Friday, June 20, 2008

A conversation between Jennie and her blog...

Blog: Hello? Hellooo? Anybody there?
Jennie: Oh, hi blog. What's up?
Blog: Where have you been?!
Jennie: Whoa. It hasn't been that long since I was here.
Blog: Over two weeks!
Jennie: Oh. Hmmm. Sorry.
Blog: I mean, here I am, saving all your thoughts, sending them to people all around the world, and you just ... abandon me!
Jennie: Relax, bloggy.
Blog: Just talk to me. You've been reading, right? What about the new Loretta Chase--what did you think of it?
Jennie: Oh, I liked it.
Blog: That's it? You liked it?
Blog: Great characters, sparkling dialogue, cool setting?
Jennie: Yeah, all that.
Blog: *sigh*
Jennie: Blog, I'm just busy right now. I'll be back soon.
Blog: It's something I did, isn't it? You're mad at me. You don't like me anymore.
Jennie: No, no. But see, here in the real world we have this thing called summer. It's awesome. You are unfortunately stuck in cyberspace.
Blog: There's no reason to be ugly.
Jennie: Listen, bloggy--just relax. Take a little vacay. Go visit Second Life Bermuda. I hear it's great.
Blog: Second Life is lame.
Jennie: *smirk* Says the blog. Hee hee.
Blog: Hey, you created me, Miss Smartypants!
Jennie: I promise I'll be back soon. See ya.
Blog: No! Don't go!
Blog: Jennie? ... Jennie?! ... *sniff*

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Charm School, Susan Wiggs

Title: The Charm School
Author: Susan Wiggs
Published: 1999, Mira
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 6.5/10

Okay, this might be my shortest review ever. The inclination to blog is patchy lately, that's for sure. I think it has to do with it being summer. (And sooo freaking hot! Yuck.) Anyway, I bought this one because I've been meaning to try Wiggs and Wendy mentioned that Mira was reissuing this older historical of hers.

From the publisher:
An awkward misfit in an accomplished Boston family, Isadora Peabody yearns to escape her social isolation and sneaks aboard the Silver Swan, bound for Rio, leaving it all behind.
Ryan Calhoun, too, had a good family name. But he'd purposely walked away from everything it afforded him. Driven by his quest to right an old wrong, the fiery, temperamental sea captain barely registers the meek young woman who comes aboard his ship.
To the Swan's motley crew, the tides of attraction clearly flow between the two. Teaching her the charms of a lady, they hope to build the confidence she needs to attract not only their lonely captain's attention, but his heart, as well. For everyone knows that the greatest charms are not those of the formal lady, but rather the possibilities of a new world build on love.
Liked it, but didn't love it. I usually like shy heroines, and this one was a good, well-developed one. It's an ugly duckling story--Isadora starts out extremely awkward and plain, and loosens up once she's away from her family and the confines of society. I didn't really buy the way the crew helped train her as a lady though; what sort of sailors know how to do hair and speak like an aristocrat?

Anyone have an opinion on the rest of this series? The next one appears to be The Horsemaster's Daughter, about Ryan's brother, Hunter.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Alleluia Files, Sharon Shinn

Title: The Alleluia Files
Author: Sharon Shinn
Published: 1998, Ace
Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 7.5/10

After reading Jovah's Angel and loving it, I had to move right on to this one, the next in the series. There are BIG SPOILERS here for the previous two books in the series (including a huge, really cool plot twist that shouldn't be missed), so don't read this review if you haven't read Archangel and Jovah's Angel yet. Trust me.

It's been a hundred years since Alleluia was Archangel and discovered that the god of Samaria is not actually a god at all but a spaceship housing a complex AI machine that answers the Samarians' prayers. Alleluia decided that the people of Samaria simply weren't ready to deal with this knowledge and kept the secret until her death, but rumors have leaked out. A band of people, calling themselves Jacobites, believe these rumors and have spent decades searching for documents that Alleluia might have left behind proving them. The angels in power have become more and more harsh in their efforts to subdue them, to the point that they are now being out and out persecuted for their beliefs. The story follows one Jacobite named Tamar, as she searches for the Alleluia Files. She is joined in her quest by an unlikely ally, the angel Jared.

This is a great end to the trilogy. I didn't love it quite as much as Jovah's Angel, just because I didn't feel like it packed quite the same punch (though it would be hard to top the proclamation that the god is a machine). The structure of the trilogy works really well--the world of Samaria is set up in Archangel, the basis of that world is questioned and overturned in Jovah's Angel, and the people of Samaria finally come to terms with it all in The Alleluia Files. The world just keeps getting more complex and interesting with each book.

One thing that struck me (and very much appreciated) about The Alleluia Files was that the religious fanatics on both sides of the issue are presented as less than praiseworthy. Obviously the evil, power-hungry Archangel Bael, who has been ordering the murder of Jacobites, is made the main villain. So it would have been easy to let the Jacobites be all saintly martyrs, who righteously go to their deaths for the betterment of mankind. But they are generally shown to be not particularly intelligent or cunning in their planning, and not particularly kind-hearted. Shinn really pokes fun at them--they are depicted as a cult, lemmings whose aimless plans are basically ineffectual and whose beliefs are just as fanatical and irrational as Bael. Their quest obsesses them completely, and though we know that what they believe is actually correct, they do not. Their beliefs are not based on scientific evidence any more than the angels' are. Both sides, Bael and the Jacobites, are blinded by their obsessive beliefs. Tamar and Jared are able to solve the puzzle (and engage this cynical reader) because they are able to take a step back from the problem and think rationally.

Shinn's written two more books set on Samaria--Angel-Seeker and Angelica, both of which are in the TBR. :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

New glasses

What do you think? They're a bit bolder than my last pair.

I think my blogging mojo has returned. I've read some really good books the last few days. I started the new Julia Quinn last night and the first scene reminded me why I enjoy her books. So funny.

And I've converted Li. MWAHAHA! She now understands the greatness that is Mary Stewart. What are you waiting for?? :)