Monday, February 23, 2009


Another fascinating tidbit from Shelf Awareness:

According to the Telegraph
the six finalists for the Bookseller's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book
Title of the Year are Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert
M. Seyfarth, Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski, Curbside
Consultation of the Colon by Brooks D. Cash, Techniques for Corrosion
Monitoring by Lietai Yang, The Large Sieve and its Applications by
Emmanuel Kowalski and The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram
Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M. Parker.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Great Post from Shelf Awareness

"If you could spend one unbridled night with any fictional character in
the world, who would it be?" The Washington Post's Short Stack
blog asked several
writers this question. Two of our favorite replies:

Janet Evanovich: "Uncle Scrooge, from Carl Barks's Disney comics. He's
always going on adventures, he pushes his money around with a bulldozer,
and he wears a top hat but no pants. Does it get any better than that?"

Lisa Scottoline: "I would spend the night with the Three Musketeers from
Dumas's classic novel. My motto is 'One for all, all for me.'"

I think I'd want to spend my time with Sully Sullivan from Linnea Sinclairs Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark. He is such a hottie! Of course, I could also have some quality snuggling with Jacqueline Carey's Joscelin, the Casseline warrior, who in my mind looks like a young Sting (yummy) and Miles Vorkosigan, Lois McMaster Bujolds wonderful handicapped hero, would also deserve a tumble across my fantasy mattress! Harry Dresden is another hero whom I'd love to lick, and I am also a fan of the Muskateers, as many Dumas characters are manly, yet smart and charming.

Who would you pluck from a book to kanoodle with?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three More Great Sequels

"Real books have pages," Laura Ware wrote, "I was raised with books. I
learned to read early on and my addiction to books remains to this day.
We hold enough books in our home to supply a small library. And more
keep finding their way in. To me, there may be a place for e-book
readers for some things. But I'm still going to spend quality time in
bookstores, flipping pages, getting lost in what I'm reading until real
life reminds me the clock is ticking." From Shelf Awareness, a bookstore and book news e-newsletter

I completely agree with Ms Ware,above,hence I've not purchased a Kindle or any other e-reading device, other than my computer (and I still do not like reading books in PDF, it gives me eyestrain).

On to the novels! I've just finished the fourth book in the Big Stone Gap series, and I wanted to let everyone know how delightful and consuming they were, keeping me up til all hours to find out what happens next with Ave Maria and the gang in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
Big Cherry Holler, the second book, was followed by Milk Glass Moon, and finally Home to Big Stone Gap. Ave Maria and her husband Jack MacChesney (known as Jack Mac) have a daughter by the second book, and a son that they lose to leukemia when he's only 4 years old. Ave and Jack have a bit of mid-life crisis to work out, wherein she must choose between her husband and Pete Rutledge, a handsome American stone buyer she meets in Italy when she's visiting family. Though I knew she would do the right thing and choose her husband, I was surprised that Ave didn't have just one roll in the hay with Rutledge, who is described as looking like a young Rock Hudson...he sounded so tempting. Yet Jack Mac also resisted the temptation of a widow bent on stealing him away from his family. There is a great deal of growing up on the part of Ave, Jack Mac and their daughter in the third and fourth books, and when their daughter marries an Italian youth and decided to go to college in Italy, it seems fairly certain that the MacChesneys are headed for a move of residence to be near their daughter, who is pregnant by the fourth book. Yet Trigiani, the author, doesn't solve things that neatly, leaving the reader with hope for a fifth book in the series, if nothing else to see what happens to some of the town characters, like Fleeta, who finally marries, and Pearl, who moves to Boston with her family. Trigiani has a deep sense of who her characters are as people, so they seem real and they progress, change, and grow throughout the books. Her plots are never convoluted, but do provide the occaisional side path that keeps readers interested in where she's going. The prose is sweet and lush with descriptions of beauty in both Virginia and Italy, and the accents pop off the page in an authentic way. The Big Stone Gap books read something like Jan Karon's Mitford series, without the preachy Father Tim and the religious stuffiness that's salted throughout her books.
With these dark economic times upon us, I sincerely felt the need for books that were hopeful, enlightening, entertaining and just plain fun. Trigiani fit the bill nicely, and allowed me to escape to a world where community support was everywhere, and newspapers weren't all closing down and banks forclosing on houses every day. The HEA endings are all believable, not sticky sweet, and Ave Maria's struggles with her emotional life, her marriage, her grief, her abandonment issues, etc, all have the ring of truth about them. Yet because she overcomes her issues, I felt there was hope for my own recovery from family crisis.
I highly recommend these books to anyone who needs a comforting, happy read.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald

The Outback Stars was one of those books that I stumbled across in a moment of serendipity. I was in a place where I generally don't find quality reading material when it literally fell at my feet.
The pretty cover grabbed my interest and the David Drake blurb, "Likable characters, excellent development and a series of interlocking puzzles worked out against Australian culture that most Americans will find exotic. A smart, fun read" proved to be prescient.

Though I am not a fan of military fiction, I did like John Scalzi's Old Mans War series, and I enjoyed Elizabeth Moons military SF series as well. Outback Stars proved to be similar to those series, in that there is much discussion of military rules and protocol, yet because it is the Australian naval tradition translated to space, it was just different enough to not bore the reader to tears (though I will admit to skimming the more lengthy military discussions).
McDonalds prose is clean, crisp and regulation, like her heroine, Lieutenant Jodenny Scott, and the plot moves along at a march.
The story revolves around Scott, who is recovering from a horrendous accident on her previous ship, and Terry Myell, one of the men she works with on the new ship she's assigned to, the Aral Sea. Though she's made head of the under stores dept, Scott discovers that her division is full of thugs, malcontents and problems with missing materials and AI drones, called DINGOs. The farther Scott gets into the investigation and in trying to whip the department into shape, the more danger creeps up on her, and the more she develops feelings for Myell, though she knows there is a policy against fraternization between officers. At one point, Myell and Scott stumble upon an Aboriginal secret transportation system and that's when all heck breaks lose and chaos ensues. Fortunately, both survive and the book ends with a lovely HEA.
I enjoyed the fast pace adventure aspect of this novel, as well as the romantic b-side of the record, and I loved the characters, who were well drawn and distinct.
I'd recommend this book to fans of Linnea Sinclair's space adventure/romances and to those who liked John Scalzi or Elizabeth Moons series.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Book Blog

Dear Butterfly Books,
It was a mere 3 years ago, during the Superbowl, that I got bored silly with the goofs on the gridiron and decided to start a blog instead of moping.
And the rest is history.
Happy birthday blog. 3 is a nice age for many things, such as potty training, temper tantrums, learning colors and shapes, and hearing the word NO from your parents every waking moment.
So far, you've been a peach of a blog, no tantrums yet, knock wood and pixels.
Thank you for three years of allowing me to vent about my favorite escape--books.