Category Archives: romance

forget to remember to forget

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson 2008 (266 pgs)

When Jenna wakes up, she can quote the entire text of Walden Pond, but she can’t remember her best friend’s name. Or even if she has a best friend. The parents she doesn’t remember tell her she’s been in a coma following an accident. As Jenna comes to terms with the disturbing holes in her memory, she finds that there’s more to her past than her family wants to tell her.

Good balance- enjoyable to read, while also tackling larger issues of medical ethics and the nature of identity. Made for a fun afternoon read.

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number one with a silver bullet

Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughan (#4 in the Kitty Norville series) 2008 (326 pgs)

When her mom calls with a cancer scare, werewolf DJ Kitty breaks her banishment from Denver and risks the wrath of her former Alpha to rush to her mom’s side. And then things get complicated. Kitty finds herself smack dab in the middle of not just a werewolf power struggle, but a vampire one as well. Kitty has to figure out who’s pulling the strings; how to keep from becoming anyone’s pawn; and keep herself, her boyfriend, and her family alive in the process.

possession is nine tenths of the law

The Host by Stephenie Meyer 2008 (619 pgs)

When the world’s population gets body-snatched by invading aliens, a few rebel humans are forced into hiding, struggling to remain whole. A newly installed alien named Wanderer finds herself in a body whose former owner hasn’t quite vacated. What should be an effortless takeover instead becomes a battle of wills as Melanie refuses to disappear. At first biding her time, waiting for Melanie to surrender, Wanderer instead finds herself coming to an understanding and eventual affection for the human trapped in her mind. As they share memories and experiences, Wanderer even comes to love those who Melanie loves. Together they break away from the alien occupied civilization to track down Melanie’s loved ones.

I was pleasantly impressed with Meyer’s much more refined and challenging writing. This in no Twilight novel; it surpasses that series in character realism and evolution, its exploration of humankind’s capacity for cruelty and kindness, and the nature of selfhood and emotion. Billed as “the first love triangle involving only two bodies,” what could easily have become a cheesy sci-fi or sappy romance is instead a surprisingly deft exploration of identity and humanity.

horse of a different color

Jaran  by Kate Elliott (The Jaran#1) 1992 (494 pgs)

Tess is full of doubts and intent on evading the heavy expectations that result from her position as sister and heir to the only human duke in an alien empire. When she heads for a vacation on a backwater planet in her brother’s domain, she instead stumbles upon a group of aliens violating territorial agreements by setting out on an expedition across the forbidden zone. On instinct she follows them, determined to aid her brother and his planned human rebellion.

She finds herself alone among the Jaran, a warlike equestrian nomadic society that rules the plains. There she works to earn the acceptance and respect of the tribe while trying to discover the aliens’ true purpose.

Great fantasy series I like to re-read every once in a while. The world is richly developed with fascinating characters and plot.

dream a little demon

Personal Demon  (Women of the Underworld #9) by Kelley Armstrong (371 pgs) 2008

The latest entry from this reliably enjoyable series centers on chaos-sensing half-demon Hope and her on-again-off-again werewolf boyfriend Karl. (How’s that for hyphenates!) Hope’s affinity for chaos makes her an ideal candidate to infiltrate a gang of rebellious half-demons. Unfortunately she finds herself liking the danger a little too much.

some things are best left unfinished

Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong in Dates From Hell 2006 (112 pgs)

Novella focusing on a couple of sideline characters from Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Twas ok but I prefer her in full-book form.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 1999 (213/read 12)

A thousand worlds of ick. A friend picked this for our “excuse to get together and drink beer” bookclub. Sophomoric writing and moronic dialogue.

Many Bloody Returns 2007 (read 72)

Things that go bump in the night have birthdays too. So just for them- a collection of bday stories of the undead. Read a so-so one by Kelley Armstrong and an enjoyably madcap one by Jim Butcher, both set in their respective series.

Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital 2007 (358/read 23)

In this modern take on the myth, Orpheus/Mishka is a street musician and Euridice/Leela a mathematician fascinated by him. I was less than fascinated. The only thing I find more boring than reading about music (as opposed to actually listening to it), is reading about people listening to music.

Tesseracts 10: A Celebration of New Canadian Speculative Fiction 2006 (301/read 40ish)

There were a couple interesting stories, but mostly the sci-fi was too hard (spaceships & artificial intelligence) to interest me.

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link 2001 (266/read 240)

Excellent bizzarity and nonchalant weirdness. I’d pecked at this previously, so some stories were re-reads & a couple I’d just read in other collections.

total eclipse of the heart

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (#3 in the Twilight novels) 2007 (629 pgs)

I’m not exactly the target audience (witness the use of a cheesy 80s song for the post title.) Nevertheless, I do enjoy revisiting the land of teeny angst and drama occasionally.

This third entry finds Bella in an emotional tug of war between her vampire boyfriend Edward and her werewolf best friend Jacob (who’s naturally in love with her). Add in the necessity of keeping their world a secret, a vampire in search of vengeange, and rampaging spree killers in nearby Seattle. Stir. And enjoy.