Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King

Another home run from Laurie King! I love this series so much, and am always so glad to read another installment. This copy I purchased, probably at Barnes and Noble, although possibly from Amazon.

This book continues Holmes' and Russell's adventures, following closely on the heels of their time in India, which was explored in the last book, The Game. Once they concluded their business in that novel, Holmes and Russell headed towards America, specifically San Francisco, so that Russell can prepare to divest herself of the last of her family's holdings there. On the boat as they travel from one side of the world to the other, Russell has three disturbing dreams: one of various items flying about the room, one of a faceless man, and one where she is consistently walking past a locked room, to which she has the key, safely hidden in her pocket. While trying to puzzle out the reason for these dreams, she and Holmes arrive in San Fran. Ultimately, Russell realizes that the dreams are her subconscious trying to tell her something. What that is leads her and Holmes on a quest through San Francisco, through Chinatown, down the coast to Mary's parents' summer house, and into her parents' haunted past.

This was a (I should say ANOTHER) well-paced, taut, exciting ride with Holmes and Russell, full of interesting puzzles. We learn quite a bit more about Mary's past and some troubling facts related in previous novels are laid to rest. This novel is different from the others, as it is told from both Mary's first-person point of view, as well as a third-person omniscient point of view, which allows the reader to follow both Holmes and Russell when they are investigating Mary's past each on their own.

As I always do, I loved it. What can I say? Holmes and Russell are two of my very favorite characters in all of literature, and I can only hope that Laurie King continues to give us new installments of their adventures for years to come! Five out of five Whatevers. Read this if you are a lover of Holmes, a lover of this series, or if you want a taste of San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties (the descriptions of the scenery, the dress, and the lingo of the time are wonderful).


Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber

Okay, I am totally addicted to this series by Heather Webber. These books are so cute! They are a contemporary mix of paranormal, light mystery and romance, and I cannot get enough. I love the main character, Lucy, and her friends. I love her grandmother, Dovie, and all the rest of the kooky characters that populate her world. I'm so hooked that I can read these in a day, but then I'm totally jonesing for more!

I started this one Tuesday, before I left Ohio, but my Kindle battery died on the plane, so I couldn't read the rest of it until Wednesday, after I recharged. In this installment, Lucy is hired through Lost Loves to find the high school sweetheart of a girl who hasn't seen him since they were foster children together. Lucy's investigation reveals some unsavory details about the boyfriend, and she has to decide whether or not to stay on the case, despite her misgivings. She is also aiding the State Police as they look into the disappearance of a dying billionaire, whose family don't seem to care that he's gone. And her frenemy Preston, the newspaper reporter, drags Lucy along while she is chasing the Lone Ranger, a mysterious man who appears out of nowhere, throwing money to the masses. Of course there are other complications: Lucy's parents appear to be getting back together, but will it last? And how serious is she willing to get with Sean Donohue?

These books are like junk food to me. Love them, but a steady diet would be too much. However, that didn't stop me from ordering the next in the series on my Kindle as soon as I'd finished this one. Every once in a while, you need to read something that brings you pure joy and for me, these books do. Five out of five Whatevers. I can fly through these, so they definitely rate that high. Recommended for anyone who is already a fan of the series, for anyone looking for a light read (I think of these as refreshers between headier reading material), or for anyone who likes any of the following: animals, romance novels, cozies, and ESP/clairvoyance-type paranormal stories.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel

I finished this book, the next in my reading of the Earth's Children series, while on vacation. I'd read about 200 or so pages before I left, but the book is over 800 pages long, so I knew I'd have plenty to keep me busy while visiting my family up North. It was good, a necessary installment to keep the story of Ayla and Jondalar going, but not the best in the series by any means.

In this book, our heroes, Ayla of the Mamutoi and Jondalar of the Zelandonii, have left the Mamutoi camp that had adopted Ayla and struck out across the Eurasian land mass during the Ice Age, trying to reach Jondalar's people in the West. This book details all that befalls them as they travel: they meet several different bands of people, even some Clan members (what we know as cavemen), rescue any number of folks, including a band of people where men were enslaved and women ruled under a cruel mistress, fought the land and its flora and fauna for survival, and tracked the Great Mother River from her beginnings in the Beran (Bering?) Sea (remember, this is before the great land mass separated into Eurasia and North America), to where she petered out in the West (somewhere in what is now France).

While I enjoyed the furtherance of the storyline that I've been following over the last several books, this was not my favorite. I'm not sure why, but the infodumping was much more noticeable to me in this book than in the others. I'd be reading about a hunt or some other high-action scene, and then all of a sudden I'm getting a geological lesson in the formation of glaciers or a sociological lesson in the making of ancient tools. I recognize that Auel did some major research in order to make the details of the book realistic, but I don't know that it was necessary to give us EVERY detail of EVERY topic she researched. It made the book drag in spots. And the other flaw I would note is...there is a lot of sex. Like a LOT. Now, I am no prude, and I have not minded the sex in the previous books, but it seemed multiplied and kind of gratuitous in this installment. It got to the point where I could see it coming and inwardly groaned. And it really didn't move the plot forward in most cases. Yes, Ayla and Jondalar are young and in love. I. Get. It.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, and it was important to tell the next bit of their story, but I hope the next book moves a bit away from the infodump and the sex and includes more action! Recommended for fans of the series, anyone who likes their stories hot and heavy, or anyone who wants a deeply detailed look into life in the Ice Age. Three and a half out of five Whatevers. Avoid this one if you don't like the sexy times.