[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t usually full reviews, often just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
I got really lazy about putting my monthly Book Bits posts up here, but finally decided since I have them in a file on my computer I should stop procrastinating (one of my best skills!) and do it.
I finished Greywalker by Kat Richardson and have mixed feelings about it. I was really expecting to like this one, especially because it’s set in Seattle. Richardson has a great idea and I can see lots of potential, but I thought execution was really uneven.
The first thing that really bugged me is some really awkward word usage. It’s sprinkled throughout the book and always brought me to a screeching halt. Here’s a couple examples:
“No problem,” he agreed and began to scramble around in his pack.
I know what the author meant, but the visual image I get is some guy climbing into a giant backpack and moving around in it.
I tickled my computer and got it to spit out a copy of my bill, just in case.
Tickling a computer? If the book was replete with these kinds of offbeat verbs then it might not stand out, but the book isn’t, so it did.
There were also a few logic issues that bugged me. A couple examples:
There was only one name left on Colleen Shadley’s list, and it had no phone number. I’d be making another drive to the Eastside.
She’s a private investigator. Why would her first choice be to drive across the lake to another town rather than access information resources to find the phone number and call instead? (A while later in the book it’s mentioned that the person she went to see doesn’t actually have a phone. But she wouldn’t have known that at the time.)
“Yes,” I replied. “I was wondering who the leasing agent for this building is.”
The building in question is described more than once prior to this as being a condominium. Condos don’t have leasing agents, each unit is privately owned. So I was wondering why she was asking for something that makes no sense. It does turn out that the entire building is owned by a company and the units leased out. So they aren’t in fact condos. Either way, the part about her asking for a leasing agent was just wrong.
She used a lot of descriptive language that often ended up just rolling right over me without actually describing anything, or was just kinda weird and repetitive. A couple examples:
A rush of horrors poured out of the room.
That was it really. No defining what these horrors were that poured out of the room. Sure it’s descriptive, but only if some context is given to provide the description some meaning.
He laughed obsidian shards.
There was LOTS of that kind of stuff.
A lot of what I’m saying is probably sounding weirdly nitpicky. But these kinds of things ground on me throughout the entire book. I suspect this is an issue of some readers will react like I did, and others not only won’t be bothered, they’ll never even notice.
I was also never really sold on why a PI would become involved in vampire politics as a job. She wasn’t hired to track someone down, do a background check, etc. She was basically hired to meddle in things she knew nothing about. It’s just not what PIs do. I could have bought that more if it was later in the series when she’s better established as a character so the reader understands her motivation.
If it was an issue of buying the next book and seeing if I like it better, I wouldn’t risk it. I didn’t like this book enough. However, now with this nifty library lending, I discovered that not only does my library have a copy, but it was available. So Poltergeist is sitting on my Kindle now waiting for me to start reading. This way I can decide, with no monetary risk, that the books get better or this series just isn’t for me.
A lot of my response to this book is really personal taste stuff. Her writing over all just didn’t truly grab me. Others will love it.
I finished reading Poltergeist, which is the second book in the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson. It was my first library book on my Kindle. I liked this one quite a bit better than the first book. I had mentioned in a previous post that a lot of the things that really bugged me in the first one were missing or toned down in this one. Oddly enough some of those issues crept back in quite a bit more in the second half of the book.
I think the main difference was that the story/plot for this second book was more focused and made sense in context, etc. Though there weren’t really any subplots, so the book was a bit on the long side considering how focused it was on the main plot threads. There was lots of interesting stuff included that relates to real life events, not all just figments of the author’s imagination. Which is prompting some online searches to get more info. I enjoy it when books get me to look into things to learn more! [Note: I had borrowed and downloaded the third book from the library also, but then never read it. I just didn’t like the writing enough to continue the series when there are other, better books waiting to be read.]
After I finished that I read The Princess and the Penis by RJ Silver because it was mentioned here several times. It’s back to 99 cents now, I got it free. It’s a longish short story with a bit over 700 locations. As others said it was a fairly amusing and pretty well-written adult fairy tale. Part of its cleverness is that it’s never really crass or explicit.
I finished reading Blood Price by Tanya Huff. As I mentioned when I posted that I started reading the book, this is visiting an old friend. I’m a huge Huff fan, but I’ll try to take a more objective stance in talking about the book. It’s not flawless by any means. The writing is a bit awkward in places, the main character isn’t the kind most people will immediately like (she’s a bit moody and testy) – she has to grow on you, and there’s one thing that drove me bats through the whole book. That is the author constantly mentioning Vicki pushing her glasses up on her nose. I hate repetitive stuff in books.
Because the ebook originated with a scan (originally published in 1991), there are OCR errors in the ebook edition. They aren’t enough to ruin the book for me or cause more than a mild irritation, but they might be more than those who are highly sensitive to that sort of thing are willing to put up with.
With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book again. While Vicki is the main character, Henry the vampire is kind of the star of the show. The third main character is Mike, a police detective. The main plot is about a nerd who is getting back at the world by summoning a demon that is serially killing people. Key to most of Huff’s writing is her humor. In some books it’s more blatant than others. It’s more subtle in the Blood books, but there’s still plenty of things that made me chuckle. Here’s a couple examples:
(Henry, the vampire, writes bodice rippers for a living.)
“I suppose you’ve got a lot of material to use for plots,” she muttered dubiously.
“I do,” Henry agreed, wondering why some people had less trouble handling the idea of a vampire than they did a romance writer.
Vicki could practically hear her mother’s ears perk up. “What’s his name?”
“Henry Fitzroy.” Why not? Short of hanging up, there was no way she was going to get her mother off the phone, curiosity unsatisfied.
“What does he do?”
“He’s a writer.” As long as she stuck to answering her mother’s questions, the truth would serve. Her mother was not likely to ask, “Is he a member of the bloodsucking undead?”
I finished reading Blood Trail by Tanya Huff, second in the Blood series, and enjoyed it. This one is about werewolves instead of a demon, but they’re not typical werewolves. They’re sort of halfway in between dogs and wolves and they can shapeshift in a flash, no horrible transformations.
I said after reading the first book that Vicki is a protagonist who isn’t necessarily easy to like at first. When reading this one I realized some of the reasons I do like her. She’s not a girly girl. Doesn’t fuss around with makeup, doesn’t head out to kick arse in high heels, etc. She’s very independent, including not feeling the need to be tied down to just one man in a monogamous relationship. And there was something else I was gonna mention, but now it’s flown out of my brain. Anyway, she’s a refreshing change from a lot of the female protagonists I read about, who even if they do tend to kick arse, also still tend to be pretty girly, even the ones described as tomboys growing up.
I’m on a roll so went ahead and bought and downloaded the third book, Blood Lines. I really want to start reading it, but my hold on It by Stephen King FINALLY came in from the library. (I put it on hold at the beginning of the month and was the only one waiting for it.)