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Seven books

1) Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry. Reader, I lol-ed. This book isn’t for everyone: it has a very dark sense of humor. It’s raunchy and obnoxious, but the author made the protagonist real enough for me that went right along with it.

Setup: Bitchy ad exec Amanda Feral finds herself transformed into a zombie and has to learn to navigate the secret world of the supernatural.

It was a lot of fun, but the big drawback was the detective plot the book is structured around. At some point I’m going to have to do a post about horror plots and detective plots, and how much better UF would be if there were more of the former and less of the latter. And the detective plot is a drawback here. These bold and forthright characters should be mixed up in a supernatural version of DYNASTY or something, not a (funny) Simon & Simon. Still, a fun book.

2) Carry On, Jeeves (A Jeeves and Bertie Novel) by PG Wodehouse. I finally gave this a try. Setup: Extraordinarily capable valet solves his rich, feckless employer’s problems.

Reading Bertie Wooster’s voice was fun, but the stories didn’t hold my interest. I laughed while I read each story, but in between stories I didn’t have any urge to keep on. These are terrific books for a different reader.

3) & 4) Yotsuba &! Vol 6 and 7 I figured, after Volume 5, that I was going to burn out on these, but it just isn’t happening. Setup: Yotsuba is a five-year-old girl with a single father in modern Japan. That’s it. Like most kids, she’s a creature of intense emotion, and each chapter chronicles her exposure to some new everyday thing: Bicycles, milk, telephones. It’s all slice of life stuff.

Volume six was fun. Volume seven made me laugh like crazy several times. If you’re looking for comics that will just make you feel good, these are them. (They’re kid-friendly, too.)

5) Changes by Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files reaches book 12. Setup: This time it’s personal!

So, the Red Court vampires–the main baddy through the last several books–have kidnapped a daughter that Harry Dresden didn’t even know he had. They’re going to sacrifice her in a huge magic ritual which will kill Harry and have other mysterious effects that can only be puzzled out in the last 80 pages to give extra context to the final act battle.

Here’s the thing: It’s a terrific adventure story. Lots of battling impossible odds. Lots of battling. Tons of it, in fact. Almost too much. This book also brings back plot points from earlier novels–stuff that happened in much earlier books starts paying off now–not that I remember those earlier novels all that well. I don’t retain information like “workmen removed asbestos from Harry’s office in book whatever,” years after I read it. Things like that slide off my memory. For a while now, I’ve had trouble placing some of the recurring characters. With this one, though, the narrative handles that pretty well. I wasn’t lost once.

Also, the heroics have a much higher price for Our Hero this time. Harry can’t skate through with minimal losses on this one–the conflicts are too big and the choices are too hard. I loved that part of it. So it’s a terrific book, but don’t start here.

6) Chasing the Dragon by Nicholas Kaufmann. A slim, punchy horror novel with an urban fantasy flavor to it. Setup: A young woman, the last in a line of dragon slayers, hunts a very old, very nasty dragon. But it’s hard to fight monsters when you’re a heroin addict.

If the protagonist could speak to ghosts or was half-vampire or something, this would be a straight-up urban fantasy. Instead, her only power is the awesome ability to turn her own life into a flaming wreck. The creature she’s chasing across the American Southwest (the setting wasn’t terribly specific, as I remember) is strong, has terrible sharp claws, can raise the dead and breathes fire. It’s a CHILL villain turned extreme, and the story of the character’s battles with it is interspersed with flashbacks describing how she ended up in this life. I’ll admit that I saw part of the ending coming, but what the hell. I enjoyed it.

7) The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Setup: A woman opens a private detective company in her native Botswana.

OMG, the twee, I can’t stand it. I wanted to punch this book in its cutesy fucking mouth.

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2010 09:06 am (UTC)
Best review ever!
"OMG, the twee, I can’t stand it. I wanted to punch this book in its cutesy fucking mouth."
May. 20th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Best review ever!
The main character's name is "Precious" and that's the tone of the book, too.

But it's a best seller, so I thought I should give it a try.
May. 20th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
I think I just word-vomited all over your post. in many parentheticals.
In the description of the dresden novel I kept waiting for the "but" and when it was "don't start here" I did a little happy dance in my chair (I have all up to White Knight (because I want them all the be the same format and they started out paperback so I wait for the pb and now the mass market pb is BIGGER than the rest and I'm all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) and have read through Turn Coat, so thats not an issue for me) I'm totally curious about the mom (its not like Harry's Casanova or anything) but I don't actually want you to tell me (much like when someone says "I have a present for you! you can't have it until X though" and I beg and beg and beg to know what it is)

I haven't read the McCall Smith books in part because of that, and in part because I might not mind and I don't want to know that about myself.

I love Jeeves and Wooster, but the stories aren't why I love them. I just love their voices. If Wodehouse had just written dialog between them, I would still happily read everything Jeeves and Wooster. I think you are the one that posted the "If Bertie Wooster was Batman" link I love so much, but in case you weren't, its up at mightygodking (can't link you because work blocks the site)
May. 20th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I just word-vomited all over your post. in many parentheticals.
Yeah, the Bertie Batman thing was me. I thought that was hilarious, too, even though I hadn't read any Wodehouse.

The identity of the mom is revealed on the first page. In the first sentence, in fact. You can read sample chapters here. /temptation

Edited at 2010-05-20 03:36 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed Chasing the Dragon, Harry! I'll admit, though, I had to Google what CHILL is--I'm so square!
May. 20th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
The way CHILL handles weird events in the game is to give the supernatural monsters something like powers or inherent spells, and one of them was to make the dead rise up and fight the good guys. It was a pretty obscure game when it came out (both times!) so there's no surprise you wouldn't know about it.

Of course, when I got my first check for Child of Fire, I treated myself to all the first-edition supplements I hadn't bought before. Complete collection for the win!
May. 20th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
A fine use of your money!
May. 21st, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
I liked #7!
May. 21st, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
::thinks less of you::
May. 21st, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
:: pretends she didn't hear that::
May. 21st, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
::lives his life that way::
May. 21st, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
1 sounds interesting.

I have been meaning to post reviews of the many books I have been reading, but I have not taken the time and brainpower to make anything cohesive and legible.

"how much better UF would be if there were more of the former and less of the latter. "

I agree
May. 21st, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Book 1 is interesting. It's flawed and funny and weird.
There are two sequels, but I don't know if any more are planned.

And you don't have to write something long and incisive about the books you read. I lumped a bunch of quick recaps together in one post, but I know people who review on Twitter. Short and sweet works, too.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:47
    Oh, yeah, excellent point.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:46
    Oh yeah. Like the lawyers who get obvious really venal criminals off because it makes their success rate look good. But those are not the ones I am referring to in meaning well. These guys are mixed…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 20:37
    This reminds me of the time my wife was injured and the insurance guy handling her case did everything possible to deny and stall the payment. We had to put her surgery on a credit card because this…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:24
    The creepiest part is that some of them are actually well meaning.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:08
    Yeah. It's godawful what people will do when they have authority and no fear about using it.
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