Troubled Tribble (shilohmm) wrote,
Troubled Tribble
shilohmm

Buncha Shortie Reviews



Non-Fiction
Bright-sided
Barbara Ehrenreich

I thought she made many valid points and found her suggestion that the positive thinking movement is descended from Calvinism interesting and plausible. Also agreed that positive thinking can make people less compassionate to the suffering. She lost me once she started arguing that the concept of positive thinking was a primary factor behind the political decisions that put us in Iraq, and not too convinced positive thinking explains the economy, either. Kinda skimmed the last chapter or so. But overall an interesting book.

Fantasy

The Silent Tower
Barbara Hambly

The Silent Tower is essentially the first half of a story finished in The Silicon Mage. The hero, Antryg Windrose, was pretty clearly inspired by Tom Baker's Doctor Who, but Hambly's hero is more tortured and tragic. The heroine's computer skills are more crucial than the skills of any of the Doctor's companions, and the two of them deal with horrific creations whose reality and detail far surpass the BBC budget.

Hambly is hit or miss with me - this book works well. The characters are interesting and, although the initial switching between scenes on Earth and scenes in the Empire of Ferryth is kind of annoying, the imagery is keen, and the plot moves along smartly.

The Silicon Mage
Barbara Hambly

The Silicon Mage finishes the story begun in The Dark Tower. I love the opening line: "The worst thing about knowing that Gary Fairchild had been dead for a month was seeing him every day at work." The world Hambly creates is complex and intricate, and so is the plot. The bad guy is irredeemably evil, but the way his powers manifest mean he's portrayed as more complex than he really is. The hero is too perfect, but I adore him about as much as the heroine does.

Satisfying read.

Dog Wizard
Barbara Hambly

Supposedly the third in "The Windrose Chronicles," this book is actually another story with many of the same characters. Not as tight or as brilliant as the first two, but not a bad read.

Stranger at the Wedding
Barbara Hambly

A story set in the world of Antryg Windrose. Kyra, a wizard in a world where wizards are forbidden to use their powers among the rest of the populace, is haunted by dreams of her sister's death and decides to risk expulsion or worse in order to prevent that doom from occurring. The main story is quite dark, but the book as a whole is considerably lightened by the classic romance subplot the heroine finds herself involved in, which is rather fun. Not the epic story of The Silent Tower-The Silicon Mage, but an enjoyable book that can be read independently of that series.



Star Trek Fanfic

Tales of Feldman
Mindy Glazer

Ensign Fiona Feldman could only exist in a version of Star Trek that allowed the Federation to hire an "Inanist", which is probably not the Federation that Gene Roddenberry had in mind. Jim Kirk in this version would most likely have not succeeded at the Kobayashi Maru, because this Jim Kirk is much more by the book - which makes him that much less tolerant of Ensign Feldman. Nor do I think the TV show's Vulcans are quite so harsh, or Spock's parents quite so messed up.

But where this version is not strictly accurate to the TV version, it is true to the author's vision and consistent to itself. Feldman is a unique creation and the author successfully blends tragedy and parody, managing to comment on both the show and the subsequent fandom within a story that makes sense in terms of the characters she presents.

More Tales of Feldman
Mindy Glazer

More Tales of Feldman is as funny as the first book, but the author has matured in her craft and manages to bring surprising depth to the tragi-comic tale of the brilliant inanist who never really understood how Star Fleet worked. This Spock and this version of Vulcan are even further from Gene Roddenberry's than those in the first volume, but if you can get past that fact this story works very well.


Jayne Ann Krentz romantic suspense

Family Man
Jayne Ann Krentz

Krentz at her best creates a comfortable world filled with eccentric humans and occasionally an amusing critter or two. Her alpha-ish heroes do not particularly torment her confident heroines except by their general stubbornness and, sometimes, their reluctance to commit (if heroine wants commitment). The conflict between hero and heroine is usually based on legit misunderstandings grounded in their differing personalities and backgrounds, as well as hiding information from each other out of the fear of being hurt, rather than on contrived situations that should have been easily resolved or ludicrously overblown bad guys causing trouble. Her bad guys are reasonably motivated and tend to be fairly far in the background, and are related to the mystery the hero and heroine are trying to solve rather than to the romance between the two.

Family Man is a typical example of the type; if you like Krentz, you'll like this. The heroine wants the hero to reconcile with his grandmother, her friend and employer; he's quite happy keeping his distance until heroine comes along. Once they get on the same page (sorta) with that, there's a mystery to solve.



Eclipse Bay
Jayne Ann Krentz

Eclipse Bay is the first of a trilogy set in a small town on the Oregon coast about the end of a feud between two families. I'm guessing three siblings from one family will end up married to three members of the other family, but I haven't figured out who the third sibling will end up with. Krentz's usual confident heroine and financially successful hero with family conflicts he needs to resolve. Couple of eccentrics, a few crotchety old guys, and a mystery in the background fill out the mix. I like the heroine's personable Schnauzer, and I like Krentz, so it worked for me.


Dawn in Eclipse Bay
Jayne Ann Krentz

Not much for this one. At first I thought it was just that this was the third Krentz I'd read in about a week - I usually limit myself to three or four Krentz books in any six month period, since her authorial quirks annoy me after a bit - but I quite enjoyed the third book in the series that I read after this one, so, nope, it's the book.

Krentz's heroines are generally romantically reckless, but usually that's much more annoying in her historicals (where the consequences of casual sex are much higher) than in her contemporaries. Plus Krentz's heroes are usually trustworthy enough it doesn't bother me much - you know he's not going to use the heroine and leave her to hang. But for some reason this heroine struck me as kinda pea brained in that department.

Her heroines also tend to be managing females who do not hesitate to tell the hero when he's being an idiot or why he's doing whatever. Which doesn't usually bother me, since I pull that routine on my hubby all the time. But this heroine's observations were less accurate than usual, so her psychoanalyzing felt more arrogant, plus she was constantly telling the guy "you're a Madison, and all Madisons whatever," which is an underlying theme of the entire series (Hartes are this, Madisons are that). But with her it came across as a lecture, perhaps because the hero made it his life's goal to be an exception to the rule when it came to Madisons, so she wasn't speaking the truth to him but using his family traditions to bash at him.

No cute critters, either. And the solution to the mystery partly depended on information the reader didn't have. Usually Krentz has enough going on that if I'm not much for one aspect, something else redeems the book. Not this time around. Not a terrible book, but not a particularly good one, either.


Summer in Eclipse Bay
Jayne Ann Krentz

I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The basic plot - rake unable to commit - is not a favorite, plus I didn't enjoy the second book in the series, so I figured I was burned out on JAK. But I ended up liking this one just fine.

The hero is not the selfish doofus I expected, and the "Heartless Harte" moniker was more of a joke than a pertinent plot point. An on-going joke -- townspeople mentioning his latest book and explaining why they hadn't read it -- was amusing, and the pay off was terrific. Liked the secondary romance as well. The mystery made a certain sort of sense but she's done better on that front.

Not brilliant but not bad.

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