30 June 2009

Book Banter -- Judge

Title: Judge (Wess'har Wars, bk. 6)
Author: Karen Traviss
Genre: sci-fi
Length: 391 pages
Plot Basics --- SPOILER ALERT

The Eqbas Vorhi have arrived at Earth, ready to restore the planet's climate, ecology and reduce the human population to more suitable levels. But it's politics as usual on Earth, and the world's superpowers are not so happy about this plan, even though they had time to prepare for it. Moreover, Shan Frankland and the detachment of Royal Marines who originally went to Cavanaugh's Star, are trying to find the last of the government officials responsible for the cobalt bombing on Bezer'ej -- and trying to keep Shan, Ade and Aras out of the hands of those who would use the c'naatat organism for bad ends. Unbeknownst to them, there is one more carrier of c'naatat on Earth with the power to ruin the entire mission...

Banter Points: Word Nerd really enjoyed this series. The science fiction was great (no moments of super-gadgetry that got our heroes out of a jam...). One of the things that made the science fiction good was that it was easy to imagine the current state of things evolving (devolving?) to the point where they were in the series. The characters were terrific throughout, adapting and changing giving the situations they found themselves in.
Bummer Points: Another spoiler alert here... Word Nerd lost it when one of the characters died. She didn't realize at all how attached she was to this character.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Top-notch sci-fi for fans of the genre.

16 June 2009

Airplane books

Word Nerd taking several trips in the next few weeks involving jet planes, so it's time for some airplane books again.

She's pretty set on her reading list for her first trip. The books she's packing are:
Running Blind, Lee Child
Judge, Karen Traviss
The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly

She's got a second trip in three weeks and she's not as sure for this trip. What she's thinking so far is:
The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig
The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde (this would be a second reading)

It's a trip to the west coast which means she'll have PLENTY of reading time on the plane.

Any other suggestions for the second trip?

15 June 2009

Book Banter -- Perfect Fifths

Title: Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling, bk 5)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Length: ~250
Genre: chick-lit
Plot Basics: It's been a few years since Jessica turned down Marcus's proposal. Now, she's rushing through the airport to try to catch a flight to the Caribbean for a friend's wedding, when she literally runs into him. Stuck for a while at the airport, they talk about what's gone before and what might be next for them.
Banter Points: This series just makes me (me, yes, me) smile. (if you've read the books, you'll understand why Word Nerd needed to drop the third person for a moment there...) Jessica's voice is so strong and Marcus is such a compelling character. Also -- the haiku section. Wow.
Bummer Points: Part of this book is written from Marcus' perspective which is a departure from the other books in the series which are only from Jessica's POV. It adds something, but on the other hand, it sort of changes the feel of the books.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like romantic comedies, this is a series for you.

08 June 2009

Book Banter -- Ally

Title: Ally (Wess'har Wars, book 5)
Author: Karen Traviss
Length: 388 page
Genre: Sci-fi
Plot Basics: The wess'har from Eqbas Vorhi are determined to clean up the overpopulation and pollution on Umeh -- as a precursor to their voyage to Earth to fix its environmental problems. But to do that, they bring in yet another alien species, one that Shan Frankland dubs as being eco-jihadists for their radical commitment. Meanwhile, it's getting harder and harder to stop the spread of c'naatat and keeping it from heading back to Earth with the Eqbas.
Banter Points: Traviss continues to deliver in her sci-fi series here. Shan, Ade, Aras and the rest of the gang continue to have to make moral choices about the environment and the spread of c'naatat when those choices become less and less clear cut.
Bummer Points: This isn't the most dynamic book in the series. Some crazy stuff happens (Word Nerd won't spoil it for anyone), but it largely felt like a set up to book six which, since it ends the series, she think will have to be awesome.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This is some top-notch sci-fi. No super scientific gadgets to save the day. Just a bunch of aliens and a crazy virus.

01 June 2009

Book Banter -- The Gargoyle

Title: The Gargoyle
Author: Andrew Davidson
Length: ~400 pages
Genre: Literary fiction
Plot Basics: This captivating novel tells the story of a former playboy who is burned and disfigured in a fiery car accident. As he struggles to recover in the burn unit of the hospital, he meets a woman named Marianne Engel -- a possible psychiatric patient -- who tells him stories of loves found and lost... and a compelling story of their past lives when she was a nun and he a mercenary in Germany and the exquisite love story that blossomed around them. As she descends farther into her illness, he may just recover and learn what it is to love for real.
Banter Points: Word Nerd remembers reading really good reviews of this book when it first came out and it just took her awhile to get to it. The reviews, it's fair to say, were spot on. The Gargoyle is Davidson's first book, but it reads like a masterpiece. The characters are vivid and lyrical, the writing nimble and poetic as the story moves across time periods, countries and lifetimes.
Bummer Points: At first, Word Nerd really didn't like the fact that the narrator never has a name. By the end of the book, it was clear why he didn't.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Thumbs way up on this one. Definitely a top-ten book of 2009, with plenty of potential to be in the number one or two slot.