be honest - I almost entirely picked up this book based on the delightfully absurdity of the sub-title. "The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero"? What's not to like?! (as an aside - my DH asked me what I was reading, and I gave him the full title. He blinked a couple of times... "I'm not sure how to process that" ;-D )

Fortunately the story itself mostly lived up to my expectations. It toed the line a couple of times in becoming too much of a stereotypical "romance novel" for my taste, but thankfully never crossed the line completely... which meant that I'd occasionally put down the book for a bit in order to brace myself for the next part... and then pick it up again, only to discover the "next part" turned out to be much better handled than I'd feared and there was no cause for preemptive wincing ;)

And there was so much to like with this novel! I liked reading about Pat and Nick's growing relationship (and Pat's realization of why Nick called for him in the first place!), I liked Pat's family, and I loved the idea of super-villains (excuse me - Challengers!) having families and that any children would be required to do minion duty :-D

So all in all, a very enjoyable read with a plot suitably absurd to fit the title :-)

Besides, the ending was just CUTE! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the next West family dinner though!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Last to Die
Author: Kelly Garrett
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 218
Date read: January, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Harper Jacobs and her bored friends make a pact to engage in a series of not-quite illegal break-ins. They steal from each other's homes, sharing their keys and alarm codes. But they don't take anything that can't be replaced by some retail therapy, so it's okay. It's thrilling. It's bad. And for Harper, it's payback for something she can't put into words-something to help her deal with her alcoholic mother, her delusional father, and to forget the lies she told that got her druggie brother arrested. It's not like Daniel wasn't rehab bound anyway.

So everything is okay-until the bold but aggravating Alex, looking to up the ante, suggests they break into the home of a classmate. It's crossing a line, but Harper no longer cares. She's proud of it. Until one of the group turns up dead, and Harper comes face-to-face with the moral dilemma that will make or break her-and, if she makes the wrong choice, will get her killed.

Huh! I'm starting to wonder if I read a different book than the others did! So many 4 and 5 star reviews, and mine can only just sneak its way up to 2.

Because my honest opinion is that this book was absolutely ridiculous. None of the characters seemed believable or acted in an even half-way realistic manner.

A shame too, because the plot had potential, and could have been really interesting if the characters hadn't been so hopelessly exaggerated. And twist seemed completely unmotivated and was never properly resolved or explained.

Granted, it did keep me reading, and despite how overdone everything was, I did want to know how it ended. But when push came to shove, I couldn't really bring myself to care about any of the characters other than Maggie, and most of them seemed more like charicatures than anybody you'd meet in real life.

With all the awesome YA books out there, give this one a miss.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Coraline (graphic novel)
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 186
Date read: April, 2015

When Coraline steps through a door in her family's new house, she finds another house, strangely similar to her own (only better). At first, things seem marvelous. The food is better than at home, and the toy box is filled with fluttering wind-up angels and dinosaur skulls that crawl and rattle their teeth.

But there's another mother there and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and all the tools she can find if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

Disclaimer: I've never read the original, but thought the graphic-novel version would be perfect for the read-a-thon. The drawings were gorgeous, but as usual I feel like I can take or leave Neil Gaiman as a story-teller... although that's perhaps not an entirely fair assessment, considering the medium, which did mean that it was at best a very superficial version of the story.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 814
Date read: July, 2014

In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie's wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie's nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian's Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire's daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she's facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother's pragmatism.

It took a while to get started, and some of the events in the first 200'ish pages really bugged me... spoiler ), but once it took off, it took off with a vengeance, and I read the last 400 pages in 2 days.

But it is a testament to Gabaldon's writing that even though it took awhile for the plot to line up with my expectations of the plot, I never once considered giving up on it. She would benefit from having a more strict editor though... some of her detours didn't seem altogether necessary.

I loved that - despite everything - Gabaldon was less harsh on her darlings in this book than in many of the previous ones. No, life wasn't easy, but it did serve as a bit of a breather compared to e.g. Fiery Cross.

Did she tie up the loose ends from the last book in a satisfying way? Yes, I think she did. Did she leave me wanting more? Absolutely! Granted, it didn't end with a cliffhanger the way An Echo in the Bone did, but it did leave me thinking "Ooooooh!!! I want to know what happens next!!!" ... but in a good way :) I loved the way it ended :)

In the end, I think this has been her best book in awhile. I thought #7 better than #5 and 6, and I found this better than #7! So that's saying something, at least :) According to her website, this is the penultimate book... we'll see :)
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Title: Cranford
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Genre: Classic
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook ~8hrs
Date read: January, 2013

Cranford describes the small adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.

I was on the lookout for new (to me) classics, and [ profile] singersdd recommended I gave Elizabeth Gaskell a try. This was her favourite, so I figured it was as good a place as any to start.

It's a very pleasant comfort book. There's not a whole lot of a plot, but just a general description of life in the village of Cranford. I did think it stopped rather suddenly though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 380
Date read: December, 2012

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. WhenLena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Very different from what I had expected, and I actually ended up very pleasantly surprised. This was written long before "Twilight" which shows clearly by it not having a single element that usually identifies a Twilight-clone - most importantly, there's no love triangle! Yay! :)

In general an enjoyable read, although I did have one problem with a plothole very early in the book: Lena is accused of breaking a window that she's standing next to, even though the window breaks inward, towards her (actually cutting her with some of the glass). If she had physically broken the window, the glass would mostly have been on the outside, away from her.

Something any sleuth worth his/her salt would have caught.

That's a minor nitpick though :)
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Title: The Saving Graces
Author: Patricia Gaffney
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 418
Date read: April 2004, August 2011

Meet The Saving Graces, Four Of The Best Friends A Woman Can Ever Have.

For ten years, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel have shared a deep affection that has helped them deal with the ebb and flow of expectations and disappointments common to us all. Calling themselves the Saving Graces, the quartet is united by understanding, honesty, and acceptance -- a connection that has grown stronger as the years go by...

Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love and courage to the ultimate test.

Okay, this I had not expected. When I last read this, I gave it 5 stars and listed it as one of my favourites. I've dialled down a rating before, but never before by this much!

Back in 2004 I wrote: A very sweet book about lasting friendship. Nice light book, but still has enough depth to leave you thinking about things. I ended up feeling really jealous of the people in the book. I would LOVE to have so many such good girl friends...

Yes, it is a sweet and light book with quite some depth, but honestly, I didn't think it was all that well written, and while definitely not bad, the fact that it took me over a month to finish speaks volumes. It just didn't capture my attention the way it used to. Another reason may be that I actually do have a number of close girl friends now, and therefore didn't have the same need to live vicariously through the women in the book - which is definitely a good thing, and I'd gladly give up a favourite book for it :)
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Title: An Echo in the Bone
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical romance
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 824
Date read: July, 2011

Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he'd rather die than face his illegitimate son - a young lieutenant in the British Army - across the barrel of a gun. Fraser's time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won't include Jamie's life or happiness - not if she has anything to say.

Claire's grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna's parents' history - a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

Long book is LONG! Worth it though. I'd have to say that this is probably better than both book 5 and 6. Wasn't quite as heart wrenching, and for once Gabaldon gave her characters a bit of a break. Not much though... otherwise it wouldn't be her!

One of the weaknesses of the later books is that Gabaldon tries to tell the story from too many different characters' viewpoint, and the reader will invariably be more interested in some story lines than others. Personally I loved Claire, Jamie and Ian's, liked Brianna and Roger's and only cared slightly for Lord John Grey's and William's. I did warm up to the latter though, and loved the way they all connected in the end.

I did think that this book ended with quite the cliffhanger... more than any of the others. Can't wait to read the next one, which I think I've heard may also be the last one? Can anybody confirm or deny this?
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 1059
Date read: June 2011, August 2014

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her...and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love.

It's a tribute to Diana Gabaldon's writing that no matter how many times I read this book (I think this is my 6th reread? At LEAST), I still get completely drawn in. The only problem is that now I want to reread other books in the series as well and they're all looooong.

Next to Outlander, Voyager is without a doubt my favourite in the series. I love reading about Claire's return to Scotland and her reunion with old friends. The parallel stories of Claire and Jamie frustrated me on my first read-through, because I just wanted to see them together already!! but now I appreciate that insight into their lives.

Sometimes I wish Gabaldon would give them a bit of a break though... although that's even more apparent in later books.
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Title: Sophie's World
Author: Jostein Gaarder
Genre: Philosophy, YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 530
Date read: April, 2010

Wanting to understand the most fundamental questions of the universe isn't the province of ivory-tower intellectuals alone. A young girl, Sophie, becomes embroiled in a discussion of philosophy with a faceless correspondent. At the same time, she must unravel a mystery involving another young girl, Hilde, by using everything she's learning. The truth is far more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

I am absolutely serious in labelling this YA. It came as a surprise to me, as I had definitely previously thought it was aimed at adults, but on this third reread, I discovered that the writing style is much more that of an YA novel, than that of an 'adult' novel. Truth be told, I wasn't too impressed by the writing style, and did not enjoy it nearly as much, as I had when I read it as a teen.

This is the third time I've read "Sophie's World". I first attempted it when I was 14/15 because my principal had told my class that we were too young for it, and I wanted to prove him wrong! ;) I won't say that he didn't turn out to be right after all, but I got through it, and was very proud of myself when adults were amazed that I'd finished it. I started skimming through it a couple of years later, just intending to read the Sophie parts of the story, but got sucked in and couldn't put it down. Since then, I've been meaning to reread it, to see what I'd think of it at the ripe old age of 30, and finally got around to do so over Easter. I'm no longer entirely sure what I think of it though. As mentioned above, I wasn't too impressed by the writing style, and I'm not too sure about the plot either. Why did Jostein Gaarder write a novel rather than a non-fictional book about philosophy? Simply to make it more accessible to your average readers? I'd like to believe that the philosophy course is pretty accurate, but don't know enough about philosophy, to know whether or not Gaarder did proper research. But what does Darwin have to do in a book about philosophy? Wasn't he a scientist more than anything else?

I still do think it's an interesting introduction to philosophy, but that's pretty much the only reason anybody should read this. The plot is practically non-existant, and it definitely reads more like a non-fiction than like a novel, making it rather heavy to get through (not text-book heavy, fortunately - or I'd never gotten through it ;) - just heavy for a novel).
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Title: Saving Faith
Author: Patrick M. Garry
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5/10
# pages: 283
Date read: December, 2008

Summary: Because of a misguided medical diagnosis as an orphaned child, Jack Fenien was never adopted. Now, two years after leaving the orphanage, he works as a repossessor for a used car dealer. One night, he enters a bar looking for Ev Sorin, whose car Jack has mistakenly towed. Expecting violent anger, he is surprised when Ev reacts with indifference; but as Jack soon discovers, Ev - a disgraced journalist - has bigger problems on his mind.

The next day, in the same courthouse to which Jack and Ev have gone to arrange for the release of Ev's car from the impound lot, a nurse and young woman sit in a crowded courtroom opposite a row of lawyers, asking the judge to keep alive a comatose patient whose true identity is unknown but who has been given the name Faith Powers. After the hearing, Ev seeks out the nurse - not for years has he done a real story, and he feels a sudden urge to be a journalist again. It is an urge that will connect Jack with Clare, the troubled young woman who appears to have an almost fanatical attachment to Faith.

Although the characters initially focus on investigating Faith's real identity, they eventually come to use Faith as a catalyst for changing their own lives. But not until a seemingly random shooting occurs in the city do the characters become truly immersed in the mysteries of the patient and of each other.

Review: I originally picked up Saving Faith because despite the fact that it was published more than 18 months ago, there was still only one review of it on Amazon. That is highly unusual, and made me curious. After having read it, I understand the lack of reviews, because it's very difficult to figure out what to say about it. The premise seemed original, and the plot would probably have been very interesting, if only the characters had managed to win my affection. It wasn't that I actually disliked the characters - I just discovered that I simply didn't care about them or their plight at all. This made it difficult to get properly engaged in the story, which is a shame, as it was otherwise very well written, so I don't know exactly why the characters failed to win my sympathy.

The ending is either a stroke of brilliancy or frustratingly anti-climatic. I haven't quite figured out which yet, and will leave that verdict up to other readers to decide for him- or herself.

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Title: A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 980
Date read: December, 2008

Summary: The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence - with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie's death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.

Review: I probably thought higher of this when I read it last, but for what I think is the first time ever I didn't rush through one of Gabaldon's books, but actually took the better part of a month to read it. part of this is certainly that it's such a long book, and a book I'd read before so I felt no need to rush through it to know what happened, but it was also that it suddenly struck me how much calamity befell the lives of the Frasers... and it simply stopped being believable - even in their universe.

Still, Gabaldon is a capable writer, and I did enjoy the book hugely - after all, it still gets a good rating :) We got a lot of loose threads tied up, which I appreciate and I especially enjoyed the ending, even if it does make me wonder how she'll continue in her next book... whenever that may come out.

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Title: My Legendary Girlfriend
Author: Mike Gayle
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/10
# pages: 200+ pages
Date read: October, 2008

Summary: It's been three years since Will's heartthrob, Agnes, wrecked his life with a chat that started, "It's like that song. If you love somebody, set him free." But no matter how much time goes by, Will doesn't feel very free. He still makes lists of each birthday present Aggi ever gave him, has gymnastic fantasies about a perfect reunion night with her, dwells on the first words she uttered to him.

How long can a person stay down in the dumps after being dumped? And how much longer before Will dumps Martina, the sweet but clingy girl he's seeing? Will anyone ever measure up to his Legendary Girlfriend?

Review: One of the lowest ratings I've ever given. The reason I didn't write an exact number of pages is that I merely skimmed the last half of the book so I'm not entirely sure how many pages beyond 200 I read. I only kept reading/skimming because I'm reading this for a book club and wanted to be able to keep up with what the others were saying. Fortunately it was so soap-opera'ish that even with skimming half the book, I still got all the major plot points (I think). It's like a male version of Bridget Jones' Diary, only worse. Really, really boring and - I guess - a genre that just doesn't appeal to me.

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Title: Cross-Stitch (UK version of "Outlander")
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 10/10
# pages: 863
Date read: January, 2008

Summary: In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review: This is the first time I've ever read Cross-Stitch rather than Outlander and while the differences between the UK and the US were very few and far between, I've still read the US version enough times, that I find it unnerving whenever I came across an edit. I mean, would Claire ever have said "The mind boggles" in the original? No, I didn't think so either. Some scenes have been left out too, and while it means nothing plot-wise, it still bugged me. Ah well, if past experience is anything to go by, then this copy will soon have been read to tatters and I'll buy a new one anyway, and make sure it's Outlander once again ;)

That said, this book remains one of my all-time favourites. It has action, comedy, romance, tragedy... everything a girl could wish for. By far the best of the series I read it once every second year or so and never seem to tire of it.

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Title: A Week from Sunday
Author: Dorothy Garlock
Genre: Romance
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 372
Date read: November, 2007

Review: Adrianna Moore is just 25 when she loses her father. Still reeling from the shock of suddenly becoming an orphan, grief turns to despair when her father's colleague, Richard Pope, tells her that he is the executor of her state, and it was her father's wish that she should marry him, otherwise she would get nothing of her inheritance.

From the very start there is no doubt that Mr. Pope is a psychotic and creepy older man - how creepy is not fully revealed until later - and Adrianna does the only thing possible in that time - she runs away. But on the wet streets in the pouring rain she loses control over her car, and crashes into a truck. Fortunate to survive the crash, the female doctor of the nearby town recommends that she stays with Quinn whose truck she crashed into, in order to keep away from Mr. Pope and at the same time, help Quinn with his brother. Reluctant at first, she agrees and soon becomes good friends with Quinn and Jesse, and sworn enemies with Quinn's househelp who has long had her eyes on Quinn. Tempers rise until it all comes to a head when Richard Pope comes to town...

As a good old-fashioned romance in the style of Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown, A Week from Sunday is a delightful historical novel filled with conniving lawyers, murderous housemaids and of course the indispensable rugged hero.

A Week from Sunday cannot claim to be anything but a light read, but even so it is totally addictive as it draws you into a quiet Louisiana town of the 1930's. While I did think Mr. Pope got off much too easily for his pompous and honestly rather stalkerish behaviour, the ending was very satisfactory and nicely tied up all loose ends. I highly recommend A Week from Sunday for a couple of hours' escapism. (Written for Armchair Interviews)

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Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 205
Date read: August, 2007

Summary: "Stardust" tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land include escaping evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold.

Review: This book is written according to the age old rules of fairytale telling - you don't see many books like that these days where fantasy books are going more in the direction of LotR and HP than Cinderella and Snowwhite. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a refreshing change to come across a book like "Stardust". It seems childlike in it's way of telling the story even though it is in no way solely a book for children. I liked it more than I'd expected to.

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Title: Lord John and the Private Matter
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 7/10
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: June, 2007

Summary: After accidentally observing a spot on Joseph Trevelyan's "privy member," Major Lord John Grey finds himself in a devilishly difficult position because Trevelyan is about to marry Grey's cousin, who has no idea her fiance is infected with the pox. As he searches for a discreet way to confirm his suspicions, Grey is dragged into a different kind of investigation. British Army requisition papers have vanished in Calais, and Grey must find out if there is some connection between their disappearance and the recent murder of a possible spy Sergeant Timothy O'Connell. Grey, who has a secret of his own to protect, begins an investigation into O'Connell's death, which, interestingly enough, leads to Trevelyan and a mysterious woman in green velvet whose identity may provide answers to all of Grey's questions.

Review: I'd heard very varied opinions of this book, but mostly bad, so I was expecting not to like it much, and was thus very pleasantly surprised! Sure, it doesn't even begin to compare to Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, but she does an excellent job of examining John Grey's character in greater depth than what Outlander allows. There are fewer characters you can relate to than in the Outlander series, as the book focuses almost solely on John Grey so you don't really get to know anybody else. It was an enjoyable read, but if you expect something similar to Outlander, you'll be very disappointed.

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Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/10
# pages: 500
Date read: November, 2006

Summary: Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can't turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss's recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday's adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale's wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (From

Review: I was unfortunately really disappointed by this one. I had had such high hopes for it, as it's come highly recommended to me by just about everybody, but honestly I found it somewhat boring and difficult to get through. If all of Neil Gaiman's books are like this, I don't think I'll be reading any more of them.

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