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Subject:Edward Willett: Lost in Translation
Time:10:11 pm
Lost in Translation

A human woman and a male bat-like alien both work for an intergalactic organization of empathic translators. Even though they're both emotionally scarred survivors of the war between their two species, they're chosen to act as translators for the peace talks.

They discover a plot to sabotage the peace talks, and must work together to make peace between their peoples and preserve the integrity of the organization they work for.

The plot is very simple, and there are very few active characters even though this supposedly involves billions of humans and aliens, and huge intergalactic organizations. Everything is over explained, including who the "mysterious" evil plotters are.

The two translators turn out to have absolutely no problems working together, despite the whole set-up, and even the love story between them is so obviously coming, and so frictionless and fast-moving that it's a real let-down.

Oh, and sex is evil, okay? Only evil characters have sex! Sex is very, very bad. Good characters can only have sex to please evil characters, whom they truly and innocently love, and only if they're under some sort of evil mind altering influence. True love is completely free of any sexual urges. People who have sex are probably sociopathic murderers who've grown up as child prostitutes after seeing their entire family brutally killed before their eyes, or they wouldn't want filthy evil sex, is that clear?

For some reason I actually read the whole book. Well, it was very short.
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Subject:Dorothy Heydt: Point of Honor
Time:09:53 pm
Point of Honor

Starts out thoroughly charming. Sir Mary de Courcy is a professional role player, who makes a living playing in a medieval MMORPG. One day she wins a bit of virtual real estate from another role player, who doesn't have enough credits to pay his debt otherwise.

Suddenly someone is out to get her, she's being followed both in real life and online, and whoever it is is trying to kill her, and she has no idea why or who is after her.

Unfortunately the mystery is basically solved and done with half way into the book, and the rest is just Mary and her friend (who has all the cheat codes to the MMORPG because he helped design it and is a sysadmin) playing a detailed and whimsical, but ultimately unengaging and irrelevant game online with the baddies, because they want to defeat them in honorable combat before the police can arrive at their not so secret hideout and arrest them.

The love story between Mary and her friend is really cute, and the game is fun at first, when winning still matters to the plot, but the details, in-jokes and pop-culture references are not enough to make me care about the game when it has absolutely no consequences one way or another who wins it, since the police have all the evidence and are on their way, it's firmly established noone can suffer any sort of injury from playing the online game, and Mary and her friend constantly cheat in order to keep up with the cheating baddies.

If the book had only been half as long as it is, it would have been really good. Too bad.
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Subject:Cindy Miles: Spirited Away
Time:09:35 pm
Spirited Away

A romance novel set in a remote castle in modern day Scotland. Beautiful but dumb archaeologist Andi Monroe is hired to excavate the grounds of the castle by gorgeous but very, very dumb noble man Tristan de Barre, lord Dragonhawk, after some mysterious human remains are unearthed by an oak tree falling over.

However, it turns out Tristan has been dead for 700 years, and is actually a ghost. Though Andi really, really wants to, she can't have sex with Tristan, because he's incorporeal. Neither of them have ever heard of masturbation, or phonesex or cybersex, so they're extremely frustrated throughout the too long book.

As if sexual frustration weren't bad enough, Andi accidentally releases a magically bound evil spirit, which repeatedly tries to kill her, and she's being haunted by yet another spirit which seems to want to help her, but can only speak in vague riddles, which Andi, being kind of dumb, can't understand.

The book is very poorly written, with many, many editing mistakes, the characters contradicting themselves in consecutive paragraphs, taking the same action twice for the first time, repeating the same lines of dialogue over and over again, etc.

Obviously the writer has very little knowledge of history, Scotland or archaeology, but the story is cute and earnestly told. I get the feeling this is not some hack pounding out another cookie cutter script, but a writer who really cares about the story she's telling.

Even though it's mostly tedious and repetitive, I managed to read it all the way through.
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Subject:Mary Janice Davidson: Sleeping with the fishes
Time:09:25 pm
Sleeping with the fishes

Horrible, horrible dreck. I bought this book new in a bookstore, paying full price + import costs, and I feel robbed.

The premise sounds fun: Fred is a half Mermaid half Human marine biologist, and she has to solve a mystery and choose between two romantic interests, and man and a merman.

But the jokes are contrived and unfunny, the characters paper thin - what little characterization there is just makes them extremely unlikable, and the plot is offensively stupid, with stupid people doing stupid things in order to advance the stupid plot, but not for any reasons that make sense logically or emotionally.

The cover is really pretty, though.
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Subject:Anchee Min: Empress Orchid
Time:01:30 pm
Current Mood:touched
Empress Orchid

A captivating and beautiful description of the imperial Chinese court, and a tragic story of real events and destinies.

The author wisely starts with the ending, so the tragic way the story evolves does not come as a nasty surprise. Instead I was able to enjoy the amazing beauty of her descriptions.

I would not say China of a century ago comes to life in this novel - for that the author skips too much time and too many explanations - but I feel I learned a lot about the culture and history.

I would have liked more focus on character development, and more attention to the flow of time. Sometimes years would pass, while I thought I was reading about events happening in a few weeks, because of the way the author skips back and forth in time, and gives a lot of attention to explaining some details, and takes other thing too much for granted to mention them at all.
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Subject:Helen Fielding: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
Time:01:15 pm
Current Mood:amused
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

Funny and entertaining light reading.
The characters are superficial, and it took a few chapters for Olivia to grow on me, but once some more depths had been added to her I enjoyed the book immensely.

This is like the suspense novels I used to read as a teenager, but even better because it's for girls: it has a main character you can actually sympathize with, lots of humor, action and hot romance.

Unfortunately, towards the end the book loses a bit of the humor and romance, so the big climax of the plot feels like an anti-climax.
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Subject:Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code
Time:01:06 pm
Current Mood:annoyed, but hooked
The Da Vinci Code

This book is poorly written, with cardboard cut-out characters and a deeply silly plot.

The main characters go on a treasure hunt, where they have to solve a riddle to get the clue to where the next riddle is, until they finally find the treasure.

They have to find the treasure before the bad guys do, and also keep from being captured by the bad guys, which means there is an elementary suspense which kept me turning pages for two thirds of the book. After that I only finished reading it because I had promised some friends to.

I prefer books with more realistic characters, but I do give Dan Brown points for at least making all the characters a bit likeable, and giving the bad guys reasons for their behavior.

My main complaint with The Da Vinci Code is the far too easy to figure out riddles and plot "surprises".
The incessant trivia also annoyed me - if the author had woven vivid descriptions of places and objects into the story, I would have enjoyed reading it, but long lists of facts and inaccurate or slightly misunderstood/misrepresented trivia bits are just boring and insulting.
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Subject:Gillian Bradshaw: The Wrong Reflection
Time:09:56 am
Current Mood:disappointed
The Wrong Reflection

Entertaining science fiction thriller, with an element of romance.
But the science part was not particularly interesting, the big secret was lame and predictable, and the ending where everything was tied up neatly in a little bow was a big anticlimax.

Really, this book was better than average, well-written and with likeable, even if slightly cliched characters, but I still feel a bit cheated, and as if I've wasted a day on it.
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Subject:Lois McMaster Bujold: Paladin of Souls
Time:07:01 pm
Current Mood:excited
Paladin of Souls

This is the sequel to The Curse of Chalion, which I loved. I was a bit worried this one wouldn't live up to the first, but I loved it.

The descriptions of the world was pretty much the same thing over again, but as always with Lois McMaster Bujold, the descriptions of people and places were very rich and interesting.

The plot was a lot more simple than in The Curse of Chalion, and there wasn't as much action. It's mostly about the personal development of the main character, who's fighting her way out of depression, and learning to love romantically for the first time.

Like all this author's heroes, she's kind of a dominant masochist. She's hurt over and over again, both emotionally and physically, but she's brilliantly gifted and has a strong will and a quick mind, and somehow she seduces a large group of people (and demons) into extreme loyalty.

I kind of wish she'd try something different, but there's so much more to her books than that, that I feel I'm being a bit unfair on her.

I look very much forward to the third part of the series, but I'll have to wait an entire year, wah! Maybe they'll publish the first few chapters on the internet early...
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Subject:Terry Pratchett: Monstrous Regiment
Time:09:38 pm
Current Mood:blah
Monstrous Regiment

I started a few books, mostly for school, but didn't finish any of them. I still have trouble concentrating. It bothers me that I never finished Metafiction, so I decided not to write about books I didn't read all the way through, or about comic books.

Monstrous Regiment is not one of my favorite Pratchett books, but it wasn't bad.
It's about war, and feminism. It has a lot of entertaining cliches from war novels and movies, which I enjoyed, but nowhere near as many as he usually has.

Mostly it was about women and feminism. It wasn't as preachy as he sometimes gets.

It was actually rather bland. The first 70-100 pages were kind of unengaging, then it started being slightly more funny and have a bit more action, but nothing much really ever happens, and it's not particularly funny.

It had cameos from some old favorite Discworld characters, but I would have liked it better without them - they seemed pasted in.

So, entertaining enough, but nothing special, really.
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[icon] Nora Charles' book journal
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (The Slash Novel Review Site).
You're looking at the latest 10 entries.
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