Beth G. (BethG) - , - Reviews

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1632 (Assiti Shards (Hardcover))
1632 (Assiti Shards (Hardcover))
Author: Eric Flint
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 1/4/2009


The premise of this book is brilliant; a small, contemporary West Virginia town is picked up and transported to Germany in 1632.

The inhabitants of Grantville are more than a bit stunned to find themselves so far from home in both time and space, and the fact that they landed squarely in the middle of the 30 Years War doesn't help. But they are smart, resourceful people and they begin adapting quickly. The "natives" find the Americans a little harder to get used to.

It is lots of fun to see the problems Flint sets his characters and how he thinks the town of Grantville would affect history. Indeed this is such an interesting idea that Flint and co-authors have written a whole series working things out.

I had a few quibbles with the book. For instance, the characters don't seem to have a problem with wiping out several armies. True, the armies were attacking them, but shouldn't someone be a bit upset anyway? And they certainly don't worry too much when they start running out of modern drugs. Doesn't anyone in this town have an illness that requires medication? On a more literary note, only a few characters are really convincing as people.

But these are minor problems. The plot is fast and the story absorbing. I had a hard time putting the book down to take care of those pesky real-life requirements and I'm still working on the ideas in my head. (Which may explain the state of my house.)

In other word, don't miss this book!


1633 (Assiti Shards, Bk 2)
1633 (Assiti Shards, Bk 2)
Author: Eric Flint, David Weber
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 76
Review Date: 3/22/2010


This book expands Mr. Flint's vision from 1632. He shows more of how the world is affected by the arrival of a contemporary American town and more of how the town must adapt to this new world.

Mr. Flint doesn't do vivid characters, so only a really remained in my mind. But it was a blast to see how he projected history would change after the introduction of Grantville.

For instance, it would never occur to me that history books from the high school library one of the major items that countries wanted to buy or steal. But it makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I thought this was a fascinating book. I nearly burned down the house because I was trying to cook and read it at the same time. So, keeping that danger in mind, grab this book and have fun!


Accusations (Babylon 5, Bk 2)
Accusations (Babylon 5, Bk 2)
Author: Lois Tilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 1/15/2007


An old friend of Ivanovas asks to meet, but is killed before he can reach her. She is then placed under suspicion and suspended from command by an investigative team from Earth that seems more interested in framing people than finding the truth. Unfortunately, unless the entire mystery is cleared up, Susan Ivanovas career is at an end.

Author Tilton really captures the feel of B5 and the characters. It seems like a new episode that just happens to be a book.

Excellent.


Across the Universe (Star Trek: The Original Series #88)
Review Date: 6/25/2006
Helpful Score: 1


Kirk and crew must help the survivors of a ship out of history adapt to their new reality and find a home. But the home that they choose is having some unusual troubles, too.

This is a well written and imaginative book. Lots of fun.


Alexandria (Falco 19)
Alexandria (Falco 19)
Author: Lindsey Davis
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/28/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Falco brought his family to Egypt because Helena wants to see the pyramids. She is working on seeing the 7 wonders.

They stop off for a while at his uncle Fulvius's house in Alexandria. It is just a nice family vacation, but no one will believe that. After all he is the Emperor's investigator, so he must be in Alexandria on an Imperial mission.

Then the head of the great Library turns up dead in a locked room. It must be suicide, but ... So Falco is off on another case.

Ms. Davis gives you a vivid sense of the city of Alexandria as it must have been in the first century. Her characters are fully human and just as complicated as that implies. Falco and Helena are dear old friends and it is wonderful to spend time with them again.

This is an excellent book, well written and plotted with craft and guile. Do read it.


Alien Emergencies : A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General)
Alien Emergencies : A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General)
Author: James White
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 4/29/2008


Alien Emergencies contains 3 of James White Sector General novels.

The first is Ambulance Ship is which the protagonist, Dr. Conway, is put in charge of the ambulance ship Rhabwar, whose mission is to respond to emergency beacons that are likely to by first contact situations. It is clearly a series of stories with a bit of connecting material. Still the stories are interesting and Mr. White has a real talent for imagining aliens who are very alien. It is a good book.

The second novel is Sector General and it is a bit of a let down. Like the first it was clearly a series of stories. By this time I found the stories were getting to be formulaic and I wished for a bit more variety. It is still interesting, but not dazzling.

The third novel is Star Healer and I think it was written as a novel. Certainly it feels that way. This one is really excellent. The characters are vivid and the medical problems absorbing and alien. This book is outstanding.

Overall if you are interested SF from a different angle, I think you will enjoy all of the books in this edition, and, indeed, all of James White's Sector General stories. Step into Sector General and be amazed.


All Shots (Dog Lover's, Bk 18)
All Shots (Dog Lover's, Bk 18)
Author: Susan Conant
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 1/17/2009


Once again Holly Winter is caught up in a mystery, one she is sure she can solve if she can just identify the mystery malamute. And that is what's fun about Susan Conant's books, dogs are the center of the universe.

This time Holly Winter is faced with a missing dog, a dead woman apparently named Holly Winter, and yet another Holly Winter who hates dogs and thinks our Holly is a very suspicious character.

I don't read these books for the mystery. I read them for the dogs and the dog centered philosophy. But this mystery is challenging and the dogs are, as always, wonderful.

If you love dogs, do not miss this book. If you like mysteries, give it a try.


An Accidental Goddess
An Accidental Goddess
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 84
Review Date: 2/6/2006
Helpful Score: 1


This book is sold as a romance novel and it does contain a very good romance, but it is a lot more. It has a science fiction story with elements of fantasy that is well thought out and relentlessly interesting.

Raheiran Special Forces Captain Gillane Davré wakes up on a space station 340 years in the future. While, as a gifted Raheiran she has some interesting powers such as telepathy, healing, and a bit of magic, she is definitely not devine. However, in the time she has been gone the Khalar, the race she was trying to help, have taken to worshiping her as a goddess. And if that isnt trouble enough, one of her devoted followers happens to be a very dishy admiral.

I was bothered by some inconsistencies, like why are there parrots on the space station, but the author compares the hero to an imaginary animal, and why Gillie plays billiards, but other games that are mentioned are also imaginary? However, that is a minor problem in a very good book that combines romance and adventure very well.


Angel Rogue (Fallen Angels, Bk 4)
Angel Rogue (Fallen Angels, Bk 4)
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 99
Review Date: 2/25/2006


This is another in Putney's series of "Fallen Angels."

Lord Robert Andreville has spent years spying on Napoleon for the British government. He has returned home from the wars damaged, with his nerves strung tight and his spirit ravaged. He sees little to look forward to in his life until Maxima Collins literaly trips over him.

Maxie is an American and half Mohawk. Her father has died under suspicious circumstances and left her in the care of relatives that she doesn't know or understand. So she sets out to walk to London, quite a trek, to investigate her father's death.

When Robin hears her plan, he insists on coming along to protect her. Maxie doesn't think she needs protecting, but as they travel, she finds that a man who has lived by his wits in dangerous country for many years is handy to have along.

Putney has a gift for creating characters that feel completely real. Here the hero and the heroine are dealing with deep emotional damage and the way they are able to help each other heal is wonderful.

This book should not be missed


Aphrodite's Kiss (Aphrodite, Bk 1)
Aphrodite's Kiss (Aphrodite, Bk 1)
Author: Julie Kenner
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 147
Review Date: 3/1/2006
Helpful Score: 1


Zoe Smith's life has always been a bit odd, but now things are really getting out of hand. Shes about to turn 25, her super powers are not exactly under control and she has to decide whether to join the Council of Protectors or be turned into a mortal.

Also, she has met a handsome private investigator who she really wants to get to know better, but, since she is currently being tested by the Council, this isnt the best time.

This is a truly interesting premise with a good romance and a bit of humor.


Arabesque (Heartfire)
Arabesque (Heartfire)
Author: Deborah Satinwood
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/26/2006


Gwen loves the beauty and mystery of her Welsh home, but a trip to Tangiers changes everything.

Morgan has led a life filled with conflict and travel. He knows no other, but when he saves Gwen and looks into her sapphire eyes, he begins to dream of other things.


Barefoot In The Grass (Harlequin Superromance, No 715)
Barefoot In The Grass (Harlequin Superromance, No 715)
Author: Judith Arnold
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 6/11/2006
Helpful Score: 1


This book manages to be very romantic and feel real all at the same time. I find that rare indeed.


Beginning Operations: Hospital Station / Star Surgeon / Major Operation (Sector General)
Review Date: 8/5/2007


This omnibus edition contains 3 of the first 4 Sector General novels. Sector General is a huge hospital in space, with sections that reproduce the environments of all know sentient species.

Dr. Conway begins his work in this bewildering environment in the first book, Hospital Station. He gradually adapts and advances through the series. The second book is Star Surgeon and the fourth is Major Operation.

The 3rd book, The Aliens among Us, is a group of short stories with only one that deals with Sector General.

Unfortunately, the first books suffer from typical 50's & 60's SF attitude toward women. That is that they are decorative but not too bright. And they are never presented as fully conceived characters. You can see this especially well in Nurse Murchison, Conway's love interest and later, wife.

However, unlike most writers who displayed this attitude, White was able to improve his female characters as the series progressed.

Anyway, the problems are fairly minor. Over all this is a consistently entertaining series with many imaginatively conceived aliens. You'll like it.


Bejewelled Death
Bejewelled Death
Author: Marian Babson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/12/2006


From the back cover:

It was a relief! Stacey wasn't the only person carrying a hatbox on the flight to London. Now she wouldn't stand out like a sore thumb, and no one could possibly guess that instead of a hat she was actually transporting a one-of-a-kind double tiara of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and fire opals. No one could guess, that is, until the jeweled headdress disappeared. By then Stacey was in London--in the company of two impish children and an out-of-work actor--and the tiara was God knows where.

Could it be that the oil baron's wife had switched her hatbox for Stacey's? What about the efficient stewardess, or the beautiful but beguiling cover girl, or the two men handcuffed together? Racing all over London and environs, Stacey was determined to hunt the jewelry down. What she found were lots of empty hatboxes--and murder...

This is a clever mystery that manages to be funny and a bit romantic, too.


Belle Terre (Star Trek: New Earth, Bk 2) (Star Trek, No 90)
Review Date: 7/14/2007
Helpful Score: 1


In this the second of the "New Earth" books, Kirk continues on his mission to help establish a colony far from the edges of the Federation on a planet the would be colonists have named Belle Terre.

Since the first book the governor and the colonist have finally begun to understand that it is best to listen to Kirk. And a good thing too, since they have only been on planet a couple of weeks when Spock finds out that their moon is about to explode and destroy the planet.

Of course, Kirk comes up with a way to, maybe, save everything, but it is going to be very, very hard.


The Black Gryphon (Mage Wars, Bk 1)
The Black Gryphon (Mage Wars, Bk 1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 216
Review Date: 1/31/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Mercedes Lackey is always a spell binding story teller and this book is no exception. This is the first book in her Gryphon trilogy.

Set in the world of Valdemar, but a thousand years before the other books of that series, this one presents a world that is full of magic as well as gifts.

A terrible war is raging as an evil wizard tries to conquer all the lands around him. Against him stands Urtho, the Mage of Silence, his human followers, and the magic creatures he has created, most notably the gryphons.

The book is told from the perspectives of Skan, the black gryphon of the title and Amberdrake, a human. They both make fascinating new friends.

The characters are alive and the plot is absorbing. I've seen some reviews that say this one is not up to Lackey's usual standard, but I don't agree. You will love this book.


The Bookwoman's Last Fling (Cliff Janeway, Bk 5)
The Bookwoman's Last Fling (Cliff Janeway, Bk 5)
Author: John Dunning
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 2/27/2010


Janeway is called to Idaho to appraise a book collection, but things are never simple for Cliff. It is an astounding collection, but someone has clearly been stealing some of the books.

He is still absorbing that mystery when he must start investigating the death of the woman who made the collection, though she has been dead for many years. Was her death an accident, suicide, or murder?

Janeway must immerse himself in the racetrack life, looking for those who remember the Bookwoman.

Dunning is a good writer in the "hard boiled" style and the background of books and racing is vivid and interesting.

However, I found this story a bit drear. None of Dunning's books are light and humorous, but this one seemed especially dark. (I suppose our current long, long winter could be influencing me.)

If you have not read Dunning before, I would suggest that you start with another book, since some of the problems Janeway faces have been building in the previous books. Still if you like tough guy mysteries with a bit of book lore, you'll like the books of John Dunning.


Both Sides of the Coin (Coventry Romance, No 39)
Both Sides of the Coin (Coventry Romance, No 39)
Author: Georgina Grey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2006


From the back cover:

Twin Jewels, Not a Shade of
Difference in the Hair, Spun Gold
for Both of Them, Eyes Matching
Brown. Same Tilt of the Nose,
Charming, Alike as Two Peas in a Pod.

They were twins, Susan and Penelope. But they had been brough up apartr. Now they met for the first time in years and already the rivalry began.

Their wealthy old granduncle had set them in pursuit of the most eligible Lord Powell. The twen who could capture Lond Powell's heart would win the prize--the old man's estate.

Susan wanted no part of this shameful scheme.

Penelope, cold and cunning, was already figuring out a way to get rid of Susan.

And Lord Powell had a few surprises of his own...


Brewing Up a Storm (John Putnam Thatcher, Bk 23)
Brewing Up a Storm (John Putnam Thatcher, Bk 23)
Author: Emma Lathen
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 5/20/2006


John Putnam Thatcher of the Sloan finds himself a bemused observer of the conflict between an established brewery making a non-alcoholic beer and selling it as a soft drink and a protest organization led by a woman who believes that this soft drink is a way to get young people to drink.

However, when the head of the protest group is murdered, Thatcher must take a more active role to identify the killer before he does more damage.


Burning Water (Diana Tregarde, Bk 1)
Burning Water (Diana Tregarde, Bk 1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 120
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 3


This is the first in Lackey's series featuring Diana Tregarde, a witch and guardian who fights evil powers. It is different take on magic and mystic power.

Lackey is one of the best storytellers I have read, but she isn't at her best in this book. The situation is intriguing but the execution seemed lacking.

In the first place, the fact that it took Diana so very long to realize she was facing Aztec magic was frustrating. Yes, Lackey did have put in a reason for her inability to make the connection, but it still drove me crazy.

Also, the murders were numerous and gruesome. True she didn't go into unnecessary detail, but the information that was necessary was far more than I wanted.

This isn't a bad book, but it isn't up to Lackey's usual standards.


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