For this month's Reread Challenge over at Nath's blog (link also on sidebar), I reread Anne Bishop's first book in the Black Jewels Trilogy. The copy I have is one of the original mass market versions published by Roc in 1998, this is the cover on the left. The cover on the right is the new one. There are now several versions (mm, qp, ebook, etc.) available, many listed on the author's website listed in the link embedded in the title above. DotB is dark fantasy. To see a list of this month's Reread Challenge participants click here. To read my original comments on this series, click here.
Ms. Bishop created a formidably complex world in this book, one that completely fascinated me. Parts of Daughter of the Blood were dark enough, torturous enough that I don't read them. I stopped reading certain characters' vignettes halfway through the first time I picked this book up. That hasn't changed. I reread this series every year and every year I just can't do it.
In this world, the Blood are a people gifted with magic. Individuals have gifts of varying degrees which are symbolized by colored jewels given during certain childhood rituals. The Blood are spread among several small connected countries and often live among nonmagical humans, called landens. Generally, the Blood believe that women are the symbolic vessel of power, thus Blood societies are of a matriarchal feudal type. Men serve in various capacities, some of which are usually thought of as typically female: contraception within committed relationships, protecting the woman from overextending herself (sometimes via magic) and similar.
Ok. So there are two young men, named Lucivar and Daemon, who are hugely gifted with power, who have been enslaved by morally corrupt ruling queens who are murdering their female rivals. They keep powerful males weak and submissive via pain and torture and outright murder since ordinarily a powerful male would kill off a ruling queen who is corrupt. These women are in a quest to dominate all of the countries around them. These two young men are friends of a sort, a bond forged in pain and suffering. A seven year old little girl visits each of them, under bizarre circumstances, in secret.
The little girl intrigues everyone she meets. It's rapidly apparent that she was gifted with more power than anyone ever. This, unfortunately, sets her apart- makes her an outlier to use Malcolm Gladwell's phrase. Jaenelle Angelline, even at her young age, has secrets- dark secrets that make the ones who love her most fearful for her very survival. Will Jaenelle survive to fulfill her destiny, whatever that might be?
Daughter of the Blood is the story of Jaenelle, Daemon, Lucivar and Saetan. It is an age old story in some ways: depravity, immorality to the point of being a sociopath, greed for power and influence. Corruption. Suffering. Finding one's purpose in life. Compassion. The story hops between various viewpoints, always furthering the plot one step at a time. However, it continues into book two, Heir to the Shadows. There is no resolution at the end of this book. I absolutely love this series & recommend it often. Ms. Bishop's newest release, The Shadow Queen, came out in March and is set in this world and is linked to The Invisible Ring.
Images found on Tower and Mobipocket.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I've finished several books recently, reviews coming soon.
1. Evernight, Claudia Gray YA vampire
2. Why Mermaids Sing, C. S. Harris~ Regency mystery Sebastian St. Cyr series
3. Where Serpents Sleep, C. S. Harris~ Regency mystery Sebastian St. Cyr series
I'm fighting off a reading slump here. I really fell in love with CS Harris' Sebastian series, but Where Serpent's Sleep is the most recent title & she says the next one won't be out until October or November of this year, according to a post on her blog. I've picked up The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop, cover & link on sidebar on the left. Not currently listening to an audiobook.
OOOOO-OOOO- I just remembered! How could I forget?! Hubby and I are jointly reading Lynn Viehl's Dark Need, part of her Darkyn paranormal romance series. I'm so excited! He knows about my love for vampire romances & wanted to read one to see 'what it's all about.' Coming soon.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I borrowed this from the library for My Hubby since he likes this type of thriller. Click link in title above to go to Mr. Berry's website. TCP was published in 2008 by Ballantine. It is the latest (fourth) title in the ongoing series of adventures starring Mr. Berry's protagonist, Cotton Malone. The first book in the series is The Templar Legacy. I've only read one other Steve Berry book, The Romanov Prophecy which review you can read HERE. The Hubby wrote this review- he's tickled pink at my request & I'm happy to have his help. With no further delay:
In the latest story of Cotton Malone, a former Justice Dept. lawyer-agent & now bookseller, the circumstances surrounding the death of his father thirty eight years ago need to be revealed. In book four of the series, most of the world's treasures have been revealed to a select group of White House personnel. There are several groups who wish to investigate what happened to a nuclear submarine that was supposed to be in the north Atlantic. Survivors of the missing crew members want to know the specifics: who, what, where, when & why. How do ancient books, ancient civilizations and high level inside the Beltway power plays influence the outcome?
The Charlemagne Pursuit is an easy, take on vacation kind of book. Cotton Malone, the main character, seems to have gotten smarter as the series moved on, although he's always a pawn on the chessboard of higher authorities. I'm not sure why there are so many White House power players involved in an Indiana Jones type scavenger hunt but their influence makes hopping continents, carrying weapons and sliding past customs much easier. Then there is the usual spider web of FBI, intelligence and security advisors double crossing each other complicated with real and artificial connections to the past plus a few fortune hunters and lost civilizations thrown in for good measure.
While it's formulaic, TCP does make you wonder just how many warehouses filled with Indiana Jones type treasures do we have? Mr. Berry will certainly keep you guessing about where it will end. An almost believable ending. 3 out of 5 stars on the man-meter.
Image found on Fantastic Fiction
Monday, March 23, 2009
I can't believe I've not written one of these since right before Thanksgiving! I'm falling behind. What else is new? I suppose much has happened since then, but I'll be damned if I can think of anything worth posting. On that cheery note, here goes.
The Hubster~ Now! Rounding into the final stretch, as they say at the Kentucky Derby, of school. He'll graduate in mid May, should the final med-surg rotation not kill him. Or..more accurately, induce him to kill someone else in sheer frustration at their stupidity. These years of nursing school have done more to instill in me a deep seated suspicion regarding the quality of medical professionals than almost anything else could have. Except perhaps studying medical malpractice cases. Anyhow. Other than being frazzled within an inch of his life, being harassed at work because he's a) the only male and b) the only white person in his section he's fine. The work situation has been straightened out, supposedly, with explanations to him that people were formally reprimanded & others will be moved. No fault to him. We shall see. Just the other day we put in for an out of state nursing position in New England. I've no idea if he'll get it or not, it was a spur of the moment thing. In his current field, in the state where we tried to move years ago when he got out of the military. *sigh* The timing is awful.
College Student~ His loan money finally came in. He had to wait until the second semester for it all- good thing he rooms with relatives who were understanding. I can only imagine the troubles late loan money caused other needy students. His bills are totally caught up now & he has a little set aside for the last few weeks of school. I suppose it's better late than never, but I'm angry that he had to scrape by on so little for so long. His ancient vehicle is still creaking along, but her status is iffy for next school year. It's likely his summer job money will go towards a down payment on a newer used vehicle. His summer job will be at the McDonald's where he worked last summer. He's hoping to find something that pays better, but if his initiative holds true he'll stick with the golden arches & not bother with a serious job hunt. The path of least resistance being his tried and true preference. I mentioned to him that he might look for a sugar mama so she can keep him in the style to which he'd like to become adjusted. I was only slightly kidding.
Anime Queen~ Still doesn't have the balance between socializing and academics. Barely has her head above water and may not be able to continue in her program for the final year (senior year, the 09-10 academic year). She insists she's going to pull it all together at the end. I have serious doubts, but I'm doing everything I can to help her short of outright torture. On a brighter note, she's thinking of applying to art school & has asked her art teacher to help her put together a portfolio. We've scheduled a visit to Tiny Downstate Ladies College, which has an excellent regional reputation and supposedly a proven track record for nurturing young women's intellectual growth. HMPH. She needs 50 lashes and a stint in basic training is what she needs. A good drill sergeant to keep her on track. Unfortunately that's me. :(
Pianist~ Has had some rough moments, academically. All of which appear to be related to a mild case of attentional problems: severe disorganization, late work, bad attitude in school, talkative, no impulse control to speak of, etc. These issues seem to be under control at the moment, with a little pharmaceutical assistance. That we seem to have found a solution is backed up by dramatically improved grades and a marked decrease in annoyed and vaguely threatening phone calls from the school administration. Musically he's doing well, bonus points for weeks in which he bothered to practice properly. He's in the handbell choir with Anime Queen and me, but hasn't been able to sing in the Schola as the rehearsal runs too late on a school night. His friend, the one whose mother suddenly passed away just before Thanksgiving, appears to be coping relatively well. Her unexpected death has prompted meaningful changes in the medical screening of emergency personnel in our area. We hope anyway.
Me~ Um. A little stressed. One kid whose school money got caught in the Great Depression v. 2.0. One kid whose brain seems to have gone out on extended vacation & may not return. One kid whose formerly supernova academic star suddenly looked incredibly dim and who couldn't keep a civil tongue in his mouth. A husband whose work life abruptly became hostile & who is in the middle of the last year of school. So now that everyone else has had a turn to freak out, it's mom's turn for a minor breakdown. It came as no surprise that I'd gained 10 pounds over last year's physical, although my blood pressure is now in the normal range. I was "plump" before and now I think I've definitely graduated into "round". I tell myself that round is a shape. I can't concentrate on the books I pick up & it has been hard to keep up with the blog. The Hubster is worried about me & tells me that I mustn't take Anime Queen's antics to heart, that she is old enough to reap what she sows, that it doesn't reflect on me, that at 17 she's old enough to take responsibility for her actions. I know these things in my head, but how to convince my heart?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I picked this title to read for the TBR Challenge over at Keishon's blog Avid Reader. Link to Ms. Franklin's site is in the title above. This title was published in the US by Putnam's Sons in 2007. The image here is of the audio edition becaue the cover is brighter & sharper than the others I found. I read the book. Image from Audioeditions.com MOTAOD is set in 1171 Cambridge England. I was captured by the jacket sleeve description and the cover image. I absolutely love historical mysteries, especially ones that start with a bang and capture my interest right off the bat. Which happens less often than you might think.
Beginning in the previous year several children have been brutally murdered. The convenient scapegoat was the local Jewish population, who have since been locked in the sheriff's castle for their own protection. The King is in a politically and financially delicate situation. He needs the Jews released because they are, in effect, the nation's bankers. He's also responsible for the safety of the population, and perhaps he should try to see that justice is served. Er. So how to exact justice without unduly roiling the peasants or the Church? Because, you know, the murder of Thomas a Becket caused Henry no end of problems. This is an actual event: four of Henry's men behead Becket in church during the vespers service. The aftermath of Becket's murder has a direct impact on Adelia & her investigation into the deaths, which is why I raise this point here. Hmm. Now that I think of it, one of Adelia's suspects shares a name with one of the known participants in Becket's murder. Nice touch. Icky though. *shiver*
Arriving in England from Salerno Italy are Adelia Aguilar, a female physician specializing in death and decomposition; Simon Menahem, an elderly man in the employ of the King of Sicily & her escort and a tall, imposing Muslim named Mansur who happens to be Adelia's servant. Along the main road to Cambridge Adelia has the great good fortune to come across Prior Geoffrey, an Augustinian with significant power and influence in the region. In rescuing Prior Geoffrey from an enlarged prostate, Adelia wins herself an ally who is able to set her up in Cambridge and set the trio off on the right foot. Also playing meaningful roles are Gyltha the housekeeper (and Geoffrey's former paramour) and her nine year old grandson Ulf. Oh yes, remember too the smelly dog Safeguard.
Anyhow. First, this is not history lite. Second, I will warn you that the end section of the book is exceptionally gruesome without being explicit. Third, the relationship between Adelia and Sir Roland Picot the King's tax collector is prickly- yet also disarming & realistic. A nice touch. I like them together, they balance each other. All of the characters are drawn in with a very sharp attention to detail, very realistic and rounded. I admit to figuring out the identity of the 'bad guy', but it took me a good while and I really wasn't 100% sure until the end.
An excellent book. I plan to collect this author.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Read very little, actually. Very slow month. Listed in the order I read them. All books reviewed, link provided. In the case of the DNF I linked to my thought process & talked about why I didn't finish.
1. The Skinny; Rayni Joan
2. The Girl of His Dreams; Donna Leon
3. In Defense of Food; Michael Pollan
4. The Draining Lake; Arnaldur Indridason
5. Stranger in my Arms; Lisa Kleypas
Helen of Troy; Margaret George more information here.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
This is a space opera written by young adult author Scott Westerfeld, who is also known for the Uglies series and Peep. Mr. Westerfeld originally wrote this as one manuscript, but according to his website in the United States The Risen Empire was split into two books at the behest of “a large book chain”. Thus, in the United States it is available in two volumes. The Risen Empire and The Killing Fields are the two titles in the U.S. In the United Kingdom it was published in its original format as one volume titled: The Risen Empire, ISBN 0-7394-3801-8. The two volumes are a continuation of one story. Do not begin The Risen Empire without also having The Killing of Worlds as well. After reading this I hope Mr.Westerfeld writes more books in this world, I really enjoyed these novels.
The setup is a plot within a plot involving politics, religion and technology. Deception. Fear of the unknown. Secrets. The overarching plot is relatively straightforward. You have two competing empires fighting over one planet, Legis XV. The Risen Empire of the title is a conglomeration of eighty worlds ruled by the Emperor and his little Sister, who is known as the Child Empress. The Rix’ (the competing empire) preferred method of conquest is by propigating so called ‘hive mind’ or ‘compound mind’ computer entities made up of all computers on a given world on planets they’ve conquered. The Emperor & his government & their peoples disagree. They feel that people should control the machines, not the other way around. All of this comes to a head on the planet Legis XV when the Rix manage to take the Child Empress hostage. Thus all of the might of the Risen World Empire is brought to bear to rescue her.
The other plot involves the military officer, Laurent Zai, of the Risen Empire, his ship Lynx, both of whom were sent to Legis and the highest political officials of the Emperor and a cover up. Due to the distances and the time required for travel, the story evolves across two planets, Legis and the Emperor’s home planet (simply called Home) as well as the frigate space ship which spends much of its time in an ongoing fight. Kind of like a fight between the giant navy ships of the early 19th century, space battles involve lots of physics and educated guesses about the enemy’s tactics and pushing your crew and your ship to the limits of its physical capabilities. Similar to chess, except with real people as the stakes.
This is my first foray into ‘space opera’ and I have to say I enjoyed it very much. Lots of adventure and edge of your seat military operations with a bit of romance and treachery thrown in for good measure. Mr. Westerfeld wraps up just enough threads to satisfy this reader and leave me hungry for more. Very highly recommended.
Images found on Macmillan and Powells.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The photos are late because one the kids had taken the camera to school & I had to wait for them to bring it back home. I'm unsure why the second & third photos are so yellow tinged, but the first photo is the actual color of the room. The tiles, as you can tell, are authentic 1950's era black and peach/pink. I'm not wedded to the shower curtain, necessarily, but I've not looked at new ones either.
Any ideas? As I said, we're renting & I can't make major changes. The room faces NE and is only 7'X 5'.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This post is inspired by Cindy at Nocturnal Wonderings. Our bathroom is desperately in need of a facelift. First off, we are renting our duplex, so I can't redo the tile or the floor. The one window is frosted glass, ancient but operable, nearly 60 years old, original to the building. Between the rust and the mold, it drives me batty. When we first painted the apartment I took it apart, sanded it down & used wire brushes to get rid of the rust and then painted it all over with Rustoleum. It worked fine. Now it's about 5 years later and I desperately need to redo it all. The whole bathroom, not only the window.
The room faces northeast, so it tends to be dark. Currently it's a medium to dark olive green. Olive was a bad idea. I like it, but it's too dark. Ferns love this room. There is no exhaust fan. The landlord had to come in and redo the floors and part of the walls due to faulty plumbing. They painted the lower half of the walls a cheap oyster white that runs if you touch it while the wall is damp after showers. It's also unscrubbable. Yuck. Originally I thought I'd put up a chair rail and maybe some paper over the lower part & leave the upper half alone. I still might do that. I want some input though.
I'm nothing if not indecisive. The room is only 7' X 5' (a glorified closet) and faces NE. I'll put photos up later this afternoon so you can see what I'm talking about.
1. I want a lighter color to brighten the room. The hallway outside the bath is butter yellow. I'm not a person whose entire house has to be color coordinated, although it's likely a good idea in such a small place. Any ideas?
2. I can't put in an exhaust fan, as neither of us has enough electrical knowledge to install one safely. We're willing, but don't know enough.
3. Do you think chair rail & wallpaper on the lower half will make the room feel smaller? I doubt the room could feel smaller than it already is, but you never know.
Please help me think. Any ideas or input are welcome. I won't start this project until April and I'll put photos up when I'm done.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Sorry I've not been here all weekend, the weather was gorgeous & we were busy. If you left comments between last Thursday and Sunday I've replied. Every week I tell myself I need to write up a few posts to schedule but I almost never actually write them. Somehow, I'm not often organized enough or I don't have ideas to post about & can't natter on about nothing for days on end (believe it or not, lol).
We drove down to My Lovely Sister's house and had a wonderful Irish lunch (corned beef and cabbage) and played outside in the sun with Nephews 1 & 2. Little nephew 2 swatted Hubby with a badminton racquet just above the right elbow on the inner arm- the spot is now as big as my palm & black. Hubby just laughs and says the nephew has a great arm & that Hubby will simply have to pay more attention next time. LOL :) Little nephew 2 and I played frisbee together. Hubby turns out to be correct, the kid has an arm. He regularly tossed the frisbee directly to me or within arm's reach. My lack of hand eye coordination was what made the whole thing funny to watch.
After a fun family afternoon, we were driving home (it's about an hour and forty five minutes), Pianist and Anime Queen were snoozing in the back seat. Hubby looks at me as I'm trying to stay awake beside him. "So, sweetie, what are we serving for coffee hour at church tomorrow?" O. M. G. !! I totally forgot. Therefore: no food bought or made. Generally there is a twelve week sign up sheet for coffee hour hosts after the eleven o'clock service at church. I signed up for one in January & then forgot & we weren't even in church that day! *BLUSH* So, I really felt bad that I'd forgotten again. Jeez. Later that night we bought two small cheesecakes, a pineapple, some dip and veggies for a veggie tray & we were set.
Then we realize that Sunday morning was "spring forward" day. As in- move the clocks ahead an hour at 0200 (am). Here we thought it was only 11:30 pm & in fact it was actually 12:30 am and we were all wide awake. We're slow in the morning & we'd have to leave for church at 9:30 to prep the food & set up for coffee hour. :(
Coffee hour went well, despite the er..lack of early preparation, not to mention lack of adequate sleep. We had fresh pineapple & watermelon slices & a veggie tray & two cheeses & & two quiches & pita chips plus juice, sherry & coffee. The sherry and the coffee are provided by the parishoners, thank goodness. *phew!* Most everything was gone except for some watermelon and pineapple chunks. We didn't return home until the middle of the afternoon. Yesterday was sunny & incredibly warm (73 F) & the house was 80 inside. Way, way too hot for March. We dragged out the fans and turned the air conditioning on to cool the house down. Then it was naptime for Hubby and me. The kids worked on homework all afternoon. Hubby roasted a delicious chicken with potatoes & carrots. A peaceful end to a gorgeous weekend.
I did manage to read a few pages in the Scott Westerfeld science fiction book I'm steadily working on. I totally ignored my email & my feed reader, both of which I will now go & winnow.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Click link in the title above to read article. You may need to register to read it, that's free. The New York Times will be ranking best selling graphic novels, including manga. I read several manga online & I enjoy them quite a bit. They're a little too rich for my blood, especially since they're so quick to read, but I'm hopeful our libraries will buy some series to keep the kids happy. I hope to order some from the library, notably Persepolis (sp??) and Watchmen. I hope to use the list to find others.
There is also a new site, related to Bookreporter.com, called Graphic Novel Reporter that has all kinds of new info, including a blog and a newsletter, all related to graphic novels.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
First: Found via Walker of Worlds Random House has started a new site called Suduvu, where you can download books from them & they're offering five titles free this month! They are: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt. If you sign up for their emails they will notify you when they have more free titles (monthly?). I downloaded the Naomi Novik title.
Second: I'm giving up on the Helen of Troy audiobook, strictly because it's too long, I'm too far behind & I keep forgetting them in the car & they go back and forth to work with Hubby. :( I've no renewals left.
Third: I'm currently buried under a windfall of library treasures, most of which are on their second renewal. I just picked up three more today & another is coming via interlibrary loan.
Fourth: My reading pace is slowing down. Like the famous molasses flood in January in Boston- sssslllllooowwwwweeeerrrrr and sssslllooowwwwwweeeerrrr and sssssllllooooowwwwwweeeeerrrrrrrr..
Monday, March 02, 2009
If you’re a regular Bookwormom reader you might remember me mentioning a new contributor to the chaos that is life here in Bookwormom Central. He’s about a year and a half old, which we’re told is a teenager in dogdom. Dunno about that last one, I read it somewhere. The inmates are now as follows: three teenagers (two humans and one dog), one Husband and one college student. Plus me. I’m probably the craziest of them all, truth be told.
Anyhow, I’m in a kind of reviewing dead zone right now. I’m in the middle of two rather large books & I read slowly. So I thought I’d discuss our newest family member. The last dog we loved lived with us for nine years. Sophie was a sheltie mix rescue dog. We loved her so much, there are so many cute stories I could tell you. But as is common she eventually reached a point where we had to be merciful and put her to sleep to end her suffering. After that it took us several years before we were willing to look for another family friend.
Our new friend’s name is either Sammy, the name he arrived with, or Bubba, the name we’ve christened him. After doing some brief searching we discovered that Bubba is probably an English Coonhound. A red tick coonhound. According to what I’ve read coonhounds are descendants of English hunting dogs. Anyhow, English Coonhounds are an American breed, common in areas where there’s a lot of hunting. As in- not here in suburbia. Anyhow, since coonhounds are a southern breed we wanted to give him a regional name. Thus: Bubba. Not that he answers to it, mind you.
He’s kind of freckled with white and copper in coin sized patches all over. Sort of like someone let him roll in cinnamon sugar & then turned it all into fur. His ears and head are mostly the copper color with a little splotch of white in the middle of his head. His fur is short and thick and coarse. He waves his tail in big round circles straight over his back. He looks like he’s a helicopter when he’s excited.
Just lately we’ve started calling him Cagney, after the famous actor who made gangsters famous. Remember how Cagney would sneer/snarl/curl his lip? I swear the dog wrinkles his upper lip on one side just like Cagney did. Honest.
How Bubba ended up here in suburbia is a long story. Ten days before Christmas we drove out to a rescue event looking for a dog to adopt. I asked one of the foster families which dog was the friendliest and was immediately handed Bubba’s leash. Hubby was with me and we hung out & chatted and were interviewed, etc.
Finally we pieced together his story. Bubba was found along a roadside out in Bristol VA (extreme opposite corner of the state, near TN; very rural area) as a small puppy. Someone rescued him and paired him with a family who kept him in an outdoor kennel with a large number of other dogs. He was there for quite a while before he was passed along to another foster family who kept lots of dogs in an outdoor kennel. This person drove a truck full of foster dogs way up here from Bristol to try and find these dogs homes. He needed another foster family to take him or for Bubba to be adopted out. His kennels were crowded & he needed to thin out the dogs if he could. Hubby’s theory is that Bubba was going to be someone’s hunting dog and was either separated from his owner while hunting or he escaped from a home or a pen.
There we were. Interested, but not thinking we’d take a dog home that day. For various reasons we were asked to take Bubba home on a trial basis as a foster family planning to become his permanent family once the papers and visits were finalized. We were handed his leash and his papers and here we are two months later. Bubba is ours.
He fits in pretty well. We had to housebreak him- kennel dogs not needing housebreaking. I have to say, though, that he’s a quick learner when he wants to be. LOL Hotdogs being a great motivator! Other than being housebroken he has very little manners training. Many of the behaviors you see in young puppies have started showing up in him, we assume that’s because he spent so much time kenneled & away from people. He’s fun and energetic, even when we walk him on our usual three mile loop he’s raring to go a short time later. Bubba seems to be a man’s dog: he goes crazy when Hubby or Pianist comes home, but less so for Anime Queen or me. He’ll cuddle with the Hubster, but not with the ladies.
We’re working on the manners. It’ll be a long struggle I think. He’s stubborn & willing to take a couple of miles if you give him an inch. We love him though & don’t want to go back to a quiet dogfree house.