Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meme, meme!

Devon tagged me for this one.

1. Total number of books I own: My collection's not really that big yet. I currently have 427 in my Librarything account--that's all fiction, books I've read and decided were keepers. I counted my TBR (EEK! Damn you, Devon! Cuz I didn't think it was this bad), and that total is 207. Plus I'm guessing around 100 books of nonfiction scattered around. So what's that, 725 or so?

2. Last book I bought: I was going to be very good and wait to get Agnes and the Hit Man from the library. But they're so slow, and it's been getting such good reviews. I was in Target tonight and I couldn't help myself. It was 30% off. I also bought Kidnapped! by Jo Leigh (even though I think that exclamation points in titles should be forbidden--SRSLY).

3. Last book I read: A Wild Pursuit, by Eloisa James. Review to come. :)

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss - My parents read a lot to me as a kid. I can still remember a lot of those books, but like many, many other children, this is one that certainly made a big impression.

The Great Brain, John D. Fitzgerald - Another one read to me, but I think it's also one of the first chapter books I read multiple times on my own.

Desiree, Annemarie Selinko - IIRC, the first real "grown-up" book I read. Still love to re-read this one.

The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery - My ultimate comfort read. Sick, sad, whatever the problem, this is the remedy.

This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart - My favorite book by my favorite author.

I think most people have done this meme by now, but if you haven't, join in the fun! :)

Twin, Dad, and I are off tomorrow to the mountains for some camping. Woo hoo! I might have pictures to share when I get back. To all the Americans - happy long weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Summer to Remember, Mary Balogh

Title: A Summer to Remember
Author: Mary Balogh
Published: 2002, Dell
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7/10

This is a re-read. I always love Balogh, and I'd nearly forgotten what this one was about. And then I saw it in the bookstore---reissued for the low, low price of $4.99! How was I to resist such a deal?

Cover blurb (because I don't feel like writing a synopsis tonight!):
Kit Butler is cool, dangerous, one of London’s most infamous bachelors—marriage is the last thing on his mind. But Kit’s family has other plans. Desperate to thwart his father’s matchmaking, Kit needs a Enter Miss Lauren Edgeworth.

A year after being abandoned at the altar, Lauren has determined that marriage is not for her. When these two fiercely independent souls meet, sparks fly—and a deal is hatched. Lauren will masquerade as Kit’s intended if he agrees to provide a passionate, adventurous, unforgettable summer. When summer ends, she will break off the engagement, rendering herself unmarriageable and leaving them both free. Everything is going perfectly—until Kit does the unthinkable: He begins to fall in love. A summer to remember is not enough for him. But how can he convince Lauren to be his...for better, for worse, for the rest of their lives?
Ah, Balogh. You are so lovely. A fake rake who's just a really nice guy. An ice princess who needs to learn to loosen up and enjoy life. What's not to like? Actually Lauren annoyed me occasionally with her woe-is-me martyrdom, but Kit is a delight. I always call Balogh books "nice" because they just are. I always find them very comforting reads.

This is the book that also introduced the Bedwyns and sent Balogh writing the Slightly [insert adjective] and the Simply [insert romantic sentiment] series.

Okay, that wasn't much of a review. Can I blame the hot weather? It is affecting my attention span, I think. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stardust, Neil Gaiman

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2001, HarperCollins
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 8/10

I have been meaning to read this book ever since Smart Bitch Candy went squee-crazy over it a couple months ago. Then the movie came out, which I really wanted to see, but it's just wrong to watch a movie before reading the book it's based on, so I finally got my ass in gear.

Tristran Thorn is a slightly goofy young man living in the town of Wall, in Victorian England. He has a serious case of puppy love for the town beauty, Victoria Forrester. In an effort to convince her to marry him, Tristran promises to cross the wall (the mysterious border between our world and the world of Faerie) and bring Victoria back a fallen star. He sets out to do so and soon finds the fallen star, which he is surprised to discover is a young woman named Yvaine. Trouble is, Tristran isn't the only one after the star. A trio of witches, some princes, and assorted other magical beings are also after her for various, mostly nefarious, reasons.

When I start a fantasy novel I expect it to be three things: a bit dense, fairly complicated, and very, very long. I know that this doesn't apply to every book in the genre (and I don't read a ton of fantasy), but it is what I generally expect. Stardust is none of these things. It is airy and whimsical; not insubstantial---we see Tristran's quest change him from an awkward boy into a confident man---but there are none of the complicated rules of the alternate reality that fantasy books often have. I felt like I just floated through the book, the world created in seeming haphazard fashion, but coming together to magical perfection in the end. It is just charming and winsome, and really very funny.

In the acknowledgments Gaiman calls it a fairy story for adults. And I think that about sums it up. :)

Now about the movie. Because, yes, I did see it. And I really loved it. They added tons of action scenes, some of the subtlety is naturally lost, and the ending is slightly Disney-fied, but I think it still captured the tone of the book well.

And look at Charlie Cox. Ack! Adorable!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I am happy because:

1. I got a job! A full-time library job that I'm very excited about. Yay me. It's in the cataloging department of the UNC library (which is enormous, by the way).
Interviewer: "So what do you think your biggest challenge would be in this job?"
Me: "Um, well, I don't really know how to catalog."
Interviewer: "That's okay. We can teach you that."
Oh, good. :)

2. Twin made me an adorable dress. I even let her put pictures of me on her blog.

3. I bought a ton of books today. Someone needs to restrain me. Take away my plastic. Every time I finish a book, I pull out about 10 others from the TBR that I really want to read and hem and haw about what to start next. So do I need more books? Definitely not. But I cannot help myself. Here is today's haul:
The Bride, Garwood (OMG, what possessed me? I haven't read Garwood in years.)
Charity Girl and Powder and Patch, Heyer
Duchess in Love and Pleasure for Pleasure, Eloisa James (she may be a new favorite author)
The Gilded Web, Balogh
Haunted, Kelley Armstrong
Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy, HelenKay Dimon (not sure about this one, but it's set in Hawaii!)
Leopard Prince and Serpent Prince, Hoyt (Yes, both of them. Even though I didn't understand all the hoopla about Raven Prince. I couldn't help myself.)

I deserved a treat, right? :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer

Title: An Infamous Army
Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: 1937, Doubleday
Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 7/10

On my first visit to my new public library I was happy to see that they have quite a selection of Georgette Heyers, including this fantastic 1937 edition of An Infamous Army. Look at that illustration! It's so great I took the trouble of scanning it for you all. It is a beautiful book and I don't really want to give it back. (Don't worry, I will. Really. I want to "lose" it, but I am resisting the temptation.) I especially love the tagline, "A Magnificent Novel of Waterloo." So grand!

An Infamous Army is an account of the weeks leading up to and including the Battle of Waterloo. It describes the mad social swirl of aristocrats and officers who gather in Brussles as Napoleon reorganizes his army for his last attempt to regain power. Wellington plays a role, as he manages to cobble together his "infamous army" from the mishmash of English, Belgian, Dutch, Prussian and French Royalist troops. Like all Heyers, we have a love story, of course. Barbara (Bab) Childe is a vivacious beauty, a young widow who delights in all sorts of outrageous and scandalous behavior. Colonel Charles Audley falls in love with her immediately, and though all his friends and relatives thinks he's much too nice a man for such a viper, he thinks he's the man to tame her. Bab agrees to marry Charles, but then chafes at the restriction and expectations put on her by her engagement. Soon, however, Bab's petty fears and uncertainties are put aside in the face of the seriousness of the battle that breaks out. She must wait in Brussles as Charles rides off to war.

This book surprised me---all the other Heyers I've read have been comedies of manners; if historical events are mentioned, they're just for flavor and tangential to the main plot. This book is really a detailed and (I believe) very accurate piece of historical fiction. It is leavened with a romantic thread, but a good portion of the book focuses on the battle. It is all well written, but I will admit to some boredom in a few places. It was all right when I was seeing a character I knew participating in the battle, but there was also a lot of General Whosit with his 3rd brigade doing whatever to the cavalry while the infantry formed lines ... yawn. I had to skim some sections. It did get very interesting at the end, and I think I did absorb a bit of history, which is always good thing. And Heyer does present engaging descriptions of some historical figures---Wellington and the Prince of Orange were my favorites.

The fictional characters are typical, wonderful Heyer. Bab is a bit of a Scarlet O'Hara--hard to like at first, but ultimately admirable. She is a spoiled beauty who we want to see accept, and be softened by, Charles's love. "The mischief of her upbringing, the hardening effect of a distasteful marriage, had vitiated a character of whose underlying worth [Charles] could still entertain no doubt. That the heart was unspoiled, he was sure..." Charles is fantastic; he manages Bab with wit and cunning, but he's also just a good and kind man who genuinely cares about her. And so very honorable! His loyalty and bravery during the battle make him quite a hero.

FYI, this is the third in what is sometimes called the Alastair trilogy---Bab is the grandchild of Mary and Dominic from Devil's Cub and the great-grandchild of the Leonie and Justin of These Old Shades.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thornyhold, Mary Stewart

Title: Thornyhold
Author: Mary Stewart
Published: 1988, William Morrow
Category: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 9/10

I have not talked about Mary Stewart in ages! Did you all know she's my favoritest author of all time? Hee! She is a GODDESS.

I found a pretty hardcover copy of Thornyhold at a thrift store a couple weeks ago. I already had a copy, but it was only $1! I just can't see a used copy of a Mary Stewart book in a store without buying it. My crazed fandom is such that I would like to own a copy of every edition ever put out, with all the different cover art. (Even though my practical side thinks this would be a ridiculous waste of money.) Anyway, my pretty new copy of Thornyhold demanded a re-read.

Geillis Ramsey has led a quiet life---a rather subdued childhood under the thumb of her domineering mother and then taking care of her aging father until his death. Soon after her father dies, she finds out that she has inherited a house named Thornyhold from her godmother. When she arrives at Thornyhold, she finds it to be a charming house and happily starts making herself at home. Soon it becomes clear that her godmother was considered by many in the neighborhood to be a witch, not the scary, evil kind, but a wise woman with a great knowledge of herbs and healing. And Geillis starts feeling like she's being pushed into following in her godmother's footsteps. Shy Geillis starts to gain confidence and even begins to feel that romance has not passed her by.

This is my favorite of what I think of as Mary Stewart's "tame" books---those novels she wrote in the 1980s and '90s in which the suspense is just not terribly suspenseful. Though I love all her romantic suspense titles, my favorites were written in the 50s-70s when she was younger. But the tame books are still lovely and they make for very cozy reads, as long as you know what to expect from them. Thornyhold is the coziest of them all, imo. The idyllic English countryside, a quiet young woman setting up house for herself, then quietly falling in love with her neighbor. Nothing huge or dramatic happens, just a little love story. I love it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Song for Summer, Eva Ibbotson

Title: A Song for Summer
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Published: 1998, St. Martin's
Category: Romantic Fiction
Rating: 6.5/10

One more Ibbotson before I move on to other things. ;)

Ellen Carr has been raised by her suffragette mother and two aunts, all professional career women who take pride in the fact that they are leading the way for independent women everywhere. They are therefore taken aback when Ellen doesn't want to follow in their footsteps, but instead insists on attending the Lucy Hatton School of Cookery and Household Management. Degree in hand, Ellen takes her first job as housemother in an eccentric boarding school in Austria. She finds plenty to keep her busy at the school, taking care of the children (and staff too) and making everyone comfortable and at home. She meets the mysterious Marek, who says he's the groundskeeper but seems to be hiding out for reasons unknown. WWII is coming ever closer as Austria comes under the control of the Third Reich.

I enjoyed this book as well, but it was not as deliciously joyful as the other Ibbotsons I've read. Obviously understandable in a book set in WWII. There is a much more realistic feeling to it, more grown up, not at all a fairy tale. I did love that Ellen makes her own decision about what to do with her life, even though her family does not approve. And in the end, she shows everyone that she has a real gift for the domestic arts and that making a home comfortable and providing shelter and love can be as useful and rewarding as being a doctor or professor.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Carolina's suiting me just fiiiine.

You have to draw out the "i" sound here in North Carolina. It's mandatory.

Just letting you all know that I have settled in very nicely now in my new home. (I'm sure you were worried.) The apartment is all cozy and snug. I have to say that I am enjoying the change. I miss my friends and coworkers of course, but I do not miss the city much at all. I still revel every night when I get into bed in the blissful silence and nearly complete darkness. Two hobbies have been resurrected: Twin and I have resumed our tennis rivalry (public courts are few and far between in Brooklyn, and we have one here just around the corner), and I've been playing my flute. I played all through school and loved it, but I never felt comfortable subjecting my many neighbors in NYC to my practicing. I'm hoping to find an ensemble to play with, or maybe just take lessons and make my teacher play lots of duets with me.

The job hunt is going pretty well, I think (*knocking on wood*). I've been doing some editing from home, though I've decided that I could never do it full-time, as I would be the world's worst boss to myself. Plus a day seems really long with no one at all to talk to! Twin comes home at 5:30 and I'm all chatty and she just wants to be quiet and rest. Poor thing. :)

Twin finished arranging our craft room this weekend; I helped a bit, mainly by holding things steady while she drilled stuff into the wall. It was quite a project. She's got a post up about it with more pix if people would like to see. Didn't it turn out nice? (And how nice not to have all the crafting clutter in the living room!)

So besides exploring the area, and reading lots, I've started a new quilt. I used to have a plain blue duvet on my bed, but the feather thingie is all wonky now and needs to be retired. So I tore up the duvet and am using the fabric to make this blue-and-white pinwheel quilt. (Twin drafted it for me on Illustrator so I could see what it would look like.) The border is a striped fabric, the same material my curtains are made of.

Actually, it's not going to be quite like that. I was planning on 4-inch pinwheels, but then I did the math and realized that I would have to make 168 pinwheels (composed of over 1,300 pieces of fabric). Now, I like the meticulous, repetitive nature of quilting, but that's going overboard. So there will be fewer, larger pinwheels. I only had to cut out 576 triangles. Much better. I should be able to finish it before cool weather gets here.

Okay, back to the books for next post. I've been reading up a storm and been on quite a streak of good reads. I'm hoping it lasts.

Happy reading and summer fun to you all. ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson

Title: A Company of Swans
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Published: 1985, St. Martin's
Category: Romantic Fiction
Rating: 7.5/10

Reading A Countess Below Stairs last week sent me on a bit of an Ibbotson binge. I found a copy of A Company of Swans at the library. This book is currently out of print, but an edition (with this pretty cover) is being reissued in September.

Harriet Morton has led a repressed and dreary childhood, growing up in a lonely and cold house in Cambridge under the thumb of her narrow-minded professor father and meddlesome spinster aunt. The only thing that makes her really happy are her ballet lessons. In 1912 when she is 18, a Russian ballet master sees her dance and offers her a place in a touring ballet troupe that he is taking to South America. Of course, Harriet's father would never allow it. Dancing is low class and he's decided that Harriet will marry the pretentious entomologist Dr. Fitch-Dutton. But Harriet works up her courage and runs away and soon she is sailing for Brazil. She loves her new life; dancing before an appreciative audience, becoming friends with the other dancers and staff, and then falling in love with the mysterious Rom Verney.

Ibbotson has delivered again for me; I loved this book too (though not quite as much as Countess). Harriet is lovable in much the same way that Anna is: quietly appreciating life and living every experience to the fullest. And Rom was an even more interesting and complex character than Harriet. But while the two of them were great, the secondary characters in this felt a bit lacking. That was one of the things that I thought so amazing about A Countess Below Stairs---each person in the huge cast of secondary characters was so well drawn, no matter how little space was given to them. Whereas in this book, I had trouble remembering who everyone was. My other complaint is that the conflict, which starts out so promising, eventually diminishes into a simple Big Misunderstanding. Argh. A bit annoying, as always.

But I thought the setting was fascinating. Harriet's troupe sails up the Amazon river to the city of Manaus. I had never heard of Manaus (my knowledge of South American history is, well, a bit non-existent) and thought that maybe it was fictional. But no! A look at my atlas told me that much (have I ever mentioned how much I love my atlas?). And Wiki has a photo of the famous opera house where they performed. Isn't it great? Anyway, very unusual--exotic and interesting.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Twelve Houses series, Sharon Shinn

Titles: Mystic and Rider, The Thirteenth House, & Dark Moon Defender
Author: Sharon Shinn
Published: 2005-2006, Ace
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 8/10

So since the move from NY, I have been mostly unemployed. I had planned to take a few weeks off to just relax and laze about, something I haven't been able to do in years (that whole making a living deal really gets in the way sometimes). It has been reeeeaallly nice. And it got even nicer when I started Mystic and Rider and was able to spend about four days completely immersed in the world of Gillengaria, where Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses series takes place. Whole days on my couch with a good book. Ack! Is there anything better?

I discovered Sharon Shinn through the lovely ladies at Dear Author. I read Archangel and was very impressed with her beautiful writing, though the world of Samaria somehow didn't do much for me. Thank goodness I gave her another shot, because this series I LOVE.

Mystic and Rider introduces us to Senneth, a mystic (a woman endowed with magic) who can create and control fire. Though mystics are often looked upon with fear by many people in Gillengaria, she is a trusted advisor to King Baryn. She is sent by the king on a trip through the southern provinces to investigate rumors of malcontent among the people there. Baryn sends two of his most trusted men, King's Riders named Tayse and Justin, along to protect her. Kirra Danalustrous, another mystic who has the power of shapeshifting, and her loyal friend Donnal also join them. Along the way they pick up a young man named Cammon, rescuing him from indentured servitude to a mystic-hater (Cammon is an extraordinarily talented empath). So the six of them ride throughout the land having all sorts of adventures, slowly going from strangers, to wary acquaintances, to the most loyal of friends.

I don't want to make this post tediously long, so these blurbs are going to be ridiculously short. In the second book, The Thirteenth House, Kirra comes to the fore. The six friends are reunited as they accompany the princess Amalie on a social tour of the land, protecting her from her many enemies. Kirra falls in love with Romar Brendyn, the handsome, though married, regent. He becomes a target for the members of the Thirteenth House, the class of lesser powerful lords. Kirra (and friends) must use all her power and cunning to keep him safe.

And the third in the series, Dark Moon Defender, focuses on Justin's adventure as he is sent to the city of Neft to spy on the Lumanen Convent. This is a religious order that is gaining power throughout the land, headed by the mysterious Coralinda Gisseltess. The fanatical teachings of Coralinda claim that all magic is evil and that all mystics must be killed. Justin meets a young novice in the convent named Ellynor, who soon shows that she has mystical abilities herself. As Justin falls in love with her, he must persuade her to leave the convent before her secret is revealed and she is put into terrible danger.

Those were horrible synopses, because there is a lot more to these stories than that. I'm not sure that it's particularly original fantasy, but the world-building is very cleverly done. Lots of great details so that right from the start I was firmly entrenched in the world, and by the end of the third I never wanted to leave. :)

And really, I don't know where to start listing the all the things I liked about these books. The writing is fantastic, lovely and lyrical without ever coming close to being melodramatic. The action is swift and fun. But I think my favorite part of this series is the way the six main characters form such a fantastic unit. They are a motley crew, each incredibly different from the others, but they make themselves into a family. I loved seeing them all come back in each book, picking up together and building more and more bonds of friendship.

The fourth (and I believe, last) book in the series is Reader and Raelynx, due out in November.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Countess Below Stairs, Eva Ibbotson

Title: A Countess Below Stairs
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Published: 1997, Avon (Reissued 2007, Penguin Speak)
Category: Romantic fiction/ YA
Rating: 8/10

I was in the mood for something light and cheerful, so I picked this one up last week. I'd ordered it after Rosario chose it as one of her books for the Lesser Known Favorites Meme. She said it was light and funny and romantic. And she was right. As usual. ;)

Anna Grazinsky comes to England as a refugee after the Russian Revolution. Her family was high in the Russian aristocracy, her father a count and friend of the Tsar. They've lost all their money, and the only work that Anna is able to find is as a housemaid at the country estate of Rupert, the Earl of Westerholme. Though she knows nothing about being a servant and the staff is wary of her strangeness, she is so cheerful and hardworking that she soon becomes most beloved by both the family above stairs and the staff below.

Post-WWI England being rather difficult for many of the landed gentry, the cash-strapped Earl has been lucky enough to find an heiress to marry, and the household staff is busily preparing to receive his fiancee. When she arrives, however, she begins offending people right and left, and soon people are feeling very sorry for poor Rupert. And it doesn't help that Anna and Rupert have become rather more than just friendly.

This book made me so, so happy! The edition I have (reissued this year) was released by a YA imprint and it does feel a bit YA-ish, mostly because it is all very sweet and innocent, a Cinderella story retold. But it is a very intelligent book too, chock full of interesting allusions---everything from Dido's lament at Carthage and women giving out white feathers in WWI to the study of eugenics. The European setting and Anna's Russian heritage I found completely charming.

Anna is a delightful character. One of those perfect people who you might want to hate because they're so perfect, but can't because they are simply too nice. She's gone from being a pampered princess (who somehow manages to avoid becoming a spoiled brat) to working as a servant, and she still throws herself into life with a joy that makes her existence (and everyone's she comes into contact with) a brighter and happier place.

The romance was lovely too, though for once it wasn't what I loved most about the book. ;) Rupert is the sensitive, intelligent, thoughtful sort of hero, which I always like, though there were a couple of places where I thought he acted a bit stupid for such an intelligent guy. But whatever. The plot ties up with painstaking tidiness, making it completely unbelievable, but as it's a fairy tale, it didn't bother me at all! The huge cast of lovable characters is what makes this a great read.

Before I picked this up I was in a bit of a reading funk, and this book just catapulted me right out of it. It was one of those times when the book I picked up suited my mood perfectly and really made my day. So thanks to Rosario for the recommendation. ;)

I've been to the library and gotten two more Ibbotsons. I'm hoping they're as good.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold

Title: The Sharing Knife: Legacy
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Published: 2007, Eos
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 7.5/10

This is the continuation of the story started in The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. I read that book back in January and really loved it, so I was very impatient for this one to come out. They are very much one story--not book and sequel, but rather part 1 and 2. I believe that Bujold originally wrote them to be one long novel. Legacy starts off right where Beguilement left us. I normally don't say this, because any series book should stand alone, but this is a case where you really shouldn't read Legacy without reading Beguilement first. You'll just be lost.

Fawn (a farmer girl) and Dag (a prominent Lakewalker patroller) have married, despite local custom that prohibits marriage between the two groups. They've made their peace with Fawn's family, and now they head to Dag's home to see what the situation there will be. And it's not good. Dag's family (mother and brother, who he never got along with very well to begin with) will not accept Fawn at all. They think it's a disgrace to the family and the Lakewalkers in general, and not only are they hateful toward Fawn, but they actually bring the two of them before the village council in an effort to make Dag give Fawn up.

Dag has a real dilemma. He loves Fawn desperately; she has brought him peace and comfort and love when he thought he was beyond any of those things. But he also has a great responsibility as a Lakewalker patroller. The "Legacy" left to the Lakewalker people by their reckless ancestors are malices---life-sucking monsters that the Lakewalkers must seek out and destroy in order to keep the world safe. Dag is an excellent patroller, it's what he's spent his life doing. He cannot give it up, but if he is thrown out of his home, he will have no choice. How can he keep his people safe (and Fawn too) if he cannot patrol?

This book is lovely and beautiful and well written, as all of the Bujolds I've read have been. As usual, the themes of honor and responsibility are most important, and they are done so well. The Lakewalkers' "Legacy" reminds me all too much of the legacy that my own power-hungry, energy-mad country is inflicting on the world. The blight described as the aftermath of a malice coming to power and sucking all the life out of a region is all too imaginable. What sacrifices will our descendants have to make to right the wrongs that we are committing?

The best kind of fantasy, then---one that takes a magical story and makes you think about the real world in a new way. So, an excellent book and I hate myself a little for complaining. But, dude, it was a little too gloomy! Beguilement was filled with the same themes, but was also filled with a lovely feeling of hope. I could have used a bit more hope in this one.

But I am still very eager for the next installment in this world. I think I read somewhere that Bujold has two more books planned. Definitely will be picking them up as soon as they are pub'd.