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2009-04-21 07:38 pm
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BL: Turn Coat (Butcher, Jim)

Jim Butcher, Turn Coat
Roc (2009) ISBN: 978-0-451-46256-5
Score: 3

Book 11 of the Dresden Files, dealing with wizard politics and finally making some progress on finding and dealing with the traitor[s]. It does clear up a few things that were bugging me in the previous books, but unfortunately the conflict involves using magic to mess with people's minds (have I mentioned lately how much I hate that?).

Next Book: Dave Sim, Cerebus
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2009-04-15 09:49 pm

BL: Maelstrom (Anderson, Taylor)

Taylor Anderson, Maelstrom
Roc (2009) ISBN: 978-0-451-46253-4
Score: 2

Third book of the Destroyermen series, now with precocious aristocrat girls. This works both as a conclusion to a trilogy and as a transition point in a longer series (the author is already working on another book with these characters).

Next Book: Jim Butcher, Turn Coat
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2009-04-06 02:45 pm
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BL: Bite Me! (Meconis, Dylan)

Dylan Meconis, Bite Me!
http://www.bitemecomic.com/
Score: 2

A very silly vampire farce set during the French Revolution ("Liberty. Equality. Eternity."). I read this because of comments implying that her other webcomic Family Man is a prequel, but despite them having two characters with similar names and appearances, they are vastly different in style and tone (and FM doesn't have any overt supernatural elements yet) so it's best not to try to fit them into the same universe.

Next Book: Taylor Anderson, Maelstrom
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2009-04-02 10:37 pm

BL: "The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog" (Richardson, Kat)

Kat Richardson, "The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog"
Roc (2009) ISBN: 978-0-451-46249-7
Score: 1.5

Harper Blaine goes to Mexico during the holidays in response to some dead people seeking revenge.
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2009-04-02 10:36 pm
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BL: Black Blood (Meaney, John)

John Meaney, Black Blood
Bantam (2008) ISBN: 978-0-553-80671-7
Score: 2

The second Tristopolis novel (titled Dark Blood in the UK), containing more gritty violence, creepy scenery, and mind control. This time the good cops have to deal with conspiracies, corruption, bigotry, bad cops, and evil telephones. I find it odd the cover says "by the author of Bone Song" instead of "sequel to", since the first scene shows the execution of one the villains of the previous book; there may or may not be more books in the series.
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2009-03-24 09:58 pm
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BL: "The Warrior" (Butcher, Jim)

Jim Butcher, "The Warrior"
Roc (2009) ISBN: 978-0-451-46249-7
Score: 1.5

A Harry Dresden novella dealing with the Carpenter family and set about a year after Small Favor. This is the lead story in the anthology Mean Streets, and I suspect the author heard that title and decided to write the sappiest, most moralistic story he could for it.

Next Book: John Meaney, Black Blood
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2009-03-24 09:57 pm

BL: The Turtle Moves! (Watt-Evans, Lawrence)

Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Turtle Moves!
BenBella (2008) ISBN: 978-1-933771-46-5
Score: 1.5

This is explicitly one author trying to cash in on another author's success. It's really more of a long essay than a book, giving an overview of the Discworld series (and each sub-series), discussion of how the series changed over time, and speculation about why it's so popular (short answer: it's stories about stories). The author is trying hard not to write a scholarly book, so none of these topics is pursued in much depth and the chapters are generally only about 3 pages long, with most of the book being brief descriptions of each story in the series, including the short stories and Science of books.
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2009-03-13 09:23 pm
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BL: Kitty Raises Hell (Vaughn, Carrie)

Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Raises Hell
Grand Central (2009) ISBN: 0-446-19954-0
Score: 4

The sixth Kitty Norville novel, in which we're formally introduced to the main villain of the series. It's nice to see the mundane authorities trying to deal with the supernatural, but I wish Kitty would use them more (specifically, I wish she would've at least considered telling them that someone she has a restraining order against has come to Denver, called into her show, and practically bragged about being responsible for several recent deaths and arsons).

Next Book: Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Turtle Moves!
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2009-03-08 06:15 pm

BL: Heroes of the Valley (Stroud, Jonathan)

Jonathan Stroud, Heroes of the Valley
Hyperion (2009) ISBN: 978-142310966-2
Score: 0

A Scandinavian flavored fantasy novel about a boy who wishes he lived in the old days when men were heroes and spent all their time fighting monsters and each other. When he's not moaning about how boring modern life is, he plays dangerous practical jokes on everyone he doesn't like and generally acts like a spoiled brat (but without actually getting spoiled). The cover blurb says the story is about "the true meaning of heroism", so I assume he eventually Learns Better, but he's not at all likable in the beginning (and there are no other main characters to focus on) so when he decides to poison a bunch of strangers I gave him the Eight Deadly Words.

Next Book: Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Raises Hell
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2009-03-04 10:56 pm

BL: Horizon (Bujold, Lois McMaster)

Lois McMaster Bujold, Horizon
Eos (2009) ISBN: 978-0-06-137536-1
Score: 3

Conclusion of the Sharing Knife quartet, in which the characters begin to resolve the main conflict. And yes, it really is the end of the series; the main problem here was that the two races weren't talking to each other, and that's not something that can be quickly solved by killing monsters (though like the previous books, the author threw in some monsters anyway to keep the characters and readers from getting bored).

Next Book: Jonathan Stroud, Heroes of the Valley
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2009-02-24 08:22 pm

BL: Crusade (Anderson, Taylor)

Taylor Anderson, Crusade
Roc (2008) ISBN: 978-0-451-46230-5
Score: 2

Second book of the Destroyermen trilogy, in which the plucky Americans continue to slaughter hordes of baby-eating dinosaurs. The conflict escalates and we get three POV characters from the other side[s], but while one of those was sympathetic, the enemies as a whole remain Eeevul (another POV was the baby eater).

Next Book: Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Turtle Moves!
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2009-02-17 07:06 pm

BL: Bone Crossed (Briggs, Patricia)

Patricia Briggs, Bone Crossed
Ace (2009) ISBN: 978-0-441-01676-1
Score: 5

Fourth Mercy Thompson book, dealing with vampires (again), love, loyalty, and heroism ("Hostage-holding is for the bad guys"). One of the things I love about this series is that even though each volume has a complete story arc, they also build on each other; specifically, this book is all about the consequences of things done in the previous books (and that means the sample chapter on the author's website contains huge spoilers for the previous two books).

Next Book: Taylor Anderson, Crusade
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2009-02-13 05:38 pm

BL: Cast in Fury (Sagara, Michelle)

Michelle Sagara [West], Cast in Fury
Luna (2008) ISBN: 0-373-80269-2
Score: 2

Fourth book of the Chronicles of Elantra, dealing with stories and children. In addition to the usual saving the world, the heroine must also deal with the public reaction to something that happened at the end of the previous book. We also learn more about the fiefs and the Leontine race (so the next book will probably feature the Aerians).

Next Book: Patricia Briggs, Bone Crossed
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2009-02-06 08:18 pm
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BL: The Gone-Away World (Harkaway, Nick)

Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World
Knopf (2008) ISBN: 978-0-307-26886-0
Score: 0

The first chapter introduces us to a post-apocalypse world and the members of the Haulage and HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company of Exmoor County (who are just as interesting and cool and exciting as they sound) as they're hired to save the world (again). Unfortunately, chapter two was a series of anecdotes from the main character's childhood (he seems to have grown up in an alt-hist 20th century), and it looks like the rest of the chapters are more of the same (I assume eventually the main narrative catches up with the first chapter). While the anecdotes were somewhat amusing, they didn't quite add up to a story, much less the story promised by the first chapter. I really should stop trying to read SF published by non-SF imprints.

Next Book: Michelle Sagara, Cast in Fury
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2009-02-06 08:16 pm
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BL: Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Vaughn, Carrie)

Carrie Vaughn, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Grand Central (2009) ISBN: 0-446-19953-2
Score: 4

The fifth Kitty Norville book, in which she goes to Las Vegas to elope. As usual, she does a show, runs into people who don't like what she is, and things get messy. A good volume of this series, though I thought the resolution was a bit too convenient (I would be surprised if the characters responsible are still alive when the next book starts). It didn't end with a cliffhanger as I was expecting; it seems that the publication delay of this book was so the events would still be fresh in your memory when reading the sequel (being published next month).
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2009-02-03 09:58 pm

BL: Alcatraz vs. the Scrivener's Bones (Sanderson, Brandon)

Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones
Scholastic (2008) ISBN: 0-439-92553-3
Score: 2.5

Second book about Alcatraz Smedry, in which he tries to rescue his grandfather from the Library of Alexandria. We meet a few more members of his family, and learn more of the secrets of the world (that the librarian conspiracy is hiding from us), and Alcatraz continues to spend as much time lecturing the reader as telling the story.

Next Book: Carrie Vaughn, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
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2009-01-27 10:00 pm
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BL: Princeps' Fury (Butcher, Jim)

Jim Butcher, Princeps' Fury
Ace (2008) ISBN: 978-0-441-01638-9
Score: 2

Fifth book of the Codex Alera series, in which the situation gets really bleak and hopeless. I felt the anti-slavery message was awfully heavy-handed, though I suppose anything less wouldn't sway the characters.

Next Book: Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones
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2009-01-17 04:35 pm

BL: Nation (Pratchet, Terry)

Terry Pratchett, Nation
Harper (2008) ISBN: 978-0-06-143301-6
Score: 3

A stand alone novel about a young sheltered princess and a boy who is the only member of his tribe to survive the tidal wave that shipwrecked her. This is set on a parallel Earth rather than Discworld, and while I can see the author's reasons for doing so, it didn't seem to work quite right; he seemed to want to say something about the meaning and importance of nations and religions but the fantasy elements (which only affect a couple characters) undermined that somewhat, and he seemed to chicken out on challenging customs concerning gender roles and education of children (the epilogue made me wonder if any of the characters learned anything). Still an enjoyable read; it's just when you stop to think about what it's trying to say that things start falling apart.

Next book: Jim Butcher, Princeps' Fury
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2008-12-31 11:31 pm

BL: "Firstborn" (Sanderson, Brandon)

12-31-08
Brandon Sanderson, "Firstborn"
http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=story&id=10489
Score: 1

A MilSF short story about the incompetent younger brother of a perfect commander.

Next Book: Terry Pratchett, Nation
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2008-12-31 10:22 pm
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BL: Magic to the Bone (Monk, Devon)

Devon Monk, Magic to the Bone
Roc (2008) ISBN: 978-0-451-46240-4
Score: 1.5

Start of an unnamed paranormal romance series about magic that is widely available, but causes a lot of pain every time it's used; the heroine makes her living tracking down people who illegally shift that pain to innocent bystanders. The characters are likable enough, there's a considerable amount of action, and the premise is fairly interesting, but I don't like tampering with characters' memories (an additional side effect of magic use that seems to be unique to the heroine) so I was really upset when she ends up forgetting everything that happened in this book. I'd also like a more complex romantic subplot than having someone walk up and say, "Hi, I'm your perfect soul mate."